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!

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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.

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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

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.

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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

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.

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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.