Other quilts on my quilting journey ….

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Just thought I’d post the odd past quilt made, while I churn out the newbies. This was quite a dynamic looking quilt in the end. I made it for one of my many brother-in-laws. From a distance, and if you squint it looks a little circular. I was part of a fabric club for a year, after saving them all and looking at them as a whole it screamed “man” so it became a Christmas present.

QUILTER’S SHOPPING in the city .

A weekend in Sydney is such a diversion; the shops, the vibe, the coffee. I do wonder however where the quilting world exists in the city.  A visit to “Australia’s largest embroidery store” in York St affords the shopper of one of only two places in which to shop for quilt/tapestry/sewing notions. The other store, an albeit large, Lincraft store is just another chain store. Do Sydneyites not quilt? Is the pastime a “suburban” hobby? It’s true, quilting stores have never really been abundant in Australia, it’s American sisters still going strong, leave us for dead.  It’s not like it doesn’t get cold here, it certainly does.   I think maybe we have Internet shopped this and other local options extinct.   Quilters are very tactile creators, we have to feel the fabric. After all, the finishing product is against our skin. The internet doesn’t really cut it for me.  Pardon the pun! I am so often disappointed with fabric purchases online. With shops for quilters in decline, it’s such a shame.  I say hail to the shop holder that persists and keeps the gentle arts alive.  Stepping into the York Street store was a welcome city pause which offered a gentle country-like civility, a natural courteousness and willingness to serve with great interest and fine manners. I think this is because people who sew are genuinely interested in one another and what projects they are undertaking.  This happens even when they have never met before, it’s a bond of sorts. The Internet can offer this. Sure, there are forums and chat rooms and google images and Pinterest but nothing replaces human contact like a quilt shop.  Make sure you visit your local sewing store today, it might be the last chance you get before it becomes part of your town’s history.And to all those Sydneysiders who sew, visit 50 York Street today!

Thoughts turn to patchwork …

WIth Christmas over, the tree packed for another year, thoughts turn to quilting. The first project for the year, use up the christmas present voucher at my local stitching shop “Simply Stitches” and buy some fabric. Daughter in tow, 10 mins later and fabric is purchased for a quilt! Now, I never usually buy fabric without the project in hand. As we all know, we get down to the last few rotary cuts only to find that you are about to run out and when you get back to the shop, to find its all gone … it’s disastrous. But, in the spirit of my gap year, and the compelling urge to start my quilting year straight away, fabric is purchased by the guestimate measure.

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Anyway, pictures inset show the progress to date. I have three blocks to go and ??? fingers crossed, there is enough fabric. Oh by the way, Happy New Year!

Free pattern for Meixcan Star from Quilt in a Day (http://www.quiltinaday.com/freepattern/).

 

 

Dear mum …..

What’s going on?  There are more visits by that person that leaves papers in the mailbox, there’s a man that comes with mysterious boxes, leaves a piece of paper near the door and leaves with the boxes again??  There’s alot more noise in the neighbourhood this week too, and the neighbours had a party …. on a Wednesday night!! Why is there a tree in the lounge room, bet I couldn’t use it without getting in trouble, and there are pretty covered boxes under it??  What’s going on?  Well, if you won’t tell me, I may as well nap.  Wake me when its over!

Wake me when its over!
Wake me when its over!

A pending birth ….

Pram Baby Blanket
Pram Baby Blanket

In my office I have a young girl who is about to have a baby in early February and is leaving us next week.

It refreshes everyone around with talk of birth, baby names and nursery furniture and she will be sadly missed.

To welcome the little “fellow” into the world, I have dusted off the embroidery skills and put floss to wool (actually I did have to do a research refresher by reading a couple of my embroidery books – it’s been a while!).  Anyway, this little gift awaits, on her desk today, for when she comes into the office in the morning.

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Wool is an interesting creature to work with and applying the quilting skills was an interesting lesson to learn.  Also, the blanket is probably more suited to Alaskan temperatures as it is wool, wool batting and a flannel back.   So, if she decides to take a walk in arctic conditions the baby will be as warm as toast!!   These skills are not hard, ok, they are skills that benefit from repetition, but they are not hard.  Have a go at some embroidery today.

 

A well earned study break …

I’ve been studying on and off for the last few years and Ive decided, I’m having a break next year!  There aren’t many days that go by where I don’t think of going in my sewing room, if not for a few hours but a few days. When I had my major study commitments, I would sometimes just walk in there and “stand” knowing I couldn’t start anything for fear of not being able to stop.  Standing was somewhat reassuring and calming.

Embroidery Scissor Keeper

I have had the recent good fortune to travel to Canada and the States again this year. Great trip, great company too with my husband’s family joining us for most of the trip. When the month was up, we parted – the majority of the family going home while we continued for another week.  I have been waiting for this for 10 years, the Houston International Quilt Fair!  It was everything and more.   Michael had gone off to NASA for the day and actually, I probably preferred  to be alone as I was able to go around more than once, or go back and have another look. It was enormous.  My 6 hours flew and all I  managed was to get around was the vendor booths – all 2,100 of them.  It was quilters heaven!  I even met Alex Anderson (quilting guru) and she was pretty cool.

Christmas Stocking with Mill Beads, cross stitch

When we finally got home (Australia) and things settled (ie my last assignment done for the year), I cleaned my sewing room.  I hadn’t had time to really look at my Houston goodies, getting straight back to work.  I made a strong commitment in Houston not to purchase any fabric so nearly everything was a pattern. With our luggage allowance purchasing fabric would have tipped the balance!.  Anyway, settled, I looked at one of the patterns I had bought in Houston, thinking it was best to start small and get the creative juices flowing.  You know, quilting has done so much for my sewing skills.  While I have a taken a few classes, I am self educated in that regard and have read a lot about quilting.  Prior to quilting I could sew curtains but that was about it.  Back to point, without quilting I would not have been able to make the little embroidery scissor keeper seen on the right – there are a lot of expectations placed on the consumer about assumed knowledge. I don’t think I would have been able to do this without some quilting under my belt.  Of course, the first one takes the longest and the second one just a jiffy.  I had two made in two hours and gave one to my sister in law, Alex.  Another purchase was from a gorgeous cross stitch stand.  Every pattern had been made up so you could see the final product.  Cross stitch and mill beads.  They were all gorgeous. I love the Christmas season, so I purchased a christmas stocking and a christmas snowflake.  Stay tuned for the final products.

I was originally a cross stitcher, a cheap hobby (except when you get to the framing) which kept me out of trouble when my girls were small.  So, its my original love.   I recently formed a family sewing group showing the younger family members how to cross stitch.  We meet at each others houses every Tuesday night to stitch.  So I have rekindled that love again too.  Maybe I will post some of my already framed pieces.  See below my 2012 christmas decorations for the tree this year, these adorable 3 x 3 inch squares look good padded or flat, a nice family heirloom, and yes they are quilt blocks from my favourite cross stitch magazine Cross Country Stitching from Jeremiah Junction http://www.crosscountrystitching.com/CCShome.html.  Anyway, coffee is calling.  Happy sewing until next time.
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