Sunday, November 3, 2019

Well, hello!

I'm sorry I've neglected you for a while, but life's been a little busy so I've been hanging out on Instagram (@darlingdi) where the posting is faster and easier. Lazy, I know.  
Anyway, I thought a quick summary of the quilt-related things that have been happening in my life since I last posted here might put us back on track again, so here goes.....

I've been......

...Making a modern hexie star quilt, coincidentally at the same time as Di B was also making an Australiana quilt from an Emma Jean Jansen pattern for an overseas friend. 
I entered mine in the 2018 QuiltNSW Southern Stars Challenge as "He Counts the Stars", though it didn't win an award. 

But when I entered it in this year's NSW Royal Agricultural Society Show, better known here in Sydney as the Royal Easter Show, I renamed it "Starring Australia", and was thrilled when it was awarded 3rd Place in the Wall Quilt Innovative category.

It was also part of the QuiltNSW display at Government House on Australia Day.

...Stitching with St Mark's Quilters, making quilts together for the KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning & Care Centre, the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospita, the Children's Ward at Orange Base Hospital and the Palliative Care Unit at the Sydney Children's Hospital at Randwick.

It's exactly 10 years since my friend Linda Hungerford (@flourishingpalms) taught her Stitchin' Mission, a 5 week beginner quiltmaking course, to 25 keen would-be at St Mark's, and from that grew our keen St Mark's Quilters group.

Though I haven't been blogging as such, I have been updating the Pages (see the tabs above left) to record each finished cot quilt, Blanket of Love and humidicrib cover and the makers. They are a very generous, fun and creative bunch!

I'm not as prolific as most of them, but these are a couple of my finishes.

...Entering the 2018 and 2019 Quilt NSW Suitcase Challenges.
The theme for the 2018 challenge was "Running Away with the Amish" and my entry, "Amish Amplified", was voted Viewers' Choice. It seems I had learnt a thing or two about colour and value at those monthly Colour and Design classes I attended all last year with Bob James at My Sewing Supplies!

As the name implies, the entries are designed to fit into a suitcase, lying flat, and form a travelling exhibition by QuiltNSW across Australia over the following 18 months or so. 

As a modern quilter, I wasn't quite as comfortable tackling this year's Suitcase Challenge theme, "From these Curtains". Entrants were given a piece of no longer used curtain fabric from NSW Government House and asked to create a 40cm square quilt using as much, or as little, of the very traditional fabric as we liked.

I deconstructed all those petals and leaves, even the coral-coloured bird, and fused them into colour blocks, then applied similar toning fabric "tiles" over them, leaving the tiny scraps of curtain fabric peeking through "windows".
This was my entry, "Peek-a-Boo Petals", not an award winner, but I certainly enjoyed the challenge. 

So now I have two little quilts travelling around Australia, seeing the sights!

...Diving in at the deep end, ruler-free and template-free, to make this improv mini quilt for the Curated Quilts mini challenge, "Connections" in June last year. I called it :The Highway over the Hill leads to Home", a place where we connect with our loved ones.

Improv piecing is still a completely new experience for me, and I didn't enjoy being out of my comfort zone! I had the most fun walking-foot quilting the background though, inspired by Jacquie Gering's book, Walk. The mini measures 11" x 11"

I know it's good to stretch myself and learn new techniques, but I really need to loosen up!

Gosh, there's so much more to tell you, especially if you're not an Instagram follower of mine, but I think that's quite enough for now!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Perfect quilting weather!

After a week of rain and hats and scarves weather it was no surprise to wake to grey skies this morning. Were our St Mark's Quilters bothered? Not a bit! 

We turned up the heating in the church hall and, fuelled by Gail O's delicious passionfruit cake and banana and walnut loaf, settled in for a day of stitching and chat.

Sophie and Susan have been absent for a couple of months, but they've have definitely not been idle. Susan brought along three finishes - a sweet little Blanket of Love,

A bright and cheery cot quilt, which it was quickly decided is to be given to a sick little bub in the Prince of Wales Children's Hospital,

And this cute little row house quilt which we'll add to our next bundle for for The Marcia's preschoolers.

Margaret has done a fabulous job with this soccer-themed quilt, which is also backed with a pattern of giant soccer balls. 

Gail loves a scrappy quilt (don't we all!) and brought along this cheery I Spy quilt. We're always being asked for a few extra boys' quilts, so these two super finishes are really appreciated.

Finally, Barb brought along a Blanket of Love as well as a kindy quilt.

For the kindy quilt Barb has used one of Linda Hungerford's original Stitchin' Mission beginners' quilt patterns, Loaves and Fishes. Those meandering quilting lines almost look like the flight paths of the butterflies, don't they?

We love our quilters to bring along their works-in-progress for "show and tell", even if it's not St Mark's Quilters related, and today Gail D had us open mouthed with admiration for the French themed quilt top she's making for a little girl who, at the age of eleven is already a Francophile! 

We each spent time picking out our favourite appliqué vignette. Can you guess mine? Of course it's the pink "ribbon" on the Eiffel Tower!

Unfortunately I was too distracted by the food and chatter to take photos of our busy hands at work, but rest assured there are some simply lovely quilts in the making, just like these finishes from today, to be revealed as they are completed in the next few months.

Friday, June 8, 2018


We're still here! The ladies of St Mark's Quilters have been busy stitching, laughing and making for others, even if I haven't been blogging about our activities for a little while. 

Our March meeting must remain unreported, with me flat on my back missing-in-action, having returned from Quiltcon Pasadena with an unwanted souvenir of California (the 'flu), and Di B not having taken any photos in my stead. 

However there's still plenty to tell, and of course the photos of our finished quilts have been available for some time on the relevant Pages (top left on this blog). 

For our April workshop we decided, for the very first time, to try something different. Everyone was invited, if they wished, to bring along a project they were working on for themselves, not one of our St Mark's Quilters projects.

This was Gail D's stunning appliqué quilt, just needing a couple more borders to be ready for quilting. I think I should rename that beautiful background colour "Gail D Pink" since it seems to be her go-to shade.

Gail O's Dancing Dollies quilt, for her granddaughter, had us all intrigued by the cute little individual touches she's added.  Look at those faces, and the hairdo's!

Even if she's not stitching up a Blanket of Love or a kindy quilt for The Marcia, Margaret is constantly working on crafty endeavours to help others. So on this day she brought along her knitting which will become a cosy rug to warm a homeless client of the Rough Edges drop-in centre at St John's Darlinghurst, our neighbouring parish.

With winter approaching, Perdita was stitching up a similar work-in-progress to help someone keep the winter chills out.

Penny was embarking on a new hexie project in the prettiest fabrics, and who knows where this will lead?

With so many skilled quilters at hand, Sue M took the opportunity to ask advice about proceeding with this beautiful hand pieced WIP.

I couldn't help sneaking this happy photo of (L to R) Michelle, Di B, Gail D and Sue M which I think perfectly captures the happy atmosphere at our St Mark's Quilters monthly workshops.

By our May workshop we were excited to announce that we are now additionally sending some of our Blankets of Love to Orange Base Hospital in rural NSW. Those we make for the RPA Newborn Intensive Care Nursery have exceeded their needs, so it's a joy to be able to help a regional hospital like Orange Base, thanks to the approaches Di B has made.

Our quilting friend Wendi is a wonderful supporter and encourager, so when she gave us some of her precious quilting fabrics Di B went straight to work and made this Blanket of Love in a simple pattern is that allows the exquisite patterns to shine.

Michelle is in the process of making a sweet cot-sized quilt using this "easy peasy" pattern and kit of woodland animals.

That brings me to my second piece of news! We are now making small quilts for the nearby Sydney Children's Hospital Children's at Randwick to brighten up their wards and give to sick children and teenage patients. Yep, Di B has again made the necessary approaches, and we are all very grateful to her. 

This means that, across the range of the hospitals that we support, as well as The Marcia autism specific kindy, we are able to make and donate quilts for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, children and teenagers.

This quilt (above) from the amazingly creative hands of Gail O is sure to find a home with a little person very soon.

Of course we are still making humidicrib covers for RPA Newborn Intensive Care, and there was a collective gasp of appreciation among our gathering in May when Gillian unfolded her latest design!

Have you seen anything more gorgeous than these four teddies, each one tucked into bed under a different patchwork quilt? What a perfect way to use orphan blocks! 

With all the medical machinery and technical equipment surrounding a baby in the unit, humidicrib covers such as this contribute greatly to warming and cheering the atmosphere and decor for worried parents, and Gillian makes some beauties!

I'll leave you with this cute little Blanket of Love, made by Perdita, but I encourage you to look at the Blankets of Love, Kindy Quilts for the Marcia and Humidicrib Covers pages of this blog (see top left for links) to see all the latest finishes from our enthusiastic St Mark's Quilters.

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!