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.