Sunday, 29 July 2007

Quiet weekend

I haven't achieved very much in the workroom this weekend. Next Tuesday is David's birthday so we went out for lunch with his mum on Saturday to celebrate, and then on to Fagan Park, a big public park at Galston. I took lots of photos of interesting textures and shapes for future reference.

I have made a little progress on the scarf, which I'm told by Erica I should be calling a wrap or a shawl. It's 28in wide so I guess it's more than a scarf. Slowly, slowly....

I've also been painting. I wanted to try stitching, then painting, as I usually do things the other way around. I am playing around with images of Marguerite daisies for a swap. I tried a double and a single, free-motion stitched and then painted. This what they look like:
The single one and...
...the double one

They are rather uneven because I drew the shape with the machine needle. As an experiment, they were fairly successful and I learnt a lot, though the ones for the swap will look a little different. I also painted the background fabric for the swap pages, and a few other pieces that might or might not get used for the same swap.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Challenge quilts

OK, here are some others of the 2007 challenge group, posted with permission.
Maggie's "I wish I had a dog" quilt:

Lyn's quilt:

Robbie's quilt:

Kathryn's quilt:

Pennie's quilt:

Aren't they a clever bunch?

Pennie is currently setting up a blog for the past challenges, which you can visit at She's up to about 2004 now!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Those challenge pieces

So many people asked me about the challenge pieces that some of the members of the challenge have kindly allowed me to share their work here. Not all of them have blogs themselves and access to our photo files is limited to group members. Hopefully one day soon the group will have its own blog.

Most people in the group were less than thrilled with the fabrics chosen this year, and it was a real struggle for some to make anything at all!
Brenda's block, which she has promised to turn into a quilt by next year

Donna's stunning jacket....

And the back!

Michelle's amazing woven pieces, beautifully framed

Stephanie's vest....

...and the back.

Loz's trip around the world, with a clever map print on the back.

Stay tuned for more tomorrow!

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Aren't we lucky?

I’ve had a great weekend, socialising with like-minded people. All are people I’ve met through the Southern Cross Quilters list, the original and best of the Down Under quilting lists. That list has given me so much over the years, including some great friendships. We're so fortunate to live in a time when communication is so simple. I can chat to people across Australia and across the world, and share ideas and techniques so easily. But most of all, I can develop relationships with people who are interested in the same things as I am but don't happen to live in my backyard. Even after more than a decade on the net, it still blows me away!

First was the great unveiling of the challenge quilts. I ran out of time to turn mine into a quilt (is anyone surprised?) but I can finally show you the top.
I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out. (It actually isn't green at all, it's black red and cream, but it seems to have been a difficult quilt to photograph today.) We only had 1/8 metre of each fabric and it was very hard to buy more, but happily we could add whatever fabrics we liked to those original fabrics. I really love the way mine has turned out. I’m afraid there’s no publicly accessible link to show you what the other members of this challenge group did with the fabrics, so you'll just have to take my word for it that they were all incredibly different and very striking.

Then we celebrated the Significant Birthday of my friend Sharon with great enthusiasm. The strangest part of the evening was the way her quilting friends, from three different groups, all congregated on the one table. Quilters must just recognise one another as kindred spirits. (When do we get to the funny handshake?)

So I’ve been partying rather than stitching this weekend. It’s also been a time of rationalisation. I’ve finally recognised that a) things take twice as long as I anticipate and b) I can’t do everything I’d like to do. Simple, isn’t it? You’d wonder why it took so long for me to realise. So, in the second half of the year, I am cutting back on my expectations, and trying to focus on specific things I’d like to get finished. So I probably won’t be making as many postcards and small pieces, though I have remembered to incorporate some playtime into my schedule, something I’ve been conspicuously without for some months. We’ll see how that goes!

Monday, 16 July 2007

Coming up from under

I’ve been a little swamped by life this month. Happily, the computer is back up and running sweetly, and I can show you the little I’ve achieved this month.

First, the quilt I can’t show you is a finished top. I thought, for all of about five seconds, of pinning it for quilting, but then I calculated I had about two hours this week to devote to quilting it, and the madness passed. I will show you a photo after the unveiling next Sunday.

Looking back over the years I’ve been doing this quilt challenge has made me consider yet again how effectively (or not) I work. I started doing these challenges in 2000, so this is the eighth year for me (the original pair of challengers have done nine). So far the tally is four finished items and four unfinished, on an alternating basis. So, it suggests I really only have one finished quilting project in me every two years! Maybe I ought to do the challenge just every second year?

However, more cheerfully, I have finished some projects! Remember the yarn I showed you a photo of back in June? Well here it is as a jumper. I still love the colour! Shame about the model but one can’t have everything!

Not only that but I have finished the jacket I cut out in February as an autumn garment. Well it will be great for spring! It goes deliciously with a lot of colours I wear – burgundy, pink, cocoa. It wasn’t difficult to make, but it kept getting pushed aside. I’m so pleased at how well the stripes matched, thanks to very good instructions in Power Sewing Step by Step, by Sandra Betzina. My next plan is to make some winter pants. I’ve drafted a pattern from scratch this time, and plan to make a toile first, before I cut into my treasured wool yardage.

And do you remember that scarf design? I’ve begun stitching it, and this is what it looks like so far.
The shine is from the layer of Romeo onto which I traced my design. The scarf fabric is very soft, so I’ve had to hoop the design for stitching, which I really hate doing. But the results are worth it. The scarf was a free giveaway from the shopping centre on Mother’s Day 2006. I just know I’m going to love it so much better with this embellishment!

Sunday, 8 July 2007

A sad absence...

.. of photos anyway. My computer is being reconstructed as we speak and this rather elderly laptop doesn't have the graphics capability to allow upload of photos. So you'll have to wait a little while to see what I've been up to.

I've not been entirely idle, though. More stitching has been done on Like Honey from the Rock, though there is still a daunting amount of stitching to do. I'm putting the third (and final) borders onto the Secret Quilt, which I'll photograph for you after the 21st, the day of the great unveiling. You can see the fabrics for the challenge on Rooruu's blog. I had hoped to have it finished completely but I don't think I'll have it quilted in a fortnight. Well, we'll see.

The scarf motif I showed you before has been traced onto Romeo and one end has been pinned ready for stitch. I might start that this afternoon. I've also just begun a stitched piece for the DBDU monthly challenge, which is Dream Landscapes. I'm actually cheating a bit as it's one of the images I printed when I was doing the Forest postcard, but I printed it back them because I knew I would want to stitch it sometime soon. I haven't given a lot of thought to the Like Minded Threads challenges this month - there are a lot of deadlines this month! I'd really like to do something for them this month. As always, there's more ideas than time!

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Sydney Quilt Show

I spent two days last week at the Sydney Quilt Show, and I think my brain is in overload. So many incredible quilts! I was blown away by the quality of the work. There were spectacular quilts that did not win a single prize, that in past years would have been a sure thing. I scribbled notes all over my program - clever ideas I'd like to try out, interesting approaches that I admired. And I was thrilled to see my friends Lisa Walton and Nic Bridges among the prizewinners. Fantastic work, girls!
You can see the winners at

An experiment in layers

Before the Walls of Rome 8inx 10in
This weekend, I finished a challenge for Design Bytes Down Under that I've been playing around with for a few weeks. It's called Before the Walls of Rome and it's based on photos we took of the ancient walls surrounding Rome. It always intrigues me that so much history has taken place there. Enemies have camped before the walls of Rome from the late Roman Republic right through until gunpowder made city walls redundant. The images of the walls taken from various stages of Roman history are superimposed over each other, with traces of the past showing through. I wanted to work with sheers, and see how I could suggest shapes while playing with the layers. I'm not 100% happy with it but it's an idea I think I'll want to revisit.