Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Gifts!

Cushions for my bible study leaders:


Two for each couple.


I've only known C&K a couple of years - they got married at the end of the first year I knew them, and I gave them a quilt for their wedding. Late, of course, because these things happen!

But the pillow with the flying geese was supposed to match their quilt (which is a double irish chain)...and didn't quite. The other pillow is made from some autumnal charm squares I bought back when I first discovered online fabric stores...


J&C I've known since I was a baby. Or, rather, they've been family friends for years. I'm five months older than their oldest daughter and we were in school together for years.

And now the gift for a Secret Santa swap!

messenger bag: proto

It's a prototype, really - I kind of got things mixed around and put the flap on the the front instead of the back... Oops.

It's a feature! [insert computer programming joke here about bugs vs. features]

Hopefully they're able to use these gifts. I'm not fond of things that gather dust...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

wait, it's December already?!?

Sadly, I have done very little quilting in the last ten days, thanks to writing deadlines looming on the horizon.

Not that I'm managing to meet those deadlines, either. :(

Anyway, this is the state of the quilting room:

Those patches up the back? Are cushion-covers for one set of bible study leaders. I have yet to piece and put together the cushion-covers for the other set of bible study leaders. See, we were thinking about getting them gifts, and I said I could make cushion-covers and...


Apart from my writing, I'm very focused on making Christmas presents right now - mostly messenger bags, although I might try a cloth-covered notebook for one of the stepbrothers. And some fabric coasters for the easily washable option.

I might do a Stash Sunday tomorrow since I went shopping with Jenn today at Fabric Warehouse out in Alexandria...and bought some stash additions.

...I just typed 'addictions', which, really, is what this is turning out to be...

Christmas, here we come!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

WIP...uh...Thursday? (WIP Wednesday #30)

So Wednesday was so mad bizay cray-cray, that I never got around to posting a WIP Wednesday.

That's okay. It's still Wednesday in the US! Well, in Hawaii. It's still the US!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Stick a fork in me, for, lo, I am DONE!
Birthday Blocks
I've been ridiculously sporadic about getting these Birthday Blocks done for my swap. But the last three beckoned and the organiser was asking if I'd gotten them out yet.

And yea, I was stuck at home while waiting for a tradie (uh, "tradesman" to those of you who don't speak Aussie) to turn up, and the fabric didst call me with a siren song...

Rocky Road To Dublin:
birthday block: rocky road to Dublin

Double Hourglass Block (she asked for anything in hot pink and black, and 9" finished):
birthday block: double hourglass

Pineapple Blossom:
Birthday blocks

Huzzah! They're done! Now I just have to get them out tomorrow morning and I'm all finished for the 2011 Birthday Block swap!

Messenger Bag
The local Craft Depot had a massive sale for all of November, and while I was wandering through its aisles looking at all the fabric I shouldn't buy, I found The New Handmade: Simple Sewing for Contemporary Style by Cassie Barden. Projects! Gift ideas! Simple how-tos!

Honestly, most of what I was interested in was the bags!

Namely, the messenger bag, which I put together on Monday and Tuesday using the Swoon fabric range by Melissa Averinos in the green-orange-yellow-brown colourway:
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

I made a slight booboo while putting it together, though. But it still works, so it's a feature, right?

It was so simple and easy and neat and useful, that I bought a whole lot of fabric with which to make more!

Modern French Lace Maze
I have to think of a better name for this!

Strip-pieced, cut, laid out, and sewn together, this quilt is ridiculously pretty!
Modern Basics: modern maze in French lace batiks

The pattern is Modern Maze from the book Modern Basics. The fabric is French Lace Batiks by Moda.

I think this pic does a better job of showing the subtle difference between the greens (small rectangles) and the creams (small squares).

French lace maze

I laid it out in a 6x6 config rather than the 5x7 the book recommended. And I've got enough fabric left over to piece a border. One border in the same brown batik for the crosses, then a border of small squares then the edge.

Truly? The most tricksy part? Was the calculations to ensure that I had enough fabric in the fat quarter set to make the quilt (the book specified yardage).

I rather like the result, though!

Stuck in the Mud
- Harvest HSTs
- Mum's Impstar
- Charmed Prints

Dead In The Water
- Santorini Sun & Sea Kaleidoscope (needs basting and quilting)
- Supernova (needs binding)
- Dead Simple QAL
- Quilt Blogger's Uber-fest (needs the rest of the blocks done)

Finally, I finished National Novel Writing Month: 50,000 words in the month of November - that's 1667 words per day! It's hardly a novel, it's certainly not finished, but I got the words out and that's the key thing in NaNoWriMo.

And now it's December. Where did the year go?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday #29

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Three cushions for a swap. (And, incidentally, Celebrate Colour.)

Celebrate Colour Cushions - finished!

They were posted yesterday; I hope the recipient likes them!


Mum's Imperial Star Destroyer Quilt

The main body of the top is all sewn together!

Mum's Impstar - finished top centre!

However, I don't like the white sashing as the edge of the quilt, so I'm adding a darker border. Fabric is on order and will hopefully arrive before long...

I was hoping to have it done before Christmas...

Charmed Prints

Block time! Virginia Stars, Greek Cross, and Churn Dash:
charmed prints qal: Virginia star 2 charmed prints qal: Virginia star 1

charmed prints qal: Greek cross 2 charmed prints qal: Greek cross 1

And the layout:
charmed prints qal : layout with blocks

After my kerfuffle last week about looking for a dark backing, I went with white instead. *makes handwavy motions*

French Lace Batiks & Modern Basics
The new project! Cut, strip-pieced, joined, and blocked!

french lace blocks

I've also squared up the Harvest HSTs - hurrah for progress!

WIP blocks - french lace and harvest HSTs

This Week's Plans
1. Arrange and sew together Harvest HSTs.
2. Finish French Lace Modern Basic quilt. (Need a less unwieldy name for this.)
3. Get next feature blocks of Charmed Prints quilt done and start row assembly.

It's been a busy week, and it's gonna be another one ahead.

How are you doing with your WIPs?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Charmed Prints QAL: layout and blocks

Sadly, the light was not the best and I was just using my camera phone, so the photography isn't very good.

Got the layout worked out last week, but didn't get around to making the blocks or cutting the sashing until the weekend.

In spite of my protests that I wanted a dark colour, I eventually settled on white. White sashing, white background. It's just simpler.

Virigina Star blocks
charmed prints qal: Virginia star 1

charmed prints qal: Virginia star 2

It actually got a bit tricksy here, having to re-calculate how large the pieces had to be for a finished block size of 10".

Greek Cross blocks
Unfortunately, for the Greek Cross, there is no easy way to get a finished block size of 10". As a result, the blocks are 9" finished and 9.5" unfinished. I'll just add a white border around it - it may look a little odd, but...can't really be helped.

charmed prints qal: Greek cross 2

And then this Greek Cross block turned into a Churn Dash...
charmed prints qal: Greek cross 1

I have contemplated making another Churn Dash and another Greek Cross, but that might make a few too many blocks to easily scatter about the quilt layout.

with the focus blocks
charmed prints qal : layout with blocks

It looks pretty good, I think!

So far, the focus blocks have been mostly the one colour. It might be interesting to put two or maybe three colours into a block.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Celebrate Colour - Autumn Cushions

Celebrate Color

I wasn't sure I'd be entering this at all - getting these done seemed just so impossible with everything else going on right now!

But they're done and finished and looking quite good enough that I am suffering just a leetle covetousness...

The fronts!
cushion fronts

The sides and backs!
cushion stack

The artfully arranged!
Celebrate Colour Cushions - finished!

They're intended for someone in the UK - an exchange that was supposed to cover Halloween, and is supposed to reach her by the 21st November. *coughs*

It's gonna be a bit late, I think...

I just hope she likes them!

WIP Wednesday #28


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I tried to get around to commenting on everyone's blogs from last week...

...and then I got bitten on the right hand by bull-ants on Monday and developed cellulitis (swelling of the tissues) and it was horrible and painful and not at all pretty. (You don't have to click on that: my hands were never going to be on any handcream commercial in the first place, and it looks rather ghastly, in fact. Two weeks too late for Halloween!)

So Tuesday was a complete bust for anything. Except playing hockey. (Field hockey; not ice.) Which I probably shouldn't have done, but did. *coughs*

I did manage to comment on a bunch of blogs though (I started from the end of the WIP Wednesday link-up to give the later blogs some love) and am super-impressed, awed, and appreciative of the projects out there and just how wide and varied they are!

It has solidified a feeling that I should be more proactive about commenting on other people's blogs - after all, I do love it when y'all comment here, so I don't imagine other bloggers are that much different!

Therefore, my goal for the rest of 2011 and all of 2012 is to comment on at least five WIP linkups every week. With maybe one WIP Wednesday each quarter where I go through all the blogs and leave some kind of a comment. ("COMMENT ON THE BLOGS! COMMENT ON ALL THE BLOGS!")

I'll probably try to make it one of the weeks where the number of WIP entries are, you know, small-ish?

...and when I'm not getting bitten by bull-ants. Which I shall steadfastly attempt to avoid in future!

Anyway, on to actual quilting things!


My swap cushions!

cushion tryptych:
A photo I took after I'd quilted the cushion fronts on Sunday. They're three slightly different colour backgrounds (Kona Hot Spice FQ bundle: gorgeous colours) but the range of fabrics I chose for the coins panel is more or less the same for each, just a bit mixed up.

cushion fronts
I have decided I will give all three away to the intended recipient. I can always make more. I just hope she can use them with her decor! (She said earth colours...)

cushion stack
And a view of the back - with my label on.

Yes, I know the label is wrong - it's not a quilt - but I have all these labels and I'm going to stick them on every damn thing I can to get through them all! :)

I also finished a slightly impromptu phone cover:
Phone cover

Also for the non-crafty gift swap! I hope she likes it!

Still Chugging Along

Gen X Quilters

Finally got around to laying this one out on Monday!
Charmed prints QAL layout

I'm debating sashing - a deep blue - maybe royal or navy? Or a black? A solid? Or something with a subtle sea-themed pattern?

a) I'd like it to be dark - really dark, to make the Odyssea fabrics POP.
b) I don't want it to detract from the patterns - either the focus blocks, or the plain squares.
c) I want it to 'read' as a solid from a distance.

Of course, this may require...fabric purchasing! (I stll have money in the budget!

I've sewn together the blocks for Mum's Imperial Stars quilt and will post that in next week's WIP. We're having a space crisis in the lounge room lately, so the pictures aren't the best.

Running On The Spot
- Dead Simple QAL: I gotta pull my finger out and do the borders - I want borders for this one, but actually doing them? Oh so much effort!
- Quilt Uber-Fest: 6 blocks down, 10 to go!
- Harvest HSTs: don't even speak to me about this one...

- Santorini Sun And Sea Kaleidoscope
- Gothic Summer Sampler

- Supernova

Oncoming projects
French lace batiks project
French Lace Batiks for a Modern Basics Quilt!

Friday, November 11, 2011

a land of summer skies...

Hi to the new people following me - it's a pleasure to see you here!

This is like my Finished Friday post (seeing as I haven't bought any fabric this least...not any fabric that's yet been delivered... *whistles innocently*

So it is most definitely not autumn here:
Summer skies

Look at that sky! The temps have been up in the high twenties (Celsius, of course - I think that's about 80-85F for the Yanks) with heavy humidity, which makes it feel so much hotter.

And yet the quilting blogosphere is firmly in Fall.

And so, apparently, are my quilting instincts:
Switch Witch pillow

The cushion cover is for a non-quilty gift exchange, and the purple is actually more burgundy than it came out in the photo. I love the golden-brown thread I used for the quilting - it really stands out on the pillow and beautifully frames the coins.

I'm making two more. Still not sure if they're going into the exchange as well, although they probably will, so she can have matching cushions.

Do you ever get that moment of covetousness when you've finished something and decide you really really like it? I presently have a bad case of "But it's so pretty, I want to keep it!"

The how-to was taken from the Quilted Pillow Covers Tutorial over at The Pin Cushion. I love the instructions for the piping - so simple and yet it really adds something to the cushion cover.

I'm beginning to wonder if I can make a few of these as Christmas gifts for cousins and relatives... Something simple and yet nice!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday #27

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Bits and pieces this week:

Mum's Impstar
1. Finished the blocks!
2. Cut the panels!
3. Laid it out!
4. Cut sashes and posts!

Mum's Impstar - layout

Please excuse the new stovetop and oven on the side there...

Some rearrangement of the blocks may be necessary - I have an extra three stars which will probably go on the back.

The first layout attempt:
impstar: layout 1

It seems a bit...bright, perhaps. The sashing and posting, I mean. And busy! Maybe that's the bright speaking?

Quilt Uber-Fest
So I've almost completely dropped the ball on this. They're getting done at a snail-pace rate. Mostly because I started cutting for this one and the next one...and cut all the pieces the wrong size.

The Watch Over Me Block by Ryan Walsh:
Quilt Uber-Fest: Watch Over Me

I admit, I didn't like the fabrics that they used for the Quilt Uber-Fest. Too busy, too much happening, not my kind of fabric (not for a heavy piecing block quilt like this one).

I'm wishing I'd used either the butterflies/small lilac flower print for the 'path' framing the little 'eye' in the centre. It would have broken up the solids of the path and the solids of the 'background'.

Ah well. Keep in mind if we ever do this again!

Scrappy Drunkard's Path
While down in Ballarat, I bought a drunkard's path template - 4.5" - and started cutting out the pieces on Satuday.

drunkard's path scrappy

This is going to be my hand-sewing project for the next year! Take a few pieces everywhere I go and sew sew sew!

I have plenty of scraps from previous projects, odds and ends, bits and pieces, charm squares that I received in a swap and am never going to use. Result? Attempts to do several scrap quilts - including some selvage blocks and some strip quilting blocks. They'll be long-term WIPs I imagine.

Charmed Prints QAL
Got the fabrics picked out this week: MoMo's Odyssea:
Odyssea by MoMo

Have the instructions for laying out and cutting sashes and posts, and will do it all tomorrow. Or Friday. Sometime this week.

Going Nowhere
- Dead Simple QAL (backing to be done)
- Harvest HSTs (blocks to be trimmed and sewn together)

So what have you done this week?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Charmed Prints QAL: fabric choices

Gen X Quilters

When looking at this QAL, I pretty much decided that the planned quilt size was too small from the get-go.

So I figured I'd use a layer cake instead of a charm pack and take it from there.

Cue the layer cake of Momo's Odyssea that I bought a couple of months back!
Odyssea by MoMo

Lots of colours, lovely patterns, large prints and small prints and prints that are in-between...

The first instructions are due to be posted Tuesday US time,'s waiting!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fabric Friday

(I'm going with the "it's 5 o'clock somewhere" theory of Fabric Friday...)

It's time for a good old-fashioned Aussie road trip!

Sing along with me now!

Give me a home among the gum trees!

With lots of sun, please!
Leura: Sat morn walk

A view or two and some skies of blue,

Sheep run out the back!

A quilt shop out the front!
Ballarat Quilt Shop

And a dirt road somewhere!

A couple of weeks ago I went on a road trip to Leura with some friends, then down to Melbourne and the Armageddon media convention, and then down to Ballarat to visit some friends.

While I was there, I (naturally) visited fabric shops. It was a week full of purchases.

Starting with Friday!

Jenn from and I headed off to Material Obsession in Balmain, where we bought...things. Fabric-y things!

Like some Reece Scanell two-tone cotton!
fabric: reece scanell
No, I didn't buy all of that! Just five FQs.

And some backing on sale:
fabric: yardage backing

Then, a friend who works at a craft-y magazine in Sydney acquired for us a charm pack and a FQ set of Maywood's Return to Romance line in flannel! Jenn was kind enough to let me take the entire FQ set!

fabric: Maywood Return To Romance FQ bundle

Friday afternoon, I headed up to the town of Leura, up in the Blue Mountains to stay with a bunch of friends at a self-contained guesthouse for a weekend of fun and writing. Well, fun, anyway. Not too much writing actually happened in the end!

While up there, I discovered Leura Quilt Shop...and ended up picking up a 12" ruler, and a lovely Japanese-style fabric panel: Golden Carp!
fabric: golden carp

It will nicely match with the RK Imperial Collection #6 that I accidentally acquired while looking for more fabric for Mum's Impstar.

Then it was down to Melbourne to gift the Kaleidoscope quilt!

Unfortunately, I forgot to get a pic of the finished quilt - or the actress with her quilt. Damn stupid of me! :(

After Melbourne, I went to Ballarat to stay with a friend who moved down there a couple of years ago with her husband. Now they have two kids that are made of adorable (even when they're wailing and thumping). Of course, I can say that: they're not my kids!

But while I was down in Ballarat, how could I possibly pass up the chance to visit the Ballarat Quilt Shop?

The lady who runs Ballarat Quilt Shop turned out to be a Buffy fan! So while I browsed through fabric and notions on sale, my friend and the shop owner talked Buffy. :)

I love it when fannish geekery comes together!
notions: from Ballarat Quilt Shop

And then what does Craft Depot have to do but have a sale! 20% off everything in-store! Resistance is futile! Your bank balance will be assimilated!

So on Monday, I bought a lot of Plume:
fabric: Plume and Reece Scanell

Some of that is the Reece Scanell two-tone cottons: they're pricey, but oh so nice-y! I usually get one or two each time I visit a shop that has them. And there will be quilt-age from them. But they looked so nice against the Plume fabric.

Also: Art Nouveau flowers:
fabric: Art Nouveau flowers

Then, I purchased a pretty brown batik to join together the French Lace batiks I've been dithering over for the last couple of months: the colours and batiks are lovely, but I needed something to join the blocks together:
fabric: french lace batiks

And now that we have it, Modern Basics quilt, here we come!

Finally, I bought a random azure batik fabric because I love batiks and there is no such thing as 'too much' batik - especilly in azure!
fabric: azure batik

But wait, there's more!

And then on Thursday I went over to visit Killara Village Quilts, because they had Alexander Henry's 'Wonderland' print, which I've been seeking for a while!

Fabric: killara village quilts

Plus, some stash building.

So, that's my fabric purchases of the last couple of weeks and I think this is beginning to get out of hand.

As a result, I've set myself a budget for the end of the year. A set amount that I can spend on fabric and then NO MORE. There's got to be limits. And I need to focus on making quilts, not adding to the stash.

So there may be a Fabric Friday post or two later this year, but hopefully not too many!