Friday, December 17, 2010

Up, Up and Away

Tomorrow I'm off to Vietnam and Cambodia.
The last few weeks have been mad. I've had end of year parties, finishing up the term with my gorgeous students, cleaning and shifting classrooms, professional development sessions for the new National Curriculum, writing Maths activities for next year, birthdays, going to Sydney last weekend for a family celebration.
I am exhausted!
View from my cousin's balcony in Sydney
So now I'm packing, cleaning - because I know no one will do anything while I'm gone and doing my usual panic.
We've got friends coming tomorrow from Perth in a campervan and I am going to miss them. They have been driving all over Australia for a couple of months. Really sad not to see them.
I haven't sewn anything serious for weeks but I have packed a couple of Staring Girl embroideries that I hope I can work on whilst flying. As long as they don't deem my sewing needle too dangerous.
Anyway I will try to keep up with what everyone is doing in Blog land but I probably won't be posting for nearly a month. I don't know how I will cope but I hear Vietnam has cheap internet access so maybe...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fabric Shack to the Rescue

40 days ago I ordered some fabric from a very well know internet retailer of quilting fabric. Unfortunately the fabric did not arrive in the usual swift manner. I emailed the seller and although several emails were exchanged, it seemed that the seller was not prepared to resend the fabric and simply advised me to sit tight!
Normally, I think I could have been patient but the fabric was required for a commission and my time was running out as I am going overseas in 10 days.
The seller-who-must-not-be-named was getting less and less inclined to believe me or offer a satisfactory outcome so I decided to reorder the fabric from The Fabric Shack. 11 days later my new order arrived.

Today the quilt was finished. I didn't even use all the fabric. The Urban Circus is really lovely and soft too.
Meanwhile.... my other parcel is still lost and the seller-who-must-not-be-named is not being nice to me. It's not my fault the parcel is missing.
Whilst I was fretting and worrying, I just had to order more fabric because it makes me happy and I ordered some from Fabricworm
Their parcel arrived in 5 days on a Sunday!
I made this with it but that was the day before the Urban Circus fabric arrived so I had to leave it.

So this is the finished quilt. Ready to be shipped overseas to a new baby boy.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Its not much but at least its something

Last weekend was a sad attempt to sell some of my cot quilts. I had a stall at a school market but despite lots of advertising the event was really down on numbers. Melbourne has had ridiculous amounts of rain and that Sunday was really cold and really wet. The few that came were not my kind of customers. I did sell a few toys though.
Good bye Super Boy

I also had some fun starting a little embroidery project because I need something to take overseas with me that is not too bulky but keeps the fingers busy.

This is 'Staring Girl'
She is a creation of Tim Burton.
I love his drawings and his poetry is hilarious and brilliant.
There are a few drawings of Staring Girl in his book and I hope to make a series of them.

So last week was rain, rain,rain and this weekend its boiling!
GJ's advertised a 25% off sale. They are a good hour's drive from home and I was cursing the heat and time in the car but it was great once I got there. They had stacks of fabric I had not been able to buy in Melbourne and although I am trying to be really frugal with my fabric buying, I picked up these bits and pieces.
 Love, love love!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Endings and New Beginnings

The kids used up all our internet allowance about a week early so using the internet was very difficult. They just can't control themselves and seem to watch every you tube video, sport results video, Skype with friends, Facebook and download music so I couldn't really do much blogging. It was a finishing off week for sewing and all 4 Dick and Janes are finished now. They were quilted and had their bindings done.

The final part of the binding was put on this

A few more pot mitts were quilted

And then I got stuck into a new project.
I am a Bruce Springsteen tragic and my brother dropped in a couple of his DVDs to watch. I never really get much time to watch anything but somehow, yesterday I found myself with the house all to myself.
On went the DVD and out came the sewing machine.
I didn't really watch, so much as listen to the DVD but the music was turned up really loud and I started this quilt top.

It was finished today, but with a few hiccups. My measuring wasn't all that good and a few seams ended up being 1/8th to lengthen a few sides - oops. I guess that's why it's known as 'patchwork.'

It was inspired by this

Mini Beasts

On Thursday my co teacher and I went on a school excursion to the Botanical Gardens and Melbourne Museum on a search for mini beasts. The Gardens were beautiful and we looked at insect repelling plants and plants that attract insects. We found the herb garden which was the centre for medicine making 150 years ago in Melbourne. It supplied many of the herbs for doctors in the early days.

We smelled the different plants and made little pot pourri bags to take home just as the rain started tumbling down in earnest. But not to be deterred these intrepid 8 year olds marched onto the Children's Garden where we learned about and played with worms.

And fished for  bugs in the pond.

 It was really cold.  Of course few were well dressed for the occasion.  After all, it is nearly summer.
I really got a buzz out of finding this active bee hive in one of the trees.

The museum was equally inspiring and some of the mini beasts were alive. Ants in colonies, giant stick insects, spiders, locusts.....
I loved the beetles the most. The colours and varieties are just incredible.

We came back to school tired but totally mad about bugs!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Quickie

On the weekend I just had to go back to Amitie to have a last look at what was still on sale. I found a premade pack of fabric for half price that I thought might be fun to try out.
In just 2.5 hours I had this cut, sewn, recut and sewn to make a quilt top. Apart from the pattern, I realised how cleverly the colours were picked to be put together. I've always relied on buying fabric from the same maker because ranges are matched for you. From this little pack I learned that one fabric was the basis of the range. Fabrics were chosen that were in some way the same as the first print. Small prints and large designs were also chosen as were solid colours and more 'watered down' with white prints. In the end I thought it made for a fine balance.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baby Pepper

My niece just had a baby girl. She is as sweet as can be. Her name is Pepper! I have been working on an embroidered, wool, baby blanket for many months now. It's not as babyish as I would like it to be. The colours of the wool felt was a bit too sombre but there are lots of little animals to look at.
I used some of my Ikea fabric for the back because it brightened the whole thing up.
Putting satin binding on cashmere wool and the cotton backing is always a nightmare. In the days before I learned how to quilt, it was worse and I used to unpick and re do continuously. Now I stretch the cotton backing and pin the whole thing, just like a quilt. The binding is hand sewn on first and then machine zigzagged. It's still laborious but at least I didn't have to unpick it even once!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Castle Peeps Number 2.

With quite a few Castle Peeps strips left over from the cot quilt I made for a friend's baby, I was able to scrape enough fabric together for a second quilt. It's a little smaller but still beautiful. I really do love this range and the strip quilts are so quick to make. The binding was made from Kaffe Fassett shot cotton.

The backing is Sandi Henderson Meadowsweet

Sunday, November 7, 2010

American Jane

I had been playing with Dick and Jane fabric for a while. I bought some of the panels from one of the quilt shows about 6 months ago. They reminded me of the old Dick and Dora books and John and Betty books that I was brought up on. I just couldn't resist buying them but no matter how I looked at them, I couldn't work out what to do with the 4 pictures per set until I discovered the Punctuation range. The colours and the genre seemed to match perfectly so I bought some of the fabric from Amitie and ordered some more from the Fat Quarter Shop.

After months of messing around, the first quilt top was finally put together. I am not sure that the placement of the colours I chose are all that well balanced but I am relieved that one is finished. I have one more set to do but I need to get some more of the blue stripe. That will happen on Wednesday because Amitie is having a sale. They have fabulous fabric choices and hopefully some of the blue stripe left.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

The life of this quilt all began in May this year. I bought a large collection of blue/green Kaffe Fassett fabric and had no idea what to make with it. This is a normal thing for me. Fabric needs to be looked at on the shelf prior to cutting.

Meanwhile, amongst other things, I made a yellow quilt for my niece as a wedding present.

As much as I wanted to get started I could not think of a way to use the blues. On one of my 'reading other people's blogs days' I found a fun block on Be*mused that stuck in my mind.

With that as inspiration and a whole lot of scrap yellows from the wedding quilt, the new quilt began. I put yellows and blues together - something I would never do. I decided that this quilt could be as mismatched as I liked.  For me, it was a big step away from safety. In the past, picking fabric from the same theme always saved me from thinking whether colours would match or not. Although I only used Kaffe fabric for the quilt, they were opposites in colours.

Here are some of my first blocks. Yuk!

During the same time I found a Facbook page that had Kaffe Fassett comment on your quilts. When the quilt top was finished I posted it to the page and waited for a comment from Kaffe. He did, at last, post a comment. "There is more contrast in this quilt than I usually like but I like the cool pallet and the setting is stunning, best wishes Kaffe." I was so excited that he wrote to me but I think he liked my back yard trees better than the quilt!

Anyway, with many projects happening at the same time, the quilt was basted but lay folded in my lounge, awaiting the final touches for 5 months.
When I saw that Amy's Creative Side was running her Bloggers Quilt Festival I decided that now was the time to quilt and bind my experiment together.

The garden has grown so much in 5 months with all the rain we have had recently.

I call it my Yuk Yum Quilt.
One block was not made correctly but I kept it as it was. Surprises are fun if you don't think of them as mistakes!

New Fabric

I was trawling around other people's blogs a few weeks ago and stumbled upon a new supplier of fabric on the web called Wondrous Woven Fabrics.
On their site I found a lovely fat quarter set that captured my imagination and I promptly tried to order it. They had never had an order from Australia before and so I emailed them to see if they could help me. I had a response within a very short time and a new button for international shipping was set up. The service was amazing!
So less than a week later these Robert Kaufman fat quarters arrived.

In the bag I found an extra half yard that was thrown in as a gift.

They don't have a huge range of fabric on offer but they do have prompt, accommodating service. 
Thank you Wondrous Woven Fabric.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Customer is Always Right

Another one of Rivka's quilts has been finished and it is ready to go to a new home. The brief was 'colour madness' and this is what the customer is getting. Can't say I am in love with it, although it was fun making.

I'm a sucker for binding though, and this one looked so good with the Fassett backing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Markets and other things

Markets were the order of the day on Saturday and I visited Magnolia Square and a mini market in the City Library. Magnolia Square was it's usual high quality experience. Although it's petite, it always has very clever, creative products with the friendliest stall holders. I just had to buy this little lavender heat pack from Memi Designs. She prints all her own fabric designs on linen.

The City Library was a little disappointing. There were only about 12 stall holders and the products were varied. One person had made some great little quilts out of op shop hankies but overall it took about 5 minutes to go through! In one of the other rooms they had a fun exhibition on the history of shopping in Melbourne. They had some great old photos and paraphernalia from days gone by. Worth a 'look in' if you are a little bit old like me and actually remember some of the places.

Sunday was for sewing. A mum of one of the teachers at school came over and we did a swap. She tried to show me how to follow a crochet pattern and I gave her the start on how to make a quilt block. My crocheting is pretty pathetic - so much so, that there are no pictures! Her block is off to a better start than me. 
Later there was a little bit of free motion quilting happening which I was really happy with because the triangles can make quilting very stretchy and hard to sit flat but the free motion made everything much more accommodating.
And some more coasters were made using some of the fabric I bought last week.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

All Potted Out

Pot Mitts are small.
Pot Mitts use lots of scraps.
Pot Mitts make great presents.
Pot Mitts only take a couple of hours to make.
But after 10 hours of making the little blighters, I'm going potty!

I played around with ways to make them today because they are fiddly and it did make them a little less painful but I made too many and it took the fun out of it. It's just that I have a market to prepare for and the time is running out so...

1 down

12 to go

Another little boy quilt is finished. Almost the same as the other but with different backing and binding.
So I guess it's been a good week for making.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Making Things Weekend

Today was a day for all sorts of things.

Finishing boy quilt

Making a very large mug rug

First attempt at some linen coasters

And cleaning Phil's home (our class pet stick insect)