"It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

to all my blog friends. Best wishes for 2012, and may all your projects be finished!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My patchwork gifts are appreciated!

Thank you to those who commmented on the memory table runner in my previous post. My SIL absolutely loved it. When she unwrapped it, her face was at first mildly interested as she unfolded the fabric, but when she opened it up and looked at the photos, her mouth dropped and she said "Oooooh!" Looked over at me, then came around the table and hugged me, saying "It's beautiful, I love it! I will hang it up", and when I said it was just a mat or runner, she said "I'm not going to put anything on top of that!"
Remember the My Pantry project I made for Ken's niece's daughters? The one I was going to keep? Well, I took it over to show them on Xmas Day, just to see their reaction. They LOVED it! Started playing with it straight away, ignoring their other gifts, re-arranging the items on the shelves. I said "Mummy said not to give you this yet because you won't look after it" and two little faces looked up at me and said in unison "Yes we will!" I showed it to their Mum and she thought it was really cute. I reminded her of what she said when I told her I was making it, and she said "Oh no, I won't let them wreck it. We'll hang it on the wall and they can play with it from there". So it is going to be where it was meant for in the first place, and I'm happy about that. We haven't got any more room on our walls here to hang it, so I'd rather it be somewhere that it can be seen and played with!
Addition to original post: I forgot to mention above that I also gave the kiddies the rug mugs/placemats that I made for them months ago. They liked those too, and when I explained the mats are to go on the table for their bowls and plates, Olivia (the older girl) said "No, I want it on the wall above my bed". She must have been thinking about it and the Pantry hanging, because later on she came up to me and said "Auntie Gina, did you make all those things?" When I said yes, she said "You are a good sewer" {soh-er, not sue-wer as in sewerage!}. If we lived closer to them, I would start teaching her some stitching, but they are an hour's drive from our place, so that is not going to happen any time soon.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Memory Quilt table runner.

My SIL gave me a book on making memorabilia Quilts, and I have been playing around with a few ideas ever since. SIL was impressed with my experiments, so I decided to make her something for Christmas this year.
The photo of the left is of SIL's great aunt Emily who was on the stage, and is still talked about by younger members of the family, even though not many of them ever met her. The other pic is of Ken and his sister with their Dad. I'm not really sure if I like the lace around the photos, although everyone I've shown it to assures me that it adds that 'olde world' touch. I added it because the whole thing looked unfinished without something around the edge of them. Incidentally, I put the runner on the carpeted floor to take this picture; the dark orange/brown edge is the carpet, not the border of the runner.

Monday, December 12, 2011

'Mollie Makes' cute craft!

The English magazine 'Mollie Makes' has taken off here - according to my local newsagent, they sell them the minute they are on display. I've been able to snap up a few after the first two issues that Jane kindly sent me, and one of them had the instructions for making this cute penholder. Here she is outside for her first photo.
I took her inside to take a more intimate picture with her knickers showing!

This is what she looks like from the back - a pocket sewn on for a pen or pencil to slip in to, and perched in a cotton reel.
She is made entirely from felt, except for the knickers.  I used the colours I had on hand, but if I make more of these, I'll buy some different colours.  The 'blonde' hair looks all wrong to me.  Maybe next time I'll give her black hair and a yellow dress!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Skills Sampler Block 19

I didn't do the previous four blocks because I wasn't keen on the designs or the method used to make them (paper piecing). But now we are working with applique, and that is right up my alley. Leila has named this block "Orange Windows" - probably because her example had more orange than other colours. I used up odd scraps of any coloured fabric that I had in my stash, so I can't call it Orange Windows! I'm sure I've seen this pattern elsewhere, but I don't know what the name of it is.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Rainbow kittens layout - please advise!

I have finally finished the blanket stitching around all six Rainbow kittens, and they ready to have the borders attached, and made up into a small quilt/wall hanging. I've taken photos of them in various positions, but can't made up my mind which looks the best! Any comments would be greatly appreciated :-)

Yo Yos (or Suffolk Puffs)

Julia has posted a pic of a cushion which she has decorated with yo-yos, and it reminded me of a little job I did a few weeks ago. Like most of us, I've accumulated a stash of 'supermarket green bags' in different colours depending on where they originated. This black one called out to be decorated in some way, so I made some yo-yos and used buttons to secure them to the bag. They look a bit lonely, so I might eventually add some more.

New additions to the Collection.

One of my colleagues at the Embroiderers Guild gave me some pretty linens yesterday - a crocheted doiley, an unfinished supper cloth and a Duchess set.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lilydale Show results.

After visiting the Lilydale Show today, I decided that I would only enter my craft work in that show from now on, and not bother with Whittlesea any more. Lilydale is closer to my home, and is a smaller show by comparison, but very well organised, and the Homecrafts display was so much more professional than at Whittlesea. Winning more prizes at Lilydale doesn't come into my decision - truly!
My "Owls" won second prize in its category. It was on the floor with several others, but they were laid out properly so you could see them, not just dumped there without thought.
The Iris quilt didn't win anything, but I didn't think it would.
My Halloween Witch was 'Highly Commended'. Have a look at the fabulous applique picture next to it!
Suffolk Puffs Flowers was 'Commended' as was the I Love Patchwork block which I forgot to photograh. 'My Pantry' won a third prize.
This one was a real surprise - I only entered it at the last minute, and it won a second prize! Just goes to show you can never be a good judge of your own work.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mini Christmas stockings, and WHIJD??

I've completed seven of these little patchwork stockings now that I've got my sewing machine back, and they will be in the mail to Jan on Monday.

WHIJD?? What Have I Just Done? Signed my life away, that's what! Well, a proportion of my time next year anyway. In the past couple of years I have been admiring group projects of all kinds online, where people make a block per month and post the pictures to a central blog. When I saw the write up for next year's Crazy Quilt Journal Project, I knew I wanted to be in it. I've already got ideas buzzing around in my brain, and am looking forward to creating 12 blocks, and maybe making them into some kind of quilt at the end of the year, depending on how many blocks I achieve, what they look like, and whether I can find someone who is willing to assist me with the end product (are you reading this Connie?)!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vintage linens found at antique bazaar.

Today I visited the Waverly Antique Bazaar, and found some lovely linens at very reasonable prices. I've posted more about the bazaar on my other blog, but the linens are here:
Tray cloth. Nothing startling about the stitching, but the design is cute, and one that I didn't have in my collection.

Kingfisher beautifully stitched on this doiley.

Sandwich tray doiley featuring a penguin - another first for me! I don't have anything else with embroidered penguins.

Suppercloth - $3! Lovely stitching, but with a small hole, which I can easily fix.

I try not to buy too many teatowels, but I love the designs on some of them, and figure I can always cut them up and use them in a future patchwork project. There are some gorgeous chook towels like this; they would make a cute display all sewn together.

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's all happening!

It has been a busy few weeks. I've got my exhibits in the car ready to go to Lilydale tomorrow. Bundoora Art Centre has asked me if I would do a talk on my linens while they are on display, and I said yes, I'd love to. Then they asked me to write up two introduction paragraphs on myself for their 2012 brochure - one for the display, and one for the talk. When I told the co-ordinator about my blogs, she asked if they could use that in the brochure as well, but I didn't think it would be appropriate. However, I offered to create a new blog specifically for the Homestead exhibition, with just my Australian linens on it, and she said that would be great. So I spent today ironing cloths, pegging them on the clothesline, taking a photo, then running back inside for the next lot! You can see this new blog here, but it's got a lot to be added to it, so you will have to come back later on to see the finished blog.
Statewide Sewing Centre left a message on my phone. My machine is fixable, at a cost of $185 which includes a full service. Apparently a 'key' was broken. Ken knew what that meant, and seemed to think it was a reasonable price to pay. They promised it would be ready this coming week. I hope so; I feel like I've lost an arm without it on the table in my sewing room!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Dates confirmed for my linen show.

Today I received a letter from the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, confirming the dates for their exhibition of my linen collection. It will start on Wednesday 29th August, and run until Sunday 16th September. They suggested "Early Australian Linen" as a title for the exhibition and asked if I approved. I phoned the exhibitions co-ordinator and said yes, I was very happy with that, as it sets parameters to help me select what items to show from the collection. She said they will come over here and check out what I choose, to see if there is enough (or too much) for their show space. It is almost a year away, and I'm already excited!
On a sadder note, my trusty old Singer machine had a hiccup this week. I was doing an alteration on a pair of Ken's jeans (taking in a seam) and all was going smoothly until it suddenly made a rattling sound and stopped. Ah, said I - cotton jammed in the bobbin case. Took it all apart, but no sign of thread, lint, fluff or anything else to cause the jam. After carefully moving the needle up and down, I noticed the feed wasn't working, and as I know nothing about how that works, the next thing to do was phone the nearest sewing machine shop, which happens to be Statewide Sewing machines, who have been in Greensborough for yonks (many years). They said bring it in, and we'll have a look at it on Thursday. I said they may as well do a full service while it's there, as it has never had one in it's life of 50 plus years. I asked anxiously if their repair man had experience with old machines, and the lady said he is nearly 70, and has worked on sewing machines all his working life, so yes - he knows what he is doing on the older machines!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Whittlesea Show

Out of my five entries into the Show this year, I scored a third prize for one item - the Owls wall hanging. I felt sorry for the lady who had done an almost identical Owls wall hanging to mine, but didn't get a prize. (You can see the corner of hers at the top left corner of this photo). Possibly because I'd put more work into mine with beads and trapunto. I was happy with third prize, but Ken was disappointed. When we visited the show today and were looking at the Homecrafts Pavilion, he looked at the quilts next to my Iris quilt and demanded to know why they got prizes and I didn't! I explained to him that the quilt (below)was placed probably because of the amount of beautiful hand stitching on it which would have take a long time. Whereas mine is mostly machine done in a couple of weeks. I don't think he understood, but I'm sure my blog readers will!
On a negative note, I was quite disgusted with the way the smaller entries were displayed in the show cases. I know they have limited room, but with a bit of effort they could have been much tidier. One of our Guild members had entered some of her work in a show for the first time, and she phoned me last night after visiting the show, to say although she saw the tag saying one of her patchworks had won a prize, it was lying underneath a whole lot of other things and couldn't be seen. I looked in vain for it today, and couldn't find it at all! There was no excuse for this - she'd put a hanging rod sleeve on the back, and there was a rod and wire to hang it up. My "Pantry" wall hanging below wasn't hung either even though there is a rod sleeve on the back. It was just shoved into the display case with other items on top of it, included other people's prize cards. Unless you could read the cards, you would never know who won and what they'd won it for. The same with my Churn Dash patchwork block: And my Suffolk Puffs flowers. It wasn't just my work that was treated like this; this afternoon I expressed my opinion to the stewards who were bringing the items to the front to be picked up. They didn't say anything. It has never been that bad before, so maybe they have new volunteers setting the show up, and they need to be trained a bit better. We'll see what happens at Lilydale in two weeks time. I've always found the Lilydale show to be better set out than Whittlesea, and if they are as good as ever, I shall compliment them!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Stash from Paddy's Market.

If you ignored my notice here last week, or forgot about the Embroiderers Guild Paddy's Market today, you missed out on a rare opportunity to add to your stash of any kind of textile craft you could imagine! The Guild receives hundreds of donations every year of books, fabrics, wool, cottons, lace, beads and other embellishments, from deceased estates, or people who want to get rid of their own stash for some reason. One whole side of the large gallery was taken up with tables brimming with 'stuff' donated to the Guild.
The other side of the gallery was taken up with members like me who each had a card table brimming over with our own unwanted stash. We all look at each other's goodies before the market opens so we have first choice if we see something we like. The same comment was heard all up and down the room "I'm not buying anything this year - I'm here to sell, and that's that!" Ha. Famous last words...Once you have sold some of your own stuff, the cash in your hand soon ends up in someone else's hand! I took about half of what I had in my cupboard at home, leaving this pile still to be worked on 'one day'. I came home with nearly $100 in my purse, and two bags of linens that I didn't sell. But I went with three bags, so I guess I sold about a third of what I took, and I was happy with that. I've decided to put some of it here on my blog and if any readers see something they like, we can work out a price and delivery. I might put some on eBay, and the rest will go to our opshop.
But here is what I bought: A selection of cotton fabrics for my stash - about $4 overall. A bag of Xmas cotton fabrics - $5. I needed this for those mini Xmas stockings I'm making. Two bags of laces - $3 for the lot! I know, I know, I KNOW! I was supposed to be selling off my cross stitch kits! But that was the big kits. I still like these little ones on hand to make cards and little gifts for friends. And that baby elephant is soooo cute :-) This cross stitched picture was part of a deceased estate lot; it caught my eye in the pile of other items done by the same person. I'm planning to add it to the quilt I'm doing, using other people's work. This bag of red ribbons was $2. I mentioned to the Guild member whose table it was on, that it was just what I needed for the loops on my Xmas stockings. She said "In that case you'll need the bag of green ribbons too". I held out another $2 but she said no - $2 for the lot!
As I said, you missed a great day....

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween stitchery.

With the Owls wall panel finished, and no chance of the Rainbow Kittens being finished in time for the Whittlesea Show, I decided to have a little break from all that, and stitch a cute witch in time for Halloween. It is not a big deal in Australia, although it has been heavily marketed in recent years, and there is lots of Halloween gear in the shops. But I saw this pattern somewhere last year and thought it was so cute, I just had to do it! It only took a few days to stitch the witch and sew a border, thin wadding and backing to it. Today I added gold beads to the stars and the black cat button, which had a dual purpose in holding the layers of backing and top together. This photo was taken before the final embellishments were done, and shows the true colours of the fabrics. I took this a couple of hours later when the panel was complete, but I could not get the colour right! This is the back.

Friday, October 28, 2011

My linen collection to go on public display next year.

Followers of this blog living in Melbourne may have heard of the historic Bundoora Homestead, but I doubt if interstate and overseas readers will know of it. The Darebin Council own and administer this lovely old home, and they display the council art collection there, as well as other exhibitions from time to time. There is a new annexe added to the original building, where they have other exhibitions during the year. I was talking to the manager last year about my linen collection, and she wasn't interested in exhibiting any of it. But there is a new manager now and she is very interested! They are drawing up a contract for me to agree to show my linens there in August 2012.
I am over the proverbial moon!! How often have I said that I would love to put my collection on show to the public? Now it is going to happen, and I don't have to do anything myself - they have their own team of people who will put up the display. The manager and her assistant will come to our home to see what I have, and between us we will select what to include. I will be there while they organise the display and can put my own ideas forward, but I don't feel qualified to say much. I'll just be happy to see what people think of it when they visit!

New additions to the collection.

One of my blog/opshopping friends gave me a bag of goodies the other day. Included in the bag was this tin of buttons, which I gratefully accepted, as I didn't have a lot of buttons in my stash. I've never gone out and bought ordinary buttons (just the novelty ones from craft shows), so this lot has been sorted into colours and put into containers ready to embellish some future project. Lyndel also gave me these two vintage shelf trims. I love the way they were used to decorate kitchen shelves decades ago. The longer one of these is just the right length for one of my shelves, but there is no blue in our kitchen decor, so I don't know if I will use it there or not. Suppose I could put it up for a while and think about it!
I found these items in the Vinnies opshop in Ashburton earlier this week. It's been a while since I've found anything of this quality in opshops. Goes to show it is worth checking them whenever you pass one!
This is obviously not embroidered linen - it is a Thai Silk scarf, but I thought it is pretty enough to show on here. Cost $3.
These four napkins are hand embroidered. I was so excited when I found one under some tablecloths, so I kept looking, and found two more. I figured there had to be four, so I pulled everything off the shelf and sure enough, found the last one. $1 each. It took another 10 minutes to carefully fold and replace everything I'd taken down, but I didn't mind, especially when I discovered the supper cloth underneath for $3!