Wednesday, December 31, 2014

WIP Wednesday - the one with HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Okay, so, I'm supposed to be going to a NYE street party right this instant, but I'm putting it off to write a blogpost for WIP Wednesday!

(I'm not actually in a party mood.)

eta: I went, I chatted, I ate and partied and socialised. And now I'm home and THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME.


The most major one is my stepbrother's Penny Patch.

Top is done!

Penny Patch

And quilted!

Penny patch

But I have to bind it tomorrow.

Penny patch

I should have sewn the binding on this morning, so I'd have it to sew at the NYE party tonight. Hindsight.


Otherwise, there's all the tops that need backings:

WIP tops

And a bunch more WIPs from previous years.

2015 shall be The Year Of The Finishes. (And The Year Of The Scrap Projects. And The Year Of The Stash.)

Starting with tomorrow, a.k.a. "The New Year's Day quilt". Maybe. :)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Quilter Blog Swap: meet Quilting Oneness

Today's guest blogger for the Quilter Blogswap is Maria at Quilting Oneness!

I don't think I'd ever crossed paths with Maria before, but looking at her work, I'll definitely be keeping an eye on her in the future!


- Spoonflower:
- Society6:

How did you come to be a quilter?
I first got interested in quilting about 20 years ago when I saw in a textile art magazine a beautiful old English quilt made entirely of hexagons - I wanted to make something similar myself. I never did, but I got completely hooked on English Paper Piecing for quite a while. Then my life started changing a lot, and although I always had something textile to work on, for many years there was no specific direction to what I was doing. In summer last year a new path began to appear and I experimented with textile mosaic, that is pieces of fabric wedged into polystyrene board. This allowed me to combine fabrics - layered silks, viscose, cotton, polyester, brocade with metal threads, polyester velvet,... - in a way that would not have been possible if I had tried to sew these pieces together.

Light in the Night

I was fascinated by the process, I love the outcomes, but still I wasn't a hundred percent satisfied. These mosaics lack the advantage of textiles over for example paintings: textiles are flexible, mobile and multi-purpose. We can wear them and use them daily and carry our textile art around with us. A by-the-way comment of a friend a few months ago made me reconsider patchwork and quilting, and during these past months I realised that there's a huge unexplored terrain for me.

What is it that you love about being a quilter?

That I'm part of a worldwide community which I regard as a great model for a society based on mutual support, kindness and sharing, cooperating freely and with generosity - while having a lot of fun. :) Quilting itself is about resourcefulness and repurposing, about uniting different layers with different functions in a way that is beautiful and useful, where every single piece of the puzzle is important and respected and valued - as it is and for what it is - and contributes its uniqueness to a new whole. It's more than just a symbol, it's a practical application of Oneness.

What are you most proud of from your quilting experience?

That I started blogging about it - although I'm in some regards a beginner and despite all those wonderful and awesome blogs that already exist - and also that, despite the just as overwhelming variety of patterns and techniques, I'm holding on to my belief that I can add something new to this mix.

What’s the one piece of advice about quilting that all new quilters should know?

Take your time and enjoy the process :)

Light in a Gorge

Who’s the quilter(s) that inspire you at the moment?

Too many to name, at any given moment...

What quilting challenges would you like to conquer in the next 12 months?

I know that I have phases when I don't feel like stitching, or don't feel like pausing and writing or taking the time to document what I do, or sometimes don't feel like communicating at all for a few days. My challenge is therefore to use 2015 for finding how I can blog and be productive with some consistency but while still respecting my inner rhythm, that is for developing a flexible navigation system with lots of space for spontaneity and improvisation, detours and retreats instead of forcing myself once again into the usual gridlock type schedule of should's and no-can-do's and deadlines. Creativity is like flying, and one of the three basic requirements of flying happens to be that I take my feet off the ground. ;) (Number two is having a sense of direction, and the last one is flapping my wings until I get into a thermal I can ride ... just in case you're interested.)

What’s your 3 favourite quilts that you’ve made that reflect who you are as a quilter?- - - I think every quilt I make/made reflects who I am/was at a certain stage, therefore every quilt is my favourite. Sorry I can’t show you the first ones, at the time I didn't think about taking photos of them before giving them away as presents. - Looking back all the way until now, I think I'd describe what I did and still try to achieve as "Merging Scandinavian Simplicity with Oriental Abundance". It's a lifestyle, really, reflecting myself.

If you weren’t a quilter, what other creative endeavour would you like to master?

Writing fiction, playing flute or bass guitar or both.

What is your favourite kind of pie?

The magpie ;) - I think they’re very beautiful, elegant and intelligent pies.

What holidays, traditions or religious occasions do you celebrate in your family at this time of year?

My partner and I love giving each other hand-crafted presents, and then watching the other’s face while opening them :) He’s English, I’m German, so we have our presents on Christmas Eve (German tradition) and English roast dinner on Christmas Day – our dogs get a Yorkshire pudding each, and believe me, they know it! As we live in Greece we phone or go online to connect with "the kids" and other distant family members. Apart from these celebrations and get-togethers, the solstice itself is very important to me as it signifies new life, a new start, new fresh energies – enough to carry me all the way through winter into spring.

Light in a Cave

Do you listen to music, watch television or prefer the hum of the sewing machine when you sew?

I love hand stitching, and whenever I can I go and sit outside. I love the sounds of a breeze, birds, bees, sheep bells, and I don’t mind the occasional dogs barking, scooters revving past, people shouting in the distance; I accept them as part of the scenery. Typically I switch on my sewing machine to block out sounds that I find more difficult to deal with, especially constant mind-chatter. At the moment it’s olive harvesting time here in Greece, and I much prefer the rhythmic rattle of my machine (it doesn't do hum) to the sound of air compressors... I find it very soothing, especially when free motion quilting where I rely on the sound for coordinating my hand movements and keeping the stitches even. Else I don't mind gentle or uplifting music, as long as it stays in the background.

What are your favourite types of blog posts to read?

My favourite flavours are Informative, Inspiring, Resourceful and Out-of-the-Box.

How important to you is learning a craft? How do you think we can keep the craft alive?

There are so many and different benefits to learning a craft - any craft or skill! - that I find it difficult even to sum them up or categorise them. What I can say is that learning a craft influences many other life areas as well, from stretching yourself over acknowledging your potential and being amazed by what you can do to making new friends. Creating and the process of learning something new gives a new sense of well-being way beyond perfect material results. As for keeping a craft alive: Add something of your own, of yourself. Once you've understood the very basics, keep your eyes open and see what others do - but don't just copy: Use what you learn by doing it your way, find your own version!

If you had to pick any designer to sit down and chat or work with for the day who would it be and why?

[sobbing] Only one designer and one day?? There are many I'd like to get to know as persons and find out what is the "reason behind" their work, what makes them tick, but also work with for experiencing different approaches regarding technique, design and process. Perhaps my number one at the moment is William Morris, whose designs reflected the great social change of the period during which he lived, in many ways similar to the one we're living in now.

What’s your favourite colour combination to work with and why?

I like experimenting with new combinations, for instance taking two or three colours that don't seem to go with each other and then figuring out how I can unite them. This, by the way, is something the textile mosaics taught me, simply because often I didn't quite have the piece of fabric I thought I wanted. A colour combination I often come back to is the turquoise/sky-blue range with white and gold or silver - it gives space and light - but I love rainbow and jewel colours or earthy neutrals just as much.

Small Double-faced Hexie Frame

Do you have any quilting goals for 2015, what are they?

In 2015 I'm doing A Block a Month on my blog ... with a twist: I (probably) won't offer ready-made patterns until afterwards but instead I want to encourage my readers to design and make their own blocks by showing what I do, including the "ugly" bits of the process where things don't turn out as expected. I have the impression that many people who buy patterns for quilts believe that a designer is a genius who receives a perfect idea from out of the blue and turns it effortlessly and unerringly straight into a beautiful, workable pattern. And if or when they try the same thing themselves and meet obstacles, they think they're not good enough or don't have that certain genius gene and give up. - The goal for myself is to stretch myself, too, and to discover or "invent" each month new combinations of ideas and techniques, both by hand and by machine, to brush up and develop old skills and to learn new ones. I'll leave the details for my Muse to fill in...

Do you prewash your quilting fabrics?

Primarily I use reclaimed textiles, so new fabrics need to be washed (as hot as I dare to) if I want to combine them. I starch fabric only before I cut it and only as much of it as I'm going to use at a time.

What’s the best quilting tip you ever got?

Take your time and enjoy the process :)

Do you have any favourite tools that you love to use?

The quilting tools I bought 20 years ago have deteriorated over the course of time: The cutting mat has become brittle, the rotary cutter blade blunt and I never had a proper quilting ruler in the first place. Yes, I know that it's possible to buy new ones, and at some point I'll probably do, but I also believe in the validity of the Creative Limitations of Now: They lead me in directions I would not have discovered or explored if I had everything I wanted; for instance I would not have tried to cut hexies in stacks with sharp (!) scissors and discovered that it's actually easier than cutting single layers. Neither would I've found out that even on my old cutting mat I can cut one or two layers of fabric with a simple retractable knife (the trick is to keep the knife at a very small angle to the mat and to frequently break off a segment of the blade to refresh the tip) and that a cheap, large standard set of plastic rulers and triangles meets my requirements sufficiently. That said: If I wanted to get into making large quilts, I'd love a new cutting mat, a small and a large rotary cutter with spare blades, two or three different quilting rulers, and a variety of quality needles for my sewing machine ;) Did I mention a powerful, humming sewing machine with a wide arm, a flat sideways extension and a walking foot...?

Light in a Forest

What are you hoping the festive season will bring for you?

Feeling festive about myself, too: That I don't allow myself to be rushed around by any cultural "obligations" or limitations, and that instead I do allow myself and others to be as we are ... so we can enjoy each other's company as well as being who we are. I think this would be a great start into the New Year :)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Quilter Blog Swap: meet QuiltyTherapy!

The Quilty Bloggers and Instagrammer's Support Group over on Facebook ran a Guest Quilter Blogpost Swap, where you post an interview from a guest blogger - or several!

I offered to host multiple blogposts (as well as be hosted multiple times), so this guest post is going to be the first of many!

Please welcome Tisha Nagel from Quilty Therapy!


Instagram: @quiltytherapy
Twitter: @quiltytherapy
Flickr: (quiltytherapy)

How did you come to be a quilter?

I became a quilter because I hated my first semester of college roommate. I had been sewing for years but wasn’t good. This roommate really annoyed me so I would go out to Jo-Anns to get off campus and away from her. I started some hand piecing that I have still not finished, almost 14 years later. I made my parents my first quilt that year that they still have. It was their Christmas present that I barely finished in time. Actually I finished on 12/26 because I ran out of binding at 3am on Christmas morning. My grandma and her friend helped me get started and I was hooked from there.

first quilt

What is it that you love about being a quilter?

I love that I can create something from beautiful fabrics that people enjoy. I can’t draw, paint, or play an instrument as a creative outlet. Give me fabric and an idea is created. I also love that my work has evolved over the years and that I’m not like anyone else.

What are you most proud of from your quilting experience?

This is tough because so much has about recently due to my quilting and the products I create. However this moment may have made more nervous than meeting Lotta Jansdotter:

mary fons and i

I met Mary Fons and filmed a segment with her about my friend's quilt I made when she had cancer. Nevermind that my name and info isn’t correct!

What quilting challenges would you like to conquer in the next 12 months?

I have an irrational fear of sewing with zippers. Tried to make a wet bag for my son and the zipper is atrocious. I need to sit down and really just give zippers another try, I hear they aren’t terrible.

wet bag disaster

What’s your 3 favourite quilts that you’ve made that reflect who you are as a quilter?

My three favorite quilts have all been from 2013-2014. I think I really hit my stride these last couple of years.

This first gift is about charity and giving. My friend was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the only thing I could think to do was to make a quilt for her. I wanted to support her and be with her every step of the way. At least if I wasn’t there she could wrap herself up and feel me there beside her.

Sewing Challenge Quilt (6)

Rainbow Charms is a quilt I just winged after looking at a stack of rainbow charms. This is will be my first pattern that I hope to get out in 2015. This quilt is a good reflection of how I like to use colors and keep things simple.

rainbow charm quilt (1)

This quilt is my favorite. Luckily all three of these are nearby and I can see them often. Nomadic triangles just kinda came to be one day after weeks trying to come up with a design for the Indiana State Fair Sewing Challenge. This will be my second pattern in 2015 that I want to put out there. Improv but still modern and simple. This quilt shows me that if I keep looking at something differently, considering new techniques and sometimes throwing everything out the window I will love the end product.

nomadic triangles

What holidays, traditions or religious occasions do you celebrate in your family at this time of year?

Prior to Porter, my son, hubby and I have just a few holiday traditions. On Black Friday we always shop at a few local stores nearby. Chinese food or sushi on Christmas along with watching staple Christmas movies. We usually always watch Christmas Vacation, Elf, and Die Hard. Hey, it’s set during Christmas.

Now we are working to create new traditions as a family. This year we are driving our son around on Sunday night, listening to the all Christmas music channel, and looking at lights. Porter is loving it and it melts my heart to hear him shrieking with excitement.

christmas 2013 (18)

Do you listen to music, watch television or prefer the hum of the sewing machine when you sew?

Are you ready for this? I love 90’s hip hop and rap. Normally on Pandora my Petey Pablo station is blaring. My husband laughs at me for listening to rap music and quilting. When the phone is dead I reach for my laptop and bring up Netflix. I have watched all of Scandal. Do you think Olivia should be with Jake or Fitz?

Now I’m on to Once Upon a Time. I will probably finish that series out by January with the amount of sewing I foresee in my future.

What are your favourite types of blog posts to read?

Reading blogs for me is about learning and getting to know other sewists. I enjoy blog posts where the writer explains what went on with the project, shares ups and downs, and let’s their real voice come through. Kind of project, project, personal, then project again. Also let’s me know you’re human and not Wonder Woman over there cranking out projects. I know that everyone has that style and their blogs tend to keep me less engaged.

If you had to pick any designer to sit down and chat or work with for the day who would it be and why?

Have you been reading the draft posts for my blog? This is something I have been pondering and wanting to write about. Here’s a snippet of who and why I like them. Lotta Jansdotter! Yes, exclamation point. She creates fabrics that simple, creative, and most of her collections go together. I’ve been to her Brooklyn studio and didn’t want to leave. I got to meet her and forgot to take a picture with her. Taking one of her classes in her studio is on my bucket list.

If you don’t follow her on Instagram, let me encourage you to do so. She loves to play and create. She’s very hands on. For her first fabric line she hand drew all the designs and someone had to put them into a digital format. That really shows in her work because things aren’t perfectly straight for example.

I just want to sit down, have a coffee, and pick her brain.

lotta shop

Do you have any quilting goals for 2015, what are they?

My biggest quilting goal for 2015 is to learn how to free motion quilt. I know I can do but I really struggle with just sitting down and giving it a try. I'm very attached to straight line quilting, that I’m struggling to break out of it.

Do you prewash your quilting fabrics?

I used to prewash when I first started quilting. Now I don’t. With three people in the house there is little time to wash fabrics before I use them. Please I use lots of precuts so that would make washing awkward.

What are you hoping the festive season will bring for you?

This holiday season I just want to enjoy time with my family. My mother in law will be in town for 6 days and is giving us the best gift. A night and morning off. The gift of time with just my husband and I makes me so incredibly happy. We got a hotel room and will enjoy sleeping in without hearing "DAAAAAAAAAAAAAD" from across the hall and fighting for space with the dogs.

Hopefully we can create many new memories leading into 2015.


Thanks, Tisha!

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