Monday 31 December 2012

2012 - A Recap

I’m in the quiet of a house that is mostly sleeping. One child is awake, as she has been since six o’clock. She’s an early bird. She’s not old enough to be up by herself so Mum has made the grand sacrifice of getting up early too. I had a late night last night, so it was quite a struggle.

On the plus side, I’ve done two loads of washing and I’m about to do a 2012 recap post – let’s get into it, shall we?
Show And Tell January



That was a much bigger post than I intended.  I had a lot of Show And Tell for January, didn't I?


Sunday 23 December 2012

New Year’s Resolution

I have many New Years Resolutions. 

Do I follow through on all of them?  No.

Do I follow through with some of them?  Surprisingly, yes I do!

I’ve tried to keep a blog for a few years now and after a month or two I let it go.  This year I am proud of how many times I managed to update my blog.  Admittedly, I’ve not been around much lately, but that is more bad management than anything. 

Next years resolutions remain much the same as this years’.  Get more finished.  Become more responsible with my time.  Waste less.  And the Holy Grail of resolutions – Be. More. Organised!!

This includes the blog.  I really am going to try and blog at least once a week.  Daily posts, while they are admirable, just don’t happen here.  But I’m aiming for weekly.

So until the New Year, I wish all of you such a wonderful Christmas if that is your thing, a good break if that is your thing, and a happy and successful 2013.

See you next year!


Wednesday 5 December 2012

Show and tell–the spare room

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I once saw a lovely pattern, knew it wasn’t too difficult, and decided to see if I could make my own version.

This is the finished result.  I quite often make myself draw quilts into my EQ programme, more so that I can get expert at that and as a good quilt drafting exercise.  This is one that was easy enough to do in EQ. 

This quilt adorns the spare room wall.  Forgive the cropped out bedframe – it was the best I could do.

Till tomorrow,


Monday 3 December 2012

Little Girl Quilts

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Part of the joy of having two little girls is that you have the perfect excuse to pink-ify certain areas of your house.  I am so pleased I have my girls – I never felt the need to try for a boy.  I’m sure I’d have just as much fun creating boy quilts if I did have a boy, but the need has never arisen.

This is the quilt that adorns one wall of one daughter’s bedroom.  It’s a design by an Australian designer, one half of what used to be The Chook Shed.  If you know Aussie quilting, you know of The Chook Shed.  We all cut our teeth as quilters using their lovely, easy applique designs.

I think they have gone their separate ways now and are designing separately, which means we have twice as much to choose from.  But I do miss their original designs, which were so ideal for children.

Till tomorrow.


Sunday 2 December 2012

Block Holder

I’m a member of a quilt group that meets every second Wednesday night.  I don’t get to go every time – sometimes it’s just too hard to get everyone organised in time.  But I do make an effort to get there at least once a month.

We always have a Christmas dinner towards the end of the year, where we give away a gift to an unknown recipient.  This year we had to make a block roll that measured approximately 15” square.

I didn’t have a clue where to get the pattern from, as there seems to be very few online.  So I thought I might share how I made my version.

Right.  First of all, no real measurements here.  Just a rough guide.  I don’t have the energy to do a proper fancy schmancy tutorial tonight.  It’s been 40 degrees or more all week and I’m drained.  That’s 100 degrees for you non metric readers.  Very. Bloody. Hot.

Stitch, piece, applique or quilt a design on an approximately 13” square of fabric. I’ll be cutting mine back to 12.5” so make sure your design stitcks inside this measurement.

This is mine.  The original design was from a group on Flickr called ‘Hoop Love’, which houses a staggering collection of out of copyright embroidery designs.  This was one of them.  If you like fancywork, as my nanna calls it, then you will LOOOOOVE this flickr site.  Email me if you can’t find the address.

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Once I had stitched my design, I placed it on a layer of wadding and cross hatched the centre with quilting.  It’s a bit hard to see, so I apologise for that.

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Trim design to a square measuring roughly 12.5”.  Stitch a border on either side.  Mine were about 2.5” x 12.5”.

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Stitch a border on the end.  Mine was 2.5” wide again by about 16.5”.

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Stitch a piece to the opposite end of the design, so that it measures about 16.5” x 32” when complete (seriously, just an approximate is fine).

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Cut the same sized piece from backing fabric and wadding, pin the three layers together and quilt as desired.  Mine was in the ditch around the main square and then in big straight lines for a while (till I got bored)

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Trim the three layers to measure the same size.  Mine finished off about 16” x 32”.  Again – it doesn’t really matter how big your design is, as long as when it’s folded, the main applique design sits nicely in the centre.

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Cut two rectangles of wadding about 2” smaller in size than your design (in my case, about 15” x 30”.  Find the middle of your block holder and mark with a pin.  Find the middle of the wadding and centre the middle over the middle of the block holder.  Stitch in place (if you look really carefully you should see a stitching line in the middle of my wadding.

Make some ties by cutting 1” x 12” strips, folding them over and topstitching all the rough ends down and stitching them in place.

Bind your design.  I used 2.5” strips folded in half.  Just the way you would do your quilts.

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Handstitch binding in place, give it all a good press, fold it in half and do up your ties, and there you go!  A lovely block holder.

When the weather cools down, I think I’ll make a better tutorial and show it off – but for now, I hope this one will do.  I don’t think I missed any steps, but if you do find some, please let me know!

Till tomorrow,

Happy quilting!


Saturday 1 December 2012

So obviously I have two girls….(a little show and tell for you)

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I love that I have two girls that I get to create lovely girly quilts for.

My daughter was given a birthday card one year, and it had the most divine picture on the front.  I knew I could make something really special from it.  I blew the design up a million times on the photocopier, then drew it out onto a huge bit of paper.  From then it was quite an easy process.  I didn’t have the right colour pink for the castle, so I used beetroot juice to dye that.  I didn’t have the right pale colour for the sky so I used food colouring for that too.  And both worked a real treat, I think.  All the fabrics were from my stash.  I have no lack of pastels in my cupboard.

Wasn’t difficult at all, really.  Cartoons and cards and wrapping papers are all great to use for applique quilt blocks.  It was a bit of a buggar trying to blanket stitch the middle area, but I persevered and she got her fourth birthday present for her fifth birthday, so I wasn’t too far behind.

Till tomorrow,


Friday 30 November 2012

Easy Street Step One

Yeah, I know.  I don’t need to do another quilt.  But I really do enjoy Bonnie Hunter’s mysteries and she promises there will be no more string blocks, so I’m giving it a go.  I reckon I’ve just made the deadline for the Mr Linky thing on her blog by about ten minutes, so Yay Me.

Easy Street

I decided that I would go with what Bonnie was doing hers out of, if only to push me into a whole different colourway.  I tend to stick to one or two variations on the same theme, which makes me lazy.  By choosing to use what she uses, I have to force myself to just ‘go with it’, and perhaps end up with a quilt I really love, rather than another ‘meh’ one.

So, she’s used grey, white, purple and lime.  I don’t have even the slightest grey in my colours, but I do have 2024935656 strips of black homespun.  So that’s what I used.  And creams/whites from the ever diminishing box of neutrals. 

Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with this one.  I’ve got nothing else to do (cough).

Till tomorrow,


Wednesday 28 November 2012

A flimsy finish

And it is pretty flimsy really.  This is an old, old, OLD design we used to sell at the shop.  A hundred years ago, the ‘in’ thing was to do little wall hangings – very country…you know the type.  Times have changed now, and the country look is nowhere near as popular.  But we still sold lots of little cutesy designs like this.

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This is so far from where my quilting is right now, it was a real chore to finish it off.  And it’s still not finished either – it remains a top.  Can’t quite see what I’ll be doing with it that will make it worth finishing.  I suppose I’ll stick it in the cupboard along with everything else.

Till tomorrow,


Tuesday 27 November 2012

So Hi! I’m Back!

I’m finally off the sick bed and back (hopefully) into the land of the living.  It’s been a pretty tough slog, these last two weeks and I’m crossing my fingers that sickness has left the building.  I don’t enjoy having sick kids, I don’t enjoy being sick myself and I really don’t enjoy having sick kids WHILE I am sick.  No one wins.

So obviously, I’ve had little opportunity to finish anything, or even stitch anything.  But I’m in the process of putting a little tutorial together on something I’m stitching so hopefully that will make up for such a lack of anything quilty to show you. 

For now, wanna see where I live?









I never get tired of looking at it.

Till tomorrow,


Monday 19 November 2012

Hello lovely readers

Have you noticed I’ve been gone?  Did you miss me?

We are all sick here.  My lovely daughter brought home a virus from school and promptly shared it with the rest of us.  Today is the first day in a week I feel capable of words on a computer page.  The older I get, the less I can cope with these little gifts.

I’ll be back real soon.  I’ve missed you.


Monday 12 November 2012

Grandmother’s Choice

I haven’t been able to catch up with the Grandmother’s Choice blocks these last two weeks – I’m not sure where my time goes but it sure isn’t going the quilting way.

I mentioned last time I posted that I wasn’t too keen on doing the American flag for my quilt block, though I’ve seen a lot of very pretty ones on the Grandmother’s Choice Flickr page.  But, I’m not an American and I was sure I could try and find something relevant to Australian Women’s Voting Rights to put into my quilt.

Did you know, that whilst the US gave women the vote in the early part of the 20th Century, New Zealand was actually the first self-governing country to grant women the vote; in 1893 all women over the age of 21 were permitted to vote in parliamentary elections (from wikipedia). 

In the late 19th century, an enterprising South Australian woman named Mary Lee was foremost in pushing the right for a vote for women in Australia.  And, predictably, there were quite a few men who were against the idea.  But, many men realised that the day would come, quite soon, when they would HAVE to allow women to vote, and a bill was drafted as such. 

But they weren’t quite as forward thinking as we would have liked.  The original bill was drafted to include an amendment stating that whilst women could vote, they were not allowed to stand for parliament. 

One enterprising man, Ebenezer Ward who was fiercely against women voting, decided to be a bit clever.  He put forward an motion to remove the amendment that women couldn’t stand for parliament.  He wagered that NO man would vote for any legislation that would allow women to actually RUN the joint, and by default the remainder of the bill, i.e. the right to vote, would be kicked out too.

But it backfired.  The voting bill was passed, women over 21 were allowed to vote AND stand for parliament in South Australia. 

Of course, South Australia was not alone in its push for women to vote.  The movement was world wide.  But I’m very proud that it was South Australia who were at the forefront.  I never learnt this in school, by the way.  Which I think is a shame.

We know the name Catherine Helen Spence, who was the first South Australian woman to run for a seat (unsuccessfully) in parliament, but we easily forget the name of Mary Lee, one of the original agitators and suffragettes.

And so, in honour of Mary Lee, this block is Mary’s Block from Blockbase.  



Obviously I won’t do it in purples.

Did you enjoy your history lesson?  South Australia can be hard on itself at times.  We’re not as flashy or cosmopolitan as Melbourne or Sydney, but we’ve done some pretty amazing things over our history.

Till tomorrow,


Thursday 8 November 2012

More Show And Tell

A million years ago, when I was working in the quilt shop, I made a log cabin quilt.  I do believe it was the last ‘whole’ quilt made with log cabins that I have done. 

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I stuck some borders on it, and threw it in the UFO pile for another day.  I don’t know why, it was so close to being finished.

As part of my Get Stuff Done year, I dug it out of the UFO box and decided to finish it.  I may not know why I didn’t finish it years ago but I am glad I didn’t – the quilt couldn’t lay straight if its life depended on it.  I’m wasn’t convinced my blocks were all the same size, and the borders were stretched and made the whole thing billow like a cushion.

I decided to take the borders off and restitch them, but even that didn’t look like it was going to fix the problem.  There was only one thing to do – completely undo the blocks and start over. 

I unpicked all my rows, remeasured my blocks (and lo and behold, they were all different measurements) and recut them to size.  Then I stitched them back together again, put the small red border on (thankfully I have a stash you could see from space and I found the matching fabric) and stitched a cream border to the outside.

Finally, I’ve appliqued some flowers on the outer borders.

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I still need to buttonhole stitch them down, but a few nights in front of the tellie and that will be easily accomplished.

So, I’m pleased now.  The quilt lies MUCH flatter. Thankfully I was able to shave a little from the blocks and not have it effect the pattern too much.  Good old Log Cabin blocks – so versatile.

Here’s an arty shot. 

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It’s amazing how time clarifies the picture.  I know if I had finished this when I started it, I wouldn’t have fixed what are now glaringly obvious faults.  Sometimes putting projects away is the best thing, even if it’s only for a couple of weeks.  Do you find that?  Have you ever remade a quilt because you know you just won’t be happy with it otherwise?

Okay – now I’m off to do some ironing.  Hip Hip Hooray. 

Happy quilting!