Monday, 21 February 2011

Glenda, you're an inspiration

Glenda has finished Be Still My Heart, Block 1 of Hearts Desire.

I do believe that she's the first quilter to get this done and I am delighted to share a pic of her block here. Yes, black and whites definitely work...and the red just finishes it beautifully.

I'd like to take a moment and mention that Glenda is still cleaning up from CYCLONE YASI.

Fortunately I am happy to report that she suffered no major damage but is still cleaning up a her garden which in her own words 'was wrecked'

I'm sorry to hear about your garden Glenda, but happy to hear that you're safe and got through the cyclone.
Just surviving YASI is a major feat and the fact that you still have time to quilt...well, I applaud you!

And I think everyone reading this post will applaud you too.... 

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Hearts Desire is launched

Hearts Desire
a FREE MYSTERY BOM in 6 parts
Feb 15 – July 15 Finished size, 74 inches

I’ve always wanted to create an applique quilt which, although full of applique, is not a Baltimore.
With Red Delicious my first BOM, the theme was red things in life that I love.

With Hearts Desire, the theme is old town folk style, a place where life is simple, time is plentiful and days are full of sewing and quilting. This quilt is almost a still life of admiration, the design is purposefully full of understated opulence and richness in detail.

I have chosen The Windham range of fabrics, mainly due to their lovely rusty reds which look washed with time. These reds are a strongly unifying color throughout the design. I had plenty of fabric ideas, but could not pass up these tones and hues – they perfectly invoke the traditional spirit of my design. They just belong together.

Having said all that, I don’t want you to feel too nostalgic before you’ve even made it.

Of course, this quilt can be made with modern prints and fresh vibrant fabrics; the design really does lend itself well.

There is an enormous amount of applique. So I suggest that you choose your fabric theme and let it inspire you to select colors that work for you, block by block.

I have aimed to create a classic design which draws you in and invites you to experience the moment. You can let me know if you agree in 6 months time!

Block 1: Be Still My Heart

Be Still My Heart really is the heart of the quilt. However, this center block is also a teaser because it does not indicate what is coming next.

I would like that to be a surprise month by month.

When the quilt is finished you will see that this block is the stopping point of the whole design and the place where the eye draws to rest. It is the calmest block and I have offered it here first to ‘warm you up’ for what is ahead.

Will you be joining me?

This is my applique technique, using freezer paper to create neatly turned shapes

I love the smooth lines that result from this technique, it's so satisfying

I had enough fabric from my fat 8, so I decided to fussy cut the hearts.
This is optional, but I couldn't resist.

I love these fabrics!

These are the corners of the block.
You can make these and put them aside if you don't want to put them down now.

This block will be free until March 15th.

and: this is boring but it comes up every BOM:
the pattern is a PDF document, and is set to print at 100% A4 for easy home printing
All printers are different and some printers like to re-set PDF pages to 95%

Please note:
Ensure that your printer is set to print to 100%
If your print preview shows you set to print at 95%, ensure that the default to “shrink to printable area” box is not checked. If it is, uncheck it.
Select: Page Scaling: none

Sunday, 13 February 2011


Hearts Desire
Starts Feb 15th


My new Free BOM starts in 2 days
Releasing this design is a wonderful feeling…actually each BOM feels wonderful once it’s out there. It’s the feeling of creativity. There have been some wonderful fabric ranges released in the last 6 months or so, and of course we all have stashes that need seeing to as well. If you have been waiting for the right project to put your fabrics to use…maybe this is the one.

Yes, it’s a mystery, but it’s definitely worth the journey.

Will you be joining in to make Hearts Desire?

The Fabric:

This is my fabric palette. I have decided to stay with an heirloom-ish and charming feel for this quilt. I think these fabrics capture that essence perfectly. Actually, I was very tempted to work this quilt in reds…I know it would look stunning in reds….but I have another red quilt on the way this year and don’t want to completely exhaust my red stash…yet. I am waiting for an inspirational, extensive red range to be launched. And I know it will be sooner or later, the red cycle seems to repeat every few years. I am waiting for the replacements before finishing off all my red ideas. (What chance does my stash busting have?)

The fabrics I am using in this quilt are from the “Washington’s Legacy” range by Windham fabrics. They have a 1700’s feel and dip into Jacobean florals and herringbone stripes. It blends together beautifully and I also have Windham DAR Eagle Medallion fat quarters to pick and choose from here too. I have just realized these are all from Windham fabrics.  

You can see from the colors, the direction I am moving into. I buy all my own fabrics so I take a lot of time considering my purchases…fabrics have to lend themselves to several potential ideas – especially in my studio.

One of the great pleasures I receive from sharing my BOMs is seeing my patterns made up in a whole range of fabrics – I spend hours looking through the blocks on the Yahoo Group and seeing how everyone has made the quilt with their own special ‘eye’. That’s inspiration!

So, what fabric will you be using?

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Back to routine...

Restored, rested and ready for the year ahead!

The year charges on (February already?!!) but I was lucky to find a few quiet weeks away with my DH.
He wisely left telling me of our journey until the very last moment – which is probably best. I would have probably spent a week preparing…and been as prepared as I was anyway.

No internet, no tv, no radio (well, some car radio). Bliss…

I’m back and when I say I’m ready for the year ahead- I sure mean it. I have projects lined up, a studio tidied to make way for the whirlwind of ‘getting done’ I have planned. I hope you’ll be joining me and maybe even taking part.

snaps of flowers...
I can never have enough of 'flowers in their natural surroundings'

Of course there was a bird involved....there is always a special bird...this one had a real look in his eye and followed me, skipping all around and showing off ...

... so I shared some lunch with him

no words necessary

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Ripple Afghan Finished!

I think summer has been waiting for me to finish my winter work…it’s been unseasonably cool this year (I am not complaining) and I have fortunately enjoyed extra evenings and cool afternoons to finish those last stubborn rows.

Phew....My stripy ripple blanket…finished!

85 x 65 inches

So much work! So many rows! So many hours!

It's a longish one because I wanted it to be tall enough to actually cover my DH's feet!

No technique, I just used up whatever colours I had in whatever turn I felt like. Sometimes, the following morning, the colours I teamed up looked different from the night before...but I think, overall, it works.
And I addded  two borders, a green and a black which keeps the rows behaved.
A finished crochet blanket is such a satisfaction.

What now? Well.... launch of the next BOM of course…

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Finished Afghan Garden!

My flowery afghan is finally finished.
Another WIP taken off the shelf!

I had some fuchsia yarn left over from the flowers so I added and extra border…I made several changes from the pattern and overall I’m happy with it. Next time, though, I will do things differently. I will join as I go.

What was I thinking when I made 94 separate motifs???

Blocking can work miracles for garments, but I think that it flattens loft in blankets, so after a quick wool wash rinse, (double bagged to prevent agitation) I straightened out the afghan to breath. 

No steam, no ironing, no blocking. Normally I don’t end my afghans with a wash, when they are done -they are done, but because it was made over several months and my tension changed, I wanted to shake it out.

After a spin, I laid it out in the sun (it was very hot yesterday) and it dried beautifully. I’m very happy with the quality of wool. And I am so glad that it is finished now because it is a deep winter blanket and I didn’t want to be working away at it any longer in the heat. Now I just have to finish my ongoing ripple blanket.

It is super heavy – I love the weight, it feels so decadent.
I have thrown it over my crocheting tub chair and it’s a perfectly cosy corner now.

All my wool blankets are folded with a rosemary sachet or lavender wand.

Today I realised that I am out of both! It's something I always like to have on hand for blankets, drawers, cupboards, the pantry, window ledges...there are so many uses. I cant be without one!

Does anyone else still make these?

Although a session of sachet making is on my To Do List, and I didn't have time to run them all  up today, I decided to snip some lavender and just make a single one for this afghan so I would feel it was properly and completely finished.

I couldn't stand the idea of folding this blanket away over summer without a wand. 

The bees are still buzzing by my front garden. I decided to trim the bush and as I took the stems, the bees were hanging off my bunches! I had to move extra slowly so they wouldn’t become agitated.

I have left this a little late this year (surprise surprise).

The best time is spring when the lavender is fresh and just starting out - at the moment the stems are woody and dry (even after last night’s cool change and rain). Still, I persevered and although not as pretty as early spring wands, it will do nicely.

It feels good to be finishing projects
and moving along to the next thing…

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Bees & Lavender

Thanks to so much unseasonal rain this year, the lavender is lush, bright and scented. This shrub is by my front door. Last week I stepped outside and I had to look again because at first I thought it was covered in was golden and sagging- but no - it was covered in bees.

I have never had bees visit this close and in such numbers, it's fascinating to watch. The lavender is humming non stop and seems to 'move' with the activity.

This morning the lavender was a little quiet, (maybe the bees  have moved on?) but there were still enough coming and going to take these pics.

They dart around so fast, I just held out my camera and snapped. There were plenty of fuzzy ones I deleted right away, but in between I managed to capture some close ups.

Isn't lilac and lime simply stunning?
 I don't have a quilt in these colours... (I can feel another WIP coming along)

And whilst I was inspecting the passion fruit flowers, I discovered a craftily hidden nest from last season. It isn't high up, about  1.6m on a curved frame - but it was concealed enough to keep it hidden from our roving neighbourhood cats.

I still marvel at the ingenuity of bird nests, they are so beautiful. 

You'd be forgiven for thinking that I'm spending my days strolling around the garden- but no - I am hard at work and looking forward to seeing my WIPs come together quickly and finally get finished.

And of course, the new BOM is coming soon. How soon? real soon!

I am working, working, working..

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