Sewjo is back

After being missing in action for quite a while my sewjo has recently returned. I think this has been partly due to necessity – a new baby needed a quilt and my work clothes wardrobe was looking rather depleted.  Whatever the reason, I’m glad it’s back.

These are some of my recent makes.

A quilttop for new baby Samuel which will be finished over the Christmas break. His parents are originally from Colombia and they requested the colours of the Colombian flag – hence the colour choices.  I made this up as I went along and I’m quite pleased with the result.Samuel's quilt

AG top

 

I drafted a pattern for this top from one in my wardrobe and made a few alterations such as lengthening the sleeve and adding side vents.  I used some Alison Glass cotton which sits well on the body. I have received compliments each time I’ve worn it, so I count that as a success. Plus it’s the first time I have drafted my own pattern and perfected a side vent –  some new skills have been added to my repertoire.

 

The next project was a Santa sack for my workplace secret Santa gift giving.  They didn’t have one and of course I volunteered to make one.  I didn’t want to mimic the northern hemisphere – it is very hot in Australia at Christmas, so I chose some Alexander Henry fabric which is more in tune with the bright colours of an Australian summer.

 

Each side is is different but from the same range.  It will get some use during the year as a quilt WIP bag.

Christmas tree

My latest project  finished last night is this improv Christmas tree wall hanging (approx fat-quarter in size). I live in an apartment and don’t have much room for a real tree, plus “the boys” Pepe and Cosmo, would probably tear it to pieces anyway. This  “tree” is about to be hung on the wall above my tv unit bench and the gifts will be placed underneath.

I just improvised  as I went along. I fused the green strips onto the background fabric and then zig-zagged the edges as a QAYG method. The red balls are beads that I hand stitched.

My new skill this time was making a hanging sleeve and it’s my first ever mini!

I have more making plans for this week so until next time – enjoy stitching and making.  Keep calm and eat cake!

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Arty outings

After a winter of discontent (with apologies to Shakespeare) which involved illness, hospital stays and two deaths of those close to me, I’m starting to feel almost human again, if not my old self.

Snuggle boys

Cosmo and Pepe have been my constant and loving companions through all my trials and tribulations. They also love quilts!

I would have been completely lost without them. The healing power of animals always is often underestimated in my view.

Very little stitching has been happening – I’m not exactly sure why, but I seem unable to make decisions about fabric and colours – it just seems to require energy that I have not yet regained.  I’m hopeful that it will return soon!

I have however been out and about to see some textiles, quilts and other art.

Processed with MOLDIVDenise Schmidt was in Australia for a series of workshops in  September and I attended a display of her quilts and a lecture.  It is always quite fascinating to discover where we find our inspiration for our creative pursuits.

My next outing was to an exhibition of the work by final year textile students of the Art and Design faculty of the University of New South Wales which has an exchange program for students to go to India to learn dying and block printing techniques.

Students develop designs and then work with master block printers Dr Ishmael Kshatriyas and Sufiyan Khartoum in Ajrakhpur, Kutch, India. As you can see some fabulous work resulted from these collaborations. These were all yardage of several yards and the precision of the printing was incredible.

The exhibition was held during the inaugural Sydney Craft Week which was also the occasion of a small quilt show in Mosman exhibiting the works of the Barn Quilters.

Mosman quilt 1

 

 

I was taken with this quilt by Sue Miller of a Sassafras Lane Design called Arcadia Avenue.

It was Sue’s first foundation paper pieced quilt and she did a fabulous job. Mosman close up

CH Steps

 

 

I was also struck by how the quilting can influence the look of the piecing in this quilt called Fields of Gold by Sue Rogerson.

 

 

 

 

 

CH steps detail

 

It is a Courthouse Steps block which is not immediately evident because the eye first focuses on the hand quilting.

 

 

 

My last outing was to the wonderful annual outdoor sculpture exhibition called Sculpture by the Sea which is located on a beachside walk between two of our beautiful beaches – Bondi and Tamarama.  It always attracts huge crowds and this year I was fortunate enough to get tickets to a twilight preview which was just lovely.  These were some of my favourites.SBS3

I’m off to Sydney’s Modern Quilt Guild show this week-end (with quilts from around Australia) which should be fun. I’m doing a workshop on bias applique so that I can add  this to my repertoire of quilty skills.

I’ll keep you posted with some photos shortly.

Slow or no stitching

Unfortunately there has been very little stitching or creative activity happening as I have been experiencing prolonged illness over the last 3 months.  The good news however, is that after a proper diagnoses of the problem, and now receiving correct treatment,  I’m starting to feel better and hope to be stitching again soon.

I have managed to make some fleecy rugs for our local asylum seekers centre – adding satin bindings and a little machine blanket stitch applique, which wasn’t too taxing and will be delivering these this week.

My only recent ‘quilty’ outing was to the annual state Quilt Show in late June. As usual there was a stunning array of quilts on display. There seemed to be more applique this year and slightly more ‘modern’ fabrics and colours.

These were a few of my  favourites.

Dress CodeI just loved this quilt DRESS CODE by Alan R Tremain  – both for its precision and skill and for the cleverness of the design and the pun.

FlowThis one took my eye because of the colours and striped and curved piecing – FLOW – PARCHED LAND by Margaret McDonald  and Susan Campbell.

Inside OutCatherine Butterworth’s FROM THE INSIDE OUT was a stunner – so many things to admire here – the use of fabric, the piecing, the applique and the quilting – just beautiful!

Lastly my quilting group’s (SydModSquad)  entry in the show.  It was designed by Selena, one of our members who pieced the centre, and then we each pieced two sides.ModSquad Quilt 2017

Freemotion catI also had the pleasure in June of a one-day workshop with British quilter Janet Clare who creates beautiful whimsical collage quilts. It was my first attempt at sketching using a sewing machine – this is my rather abstract cat.

I hope to get a chance to practice these skills again soon as it was rather fun (and I definitely need more practice) – not to mention the luscious morning tea!

Glasseses

 

I have managed to make one small thing – I need glasses for reading and detailed work, but do not need to wear them all the time.  I am forever getting them in and out of my bag when I’m shopping, at quilt shows or when travelling, so I decided to make myself a small quilted pouch that I can wear around my neck for ready access to them.  It has worked a treat and now planning on making a brightly coloured one to wear around at home.

 

The shortest days of winter are now over – we have been lucky as the weather has been mild and I’m looking forward to a creative Spring. Hope all is well in your world.

 

 

Quilty travels

Time has flown again and it’s time to do a catch up on my recent quilty travels.  In late April I went down to Melbourne to the Australasian Quilt Convention.  It’s a four-day event which combines workshops, quilt exhibits and social events.  It’s the 2nd time I have attended and I think it might become an annual pilgrimage.

I did a one day Studio Practice workshop with Luke Haynes.  It was a delightful day which pushed my creativity to the limit which is just what I wanted.  There was also an exhibit of some of Luke’s quilts which are more stunning in “real life” than images on screen.  I also attended his lecture in the evening which was entertaining (he has a great sense of humour and cheeky grin) and insightful in terms of how far we can push our creative boundaries.IMG_5080.JPG

The quilt exhibit included some quilts  from Mexico, the best of Australia quilts from annual shows and quilts of Tula Pink and Elizabeth Hartman who was also over for the Convention.  All in all a thoroughly enjoyable visit.

I then took the train down to Geelong to visit a friend who has recently retired – trying to keep my envy in check!  We caught up on all our news and walked along the foreshore to a delicious seafood lunch. I loved the cheerful artworks along the promenade.IMG_5127

Then in the last week in April I went on a day a trip with quilty friends across the Blue Mountains west of Sydney to go to an exhibit of Brigitte Giblin’s quilts called Quilts in the Shearing Shed, which as the name says, was actually in a shearing shed. All funds raised by the event were donated the local Bush Fire Brigade.

There was a great turnout and some wonderful quilts as you can see below.  I loved all the colour and admired the skill in the piecing and fabric choices.IMG_5173

My EPP project of Brigitte’s Tessellations pattern is slowly progressing, although I keep dithering about fabric choices.  I seem fine until I get to the last round of pieces and then am struck by indecision.  I have decided to just press on and do the middle rounds of each block and then make some decisions when I place them all on my design wall.

On the way down the mountains we stopped in to see the annual Springwood Quilt Show.  The show is always a mixture of the quilts of semi-professionals and hobbists like myself.

My favourite in the show was this one by Michelle Shiels. The fussy cutting and use of colour were just superb.

All in all I think I must have seen over 500 hundred quilts in a 3 week period – tons of inspiration and ideas for future making.

The state NSW Quilt Show is on later this month and I think that will be the last show for me for the year.  It will be time to stop looking and to start stitching.

Apart from stitching my EPP project I enjoyed making this cushion for a young work colleague who is a dog-lover, but who also loves  seeing photos of my fluffy feline companions. I’m pleased to say she loved it and I learnt how to do a side zipper and pompom binding in the process.  As anyone else noticed how pompoms are suddenly back in vogue again?  Everything old becomes new again.IMG_5265

On a final note I treated myself to a present after recently suffering another bout of pneumonia and have booked in to a one day workshop later this month with British quilter/maker Janet Clare. I’m hoping to make a small collage of Cosmo and Pepe or at the very least improve my applique skills.

Til next time – be well, enjoy making and stay safe in this troubled world of ours.

 

It’s been a long time!

Time has flown again  – it has become far too easy to do a quick Instagram post rather than taking the time to write a blog post.  However, here’s an update on what’s been happening.

On the stitching front I’ve been doing some garment sewing and enjoying getting back into that again.  So far this year I have made two tunics, a pair of shorts and a pair of linen pants. This is my latest effort – a dress combining a medium weight linen top with a contrast bottom of Anna Maria Horner cotton on the bottom.Processed with MOLDIV

I have even decided to improve my fitting skills and have enrolled in a one-day course in amending commercial patterns to fit your body shape.  I have short arms and a short length between neck and shoulder which always seems to cause problems with sleeves and necklines, so I hope the course will help me remedy that.

More babies keep arriving for my young work colleagues and I quickly made this baby quilt for a new baby girl who has a Portuguese heritage – what better fabric than Porto from Cotton and Steel!

Processed with MOLDIV

Another project was my contribution to a group quilt that our SydModSquad Group is entering into the Sydney Quilt show mid year. We all made a border for a medallion quilt and used a rainbow colour scheme. I used small floral fabric for one size and small polka dots for the other.

Processed with MOLDIV

I’ve also joined a new craft group which meets one night a week in a lovely store/workshop space called The Happen Store.   We are a group of 12 and diverse in terms of age and craft interests.  It’s always a fun night with cake and wine to share and lots of laughter. I’ve mainly been doing some EPP handwork for a Tessellations Quilt by Brigitte Giblin which I hope to finish by the end of the year.IMG_4853

Last but not least, a young fellow cat lover had a birthday last weekend and I whipped up a quick pair of pillowcases for her as a gift.IMG_4939

On the home front I have almost finished a bathroom upgrade which has kept me poor and stressed , but it it almost done and is a vast improvement.

IMG_4823Cosmo and Pepe keep me entertained as always, with lots of fluffy cuddles all round, although it is hard to get up and go to work when this is the view at the end of my bed :).

I hope you are having a good start to the year … til next time.

Lois