Thursday, December 17, 2015

"Swarm" got accepted into Quiltcon!

My quilt got accepted into Quiltcon - the Modern Quilt Guild's annual quilt show!

I'm a little bit surprised - last year, they were really pushing the 'modernist' look for quilts: lots of negative space, improvisational piecing, and so forth, and 'Swarm' doesn't really fit that profile:

"Swarm" - photographed square! Such a labour of love and inspiration. And yes, @2bees, I'm filling out the competition forms now! #swarmbysel

But it was lovely to get that email!

Now I have to: a) label and label-cover, b) fit a sleeve, c) package and post.

Guess that's going to be this weekend gone!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

WIP Wednesday: the one with Super Sew-Ins

Finished Tops

Birthday Block Swap

It took three years, but it's finally done! And now I have to work out what I'm actually going to do with it. It's not my style at all, not something I particularly want to keep, so...into the donation pile, perhaps? I need to find somewhere that will take quilt tops and turn them into quilts for charity...

One less UFO! Huzzah!

Did all the blocks while at the Sydney Mod SQuad December super sew-in - good times, good hangouts, good people!

@sydmodsquad Christmas meeting! For @skyberries, who can't be with us...

It's been a pleasure sewing with you ladies, and I look forward to sewing with you and the others in our group next year!


Supernova Friendship Block Swap

Started another block at the Mod SQuad super sew-in:

WIP Wednesday and Gertrude Made

The colour is awful - excuse the lighting.

The little things to the side are a set of coasters I'm making as a gift for a friend in Germany out of scraps. I have no shortage of scraps...

Plain Jane Passcaglia

Another rosette!

#plainjanepassacaglia on #sydneytrains

I think I'm going to have to set myself 30 minutes a day sewing these. 30 minutes a day sewing these and I'm set for the new year!

1 Hour Baskets

Mass production of hour baskets takes longer than 1 hour. But that's mostly because I umm and ahh over the fabric choices and colour combinations. What if it looks AWFUL?!?

Mass production of #1hourbasket takes a little longer than 1 hour...

Three were done on Friday night (the fourth one, I miscut the lining, then forgot to compensate)!

The #1hourbasket by @kelbysews makes an awesome last-minute gift!

They were perfect as last-minute gifts for a baby shower I had on the Saturday morning.

Now I just have to finish the 4th...

Gertrude Made

I bought two dresses from Cathi during her Gertrude Made sale at the end of November - both size 12.

#mygertrudemadedress...well, dresses, plural! I need a petticoat for these, I think, will hunt up a pattern in the next few days. In the meantime, such lovely dresses will be worn at every opportunity! 😍 Thanks Cathi! #selfie

They're lovely dresses, however the waist is very short and I have a very long waist, and I think size 12 is a little large on me. However, size 10 would probably be snug. It seems I am (unfortunately) a size 11, which makes nicely-fitting dresses an iffy proposition on me. (So does all the food I love eating...)

Still, they’re lovely 'lounging' dresses for when I want to be pretty but relaxed.

I need to make some petticoats for them - something to fluff out the skirts a little; it'll improve the look significantly I think!

I Am Unmoved

Christmas presents

1. parents: NOPE
2. stepbro and SIL: NOPE
3. stepbro: NOPE
4. B1 & B2: NOPE


This week is the Supernova Friendship, and the Parental Christmas Gift (because I just know it will take longer than planned; it always does).

Thursday, November 26, 2015

WIP Wednesday: the one with mad UFOs



Tops are done. Although not in this pic, where I took the opportunity to grab all the sisters in my life and stick them into the photo as models:

WIP Wednesday late November

From left to right, B1 and Smokey, and B2 and Mal. The cats had to be lured with snacks, but seemed okay to sit there once they had one. Mind you, the moments before this were a bit of a circus! Oh, and excuse the bad lighting and the messy living room! :D

The finished quilts, with cats:

WIP Wednesday late November

Swarm by Sel


Swarm #swarmbysel

Full post here!

And it's being entered into the Quiltcon 2016 show. I don't think it'll make it - too geometric, not abstract enough. But what can you do?

Supernova Friendship Block Swap

I'm missing one of my swap partner's blocks, so I'm going to have to fill it in myself.

WIP Wednesday late November

I think my swap partner and I had fairly different fabric and colour ideas, too. While I love batiks, I adore BRIGHT ONES and she wanted very complementary colours, while I like a theme of colours with a little riot in the middle of it. As a result this quilt's colour palette is very unsatisfying for me.

I'll probably add another four blocks to the side and possibly also some sashing and posting with bright pops of colour, just to give it zing.

Birthday Block Swap

Do I remember how long ago this swap was? Nope. I didn't get all the blocks from it either. And I don't know what I was thinking in choosing the block. Ugh. Oh well, finish and give away, maybe? Possibly split them up and make another set of sibquilts? That's a thought!

WIP Wednesday late November

Maybe make three or four quilt tops from this set - for a larger size family? Looks like I'm going to have more nine-patches in my future!

Also: cats and quilts and photography:

WIP Wednesday late November

Oh, Smokey.

Plain Jane Passacaglia

There's a submission for Australian Millefiori Quilts that's due in March next year. TO THE MILLEFIORIMOBILE!

WIP Wednesday late November

Also, as it turns out, this week's rosette matches not only my nails, but also my needlebook!

I Am Unmoved

Christmas presents

1. parents: NOPE
2. stepbro and SIL: NOPE
3. stepbro: NOPE
4. B1 & B2: NOPE

One of those days, those NOPEs will be YEPs. In a month or less because WINTER CHRISTMAS IS COMING. (Sorry, going to do that to death.)

Relatives are getting soaps and scrubs and suchlike. Yes, even the guys. Guys have skin and get dirty too, and IMO if their masculinity is impugned by washing with 'fancy' soap, then it's a pretty damn fragile construct of gender, ain't it?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

finished quilt: "Swarm"

It's a long way to the finished quilt if you want to design your own...

Swarm #swarmbysel

Say hello to "Swarm"!

I started it around May 2014, with a design idea but not very much of a clue on how to execute it. I knew I wanted to use the new line of quilting fabrics, Cotton + Steel, though, so I bought a great deal of the Basics range, and then set about cutting it up.

I swear @cottonandsteel have something in their dyes. I'm starting to like colours I wouldn't usually touch with a ten foot pole..

There was a lot of sewing and cutting and ironing and trimming. It has 20 rows, and nearly 30 triangle blocks in each row. That's 600 pieces - not counting that the large triangles are made up of 2 pieces, and the small triangle blocks are made up of 4 pieces that need to be sewn together.

Piecing, piecing, piecing. #secretproject #ofDOOM and in the background my hard-driven Brother NS50 which I bought before I realised there were machines specially designed for quilting. And which is in for its first service long as I've had i

That's at the old house - the one that we had to clear out before buying a new house, redoing it, and moving into it last year. So it kind of went on hold in the middle of all that, and then there was the settling in and the starting of the garden and the summer... I didn't get back on the job until Autumn 2015 - around March.

It took me a year (April 2015) to get to the point where I had enough pieces to start putting it all together:

Many things

There were times when I despaired of how many pieces were needed, and how complicated the whole quilt was. However, my quilt groups kept telling me to keep going, keep going, it looks great, it's going to be gorgeous

And when it did start coming together, it was beautiful!


I don't know what it is about this quilt, but it just hits people in the feels. I've had a lot of people admiring it! Maybe it's the colours, the brightness, the...well, playfulness of the pattern... At any rate, it's definitely a show-stopper!

WIP Wednesday: swarm by Sel

Maladicta even gave it the butt-stamp of approval. Which, okay, in this house, isn't difficult. But she was quite happy with it...

WIP Wednesday: sprint for the show

I had a backing, I had a plan for quilting it, tt was going to be submitted in the Sydney Quilt Show...

And then I pulled a muscle in my calf. Ow.

And I couldn't do the quilting and couldn't find someone to do the quilting for me in the time left before the quilt had to be submitted. So, no show. *sighs* While at the show, I looked at the two spaces allotted to the quilts that I couldn't finish due to my injury, and sighed.

I sent it off to my quilter before I went overseas, I think, and have been waiting for her to get back to me. It took a while, but when it was definitely worth it!

#swarmbysel is back from the quilters and has been promptly colonised by Smokey. #advenchuresofsmokeyandmal #cats #catsofinstagram

Smokey agreed. No sooner had it taken it out of the mailing bag, then she settled on it. She's since pretty much taken every opportunity to head-butt it, muzzle-rub against it, or roll in it.

There's a part of me that still can't believe I thought up this pattern, let alone executed it!

"Swarm" - photographed square! Such a labour of love and inspiration. And yes, @2bees, I'm filling out the competition forms now! #swarmbysel
Name: Swarm
Size: 75" x 88"
Design: original by Sel

I'm trying to write a pattern for it, but it's a bit exhausting, and everything's pretty busy right now.

I've submitted it to the Modern Quilt Guild's competition for Quiltcon 2016 in...San Diego, I think? However, I doubt it will make it in - I don't think it's quite 'modern' enough as the MQG defines modern quilts.

It looks stunning, though. And I'm definitely keeping this one. :)

If you want to go back and see the progress of this quilt, the hashtag on Instagram is #swarmbysel. (Some of the earlier pics won't be tagged because I only came up with the name this year.)

I'm linking this up to Sew Modern Monday over at Canoe Ridge Creations!

Friday, November 20, 2015

WIP Wednesday: The One With Reasons

So I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks. There are a few reasons for that.

One of those reasons is because at first I didn’t have very much to report. This is mostly because it’s SPRING here in the southern hemisphere, and my around-the-house efforts have largely been focused on whipping the garden into shape.

Garden November 2015

The other is because my cousin – two weeks older – died ten days ago after a long battle with breast cancer and the aftermath, and her funeral was last Wednesday. It was an emotionally charged day and by the end of it, I didn't feel much like posting a WIP Wednesday.

Anyway, we hope to pick up a little in the coming weeks. CHRISTMAS IS COMING! *wibbles*



Although I did get sibquilt top #1 completed:

#quiltuberfest top #1 done

I just haven’t had the chance to get sibquilt top #2 together yet. Maybe in the next couple of nights?

My aim is still to give these quilts to refugee sisters – compassion is all the more needful, I think, in the wake of Paris and Beirut. And yes, there will be closed hearts in the community, but I’m choosing not to be one of them.

Swarm by Sel

It’s back from the quilter! And the quilter left a note on the invoice to say that she thought it was gorgeous. I don’t know what it is about this quilt that hits people (incl. cats) in the feels, but it sure does! It’s just an absolute pain to make.

#swarmbysel is back from the quilters and has been promptly colonised by Smokey. #advenchuresofsmokeyandmal #cats #catsofinstagram

Anyway, I’m going to bind it on Friday night, right before the Sydney Mod SQuad Sit-and-Sew on Saturday. Debating whether I should do the binding by hand or machine. I’m tending towards machine right now.

Better pics next week.


I was going to enter the Modern Quilt Guild's challenge for Quiltcon 2016, but the time of year and circumstances have conspired against me. I even got a template (albeit a teeny-tiny one - I wanted a larger size). And now I feel guilty that I never got to use it.

Christmas presents

1. parents: cushion covers for their seating space
2. stepbro and SIL: pillow covers to match their bed
3. stepbro: haven't the foggiest idea, tbh - J's always impossible to work out what to do. Last year I made him a quilt. Maybe he gets a pillowcase to match, too?
4. B1 & B2: B2 is getting the quilt that's been sitting around for forever...B1...I don't know. Maybe if I finally finish our lounge room curtains? :D

I'll have to think about family presents, though.

Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bloggers Quilt Festival: the Interweave Mini

I made Interwoven for the #igrainbowmini swap, off a pattern from a Susan Schneider book. The HSTs were made out of the off-cuts of the Kona charm swap organised by Pile O'Fabric back in 2013, and only measured 1.75" square...before I trimmed them down to 1.5".

And this is why I'm not a fan of HSTs. Even when they look really really spectacular, there's a bajillion trimmings.

Sunday late march

And then I had to arrange the teeny-tiny HSTs into the pattern, which is really just a 4x4 block in a specific layout, which then gets rotated through 90 degrees to form the pattern.

Sunday late march

It's pretty clever, right?

Sunday late march

Of course, then I have to go and add borders.

I hate quilting on my domestic machine.

Straight line quilting, following the pattern was all I could manage. Alas, I took the HandiQuilter Blessington Academy course the weekend after I quilted this, otherwise it would have been freemotion quilting and much more impressive.

Still I suppose the design holds up pretty well!

Title: Interweave (Mini)
Size: ~18" square
Now that @megnevett has received her gift, I can put this photo up! #rainbowminiswap #rainbowteamblue

Submitted in the ROYGBIV category of the Bloggers Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side.

WIP Wednesday: the one riding the rails

Not really that much to show ‘in progress’ this week.

Two finishes:

3:10 to Mendocino

I did a full post on the making of The 3:10 to Mendocino earlier today.

And done! Wondering if it needs a border...  #310tomendocino #yumaqal #yumaquilt #mendocinomermaids

1-Hour Halloween Basket

A gift for a Halloween swap which I need to get out ASAP!

...and to top it all off an #hourbasket (pattern by @kelbysews) for a Halloween swap! 😀

Spring Garden (Kate Spain Honey Honey)

Finished the quilting – need to do the binding!


Mini Swarm By Sel

Did the standard fiery curls FMQ on this, need to do some hand-quilting in the middle (when I get the right floss) and bind it.

No Progress
-100 Days Project
-Quilt Uberfest: one of the cats peed on some of the squares I had sitting around waiting to be turned into nine-patches, so it’s back to the cutting board…


Lots of bits and pieces projects to get done in the next week – things that have been lingering for far too long.

- Birthday block swap from 2012
- Supernova Friendship Block Swap

a weekend of Yuma: the 3:10 to Mendocino

I've had a lot of Mendocino Mermaids in my collection since I went on a buying spree back in 2012 - 2013. Actually, since I found a couple of bolts of it on the cheap (as in $10/metre, which is cheap in Australia - most fabrics are $20/metre) and bought the lot.

I made one quilt out of my supplies already (The Seaweed Is Always Greener) and had enough for a second.

Let the cutting begin! #yumaQAL #mendocinomermaids #310tomendocino #eep

Looking at the leftover scraps, I have enough for a third...but that's for another post.

I had vague ideas about what to make with my collection, but until Gotham Quilts' pattern for the Yuma Quilt came out, nothing seemed quite right.

What initially caught my eye about Yuma? Those little white triangles on the bigger triangles. Before I realised that was the fabric print and not the piecing. D'oh! I thought it was really cool and fiddly piecing. Yeah, nope. But the pattern is still very cool and I thought it would look good in Mendocino - the big pink and gold prints for the large triangles and a melange of other prints for the small(er) triangles.

When putting a quilt together, there's always that little niggle of doubt. "Maybe this isn't such a good idea." "I don't know about this." "Should I add more fabrics? Take away more? "What if I perpetrate a horror of colour and style upon the quilting world and can never show my face around the intarwebs again?"

I had a couple of those; firstly when I realised that in order to have prints properly directional, I would have to cut them on the diagonal...

@pinkyingblog better angle for Steel vs Slate? #yumaQAL #mendocinomermaids #310tomendocino

Progress! #310tomendocino #mendocinomermaids #yumaqal

Luckily I had enough fabric, and what I didn't have enough of, I could group together. (And now have a lot of scraps that would probably make pretty decent HSTs... Something to consider.)

That moment when you think "wow, this could really really work!" #310tomendocino #mendocinomermaids #yumaqal

So far, so good. That was the easy part.

Then there was the layout check and the panic that ensued when I realised that laying out the blocks as the instructions indicated would mean that I had pink and gold HSTs blending with the pink and gold large triangles.

..and then that moment when you're not so sure...  😳 #310tomendocino

There was the question of what to do about the centre blocks - I was initially intending to use the pink, blue, and brown memaid medallions as centres surrounded by the pink and gold mermaids, but that was making the quilt too busy-and-bright for my liking.
Top, bottom or neither? #310tomendocino

Putting some pink and blue mermaid medallions helped calm things down, and I could keep the brown mermaid medallion as the centre of the quilt (black hair, olive skin mermaids; yesyesyes) and use some pale blue scraps to border it.

It got a bit patchy, especially when I mis-cut 8.5" to be 7.5". D'OH. Luckily I had just enough to cover that missing inch.

Bright and early Sunday...  #310tomendocino

I could tell you about the drama of 12.5" squares vs 12" squares which comes down to Sel Does Not Read Instructions Well. It's long and involved and you don't want to hear about it. Instead, I will tell you (or rather, show you) of What Happens When Maladicta Wakes Up From Her Snooze:

*sigh* #cats #310tomendocino #catsofinstagram #advenchuresofsmokeyandmal

Luckily I'd taken a photo before she rolled around in my layout.

And then there was The Problem Of Seams.

Specifically, seams on the diagonal.

Seams. On the diagonal.

It's like a convocation of All The Things I Hate But Which Quilting Loves To Land In My Lap WHYYYYY? (see: The Eternity Quilt and Swarm - each a bajillion triangles, cut on the bias, sewn together and UGH...and the ridiculous part is that I keep doing it.) My seams are...well, a more precise quilter would say "complete shit"...but I like the subtle misdirection of "flexible".

I will never win a prize for perfect seams in any universe.

But that's okay. I make it work. And (mostly) nobody notices. (Until I point it out. Which I have to stop doing.)

I'm presently trying to decide on whether To Border Or Not To Border. I like my quilts big, and this one is still in the Not Quite Big Enough category right now.

But it looks really good - especially in front of my house, with the rosebush in the background!

And done! Wondering if it needs a border...  #310tomendocino #yumaqal #yumaquilt #mendocinomermaids

Also in the background of my pic with Smokey:

Me in @cottonandsteel frock with happy, purry furry (Smokey), and the #310tomendocino in my workroom on a warm spring Sunday afternoon. #mendocinofabric #mendocinomermaids #yumaquilt #cats #catsofinstagram #advenchuresofsmokeyandmal

I'm debating whether to quilt this one myself or to send it away. I'm inclining towards sending it away, because I rather like the machine-quilted quilts that I have - they're loosely quilted, so still soft, but it's strong and a nice all-over pattern. And not much effort from me. (Always a bonus.)

I was hoping to finish it in time for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival, but alas, no time. Everything is crazy right now, and while November should calm down a little, I don't think it will be by much! Sprinting to the end of the year now!