Monday, February 25, 2008

Favourite Notions

I can thoroughly recommend the tape for your embroidery threads. Are you sick of them unravelling out of control? This tape really works and there is ever so much on the reel - I don't have that many embroidery threads - but they are always on the wish list. You only need enough to go around the reel and an inch of overlap. Bought both the items at the local quilt store and the tape cost just under $10 AUD.
The clover white pen is terrific for marking any of your dark fabrics. I almost took mine back to the store thinking it was faulty, and lucky I am a whinger sometimes, because I whinged about it to a fellow quilter and she quickly informed me that it takes a while for the white mark to appear. Lesson learnt : Whinging can save you some embarrasment

It goes on clear then changes to a nice fine white line and this line is easily removed with a quick iron over. Do not, I repeat, do not have the iron too hot as you may melt any wadding underneath (and anyway only a low heat is required). I know, cause I've done it! It sure leaves a flat spot on the quilt! It is great for marking your applique pieces for needleturn applique also.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cheap Thrills

Nothing thrills me more than making something out of nothing. I made these two book covers from "stuff" that what was on hand - didn't purchase a thing apart from the books inside.

The one on the left is made from the cuttings of threads and snippets of fabrics I save at the sewing machine. I embellished it with eyelash yarn. Firstly, I stabilised a piece of fabric larger than needed to cover the book and then laid all the cuttings over the top. I covered this with a soluble topping (I used "Floriani" Water Soluble Topping). Then I sewed (mostly straight stitches) all over the top of it every which way. Then, of course, washed the topping away. Ta Da!
Yesterday was a scorcher, 34 degrees, so what better way to spend the day than crafting and sewing. We revved the AC up and I spent glorious hours (headache free for a change) sewing my little heart out. The book cover on the right was made from little squares and tiny pieces of fabric brought into quilters group by one of the ladies wanting to get rid of them. I took them home not knowing what I was going to do with them.

Firstly I cut one piece of fabric the width of the book plus some, and the length of the book twice plus extra to allow for the pockets to hold the book. Folding it in half lengthwise, I then ironed some fusible webbing (the dreaded vleisofix) over the top of one half on the right side of the fabric. I placed all the little squares, rectangles, etc over this and ironed on. Then I sewed it in a small grid all over and embellished it in a country style with buttons.

These journals will go on sale at the Toowoomba Quilters Exhibition.
I also started some Christmas cornucopias, made similarly to the book covers, using vleisofix and snippets of white, cream, grey, mauve, gold colours. Will post photo later after embellishments.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I asked our older daughter what colours she would like for her hall table runner. She suggested teal and lemon in a vintage style. This may seem quite innocuous, but by "vintage" she probably means 60's - 70's. Oh dear - that is a bit close to the bone!
Anyhows, I will have to go fabric shopping yet again as I don't have any of this "vintage" stuff and I do like the sound of the teal and lemon!

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Nice Surprise

My darling daughter surprised me today by travelling up to Toowoomba from Brisbane unbeknowns to me. She was brandishing a lovely arrangement of flowers and a gift card for a facial at a beauty salon for my birthday this past Monday. Isn't she gorgeous? (in more ways than one!)

Stained Glass Quilt Adventure

On Wednesday I started this stained glass quilt with the help of quilting friend and stained glass extrordinaire Marleen. You will notice the "black bits" aren't in there yet. I had rung a place called "Abundia" and ordered some black bias before Christmas and they were getting some more from Japan - should arrive end of Jan. Heard nothing, emailed them, heard nothing back, so I am going to try and source it somewhere else now. Anyway, we ran out of time and will have to have another sewing day together to do that part. (what a shame!!??) We were going to do a santa clause pattern which we found in a magazine, but Marleen convinced me it was a difficult one to start with. Fortunately, I took her advice and will tackle the santa one after completing this much simpler design. The technique she showed me is really quite simple. It is wise to take the time though to meticulously number each piece before cutting it all up. A bit like putting a jigsaw puzzle together in the end. It uses fusible webbing and I had a roll of vleisofix on hand. Grrrrr. It just wanted to separate the whole time and drove me nuts. Off to buy some "easy fix" before tackling the santa claus project! It has a better reputation. I will use the vleisofix up on less fiddly projects - I don't want to waste it as I had paid quite a lot of money for the roll of it and still have a lot left! (insert swear words aplenty)

Thursday, February 14, 2008


These are my Valentine's Day present to myself 'cause I am totally in looooove with Kaffe Fassett fabrics.
The top ones are the latest purchase (on special of course) and the fabrics below were purchased at the last Quilt Show in Brisbane in October. yummmmmmmmmmmm.
Can't wait to make these up - will have to be a very simple design I feel as the fabrics have already enough busyness in them.
Some of Amy Butler's prints tone in, so will be looking for some fabrics to quiet them down.
Normally, I am not attracted to brights but these ones really grab me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Letting the Cat out of the Bag

(Sorry the photo is a little blurry)

Well, Caity, my friend, here it is especially for you (and anyone else who is remotely interested). The challenge quilt! The challenge was "Dancing Beijing". You were limited to no more than eight fabrics and the size of the quilt had to be between 6 and 8 foot in perimeter.

I have called mine "Dancing with the Stars into the Forbidden City". The longest title I have ever thunk up. Anyway, the red background and yellow stars represent the Chinese flag. The yellow stars are doing a ribbon dance into the Forbidden City which is located in the heart of Beijing.

Lessons I have learnt doing my first ever challenge quilt:

a) Read the instructions carefully especially the bit about the size of the quilt. (Fortunately I had allowed extra "topping" to be trimmed off later - it was not trimmed off - every little bit was used). Result - A quilt measuring 72.5 inches Phew! that was close!

b) Never, ever, ever, put a hot iron onto polyester wadding. Admittedly it was an accident, but the iron now has a very sticky, unmoveable patch on it. It is teflon coated, so don't know what to use to remove it. Have tried eucalyptus oil, orange sticky remover stuff. Any ideas? Anyone??

c) Practice new techniques somewhere else first instead of going in gungho into the challenge piece.

Other than those minor irritations, it all went very well considering I had no drawn design and just went by the seat of my pants.

Back of quilt

Record Finish

Started last Tuesday evening - finished this Tuesday. Has to be a record. Admittedly the challenge quilt is only a wee one, but even so, it is unusual for me to get stuck in and get it done. Thank goodness for deadlines. I seem to work better under a deadline, and it's always been this way. Being a chronic procrastinator is probably the reason everything is left til the last minute. It makes life interesting!
The challenge quilt I made is not a pretty one, but more a meaningful one. I will post a photo later and explain the meaning behind it (because it is not really very obvious - hubby didn't get it>) It took me so long to come up with the idea, and finally with some prodding from other members at Toowoomba Quilters I got my act together and had a go.
I used a couple of different techniques on this one that I hadn't tried before - probably should have tried them out on something unimportant first, but that is the way I operate. All in all I am reasonable happy with it. Will hand it in today, as the close off date is Saturday and hubby and I are off to the Gold Coast for the weekend to celebrate my 54th birthday.
We are doing the show at Jupiters Casino called "Zingara" courtesy of hubbys sister who works at the casino as a croupier. She got us FREE tickets, but was unable to get a discounted room for us, so we are staying elsewhere close by. Hope the weather is clearer by then, because as I write this, a tropical low with high winds is moving rapidly down the coast.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Show me the need

I have often wondered at the existence of "fabric medium" for acrylic paints. Have you ever accidentally got acrylic paint on your clothing? Then have you washed it in the wish for it to disappear? Has it ever come out?? I rest my case!!!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Lost and Found

OMG I forgot I had this little sucker! Found it by accident (looking for something else). Damn - I could have used this on sooooooooo many occasions. It's a beauty with all its tones and thingy in the centre to put you on the right track.

I have used it already on the Toowoomba Quilters Challenge Quilt. It is proceeding along nicely considering I had an annoying little cervicogenic headache all of the day. I just pottered along and really all I have to do is the embellishment, quilting, label, hanging sleeve - hell I better get on with it! I know, I left out the binding - it is not going to be binded. Have another easier (I hope) idea for that part. Just hope it looks okay when finished - hard to invisage. Anyways, I have decided if I really don't like it, I'll cut it up and make it into commemorative postcards for the Beijing Olympics and sell them on the sales table at the exhibition. While working on it yesterday I came up with the cutest title. Alas, there is no prize for the cutest, bestest title.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Biting the Bullet

Well, I have bitten the bullet and decided to have a go at the challenge quilt. I am now on a very strict deadline as the hand in date is 16th February. Am I mad?? Don't answer that.
I have all the fabric ready to go, the pattern all set and even the backing fabric and embellishment organized. Now all I have to do is begin. Too tired tonight, maybe early in the morning - I am more of a morning person - I think - actually I'm tired all the time come to think of it.
We have had wonderful, beautiful, much appreciated rain and guess what? Our tank is finally full. Boy, wish we had another tank on the go as this afternoon it really came down again. Now it is flooding in places all over Queensland, typical Australia - from drought to flooding rains.
But...........wouldn't live anywhere else!

Monday, February 4, 2008


Soon, my sewing room will be overflowing with "prototypes". Had one of those sewing days yesterday (trying out something different for the exhibition sales table) and screwing everything I touched up. Should know by now when things are going wrong in the sewing room to get out fast. No - I just end up with yet another prototype. If there were two pieces to be sewn the wrong way around I achieved it. Anyway, eventually I gave up and retreated with quilting books into a corner and kept fantasising about what I could successfully make - maybe??

At present, I have "bloggers block". Perhaps it is because at this stage in time my life seems dull, colourless and boring. This is not because there is nothing to do - oh no - it's because I don't want to do nothing??!!??
This picture is being presented here today to show that at times I can produce something (albeit unfinished). This quilt is for a sister in law to match in with her new sofa. Unfortunately, this sofa has now long since left her house as the quilt was started many moons ago. It is being hand-quilted (thus the unfinishedness?) and my sincere wish is that I may get it all hand quilted in the winter of 2008. I am quilting it in black thread and the large border will be quilted in a feather pattern. Apart from the borders, this quilt is made entirely from the scrap basket.