Friday, October 2, 2020

quilts to make

Scrappy quilts by the busload:

Hidden Spools (requires a square cutting ruler, I think)

Salt Air Lattice Quilt - great for strong patterns and colours

Libs Elliot: La Fin Du Monde, and The Oncoming Storm.

Pathways (layer cake and jelly roll combo)
PLAN: Tula Pink Neptune of which I have a layer cake and jelly roll

Cosy Posy - triangles! But a little wasteful on the fabrics, so not a precious set

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Penny Patch Rooftop Gardens - FINISHED!

It's been a while, and my attempt at Midweek Modsquad sadly died after a couple of weeks. There's been too much and not enough going on for me.

I have a new job with a client in Canberra. I'm working from home, it's...not too bad right now. But I still haven't really felt the push to do much sewing. Creativity has felt beyond me, what I could manage was mostly tasks.

However, I have finally managed to finish what originally began as the "c4quilts" - that is, a set of four quilts that were going to be for a quartet of cousins. The fabrics would be from the same line, the theme would be different for each, and the result would be something that was individual to each cousin, while still being connected.

#pennypatchontheroof 2020

It didn't work. Or, more correctly, I didn't end up liking it for the cousins in question. But I'd started cutting it all up and...well, I figured I'd just continue on.

#pennypatchontheroof 2020

They're more busy than I like: too much movement in the fabric, too much movement in the blocks.

#pennypatchontheroof 2020

I think this pattern does best when used with very small prints, 'reads as solids', and plain old solids/neutrals. Large, bright patterns don't really work very well. I should have left the bigger prints for the large squares.

#pennypatchontheroof 2020

Well, we live and learn.

#pennypatchontheroof 2020

However, I'm quite happy with the results, even if they're not quite what I envisioned. These will just be quilted with a stipple and...honestly, I'll probably just give them away to any friends who want them.

#pennypatchontheroof 2020

Final note: We've lived at this house for five years and it only just occurred to me to use the long stretch of the driveway fence as a quilt hanger!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Midweek Mod Squad [Restless Hands, Penny Patch]

Another week, another Midweek Sydney Mod Squad update!

Restless Hands Of Sel

Today, with the loosening of restrictions around visitors, I went around to a friend's place - leebee81 on Instagram - and we did some handsewing. I got five blocks sorted, cut, and glue-basted while there. Now they're all ready for stitching together, which I'll do during various meetings over the next couple of weeks...

Sel's Restless Hands quilt
Sel's Restless Hands quilt
Sel's Restless Hands quilt
Sel's Restless Hands quilt
Sel's Restless Hands quilt

And then I laid it out to see how it looked in the overall quilt colouring:
Sel's Restless Hands quilt

Penny Patch On The Roof

This week, I finished off sewing together the last of the Penny Patch On The Roof. They were originally to be for my cousins, but I decided on a different design for them instead. Which I still have to execute, preferably before the end of the year.

Layout in daylight:
Sel's Restless Hands quilt

Finished top by electric light:
Sel's Restless Hands quilt

Still don't have any idea what I'm going to do with these four quilts, but I'm sure I'll work something out...

I could gift them to my bible study group members this year? There are five 'households' who are regulars: J&N, D&D, R&K, A(&S), and L. If I do one more, then maybe I can gift one to each? Hm. I still have the fabric for one more...

Of course, that means I should make some for the group I had a couple of years ago: M, L, J, B, R, Y - most of whom are actually closer friends - but they'd have to be nice, simple ones that I can get done before the end of the year, not too complicated...

(Hm. I could maybe do Plaidish Quilts for them? Mix and mingle my scraps? Oy. Better start cutting!)

Soroptimist's Annual Raffle Quilt

My mother is at me to make the quilt for her group, which needs to be done by September, although she'll need pictures before then. I was thinking a plaidish quilt might work for that, too. Need to work out the palette/fabric collection, though...


If you'd like to check out the tag on instagram, there should be a neat selection of work by the Sydney Mod Squad members!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Midweek Syd Mod Squad

It's a Wednesday which means we're looking at a Midweek Syd ModSquad post! And I actually got things done this time!

Restless Hands of Sel

I had all the stars for Column 2 finished by Saturday night.

Now I just have to sew them into a full column so they don't get lost, and then I can start on picking and cutting out Column 3 fabric.

The actual sewing of the pieces goes together pretty fast, it's the organising and sticking fabric onto the templates that takes time and is tricksy to do. Especially when the pieces are pretty small...

Penny Patch On The Roof

Started on the four-patches for the quilt:

And the 'penny patch' blocks:

18 patch blocks to make, then 12 solid blocks, assemble and ta-da!

The other ladies from the Sydney Mod Squad will also be posting their #midweeksydmodsquad progress:

Monday, June 8, 2020

2020 QAL Q2 Plans and Finishes

So, Q1 didn't exactly go as I planned, and Q2 has kind of been screwed up by a sudden rush of coronavirus sewing.

But making lists helps me parse what's really important in my sewing, mostly because I decide whether or not I really do want to sew that after all when I look at the lists. :)


Of my Q1 finish list I managed four things! FOUR! That rarely happens!

1. I finally made mum's laptop sleeve.

2. I finally sewed up the hem on B2's dress.

4. I completed my Sydney Mod Squad quilt blocks for the 2020 quilt.

5. I decided on a quilt (well, two actually) for the 2020 Sydney Quilt Show: my Break Free Or Build Upon quilt, and a new one that I'm calling Interconnected.

Of course, deciding is not finishing (or, let's be real, even starting).


Planned to finish

1. Penny Patch: On The Roof
I've already done two of these, just got to do the 2nd two. They were originally the quilts for the C4 cousins, but I don't think the patterns really suit them anymore. I don't know what I'm going to do with them, but I might as well finishg the tops.

2. The Quilt Is Lava
This was going to be the raffle quilt for my mother's charity group last year before I changed my mind and made something a little less boldly modern. Again, I don't know what it's going to be used for, but I need to use up scraps and stuff and this is the project I've chosen.

3. Break Free Or Build Upon
Plain Jane Passacaglia

Just needs quilting!

I slso have the 2020 UFO challenge which looks a little nuts:
- mum's laptop case
- c4 quilts 1+2
- c4 quilts 3+4
- penny patch on the roof
- 3:10 to Mendocino
- stars of avo
- the quilt is lava
- dancing starts
- 50 stars of blue (might make it 49 stars, or need to work out what else to do with this)

Planned to start

1. Interconnected
Intended for the Sydney Quilt Show. Will probably have a permaculture theme to it. Needs cutting, piecing, quilting.

I should probably start that ASAP.

2. A Plaid-ish quilt in Cotton+Steel.

3. A Power of Three quilt. I was thinking maybe from Heather Ross Mendocino, since I still have a lot of that and want to use up the scraps where possible, and this has the option for squares as small as 1.5"

4. A shoulderbag for mum. Although I gave her the laptop case, she actually wanted a particular fabric that was very pretty but I couldn't bring myself to make the laptop case from it, because laptops are only a couple of years, right, while a bag can last much longer...

I decided on the Clydebank Tote by Sew Sweetness. Just gotta patch the fabric together because the print she wanted isn't large enough...

Hoo boy. Never let it be said I don't aim high.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Midweek Mod Squad

It's still Wednesday in the Americas and Europe right now, yeah?

Penny Patch On The Roof #3 is done!

May 2020

Penny Patch On The Roof #4 is still in pieces all over the cutting table, and I desperately don't want to do it. *sigh*

Midweek Mod Squad

It's mostly a question of JUST DOING IT. So difficult right now when I'm in the middle of Life, The State of The World, And Everythhing.

But the restless Hands Of Sel blocks are coming along nicely. Apparently if you sew in Zoom meetings, it helps both the meeting and the sewing go pretty fast...


And one of the first 'tricksy' ones: Star 15, which is many small pieces and not quite as dramatic as I wanted it to be. I have to remember to pick distinctive colours for blocks.

I have the binding for the Sydney Mod Squad Group Quilt. Need to contact the woman putting it all together about how wide she wants the binding. (I have her binding maker, too, which is why I got the binding fabric.)

Midweek Mod Squad

And I'd better start on my 2nd quilt for the Sydney Quilt Show. No, I haven't even begun putting it together. I know. Struggling a lot lately.

How's your stuff going?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Midweek Mod Squad [WIP Wednesday]

Let's see how long this goes for! I'm going to try posting a 'state of the WIP' regularly, even if it's just to say 'didn't do a single thing this week'.

My main sewing group is the Sydney Mod Squad, a bunch of women in their 30s and 40s in the northern part of Sydney who've become friends over sewing and quilting. Currently, we're doing zoom sewing meetings because of social distancing, but we're still enjoying ourselves and welcome the chance to talk with each other while working on our projects all at the same time.

I have been rather remiss about posting for a while, and I have many many WIPs over the last few years, but the three relevant to the moment:

Penny Patch On The Roof #3
Half sewn together now, have to sew the other half.
WIP Wednesday 20th May

The Restless Hands Of Sel
Another few for Column #1: blue-purpoe, purple, purple-pink.
WIP Wednesday 20th May

Mum's Alison Glass Bag
Sew Sweetness' Clydebank Tote in Alison Glass.

Possibly with a leather bottom and some leather sides, because the AG isn't sufficient for the bag...
WIP Wednesday 20th May
I'm still thinking this one through. How to connect everything. What colour leather I should use. How to sew the leather without completely wrecking everything else...

I've just done some cleaning of my sewing room, and have realised just how much fabric I have, and how little of it I've used. I have a whole box for Heather Ross, Tula Pink, Kate Spain, and a half-a-box of Cotton+Steel, two boxes of leather, and innumerable fabrics that I bought for clothes, most of which are very impractical right now as the weather cools. Not to mention the many bags of scraps that I have lying around and which need dealing with.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Isolation Finishes and Flimsies by the dozen! [FINISHES]

For the first quarter of the year, I've done almost nothing so far as quilting goes. I tried to make dresses, failed rather significantly, and then went on holiday.

When I came back, my focus was on my garden rather than on sewing things. My sewing group managed one in-person meeting before COVID-19 hit Australia and we went into 'social distancing' mode. But I wasn't doing much; I drew up a plan for the Sydney Quilt Show entry, and then it got delayed because of the coronavirus.

And then I started cleaning up my quilting room and all the bags sitting around full of stuff.

I started with some charm squares that have been sitting around forever. I bought them back in 2009 when I first began quilting and before I learned there were modern colours and styles and patterns.

The original plan was to cut each charm square into hexagons and then sew them together prettily. Let's just say it never happened, and as the years went on, my desire to work with this fabric faded. So when I dug it out, I was quite ready to be done with it. I just picked whatever I had and sewed it into rows. Luckily, I'd sorted more or less by colour, so the shading works okay.
Isolation quilts

Next up were silk squares that I got from a sample book that I found in my grandmother's house, stocked away after my grandfather died. My granmda died in 2011. My grandfather died in 1995. I found the squares and always planned to make something. Exactly what? I didn't know. I still don't. But I sewed them together anyway, so they're a single piece, instead of bits lying around.
Isolation quilts

Actually, I think I'd like to make a dress out of those silk samples. Or a top. It would look weird and patchy, and it would need to be lined, would be kind of interesting, I think!

There's been a lot of 'oh what the heck, let's just do this' in my sewing (in case you hadn't guessed from the previous two). This one was based off a design I saw which just seemed really simple, worked well with directional prints, but could be done 'interesting'. And I had all these colourful charm squares sitting around doing nothing...
Isolation quilts

I signed up for a small craft swap among the Sydney Spoolettes where we exchange a sewn gift - you had your choice of three to make, and they matched requests with makes, so if you wanted to make, say, the potholder, then you could make the potholder for someone who wanted the potholder.

I signed up to make and receive the Apertio pouch and just in case it didn't go right, I did a test run for a friend's 40th Birthday:
Isolation quilts

This is the pouch for sending out. I have to fill it with stuff and then send it. It's not going too far, just outside of the Sydney area.
Isolation quilts

It's a pretty neat and easy pouch to make; although I can't say I'm fond of how they decided to do the sewing the lining and outside together.

Then there were blocks I had leftover from other quilts I'd finished - you know, the ones that are made in excess, or the wrong style or not quite right? And they were just lying around, waiting to be sewn together. I have quite a lot of those.

This one is of leftovers from a quilt I made on commission for a friend to give to her daughter:
Isolation quilts

This one is leftover from the blocks and backings for 'Break Free or Build Upon?'
Isolation quilts

Speaking of which, I dug 'Break Free And Build Upon' and was thinking about cutting it in two, but I've entered it into the Sydney Quilt Show as a full size quilt, and my sister thinks it will go well on the sofa when it's done. So.

And now that I've sorted through a lot of stuff that was just left in bags, I'm having to look at my UFOs. I feel like I should make a list, but I'm scared that if I do, I'll never start becuase it'll just be too daunting. Then again, if I could do one block a day, that would be a good start. Just one block...


It's not strictly the 2020 finish-along because I don't think I signed up for either Q1 or Q2 - too much happening at the time. But I'm getting the tops done. Of course, once I get the tops done, the matter of getting the backings done and the whole thing quilted rears its ugly head...

Ah well. We sew on.

Monday, January 20, 2020

2020 QAL Q1 Finish List

Wow that post title is a mouthful!


So many things to do this year. Whether I'll get any of them done? Something else entirely!

So this is my planned finish list for 2020 Q1.

1. Mum's laptop sleeve

2. Hem B2's dress

3. 2 cousin quilt tops

4. Finish my Sydney Mod Squad quilt blocks for the 2020 quilt

5. Decide on a quilt for the 2020 Sydney Quilt Show.

6. Publish the Snowflake Block foundation paper piecing pattern for sale.

Monday, January 13, 2020

on assistance and helping [Australia On Fire]

There's been a lovely upswelling of assistance from crafters (from everyone, really) as the Australian Fires of 2020 continue burning.

However, a few hard truths.

1. Any 'practical supplies' that you make are taking people away from the fire frontage to deal with the excess.

Multiple organisations have already indicated that they're running out of space to deal with all this stuff, and a lot of it isn't practical anyway. It's frequently not helping if they haven't specifically asked for it.

2. What people are providing is not necessarily what is needed.

Apparently, well-meaning knitters have crafted thousands of woollen paw-gloves...which aren't able to be used by the cute and cuddly koalas, partly because the fibre they're made from is not always suitable to put on raw wounds of paws, but also because koalas actually need their claws to be able to climb trees. So far too many of the gloves are going to landfill, having only satisfied the well-meaning people who made them.

3. Even Donating to the RFS could be shorting them in future years.

Basically, the RFS is an Australian Government department. As such, it's supported by the Australian taxpayers through their income, land, and sales taxes. Donating to the RFS, while letting people feel good about what they've given, actually allows the government to renege on their budgetary allocations.

Say that the RFS is allocated $100m a year for their budget. But through the generosity of the public due to Fire Season, they are given $20m in donations. They don't end up with $120m in budget; they end up with $80m from the government and $20m in donations.

And then in the 2021 budgets, the government says, "well, you did okay with $80m budget last year, so we're not going to increase that, you'll just have to get the rest from donations again."

so what do you do?

The RFS has asked for donations to Red Cross. (For the record, the Red Cross has been handing out $5K packages to families in Byron Bay whose buildings/properties are burned down, to keep them afloat; and that's going to be just the start of it.)

The Animal Rescue Craft Guild has today asked people to stop sewing while they take stock.

Various crafting groups have said that if you want to help, go about crafting what you usually craft, making what you usually do, and when you're done, sell it and donate the money. There are quilting groups that are not just donating their quilts but raffling them, and donating the money raffled to the relevant charity for the fires.

(One of the groups is my quilting group - the Sydney Mod Squad. We have five quilts that are up for raffle, from the last five years of entering quilts at the show. If you're interested in joining the raffle, then keep an eye on the @SydModSquad instagram account. I'm not sure if there's options for international shipping, but definitely in Australia.)

Yes, money is such a filthy, terrible, impersonal thing to give when what you want to think is that the mitten you personally knitted is sitting snugly on the paw of a poor burned koala, or the wrap you made is curled around a baby possum whose mother died in the fire. It makes you feel good, right?

And yet charity is not for us. I mean, it is. It broadens our minds, broadens our hearts, makes us look beyond our immediate circle of 'self and family and friends' to the possibilities that might yet strike at us: there but for the grace of God go I.

But the effects of charity - the people/organisations who we want to help - are sometimes best served by giving money, and, moreover, giving it somewhere that may not feel 'right' but which is nevertheless the better option than the one that does.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

2020 sewing plans

I have been terrible with sewing for the last year, in spite of having quite a lot of time available because I've been out of work.

This is partly because I've drifted away from my regular quilting group people, and partly because I've been focused on my writing and my garden instead. I've been making very few things, and what I did was mostly finish off UFOs. And I haven't been very successful at that.

This year, however, I at least have to:
  • make my mother a laptop sleeve
  • make my sister 2 dresses
  • finish 9 quilt tops for the cousins in time for Christmas
  • quilt a bunch of quilts that are just lying around
  • finish a couple of UFOs at the least
Exactly how I'm going to do all this, I don't know. There aren't enough hours in the day.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

2019 FAL: Q4 Finish "C4 Quilt"

Finish Along Q4 Goals

Another one of the original C4 Quilts done.

Late November

The only problem is that I've changed the requirement...

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

2019 FAL: Q4 Finish "Halloween Curtains"

Finish Along Q4 Goals

Two: Halloween Curtains


Now to decide whether or not to quilt it.

Monday, November 4, 2019

First Monday Of The Month: November!

Oh boy, I nearly missed this!

First Monday Of the Month, to push myself to do more sewing (because otherwise it gets lost under everything else in my life that wants doing).


1. I rejigged the C4 quilts, and have not-quite-finished the first one:

Actually, I've found I prefer it on the vertical rather than the horizontal.
Although either way it feels...chunky. Less elegant than I'd like. *sigh*


2. I finished the All Saints Curtains for Halloween.

This is the partly-finished version:
Dia de los Muertos

This is the full version hanging up against the window:

Fabric is De La Luna by Tula, with the dia de los muertos ladies on it.

Now that I've done that...I'll have to finish the curtain in time for Christmas!!


Halloween in our area was reasonably busy. We had two bags of sweets and they were gone in an hour and a half.

But I also sat outside in the yard, offering drinks to the parents (it was water! Yes, it was in a vodka bottle, but it was still water!) and working on my garden planning. This was mostly because I'm working to develop community in the neighbourhood, make a few more connections with people. I didn't get dressed up this year - I don't have a light cosplay for Halloween, unless it's the Number Six Cylon dress and I made that 10 years ago and doubt I'd fit into it anymore. Instead, I just put on a nice pink dress I'd made a couple of years ago and a sunbonnet and waited for the kids to come by.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

C4 Quilts: rejig

Trying to sort out Design Seed color palettes based off the solids that I have:

Steel - Deep Sepia
Slate - Periwinkle
Ash - Bone
Iron - Metal


Cousin M: mid-thirties, adventurer, does a lot of rock-climbing. So I was thinking something that carries the idea of the mountains and the rocks and the wild.

Iron: Wander Tones

Cousin P: early-thirties, office professional, gamer-quiet. He and his gf are living in their grandparents' old house (heritage listed, the family can't sell it for love or money), and apparently they have whole gaming campaigns up on their living room wall.

Slate: Shuttered Hues

Cousin K: v early-thirties, professional photographer, stylish. She's always beautifully put together in a casually elegant way, and does

Steel: Color Shore

Steel: Color View
Steel: Flora Tones

Cousin P: late-twenties, bubbly, fashionable

Ash: Urchin Pastels

Ash: Mental Vacation


Seriously, though, I'd forgotten how much fun it is to play with color boards!

Monday, October 7, 2019

First Monday Of The Month: October

Gee, I'm really terrible at this business of keeping up the blog. I missed August's first Monday so turned it into the last Monday, then I completely forgot about September!

Anyway, we're back. Hopefully to be a bit more productive these next three months; there are things which must be done!

1. Cousin Quilts - a change in direction

I was planning to gift a set of four penny patch quilts to a quartet of cousins. The cousins are all in their 30s, one is getting married at the end of this month. We're not hugely close - I think the affection is more on our side than on theirs.

However, this morning I thought about it and, looking at the design and fabric I've chosen - traditional in Traditional fabrics - I'm doubtful that that's going to be in their style.


It's a great pattern, maybe a bit busy with this fabric, just probably not everyone's thing.


Instead, I was thinking of something like The Flight Quilt (as rendered by Joanne's Design, although she indicates that she got the idea from a quilt that was labelled 'Simple' but didn't have any attribution to it). It can be done in a variety of colours and with either colours or a neutral as the background.

In Kona Solids, because I still have the better part of 200 FQs of Kona Solids and I'm pretty sure I can work out a way to use them like this.

I'd colour co-ordinate them according to the style of the cousin in question. M would be rich earth colours, P would be bright-saturateds, K would be stylish and elegant, and P would be pretty yet classic.

What am I going to do with the Penny Patches? Dunno. Thought I might give them to a friend's family, but...really not sure it's their style, either. I mean, they'd be happy with it anyway, but...hmf.

Oh well, more quilt tops at any rate.


Otherwise, for Halloween I was planning to make curtain fronts for the lounge room and maybe the study using Tula Pink's De La Luna (which takes inspiration from the Día de Muertos celebration of Mexico), using the Penny Patch pattern again.

The major things vying for my attention right now though are: the garden, the fiction writing. Oh, and the cats.


But that's usual for cats.


I should probably make an icon and a banner or something, shouldn't I?