Thursday, December 18, 2014

Festive Mug Rug Swap: Storm Under Teacup

Me and Last Minute Things.

Like the #instagram Festive Mug Rug Swap.

Based on my swapee's likes, I went for the "storm under sea" pattern, with a touch of Mendocino. Sun and sea! And, you know, "storm under a teacup" because I love naming my quilting things!

Auditioning fabrics:
The colours aren't exact in the photo, but it gives you an idea. Deal or no deal?

Teeny tiny foundation paper-piecing:
#festivemugrugswap Guess I did join the fussy cutting club for this swap after all!

The realisation that you've been so busy matching up the seams, you completely missed that you had the piece oriented the wrong way around. ARGH.

Storm under a teacup


Oh phone camera, why will you not get the colour balance right? (and now comes the angsty part: how to quilt the thing!) #festivemugrugswap #stormatsea #mendocinomermaids

Oh, wait, that's just the top. *sigh*

More auditioning:
Storm under a teacup

And it was the perfect width for it! FATE!

Free-Motion Quilting. On a domestic machine. Without a stitch regulator.
#FMQ attempt without stitch regulator. ������

Yeah, nope.

Let's go for stitch-in-the-ditch then, and leave our dreams of Angela Walter's-like FMQ for the longarms and the stitch-regulator machines:
Sewing mermaids on the train.

And even the binding on this one had to be special:
Storm under a teacup


Storm under a teacup

You know how sometimes you just get an idea in your head and it Needs Doing Just This Way? Well, this was one of those. And I'm pretty pleased with it!

The mug rugs were supposed to be sent by yesterday, so it's a day late, although hopefully not a dollar short.

I shall package it in an AusPost satchel with Many Nice Things and hope the recip likes it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WIP Wednesday: the one with mug rugs and mermaids

Let's not even talk about Christmas and being prepared for it.

So. Not.


Festive Mug Rug Exchange

Okay, so was this supposed to be festive? Because, um, mine isn't.

It does, however, have Mendocino Mermaids. Fussy-cut Mendocino Mermaids! And, let me tell you, using them was no easy decision!

Oh phone camera, why will you not get the colour balance right? (and now comes the angsty part: how to quilt the thing!) #festivemugrugswap #stormatsea #mendocinomermaids

The storm at sea is paper-pieced, cut down 50%. It makes the mug rug just a leetle bigger than the maximum size for a mug rug (6"x10", mine is 6.5"x10.5") but it was as good as I could do this way!

Binding is currently in progress:

WIP Wednesday projects

Honestly, if I wasn't so behind in this swap (it's supposed to be posted out by today, and I will be down to the wire) I'd make another mugrug and keep this one for myself!

eta DONE!

Storm under a teacup

Stepbro's Penny Patch

My Christmas prez for youngest stepbro J. All the other members of my family have been given quilts (even my Dad and stepmother), except J. So J is getting a quilt for Christmas.

Nice neutral colours. I added a strong red in there, to give it a bit more pop than the purple could provide. This set of fabric has been sitting around for years, and it's pretty much perfect for this pattern.

WIP Wednesday projects

The pattern instructions are from Stitched In Color's Penny Patch Quilt-Along 2013, which I missed out on doing due to...oh, everything.

It's actually rather easier than I thought it would be!

WIP Wednesday projects

Although still unfinished. That's the goal for this weekend - to finish the top, along with all the cards I have to send out.

Quilting to be done next week. Maybe. I need to call the shop and check they'll be open.

WIP Wednesday projects

ps. Design boards? AMAZEBALLS.


1. Pouches for cousins' children (oh Cousin N, why did you have to have 4 kids? Why?)
2. Bags for cousins.
3. Something for mum. (Even if it's only a sketch of the cushions she wants for her sitting space.)
4. work and writing gifts and making Christmas truffles and a test pavlova before Christmas Day...
5. Supernova Friendship Swap (Sandra? I'm really really really really really sorry...)

I have two parties tonight - a work party and a bible study party. I'll just poke my head into the work party, long enough to do the round, shake hands, and have a drink, and then I'll get on the bus to my bible study party, which I expect to be rather more fun. (I know, to most people that sounds the wrong way around, but it's really not!)

I will be posting a WIP Wednesday on Christmas Eve. And a retrospective on New Year's Eve. Probably.

However, if I don't see you again due to holidays, vacations, or snowed-in winter cable disconnections (northern hemisphere only), I wish you a Merry Christmas/Appropriate Seasonal Greeting Of Your Choice and a Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Bag Supplies in Australia - links

Studio Mio (West Chatswood) leather and vinyl bag handles

Tall Poppy Craft (New York and Sydney, apparently!): leather and vinyl bag handles

Voodoo Rabbit (Brisbane): like their silver O-rings

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WIP Wednesday: the one with the Spirity of Christmas Busy

Not much time to blog today, so lots of pics.


Baby Bag #1

For friends who've just had twins! This one is blue on the outside and pink on the inside, and the other one will be pink on the outside and blue on the inside.

WIP Wednesday

They're savvy about the stupidity of our society's tendency to gender stereotype, so they'll appreciate the humour of it!

WIP Wednesday

Pattern is The Divided Organiser Bucket by The Busy Bean. My only recommendation for the pattern is to make the holding loops longer for a better!

Box Pouches for friends

Went to visit a friend in Ballarat with two sons. Made a some boxed pouches for them to keep things in.

I was told they like pirates.

WIP Wednesday

So pirates they have!

Tula Pink, City 100 blocks

For the Sydney Modern Quilt Group (we're not a guild anymore) 2015 Group Quilt. (What a mouthful!)

I got the pink column with 11 blocks, gradating from dark pink down the bottom, to pale pink at the top.

First five:

WIP WednesdayWIP WednesdayWIP Wednesday
WIP WednesdayWIP Wednesday

And all together:
WIP Wednesday

And then the lighter ones:
WIP Wednesday

These blocks go together pretty fast. That was 11 blocks in about 6-8 hours. You could knock the whole thing over in a week if you knew what fabrics/colours you were going to use.

There'll be a sewing day in December sometime, to put the blocks together. And then Penny Poppleton will be quilting it on her frame.


Did you know there's a Tumblr (like a blog, only busier and less chatty) for Things That Fit Perfectly Into Other Things?

This doesn't fit Perfectly, maybe, but it was pretty neat!

Suitcase, cutting mat, sewing ruler!

WIP Wednesday

And inside...scraps!

WIP Wednesday

Lots and lots of scraps. (This is just a few.)

2015 is going to be The Year Of The Scrap Quilt for me. To which end I'm cutting up my scraps into more manageable pieces.

WIP Wednesday

Starting with an InstaScrapQAL to kick off in January!

Happy Mail!

It was a week for happymail. My Aussie Christmas Swap arrived, featuring a Hazel-the-Hedgehog pillow cover, an adorable bag, chocolate, washi tape, a spool of Aurifil, an FQ of C+S basics, and a santa cookie tin. Thank you @joworimakes - it's beautiful!

WIP Wednesday

And then my Black Friday order from Fat Quarter Shop arrived, too! Kona White, Far Far Away Unicorns (for backing), and some more C+S Basics.

WIP Wednesday


Christmas Gifts

Stepbrother The Elder got a quilt when he got married. Stepbrother The Younger hasn't gotten married yet, but everyone else in the family has a quilt, so I figure he should get one, too. And my sisters both have quilts and they're not married. I have LOTS of quilts and no marriage. (I'm not sure what I'm saying here. Maybe I should just stop)

Anyway, I'm doing a Dead Simple Quilt with a palette that I set aside several years ago and have never used. Steely greys, browns, tan/golds. Maybe a dash of blue in there to give it oomph. I was hoping to get it done this week so I could quilt it on Saturday at Kim's, but then work turned up with actual work and the free days I thought I had have vanished.

I could do it, but it would get REALLY tight.

Which has also affected my plans for the gardening I was going to do this week. Although I'm still frantically making compost heaps.

Anyway, The Dead Simple Stepbro Quilt (that sounds bad; I need a better name!) is a priority.

- the bags for the girl-cousins (the boy cousins have keystraps I bought from a stall at the local markets on the weekend),
- the boxed pouches for the baby cousins (children of two of our cousins)
- the compactible shopping bags for the aunts/uncles/random peoples who require gifts this season

Yes, yes, I am crazy.

How are you going with your WIPs? Are you as busy as me? Are you busier? o.O

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Erk. So, this blogging thing. I forgotted it.

Partly because I went on holiday and I didn't blog last week.

Partly because now that December is here (what? when? how did it get here so damn fast?) everything is moving towards Christmas. (I just typed "everything is moving towards Christ." Which it is. But we don't usually advertise it. Even at Christmas.) Anyway, I have exchanges up the wazoo to complete, and I can't post photos of them until the recipient receives them!

Also, I suck at adding gifts. I just do. I hate trying to make a decision on what extras to tuck in.

To Do List (the "before Christmas" version)
1. post December AHBC gift
2. make stepbro quilt top
3. quilt stepbro quilt top (Saturday) and bind (next Saturday)
4. make Christmas mug rug swap gift and post
5. make IG mosaic for Aussie Mini Swap (#igminioz )
6. make Christmas gifts for cousins, aunts/uncles, parentals

I think I'll leave the summer organising series to after Christmas.

In the meantime, have a pic of the newest addition to my sewing room: a design board!
Have design board, will stick things up! #honestsewingroom

Friday, November 28, 2014

I quilt, therefore I am (a quilter)

So modern quilting, eh?

Go read GnomeAngel and Pretty Bobbins. Now go read Jane at Make Modern Magazine. Come back when you're done. I'll just put up a cat pattern while I wait:

#cats and #quilts

#cats #catsofinstagram #honestsewingroom

#cats #catsofinstagram

Okay, you're back? Good.

Sometimes people ask me, "where you do really come from?" What they mean is "you're not white, so you can't be Australian." But I am Australian, even though I don't look like what these people think "Australian" looks like.

This is not a tangent, I promise!

"Australian" can be a label that other people put on me - or take off me, in my case. But it's also just what I am.

It's what I am now, at this point in time. However, at a future point in time, I might decide to renounce my Australian citizenship in favour of another citizenship. Or take on another citizenship as well and be both Australian and something else.

Labels are temporary things. They peel off or fall off or wear off, and sometimes we pick them up and stick them on again, and sometimes we leave them where they lie. Sometimes we sticker over the labels we already have, rebadge ourselves to fit in with a changing terminology, or tuck a label out of sight.

Be you, and don't worry about the label.

And that's how I feel about quilting and the label of 'modern quilter'.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

SOS: Day One - workspace and WIP

Day One: Take a "before" picture and list your works in progress

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday

So, having just moved, I had the time/space to start setting things up in a way that works for me.

I'm about halfway there.

The 5x5 Expedit was a lucky 2ndhand purchase on Ebay - I probably should have paid a lot more for it! But it's perfect for the corner and for storage. The Horn cabinet is a bit old and some parts of the plastic rim around the platform are cracking off, so I'll need to work out how to fix or replace this.

I like the way the storage is next to the large cutting mat and the large cutting mat is next to the window, but I have a little 'table' at my elbow, thanks to the Horn cabinet, and I need a smaller cutting mat that fits nicely on there. The one i have there right now is too large and I keep bumping into it when I'm turning around to iron.

I like having the iron directly behind my sewing station so I can just swivel around and iron seams.

You can't see it from here, but the Horn cabinet shelving is not very good - fixed, rectangular, and kind of pokey. There are not apparently any specific spaces for thread spool storage. This is a problem! In fact, the cabinet has several design issues but I got it cheap, so what can you do? (Well, apart from selling it and buying a new one.)

I want a design wall up on the corner, and preferably some shelving. Ideally, shelving that the cats can't jump on. Yeah, I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. But the design wall, at least!

So that's the before pic. It's fairly neat, but not that well organised. I have to think about what is where, and most of my fabric is not on display, which, again, can be a problem.

Displaying/sorting/filing the fabric is a big issue for me. If I don't know what I have then I buy more of it, and I'm out of space.

- Honey Honey

- Mendocino Mermaids (quilting by me)
- Rainbow Charms (quilting by me)
- Farmhouse (quilting by me)
- USA Hurray (quilting by Jo)
- Pantone Quilt Challenge (quilting by Jo)
- King of Bling (red letter day) (quilting by Jo)
- Shattered Star (quilting by Jo)

- millefiori madness
- Build Me Up Buttercup (requires borders)
- Expanding Horizons (around the world quilt - the old one) (requires borders)
- supernova friendship block quilt (blocks)
- batik log cabin blocks (blocks)
- 2 Camille Roskelley block quilts (pieces cut)
- snowflake quilt (blocks)
- Valley of the Kings (blocks)
- Swarm (blocks)
- Starry Starry Night (foundation paper piecing)
- Rainbow Selvages (foundation block selvages)
- Patchwork Hearts (cushions)
- Vietnamese silk quilt


- Aviatrix Medallion quilt (scrappy fabric collections)
- Heather Ross: Imagine Greater (loose log cabin)
- Magic Stars by Aneela Hoey (Cuzco layer cake)
- baby quilt for Teddy W (Riley Blake's pirates in a Magic Stars pattern?)
- Chinoiserie quilt cover
- ALL THE SCRAP QUILTS EVER (I think I should put 'Scraps. Inc.' on my Christmas wish-list. And run a InstascrapQAL in 2015.)

- Juliet Dress in Washi Tape Fabrics
- slip-on dresses in Joel Dewberry's Heirloom and Notting Hill

- Pacific Rim Gipsy Danger messenger bag
- at least one Sew Sweetness bag from her book

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WIP Wednesday: the one with zippered pouches

I went on a sewing jag on the weekend, resulting in lots of finishes, which I've posted about here, but just for prettiness, I've put a few more down on this post.

I'm on a zippered pouch jag right now, so:

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday

Well, maybe it's a bag jag?

Quilting catch up!

And this is a little zippered pouch that will certainly stand out in any group of modern sewists!

WIP Wednesday

Anyway, with the weekend and these finishes here, my only outstanding gift exchange stuff for 2014 is the Friendship Supernova, which has another three blocks to go. (Technically six, since I'm making three for me and three for her.) I'll worry about January's birthday gift after Christmas!


starry starry night

Another block - better than the last - not so monolithically coloured, but still a little too same-same. Haven't worked out how to get the colours suitably contrasting.

WIP Wednesday

And I redid a block that I didn't like, but couldn't do that much for it:

WIP Wednesday

I still don't know what I'm going to do with these.

millefiori madness

More work on the train. Not a lot, though.

WIP Wednesday

List of WIPs

I thought that, as part of the organising end of the move, I would do the 'Summer Organising Series' from over at A Quilting Life. And on Day 2, you're supposed to list your WIPs.

- millefiori madness
- Build Me Up Buttercup (requires borders)
- Expanding Horizons (around the world quilt - the old one) (requires borders)
- supernova friendship block quilt (blocks)
- batik log cabin blocks (blocks)
- 2 Camille Roskelley block quilts (pieces cut)
- snowflake quilt (blocks)
- Valley of the Kings (blocks)
- Swarm (blocks)
- Starry Starry Night (foundation paper piecing)
- Rainbow Selvages (foundation block selvages)
- Patchwork Hearts (cushions)

...I seem to have quite a few more than I realised.

Aim for this year: get through at least half of these. Preferably all, but I have some major scraps to get through, too. (InstaScrap QAL anyone? I'll get a post going in December, ready for a kickoff in January!)

How are your WIPs going? Linked up to one of the linky posts of the week?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Summer Organising Series (and some finishes)

I've decided to pick up the summer organising series again from over at A Quilting Life. This was originally featured in the Northern Hemisphere summer, but I was too busy buying a house, trying to sort stuff out, and packing to move.

Now that I've actually moved in and we've gotten rid of the old house, it's time to start getting the new place organised!

So that'll be the next couple of weeks leading up to Christmas. Because...


I'm not quite completed on the Aussie Christmas Swap, and I just remembered the supernova friendship block swap!

Considering I was as far behind as September's exchange for the Aussie Handmade Birthday Club exchange (Party 3, calling Party 3 - we need a cleanup for a delayed swapper on Party 3...), getting everything done over the weekend was such a relief!

I'm going to put up some photos without telling you who got what. Which means if the people who are due to receive gifts are is your chance to look away so you don't get spoiled!

Quilting catch up!
The bag is by Jeni of In Color Order , and I've seen it around the intarwebs but never gotten around to making it. It looked so stylish, I figured it must be tricksy, but it's really very easy!

Quilting catch up!
Zipper pouches (tutorial from The Purl Bee). I was going to do some funky stuff with the Monkey Wrench block and the inside of the pouch, but opted out in the end. But I will never fear the zipper pouches again!

My own shopping bag design.

Okay, so that last one wasn't actually finished at the point where I took the photo. I probably should have taken a finished photo of it. (Forgot. Of course.) But I need to make a pattern for that bag. It's a very compact, useful thing, and it's not that hard to make. Just finicky with the sewing and the french seam.

I hope the recipients like them! I also added in a little extra gift for the September and October gifts since they were late.

And December's gift is done! (No previews. It's not on its way yet, and won't be until December rolls around.)

So I don't have to worry until January. By which time I expect to have learned yet another new sewing skill. I don't know what yet, but I'll let you know...

So I have time to start sorting my fabric collection and working out what to use it all in. And avoid acquiring any more!

I did acquire a layer cake of Kate Spain's Cuzco collection, which is rare as hen's teeth, but was marked down! This shop is the same one where I got bolts of Mendocino Mermaids (fuchsia swimming sisters and gold mermaids) in 2012. I tell you, they have no idea the value of what they have half the time!

Not that I'm complaining!

Anyway, organising my sewing room. And finishing a quilt pattern I promised to Make Modern Magazine back in August. Le sigh. It's stunning, but just so finicky. Plus, ugh, yardage calculations.

I do not think I have the temperament for quilt-pattern making. My quilting is opposite to my writing. When I write, I plan everything out. EVERYTHING. Who says what and what they're doing, expressions, thoughts, behind-the-scenes, history, background, and overall context. I don't just write, I over-write.

Quilting, on the other hand, I just do off the cuff! No calculating or planning in advance, just do it!

Weird, right?

Anyway, I'll work out what I'm working on by the time WIP Wednesday rolls around. Maybe.