Tuesday 24 February 2009

its nearly time for AQC

Well I'm still trying to get through my shelf of UFO's and then I started Red Delicious to get through my serious stash of reds....but I havent been able to keep up with the comments generated by Red Delicious as much as I would have liked to, so now my free monthly BOM has a new home, via yahoo groups, if you're making this BOM and you haven't already- join in and post your pics - the blocks being made look so good it's putting me to shame!

Tonight I'm preparing for my AQC workshops. I'm going in tomorrow for set up, I cant wait to catch up with everyone on the weekend.

I don't know why, because it doesnt matter how well I plan, I always end up with late nights of preperation....even when I promised myself I'd be better organised this time around...so you'll probably see me with a strong coffee in hand...
see you there! Stencils at the ready!

Saturday 21 February 2009

Workshops Next Week

This weekend I'm winding down in preperation for next week. When I say winding down, I mean not starting any new projects! I am still committed to finishing my UFO's, working my way through my fabric stash and being more organized. I have 'nests' of papers and patterns and designs throughout the house which drives everyone crazy....but I find that if I file them away neatly...I forget all about them! For me, out of sight really is out of mind, so I've positioned my next few 'due for finishing' UFO's on the edge of my sewing machine table as a constant reminder.

I've had a very busy week, writing up some magazine patterns, testing some new designs and sourcing supplies for my workshops next week- this is a never ending issue. Sourcing the best possible supplies, always looking for new ways to make things easier for students...but I have to admit, I love teaching stencil workshop classes. Stencilling is something that can really transform your ideas about what it means to make your own quilt...it takes you on a journey where you can deisgn as much or as little as you want. Stencil blocks in a quilt can be a great feature - and entire stencil quilts where you 'stencil' your own fabric and really make it your own is somewhat addictive.

This is a stencil detail from Not Quite Shabby Chic. I've been preparing kits for my workshops next week at the AQC. For those of you coming along to one of my workshops, it's going to be a great day. I've already received some emails from students and I'm looking forward to meeting you all very soon!

Friday 20 February 2009

the Red Delicious yahoo group is launched!

What's one woman to do with thousands of emails and hundreds of fabulous block photos? Well it got me thinking ....I know all of you would love to see the variety of blocks that I get treated to every month....and I know it would be great if all questions and comments could be directed into one focused spot:

So Red Delicious the Yahoo Group has been launched and is now running!

If you are taking part in Red Delicious, please join and upload your block photos for everyone to enjoy

Little did I know 4 months ago that Red Delicious would be so rewarding. Who knew that a free BOM could inspire so much creativity? Maybe it was the stash busting, maybe it was the red hues, maybe it was just enjoying a free block... whatever the reason, the feedback, photos and encouragment from everyone joining in on this mystery challenge has been inspiring to say the least.

The images of blocks that were emailed to me every month were too great to just leave in my inbox, they deserve to be posted and enjoyed. Yes, it was all too good for me to keep to myself: so please join.

For those of you who have posted me images of your blocks: please note that I will NOT be uploading photos on anyone's behalf (there's just too many!).

The Link to the Red Delicious yahoo group is below: and also on the left of this screen:

Wednesday 18 February 2009

block 4: Peony Bloom

Block 4 has proved difficult for some of you to download due to the size of the file.

So that no one need miss out, I have created a second 'block 4' which is an identical file (with the images downsized - it still looks just the same).

This file is listed as Block 4 on Scribd.com and simply states 'smaller file' beneath.

Sunday 15 February 2009

Peony Bloom is launched

Block 4 : Peony Bloom
Have you joined the mystery BOM?
Click on the Red Delicious Apple link on the left of this screen to join in

Thursday 12 February 2009

White Hydrangea

Sometimes you just have to love beauty for beauty's sake
It's nice to know that just looking at this flower has inspired so many emails today, so many that I had to add this little update:
It's very beautiful isnt it? With so much ugliness and pain at the moment (and even whilst fires are still burning), I think it's so important to acknowledge the awfulness...and press on...it's healing and important to remember that there is still so much beauty abounding.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

a patch of Lavendar

Lilac and Lime, Simply Sublime
I took this photo years ago in my lavendar patch. I'm so glad now that I took so many garden and plant photos when everything was blooming- I find everything about gardens inspiring and love to sit down with a steaming cup of coffee and go on a sensory journey of my gardening history. Sometimes it's colour, or remembering the texture and sometimes it's just a craving.
For those of you who havent enjoyed the taste of Lavendar, go out of your way to grow, pick and enjoy some Lavendar biscuits laced with sugar, Lavendar and Mint Tea, or some lavendar clotted cream with your scones...it's a delightful taste. I've even made a Lavendar Sponge which was an absolute hit. And no kitchen is complete without a tin of caster sugar slowly absorbing lavendar heads tucked deep within.
But back to quilting thoughts....I don't think I have a quilt top with a strong design of lilac and lime, these colours go so well together -they're just waiting to be made. I would love to have a splash of that colour in my home, it's such an evocative combination. I have a great lime green in my hand dyes but I think the lavendar colour will be quite hard to find. I want an intensity which doesnt go into purple, but keeps a strong hue. Maybe I will have to stencil the colours.
I think it's definitely about to make my list. I'll keep you posted!

Monday 9 February 2009

Victorian Bushfire

It's been a horror week. The death toll from horrific bushfires across Victoria this weekend has reached 131 and is still climbing. This tragedy is worse than the 1983 Ash Wednesday blazes.

There is very little that I or anyone can say to describe this situation justly. I don't know anyone who hasn't been touched by this disaster. This past weekend, a close family friend evacuated her property in Gippsland and is waiting in Melbourne whilst the bushfire continues to threaten homes and lives. The feeling is surreal and frightening. Watching it on TV, it's hard to believe that it's really happening. Unfortunately, it is. It just reminds me, and I'm sure many others, that nothing is more precious than life.

This is a terrible time, however there is something that everyone can do. Please, if you are able, donate to the bushfire appeal: there is much need. There is a direct link posted at the top of the blog on the lefthand side.

Behind Every Great Quilt...

Behind Every Great Quilt....
You probably have a favourite quilt....but do you have a favourite quilt BACK?
I do, its the back of my quilt 'Bed of Roses' ( although I don't actually have a photo of it!)
If you're anything like me, you love to read what's on the back of paintings, you lift up objects of pottery to look beneath, you turn books over in your hands to see any hidden design elements ...Or you can't help looking beneath saucers...sometimes there's a beautiful suprise there- a detail to reward you and confirm that it was worth looking...and sometimes it's just stamped: dishwasher safe. But you never know unless you look underneath.
This pictured quilt back is the back of my quilt 'Soaring'. At the time, I just thought it would be nice to have something intersting to look at on the back. I was experimenting with my own designs and just went for it.
Right from the moment it was quilted though, my daughter dismissed the top altogether and fell in love with this back. I've even promised to do a re-make just for her (it's on the list)...but that just begs the question: what will I put on the back of the Back Quilt?
The beauty of back quilts is that they allow you to be a little more creative than you would usually be...without having to think too far ahead...because (well for me anyway) if it doesnt work out, it doesnt really matter. Actually it's all for the better because each quilt becomes a journal entry of sorts...a marker of what thoughts were working themselves out.
Like most quilters, I know my quilts very well. Sometimes when they've been away for a while, I'll get them back and look over them and wonder about what I was doing when I designed- pieced- or quilted a particular quilt.
'Soaring' is nothing like it's back. But what it is, is a marker that I was stencilling rambling rose designs at that stage (when looking through my quilt
records, it doesnt indicate that I started doing that until months later (my record keeping is a bit haphazrd)...but now I know that I was actually months into it by that time.
Whilst I like using my backs as visual journals of progress, I've also thought about making a 'negative' of the quilt top on the underside - the only thing that's stopped me is time. It's such an interesting idea, and it's been my personal wish that all quilt shows would hang quilts individually suspended so that both sides can be fully appreciated.
I think quilts backs have an interesting story all of their own. What do you think?

Saturday 7 February 2009

Knit One, Save One

I know! That's exactly what I was thinking! Isn't it too hot to HOLD yarn, let alone crochet with it? Yes I think it is.

Staying inside due to the heat and needing a creative outlet however, my daughter instantly turned her thoughts to winter pursuits and sat in front of her fan with her favourite hook. Why? Because every winter there's so much need for woolies all over the world...and there never seems to be enough time to get around to making them within the season...so why not start early?

Actually, my daughter has just learnt to crochet and
decided to put her baby beanie making skills to use. For those of you in America, the Knit One Save One project is a great way to get involved in something creative, progressive and important. You can follow the link here:


In Australia, the Guardian Pharmacy chain run a great seasonal promotion drive for hand knitted items to distribute to those in need, and its never too early to start.

I'm still shocked and saddened when I hear that for most of the world's people, the basic necessities are a struggle.

This beanie from start to finish took 45mins to crochet. I haven't yet met a quilter who isnt talented in knitting or crochet, so if you have a spare 3/4 of an hour, why not brush up on your knitting skills, use up those yarn left overs or just do your bit for those in need? It's doesnt take much and if we all just did one, there'd be enough to go around.

Why not Knit One to Save One today?

Friday 6 February 2009

Thinking of a new technique?

Have you tried your hand at a stencil quilt yet?
Stencilling is an heirloom quilting technique, it was practised by the earliest quilters. Today, I havent noticed many quilters embracing the possibility and scope that a stencil quilt can offer....why not?
If you're thinking of trying a new technique, or if you thought stencilling was 'too modern'....think again! Stencilling is a beautiful, skillful craft, why not incorporate some stencil blocks into your next quilt?

Thursday 5 February 2009

My Heat Struck Garden

Being in a heat wave and draught means that my garden isnt looking as lush as I wish it was. I've had to plant draught hardy blooms, which aren't as lovely to look at, but at least they stop the garden looking totally barren.

Due to water restrictions, the plants have pretty much been left to their own devices. I've newspapered and mulched, some have thrived, some have died. The boring plants seem to survive. I have a creeping rose bush which yearly gives out masses of small scented blooms and although it's sunburnt and struggling, it always comes back good. I'm always suprised at the fight for life that roses manage, it's a bit of hope in a dry garden where you find yourself yearing for beauty.

My fern leaves are crisp brown wafts that break off in the wind and what I think was once a rather beautiful shrub ( I can't remember, its been so long) is now just dried twigs.

I yearn to sit in a garden brimming over with the flowers I have planted in the past: the many varied roses, from carpet hedges to elegant long stemmed blooms that loved a severe dead heading and pruning any time of year, the canterbury bells, the bavardia, the geranium, the poppy, the white and pink hydrangia, the 5 lots of lavendar from white to violet...I can see and smell them already....

I admire the local gardeners who have altered their former green European gardens and worked tirelessly to re-create Australian gardens. Personally, I love succulents and just a few cactuses here and there, but I'm not inspired enough to change my whole idea about what a garden is.

Realistically, the only plants that can truly survive in this climate are natives, and whilst people some love them, they all look like boring dried out tuffs of grass to me, and I'm not afraid to say so.

Frankly, it's too hot to go outside, or sit outside. I think twice about walking from my front door to the car when I want to go somewhere. Sometimes it's just not worth the heat stress. I think the only lush garden I'll be enjoying this summer is a stencilled one.


What a relief - it's 'only' going to be be 30C today. That means I can finally finish quilting.

Yes it appears that I'm back online! Hopefully that will be the last meltdown I have to endure... I'm a week behind thanks to the heatwave.

My sewing machine overheated and knotted the threads
and bobbin spool.... so I had to leave it alone, it just didn't want to stitch in the heat, and either did I.

I've found that a lot of electrical good seem to malfunction when it gets above 35C so I decided not to push it. This morning it's stitching just fine.

Still, I'm one on the lucky ones - I didn't have to suffer any blackouts during the heat. I really detest suffocating heat - it's just paralysing. I didn't accomplish anything. So today I'm making up for lost time.

These are some fishy pictures that my daughter took to help inspire my quilting. I'm always find bodies of water alluring: from the sea, to rock pools, ponds, deep puddles, fountains to fish in a bowl...I just love observing the life going on beyond the rippling surface.

Its all to do with layers, thats what makes the ordinary seem so extraordinary in my eyes: I love the yellow unfurled inner petals of a blooming red flower....or moving through layers of dense green tree foliage to uncover an unexpected birds nest spun from abandoned bright threads amongst the twigs....or stencilling - stencils are improved by colour layers, as is quilting itself. Ahhh, layers. I feel ready to quilt again...

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Heat Wave Aftermath

My internet provider Hotkey has been experiencing technical issues...a melt down...basically it means that I have not been receiving emails and my internet access is patchy at best. Hotkey expects to be back to routine by the end of the week. Until then, I'm pretty much offline.

If you have sent me an email - I have not received it. Would you please re-send it again next week (to be on the safe side)

Thanks for your understanding during this frustrating time

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