Saturday 31 March 2012

Bountiful Bouquet Month Seven


I’ve taken some time away from Orca Bay which I’m ready to chuck through the window to do this month’s Bountiful Bouquet.  Do hope you like it.

Click here for printer friendly version

Click here for templates


· (7) eight inch squares of background fabric previously set aside in month two

· Assorted fabrics for appliqué

· Assorted fabrics for piecing

· Assorted matching embroidery floss

· A lead pencil, or a fine ink pen. I don't recommend a wash-away pen because we are going to be ironing over the top of any markings we make

· Vliesofix

· Sewing needles (I prefer crewels)

· General sewing requirements (ruler, board, rotary cutter etc)

· Light box if you have one

Applique Instructions

Using a light box or lighting source, trace the picture included lightly in pencil onto the right side of your eight inch square. It is important to remember that you must centre your design, as we will trim the block once we have stitched it. My picture has included the finished ‘look’ of the block, so you need to make sure your picture will fit inside this.


I always leave an area to cut off when I do my appliqué because the fabric tends to get a little frayed at the edges whilst I do it.

Now trace the design onto vliesofix as previously mentioned in our other steps. It is important to remember that the design must be reversed in this step, or else your flower will point the incorrect way. But if you want to make your flowers face different ways, just reverse the pictures for a couple of them.


Cut roughly around each floral piece. Following instructions previously given, iron the fusible webbing to the wrong side of each fabric you wish to use.



Cut on the traced line. Peel backing paper from the pieces and lay in place over the pencil lines of the design. When you are satisfied with your placement, iron into place.


Using two strands of floss, blanket stitch around design.

When you are happy with this step, give your design a good press and trim back to measure 6 ½”, being sure that you centre the design before cutting.

Piecing Instructions

From remaining coloured fabrics, cut four 3 ½” squares for each block. You will need four for each block, twenty eight in all.

Draw a light pencil line across the diagonal on the wrong side of these


Lay right sides together over appliquéd square as shown.


Stitch on pencil line.


To reduce the bulk of your block, stitch another line of stitching ½” away from this seam and cut in the middle.



Press back.


Repeat with remaining squares to make a unit like mine below, which should measure 6 ½” when completed.


Repeat this step with all your appliquéd units until all seven are completed.

When done, stitch this together to make one row measuring 6 ½” x 42 ½”.

Thursday 29 March 2012

Do you ever wonder?

Do you ever wonder where handicraft will be in fifty years time? 

It's something I think about a lot. 

I come from many generations of handworkers.  I have a lot of their work, kept safe.  I treasure it, but to be honest I think of my many cousins, I'm the only one who really wants it. 

My great grandmother did very intricate work.  Amazingly close work for a woman who was widowed at 40 and left to raise a farm and six children in the midst of a depression by herself. 

My grandmother was one of three daughters.  They all did wonderful work, each different but equally clever in their own right. 

My mother is also one of three daughters.  They are all very gifted women but only she is the one who has taken the craft gene and ran with it.

And then there's me.  I'm the only daughter, but in a family of many cousins, I'm the only one of my peer group..the ONLY one who can even thread a needle, much less create quilts or knitted items for fun.  To be honest, they all look at me as if I am slightly mad.

Of course, it's me and my mother that people come to when they want a job done.  I don't mind, I love to help my family but it does concern me that these able bodied men and women who are smart, articulate and clever can't even sew on a button.  I don't actually think that they can't.  I think they won't, to be blunt.  They have no inclination to learn how to do even the most basic mending.  They amount of time I have heard 'Well, I'll just pay someone to do it'.

And that is what bothers me.  What will we do when we no longer have anyone willing to do these jobs, either for love or money?  Mending is a pretty crappy job, I agree.  I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than change a broken zip on a pair of jeans, but I would do it for someone I love.  Lord knows, there's no money in mending these days.  I had to replace a simple hat band for someone today, and it took me 90 minutes to put it on.  Admittedly, I spent extra time and attention to it as it was for a wedding party, but even so.  When they say 'Oh I'll pay you for it' I wonder how much they would be willing to pay?  And really, if I charged the $25 an hour that business pays now, would they really want me to fix it for forty bucks?  I doubt it.

Many times when I was in the shop we were asked how to do a particular skill.  'I've reached this stage in my pattern, but I don't know how to cast off' or 'Can you tell me how to do the binding on this quilt?'.  We never charged for that knowledge because I felt it was my duty to pass that knowledge on.  I hope someone I taught will do for someone else, down the track. 

But when I didn't know how to do something, I asked my mother.  I'm hoping that my children will do the same from me.  But I know there are whole generations of families out there where Mum doesn't actually know how to knit, or crochet, or sew. 

And that saddens me.  It really does.

I look at all the crafts that have died off over the years, as we are more industrial and as goods become cheaper and cheaper to buy.  Who needs a roof thatcher nowadays?  Or a master carpenter?  Or anything like that? 

I don't know where handwork will be in fifty years.  I really don't. 

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Tutorial Tuesday

I've been madly working on my next instalment of Bountiful Bouquet, and as such, sewing has gone out the window for a day or two. 

So in the event of crickets, I promised:

I do a lot of surfing.  You know that.  I've told you before.  I've got a folder filled with bookmarks I may never ever get back to, but I bookmark them Just. In. Case.

There's nothing worse than trying to find something on this big old internet with no chance at all. 

Every day when I get online, I check a few places in my bookmarks.  Two of them are:


You're probably at least familiar with Moda, but the Freebies for Crafters is a fabulous website.  They collate a list of free tutorial websites, and upload them regularly.  Some of them I've known about already, some are new to me.  But they are both totally worth visiting!

But make yourself a cup of something hot.  You may be there a while.

Till tomorrow,


Friday 23 March 2012

What's New, Pussycat?

I've been thinking a lot about the whole blog thing, and I have also been having a wonderful time creating (really really bad) quilt blog icons. 

I have decided, as a graphic artist, I make an excellent quilter.

But in honour of my new found, somewhat dubious skill, I present:

I'm not sure if I'll do these every day, but I think it might be something fun to throw in when I've got nothing of my own to show you.  The internet is such a big place, and one of the complaints many of us have is despite all the information out there, we can never find anything when we want it.  Hopefully I'll be able to pass on a few links that I'll be able to share with you.

Let's see, anyway.

Till tomorrow,


Thursday 22 March 2012

A TaDah moment

If you read Lucy’s blog over at Attic24, you’ll know that a finish is a real ‘ta-dah’ moment.





Ta Dah!

It’s only a top for now.  But I hope to have it quilted soon.  The block’s official title is a Blackford Beauty and it’s always been a favourite of mine.  And who can resist an Amish design?  Certainly not me.

It’s also one of my UFO 2012 challenge projects.  So I have finished at least two of them.  That’s pretty good, though not brilliant.  I have to have three finished by the end of March to be on top of things. 

We’ll see.

Till tomorrow,


Wednesday 21 March 2012

Where I’ve been

I must admit, it feels self indulgent to write this post.  But it’s been gnawing at me and I have to put it to paper, so to speak.  That’s always been the way I process things.

I was a little late on my Month Six Bountiful Bouquet as you may have noticed.  Life, as it does, got in the way. 

I got a rather unpleasant email about it.  Someone wanted me to post the instructions and they were tired of waiting.

My mother always said ‘you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar’.  The email, though not overly vinegar-ish, upset me. 

And, as millions of bloggers have probably done in the past, I withdrew and contemplated my reasons for wanting to blog in the first place.

I’ll admit, I have a thin skin that I am trying to harden up.  The e-mailer probably didn’t really intend to come across as blunt as she did.  She caught me on an off day. 

I was going to come online and publish an “I’m sorry, I’m a bad blogger, please forgive me for being late’. 

But then I decided.  This is MY blog.  I have a young family.  I have real life commitments.  I do the best I can with the time I have available.  You’re just going to have to cut me some slack sometimes if I can’t deliver the day I said I would.

So.  Cut me some slack.

Tomorrow, I’ll feel better about the whole thing and probably a little foolish for putting this out there.  But for now, it’s off my chest.

Till tomorrow,


Saturday 17 March 2012

Bountiful Bouquet Month Six

Click here for print friendly pdf

Requirements List

For each block you will require

one cream fabric for background

five assorted colours for piecing

  • A lead pencil, or a fine ink pen. I don't recommend a wash-away pen because we are going to be ironing over the top of any markings we make

  • General sewing requirements (ruler, board, rotary cutter etc)

  • Light box if you have one

Cutting Instructions

These blocks will measure 6 inches finished (6.5” unfinished) when complete. 

You will need to make seven blocks in total.  These are the cutting instructions for one block.

From background fabric, cut (16) 1.5” squares.

From one coloured fabric, cut (4) 2.5” squares.

From second coloured fabric, cut (2) 1.5” squares.

From third coloured fabric, cut (2) 1.5” squares.

From fourth coloured fabric, cut (4) 1.5” squares .

From fifth coloured fabric, cut (4) 1.5” squares .


Piecing Instructions

On the wrong side of eight of your background fabric squares, draw a light pencil line across the diagonal.


Lay this square with right sides together over the corner of one of the 2.5” squares and stitch on pencil line as shown.


Press back into place


Lay another cream background square with right sides together over remaining corner of 2.5” square and stitch on line as shown.


Press back into place.   Repeat with remaining squares to make a total of four 2.5” units.


Stitch together the two sets of (2) 1.5” coloured squares into a four patch.


Using the remaining cream squares and coloured squares, stitch into four 4-patches as shown.


Using photos below as a guide, stitch the blocks into three rows.



Stitch the three rows into one block that should measure 6.5” UNFINISHED.


Repeat these instructions six more times to make a total of seven blocks altogether.

Stitch the rows together to make one long row measuring 6.5” x 42.5”.

Set aside for now.

Friday 9 March 2012

Free Pattern Friday

I surf a lot.  A. LOT.  And I've a million bookmarks of places I like to visit. 

I figured it would be a good thing to share some of these.  For those days when the crickets are sounding and there is nothing of me to share, I'd share some of the things I like.

So I present:

Woo Hoo, a button I made myself and everything!  I know there are lots of these sorts of things out there, but I didn't think one more would matter, now would it?

Our first free pattern comes from the very clever Crazy Mom Quilts.  It's called 'The Future's So Bright' and while I'll be the first to admit that I'm much more of a traditionalist, this quilt really appeals to me.

I'm not really sure how the whole 'Can I post your picture on my blog thing'  works, because it strikes me that most people would be happy as long as the credit and link is given.  So if I've stepped on any toes here, please let me know.  But for now, just pop over and see how her lovely quilt, and all the other lovely things she has done too.

I also like to surf doll pattern websites, because - well I've got nothing much at all to do.  I found this delightful little doll freebie here, at Judi's Dolls.

I think she's just lovely, and may well be on my list of things to do.

Till tomorrow,


Thursday 8 March 2012


Oh dear, I have been a lost blogger. 

Some days I have a million idea for posts swirling around in my head.  Some days, there is nothing.  Crickets.

There is nothing more daunting than an empty post page. 

I guess bloggers block is every bit as frustrating as quilters block.  And lordy lord knows, I’ve had more than my fair share of that.  They tend to come at the same time, which would make sense.  Some days I feel as if I can create the next first prize quilt, some days stringing two words together is harder than it sounds.

I’ve a few ideas up my sleeve to make me blog more regularly – the most obvious (to me at least) is to write the million ideas down when they happen and use them when I am lost for words.  I’ve purchased a diary, I’ve written down lots of little notes and we shall see where we go from here, shall we?


In the meantime, I’ve been sewing at least one block a day, the idea of which I got from this blog.  Some days I find it very hard to get any sewing at all done, and I tend to get overwhelmed with life quite easily.  So if I do one block a day, this quilt above will be finished in seven days.  I can do that. 

That’s the logic behind it.  And so far so good. 


I’ve finished crocheting the blanket I was doing for my night time work (am I the only person who has a day time project and a night time one?) so I picked up this, which is part of my 2012 UFO challenge.  The lighting isn’t fabulous but I’ve been handquilting this little treasure and in time I’ll frame it.  Then stick it on a wall someplace and bob’s your uncle.

The UFO challenge is doing very well, actually.  I’ve finished two of my twelve, and if I can finish the third one this month, I’ll be on track to have all twelve done by the end of the year.  Yay me!   One day, when I’m old, I’ll have all my UFO’s finished.  One day.



Sunday 4 March 2012

Sunday Update

Hello people!

It's another day with another interesting blog title. I reckon the hardest thing about blogging is coming up with the flipping title.

I've been tinkering about again with the whole blogger thing and am pleased to say that I made that header, ALL BY MYSELF! Clever me. I'm not finished with it yet but find that playing with the computer really eats into what limited quilting time I get at the moment, so I need to be a bit more restrained in that regard.

Life's been pretty feral at the moment in my little cottage. Lots of emotional, family stuff that chews up time. Don't worry, there is nothing wrong with my little, delicious family. I do have a very large extended family, some of whom are having some troubles and it’s their story, not mine.  Wouldn’t be fair to share it on here.

But, Sunday is here and I'm fairly well ready for a week of calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean.

I've been working away on my UFO challenge through Patchwork Times and am pleased to say that I have nearly finished the second one off my list. No photos yet but maybe tomorrow!

In lieu of some photo candy for you, here are some things I prepared earlier (as I dredge through some of my earliest things to show you).

000_0177 000_0530


Sunbonnet Sue Swag




Just a few of the four million dolls I have made over the years.  When you are in business, you sell patterns.  The best way, the guaranteed way to sell a doll pattern is to make one up.   Most of our dolls got sold as we went along, and I did try to photograph them before they went.  There are lots more out there I never did photograph, and I do regret that.

Anyway.  Not much of a blog post today.  Just wanted to keep in touch.  And to update you on your Bountiful Bouquet download for this month – I totally got snuck up on by pesky old March – didn’t realise that it had appeared quite so quickly.  I’ll work on those blocks in the next day or two and upload the instructions then. 

Sorry about that.

All the best for a lovely weekend,