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

A finish and a happy recipient

Sydney has finally had some winter weather weather over the past weeks, all the better for sewing (too little), eating (too much) and curling up with “the boys” (impossible to avoid).

Front of Sal's quiltI did finish the birthday/retirement quilt for a colleague that was a joint project of my friend Anne and I.  We got together after work on an assembly line for a few evenings, one cutting and one sewing.

It was pieced from jelly rolls and a pattern from a library book which has long since been returned, so unfortunately I can’t credit the pattern maker.  Although it was a different style to my normal quilting I really loved the way the white stars pop!  I also added two borders to make it slightly bigger which I also think enhanced the overall look of the front.

Back of Sal quilt

 

 

I just improv pieced the back.

I even made a quilt bag for future storage and it saved on wrapping paper. Our colleague really loved it and shed a joyful tear when she received it.  It’s always such a pleasure gifting quilts.

Cosmo on sal's quilt

 

Of course “the boys” had to lend a paw in the process so I took some photos which were also passed on as part of the gift.

pepes Sal quilt

Group

 

The annual state Craft and Quilt Fair was held last week and my modern quilting group won a prize for our group quilt this year which has spurred us on to to designing our next group project. We raffle the group quilts that we do for the Fair each year and then donate the proceeds to a women’s charity.

Scrap quilt

 

 

 

I’ve also taken on a role of coordinating making charity quilts from our combined scraps.  I suggested we make the first one as a quarter log cabin. We finished nine blocks yesterday and have now done 20 blocks.

Strips

 

 

 

I cut the strips before our get-togethers  and then we each do some charity quilt sewing for 30 minutes at our monthly meeting. Five more blocks to go before I piece the top together.

More on the Fair at my next post.

One thing led to another

I don’t know about you but I sometimes find that I set out on a creative endeavour with one intent and end up heading in quite a different direction.  This happened last week-end in the Shimmering Triangles workshop I did with Jenny Bowker at the Australasian Quilt Convention (AQC) in Melbourne.

Shimmering Triangles Quilt by Jenny Bowker

Jenny was a wonderful teacher, very patient and giving of her time and expertise.  She explained that the idea for this quilt pattern came to her after looking at the ripples on the surface of water and of seeing that there was a light side and a dark side of each ripple which created the overall effect of shimmering water. You can see more of her quilts here.  A wonderfully talented person.

Well I started off following the instructions carefully,  and intently cut small triangles and stitched them into 4 patch blocks, but I wasn’t loving the end result.

Ist attempt v2I left the workshop on Saturday night feeling very dispirited.  Colour is my THING and I didn’t think it was working. In particular I didn’t like the bottom right hand corner with the green and orange paisley.

On Sunday morning I decided that I wasn’t going to continue if I didn’t like what I was making, so I took the radical step (for me anyway) of removing most of the work I had done on Saturday and started some new blocks.

2nd attempt V2

These didn’t shimmer because I was using fabrics of similar scale and value, but I really loved the way the blocks started to flow into each other.  Jenny  came over and advised me to use more contrast, but I pressed on as before – being a rebel student.  While the other 19 participants kept on with contrasting light and dark fabrics I continued on creating my “flow” effect.

 

At the end of the day Jenny came over and sat and examined my work on the design wall and then she said “…you know you have made the most interesting quilt in the class. It isn’t shimmering but you have created a fabric watercolour...”. Needless to say I was extremely chuffed!

Final Workshop Shimmer

 

I usually don’t quilt with many prints, my preferred style is big and bold with lots of solids which is why I decided to do the class  as I wanted to learn more about mixing prints together and to gain more confidence in cutting up beautiful printed fabric.  I learnt a lot and ended up really enjoying the process.  I had attended a fun lecture by Victoria Findlay Wolfe on Friday night (she was a special guest and teacher at AQC) and one of her comments stayed with me – “…don’t worry, its only fabric, you can get more!

I’m not sure I will continue to make a finished quilt from this, if I do I will change the big orange with pink leaf on the left because although I love it, it is too prominent for the effect I want to create.  Even if I don’t finish this WIP I am really keen to use the effect in different ways and have been pulling out printed fabrics since I got home and looking at them in an entirely new way.

I said to a quilter friend this morning – I think I’m now a quilter, because I now have at least 4 WIPS and many more ideas I can’t wait to try! Oh joy, oh bliss.

I hope all is well in your world – Australia is heading to an election in July and I’m over all the politics already – I feel for all my USA quilty friends – your presidential campaigns seem never-ending!

Quilty fun in Melbourne

I’m down in Melbourne for the Australasian Quilt Convention for the first time. I’m doing a 2 day workshop with Jenny Bowker on the week-end and spent today visiting fabric shops and stalls at the show.

imageI paid a visit this morning to Amitie Textiles, the home of Jen Kingwell designs, and they kindly let me take some pics of her quilts. They are not really my taste but I admire her skill, handwork and flair with colour and mixing fabrics.

After a leisurely lunch it was off to the Quilt Convention. Taking a cue from the above quilts and my recent foray into EPP  I bought a pattern  called Circle of Sisters by Karen Styles of Sommerset Designs. Karen was inspired by a vintage quilt from her private collection and created a design which can be hand or machine pieced.

imageKaren kindly agreed to me taking some photos of her version. I seem to be developing a thing for stars! This will need to be a future project while I finish my current WIPs. I won’t use reproduction fabrics but haven’t decided on colours yet.