Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WIP Wednesday: the one with swarm


"Swarm" by Sel

#swarmbysel is my first quilt for the Sydney Quilt Show. It's a bit of a monster, actually - I've been working on it for a year, very slowly, and it's only the impending deadline that has me working on it right now:

Why do i do this to myself? Why? #swarmbysel

Plus, those little triangles in the background triangle blocks? They're 'bees'.

They look really spectacular But they're a PAIN to make.


P. A. I. N.

But it's all coming together quite nicely, I think!

WIP Wednesday: swarm by Sel

It just needs to be four times longer...

If you'd like to watch it all come together, then I'm on Instagram as seldear - here.

Plain Jane Passacaglia

I joined the FB group for the Passacaglia. I'm not sure that was a good idea. Mostly, it becomes a little daunting to look at all the beautifully cut-and-pieced fussy-cuts, and then look at my own 'Plain Jane'.

Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind... #plainjanepassacaglia

Sometimes I feel rather like the entirety of online quilting is a big LOOK AT MOI! Including myself.

Going Nowhere

Birthday Swaps




To Do This Week


I have some time this Saturday - it's ANZAC day, and things will be pretty quiet commercially (although the circus surrounding it will be massive, since this is the 100th Anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli. I'm debating whether to go to a dawn service, but not sure I can actually make it. Plus, I think that the memory of war and the gratefulness towards those who serve in the military is something that should be remembered in the midst of the kind of life they fought for, not on one day of the year - rather like love in the little things should be shown every day, not just on Valentines' Day.

And that's my meta for the month.

Have a good and productive week, and I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WIP Wednesday: the one with free motion quilting!

So, last Friday/Saturday, I attended the HandiQuilter's Blessington Academy up in the Blue Mountains, took three classes, and two lectures with Angela Walters, and learned about the HQ Infinity 240 (or something like that; I don't remember the specifics of the machine).

First class with Angela Walters in 30 mins! 😍😍😍 #hqblessington Anyone else here?

It was VERY good, and I came back with a heap of new thoughts and experiences, as well as some new outlooks on my quilts and quilting them!

Many things





Came home from the Blessington Academy on Saturday afternoon, quilted it Saturday night, bound it last night. It goes in the post tonight (somewhat belated).

February Birthday Swap!


Many things

Completed the cover at the Blessington Academy on Friday afternoon and it goes in the post tonight.

Esme top

Too late for summer, of course.

Many things

And probably needs to be one or two sizes smaller in the body. I'm practically swimming in the fabric!

Oh, well, next summer...



First pictures!


Once I start sewing the pieces together, it comes together pretty fast. I can do a row or two per night and the top will be done in a couple of weeks. Which then means I have to get cracking on the quilting...


Must start thinking about that now.

Plain Jane Passacaglia

Another Rosette 7 done!

Another rosette of the #plainjanepassacaglia finished! Huzzah!

I think a Rosette 11 is up next...

To Do This Week

Set the blocks, lay it out, JUST DO IT.


April Birthday Swaps
Sew Together Bag? Drawstring Bag? Another Compact Shopping Bag? I'm on a Bag run right now.

Got fabric for the Aussie Tula Pink Swap. Need to work out what I'm actually doing with it... It shouldn't be that hard, right? RIGHT? *facepalm*


Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

HQ Blessington Academy


Many things

It was the Blessington HandiQuilter Academy up in the Blue Mountains, I found out about it two weeks ago (pretty much the day Angela instagrammed a pic of Sydney and said she was here for two weeks), booked in almost immediately, and it was awesome.


I did three workshops and two lectures with Angela - I think the only lecture/class of hers I didn't attend was the one about running your own FMQ business. Instead, for that one, I attended a class on 'blocks, borders, and corners'. But more about that later.

The workshops were: Fun, Fab, Free-motion Fills
Quilting Negative Space
Little Changes, Big Variety

People who've read her books will recognise most of the patterns she took us through, but I found it so helpful to actually have her there doing the demonstration, commenting, and answering questions. And she FMQs so beautifully and so effortlessly, it's amazing!

Many things

Plus, the whole thing about putting it all together? That was important for me: because I can do spirals, and I can do pebbles, but I hadn't really managed spirals-and-pebbles together before. Toss in some leaves, and some paisley feathering...

Many things

Let's just say that the quilting on my #igminioz looks very different from the quilting on my #rainbowminiswap!

Many things

The lectures were:
Quilting Efficiently
Quilting Modern Quilts

Many things

The Quilting Efficently one was an excellent one for me - I tend to quilt myself into corners and then get stuck for how to get out. Her thinking condensed a lot of things for me, including the concept that when I'm quilting, I should be looking ahead, thinking about where I want to end up so I can quilt the next section without having the backtrack.

Many things

Quilting Modern Quilts, on the other hand, was interesting from the design perspective: thinking about what the quilt should highlight and what the quilting means. I haven't really been focused on the quilting in my quilt work - I'm more about the colour, design, and piecing. Which, for some quilts, is fine. However, as I make and quilt more quilts with negative space, I need to work on my FMQ and how I see the actual process of quilting.

So this was very helpful, mentally.

Many things

The single non-Angela workshop I took was Block, Corners, and Borders which turned out to be quite hilarious in a very specific way.

The attendees at the Blessington Academy were largely mature-age women. Many of them owned the machines we were working on. And the single workshop I randomly picked out to fill in a space I didn't have a class or lecture in turned out to be on a very specific, very elaborate machine: the Infinity 240 (or something like that). I imagine you can FMQ on it, but it's really more for pantograph/pattern sewing via a computer.


So, we're in this class and the woman leading it (Mary-Beth...someone?) asks everyone what they're here for. And all the other women own this machine or are planning to own it, and there in the middle of the class I confess that "I picked this class out of a list, I've never seen this machine before, but don't worry, just go on with the class and I'll go with the flow."

As it turned out, the key issue was that it was software. Lots of buttons, menus, and a general procedure that you have to follow to get your sewing pattern to fit in the space you want it to sew. And I didn't know this machine, but I know software. I know that the specifics of the procedure will change - "Pattern A, Area A, Direction A" for this block "Pattern A, Area A, Direction B" for that - but the process will remain the same (pick the pattern, set the area/skew the pattern, define the direction).

I know that when I get an exception error 0000000X1572012361001, that I need to close down the program and start it up again. And, admittedly, I got the error by pressing buttons that I probably shouldn't have been pressing just to see what it would do. But the software rebooted fine!

Many things

And I know that when you experiment and have fun, you're more likely to remember the process you need to follow to do it in future. Give me another Infinity whatever and I could probably work out how to be doing blocks within the hour.

So I nearly got a whole block done in the time that we had allotted for the class. And I think the instructor was impressed: "You're sure you've never used one of these before?" So I learned something new! (Although possibly presently useless.) However, at ~$40K for frame and machine, it's a wee smidge out of my budget. I could afford an Avanti, but I don't have the space for it.

I may be time to talk to the sister about building a garage... :D

But...I got to meet Angela Walters!


*does fangirly little dance of glee*

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Quilt Thoughts for Q1 2015

So, I haven't done half of what I wanted in Q1 of 2015. Had a big sewjo slump, couldn't get back on the unicorn.

It's time to revise from our very ambitious plan back in January. Life happens, goals have to shift. This is not a bad thing.

So these are the major goals for Q2 of 2015.

The biggest things are:

1. Swarm: which needs to be done for the Sydney Quilt Show

2. Snowflakes: again, needs to be done for the Sydney Quilt Show

3. Retro Autumn: which I'm thinking of doing for the Australian Modern Quilt Show (because brown is not modern).

4. Tula Pink Mini Swap: I don't know what I was thinking.

These things have deadlines, and therefore Must Be Done.

Things that are important but not urgent

5. Curtains for the house: WINTER IS COMING (sorry, had to be said) and we still don't really have curtains on the windows of the new house. Not that they'll help all that much without pelmets (which my sister is looking at getting; we're pretty obsessive about ways to minimise energy loss from the house).

6. 1920s dress: a friend is coming down from the US in June. I know her from fandom, but she's also a sewist - costumes and dresses rather than quilts, although her MIL quilts. And she's coming to see a Miss Fisher Mysteries costume tour in Melbourne, so we're dressing up and going to a speakeasy and an afternoon tea. And I simply must have something new to wear! (Ooh, she'll be here for the Sydney Craft And Quilt Fair!)

7. quilt backings: I want to get these done so we have a slew of quilts for the winter.

That's Q2, when the gardening will be a little quieter (maybe) and the hockey has begun (so unfit) and the sister and I work out how winter actually works in this house. (It's gonna be cold out there, folks.)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

WIP Wednesday: the one with new blocks

Happy Easter! Hope you had a good weekend, whether you celebrated the risen Christ, the Passover, the coming of spring (northern hemi), or just a day off work and school!

I didn't get many easter eggs or hot cross buns, but I did find my sewing mojo!

Design board. Too many ideas!



Birthday Swaps - AHBC Party #3

I am nearly caught up! Posted my January gift out and it's been received. And she likes it! (Or she said she does, so I'll take it as said.)

I've posted out March just this morning and it will hopefully arrive by this afternoon.

And I've nearly finished February. Just have the snaps to attach and it will be off.

(And then I have to do April. If I do April, May, and June all at once, that's not cheating, right? Maybe another shopping bag, an Open Wide bag, and another box pouch. I love those box pouches; they're so awesome!)


So, I've had this block design in mind for a while, but never had the energy/effort to put it together.

I have a cunning plan, Baldrick!

I call it 'Baldrick's Cunning Leaves' for whimsical reasons.

I've worked out the pattern and am contemplating an entire quilt of this design.

Design is good, colours...not so sure my recip will like it... 😓😒😳😢 #igminioz

Also: discovery. Secondary patterns!

Holy secondary patterns, batman! #baldrickscunningleaves

Now for the quilting... (Ugh.)


Still have to think of a design! But I ordered more fabric from Moonlight and the Birds and the Bees and Elizabeth to blend in with my Neptune and Salt Water ranges.

Going Nowhere

- Swarm
- Snowflakes

To Do This Week


Done a bunch of trimming this last week, but haven't counted how many I still need to put together!

I've decided to do this in 'bundles' of triangles, to make it easier to put together. (Hopefully.) Sew a few together every night so it doesn't get the better of me and I have a chance to make the seams line up (roughly) straight.

On The Plan


It needs to be done. I'm still debating about whether to do the Y-seams or not. My inclination is 'not'.


Winter is coming and we don't have curtains on our lounge or dining windows. Needs to be done.

Dining room: diamonds in rainbows?

Lounge room front: Concerto quilt pattern.
Lounge room side: Concerto quilt pattern in landscape.

(That'll make four Concerto quilt tops that I'm supposed to be making. Oy.)

Quilt Backings for already finished quilts

I can't even.

Imagine Greater

Really need to do this before next winter!


And this weekend, I'm going to the Handi Quilter retreat where Angela Walters is teaching FMQ classes. I went looking for whatever classes she was doing in Australia the instant I realised she was here, and found the Academy, which runs from tonight through to Saturday afternoon. I can't make the Thursday, so I've just gone with the Friday and Saturday and booked every since class I could fit in with Angela.

That makes 5 FMQ classes with her, and one piecing class with someone else which sounded interesting. I don't know who's going to be there, I'm probably going to stand out like a sore thumb (They reminded quilters to bring their glasses, which, uh, yeah. Older demographic.) but it's going to be FUN! (I hope.)

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WIP Wednesday: the one with postage!

Went to Destash Market, didn't sell very much. Am seriously tempted to post pictures of the stash somewhere saying "$200 for the lot, plus postage, or else come pick it up from Sydney north."

Mostly, I just want it out of my workroom and my sight!

But here's a picture of the stall I shared with Penny Poppleton at Destash Market:

Destash rainbow mini



It's been backed and quilted and bound and labelled (snapping a needle along the way), and now it's ready to be posted!

Destash rainbow mini

More pics can be found at my instagram, if you want to see more. I'm not posting them just yet, although I'm not even sure that my recipient is still in the swap...


compactible shopping bag

Working on a pattern for this, but I get as far as the casing, and then I get stuck!

Destash rainbow mini

plain jane passacaglia

Another Rosette 7 done!

Destash rainbow mini

And still going! My goal is to do a couple of pieces every day on the commute to work. My eyes (and my neck) can't handle all day every day, but a couple of pieces should be fine.


Birthday Swaps

January: I'm quietly terrified that my gift isn't good enough. Then again, I'm terrified every month that my gifts aren't good enough.

February: Working on it.

March: I'm debating whether just to give a little pouch that I made a few months ago but haven't been using.


I've pulled out my scraps. I'm thinking something bright. Have a few ideas, but nothing really concrete. Might become a pattern idea for a larger quilt...

Scraps for #igminioz


No ideas. None. *tears hair*

Going Nowhere

Oh, everything. I only got my sewing mojo on for the #rainbowminiswap, and I'm not sure how long it will last...

To Do This Week

1. Finish February and March and April Aussie Handmade Birthday Club projects. (Bad Sel.)
2. Get the IG Mini Oz top done. Now with extra scraps!

Good Friday = Good for sewing. :)

Also: for those of you who celebrate it - JESUS IS RISEN! :D

For the rest of you - enjoy the holiday and the chocolate. (Or whatever good things this time of year brings you.) :)


Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!