quilting

Who can resist?

It seems that every quilt blogger is caught up in the Farmer's Wife Quiltalong that is sweeping the globe.  And I'm happy to say that I am no exception.

FWS equipment

While I wait for my copy of the book to arrive from Amazon I've jumped right in and started with simple blocks that can be rotary cut and whipped up lickety-split.  

FW mosaic

These blocks are all on a 4 x 4 grid (is that 16 patch?) so the little triangles and squares all share the same measurements.  

When my book arrives I'll tackle some of the trickier blocks.  

Without the book I've been getting along just fine by using some of the great resources on the Yahoo group for this quilt. If you are making this quilt and haven't joined you should.

Freshly pieced You can see what other quilters have in progress over at Freshly Pieced. Maybe next week I'll be brave enough to post a full inventory of all those half completed projects.

You can also see the myriad of other blocks that have been made for the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt on Flickr.


Down Under Doll Quilt Swap

Imagine my extreme excitement when I opened a parcel on the weekend to find this:

Doll quilt

I was the lucky recipient of this marvellous quilt in the Down Under Doll Quilt Swap.  I couldn't quite believe my good fortune.  I feel very lucky indeed to have my very own Red Pepper Quilt to admire and study up close.

I have often referred to Rita's informative posts on binding or basting, when I work on my own quilts. 

Doll quilt detail

And you can see why she's such a good source on all matters relating to binding. Look at the perfection of that mitred corner!

Thank you so much Rita.  I love this little quilt and have spent considerable time already admiring all it's details.

For better photos of Rita's contribution to the Doll Quilt swap, see her photos here.  Mine just don't do it justice.


A bit of Bijoux

I do love the small coordinating prints in Heather Bailey's Bijoux range of fabrics.

Bijoux

I took advantage of the strong Aussie dollar and recently ordered a few from the Heather Bailey online store.

And then when I saw this quilt on a blog recently, I knew what I was going to do with the fabric.

Swoon star

A quiet hour on the weekend found me in the studio trying out the pattern.

Swoon star detail

The other stars will have to wait as I have a busy week.  Lots on the To Do list.  Better get to it.


Sewing for sanity

I've pushed on with the kaleidoscope quilt and I'm liking it more as it gets bigger.

More blocks

It's been a busy, crappy week so these little blocks have been my therapy between dealing with less enjoyable projects. Like liaising with the builders next door who have done some damage to our property, placating sick and grumpy children, settling sibling disputes at 6am and washing vomit off bedlinen. Yes, it's been one of those weeks.  

A lowpoint was Henri appearing in the living room just as Kate and Will were about to say their vows last Friday, clutching his stomach and wimpering. He stood dangerously close to my teetering pile of clean laundry overflowing from the laundry basket (in the middle of the living room). Those 6 or more loads from our Easter holiday.

I managed to get him (almost) to the toilet before he was sick. So yes, as the wedding of the century unfolded I was on my knees in the loo with the pine-o-clean.

Quilt progress

Anyway, the quilt will have to wait as there are many other tasks on my list that I must get to today. When I find the time I'll be visiting these creative spaces via Kootoyoo.


Bits and pieces

I've been bitten by the quilting bug lately.  All those lovely quilts to be found on flickr.

I fell in love with this quilt yesterday - a kaleidoscope quilt. As it turns out, I have a Kaleido-Ruler in my arsenal, purchased at Amitie. I didn't even know about kaleidoscope blocks at the time of purchase, it just looked nifty. (Incidentally, Amitie is having a sale on Monday.)

Kaleidoscope piecing

This little ruler makes these blocks a snap.  It's much easier than I thought to get neat points all joining up.

Joining points

That's about the best piecing I think I've ever done, thanks to my clever tool.

Kaleidoscope blocks

I'm definitely not as comfortable making quilts as I am making children's clothes.  This was really enjoyable to make, but I'm not sure about the result.  I think there is too much variation in the strength of these different fabrics, that leave it looking like a bit of a mess.  I think I'd be better with prints of a similar intensity.  Oh, I don't know.  Sometimes it's all a bit baffling.  Maybe I'm just being too safe and too matchy-matchy.

I'd love to know what you think.  Should I push on with this? Or should I try the same pattern with different fabrics.  I do like the range, so I'm not sure whether to cut it all up, or save it for something that suits it better.  Please weigh in with your opinions, as I'm at a bit of a loss.


Sewing with linen

The massive laundry project continues today.  Thank goodness it's a heavenly autumn day here and I can dry all the washing outside.

Tide pool sewing 1

In between all the unpacking, laundry, and sewing nametags on winter uniforms, yesterday I managed a quick sewing project with scraps from my tide pool quilt.  The quilt has not progressed at all, but these scraps were put to use for a little hot water bottle cover.  I love sewing these hottie covers. They are quick, don't use much fabric and are a good creative outlet.  If I have the inclination to make a few more, I might list them on my website for winter.

Tide pool sewing

More creative spaces at Kootoyou.


Our island escape

Yesterday we returned from the most heavenly Easter holiday on Three Hummock Island.  Wow, we had 9 blissful days.  The first five were spent there on our own, and then two families joined us for the Easter weekend.

Sand dune walk

The weather was mild, and then turned spectacular - with clear blue skies and no wind.  There is a massive sand dune on the west side of the island.  I hadn't been to it before.  We hiked up it.  It was heavy going, but I think you'll agree the view was worth it.

Looking north:

North view of West Telegraph Bay

Looking south:

South view of West Telegraph Bay

And let me point out that there was not another soul on this entire glorious beach.

There was swimming;

In flight

boating;

Tom

which included fishing;

Max

exploring;

Henri

and Peekaboo.

Adelaide

I made progress on the applique quilt, with a third block now underway.  (I've got to sneak in one craft photo.)

Sewing box

And there was generally lots of eating, sleeping and lovely down-time.

Our flight home was interesting.  The plane landed to pick us up just as the last light was fading. John the caretaker had to light up the runway by driving the Land-Cruiser ahead of us at speed so the pilot could see where he was going. If I didn't have complete confidence in the pilot I would have found this somewhat unnerving. It was a clear night so we had an amazing view of Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula all lit up below us. We could see the Easter traffic clogging the freeways back into town.

Our escape to Three Hummock was blissful and memorable, but there's no escaping the enormous pile of laundry that I'm currently engulfed by. Five loads and I'm about half way through.


Simple charm square quilt

It was a very busy studio yesterday, with lots of customers dropping by for the Townmouse sale.

Quilting

In a quieter moment earlier this week I made a very quick and simple charm square quilt.  I haven't used charm squares or pre-cut fabrics before.  I find fabric selection the hardest part of making a quilt, so I liked that this part was already done for me.

Charm square quilt 1

I can't say I'm in love with this quilt. It was made quickly, rather than carefully. I don't usually machine quilt my quilts so I read a lot of Rita's posts on basting and quilting. She's the master and go-to-girl for all my quilting quandaries. Unfortunately, I only read her posts too late, after I'd run into problems. Let's just say I'm going to stock up on safety pins, and take more time with my basting in future.

Charm square quilt

This was the first time I machine finished the binding too. I need more practice at this, and next time will enlist the help of my steam iron. At fashion school we were encouraged to sew without pins, so I rarely use them to secure my work. Going back to pinning undid me a bit. With more attempts I'll work out a way that works for me.

Simple charm square quilt

There's one little person who seems happy with it though. This quilt can now be found in Adelaide's cot and will probably travel with her to kindy down the line.

More creative spaces at Kootoyou.


In the studio

Yesterday I took the day off work to make a quilt.  Wow, I would have done anything to be able to have done that back in the day I had my boring law firm job.

Mosaicbf9c60ab06e8f63c2ae839a3ce2b69aabe31188b

1. My Wedding Ring detail, 2. Lines#6, 3. Waverunner II, 4. Elements #2, 5. Color Study: Log Cabin 2 ~ 2007, 6. SWAPBOT - MUSEUM POSTCARD - GEE'S BEND QUILTS

In reality though, all that meant was that the few quiet hours I had in a child-free house were spent cutting into fabric rather than attending to Townmouse matters.

I had thought I'd better get a wriggle on in the Down Under Doll Quilt Swap.  OK, so quilts aren't due until the end of May, but I have a bad habit of starting many quilts and finishing very few.  So I was feeling the pressure.  The pressure to make something for someone whose style is quite different to mine.  I was fearful I wouldn't be able to break out of my own style constraints and make something that my cool and groovy swap partner would maybe like.  

Doll quilt fabric

So I pulled these fabrics out of my stash.  Not me at all, are they?  The geometric fabric I ordered online; a fabric that didn't appeal at all when I pulled it out of the parcel.  But here it is the star of this collection.

Inspired by a little gallery of wonky quilts I had created (a sample of which you see above), and led by this helpful tutorial on wavy piecing, I got to work.

And guess what?  I created a quilt that is so unlike any I have made before.  The fabric is not me, the style is not me, but I like the end result.  It's something I'll be excited to send to my swap partner.

Quilted doll quilt

Hopefully there's someone excited out there at the prospect that this creation could be for them.

More creative spaces at Kootoyou.
 


A quilt in the making

My days have taken on quite a different focus this year.  I seem completely occupied with being a housewife and mother at the moment, which is making me wonder what on earth I was doing (or wasn't doing) last year.

I'm tipping more toward Bree Van de Kamp than Lynette Scavo these days, I'm surprised to say.  The boys are getting home baked cakes and gourmet chicken sandwiches in their school lunches and the ironing basket isn't full to overflowing.  I'm also on a mission to get fit and lose a few kilos.  My goal is wedding-day-weight and the deadline is March 7th, when Will and I are heading off to do a little skiing.  I've been trying to exercise for at least an hour every day, which I'm finding quite a commitment when in reality there aren't more than a few hours to spare each day.

So after all that I've been crashing on the sofa each night and chilling out with a little hand sewing.

Quilt block

This is the quilt pattern I decided upon after purchasing the bright solids I showed in my previous post.

Quilt planning 3

A few favourite antique quilts were inspiring me.  

Quilt planning 2

I couldn't determine whether it was the pattern or the choice of fabrics that I was drawn to, so I sketched them out for a better comparison.

Quilt planning 1

I decided on the last of the three sketches.  It was somehow airier and lighter, and featured more pink than the other two.  I'm not sure if I'll do mirror blocks as in the sketch, or whether I'll set them in a checkerboard pattern (alternating with a plain white block).  I'll make a few blocks and see what I think.

Quilt block detail

For now I'm enjoying this applique.  I haven't done it in years.


The winding road of inspiration

I find it interesting that inspiration can come via a very long and winding path. 

Red green inspiration 1

Alice, a fellow Australian (who lives in Rome) and long time reader of my blog, recently started her own quilting blog.  In a post she mentioned following a blog called Beyond the Cherry Tree, where a group of applique enthusiasts are each recreating an old quilt and posting their progress.

Red green inspiration 2

I have enjoyed following these posts and it has reminded me that this style of quilt is my first love.  One of my favourite quilting books that I've had for 15 years or so is "Red and Green: An Applique Tradition".

Red green inspiration 3

The problem is I'm not a huge fan of the colours red and green together (which is how this quilt came about).  But I have been feeling the urge to do some applique again.  I like hand applique because it's something that I can do on weekends or away from my studio.

So I decided to go for something a little more modern and youthful.  I want to make a single bed quilt for Adelaide in pink and orange.

New quilt fabrics

A visit to my local fabric store today resulted in these colours coming home with me.  The greens were already in my stash, but the others are new.  And I couldn't resist a few metres of Anna Maria Horner voile for the quilt back, as it blended perfectly with the colours I chose.

New quilt fabrics detail

Images of vintage quilts above are from this book and this book, two recent purchases on Amazon.  When I find a moment to spare, this is what I will be putting some time into.  But for now, there is a huge pile of unopened mail that needs attending to.