Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Advent Calendar made with love – and laughter!

Twenty of St Mark’s craftiest ladies got together last night to focus on the true meaning of Christmas and create an Advent calendar from a kit.

There were plenty of delicious biscuits, sweets and chocolates, and Christmas music (heard occasionally above the laughter) as we snipped and glued, sliced and taped, and generally had a wonderful time together.

IMG_8277 Sorting the cow’s horns from the sheep’s legs was a challenge for some of us, and I confess I’m very definitely more at home with a rotary cutter and fabric than a craft knife. IMG_8267 But it didn’t matter - “rustic” was the look most of us went for!IMG_8284

IMG_8285 Is that a moustache on the sheep??

In the end we each took home a very individual Advent calendar, made with lots of love – just in time to start opening the windows tomorrow!IMG_8287

Christmas is coming!IMG_8283 [Some Advent calendars were a little more “individual” than others. Take a look at the eyes on this cow!]

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent – “Stir-up Sunday” and an unusual project finished.

There was a slight stirring through the morning congregation last Sunday as the minister (my husband) read out the Collect of the Day.

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

image Those of us “of a certain age” remembered (as did Scott) that Stir-up Sunday was the day all good housewives used to make their Christmas puddings – before lack of time and the heat of an Australian summer made it more of a chore than a seasonal delight.

Traditionally every member of the family took a turn at stirring the pudding mixture, from East to West symbolising the journey of the Wise Men, and made a wish. Being a month before Christmas, the pudding made on Stir-up Sunday had plenty of time to develop its full flavour.


That Collect also reminded me that this Sunday, being the first Sunday in Advent, the frontal on the Holy Table would be changed to a purple one, and I needed to have an important stitching project completed - the transfer of a heavy goldwork cross from an older frontal to our brand new one.

IMG_8238  The exquisite workmanship in this cross was far too valuable to simply discard, even though the background brocade had worn too thin to be used.

So I first carefully cut around the 60cm (2 ft) high cross to lift it off, taking care to keep the goldwork intact. Then I tacked the heavy piece to the new frontal before hand appliqueeing it on.

IMG_8237 It was extremely difficult to needleturn the brocade in the angles between these golden rays, but fortunately the new frontal is almost the same beautiful rich shade of purple as the original, and I’m counting on it hiding a multitude of sins!



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kaffe Cabins

By now you probably know I have friends who make seriously beautiful quilts. Seriously beautiful.

Like this snowball quilt Beryl made earlier this year.IMG_7426 Being a sucker for a good scrappy quilt I loved her use of florals, and I think the red border fabric, also used in the corners of the blocks, gives it a touch of class.

Today, though, Beryl showed off her latest quilt , and it blew my socks off!!!!!!IMG_8179-1 She calls them houses, but we all felt they looked more like little old-fashioned bathing cabins beside the sea.IMG_8180 What a fabulous way to use your Kaffe Fassett remnants!IMG_8181

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Too much looking and admiring…

…and not enough photographing has meant that I can’t show you all the projects The English Quilt girls have been working on over the two months since we last met. Nevertheless there’s plenty to see.
This week four of us drove from our fairly densely populated area of Sydney to Lyn’s home, just 40 minutes away. There we sat on her verandah enjoying coffee and apple cake and this tranquil view through the gum trees, and stitching to the sound of cicadas in the background .IMG_8183  Rae was our driver on the day, and I just loved her snappy colour co-ordination with her red car! Look at those fantastic red suede shoes. The holes punched in the uppers mean that wearing white socks produces a polka dot effect. Cute!IMG_8196 Gail was working on her delectable Coconut Ice quilt. If you look closely you’ll see the beginnings of her 3D rosebuds.IMG_8193 Robbie has started to hand quilt her Dresden Plate quilt, all pieced in retro Liberty Tana lawn fabrics that she backed with fusible interfacing for extra strength before cutting.
So many old “friends” among these Liberty favourites. You should have heard us.
“I used to have a dress in that fabric!”
“I had a glasses case in that lovely floral!”
“I smocked a dress in that one for my little granddaughter! “
IMG_8185-1IMG_8186  Lyn was working on a woollen quilt, her second colourful Sue Spargo design.IMG_8195 She’s also been busy making gifts for some Special Little People this Christmas.
Don’t you just love the button she made from Fimo. IMG_8189 IMG_8190 IMG_8191No photos, but Anne, Rae and I made steady progress with our projects. You’ll just have to wait till the new year to see what we’re up to. IMG_8192 Can you bear the suspense?      Trust me, it’ll be worth it :-))

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The pause that refreshes…

Eight of us took a break for lunch outside in the shade.
Over the course of the day thirteen of our happy quilters stopped by to have coffee and a chat, do a little stitching or just admire the beautiful work being done.
Thank you, everyone. Such talent, such friendship … such laughter!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sweet Broderie Giveaway


[Photo from Retro Mummy’s blog]

Do you love these fabrics from Rosalie Quinlan’s brand new range as much as I do? Then pop on over to Corrie’s blog, Retro Mummy, and enter her giveaway for a chance to win 14 fat quarters!!!!

Her giveaway is open ‘till next Sunday night, and if I don’t win I sure hope you do :-))

*** Actually she has 3 sets of FQs, so there’s enough for both of us ***

More finished quilts for the KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning & Care Centre

Michaela brought along 4 new quilts made from patterns  of Linda’s she hasn’t tried before.  Di B and I get pretty excited when we see our quilters pushing back their boundaries like this <big grin>.


These babushka doll prints are going to be such a hit with the children.

IMG_8165 Chinese lanterns looking almost like Christmas lights :-))

IMG_8164 This quilt looks just like a big aquarium, teeming with fish!IMG_8163Finally, even though she can’t participate in our Saturday workshops because of another commitment, Eleanor is such a faithful supporter and often pops in with a freshly made quilt for us – as she did today.IMG_8171 IMG_8178

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Too much Show and Tell to squeeze into one post!

Ruth brought along the latest of her Christmas table mats – I love the holly on the binding.


Moo was busy sewing the binding on her latest children’s quilt. She hopes I’ll stop photographing her if she leaves her sunnies on.

Wrong :-))


Di C has finished another children’s quilt made from flannel remnants donated to us by Gillian.

IMG_8136 IMG_8158 Barb saw the potential for making a baby quilt using the raggy quilt pattern, and used her own combination of plains and spots to whip up this soft cuddly quilt for a newborn little boy in her family.IMG_8162

Margaret’s giving her hand-knitted rug to Wrap with Love and it’s destined to keep someone warm and secure in a far distant land one day.IMG_8155

Monday, November 15, 2010

St Mark’s Quilters - wrapping up a great year !

After a week where life’s given me a couple of lemons, it was sweet indeed to spend a day with the cheery bunch who make up the St Mark’s Quilters .

It was our final Saturday workshop for the year, and we celebrated in style with presents, tinsel, Christmassy food, lots of “show and tell”, and an al fresco lunch in the garden, in the shade of the Golden Robinia tree. 

Santa (alias Di B) stitched up Christmas gift bonbons for everyone, containing various quilters’ gadgets.IMG_8146And there was a surprise for Di B herself - a mug mat from me, adapted from Jodi’s tutorial on Pleasant Home.  You’ll have spotted my unintentionally deliberately wonky tree!IMG_8150 Di had pre-cut fabrics and batting so she could teach us how to make a Christmas gift bonbon for ourselves. (Sometimes a teacher just has to so something silly to get the class’s attention! )IMG_8138 Helen went to the top of the class, being the first to finish.IMG_8152 And Di C deserves to be proud of hers too!IMG_8153

I have so many photos to share this time that I thought I might post a few each day for most of this week, so please come back tomorrow for more :-))

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Random Act of Culture

The day Macy’s department store broke out in praise of Messiah!

Thank you, Linda, for this uplifting clip :-))

Monday, November 8, 2010

Like sands through the hourglass…

I’ve spent many a peaceful hour this weekend turning these 6 inch squares…


…into hourglass blocks with the help of this tutorial and my handy new gadget - The Angler 2.


I just taped the clear plastic Angler 2 to my machine’s surface, and managed to create a whole stack of chain-pieced half square triangles in no time.

Instead of using Rita’s method, placing two squares right sides together, ruling a diagonal line and sewing two lines 1/4 inch either side of the line, I skipped the marking and simply lined up the edges of the squares with the lines printed on the Angler 2. Then I sewed in a straight, steady line, taking care to keep the point closest to me in line with the marked 1/4 inch seam line (see photo above).

In no time I had a pile of these (can you see the double line of stitching from corner to corner?)…


…which I rotary cut diagonally from corner to corner between the stitching lines, and then (without moving the pieces) again on the other diagonal, creating these pairs of pieced triangles.


When sewn together, they became these beauties!


Now all I need to do is trim off all those bunny ears and square up all my hourglass blocks – which may take almost as long as it did to sew them!  Hmmmmmmm…..


Who was the wonderful friend who gave me this ever-so-handy little gizmo? It was Linda!

She’s an absolute genius, and Nanna to the cutest little newborn. Just saying :-))