Friday, 30 December 2016

The first WIP list for 2016

Ok, so it's the last day of December, and while it feels kind of redundant to be doing a 2016 WIP list now, anytime is a good time to work out what WIP's are about and try to coral them in to some kind of order, and I figure I can use this as a jumping off point for the new year... right...

Yes, that is a pile of WIPs... Yes, I am thoroughly ashamed of myself

And, yes, knowing how little I achieve at any time, the following list is insane, but if I put it out there then there is at least a slim possibility l will get at least some of it sorted.I have broken down my projects into what state they are in.

Also, I have zero expectation that you'll actually read this, because it's a list of random things, and seeing as I'm being so good about real posting at the moment, you might actually see these projects in actual posts soon ;-). And hopefully in a more interesting way - like with photos and context.

Here we go!

Random Odd Bods
My Round Robin – I want to make some extra flowers & butterflies & *things* for this project. It's just arrived on my doorstep after spending time with the words loveliest (and most talented) ladies, and now I need to put it all together and turn it into an amazeball of quilty goodness.That said, at  this stage, not stressing out over this. (also there's a post coming, telling you all about it, so just hang tight ;-) )
Harry Potter– I finished this top 2 years ago (literally - it just came up in my facebook memories) but I still need to embroider titles and quilt it. I keep putting it off because I worked so darn hard on it, that I'm worried about ruining it. I just need to take a deep breath and start sewing...

Indigenous hexies- I have the paper pieces, I have the fabric (or at least most of it. Now to start to turn it into something.
Mod Corsage - This is still in the percolating stage of being an idea, but one I'm not sure will work.  I think I know what I want but to do it I have to cut up a whole lot of fabric and if it doesn't work I will have wasted a lot of very expensive (and very nice, and very hard to get) fabric. But if it works, it'll be very cool.

Community Trees- In the final stages of piecing, I think I have like three trees left and then it should just fly together!
Secret Squirrel- Clearly I can't talk about it... ;-)
Phil’s quilt - Blahhhhh. Sitting on my desk, taking up space and making me hate the world. I just need to sew it to get it over with!
Mini Charm Bunnies - Currently a giant pile of sewn together pairs, this needs to turn into 4 patches and then 8 patches and then 16 patches, etc. It's not a hard project but will take time and is *slightly* uninspiring.

Hand sewing
Trish's hexies – Just got to keep sewing. Originally planned as a single bed size, this is going to be a lap quilt. Maybe a small lap quilt tbh. But just. keep. sewing.
Peter Rabbit - Hand quilting this together. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Now that I'm a 1/4 of the way through, I don't know what I was thinking. Possibly going to give up and just machine quilt the rest, to get it down.
Blue feathers - Another that I'm hand-quilting, but I like doing this one. I think because it's going to be effective. No urgency on this, which is good, because it's white which means it super un-portable.
Sprout - A whole new hand pieced project (because I don't have enough of them) that will probably take me forever - my eyes are always bigger than my will power when it comes to these kind of things.

Nicole’s jelly roll - Lurve this quilt.  Lots of negative space, so I think it might be great with a long armed panto.
Penny Patch - This is my second penny patch, and it almost completely matches the first one, so I should make them different and unique... or should I actually make them a pair??
Pink Feathers- Lots of negative space on this, so perhaps it should go to a long armer as well? Or maybe... floating, hand quilted pink feathers just randomly scattered across it?? I like that idea... it'd be a lot of work though...
Grace and Harmony Improv - Definitely worth sending this to a long armer. I mean, it's probably not worth it financially, but I think a nice all over of some kind of chrysanthemum would look quite fetching.
Improv Owls - This was one of my first ever quilt tops, but it's not perfectly square, so I've had it sitting for over 4 years, just waiting for me to make up my mind about what to do with it. I should just baste it, quilt it and have it over and done with already.
Glimma Jelly Roll - was made as a practice quilt for my new machine, so I should use it to practice some quilting. One of these days I have to actually *quilt* you know.

Pink Bubbles - Is now about a year old, and I'm very happy with it so far, but I am about to launch into the big white negative space and it makes me exceedingly nervous.
GiGi’s - I've started FMQing this, but I don't particularly love it. I love the quilt! But I think I'm making a mess of it with the quilting... Maybe I should pull it out and do something a little less literal with it...
The Grinch - I am weighing up whether I want batting in it or not. It's a Christmas quilt, so Summer weight might be fine, and it's probably what I should do, but normally when I skip batting I use something heavier for the back, like flannel or minkee, whereas this will just be backed in cotton...
Green stars- I think this needs to go to a long armer. But maybe that's just because I've listed all the quilt tops I have laying around and know that there is no way I'm finishing all of these by myself.

The Big Pineapple- Spotlight was out of the binding I wanted last weekend, but I'll try again this week. Honestly would be happy to machine bind this, so it'll be done quick, if I can just get the material.

Things to start
Christmas with the Quinns - I attempted to start this, but my thoughts weren't quite jelling, so it's still marinating in my brain. I *think* I know what I want, but almost certainly won't be ready for this Christmas.
Honeycombs - I want to do a exploding cross type thing (yes, totally stealing the idea from Jodie at Tales of Cloth), but I don't know what fabric/colours I want just yet. It'll be a good hand project... because I clearly need more projects!
Shape family challenge - I bought the shape family packs from tales of cloth and I love love love them. I love the opportunity they are. But I haven't worked out what I'm going to do with them yet. ha ha ha.
Cherish block - Another EPP project inspired by tales of cloth. I *think* I want to do it using some of my Tula stash, but I'm not completely sure yet, so it's sitting in the thinking pile too.
Something for Dani - I know I want to make something for my middle niece, but I'm not sure what. & I have a stash of owl fabric that I was going to make into a plus quilt, but maybe that's not the right fit for her... I'll keep pondering it...

While, we're chatting, do you want to see a proper #honestcraftroom?   All those cute shots people put up with their neatly folded piles of projects, or all sorted into stackable tubs.. that's so not my life.  My sewing room is chaos and construction ;-)

Have a fantastic week!!
E xx

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas

May your stocking be full, your cup runneth over, and your bobbin never be empty.

Have a wonderful Christmas.

E xxx

Friday, 23 December 2016

The Grinch is ready for Christmas - almost

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.

You really are a heel.
You're as cuddly as a cactus,
You're as charming as an eel,Mr. Grinch.
You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel.

Up until a couple of years ago, I had never read the Grinch. Don't ask me why, because I am a big Dr Suess fan in general, but for some reason, I had never gotten to the Grinch.

But a couple of years ago, a line of Dr Suess fabric came out, and I couldn't resist those fabulous illustrations, not to mention all the rhyming goodness.  I especially loved the big panel of the Grinch in his Santa suit with the story behind him.   But those big panels are really hard to use.  I didn't want to cut him up, but he was an odd shape, and, also, a really odd colour.

I also bought yardage of the cute little vignettes from the book, that are also really strangely sized. I'm not sure how they're designed to be used, but it was tricky, because some had printed frames and others didn't, and I took to them with my rotary cutter and then didn't know quite what to do with them...

I pulled this project out several times over the last couple of years and then put it away again because I just didn't know what to do.

Finally, I just dove in and started adding what I had. I refused to let this sit there and take up space for no real purpose.

Initially I stuck with the specific Grinch fabrics, and some semi-coordinating solid (real hard colours to match in these prints). I added some white with red spots, and red with white spots that I had stashed for another quilt (that I still haven't started yet). And then added some black memoir, from the Madrona Road line (I loved this fabric so much I bought metres and metres of it.  I should probably use it more...)

I gave some prints frames, and sometimes a border on 2 sides and the other side blank.  I added in strips, and pieces, and whatever the mood took me.

It's random. But I like it.

And it's *big*. It covers me from top to toe and would easily fit 2 or 3 people under it. I have visions of it going on the couch for Christmas movie marathons.

My quandary now is this: Wadding or no wadding?

Wadding makes for a good snuggly quilt, and it is for on the couch where snuggling is mandatory. BUT, it's for Christmas. And Christmas in Australia is hot. Like, lucky to use a sheet, lying under the fan eating icy poles, hot. So do I want a proper quilt when it's going to be hot? BUT, I can always have the air con on (and most likely will), and I get cold generally, and I still tend to wrap myself up no matter what...

My heart says yes to wadding, but my head so no.

What are your thoughts?

E xx

Tuesday, 20 December 2016


So as you know, I've been slack here for the last year or so (#understatement), but I want to do better and with "doing better" in mind, I thought I'd try to join in with Quilting JET Girl and the 2017 Planning Party.

I may also have stumbled on a couple of other link ups for the new year that I am trying to talk myself into, but let's start with this one and see how we go!! Lol.

2017 Plans & Goals

  • I would like to have at least 3 finishes this year. Now I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but I have a terrible habit of finishing tops and then never going that extra step and actually finishing.  Seeing as I call myself a quilter, it'd be great if I actually had some quilts about the house, you know.
  • Enter a quilt in a show - one where there is potential for judging and prizes and rejection. Because if I have faith in my own abilities, then I need to actually push out of my comfort zone.
  • I want to join another bee/round robin/group of some kind.  I loved being part of the RCRB and now that it's winding up, I want more.  But I have to also remind myself that I have limited sewing time, and so as fun as the round robin was, I didn't get a whole lot of personal/other sewing done... I need to remember my priorities.
  • Possibly, maybe get that WIP/UFO pile corralled into some sort of order.  I know other people have some little tricks to do this, but I'm not quite ready to put a ban on making new things, so I'm going to toddle along with this one and just hope it sorts itself out with my needing to be strict with myself ;-)

  • Monthly.  I know that's not a real goal, and right now, I'm smashing through the posts, but a lot of that is catch up and it will drop off in the New Year.  my proper goal is weekly, but I know I won't always be able to meet that, and I don't want to write just for the sack of writing - I want to be here when there are things to say, iykwim.
  • Join in with 2 3 different link ups on the regular (assuming that there even are link ups anymore... It doesn't seem like they're still a thing, which is a shame, because I like... Although I feel a little hypocritical in saying that, because am I not doing this post as part of a link up? but it's the regulars, you know!!)
  • Be active in all my blogs. Yes, I'm not just a lazy quilter. When I started blogging, back in the long ago, I wanted to keep different thoughts in different places, and when I took my hiatus from this here blog, I took a hiatus everywhere. But I am going to get back in the swing EVERYWHERE!!! :-)

Proper Life Goals
  • 2017 is going to be the year of adventure!! I don't want to say too much yet, becasue I'm not jinxing it, but 2017 should be pretty awesome for life. Or it could all fall through and collapse, but still - hope on the horizon! ha ha.

  • I am currently on a mission to lose about 20kgs.  Now I don't know if this technically counts as a resolution, given I've already started (and in fact started a few months ago), but given how bloody slowly it's coming off, I'm totally putting this in the 2017 pile.  We've got project #skinnyandperfect on the go, but we're after long term change, right... :-/
  • Say yes. Just say yes. Go all in and get things moving.  Seize the opportunities as they come hurtling towards me on life's super highway!

Final thoughts
Hold onto your hats, I'm about to go all D&M on you...
Over the last couple of years, I've really stuck in one place - in pretty much every area of my life - quilting, work, marriage, house renos... You name it, it's been pretty stagnant.  But that's not the person i want to be.  I'm young and wild and free (well, ok, none of those things, but still). I want to be trying new things and getting out of the comfort zone and just living life properly.  So no matter whether any of the things above actually happen, if I can get to the end of 2017 and feel like I've moved forward *at all* it will be a winning year for me.


Have you got any goals?? Or any secret tips to help me keep mine??

E xx

Monday, 19 December 2016

River City Round Robin 5 - Vic's words

The person I would describe as our Robin's fearless leader is the magnificent Vic.  Vic is an incredible sewist and has an amazing ability to work with colour and to create complex designs (and make them seem simple... for her.) She is the quilt maths guru of our little posse and seems to be able to work at lightening speed. She is also one of those people who finds joy in everything and is always smiling and laughing and just bringing the positive energy with her - a fabulous person to be around, in other words.

Vic has two amazing little girls, who, like their mama, are the spirit of enthusiasm and energy.  I love to visit their corner of the world, because it's just a happy, exciting place to be.

Vic asked as all to make words for her daughters. Technique wise, she threw it open and asked for anything we wanted to try, and her only real proviso was to keep it bright.

She started us off with her own word


The girls passed it around and it was added to by Bec - Love, Laura - Shine, and Sandra - Dream

Sandra, actually made a second word - Laugh

And Kathryn added the super cute - Kind (with a little bumble bee, just in case it can be added after quilting)

For my addition, I started by knowing I wanted to do some kind of improv piecing, preferably crumb piecing, because that's Vic's jam.

I grabbed my giant scrap jar and raided the purple (because I have a lot of awesome purple scraps for some reason, and it's also the only fabric I have a batik print in, and Vic and I have had several discussions about her love of batik and my abhorrence of it, so it felt right t include it, lol. Not that I included a lot. It's about a 2x3 scrap, but that's all I can handle).

I attempted to do a normal applique, but it was kicking my butt, so I went with reverse applique instead. I then used my machine to do a blanket stitch around, which worked ok, but I don't love it.

I attempted to make a thread sketch, but that did not work. Like at all. Like so bad that I cut off the edges and put them in my scrap bag and threw the rest in the bin, didn't work.

One of the things that was tricky with Vic's quilt was I actually did it without having the other blocks with me.  Vic was preparing to go on an outback adventure and had hoped to take this with her, so we were trying to get it finished before she left, so this one was a bit different for me.  I am still not quite sure of how mine will fit in with the scale or colour palate of the others, but I did keep with the bright.. although looking at the photos, I might have ended up with whiter backgrounds and everyone else has stuck to the brief with grey :-/ Hmmm. I'll have to look at it in person when I see Vic next.

Anyway, having abandoned my second word, I felt like my tiny 3 letter contribution was a bit on the measly side, so improv pieced a second word in the hope that quantity will make up for quality.

I do feel like my words, joy and play, fit for Vic's family and I hope she can make use of these blocks in her quilt for her daughters.

E xx

Friday, 16 December 2016

Penny Patch - Didn't we do this already??

So you know I made myself a Penny Patch.  And I love it.  It's a lovely mix of blues and oranges, and low volume (and lots of text prints) that truly makes me happy.  Not to mention, the soft delicious voile backing and the hand stitching that I did at my sisters wedding, that means that this quilt also contains happy memories.

But I originally planned for this to me a big quilt.  And I cut accordingly.  And so having finished a single bed quilt, I still had a box full of perfectly cut up blue, orange and low volume...

So I decided, what the hey! And made myself another Penny Patch.  Penny Patch mark 2, if you will.

I think this one has more of the blues and less oranges - It's a bit more *pop* of colour and definitely has a higher ratio of proper white/low volume.

With this one, I am torn about whether I stick with the simple hand quilting which made me so happy the first time, or whether I push myself out of my comfort zone and go with some FMQ...

Time will tell, I guess. Until then, I'll tuck it in the cupboard with the other tops that I'm too scared to tackle, and hope that I get brave. I'm sure I will someday - I mean it's too pretty not to have out and being used.

But you know what the real kicker is? I still have a box full of perfectly cut up blue, orange and low volume... ;-)

 E xx

Oh, and I found a linky to join!! So, I'm a day behind, but I'll fix that.  I'm connecting with  Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday :-)

Monday, 12 December 2016

River City Round Robin 4 - Kathryn's Star Medallion

Next up in the #RiverCityRoundRobin was my mission impossible.

I love Kathryn. She is the kindest and sweetest and gentlest person.  I'm a yeller and a talker and, let's face it, a bit of a drama queen, and Kathryn is my exact opposite. She is serene and calm and just lovely. One of those people who are peaceful to be around.  She is also an incredible quilter.  And her quilt gave me proper anxiety that I was going to ruin it.

Kathryn started off with a giant box (as in you could fit a small child inside it) and a loving note...

So, if you read that you will have noticed Kathryn provided basically an entire box stuffed with Koi yardage and her favourite, long hoarded Cotton and Steel stash.  And of course, her starter...

Nothing too fancy... Just a perfectly pieced, perfectly pointy lone star...

You ay have also noticed she requested a medallion quilt.

I'm going to be super honest, I've never really fallen for the medallion quilt. I think because they're usually full of applique and Sun Bonnet Sue's and I don't know... They've just never been my bag. Perhaps it's the rebel in me not wanting to be a traditionalist (although I'm a quilter, so my happy fun time is possibly one of *the* most traditional hobbies you can have. Anyway...)

The first person to work their magic on this quilt was the lovely Vic.

Vic is another epicly talented quilter.  She is a genius for quilt maths, and has this fabulous mind that comes up with the weird and wonderful and she can pull colour from the air like magic. But that's nothing to be scared of. I'm sure she'll keep this super chilled and it'll be fine...

Or she can add fussy cut diamonds floating through the air :-O Wow!!!! Love, love love!!!!

Sandra then worked her wiles and added flying geese (have I mentioned that I'm scared of flying geese? I don't know how people can make these perfect pointy beauties and have then *fit*. I'm in horror of the quilt maths). Unfortunately, I can't find a photo from this stage... I know there is one, but I'm clearly bad at this whole "recording things as they happen" thing and should never be put in charge of documenting anything.

Laura was a bit like me, with this.  She got it and went OMG (and rightly so).  She went with super cute 8 point stars for corner stones, which I loved, but then she felt like she "hadn't done enough" and added an epic brick path/stacked coin border. Completely fabulous!!!!!

(I feel like I should add that the weird lines you see are not some kind of strange piecing choices... it's the light coming through the slats in my fence :-/)

I got this quilt of gorgeousness, and admit to felling completely out of my depth. It's just so incredible, and the workmanship on it is absolutely impeccable and my skills are not in this league. This sat in my sewing room for weeks (and I think this is the third quilt I've shown you guys and the third time I've told you I didn't have any idea what to do with it, but honestly, they're so cool and they change so much between rotations. And it's both the best part and worst part of this process that the picture in your head before you get it, is always so different to how it looks when it arrives on your doorstep).

I ummed and ahhed over it and eventually decided to go with arrows pointing into two corners.

I went with the darkest fabrics in the box (originally I had planned on bright pink, but then chickened out) and made a massive arrow that I absolutely hated.  I actually had to take it to Bec (who was due to get it next) and ask what I was doing wrong, because it worked in my head, but in practise, it just felt off. No balance, not the right vibe.

Bec suggested scaling down my arrow, and I literally chopped it in half, and suddenly I liked it again, and felt far more comfortable in this choice.

Sorry for the dodgy photo, but we agreed we wouldn't talk about it ;-).

I added a plain white (or a cotton and steel white) and passed it on.  I neglected to take a photo of it after it was all attached, but it didn't really change much from the above.

And it's now been passed to Bec to add the final touches before heading back to Kathryn.

And just for the record, no matter how much I'm whinging about this, I have absolutely loved this round robin thing. I have been pushed outside of my comfort zone, with fabric choices, and technique and just really wanting to do a good job for these other ladies.  I think this process has made me a *significantly* better quilter, and all my complaints are really just my insecurities.  Every single lady in this group have been nothing but supportive of each other the whole way through.

But there's still a couple more quilts to show you, so just hang on til next week, and I'll show you what we did for Vic :-)

E xx

Friday, 9 December 2016

Radiant Dresden (a finish!!)

Along, long time ago, I can still remember when... (hopefully you've now got American Pie stuck in your head, but I was actually telling you a real thing).

So anyway, a long, long time ago, a challenge was issued by the fantabulous Anne at Play Crafts to use the Pantone Colour of the year and make a quilt.  The year: 2014. The colour: radiant orchid (or as known to us lesser mortals: purple).

I grabbed a handful of purple from my stash and my Dresden wedge ruler, and happily sliced away.

Now this was the first time I've ever attempted a Dresden, and I didn't really know what I was doing, but figured it couldn't be too hard. I didn't think to google it until after I was already well along and trying to work out why my points weren't super pointy... turns there is a proper system to it (easy, but trust me, worth the quick google).

I used a simply Spotlight homespun grey for background and put my Dresden in the corner and then started quilting.

Because I was trying to use all the purple, I actually used 3 shades of purple thread, and used all three for each round of quilting. I feel like it gives a nice sketchy effect.

I did a simple expanding echo, and used some tailor chalk to try to get my lines the right distance apart.

I'm going to be fully honest here, and say that I got bored part way through quilting and decided that it was enough (because finished is better than perfect, am I right!) and called it done.

I, again having never done a Dresden, wasn't really sure how to cover the centre, I went with a pseudo trapunto and took a piece of batting and 2 pieces of fabric and sewed a circle, then split the bottom fabric, turned inside out and viola! A stuffed circle.  I then attached it with a couple of rounds of straight line stitching.

 Yeah,  This is not a fancy quilt.  This is a serious bodge job.  I have pulled an incredibly lack luster performance on this.  You'll notice there are no photos of the back, because it is *ugly*. Plain white flannel.  In theory, that meant it would show all the pretty colour of the threads. In practice it shows a lot of random thread and it looks like a weird target for something.  I

But in saying all that, I do still actually like this.  It is soft and snuggly. It taught me a whole bunch of things.  It might end up being a new quilt for the dog, but he'll be a very stylish puppy ;-)

Thanks for following the progress, and sorry it's taken so long to tell you whatever happened to this guy.  I did only actually finish it 2 or 3 weeks ago, so this is truly a 2 1/2 year project.

E xx

Monday, 5 December 2016

River City Round Robin 3 - Bec's Dresden

After working on Sandra's quilt, I handed it on, and received in turn the project started by the beautiful Bec.

Bec has 3 little girls who take after their mum in that they are kind and kooky and dare to be differnet, but I don't know where they get their loud rambunctiuous spiritis from, becuase Bec is a head-down bum-up driven little bee. I am in awe of her committment to her family and she always seems to be the person to put her hand up to do semthing, but then she gets it done (compared to me, who puts my hand up, but never follows through - don't ask me to do anything, honestly, it's never worth it). And she doesn't it cheerfully, with a smile, and no complaints, and I just love her to bits. I can't even find words for her. She is a wonderful person, who I wish I could be more like.

Bec is a rainbow addict, and her fabric pull was gorgeous all on it's own. All saturated colours and yumminess.

And being a girl after my own heart, she likes some low volume for a background (although, I'm not going to lie, I've used a good portion of my carefully hoarded low volume on you ladies, so this is a sign of great love).  What's the saying, you can tell when a quilter really loves you because she uses the "good" fabric.  Well we've definitely all shown our love through this process.  It helps that we know we're cutting up our pretties to give to someone who'll appreciate what they're looking at.

Bec made an incredibly beautiful Dresden plate for her starter. How gorgeous is that!!!

Bec said that she wanted us to add things that would make her think of her quilty friends.  Well we can do that.  In theory.  

Kathryn added this perfect rainbow flying geese (have I ever mentioned that I'm scared of flying geese? They scream quilt maths at me and I run away in terror).  I particularly love the black/dark grey corners.  They add a moodiness that I really like.

Vic went even further with the crazy perfect quilt maths and added a border of diamonds. And by keeping all the extra white in her border she really brightened it back up and lightened it. (isn't is cool to watch how each addition really changes the look)

And then it came to me.  I, again, sat on this for a while. I really wanted to add a skinny black border to bring that dark moodiness back, but that felt like a cop out.

I ended up deciding to make a rainbow of paper pieced star petals.

I *love* them. The joy of paper piecing is having everything so crisp and neat and perfect. I would never be able to make pointy points like that in real life. And matching in the middle just so... all the heart eyes, I tells ya.

Initially I have planned to do just 4 and have them as corner stones with plain white, or maybe plain white with that skinny black I had originally planned on, but in laying them out, the extra 4 to space them along the sides seemed to work better, and it meant the rainbow was more obvious, which I liked. And the black felt not quite right, because it stopped just shy of the star rather than going into it so I ditched that idea.

In the first round the rainbow colours went in one direction, and the second round went opposite. I chose to put my colours in the corresponding position to where the matching colour is on the Dresden.

I know it feels like I've left a lot of empty space, but my theory is that there are still 2 more rounds to go, so there is the possibility it's going to get busy again so this might allow a little breathing room.

I'm really happy with my addition, and I am looking forward to what Sandra and Laura do with it :-). I'll make sure to show you the finished product.

Oh! And if you want to make some star petals of your own, they are a free pattern from Wombat Quilts (who makes the most gorgeous paper pieced and scrappy quilts *in the world*. If you haven't checked her out, you absolutely should).

Have an amazing day, quilty peeps!!!

E xx

Friday, 2 December 2016

Penny Patch - Part 3

So waaaaaaaaay back in March 2014, I said I was going to whip my Penny Patch together in the next 4-5 weeks. Well that didn't happen, but guess what... I finally did it!

To be completely honest, I actually finished it in February 2015 (that's the binding and everything!) but haven't gotten to the bit where I talk about it til now :-).  Still as far as the making of a quilt, that's like 8 months from starting to finishing (ignoring the whole posting bit... :-/)... I've done worse!

Given that most of my fabric was already cut, I honestly don't know what took me so long. That's a lie. I do know. It was that I had Harry bloody Potter taking up my entire design wall and every available flat surface.

I really found with this one that I needed to lay it out to see what it looked like before I sewed. Because the balance of orange to blue to red to grey to white was really quite tricky. And looking at the photos, I'm still not quite sure if I got it right...

But did eventually whip this together and after all the procrastinating it actually only took the weekend to have the top all done. But what inspired this bout of patching? Well, you see my sister was getting married. And no this is not her present. But she told me I could not bring my sewing machine to the week long pre-wedding festivities, so I needed something to hand sew... And while I had not initially planned to hand sew this one (I was going to learn those fancy fmq dogwoods that Rachel suggested) it was the only thing in my current wip pile which would really suit hand quilting.

So during all of the pre-wedding madness, I tucked myself in various corners and stitched away.  I was still social, but because I went with single bed size instead of my original plan to go queen, it was a bit portable.  It came out each afternoon while we had drinks, went away for an hour or two, and then came back out when the board games came out.

It really simple straight white lines. I used the line of the penny blocks to guide me, so the big blocks are intersected.  Essentially a cross hatch.

I know I looked a bit odd sitting in the middle of a family gathering with a quilt, but it was actually really nice to sit with my mum and my nan while I worked on this. There's something really comforting/loving about doing hand sewing with women who are makers. My mum has been dressmaking for my whole life (she actually made my bridesmaid dress for the wedding) and spends many evenings crocheting, and my nan used to do a lot of knitting (unfortunately she no longer has the dexterity to knit).

So all the patching and quilting was actually complete way back in November 2014!! I got 90% done over the week of the wedding and finished off the rest the week after.

Then I delayed doing the binding.  I really struggled to pick just the right fabric.  I found this spotty grey at my local fabric store, and it just felt right.  It goes so nicely with the spotty back (which is a voile so it is soft and silky and wonderful!).

Funny story about doing the binding. I had to go to a conference, and I knew I would be sitting listening to speakers for most of the day, so I took my quilt with me and stitched away. One of the organisers said to me later that she has seen just about everything at conferences- people embroidering, crocheting, all kinds... But never a quilt. Lol.

It's a simple quilt, but with all that lovely text fabric and the beautiful blues everywhere plus those lovely bright oranges and pops of red, I really love it. Not to mention the memories of the family time that is so well connected to this quilt. I can't imagine having this quilt leave my home.

And because it's a proper finish, I've also actually been using it.  It's perfectly snuggly and everytime I tuck under it, it makes me happy, so that's a proper win.  And now I should probably get started on that wedding quilt... 

E xx

P.s. Here's a photo of me, my hubby and my 2 gorgeous nieces at the wedding. I was a bridesmaid, and they were flower girls. Aren't they just the most beautiful little people.

Monday, 28 November 2016

River City Round Robin 2 - Sandra's Around Australia

I mentioned last week our #RiverCityRoundRobin project and showed you my starting block.  Once I was done, it winged it's way off to Laura, and I took control of Sandra's little piece of awesome.

The gorgeous Sandra is  Kiwi (ie. a New Zealander) who moved to Oz, and asked for something that represents each of us.

Interestingly she chose the thing that represents her to be...


I find that the funniest thing. But that's Sandra.  She is loud and bright and always laughing and not afraid to be exaclty who she is and I love that about her.

But as first cab off the rank, I had to contribute *something* to this perfectly pieced little Oz. (PS the pattern is by the fantabulous Peta from just if you were in the mood for your own little foundation paper pieced country).  Sandra also sent long a suitcase (literally, a little suitcase!!) full of Carolyn Friedlander fabrics for us to play with.

I had visions of paper pieced Aussie animals, and purchased and printed off the patterns in preparation, but when I looked at it in person, they weren't speaking to me.

I tossed and I turned on it, and finally just started cutting, in the hope that that if it didn't work, at least I would know what direction I wanted to go in.

Well I ended up with 2 super cute feathers and used them to create a 2 sided border.  Sandra had said that she didn't need a medallion, and was happy with anything that came out, so I figured I'd try to add a little quirkyness.  And I was super happy with the result.

As you can see I added the Lotta Jansdotter print and the Cotton and Steel orange on the bottom left, but kept the colour palette in the original.  I liked the skinny grey borders, but again, I kept them only on the left.  I figured the next person could decide if they wanted to keep that wonky/improv feeling, or square it up more, and then I passed it on.

It has now been through all 5 of us and is heading back to Sandra, so I can't wait to see it, and then see what Sandra does with it :-) I'll be sure to let you know how it ends up!

E xx

Saturday, 26 November 2016


Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there lived a girl who thought it was a good idea to make quilts for people, and *tell* them about it, before they were finished...

I honestly don't know what's wrong with me.  I have a huge pile of quilts, that are in various stages of incompleteness, and yet, I still have an overwhelming, irresistible urge to make a quilt when I know a new baby is coming.  I think it's just a sign that I love my friends, and I really love babies.

My very good friend (and old boss) recently had his first child. Now this is the boss who I promised a quilt to for his birthday 3 years ago, and it's still in pieces on my desk waiting for me to finish it, so I knew better than to promise one for the baby. And I restrained myself, I really did!! I lasted right through 8 months, but then, at the last minute, 2 days before the baby was due., he showed me photos of the nursery and the next thing I knew I was in Spotlight buying coordinating fabrics and cutting up a storm.

At the time, they still didn't know if they were having a boy or a girl, but had done a really lovely fairly gender neutral nursery with lots of grey and gold with pops of mint and coral - yum.

Have I mentioned that bub's mum is one of those fabulously stylish women, who always looks immaculate and her house is just as put together? Meanwhile, I am lucky if I remember to wash my hair, and feel as if I gave up on makeup about 4 years ago... :-/

So I knew I was in over my head in trying to make something for their "interior decor" but I couldn't resist.

Being the fabulously stylish woman she is, I couldn't resist the allure of chevrons.  I know I'm behind the 8 ball on that band wagon, but there was no way this family suited fussy cuts or intricate piecing, or improv, or wonky anything... It needed clean lines and crisp edges, but I still wanted it to be special and unique and fun for me to pay with, so chevrons it is!

Although, having now made them, I'm never, ever doing them again.  they were a pain in the patootie! I'm sure there's a simpler way, and that I made it hard for myself, but oi, this was annoying, trying to line everything up properly, and get the right angles consistent, and then when I was piecing the row together, trying not to loose too much depth, becuase I kept getting the quarter inch spacing wrong on the start, so they're skinnier chevrons than originally intended.

Again, originally I planned to do 2 rows of chevrons and then leave the rest grey, but it felt a bit empty.  Then I added the strips and it felt cluttered.  It took an annoying amount of time just moving strips up and down and replacing the thickness of the alternating grey to get me to a happy place.

You will also notice I added a navy blue to my mix.  Without it, it felt a bit wishy washy and lackluster.  Although, adding all those extra strips (and extra colour) really made this a lot bigger than intended.  I had planned to make a cute little baby quilt, and ended up with something closer to single bed size...

I chose not to include any wadding and backed it in a yummy grey flannel.  We live in Queensland, Australia, so it's rare that it gets genuinely cold here, and we're going into summer, so I'd rather make something they can use straight away... you know, before they redecorate and these colours become useless ;-).  

 I did super simple echo quilting of each strip, just sewing *just* outside the colour on the grey. I only sewed around the pink love hearts in the chevrons (because, of course, with me starting this so late in the pregnancy, baby was born before I finished and now we *know* it's a girl).

And then the other day, I sat myself down and sorted out the binding.  I love satin binding for children, because I love the idea of something soft and silky that the little people can run through their fingers and I have memories of that soothing feeling of worrying a teddy's manufacturing tag, because it was silky, and like the idea of passing on that comfort.

Usually, when I want this satin binding, I buy premade binding in whatever length  I want and just have at it, but my local Spotlight didn't have want I wanted.  I checked a couple of times over a couple of different weeks, and still no joy, so eventually, I just took myself to the piles of actual satin and bought a half metre and made it myself.  So it's straight grain, which is not ideal, but working with the satin was such a PITA that I doubt I'll ever do it this way again.  So slippy, and frayed like the dickens and threads kept pulling... 

But it's done.  I machine bound it, just to say it was finished (also with the fraying of the satin, I felt like it needed the extra reinforcing), and it is terrible.  I swear I've watched all the tutorial on machine binding, but I just can't make it neat.  Let's all stick with the "home made touch" story, if anyone asks, ok :-)

And now I get to go and meet the baby!! Because I wasn't allowed to meet her until I finished her welcome to the world present (my new rule to force me to finish baby quilts - it seems to have worked, ok ;-) ).

Oh, and why #BabyNolan? Because baby's mum is an instagram addict, lol.

E xx

Thursday, 24 November 2016

UK adventures

So looking at my last couple of posts, before I went on my crazy hiatus, I mentioned that I had recently gone on a long overseas holiday and would share all the excitement with you... And then I disappeared and never told you all about the fun and frivolities!! This si a quilting free post, so heads up form the beginning that this is just my way of having a total brag about my amazing holiday ;-)


Ashley and I were given 2 weeks of accommodation in London in June 2015. All we had to do was get there.  And we figured, if we're going all that way (36 hour flight, you hearing me) we should stay and see the country and explore.  So we took 5 weeks off work and heading to the other side of the world.

(prepare yourself for photo overload - this was the holiday of a lifetime!)

We arrived in London and spent our first 2 weeks in Kensington (oh wee, super fancy!).  It was amazing!! I could live there forever!! We went through Kensington Palace, strolled through the Gardens, rode through Hyde Park, visited the Sherlock Holmes museum, went to Portobello Road Markets, did the Tower of London, saw the Tower Bridge open, went out to Greenwich, saw Buckingham Palace (form the outside), Hampton Court, St Pauls... the only thing on the list that I didn't see was Westminster, but we squeezed so much in, while also relaxing and reading and enjoying the beautiful weather and just being there.

Where we stayed

Portobello Rd Markets

Ashley getting stabbed by the guards at the Tower of London

Having a cuppa while waiting for the bridge to open

On the Ferry getting ready to go down the Thames


Buckingham Palace

St Paul's Cathedral
Once our 2 weeks in town was up, we hired a car and hit the road.  We drove west and got to Bath in a day, but did a little detour and ended up staying in Bradford Upon Avon (so cute, and the fanciest of all our hotels for the trip). Then we went North. We went through Wales, saw the Forest of Dean, up through Snowdonia (super lovely, one of our favourite places on the whole trip), then trough Carlisle and across the border into Gretna Green, after stopping to see Hadrian's Wall. We went to Loch Lomond (where I sang all the songs I could remember from Brigadoon, and then did the Isle of Skye (where we saw the hairy cows). Then traveled North and stayed at Inverness, and then circled Loch Ness before hitting the Whiskey trial through the Cairngorns. We spent a night in Aberdeen before heading south, checking in at Balmoral, then driving on to see Edinburgh.

Bradford Upon Avon 
The River Dee, Scotland - This was the backyard of the B&B we stayed in

I bought a cute little "England" hat which Ashley ended up wearing, and while, yes, it made him look like a bit of a grandpa, it also felt like we belonged.

Fluffy cows on Isle of Skye

Eilean Donan castle

Loch Ness

Balmoral Castle

From Edinburgh we headed south and did a super quick drive through the Lakes District, then went west and drove through the Moors and spent the night in Whitby (where we had fish and chips and played arcade games, like it was 1995, and also turned the ruined Abbey Abbey. Then we headed into York, and from there went through the Peaks district. We saw Pemberly (or in real life, Chatsworth House) and . Then I made Ashley detour to see Bradgate Park, because it's in a book I read as a little girl.

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey 
Pemberly - or as it's actually known, Chatsworth House

Bradgate Park
We also drove through Oxford, and Straford Upon-Avon, and when I saw "drove through" I mean we literally didn't even stop the car. And then we headed back into London.  And that was our 2 weeks of seeing the countryside.  Yes, that's right. We saw all of Scotland, Wales and England in 2 weeks.  We did something like 3,500km. And I know there is so much more to see, and I would go again in a heartbeat and see so much more, but we got some value out of that trip.

We spent 3 days in London staying with my best friend who had recently moved over. Including a day trip to Brighton and a trip to the theater (Book of Mormon was amazing) and then we hopped on a plane and headed home.

Was it amazing? Absolutely!!! Did we come home exhausted? Absolutely!  But was it totally worth it? ABSOLUTELY!!!!! And I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I had big plans for meeting all my favourite quilters who I know from the internets, and I did get to go to a London MQG meeting which was great (they taught me how to use instagram, so worth it for that alone.  The fact that they were all super lovely and made beautiful things was a total bonus) (also, you should come hang with me on instagram, I'm much better at updating over there than I am here ;-) ) but that was the only quilty thing I got to do while we were there, and I missed out on seeing one of my favourite internet quilty peeps, who I had partway organised to see, and then with our hectic driving schedule, and the fact that we had no idea where were going to be from one day to another, fell through.

That that was out epic adventure (more photos can be found under #thequinnsepicadventure lol).

Phew. But also, come on - how cool was that!!

E xx