Sunday, 28 December 2014

Daughter's Christmas Quilt

I've made a number of kangaroo wall quilts for friends over the last few years but daughter Stephanie has complained that I haven't made one for her. So for Christmas I used Helen Godden's pattern to make a quilt substituting lizards for kangaroos.
I think Steph likes it...

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Quilting Addiction

Quilting the DJ seemed like a lengthy process when I started  four weeks ago but so far it has been sheer pleasure! Each block is so small that it can be quilted in a spare moment before dinner is ready or when stopping for a mid morning cup of coffee. As long as the light is good I can stitch when watching TV in the evening - if JT doesn't want to watch Scandinavian sub-titled detective dramas of course...

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Book cover

Needed something handmade for a secret Santa gift last week and decided to make a book cover - easy to make but looks great! I took the instructions from friend Sheila's Pieces of Pye blog with permission...

Monday, 8 December 2014

Blood Lines

My guild challenge for 2014 has been on display at our Christmas parties and so I can now post about my entry. The theme was 'Vessels' which took me back to my school biology lessons and capillaries sending blood around the body. I wanted to make the vessels look three dimensional and translucent so overlaid them with organza which gave a shiny, glossy effect.The platelets themselves were cut from some  fabric I hand dyed years ago which gives a rounded look to the cells.
I'm very happy with the result!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

It's in the hoop!

First two blocks quilted - only another 223 to go plus 56 plain triangles. So if I do one block a day I'll need 40 weeks or 10 months to get it finished. Hope my math is wrong...see you next September!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Triangles at the Ready

The colourwash effect is better when the triangles are added... I didn't plan the colours when piecing the blocks, as I just used any liberty fabric I could get my hands on, so I'm pleased that it's turned out so well. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Shoalwater and Sashings

Just returned from a busy committee retreat at beautiful shoalwater bay. It was supposed to be a relaxing weekend but I quickly focused on putting my DJ blocks together and sat sewing at every opportunity. It did feel a bit like a race to the finish as I knew that I had to knuckle down if I wanted to get it all together. Thankfully I managed to stitch the last seam just before our final lunch. I'm very happy with the way it has turned out and am looking forward to adding those pesky triangles...

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Retreat Here I Come!

I'm one of those people who prepare a project to take away on a retreat or holiday, then get so enthusiastic about it that I work on it before I even set off!
My plan this time was to take all my Dear Jane blocks to an upcoming retreat in the hope that I would get the whole top put together. The blocks and triangles have been sitting around in my sewing room for ages waiting to be organised into a pleasing design but I've put it off because I was worried that the blocks would prove tricky to fit together. Even though I'd hand pieced them as carefully as possible, some blocks were a bit mis-shaped or slightly smaller than the required 4 & 1/2". So the prospect of working on them at the retreat nudged me to get them ready. Of course I had to do a few practice sections and that's when I got carried away...
The blocks looked so much better with the sashings attached that I couldn't stop and now have put almost half the blocks together...
Now I must be strong and leave everything alone till I get to Shoalwater!

Saturday, 18 October 2014


Look what happens when you use up those left over dyes from a workshop...

After clearing up from the CQG workshop last week some of us had small amounts of dye left in our jars. Not wanting to waste anything we swopped jars to take home, intending to use the left over dye later. My jars just sat in the sink waiting to be used and I didn't get round to it. I was just about to wash them out when I decided to toss some white fabric into a tray and sloshed the dye around on the top followed by the salt and soda. I squidged the fabric and didn't mix up the colours and here's the result. It's amazing what turns out when you are not trying...glad I didn't throw it away now!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sewing Caddy

What to do with my hand dyed fabric? I've wanted to have a go at the quick grid piecing technique for ages and also to make a sewing caddy which a friend had made recently. It opens up nice and wide for easy access to sewing equipment and so I decided to put the two things together. I used a dressmaker's cardboard mat for the grid rather than using the expensive ready gridded iron-on interfacing. It allows you to lay out the cut squares correctly on the interfacing, ready to iron.

1. Lay the iron-on interfacing shiny side up on top of the dressmaker's mat (remembering this size includes seam allowances so finished block will shrink down).
2. Cut fabric squares slightly smaller than the grid size (I used a 2" grid) and lay onto the interfacing using the grid on the mat as a guide. Don't use a rotary cutting mat as this will be ironed on.
3. Iron fabric in place using a silicone mat or greaseproof paper to avoid a sticky iron.

4. Fold interfacing between first row of squares and sew a 1/4" seam. Continue with all the rows across.
5. Snip down to the stitch line between each square and press seams in opposite directions.
6. Fold interfacing in the opposite direction to sew all downward seams.
7. Press and trim edges. Quilt.

The bag was made by adding a zip to opposite sides of the square, then seaming the lower edge across the zip end and the top side seamed in the other direction.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Dyeing Delight

Had a very enjoyable day yesterday at the Contemporary Quilt Group. We had a workshop on using Procion dyes and managed to come home with 11 bags of cotton fabric pieces in a lovely range between two colours. Considering we numbered almost 30 'dyers' we avoided making too much mess!

Now we have to think how to use them in our next month's challenge...

The brighter set are the main fabrics with the paler second set being the fabrics added later to make use of the remaining dye. The gradations are clearer than in the photos.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

APQ vol 24 no 3

I promise this is the last time ...but I'm featured in the 'Inside the Quilter's Studio' section of the AP&Q magazine this month. They say you wait ages for a bus and then two come at once!

Monday, 22 September 2014

DUQ issue 166

I'm happy to have made it into a quilting magazine at last - 'Down Under Quilts' issue 166 in the 'Meet a Blogger' section if you want to rush out and buy a copy. There's also a good spread of photos from QuiltWest 2014 too ...


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Texas Ugly

The Contemporary Quilt Group set a challenge this month for us to use an 'ugly' fabric in our 12" x 12" quilts. We had to use a red fabric which had 'Texas'  printed across it but it was impossible to use the red without the lettering appearing, so I decided to use this as a logo for my T shirts on the washing line!

It's always good fun to see what everyone else comes up with each month.

Saturday, 20 September 2014


I've wanted to make a quilted portrait for a while and decided to have a go a few days ago using a photo of my son, Alex. I used a free ipad app called 'Poster Me' which changed the photo into four layers that I could enlarge, print and then trace onto Vliesofix.
It was an easy process and the advantage of using a free app is that it is very simple and easy to use for a first attempt.
I'm very happy with the result and it actually looks like Alex!

I'm also enjoying free motion quilting and each time it gets easier!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Dear Jane Layout

This is the most tricky part of the Dear Jane experience!

I want to lay out the blocks to give a colour wash effect but as I didn't choose the colours in any order when making the blocks, I'm now stuck with a real mix of values and colours. 

Laying out all the actual blocks for any length of time on the floor is impossible in a busy household and my design wall isn't big enough, so I decided to take colour photos of all the blocks, triangles and plain triangles. I cut these out and now I have a box of paper DJs to play with at my leisure!
The fact that the colour is not as bold on the paper DJs is a plus, as I can see the values and contrasts rather than the colours. As you can see I need to play around with the layout over the next week or so to get it right...


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Dear Jane Triangles 46-50

Only 2 triangles to go but I keep forgetting I need to do the corner blocks!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Dear Jane 41-45

45 triangles done. I ran out of inspiration when drafting new triangles, so threw down a challenge for my quilting friends. I gave them a triangle template, a ruler, pencils and other misc shapes and told them to start designing! I don't think they believed I would actually use their designs and that I could manage a particularily tricky one that friend Helen gave me as a way of getting her own back!

I've actually pieced 47 triangles with the remainder cut out and ready to go. The end is in sight!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Kaffe Bed Runner

Forgot to post a photo of my finished Kaffe bed runner quilt. I love it and enjoyed getting away from the gentle liberty fabrics to something very different. I also had fun with the all over quilting design that I took from a Leah Day video - 'lollipops'.

Dear Jane Triangles 31- 35

Another 5 triangles. I've really enjoyed making my own designs and playing with the patterns. Some are rather wacky but that was what made the original DJ quilt so unique. Have borrowed one pattern (far right) from Granny Maud's Girl who is hot on my heels in the triangle race!
Now I just want to get the sashings and borders together as I can see the end in sight. Then onto the best bit - quilting.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Getting there!

Here are the thirty border blocks so far. Although the triangles are on my design wall so I can drool over them, a friend said they would make a gorgeous quilt just as they are. Maybe that will be my next quilt, if I can't stop sewing triangles!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Dear Jane Triangles 21-26

Another 6 triangles which takes me to the halfway point (52 needed in total)! Apart from the first few triangles I've been drafting my own patterns or simplifying the originals. I particularly like the streak of lightening...

Saturday, 14 June 2014

New Work Station

I'm really pleased with my new work station. I originally had a small wooden set of drawers with a glass top sitting on it but:

1. There wasn't enough drawer space
2. The drawers were hard to open
3. The cutting area was too low.

So off to Ikea to buy more drawer space and to have a thinking session. 
I found the ideal six drawer cupboard easily but it was too low. Then I had the idea of buying six strong cylindrical storage jars of the right size to use as 'legs' to support my glass top. This has worked perfectly, giving me the correct working height for cutting and an extra space between the glass and the drawers for storing my ironing pad, extra cutting mats and all my rolls of paper, vlisofix, etc. 
A win win situation!

So am all set up to cut out more DJ triangle blocks...

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Dear Jane Triangles 15

Have got my DJ mojo back and over the last week can total fifteen triangles, which means more than one side's worth! They are easier and quicker to make than the squares and, as I cut out 5-10 at a time, I can pick up and sew them anywhere. Luckily the French Open (tennis) has been on TV and I can do at least one seam between points... or about one triangle per set. Wimbledon is in a couple of weeks so I should get the whole lot sewn by the end of the tournament!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Serendipity Circles

Forgot to say that I had a fun day at Brenda Gael Smith's workshop 'Serendipity Circles' when she came to  Perth in May to Judge the QuiltWest exhibition. She was a great teacher and most of us had produced a quilt top by the end of the day. My offering is the bright orange one. So good to do something that didn't require too much deliberation - just had a happy time playing with fabric and cutting lots of wacky circles!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Dear Jane Triangles

Ok, the race is on again Granny Maud's Girl... I have been busy getting myself back to drafting and cutting out some triangles. I've only sewn four but once I get into the rhythm I won't be able to stop!
I'm also planning on drafting some new triangles as I'm not keen on some of the original ones.
Being an organised person I've also worked out a good way to keep these prepared pieces ready for stitching...

Originally, when I cut out the squares, I put each block into a zip lock bag with a picture of the block inside so that I would know how to put the jigsaw back together again.
 But to avoid having to have the book or the triangle picture on hand I decided to put each triangle's fabric pieces in the correct place on a white A4 sheet of paper which I then slipped inside a plastic folder. Somehow the plastic's static keeps the pieces in place ready to be sewn. It keeps the prepared triangles flat so they are easy to transport without the tiny pieces getting mixed up. I'm sure someone else has already thought of this but it was a light bulb moment for me!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Turkish Delight

I won 3rd prize in the Traditional Professional category at QuiltWest 2014 this week. Have a look at the website to see photos of the show...

The quilt is made from silk fabric and is hand pieced and hand quilted. The quilting took 250 hours to do- I must be mad!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Australasian Quilt Convention 2014

Had a lovely week in Melbourne for the AQC. I was excited to see my quilt hanging in the 'Best of the Best' category!

What a venue for a quilt show.. all the workshops were held on the upper floor so we had a fantastic view of the exhibition. I did workshops with Gloria Loughman (Linear Landscapes) and Pam Holland (Thread Painting)

Preparation for my landscape 

Finished quilt!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Bali shot cottons

Now that I've finished my silk quilt for QuiltWest I want to start a new project with fabric I bought on a recent trip to Bali - not the usual batiks, though. I was too far away from the quilter's batik shop but in Ubud I found a shop selling the most beautiful shot cottons. They are hand woven and dyed and look almost like silk. Needless to say, I bought 20 metres, I meter of each colour. Amazing how light 20 meters is when estimating your baggage allowance!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Fair Wind and Following Seas

Haven't posted for months, mainly because I've been working on two quilts which are destined for competition and I wanted to keep them under wraps until the respective shows.
Here is the first quilt which was entered in the Bunbury Challenge 2014 and on show this weekend...

The Theme was 'Nautical' and I chose the figurehead for my design.

I used Gloria Loughman's technique for invisible machine applique which gives the impression of needle turn applique.