Monday, March 29, 2010

At my house I've been making gifts

Moo had a birthday last week, and since she’s blaming me, loudly and often, for her new addiction, quilting, I thought I’d better make her some pretty accessories to help her cope.
First I stitched up a string-pieced needle case (front and back shown here).
Then I made a scissor case and bought a pair of stork scissors to pop inside.IMG_3484Finally I created a thread-catcher, and filled it with possibly the most important ingredient for a happy stitching session – chocolate!IMG_3482   IMG_3490 If you’re the tiniest bit observant you’ll notice the theme fabric I’ve used for all Moo’s goodies.  A couple of years ago I came upon this “moo” fabric,  and just had to have some. 
In fact I bought enough to make gifts for my friend Moo for a long time to come!

What's going on at your house today? this week? Pop over to Buttonsbyloulou and add your name on the link list on her blog so we can stop by and check out your place. Ordinary things, special things, give us a glimpse...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Michaela’s produced this pirate treasure for our Stitchin’ Mission

What a beauty!  Cute pirate fabric as the feature, set off with bright red and yellow mottled fabrics, and a great stripe for the backing.IMG_3574 IMG_3575 Aye, me hearties, it’s a bonny quilt!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My quilt is (almost!) part of the V & A “Quilts 1700-2010” Exhibition

DSCN0126-1 Now here’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day!

In conjunction with their wonderful exhibition of quilts at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the organisers are offering quilters around the world the chance to show their work and tell its story on the V & A website.

They’re creating a “Quilt of Quilts”, a virtual quilt gallery, and as yet there are only around 124 quilts on display.  The word is spreading fast though!

I’ve uploaded one of my quilts, “Alhambra Romance”, and told its story, and I really want to encourage you to show yours too.   Just go here and follow the very easy steps to add your quilt.

Just a brief visit to this "Quilt of Quilts” reveals quilts of many types, from the humble scrappy quilt made out of a husband’s old shirts to prize-winning masterpieces.  The brief stories behind these quilts make fascinating, moving and inspirational reading, and you’ll want to revisit the site often – as I plan to do. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sue Ross Whirligigs, Prickly Pears and other sweet delights (Part 1)

How lucky are we Paddington Patchworkers to have Sue Ross visiting us over 3 months to teach us some of her most graphic quilts?
It’s a measure of Sue’s skill as a teacher that she can simultaneously teach three quilt designs, moving around to each group, instructing and advising, then moving on to the next.   IMG_3511 Gail is making Sue’s Prickly Pear design, an exercise in putting together fabrics in difficult-to-use hues, and after she and Sue had crawled around on the floor swapping and re-swapping blocks, this was the final layout.  IMG_3535 Taking a photo is the perfect way to remember the plan you’ve settled on, once you’ve gone home, walked the dog, cooked dinner, stacked the dishwasher – and then decided to get the sewing machine out again, and you have a “Now, where was I?” moment.
Jan and Di B are tackling the intricately pieced blocks of Strawberry Shortcake, but where Jan is hand-piecing hers -IMG_3526-1-  Di is machining her version (working title “Lemon Cheesecake”!)IMG_3526 Machine stitching calls for an accurate 1/4” stitching line, so once she had drawn around her perspex template, Di used this nifty little gadget to draw a cutting line exactly 1/4” from the first line.  Easy peasy.IMG_3519 I love collecting sewing gizmos!!!  How about you?

Sue Ross Whirligigs, Prickly Pears and other sweet delights (Part 2)

Lots of luscious fabric combinations appeared after a month of matching, cutting and stitching our blocks for the Whirligig quilt. 

Rae is using rich, mellow reproduction fabrics from her stash, and those stripes were the perfect choice to add drama to her outer cog wheel.IMG_3513IMG_3523 Sunglasses on!  Here are Desley’s bright whirligigs in Kaffe Fassett fabrics that almost shout for joy! IMG_3515 Janet’s pulling hers together by using the same print for all her cogs, but in different colourways.  It’s a tiny, Japanese white flower on a solid background of olive, dusty blue, deep red, black or taupe.  Nice!


Sue M’s whirligigs provided an opportunity for Sue Ross to demonstrate how to better combine our colours for greater effect. 

Take a look at the whirligigs in the left hand photo below, all of them beautifully colour-coordinated. 

Sue swapped around four of the outer cog circles, and (although it’s not easy to see here) showed us how the spreading around of colours, and combining unexpected hues, makes for a much more interesting quilt.

In short, perfectly matched blocks tend to look inwards on themselves, while unusual colour combinations, using colours from neighbouring blocks, create movement across the whole quilt.


Finally, here are mine, using lots of Kaffes, Philip Jacobs and Amy Butler fabrics, still waiting for their outer cogs.  

I’m revising my original plan and now think I’ll make up all my cog wheels, then audition them on different whirligigs.  It’ll be fun to see what surprises appear.

IMG_3525Of course I’d make faster progress if I wasn’t such a scatterbrain.  IMG_3524

I couldn’t  tell you how many times I did this (see photo at left), when I was hand stitching my first cog wheel yesterday…!   (Actually I could tell you, but I’d rather you didn’t think I was a complete idiot LOL).

Spot the mistake? 

More photos of others’ creative efforts after Sue’s final workshop with us next month.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This ole house is coming down

No, not mine!

Lachy and Merry are demolishing their little ‘renovator’s dream’ terrace house and building a smart new ‘des res’ in its place.  So they invited family, friends and neighbours to say goodbye to the house in style by drawing all over the walls.

After a few moments of guilt over the concept of scribbling on a clean wall, the inner-hooligan was quickly unleashed in all of us and the place was soon covered in graffiti.IMG_3260









Can you guess who painted this one :-))!cid_8FC50A0E-0285-4A34-A395-A597A593A11A

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hexagon eye candy!

Four out of the seven of us were working on various versions of Frederica Josephson’s quilt at The English Quilt Group at Gail’s yesterday.

After studying the way in which the original quilt seems to glow brightly in the centre, becoming darker as the hexagons radiate out, Ann’s given a lot of thought to her colour placement and is taking her own sweet time with a beautifully balanced design.IMG_3428IMG_3429Gail’s is around 108 inches of girly, floral gorgeousness, and she thinks it might be time to stop and hand quilt it.  Yes, I did say hand quilt!IMG_3426   IMG_3427

But wait, there’s more!

Jill has been so smitten with hexagons that she’s completely finished her quilt top, sandwiched it and begun the hand quilting.  It’s a warm, mellow confection in dusty pinks, blues and browns.  IMG_3420IMG_3423  We affectionately call Gail our “over-achiever” but I think Jill’s a serious contender for the title.  Guess how many quilts she’s made before this one – two!

We couldn’t resist laying Jill’s quilt out on a bed to see the whole effect.  You like?IMG_3432

I have neither the time nor the patience to create beauties such as these, so my quilt is a more modest size, a hybrid of Frederica Josephson’s quilt and Kerry Dear’s Candied Hexagons.  My outer borders are attached and I’ve started to applique my scrappy triangles.

Are you wondering why we call ourselves The English Quilt group?  After all, we’re neither English, nor do we restrict ourselves to making English quilts. 

Every nine months or so, as a group, we decide on a quilt design we like.  Then we each make our own version of the quilt, meeting together once a month to help each other with techniques and tips, and share our progress. 

The English Quilt, by Australian designer Terri Brander, was the first quilt we chose to work on together.

There’s no obligation for any of us to make the chosen quilt, though: we just love getting together for a stitch, a laugh and a good time.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Two more Stitchin’ Mission quilts

Moo’s made another of her trademark quilts, dramatic plain squares on the front with an eye-catching backing.


Can’t you imagine the fun a child will have spying all the vehicles, people and buildings in this wonderfully interactive backing.IMG_3381

Coral’s cute focus fabric has clothes hanging on washing lines, and the backing has lighthouses galore.  Again, lots of interesting  pictures for little eyes.IMG_3382

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St Mark’s Quilters

For our second workshop of the year last Saturday we brought along our New Life quilt blocks – almost 300 of them! - to stitch together.


Our improvised design walls, flannel-backed tablecloths clipped to two clothes racks, worked a treat, with the added bonus that at the end of the day the pieces of a quilt-in-progress could stay in place and be wrapped up to take home.IMG_3376 We sorted our blocks so that the colours worked together - as much as crazy scrappy patches ever can, of course.IMG_3375 Then we auditioned our sashing fabrics to see which one played best with each group of blocks.  In the end we had four quilts on the design walls.IMG_3392

Working together

Di cut out bright yellow sashings.


Helen made more New Life squares, but strangely our pile of scraps hasn’t diminished.   Hmmmm….


Moo, Ruth, Di, Margaret and Michaela got to work making our blocks into quilts..



Margaret had started on her quilt at home.

IMG_3387 So she was the first to finish her quilt top, a pretty one in the colours she loves to work with.IMG_3388 Was it a good day? 

Moo’s sewing machine says it all. 

It was …IMG_3379