Monday, February 28, 2011

Roll, Roll Cotton Boll

Do I look like a quilter who would cut and sew more than 600 teensy, tiny half square triangles? No way!

I’m gobsmacked with admiration, though, for some of my patiently determined  and creative friends who’ve faced up to the challenge and won through!

Paddington Patchworkers Sue and Margie recently finished these two eye-catching versions of Bonnie K Hunter’s latest mystery quilt, Roll, Roll Cotton Boll.


And here’s a beauty that my talented friend Pennie made.


It’s her 4th Bonnie K Hunter quilt!

I think she’s on a Roll (…Roll Cotton Boll)     Winking smile

Saturday, February 26, 2011

…and now there’s Handmade for Christchurch


You have to hand it to our wonderfully supportive crafting community. When disaster strikes they waste no time mobilising to help in any way they can.

After the Southern Queensland floods Toni spearheaded a huge auction of handcrafted items, raising almost $100,000.


With Cyclone Yasi hitting just a couple of weeks later the Gum Tree girls have extended their New Beginnings cut-off date to 15th March for crafters to make sewing kits to be given to stitchers who’ve lost these items that we know give handworkers such pleasure (and welcome diversion in times of trouble).

qld quilt button

Here in Sydney Retromummy is collecting quilt blocks to be made into comforting quilts for Queenslanders in the months ahead.

And as if this wasn’t enough upheaval, this week’s devastating earthquake in Christchurch has us all reeling with shock, and praying for our New Zealand friends and loved ones (the death toll has risen to 123) .


This time some compassionate (and energetic) Kiwi mums have created Handmade for Christchurch. You can read about them here on their Facebook page, and here on Trade Me, the New Zealand auction site where, over the next week or so, they will be auctioning over a hundred handmade items donated by crafters as far away as Germany!

The auction listings have started – they’re rolling them out in lots of about 20 at a time – but they are still accepting good quality new crafty items to auction.

Most of all they need bidders!

Can you please spread the word?


My Gratitude post didn’t happen this week, but I’d have to say I’m grateful for compassionate people in the world, and it does my heart good to see the way we can reach out to one another in times of trouble.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Forget the stereotypes


Whoever said playing with trains is just for boys?


The Princess was fascinated by Papa’s train set when he unpacked it after 20 years in storage.




Have you ever seen a train driver wearing a tiara?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Baby shower

Remember this little tease of a photo last week?
I can now reveal that this cute little ladybug, and her friends teddy and elephant, along with a cupcake, are adornments on some baby singlets I made for our new grandbaby (due around 13th March).
The big reveal had to wait till after the baby shower yesterday.
In addition I appliqueed a ladybug onto a jumpsuit.
And even sewed ladybug buttons on this little red jacket I knitted.
The answer to your question is “No, we don’t know if this little bub is a boy or a girl.”  How exciting is that!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Busy hands make Quilts for Queensland

It was all hands on deck last Saturday when St Mark’s Quilters gathered for our first workshop this year in glorious air-conditioned comfort!
February 2011
Sydney’s currently wilting under a blanket of warm, moist air – like Singapore but without the gin slingsWinking smile- so we were extremely grateful for the newly installed air conditioning in our hall.
Our group ‘mascot’ Matilda, in the fur coat, was particularly happy!
Di B (who I’m convinced never sleeps) had thoughtfully made a little surprise gift for each attendee – a fabric threadcatcher.
Heads were bent in concentration as, after a short demonstration by Di B, most of our dedicated quiltmakers were eager to try their hand at Quilt-As-You-Go blocks.
Never fear, though. There were the usual fun and games!
February 20111
There was the added excitement of fondling and cutting beautiful fabrics donated over the holidays by Lilian and Rae.
We basically used the same method as Linda demonstrates in her illustrated QAYG tutorial, but we trimmed our finished squares to 10.5 inches.
QAYG Blocks
With the KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning & Care Centre well supplied with our quilts for the present, and with enough quilts in the cupboard to keep the little ones happy for the rest of the year, we decided to turn our quilt giving to other areas.
We really wanted to do something to help our Queensland neighbours after their recent floods and cyclone devastation, so once we’ve made a few more QAYG blocks they’re going to the wonderfully compassionate  retromummy (make that ‘supermummy’) who’s mobilising quilters to sew quilts and quilt blocks for Queensland.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gratitude: Today I’m grateful for…

My Valentine.


Pinky started this thread. Pop on over to her blog and tell her if you want to join in. I’m sure she’d be grateful :-))

Friday, February 11, 2011

Piece by piece… and a Giveaway

Have I told you how much I love hand-piecing?

I fell for Kellie’s Joseph’s Coat Quilt as soon as I saw her quilt along last year. Everything about it excited me. Those elegant curved orange peel segments, the intersecting circles so easy on the eye, and her fabrics – oh, her fabrics! Kaffe Fassett and friends, I love your work! Kellie's quilt is simply drop-dead gorgeous!

However I simply didn’t have a vacancy in my life for another hand project at the time.

This year most of us in the English Quilt group have decided it’s time to make the Joseph’s Coat Quilt – but with a fundamental difference. Kellie’s quilt is predominantly hand-appliqueed, while our quilts will be hand pieced.
For once procrastination has worked in our favour because in the meantime we’ve heard a few reports of the difficulty of getting all those appliqueed points to meet. A few perfectionists (you know who you are!) have been discouraged by the challenge of closing the hole at the centre of the spokes.

So we've decided hand piecing is the way to go, using accurately-cut purchased templates.

Let me hasten to tell you this method is not without its own challenges! However I’m gradually learning tricks for accuracy with each circle block I complete (I've almost finished my 4th).

This block is quite an old design, variously referred to as Joseph’s Coat, Tea Leaves and Orange Peel, and purchased templates take some of the stress out of fitting the pieces together.

Are you as much a fan of hand-piecing as I am? Perhaps you fancy a set of Drunkard’s Path templates?
Linda is having a giveaway on her blog, so pop on over before Sunday 13th and join the fun. The templates have been donated by Baycreek Quilting and looking at their website I feel like a kid in a candy store :-))

With warmest wishes on the ‘warmest’ of days


An informal girlfriends’ dinner party  for eight at Di B’s last Saturday was the perfect occasion for us to finally hand over the quilt.

The temperature reached a dramatic 42 degrees Celsius that day, after a week of gruelling heatwave conditions -  but that didn’t deter Liccy from wrapping herself in her new quilt to pose for our photo.

Then we all retreated to the cool of Di’s balcony overlooking beautiful Sydney Harbour to toast our dear friend. IMG_8912


Thursday, February 10, 2011

The fabrics speak for themselves in our Hourglass Quilt


After Linda Billet, of Artisan Quilting, had worked her magic with an all-over pattern of swirls and curls in a variegated aqua thread, we took a last close look at some of our favourite fabrics.

Our friend Alicia is celebrating her 60th birthday, and we wanted this quilt to speak of her rich, happy life (so far!) and friends who love her.

She’s a breast cancer survivor, so we included several pieces of pink ribbon fabric.


Most weekends you’ll find her enjoying a swim, and with a little imagination I think these blue squiggles could pass for waves.


Alicia loves the sunshine too.


And we do love to celebrate birthdays and other occasions with parties and lots of laughter, and (ahem…) the odd glass of vino.

IMG_8890 IMG_8889

This pretty green fabric was from Alicia’s late mother’s quilting fabric stash which Liccy kindly gave me a few years ago. Di B and I had also included some in Ian’s Bowtie Quilt.


Alicia was the friend who asked us to make the Bowtie Quilt for Ian, (the Love of her Life), so Di B and I wanted this quilt to be distinctively Liccy’s, and yet co-ordinate with his.

To achieve this we included many of the same fabrics we’d used in his, and added bright pinks, lime greens, yellows and aquas to hers. She’s a colourful kinda gal!


Of all the fabrics in the Hourglass Quilt this little piece says the most.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Like sands through the hourglass….The quilt came together

It took some time, and a whole morning on our knees, to place the 300 x 5 inch hourglass blocks** so that no two feature fabrics or white-on-white triangles touched each other. You just wouldn’t believe how many times we checked, and still found wrong ‘uns we’d missed!

Then there was the distribution of colours to be considered. And someone thought it would be fun to put the wine bottles near the grapes, and the lemons near the gin and tonic glasses!


IMG_8576 We stacked the blocks in rows, labelled the top block in each pile with its row number and an arrow indicating which way the rows ran, then bagged them in separate freezer bags and took half each to work on at home.


Rather than sewing each row separately I used a tip from Linda’s Stitchin’ Mission class and sewed up to 4 rows simultaneously, creating a “web”. It’s a bit like multiple chain piecing and saves time because you aren’t continually stopping and starting.

In the photo below you can see where I’ve sewn the 1st and 2nd blocks of rows 3 to 6. I went on to sew the 3rd blocks in each of those rows … and so on.

IMG_8721 This created a “web” of thread holding each completed row together.



You can see my rows held together by the “web” in these photos.


Finally, I sewed the long rows to each other, and in another sewing session we joined our quilt halves together.

IMG_8732 We were very happy with progress so far!

**We’d actually made the whopping total of 390 hourglass blocks! Why so many?

Well, that’s another story…     You could ask Di B :-))