Tuesday, August 30, 2011

At a time like this …

…your first instinct is to do something, anything, to soothe the hurt.


If you read Amy’s blog (Mrs Schmenkman Quilts) you’ll be aware by now that her dear husband passed away yesterday.

He was so young, so talented, and so brave, and Australian designer Sarah Fielke is organising something special from the quilting community for Amy and her daughter Annabel. If you’d like to join us in this outpouring of love for them email Sarah sarah@sarahfielke.com and she’ll send you details.

My prayers go out to all my US blog friends, too, who’ve been affected by Hurricane Irene. So many deaths, floods, power outages and damage to crops it’s difficult to fathom the magnitude of this damage.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Progress on “The Quilt Formerly Known As Joseph’s Coat or Waiting for Russell”

The two quilts look very much the same in the end, but just as several of us in the English Quilt group were collecting our fabrics together to make Kellie Wolfsohn’s glorious “Joseph’s Coat” applique quilt late last year Jill spotted Sandra Dart’s pieced version, “Waiting for Russell”, in Australian Patchwork & Quilting Vol 19 No 7 and we unanimously decided to go the piece-able way.



Jill’s using teals and earth tones to co-ordinate with a bedspread she has.



Gail’s using dainty Liberty lawns, including a few from the Victoria & Albert Museum’s limited editions.



Lyn opted for pastels with a 1930s feel.



Anne’s using Kaffe Fassett fabrics exclusively in blues of every variety – from cobalt to sky to aquamarine.



- and mine is in brights, many of them also Kaffes.


With only about a dozen blocks left to piece I’ve been giving some thought  as to how I’ll tackle the quilting.


I’d almost decided machine quilting was the way to go for a fast finish when Robbie arrived at our get-together last week with hers completed, hand-quilted and bound while all the rest of us are still in the process of putting our quilts together.

Isn’t this an absolute stunner of a quilt!




IMG_0839Robbie’s is cot-sized and mine will be bigger, but I’m so in love with the softness of her hand quilting and the wonderful antique-like texture that I’ve done a complete (figurative Rolling on the floor laughing) back-flip and decided this quilt deserves nothing less than to be hand-quilted.

Oh dear, and I have so much spare time (not!).


Now all we need is a name for this delightful quilt. The name Sandra Dart chose seems a little too personal (I’m not sure I need a quilt named after her husband on my bed Be right back) but in the magazine she’s written:

“This quilt pattern is known by several names including Tea Leaf, Lover’s Knot and Lafayette Orange Peel. With such a diverse range of names, you can choose the one you like best.”

Will you help me decide? Which name do you like best?


Friday, August 26, 2011

Company’s a’comin’

Cooking, cleaning and tidying the house for just under sixty guests coming to afternoon tea tomorrow, along with my regular “supporting-my fabric-habit” job,  has occupied quite a bit of time and headspace this week and accounts for the hiatus in blog activity around here. Please accept my apologies, dear reader.

Since there has been little quilting done, I thought you might like the recipe for one of the slices I’ll be serving up to my guests.

It’s an oldie, but a goodie, and comes from a tattered and stained little cookbook I’ve owned for more than 30 years.

Raspberry Slice

Makes about 16 pieces

Base ingredients

1/2 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

Raspberry jam

2 ounces (60 grams) softened butter

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

Cream the butter and sugar, add egg yolks then flour. Press into a tin 8” x 12” (I line it with baking paper just to be careful, but you can just grease the tin if you don’t have the paper). Cover with jam. My recipe says 2 tablespoons, but as you can see I use much more – no sense in skimping on such a yummy ingredient!




1/2 cup sugar

2 egg whites

1 cup coconut

Beat the egg whites .  Add sugar and beat some more until you have a stiff meringue. Add coconut and stir in well. Spread this meringue mixture carefully over the jam.


Bake in a moderate oven (about 170 degrees Celsius) for 20 minutes. The aroma of toasting coconut will fill the house, and the result is this crispy topping with a soft fluffy inside.


Beneath that  is a layer of yummy raspberry jam, and on the bottom a buttery biscuit base.


This recipe never fails to attract compliments (always acceptable!) and requests for the recipe. So it goes without saying that I make it often Winking smile

Do you have an old favourite, never-fail, crowd pleasing recipe like this?


Saturday, August 13, 2011

And here’s the snuggly one


Michelle spent a lot of time on her knees at our June St Mark’s Quilters workshop, not praying Be right back but auditioning strips of pastel flannel “tiles” to find a layout she liked.


After much deliberation she settled on this, strips in a single colour grouping sewn side by side.

At least that’s what we thought…IMG_0074

But in a “light bulb” moment at home later she came up with this winning configuration instead, and today she brought along her finished project.

Don’t you just love those blocks of gentle colour?


To make it even more tactile Michelle’s sewn it as a raggy quilt. You can guess what all our quilters did today as soon as they saw it - stretched out a hand to stroke those raggy seams, of course!


Being a larger quilt, this one will probably join our collection for the children at the KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning & Care Centre at Liverpool (affectionately known as “The Marcia”), hopefully to be treasured loved to pieces by a little person who’s absolutely enchanted by its soft touch.


A tsunami of quilts!


It’s been just one month since our last St Mark’s Quilters workshop but in that time these incredible ladies have added eighteen quilts (yes, E.I.G.H.T.E.E.N!) to our collection - seventeen Blankets of Love for RPA Newborn Care and one soft and snuggly flannel quilt for the Marcia Burgess kindy. 

Today almost everyone arrived carrying a freshly completed quilt (some with 2, or even 3) prompting one clever quilter to describe it as a “tsunami” of quilts.

Are you ready? (Get your water-wings on Open-mouthed smile)

St Marks Quilters August 2011

I’m not pleased with how some of the more delicately coloured quilts came out in my photos, but as soon as I can take some better photos you’ll see them “hanging” in our virtual gallery, Blankets of Love (click on the tab above).

In the meantime, here are some photos of quilts that actually do justice to the work of their maker.




Di C
























And here we all are again, on a glorious late winter day, enjoying the work of our Maker!


Thank you, Lord, for gardens, sunshine and these generous and warm-hearted women.


Somebunny’s been busy


With the August get-together for St Mark’s Quilters upon us the time seems right to share with you another finished Blanket of Love.


This little quilt is destined to wrap a tiny bub who doesn’t survive her birth, and will very possibly be treasured for many years as a tangible memory of that lost bub.

Sarah carefully chose her fabrics from our donated pieces to create a quilt that’s as delicate as fairy floss and oh-so baby girly.


She pieced the back from white homespun and the palest pink hand-dye.


With a glittery surface treatment the white squares on the front sparkle in the sun - and Sarah’s totally nailed the technique for mitred corners Be right back


We now have 20 Blankets of Love for the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Newborn Care Nursery, with several more finishes expected very soon, maybe today…


Friday, August 12, 2011

A little fun with 3D photos

Since this post several enquiring minds have pressed me for more information about how we might be able to view the photos taken by my brother’s 3D camera on my blog and I, in turn, have pressed him for more information.

Here’s what he wrote…

The easiest way I’ve found to view stereoscopically on a computer screen, without special glasses, is to look at a pair of side-by-side images which have been created stereoscopically- one image is the left eye’s view of a scene and the other is from the right eye’s perspective. 

Stare at the vertical line between the two images then go cross-eyed until the left one overlaps the right one in the centre of your vision, creating a central 3D view of the scene, with a fuzzy image either side in your peripheral vision which you ignore. 

With a bit of practice these will ‘pop’ into 3D easily, but first up the difficulty may be in holding stable with the right amount of cross-eyedness.
Persevere, it’s fun.

Being an extremely obliging chap he’s even sent me three of his own photos, set up using StereoPhotomaker software to cleverly auto-align pairs of images for cross-eyed viewing.

Are you game?

[I need to warn you of the usual risks in making you eyes go cross-eyed, and point out that it’s entirely your choice whether you try this or not]


Just stare at that centre line until your eyes relax and go cross-eyed. The good news is that once you manage to see this first image in 3D you should have no trouble getting it in the other two photos.


Is it working for you yet?


If your eyes haven’t popped out of their sockets yet and you’d like to try this out on more 3D images take a look at this gallery.

The cross-eyed option’s already selected, so just click on any thumbnail for your image pair.
Now I’m off to pop an ice pack on my eyes Confused smile


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Speaking of friends

Last weekend Di B and I had the pleasure of meeting in person one of our online friends, Eleanor from Orange in country NSW.

Eleanor, who belongs to online group Southern Cross Quilters (as Di and I do), was celebrating her retirement as well as a “big zero” birthday and she brought along the quilt her circle of quilting friends made as a birthday surprise for her.

Friendship Stars Winking smile


My lovely friend Janet, from Paddington Patchworkers, has been busy with a Sue Daley quilt. She’s taken to fussy cutting in a big way. How clever are these blocks-in-progress?






Finally, Di B’s been rather fussy herself with her latest sampler quilt block. That rose looks almost like broderie perse, doesn’t it.

Nice one, Di!


‘Till next time.