Catching up on events

Hello … me again. I’ve put down my work for today and decided I might try and catch up on a few details of the past two weeks.

You’ve seen the framing and the quilt blocks but how about some pictures of stash enhancement and some amazing inspirational quilts. Two weeks ago Sharon and I decided to indulge our latest hobby and attend a day at the Australasian Quilt Convention. While we didn’t have time to organise to attend any of the two day classes or even the one day ones we did intend to sit in on some of the seminars (note I say intend).

We got in at a reasonable time somewhere between 10 and 10:30. My intention had been largely to get a couple of tools I felt would be useful for my emerging plans for new quilts (after the class one is finished of course). I was also on the look out for sashing inspiration or backing for the class quilt. While I love looking at all the fabrics at the shows the ones I like are not usually available in lengths at the shows so I find myself with a large number of fat quarters that I am still wondering if I will ever use.

Well you know what they say about intentions. I did get the tools I was after, a 12.5″ square ruler as well as some strip rulers in various widths but then there was also a bunch of templates, diamonds, hexagons etc. Within the first half hour I had spent what I had intended to be my entire budget for the show lol. I even went back later in the day and picked up a curved nine-patch template thanks to the quilt displays.
Templates, patterns and more

Against all my best intentions I also found myself picking up quite a bit of fabric, a lot of the pieces were half metre or 60cm cuts which are nice but of course a few fat quarters jumped in as well… who can resist skeletal dinosaurs?! no me that for sure.

Abstracts and  greys
Halves and Quarters
Quilt Show Loot FQ's

After the first round of stalls we ran in to one of the ladies I work with (technically one of my bosses I guess she is the head of the senior science faculty). We sat down and shared what we had bought and had a quick chat over coffee before heading our separate ways for more stash enhancement. I had also taken a long my blocks from the class for a quick bit of show and tell. It is interesting seeing people’s reactions to my colour choices, they certainly couldn’t be considered conventional or conservative I guess but I didn’t think they were that wild or out there especially on the sampler… Oh well I guess people will be even more weirded out later when I start pulling out more of my Halloween / skeleton / goth style fabrics. Each to their own and lets face it I am used to being a little left of centre 😛

A good portion of the day was spent looking at the display quilts there was an amazing display of 12×12 art pieces as well as a section devoted to Quilts brought over from Korea. Sharon and I took lots of photos for inspiration, I was particularly interested in seeing the different quilting patterns to try and get some ideas for what to do with my sampler once the top is fully pieced. I am thinking of hand quilting using different motifs but at this stage I have no idea which and how to go about planning which ones would best suit the blocks. Or perhaps I will just go an all over design this time with just something different on the borders and sashing… only time will tell what the final decision will be. rather than putting the images all here I have uploaded a selection of them to flickr. You can see them in full if you click through on the mosaic. There really were some amazing pieces there, well beyond where I ever hope to be but inspiring all the same.



Next Year I think we might try and sign up for a couple of the classes. There were some great looking beginners courses and two day courses dedicated to particular techniques and patterns that looked like they would be really helpful.

Worth the Wait

Sometime ago now… lets say almost two years ago, I celebrated my transition into a new career with the purchase of some beautiful original artworks.

The artist was Stephanie Pui-Man Law and I was so happy to have the opportunity as I had been a fan of her art from as way back as about 1998 or even earlier. I have a number of her pieces as prints and way more than I would care to mention as HAED charts, having an original though had always been a bit of a dream. I was lucky enough to be able to purchase two of my favourite cards from her Tarot deck – The Hermit (this is a card that I love in pretty much every deck I own) and the Four of Pentacles… my choice of this one was all about the Dragon and his little fairy chameleon companions.

With the artwork purchased the intent was always to get them framed as soon as they arrived, but well you know the story about the best intentions right… So of course they have sat on the shelf for almost two years and my guilt over them just sitting there has grown steadily. I know I have expensive tastes when it comes to framing and I wanted to get museum quality glass on these due to the delicate nature of the water colours so I kept putting it off.
I did make it up to the framers just after returning from Sweden but unfortunately they were close for renovations until February and then life got in the way. Finally though about 4 weeks ago I got them up to the store and spent a good amount of time with the framer selecting mat boards and frames, not just for my poor neglected Tarot originals but also for the gorgeous little ‘Perfect Poison’ that I had bought from the whimsical Annie Rodrique.
She was the hardest to fiddle with to get the mat and frame combination right and the one I probably love the most for the overall effect. Apologies for the photos particularly the one of the Four of Pentacles the light here as always in Melbourne at this time of year is a little gloomy and he is hung away from where any natural light comes in.

SPML Tarot - Hermit

SPML - Four of Pentacles

Annie Rodrique - Perfect Poison

There was a small problem with the frames initially when I collected them.. just above the bottom edge of the frame there was text visible, this turned out to be the glass certification for the museum quality specifications. I took them back up to the framers though and they fixed it up straight away which I was really happy with. No questions no problems just fixed right there and then 🙂

Now I have all my pretties home with me and just need a few more hooks up on the walls so they can all be displayed proudly.

It really was worth all the wait.

The beginning of the end

Well despite my best intentions it is over two weeks since my last post and boy has a lot happened since then.

Lets start with the patchwork shall we… While I didn’t get any more blocks done before my last class I have been very busy in the intervening time. This weeks class was the second last and it was all about sashing, aka lattice. So that meant all the blocks needed to be ready to start putting everything together. Well cue panic of course as is usual around here I had been busy and not done enough homework, it was going to be a mad dash race to the finish line if I was going to be ready for class. Thankfully Thursday was the ANZAC day holiday and I made a conscious decision not to do any work and just concentrate on getting blocks done. I had 4 I needed to get done and the ones I wanted to do were not all that simple. A lot of pieces and or curves!

I cut and pieced my heart out and come Thursday night I had all but one block done… of course if I had thought about it I would of realised there was no way I would need all my blocks for the class but at least it made me do a lot of catching up.

So what were the final blocks to round out my quilt top ?? lets see…
As you can see I forgot to get a picture of this one on it’s own before starting to get my sashing attached. Woops This is also the case for a few of the others.

Next up Drunkards Path (2): My second curved piecing block and let me just say… the second time was not better.

Drunkards path 2

I was in a bit of a rush getting this done. I am slow at piecing .. yes even using a machine so trying to get 4 blocks done in a day was a big ask for me and this one suffered for it. It is a little wonky and may need to have a small black border added (I’m talking 1/2 an inch at most in total) to even it up. I am rather happy though that regardless of wonkyness my centre circle seems to line up pretty well 🙂

And then there was: The fan

I love the look of this piece and it was one of the ones I was wanting to learn how to do in the class. It is done with foundation piecing and as Nic observed about this technique it was somewhat wasteful of fabric. Being one of the last blocks I did though I was able to use up some of my larger scraps rather than cutting new pieces for this block.

and finally lets take a stroll along the: Garden Path

Garden Path

I am rather happy with how this turned out. With so many little half square triangles I was sure I was going to mess up the alignment and all the points but when I pressed it all at the end I had to admit that it wasn’t too bad for a beginner. The overall block didn’t even need much trimming to add the sashing down the sides.

One of my biggest concerns was choosing what colour I was going to use for the lattice… decisions are never my strong point. I had found what I thought would be a great choice on a recent trip to Kyneton with a mottled purple from Kona Bay oh how I love their fabrics) but laying everything out on it I wasn’t convinced (picture below).

It is always hard with purples particularly trying to show the colours in photos. I asked for other people’s opinions but was still uncertain. The pother choice had just been to go with solid black and up until I started cutting the strips on Thursday night black was the winning colour. If you look at the block pictures above though you can see I had a change of mind at the last minute and went with the original purple.

Auditioning fabric for sashing

Today I have spent a little time sewing on more strips and the more I do the more I think I made the right decision. I may have to sew a fine black border around the two drunkards path blocks so the purple doesn’t disappear into the lattice but they could probably do with that to balance out the wonky bits anyway.

Oh and one last think if you have been laying attention you will realise I have only shown you 15 blocks. I finished the last block today.. I’m still stunned I’ve managed to get this far.

So what was the last block.. well it was the foundation piecing block from the class a crazy patchwork style block with mitred corners and a checkered border. All in all not too shabby and a great way to get rid of those off cut scraps (just don’t look too closely at the square border )

Final Block!

So there you have it… the beginning of the end. The homework before next class is to finish the lattice piecing to join all the blocks and then we will start with the borders.


Hooray for Thursday

Well it’s Thursday… not just any Thursday though, it’s a second Thursday which means tonight is another quilt class.
I have really begun to look forward to when these classes are on, it really is just nice to put everything else aside for a few hours and spend some time catching up with Sharon while we potter about with fabric.

Our fabric choices and styles are certainly different to the other ladies at the class but hey I’m used to that. My tastes have often been a little left of centre where other people are concerned. Before I pack off to the class tonight though I thought I might share a couple more homework blocks that I’ve done since the last class.


Clay's Choice




These are Clay’s choice (one of the first blocks I intended to do) and Sawtooth. The pictures are a bit strange.. it is all overcast and gloomy here today so I had to use the flash (and I used my smaller camera), it did show up the swirlies on the black fabric though. They don’t stand out that much under normal light but they do give a lovely textured look to the fabric rather than a flat black.

Both blocks were basically done using earlier techniques rather than the curved pieing from the last class, I liked the look of them though so thought I’d go back and add them to my quilt. This brings my total of blocks to 11 so far.

I’m going to see if I can get another one cut before tonight’s foundation piecing class but I don’t have long so we’ll see.

Fingers crossed tonight goes well 😀

April Goals

Well it is that time again… goals. I sometimes wonder why I continue to set goals each month. It’s not like I actually put much weight on sticking to them, my crafting is not something I try to bring pressure to. With so little time to just relax it seems silly to and yet more pressure and yet I do like to write my goals down each month.Maybe it is more like a priority list to remind myself what I wanted to try and get done.

The reasons are secret even to myself.

So what are my goals for April…

Easter break from school is one that is always busier than I expect and this year will be no different. There are plans for gaming and two sets of visitors, add in work that needs to be done before the start of the new term and hopefully some adventures to my favourite crafty places to spend money and there really isn’t a great deal of time left over. All the same hopefully just a reduction in working days from 12+ hours to a more manageable 6-8 will see me more refreshed and focused.

  1. 600+ Stitches in to Shaz
  2. The last seven blocks for my Quilt top ready for sashing and background to go on in the last few lessons.
  3. pick up a knitting wip and make some headway (not sure which one yet)
  4. Make a new dice bag for Mr B

That should be enough to keep me busy for a while.

Progress report – March

Here we are again endings and beginnings…
March saw the deadline for the blanket come around a lot faster than expected with the mother to be heading off on maternity leave before the en of term. I dropped everything else in a last ditch bid to get the blanket finished, washed and blocked not to mention dried in time to hand it over. Surprisingly I actually managed it,but the photos I have are not the best, taken in a rush in fading light. I only did 45 repeats of the shale pattern compared to the 57 recommended but blocked it was larger than the specified size anyway. Final size was ~41×51″ plenty big enough for a baby blanket. The lace work opened up nicely and the wool relaxed to be super soft and squishy. The mum to be loved it and has promised pictures with the baby eventually.
Baby Shale
The quilting course still marches on, however, we have been told that the store is closing down in June. It is sad to see another local craft store closing it’s doors but in many ways I find it hard to justify the increased price in many of these stores not to mention that my tastes are rarely catered for. The place up the road where the lovely Miss Sharon and myself have been doing our course is one of these stores. Most fabrics are around $25 a metre and the selection is of very traditional fabrics in browns and florals. There are a lot of American Civil War reproduction fabrics and 1930s reproductions. While pretty in their own right they certainly aren’t the fabrics I would be buying.. and believe me I have looked. I do have a great fabric store I like to go to over in Brunswick but still while it has a fantastic range they rarely stock the fabrics that I am drawn to that I can find online.

Anyway discussions of the benefits and drawbacks of online shopping in the craft world the class has continued over march with two new techniques and a number of new blocks. Not quite the 12 I was hoping for but I am now up to nine blocks completed with two more cut and ready to piece… maybe even today.

The blocks done this month were:

Block 6 - Flying Geese Symmetry in motion (Block 7)                                    Flying Geese                                                                                  Symmetry in Motion

Block 5 - Dresden PlateCard Trick
Dresden Plate                                                                                             Card Trick
Drunkards Path - Falling Timber

Falling Timber

The curved piecing on Falling Timber was a challenge it is a block that would be easier to complete hand sewing I think. So much easier to control the fabric than using the machine. As much as I like the speed of the machine I’m likely to try hand piecing at some stage… there is always Moonglow to try though that still seems way out of my league skills and time wise.

All up there are 9 blocks now:

The first 9

The light this morning was very bad for picture taking but you get an idea of how they are looking all together. The next lesson is foundation piecing… hmmm wonder how that one will go, another challenging class I suspect.

Strangely enough I even managed to get about 500-600 stitches in Rose of Sharon. It still feels like I will never get her done but I am determined to keep pressing on. So that I can finally get her framed and out of my house.
Rose of Sharon End of March 2013
So all in all my Feb goals came close:

  1. I would love to get to 18 completed blocks but really I would be happy if I could make it to 12 that in itself will be a feat. Only 9 completed but still not too bad.
  2. 43 repeats of the blanket (Eeeep) 38 completed as well as the edge, cast off and blocking .. Woohoo!
  3. 100 stitches a week on ShazMaybe not each week (it was more of a last minute binge) but ~500+ completed.

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