Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Workshop for Buttons

My Church runs a craft group called Buttons on Wednesday mornings during term time.  A couple of weeks ago I was asked to run a workshop on "Decorated Hand Towels".

That's a pretty wide topic.  And as there are supplies in the storage cupboard I wanted to provide some samples that might make use of them.

The first couple were made with a border fabric and lace edges.  It was using up a few scraps, and I quite like that one on the right.

Lots of the ladies like to hand piece, so the next two are simple hand stitched ones.  The one on the left is an appliqued heart with some lace and a ribbon, and the one on the right a little hexie flower. 

Here is the appliqued one close up.

Another project we have worked on at Buttons is little bears and kittens to give as a special gift when a child is baptised in our church.  I took my machine along to the group and we had a production line going.  I then took home some of the blanketing we used and made up this little kitty:
The idea this year has been to make use of our crafty skills to raise money for the church.  We had a morning tea last week, with about 60 people attending and our little stall raised $1,000 which we donated to the building fund.  (Our church has embarked upon a building project to build us a lovely new church).  We are all feeling rather chuffed at that and everything we have made over the year has sold.
All three of my grand daughters came by for afternoon tea recently.  The eldest came straight from school on the bus and brought a cake she had made in Food Tech.  Isn't it just great?  We didn't eat it of course 'cos she had to show it to her family!

Til next time.....Keep on stitching

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

New Toys for Quilting

In recent weeks I have bought a few new toys to play with for my DSM.  First up I bought some Westalee Rulers.

Do I know how to use them?  Nope!  I have been intrigued by the concept for a while and then saw a demo at the Sydney Quilt Show a while back.  I was sold.  Above is the Basic Set you get when you by the foot attachment for your machine.  What they didn't tell me is that my Bernina needs a special attachment for the foot attachment.  So it took a while for that to materialise.
At the same time as I bought the rulers, I bought a slippy mat which adheres to the bed of the sewing machine table and the slippery surface eliminates the drag when you are free-motion quilting.  The product is called "Sew Slip II".  It is totally removable and doesn't leave a sticky residue on your sewing surface. You store it rolled up so it doesn't take up much room.
I bought both the rulers and the mat at the same time as the rulers from Punch with Judy but they are available all over the place,
When my Bernina attachment finally arrived, I set everything up to have a play with my new rulers.
It all got a bit wonky at the end, but overall I was relatively pleased with the first attempt.  Here it is warts and all.

I need a LOT more practise.  LOL
I needed to quilt my "Green & Blue Should Never be Seen" quilt.  (You might remember I showed you that one under construction here).
So I put aside the rulers and took out the other new toy I have.  This is a weighted ring that you use to help keep the sewing area flat while quilting.  I bought that on my trip to the Newcastle show a month or so back.

When it was demoed the lady said I needed to hold my thumbs in like so, as I'm quilting.

I struggled with the hoop.  Basically I think the problem was that I was quilting a fairly large design.  It would probably work better if you were doing denser quilting.  Bottom line is that the jury is still out on that one.  I stopped using it after a while and just went back to my bad habits.
Anyways, this quilt was stitched in the ditch to anchor the blocks, and free motion quilted in a free hand orange peel design.  I use that design a lot and quite like the results.  These are some of the better orange peels. LOL

So.  All done and dusted, and it has gone to Stitching Hearts already.

An altogether happy little quilt which came together nicely.  And we found the best backing for it!  It will do to keep someone's knees from freezing.

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Monday, 22 August 2016


In my last post I mentioned that Jo and I had "just happened" to do a bit of shopping.  Hee hee.  Jo needed some backing fabrics for 2 quilts, and both were a somewhat unusual colour, so she asked if I minded going past a shop or two on our way to the show last Friday.  Mind?? Does a duck swim??

The first shop we stopped at was on the way to Newcastle, sort of.  It was Patchwork by the Lake in the Main street of Boolaroo.  There's no web page, but they are on Facebook if you have a FB account. 

Can you see the fabulous pressed ceiling in the photo below?
Its an amazing shop actually as Boolaroo is a tiny, tiny place in an out of the way village and yet there is a fabulous shop there, with an enormous range of fabrics.   

I picked up 3 gorgeous pieces of fabric there. 

The blue floral is going to be the sashing on a little child's quilt, and the 2 yellows are just because.
By the time we headed off we were thinking of morning tea, so we stopped at a coffee shop in Adamstown, just next door to Quilt Essentials in Adamstown.

Lovely shop with a great range of fabrics and lovely welcoming staff.
I picked up the pattern on the right in this photo.
Its hard to tell from the photo, but it is a little round bin with a spring which allows the bin to fold up flat. 
On the left of the above photo is a Wendy Williams set of pin cushions I bought at the show.  I chose to buy the kit for the middle one.  Such a fun set of pin cushions!
Next stop was the Stitches & Craft Show at Newcastle.  I told you about that in my last post here
I picked up some Robison Anton threads (which I love to use for quilting), some sewing machine needles, and a quilt weight.

Mr Scissorman was there as always.  I needed a new pair of embroidery scissors.  The little job on the left of the photo below is a pair of travel scissors I will be able to take on planes.

The Western Sydney Woodworking Group had a stall there.  I love wooden things, and found a letter opener, magnifying glass and a thingy to open and close quilting pins.  Anyone know what they are called?  There's also a cute little spinning top which they gave me for my little grandson.

And then it was time to go.  But Jo was still looking for fabrics, so we decided to check out the other shops in the vicinity.

We found Zig Zag Sewing at Georgetown.  Love that shop! 

And then On Point Patchwork & Needlecraft at Waratah where I found a range of Civil War fabrics.

You'd think I would have enough of those by now, but no.  These just had to come home with me.
So that was our day.  Exhausting!  But so much fun.  Thanks Jo for doing all that driving.
And after all that, Jo did find some backing fabric for one of her quilts.
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Newcastle Stitches & Craft Show

My friend Jo and I went to the Newcastle Stitching & Craft Show yesterday.  (If you are in the area, its still on and you have time for a visit.)  In this part of the world, the Stitches & Craft shows are basically trade shows which go from town to town with loads and loads of traders coming from all over to trade from stalls at the show.  These are great even for people who live in a major city and have quilt shops nearby.  Walking from stall to stall, there is so much variety and so much to see!

This show had a small display of modern quilts made by the members of the Quake City Modern Quilters (link takes you to their Facebook page only) They are a small group of ladies local to Newcastle and their quilts were stunning.  I thought I would share some of those I really liked.

The photo doesn't do this one justice - you can't see the lovely work on it, and the lighting in this corner was terrible.  It was made by Catherine Mosely from a pattern by Jen Kingswell

Green Tea and Sweet Beans by Catherine Mosely
If you have read my blog before, you will have guessed that I am very fond of applique.  This quilt had a mix of pieced blocks and appliqued ones.

This one is constructed using half square triangles.  There was a lot of movement in that quilt.

Pole Dancer by Wendy Nutt
It had some lovely machine quilting on it.

The next one is also by Wendy Nutt.

Spinning Wheel by Wendy Nutt
The construction is actually a standard 4 patch block which has been slashed to resemble the spoke of a wheel.  It was stunning, and also had great quilting, echoing the illusion of piecing in line with the pieced blocks. 

I have seen lots of photos of "brick" quilts on the Net, but Susan Horvath has extended that concept and used scrappy fabrics to construct the "bricks".  It is really effective.

Mosaic Windows by Susan Horvath
 And a close up.  Nice quilting here too....

This last one, I can't credit.  :(  There were two quilts side by side, both exceedingly different and one label between the two quilts, with no clue as to which quilt it belonged to.  As the quilts were so different in style etc.  I chose not credit it in case I mention the wrong maker.  If you know the name of the quilter, please tell me and I will edit this post to give credit.

Close up...

At the start of this post I mentioned that this was basically a trader's show.  Well of course I bought one or two things.  But that will be fodder for my next post, so you will just have to wait a while.  Promise it won't be too long.
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Sunday Already

Well I had every intention of doing a post last week, but somehow or other here it is Sunday evening and I'm just getting around to posting.

Part of the problem is that the powers that be have decided that Picasa should be removed from usage.  It has taken me totally by surprise, so when I went to upload some photos during the week I couldn't do it the way I normally do.  It appears that now I have to use Google Photos.  You know something?  I HATE Google Photos.  It is so user unfriendly you just wouldn't believe.  I absolutely loathe the way it wants to group everything for you into themes and insists you tag all the faces.  Well I have managed to remove that, but how do you sort the photos?  Manually of course.  How I wish they would bring back Picasa!!  Any thoughts on that one??

Now that I have had my whinge of the week, I can show you what I have been up to.

First up, Last week I showed you a top I had under way.  It is now complete, and I took it to Stitching Hearts for backing and batting.  It is a small lap size which will likely go to a nursing home or some such.

I have called this quilt "U-Turns".  I have also realised that I have not credited the original maker.  I was inspired by a similar quilt at Linda's Quiltmania, but as I made the quilt from memory, mine is a bit different.

This is a closer look. 

It was such a great way to use up 2.5" strips, and so much fun!  I just used scraps, but I should imagine that if you used a jelly roll or perhaps one colourway it would look stunning.  Just the fact that Linda used white for her pathway gives a totally different look.
Also this week I have (finally) finished off knitting a sleeveless vest for my mother-in-law.  Don't look too closely - it has some major bloopers in it.

It is the second one I have made for her.  I made her one in 2008, and she wore it to death.  So much so that last year when I was in the UK, when we were clearing out her apartment for sale, we found it with all its tattered edges and pockets and bits that were falling off.  Brigid asked me to make another.   I found it very hard work as I have arthritis in the joints of my hands and so it took me forever to knit it.  All done and dusted now, and we can post it off to her in the UK.

Also last week, the friend of the mother of one of my friends at Friday Quilters (did you get that??) sent in 2 quilt tops as a donation to Stitching Hearts. 

They were too big for a cot quilt and too small for a single bed.  So I unpicked the centre seam, and ended up with 4 tops from 2.  Bonus!!  Here is one half of the quilt top above.
A couple of simple borders in primary colours, and the first one is done.  It is now suitable as a cot quilt or one for a small single bed. 


The fabrics are all novelties, so they will make fabulous I Spy quilts for a child.  The fabrics in the photo above are all sorts of things, and the close up below, you will see is all food. 

I've had neighbours here for lunch, so I think it is about time I wound this up and settled in for a quiet evening.

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Blogless July

And June too..... :-(

I have completely lost my blogging impetus.  I feel stupid talking to the air.  Maybe its because I have never kept a diary.  Whatever, it feels like I'm bragging; blowing my own trumpet.

Maybe my blogging MoJo will come back sometime soon.  Who knows.

My quilting MoJo is in full swing and I have been creating like crazy.  Do they work in opposition?  If I feel like writing, does that mean that my creativity is low and I'm replacing it with blogging?  And vice versa?

Anyway, so that this is not a completely photoless post here are a couple of things I have made lately.

This is a knitted door stop made for the church stall later this year....

This top on my design floor I made in a frenzy of piecing from my humungous pile of 2.5" strips.

I enjoyed the Scrap Dance Quickstep (see here for more) so much that I just kept piecing and piecing and piecing those strip sets, and so this emerged.
Trouble is that I keep ferreting around and replenishing that pile of 2.5" strips beside my machine, so it doesn't get any smaller!  Guess I'll have to get stuck into some more strip sets. LOL.
Til next time.....Keep on stitching.

Sunday, 12 June 2016


Carole, who blogs at From My Carolina Home, and who has been running the mystery quilts in which I have participated showed us a new quilt which she has called Scrap Dance Quickstep a week or so ago.

I was inspired!!

If you have read my blog before, you will know that I am given a lot of scraps by my friends - they all know I'm a scrappy quilter.  Well a few months ago, Robin, my friend from Stitching Hearts gave me a garbage bag full of scraps....

It has been sitting in my work room overflowing everywhere and thumbing its nose at me ever since, but I have been a bit daunted by the sheer volume in it.  I couldn't face dealing with it.
Having decided to do the Quickstep, the other day I pulled an arm load of strips, either already 2.5" in width, or ones I could trim down to that.   Here they are neatly piled on my sewing table waiting to be pieced.

Mine were not the neat WOF strips Carole used, nor were they co-ordinated at all.  So I decided to cut them down to a maximum of 11" to give me a really scrappy look. 
Pretty soon I had a bunch of these....

And then these....

But the pile of strips on my sewing table doesn't look like it's much smaller and it is now a great messy pile.  LOL.

I had my youngest grand daughter here after school on Thursday and she was helping me with this - pairing up strips for me to sew and ironing the blocks.  We had great fun.  And so quick with two of us working on it.
By Friday I had it all laid out on my design floor.

It needs at least one more row to go at the top.  I took my eyes off it for literally one minute, and Tibby had a field day.

I'm pretty chuffed.  From a bunch of disparate bits of fabric, some lots of which were just plain ugly, has blossomed a cute quilt.  Thank you Carole yet again for a great idea and for inspiring me to do something with that bag of scraps.  I am actually going to do a second one. 

Are you as inspired as I was??  Carole has uploaded a pattern with 14 setting designs and three sizes on the pattern to her Craftsy store here if you would like to make one.  Even if you don't want to make this quilt, go take a look at Carole's lovely blog, it has heaps of great tutorials, tips and techniques on it. 

The exciting thing that happened this weekend is that Carole sent me an email to let me know that she drew my name in a giveaway for a $50 gift certificate from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Woo Hoo!!  Hooray!!  Yippee!!  Bit of shopping up ahead for me by the looks of it.  Thank you, thank you, thank you Carole. 

Til next time.....Keep on stitching.