Sunday, April 13, 2014

Do you Improv?

I have long been inspired by the incredible improvisational work by quilt artist Anna Williams and have been intrigued by the idea of sitting down at the sewing machine with nothing but scraps of fabric and a pair of scissors. I have tried improv quilting in the past with this small piece...

While the end product wasn't fabulous, I really loved the whole process of cutting with scissors, and stitching bits of fabric together and generally being inspired as I went along.

Many many months ago I received a beautiful parcel of sweet Oakshott Cottons called Impressions (thank you Michael and Lynne!).

I decided I wanted to use these delicious colours to make a larger improv quilt (click on photo to see closer).

The whole process was a lot of fun and very freeing. I'm pretty happy with the end result on this one too!

I really love seeing how other people create and make their quilts, so I thought it might be fun to show some 'step by step photo's on how I've made this improv quilt.

Over the next few weeks or so I will be showing how I started this quilt, how I put together some of the blocks, and the process I used to join all of the blocks together to make the quilt top.

So if you've never tried improv quilting before, maybe it's time to break out the scraps in your stash and have a go!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Trip and Bits and Pieces

There will be something more substantial on this blog soon I promise, but in the meantime, here a few instagram photo's I took while away in Sydney a week or so ago. I flew up there with a couple of gorgeous girls (Emma Treehouse Textiles and Deb 72 Derwents), our main goal being to visit a few fabric shops (of course!). We stayed near the Hyde Park Memorial and reflection pool which is so beautiful at night...

...and walked all over the place, which was just as well for all the amazing food we ate (including a brekky at Bill Grainger's yum!). First visit though was to Material Obsession, I do love that place. An hour or two spent there along with a little cash...!

Kathy Doughty's new book Adding Layers is a treat, full of inspiration and colour and energy, just like the woman herself!!! Alas she was away the day we were there, but all the staff at MO are so friendly and helpful we felt right at home. Then we were driven by a lovely friend I met in MO (Hi Jenna) over to visit Quiltsmith. Another hour or so and cash spent then onto lunch at 3pm!

The next day we were up and walking to a fabulous fabric find called Cloth Fabric. Wonderful screen printed designs on natural fabrics, rugs, bedlinen, art, etc kept us amused and delighted for a long while! I came home with this wonderful linen large flower print. This is a close up of one of the flowers, I will show more when I get to quilting it.

A must do trip to Manly on the ferry topped off the evening with a fabulous pizza dinner at Hugo's. I did get the usual tourist photo of the opera house on the way back, the moon overhead was a nice touch!

The next day was brekky at Bill's then back home again, these trips are always over too fast! 

Since then I've been doing some secret sewing which I can't show just yet, as well as working away on getting this beast quilted. I'm doing this totally on the machine. Because it has been hand paper pieced, I wanted to quilt it in a manner that it will not ever come apart, so the machine it is. Photo's soon hopefully.

As well as that I've now finished hand quilting all five long flower panels on this quilt....except I haven't had time to take a photograph, so this is an older pic!...

Now just the borders to be done! 

So that is me for now. Oh, except to say I am teaching one of my free motion classes at Treehouse Textiles in a few weeks (sat 26th April). There are two spots left if you have always wanted to learn how to quilt using the free motion technique. You can also expect a delicious morning tea and lunch, good company as well as a stunning view of the lake. See you there. xo

Monday, March 17, 2014

Shops and Shopping

As you know I love a certain shop in Melbourne (Gardenvale) going by the sweet name of Amitie! I have plenty to show from them at the moment. Firstly, some finished blocks from the Bring Me Flowers BOM...

These sweet blocks are going to make a beautiful quilted garden one day.

The good news about this BOM is that if you missed out on joining up, the pattern will be released in May, yay!

Next I had two fabric stash clubs arrive (do excuse me for photographing the fabrics amongst my coloured candle holders, I couldn't resist!!)....

The great thing about the stash clubs is receiving fabrics you may not normally choose. And I really like being able to see the fabrics in my hand rather than through a computer screen before I go and buy my favourites from Amitie!!!

And the Liberty Stash club...oh my there are many favourites amongst this lot.

Then my latest block for the above BOM arrived. Oh these are gorgeous....

So that's it from Amitie. The other shop I will be visiting this week is Material Sydney!! I'm off early tomorrow and can't wait to pop into Sydney for a couple of days. I will be back soon, hopefully with a little stash to show. xo

Friday, March 7, 2014

Cleaning out the Cobwebs...

...that have been slowly taking over this blog! You know how when you haven't done something for a while, it gets harder and harder to get back to it? So I'm taking a deep breath, and here goes!!! What has been going on for the past month? I will list it out under headings....

It was been soooo wonderful to have my hubby back! For three months over the Christmas break he was away on the high seas on a Navy ship (he is a navy Chaplain). I won't pretend that it was easy, three months is a long time, especially when he missed some significant days like Christmas, New Years, and a few birthdays including his own. Apart from that though, it was a worthwhile trip for him and he had some great experiences.

I love this photo of him in his navy uniform!!!

Lifestyle Change
As many of you know last year I began a program to learn how to change my very poor eating habits to eating a mainly plant based diet and I lost 17 kilos along the way. While hubby was away I'm afraid I slipped back into my old 'comfort eating' habits. I put a few of the kilo's back on, but more interestingly, the aches in my joints, the skin conditions that had cleared, and my poor sleeping all came back!! I am now renewed as far as changing to my better eating, which includes cutting out sugar, processed foods, meat, dairy and gluten (hubby enjoying this too). Our plan for this year is to cut these out of our diet at least 90 percent (except for processed sugar, cutting that out totally). So I am starting to feel better again thank goodness and am inspired to keep going and learn to make this a change for the rest of my life.

 Yummy vegie burger on spinach topped with avocado and organic eggs

While hubby was away I worked on a little courtyard garden, planting lots of herbs, vegies and flowers in pots, containers and baskets. We are so enjoying sitting in our little garden, watching the plants grow, and then picking from these to go into our lovely meals. There is something wonderful about cooking food you have grown yourself. It is incredibly satisfying.

Lately I have been playing with some gorgeous fabrics. I'm having fun with these wonderful Kaffe Fassett stripes...

And pulling out some lovely 1930's type prints....

Both of these are being used in projects I can't show just yet, but they are keeping my creativity alive. We are just so spoilt for fabric choices these days and I'm so grateful that I can have time playing with all this colour.

Some sewing I can show and I'm still working on slowly in the background are my beautiful Amitie bom Bring Me Flowers blocks. These blocks are so joyful to make and I have some finished blocks which I will show on my blog soon. In the meantime, I love this pic which shows the sweet old tray I found a couple of months ago which has been fabulous for keeping my current stitching organised....

I'm also trying to keep working on my Green Tea and Sweet Beans blocks...

These applique pieces are finger pressed and glued on, ready for stitching

This funny dog just keeps enriching our lives (she is a Groodle - poodle x golden retriever). She was fabulous company for me while hubby was away, though she really missed him and our oldest son who traveled to Japan for 5 weeks over Jan (he had a fabulous time there).

Well, I think the cobwebs are cleaned out for now. I will leave you with a photo of these pretty pink Dahlias, growing in one of the pots in our little courtyard...

I hope all is well with you? xo

Friday, February 7, 2014

Playing with Pixels!

My gorgeous friend Andi (PatchAndi) and her hubby have been thrilled to announce the opening of their wonderful new website lately called YouPatch, have you seen it? 

I do love a good pixel quilt, but could never be bothered to work out the maths behind making one for myself. Andi's new program does all the work for you! Of course, I had to go and have a play. 

Essentially, you choose the image you want to turn into a pixel quilt (Andi gives some great ideas as to what images work best), upload your image, and Andi's program pixelates it. But it doesn't stop there. You can then choose how many colours you want in your quilt (up to 15), how detailed you want it (the more detail the more pixels) and you can even recolour the pixels and change their position for yourself. You can imagine I spent a few hours playing the other day. I chose a sweet image of a daisy, here it is pixelated and ready for me to make it into a quilt....

Isn't it beautiful? Once you purchase the pattern (at a fabulous price) you get a wonderfully detailed pattern, breaking down the quilt into easily manageable blocks, great cutting instructions and even the names of the Kona cottons required to make the quilt. 

When I've made this one, I might be tempted to do an even more detailed one, I've always loved this photo of my son, looking rather like Doctor Who (the Matt Smith version)!

Andi herself has made a beautiful pixelated Marilyn Monroe...

Image from PatchAndi

Loving those colours Andi!!! You can see more of Marilyn here. So pop on over to You Patch and have a play for yourself. There is also a 20% discount on any patterns purchased for the next three days. I'm going to see what else I can pixelate up!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Finished Plus Quilt

This one was finished and gifted a few weeks ago.

A nice quick quilt for a gorgeous new niece.

The quilting was done in straight lines, back and forth across each cross, changing the direction as I traveled across the quilt. I added the arrows to show what I mean!...(click on photo to see more detail)

I really like the back, using up some older fabric ranges I had sitting in my cupboard.

The binding was a nice dark navy with a lime green ikat dot. Yummy.

I love the rich colours in these fabrics. I'm sure Imogen will enjoy her new quilt.

Talking of colour I thought I'd show my sweet candle stick holders full of colour I found recently. Aren't they fun? If you want to see more on colour, I love the post Kathy Doughty put up this morning on colour very interesting reading.

Monday, January 13, 2014

To Quote Winnie the Pooh...

...."Rivers know this:
there is no hurry.
We shall get there some day."

I love this quote, and I feel it is particularly apt for my Flower Garden Quilt...

This quilt will be finished one day, but in the meantime I am actually still enjoying the task of hand quilting it in straight lines 1/4 inch apart. 

This quilt began back in 2011 here.

I started the hand quilting on it in June last year. Using six different coloured perle 8 threads and using a crease marker to mark my 1/4 quilting lines (here). 

I have now quilted over four of the five long flower panels, so only one long panel and the borders to go yay!

The quilt is becoming so textural with the heavy hand quilting, I just adore the feel of it. You can really see the stitching on the back.

I may not get much achieved over summer...who wants to sit under a hot quilt on a hot day?! 
But, it will get finished eventually. 

Do you have long term project that just keeps bubbling along slowly in the background?