So far, so good

Hello friends and welcome to another year.  My, how time flies when you are having fun.  I had a relaxing break over the Christmas period – some time with family, friends, my beloved Cosmo and Pepe and lots of reading, playing tennis and some creating and sewing.

I’ve now been back at work for two weeks and am gearing up to another busy year. Unfortunately I’m not going to Quiltcon this year so I don’t have that to look forward to although I am thinking of a quilty/sewing trip later in the year.

I can now reveal the secret sewing project I was working on for the latter part of 2016 – it was for a friend in Brisbane who has been experiencing some health problems and it was gifted at Christmas to a happy recipient.

Processed with MOLDIV

I must admit I am having trouble recalling my initial concept for this quilt apart from wanting a summer garden and cool colours (unusual for me) because Brisbane gets very hot.  I had some success, but those bright pinks still managed to find their way in there. I ended up making economy blocks which I haven’t done before and have now added another skill to my repertoire. This quilt also stretched my skill in using prints, but all in all I think it was a successful outcome.

1855As you can see I used a variety of florals, solids and some tone on tones. I then added some corner blocks using pieces from a recent Kaffe Fassett panel. The green solid was chosen to coordinate with the green leaf in the corner panels – who knew I was a trend setter just before the announcement of the Pantone colour of the year – Greenery. Not the correct tone, but on trend nevertheless!

image.jpegI had great trouble getting decent photos because I didn’t have and “quilt holder-uppers” around on the days I finished it which was just before I flew to Brisbane.

imageFor the back I used some Tula Pink and some Anna Maria Horner with a couple of coordinating Kona solids.

I have now started on a 52 week project for 2017 inspired by the Brooklyn Haberdashery Instagram feed and have chosen to do a Brigitte Giblin Tessellations quilt as an EPP project. I’m still deciding on colours so I’m trying out the first rounds of a couple blocks before I commit to stitching.

imageThis is one I tried last night which got lots of likes on Instagram so I think it’s a winner!

Plus another work colleague’s baby girl has entered the world and another baby quilt is in the wings – all in all it’s been a creative start to the year.  I hope yours has been too. I have a couple of new books to share, but I will leave that til next time.

Happy creating everyone.

Lois

A catch up before Christmas

Time flies when you are having fun (or are very busy)! I’m behind on my blogging – Instagram has been my only online presence lately.

So now on to a short round-up of recent events. My trip to Melbourne in October also included  The Thin Line textile exhibition at the Tacit Contemporary Art Galley.  I splurged and purchased one of the works who is now safely at home.

image  Scout  is  the work of Melanie Hill who goes by the name of textileallsorts on Instagram and he will be installed on my walls at home this week-end.  He is made from vintage fabrics and combines embroidery, crazy patchwork and more than a touch of whimsy. I love him!

On the stitching front I have been busy stitching gifts which need to stay secret until after Christmas! 🙂

My most exciting news is my recent fabulous week-end of creativity at the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild show.

On Friday I did a foundation-piecing workshop with Carolyn Friedlander when I produced this tiny work of art.image

It tested all my creative skills as I had never done any foundation piecing before and this little creation was quite tricky to produce, but it was a great day.  Carolyn was a very calm and generous teacher. As you can see from the photo below we all produced some great shirt combinations, plus some houses and a tree.

image

Then on Saturday I did a workshop and attended an evening trunk show with Anna Maria Horner which was an absolute delight.  The workshop was called Mod Corsage and involved talking about and designing a quilt which combines patchwork and applique.

Anna Maria bought along a collection of her most recent quilts using these techniques. imageimageimageimage

She is such a warm friendly person who clearly loves her work and teaching . It was an absolute delight to spend time in her company with “quilty” friends.  We don’t often get the chance to do workshops with international visitors in Australia as we are considered to be too far away here.

imageThis was my feeble attempt to start a block design.

I can’t wait to continue to work on this over the Christmas holidays. I really enjoyed learning some new techniques, including my first bias binding to use in stems and it was a wonderful break from work and computers.

I hope you are all not too stressed with the lead-up to the holiday and I plan to be back soon.

Exhibition bliss

I’ve just come back from several days in Melbourne and saw two terrific exhibitions and withstood two days of torrential rain!

The first exhibition was Making the Australian Quilt 1800-1950 at the National Gallery of Victoria. As I’m a “modern quilter” I wasn’t expecting to totally love this show, but how wrong I was!  It was just stunning –  beautifully curated, and some of the quilts took my breath away, such as the one below.

This quilt was made by an unknown sailor on a voyage by ship form England to Australia in the 1890s.  It is absolutely beautiful and the workmanship was stunning, especially when you consider the circumstances of its making.

exhi038869-tiony-hexagon-quiltThen there was this one sewn by Prudence Jeffrey on board The Phoenix which sailed from Liverpool, England on 14 June 1857 and arrived in Melbourne on 26 November 1857. It is paper pieced and each hexagon is 1cm (.39 of an inch) in size. The stitches are exquisitely tiny.

There were over 80 exhibits and it was pleasing to see such a wide variety of styles on display.

exhi036910-red-embroidered-quilt

The Misses Hampson
who were active in Australia in early 20th century made The Westbury quilt (Sampler quilt) c. 1900–03 which is cotton (flannel) (embroidery and applique)
200.0 x 300.0 cm. It is hand embroidered with animals and scenes from life with matching adages and moral exhortations.

You can see the fine embroidery stitches in this close up.image

There were even quilts with cats in the border 🙂 . This beauty has 100 appliquéd cats and thirty -five appliquéd horses. It was created by Elizabeth Keen c. 1879 and consists of repeating blocks hand pieced over paper of squares and diamonds and made of cotton, silk and wool cloth. Elizabeth was a dressmaker and exhibited her quilts outside of the home. It seems that this quilt was exhibited at the Geelong Industrial and Juvenile Exhibition in 1879.image.jpeg

Then there were the Waggas which were rudimentary styles of Australian quilts. The term wagga was first used in the 1890s and refers to quilts, blankets and bedcoverings made from found materials such as grain bags and flour sacks and were associated with households experiencing poverty and hardship.  By the 1930s old clothing and woollen suiting swatches from salesman’s sample books were regularly used to make wagga quilts.

exhi039253-wagga-fraser

Agnes Isabella Fraser, Australia 1884-1956 Wagga 1930s – wool

The thriftiness and creativity of women knows no national boundaries and the wagga quilts reminded me of the much better known Gee’s Bend quilts of the USA, although they tend to be in brighter colours.

I also felt the quilts below  (c. 1920-1930s) reflected design sensibilities of Amish quilts, although I doubt that the quilters would have been aware of Amish designs at that time.  They also had a very “modern” aesthetic.

The book/catalogue from the exhibition is a treasure trove of historical information and details of styles and techniques, although I did find some of the colour plates disappointing compared to the quilts themselves. It includes a section on conserving quilts and  processes for revealing evidence of makers and their techniques.

It’s not too late to see the quilts, but you need to move fast as the show closes on 6th November.

As this has been a photo heavy post I’ll leave the 2nd exhibition until my next post.  Hope you are having a creative week.

I’ve been stitching

It’s amazing what can be achieved  over a long week-end and I’ve been very productive over the past two weeks and have finished both baby quilts which need to be gifted in early November.

imageI finished the wonky star quilt  which I called “Starry, Starry Night”. I  quilted around each square and then echo quilted around each wonky star. This was the first time I had tried to do this and was very pleased at how it turned out.imageI also love the frisky foxes fabric on the back which came from my stash.  I tend to buy a few fabrics which I think will work for baby quilts and keep them in my stash for unexpected events!

Details for “Starry, Starry Night”:

  • A variety of fabric from the stash for the star points.
  • Mostly a range of Kona solids for star centres and the border panels.
  • The main backing fabric of the foxes was Urban Zoologie by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman fabrics.
  • 43″ square

I had planned to make the second one as a medallion quilt with a print of city terrace houses as the centre with some wonky stars as the sky above.  After working on it and piecing a roadway  for the bottom, it just wasn’t working – so I abandoned it and started again.

After digging  through my stash I found two fabrics which I thought would work – and “Zebra Stripes” was born.

imageI really love how this came together and how the pop of the Tula Pink fabric really lifts the front.

I also think the back is pretty cool (I’m obviously a cat lover 🙂 ).image

Some details for Zebra Stripes:

  • Zebra fabric is Mini Zebras – Michael Miller fabrics
  • Top and bottom fabric band is  Crush in strawberry by Tula Pink
  • Backing fabric is Cats and Dots -Michael Miller fabrics
  • 44″ square

I’m now looking forward to a short trip to Melbourne on 20th October to see the Making the Australian Quilt Exhibition 1800-1950 at the National Gallery of Victoria. It’s the first time that many of the quilts have been exhibited and it’s great to see quilts getting the recognition they deserve in such a beautiful venue.  I’m sure a little fabric shopping will be fitted into the itinerary as well :).

Hoping you all have something interesting planned – happy stitching until next time.

I’ve gone all wonky!

I’ve had a wonky start to September. One baby quilt has been pieced and I’ve just started on the other.

The first one is all wonky stars on the front. It’s my first time making these and I really enjoyed piecing them.

I didn’t know when I started if the baby was a boy or girl so tried to stay gender neutral in colour and fabric selection.

When I finished piecing the stars the square measured 39″ which I thought was too small.  After pondering what to do I decided to add a solid border matching the centres of the stars. It’s now around 43″ square and I like the extra colour too.

imageThe back has been pieced so almost ready to start basting, quilting and binding.

I found out tonight however, that the other baby quilt has to be complete by 3rd November (yikes), so I’ve moved onto making it. Given the short time-frame I’ve decided on a simple medallion style which was also a good excuse (!) to buy Gwen Marston’s Liberated Medallion Quilts book😊.

The centre is printed houses so I’m adding a night sky with a couple of additional wonky stars .image

I hope to finish the top this week-end as working 50 hour weeks is not leaving much time for mid week stitching.

Hope all your stars are looking bright.