Sunday, February 18, 2018

Off and running for our ninth year!

We're back!!!

Sashiko by Gail O.

Time flies when you're having fun, and that's certainly true when St Mark's Quilters come together!
There was plenty going on last Saturday when we met for the first time this year.

Barb was sewing a label on one of her latest Blankets of Love.

By Barb

By Barb

Di C was carefully laying out her fabrics and labelling them for a new project (watch this space!)

 Gail D and Gillian were stitching down bindings, that most popular of activities at St Mark's Quilters because it needs little concentration and we can chat and giggle with no worries.

Sue M was trimming HSTs.

Susan was machining pretty pastel strips together.

While Liz knitted, Margaret, our Hexagon Queen, got "quacking" on a new hexi quilt that cleverly matched her outfit!

Di B has been working on a gift for a very special 'Someone', a Cathedral Windows cushion in the most elegant of pink florals.

And by the end of the day there were even more finishes. 

By Susan and Sophie

By Gail D

By Gillian

By Di J

It was a great start to our ninth year!

One year ends and another begins

Here we are in February, starting another year of stitching with St Mark's Quilters, when it seems no time since we were celebrating Christmas with our break-up lunch in the garden at St Mark's!

As usual there was plenty of colour and creativity with these finished cot sized quilts added to our collection for the KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning Centre.

By Sophie and Susan

By Sophie and Susan

By Di J

By Barb

I'm pleased to say we once again have enough quilts to give every child who starts at The Marcia this year a quilt of their very own.

Over the years some of our quilters have moved out of Sydney, but one of the aspects of our group that warms my heart is how our "absentee quilters" continue to keep in touch with us, and even make quilts for our cause. One such quilter is Cath, who recently gave us these pretty Blankets of Love. 

 Liz had made this lovely cross-hatched creation.

And Gail finished another sweet Blanket of Love in her signature dusty pink, muted style.

Sue M was busy making a set of bright placemats for a family Christmas gift.

And Di B put her best foot forward to show off her latest sneakers - in rainbow colours!

Our quilters ask for nothing in return for their work, they make quilts simply to put their faith into action. But Di B and I like to give each one a small gift at Christmas to show how much we appreciate them, and this year we made magnetic pin bowls.

It's not difficult to find a tutorial on the internet, if you want to make one for yourself, and they are so useful because the pins cling to the bowl, even if the whole lot slides off the table! Oops!

 Our quilting dogs, Chester and Elsa, made sure they were rewarded with treats too. They always do!

 In January we were delighted to accept a $300 donation from Rotary Inner West towards our batting and fabric, in continued memory of our late friend Peter Crooks.

It was also time for us to deliver 54 gorgeous little Blankets of Love to Danielle Achikiam, Volunteer Co-Ordinator at RPA Hospital's Newborn Intensive Care Unit, but not before Di B snapped these beautiful shots on a sunny summer's day to show them off in a particularly Australian way.

Don't our Blankets of Love look glorious hanging from an iconic Hills Hoist, flapping in the breeze beside Sydney Harbour!

Danielle was delighted with them, and that makes us happy too! 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Harlequin Hugs

After a couple of months of quilting deprivation, November brought more than enough reasons to do a (careful) little happy dance, not least being able to use my wrist again.

First was the publication of my first quilt project, Harlequin Hugs, in Quilters Companion #88

When Editor Michelle Marvig asked me to design a project, I knew from the start that I wanted to use fabrics from Vanessa Christensen’s gorgeous V and Co Ombre range to create a sweet cot quilt.

Having bought a rainbow selection of these from Amy Johnson (Amy’s Quilting Adventures) when we met up at Quiltcon Savannah last year, all I needed was a little more yardage and I was all set to ‘paint’ with fabric.

If you’ve seen the direction my quiltmaking has been going in the last couple of years you’ve probably gathered that I’m a tad crazy about creating texture on quilts by adding extra layers of surface interest. 

Well, Harlequin Hugs has plenty of that!

At the same time I tried to come up with a design that wouldn’t be too challenging for most quilters. 

I was touched by this introduction, and really happy with the magazine photo. Don’t you just love that sunshine yellow garden bench?

It felt good to be back!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Long time, no sew!

Observant readers will have picked up on the fact that in recent times this quilters blog has been seriously lacking in, well, quilting. So now that I'm very much on the road to recovery, I ought to explain myself....


The night was dark, the September air was brisk, the other dog-owners had all gone home for dinner, and I didn't want to linger in the park across the road any longer than absolutely necessary. So once Chester the Wonderlab had done his business I bagged it up by the light of my phone's flashlight, and swiftly turned towards home, briefly looking back over my shoulder to call him.

Then it happened in an instant. A concrete bench that has sat solidly in the same place for the four years I've lived here decided to shift just a tad to the left.

Nah, I don't believe it either, but that's how it felt. First my left knee, then my right shin, then both my hips all made contact with the hard edges of the concrete and I went sailing headfirst over the bench, landing on the concrete base on my outstretched right hand (I had to protect the iPhone, didn't I?) and finally connecting my left brow and forehead with the concrete too.

I can see it all happening in slow motion in my mind's eye, and it's probably a good thing there were no witnesses - apart from my beautiful Chester - to what must have been quite a spectacularly hilarious tumble.

In the end, the only damage done was to my dignity, a few bruises and a scraped shin, and black eye that took a whole month to disappear while I wore sunglasses so I didn't frighten the children in the street.

And a fractured right wrist. And therein lies the rub.

Fellow quilters will understand when I say the worst possible body part to injure is one's dominant hand - in my case the right. Initially it was plastered, then splinted, and now I've moved into physiotherapy.

So there you have it. I've done almost no hand stitching since September, and just a little machining last week, and I don't mind saying I'm getting a little twitchy! My physio has advised me for the time being to stitch just during the ad breaks as I'm watching TV, and I've never been so grateful for those annoying commercials!

Ironically, some very exciting quilting-related things have been happening in my life, and I look forward to sharing them with you.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Friends, family, flowers ... and plenty of cake!

This week it was my turn to clock up another year of living, loving and creating, but my birthday was relatively low-key compared to the pizzazz of my amazing 90 year old mother-in-law's celebrations I wrote of in my previous post.

On my actual birthday I enjoyed lunch with four very dear girlfriends I've known for many years. Four of us have birthdays within 5 weeks of one another, so we added to the fun by celebrating together, at the home of one. 

From our table this was our view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and across to the Sydney Opera House. The sun shone, and even the clouds arranged themselves obligingly to look like cotton wool!
I thought that it was quite appropriate that the cake was decorated with tiny pieces of gold leaf, given my friends and I are approaching "golden oldies" status!

A few days later came another happy, though noisier family dinner with my son, daughter in law and grandchildren, Mr J and Princess 2. I'm sorry, but with these little "moving targets" I didn't manage any photos, except for one of the birthday cake which stayed put, even if it did threaten to slide off its shiny base.

A last minute rummage in the recycled birthday candle jar drew a blank on either of the digits of my real age, but with a choice of 40 or 82 I was quite relieved that the decision-makers settled on 40, the age I feel (at least on good days!).

The final birthday stop was yesterday, for afternoon tea with my sister and mother. 

If you look closely you'll see that this "cake" is actually a lemon tart, my very favourite dessert (when Key Lime Tart isn't on offer!). 

How about those gorgeous flowers, perfectly coordinating with my outfit? I don't want to take away from the cleverness of my mother's and sister's choice of flowers, but actually, I'm so darned predictable because I just love pink!

In rather more substantial ways my sister is predictable too: always positive in the face of life's adversities, always generous, and always forgiving, loving and compassionate. 

These little Willow Tree figurines, part of her birthday gift to me, are a treasured reminder.