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

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Day table cloth

This was a VERY last minute project!  We had decided to have Christmas Day at home, just the two of us, and I wanted something seasonal to put on our little two person kitchen table.  I had this piece of fabric in my stash for a while but didn't know what to do with it.  So I pulled it out on Christmas Eve, added a border and backing, and voila!  Just the right size.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Two new books and a happy friend.

Ken and I drove up to Healesville on Tuesday to have lunch with a friend. Before going to the local RSL for lunch, we stopped at her house for a few minutes, and I presented her with one of my Christmas patchwork mats (the second one in the previous post). She was delighted with it, and immediately moved something else from the centre of her kitchen island bench to put the mat there!
After we'd had lunch, we wandered around the shops in Healesville, and I found two books I'd seen on the internet and had wanted to buy at some time in the future. The future was yesterday!

We also had a quick look in one of the local opshops and I found this gorgeous framed cross stitch for $3.

Of course I couldn't leave it behind. How sad that someone has done this beautifully stitched picture, and it ends up thrown out for a pittance. Well, it hasn't ENDED there now - it is in good hands and will be included in the wall hanging I've been planning for a few years, made up of similar items that I've found in opshops over the years.

Monday, December 16, 2013

More little Christmas patchworks.

I'm on a roll here, with my Christmas fabric stash! It's great to see the older stuff disappearing into actual projects, leaving the newer fabrics until....um. Next year? Anyway, I needed some more last minute gifts so I made these over the weekend.
This is loosely based on a table runner that I earmarked in a magazine.  The designer also used her stash to make the strippy centre, but she added more borders to make it bigger.  I was going to do that, but couldn't make up my mind what to use for the next border, and I was running out of time, so I just quilted this as it is and will bind it with dark green to finish it off.
This is the back, for which I used some newer fabric that I have a lot of.

This mat is made from charm squares that I've had for two years. I've been using them on a variety of items, and decided I just wanted to clear them out, so I sewed them all together in a nine patch, cut it down the middle, turned each section around, and re-sewed them together. I've seen this done in magazines, and always wanted to try it. I'm delighted with the result! I used strips of red and green plain fabric for the border, and the binding is cream.
And this is the back.

These could be coasters if the recipient wanted to use them for that purpose, but I've actually made them for candle mats, and will be keeping one for myself for that purpose. How often do you want to put a decorative candle on display, but have to find something to put underneath so it won't mark the surface of the table?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Baby quilts finally on their way to PNG.

I have just posted the last donation of six quilts from Melody here, and the details of where all 74 quilts will be going in the next few days.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Christmas table mats

The bunting I made only used smaller pieces of my Christmas fabric stash, and even that left more little bits that I was reluctant to throw out. As well as that I had a few little blocks left over from last year's projects, so I got them all out and made up these two table mats for my SILs (my brothers' wives). We had afternoon tea with my family on Sunday and although we don't usually exchange gifts, I decided to give these mats to the SILs anyway. One of them dabbles in patchwork and the other does no craft work at all, so they were both delighted with their mats!
and this is the back.

this is the back.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

PNG quilt from mystery donor in the USA

I received this beautiful cot quilt yesterday,  from Bonnie in Missouri, USA.  I don't remember having contact with her regarding this - I usually receive emails from donors asking for my address.  Bonnie if you are reading this, please reply to me with a comment here, or direct email, so I can thank you properly.  The quilt is really stunning with wild animal fabric on the front.  Ken wants to keep it for us!!

I asked if any of my readers could advise me how much to charge for making bunting, and Jane suggested checking Etsy.  Thank you Jane - I never thought of that!  I did check Etsy, but the prices are mostly European currencies or American dollars, so I went on to eBay and found lots of Aussie bunting, mostly priced at about $10 a metre.  I'll see what's going on at our opshop later this week, before I decide whether or not to make any more bunting for resale.  I've got other urgent things to do for Christmas first!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Beautiful embroidered pillow slips.

This pair of embroidered pillow cases turned up at our opshop last week, and fortunately I was on duty and saw them being sorted in the back room. I'm not going to say how much I paid for them, but it was a lot less than I would have paid if I'd seen them on eBay! Beautifully hand stitched, a lovely addition to my collection, which has been static for some time now. I'm trying to resist buying vintage linens because I have no space for any more!

The bunting I made to decorate our house this Christmas is now decorating the Brotherhood Opshop where I work. I took it in to show the ladies I work with, and they urged me to hang some up to see how it looked. I put one length up, and it looked a bit lonely, so I put all three lengths up, which looked a lot better. Within an hour, two customers asked if they could buy it. I went back to the shop on Saturday morning with some donations, and the lady on the counter asked if I'd made the bunting. She said she'd had three people ask if they could buy it, and she hadn't sold it because there was no price on it! Also, she'd been informed that one of the volunteers had made it to decorate the shop, so she refused to sell it until she knew what to do. She suggested that I put a sign up saying it was not for sale, so I did. But I'm wondering whether I should whip up some more bunting to sell, and how much we should charge? One customer asked me if I'd make some for her and how much would I charge, and I said "Oh, about $5 a metre, I don't really know". She seemed to think that was okay. Do any of my readers have any suggestions?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas bunting

As usual there are a hundred other things I could and should be doing, but this was something quick and easy that served a dual purpose. I have a rather large stash of Christmas themed fabric, and having bought some really pretty modern fabrics last year and this year, I looked at the older ones and thought "what the heck am I going to do with this?" I hate waste, and knew I'd find something to do with them eventually. I saw a blog with Christmas bunting on it and immediately thought of my old fashioned materials - perfect! So here is my Christmas bunting - in piles on my sewing table when I'd finished.
And here is some of it pegged on the clothes line. I am going donate one length to our opshop to decorate the shop in December. The other two lengths will probably be hung up in one of our front windows, and also in the lounge or entrance hall.

Ah. Now I've got those out of my system, I'll get on to some more quilts for PNG :-)

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Well, the editor of Aust Quilters Companion must have thought the article about the PNG Quilt collective was not interesting enough to include in the magazine, because I've just bought the latest issue and it ain't there! Don't know why they bother emailing me and asking for information and photos...That has happened to me a few times over the years - has it happened to you? Some journalist finds out something about you that they think would make an interesting article in their paper or magazine, and they want all sorts of information from you. I've had people come out and spend a couple of hours photographing me with my linens or other stuff, then you never hear from them again. I do worry about what happens to those pictures...

If you've noticed the Aussie Hero Quilts logo on the side of my blog here, you can read more about it in this month's Patchwork & Stitching Vol.14 No.11. Jan-Maree Ball has worked very hard to get this off the ground and to her credit it has really taken off.

I haven't done much sewing at all lately and am really cheesed off about it. I have been given boxes of fabric to make quilts for the PNG babies, as well as Aussie Heroes, but just have not had time to do anything with it. Life at our place has been taken up with medical appointments and tradesmen the last few months. Ken said last week he felt like he needs a holiday. I said "YOU need a holiday? I need a holiday you mean!" Driving him to and from hospitals and medical appointments, driving him to leave and pick up bikes and car from mechanics garages...The only way I get time to myself is to do full day workshops, and he doesn't like it when I leave him for the day! I've enjoyed the quilting workshop mornings with Linda, and I've done two art full day classes this month, but I'm going to look for more next year. Particularly sewing ones, where I can do some constructive work for a change.

Saturday, November 09, 2013


First update is about my quilting class with Linda Steele.  Our second class last Wednesday was very informative for me in particular!  We were busy stitching patterns on our sample blocks, when my bobbin ran out of thread.   I had another bobbin ready, so I popped it in.  The machine promptly made 'eyelashes' on the back, ie. the tension was all out of whack.  Linda came over and tried everything she could think of.   One of the other ladies suggested that the problem might be the different thread on the bobbin to what was on the top reel.   She was partly right; the thread I'd used to fill the bobbin at home was a very old reel of thread that I'd been given by someone having a clean out.  Linda warned us that old thread can really stuff up our machine, and said I should throw it out.  So I re-filled the bobbin with the same thread on the top reel, and while I was re-threading the machine Linda noticed that I'd placed the thread somewhere that didn't look right to her . So we scanned the instruction booklet and sure enough, I'd been doing it wrong all the time for the past six months! Once we'd fixed that, my machine hummed along happily.

The final class is not for another three weeks, which gives us time to practice what Linda has taught us on our sample blocks.  When we return, we'll start on a new block using coloured fabric and contrasting cotton, and Linda is going to show us how to do the 'feathers' design.  The lady sitting next to me commented after the class that she is glad Linda has broken the workshop into three days rather than learn everything all in one day, and I agreed.  We both felt there is so much to take in that if it had been a one day workshop, both of us would have gone home exhausted and forgotten everything by the next day!

Sorry this next bit isn't stitching related, but some of you left such kind comments here relating to my last post about my friend who has cancer, that I decided to give a bit more info . We visited our friends today and "C" was quite positive about everything, although once the guys left us for a few minutes we had a heart-to-heart talk . She goes into hospital next week and for the next few months life is going to be tough for them both, as many of you would know if you have experienced cancer treatment first or second hand. Here we are having a hug before Ken and I came home - I'm in blue, "C"  is in pink.  She is eight months younger than me.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

No new posts for a while.

Remember the Elvis/Cats Ipad bag I made for a friend? We were going to catch up a few weeks ago, but I hadn't heard from her until today. She emailed me to apologise for not being in touch earlier, but she is 'a bit upset' at the moment. She has just been diagnosed with rectoral cancer which is spreading to her liver. I can't begin to describe how upset I am. We have been friends since we were 15 years old, and have gone through many ups and downs (and marriages) and been there for each other. Sometimes we don't talk for a few months, and Ken will ask if we've had an argument. We've NEVER had an argument! We are such good mates that we don't need to be on each other's doorstep all the time; when we do catch up it's like we talked to each other only a few days ago. A very comfortable friendship.
We spoke on the phone tonight and she was as chirpy as ever. She said that if she has to wear a 'bum bag' for the rest of her life, at least she'll be alive! She isn't even contemplating dying at this stage. Her hubby is not taking it well at all, and Ken had a long chat to him tonight. We are hoping to visit them in the next few days and she is looking forward to having her Ipad bag!
Sorry about this long explanation which is nothing to do with this blog, but I just wanted my followers to know why I have suddenly stopped posting stuff. I'll be back, but perhaps not for a few weeks.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Another quilt finished for the PNG Quilt collective.

I've just posted this photo to the PNG Quilt Collective blog, but am putting it here as well to show it off, lol! I've had the top sitting around for a month or so, but with so much else happening around here I hadn't got around to finishing it. This morning I decided today was the day, and once I got going of course it took no time at all.

And this is my new sewing machine travelling case, bought at Spotlight on Saturday morning. I took two photos and Tiger was determined to get in both of them, so rather than waste time taking more pictures, I've just left him in. I've always envied the women I've seen trundling their machines into sewing classes in these nifty little trolley cases, and now I can 'join the club' - makes me feel like a pro!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Machine Quilting class, Xmas ornie.

Last Wednesday, I attended the first of three quilting classes with Linda Steele.  There are eight of us in the class and it was very informative.    Linda showed us the correct method to baste the three layers of a quilt, and then we learned how to use a free motion or darning foot on our machines.   This was mostly how to use the foot on our basted samples, not doing any patterns.  That comes next week.  One of the ladies had a lovely little case to transport her sewing machine, and she told me she'd bought it at Spotlight.  I just had a look online and found it on sale until next week, so I'm diving over to Spotlight in Box Hill tomorrow morning!  I'd put my sewing machine in a suitcase on wheels along with my fabric and other stuff, as it was all just too heavy for me to carry from the car to the shop where the classes are held.  But it was unwieldy, so for $50 I hope to have a proper case next week :-)

In the meantime I've finished a little Christmas ornament in felt for a swap on another forum.  It is a 'snow globe' ornament which can be hung on a tree or from a door knob or elsewhere. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Update on quilts for Papua New Guinea babies.

I now have 68 quilts waiting to be shipped over to PNG in December.   Sixty-three from around Australia and five from the USA.  You can see them all on the PNG Quilt Collective blog here.  I've got more of my own on the proverbial drawing board, and two friends have made tops which need to be finished off into quilts.  If anyone wants to donate just tops, I am happy to finish making them into quilts with the backing and batting.

I had an email from Australian Quilters Companion a while ago.  They are going to write a small feature on the PNG Quilt Collective - what a buzz!!  I think it may be the November issue, but that hasn't been confirmed.   I'll post something here when it comes out.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Eastern Palliative Care Quilt Show.

I met up with my friend Connie at the quilt fair this morning, and as always, we thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the beautiful quilts, and catching up afterwards over scones jam and cream.   You can see my photos of some of the quilts at my Quilt shows blog here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Terrible fires in New South Wales.

The reports on the NSW bushfires have been shocking, and it may get even worse on Sunday as the weather prediction is more heat and wind.    Whenever there are extreme fires around Australia I feel so helpless.  It's no use to anyone but I wish I could do something other than donate cash to the Salvation Army or the Red Cross, which I will be doing online shortly.  Thanks to Ken's late Mum we are in a position to be generous, although it will be a pittance compared to what will be needed there in days and months to come.

Wonder if anyone will be doing a quilt collective for the fire victims, now that Jan Mac is no longer organising the making and collection of quilts for disasters over at Oz Comfort Quilts?   She was actually on vacation up in the Blue Mountains a day ago, according to her blog.  I hope she and her family haven't been caught up in the fires.

I follow quite a few blogger in NSW and some of them read my blog in return.  If at all possible, please leave a message here to let us know you are okay (or not) and if there is anything people down here can do for you.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I-Pad shoulder bag and Xmas card inserts.

Once I get going on something, it's hard to drag me away!  Ken had his first pulmonary rehab session at the hospital today which mean the afternoon was a write-off for doing any sewing, but I was itching to do a couple of things on my list of to-dos, and once dinner was over, I headed for what Ken calls 'my end of the house', and got to work while he watched a new DVD.

A friend recently told me that she'd lost the shoulder bag that she carried her I-pad in, and asked if I could make her another.  I've never made a bag before, so I looked at magazines and online for instructions, and although I found plenty of tutorials, I couldn't get my head around them.  So I asked one of my new blogger buddies (one of the PNG Quilt donors) if she would show me and she said, yes of course, come on over!  Sue lives near my hairdresser, so after I'd been there on Monday, I went over to Sue's place.

She started to tell me how to make a simple bag, and even borrowed her son's I-pad to cut out a template for me to use.   I started to write directions on it, but she could see that I was confused (blonde and senior is a bad combo, lol), so she took some fabric from her stash and proceeded to make a bag right there so I could see how it was done.

She made it look so easy!!   But she is a very creative and busy lady, so if you haven't visited her blog yet, hop over and see all the things she makes for charity groups.  Thanks again for your help Sue - I truly appreciate you spending all that time with me :-)

I knew that if I didn't make a start on my I pad bag, I would forget everything Sue has shown me, so I was determined to do it last night, and I did.   My friend is an Elvis fan, but also loves cats, so I decided to put Elvis on one side and some cat words fabric on the other.  It only took me a couple of hours!  Think she will like it?

 I still had enough time to make a start on some little patchwork Christmas card inserts. I've committed myself to a card swap and have to make nine cards by mid November.  I like the patchwork cards I made a couple of years ago, so I did some more of those.  Not quite the same, but the same principle.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

First Christmas project completed.

I can't remember where I obtained the kit for this - opshop, Paddy's Market, maybe somebody gave it to me.  Anyway, it's been in my stash for a while, and I rediscovered it when I was looking for something else Christmassy a month or so ago.  I decided to do this instead of my original plan because it was quick and easy.  The design was supposed to be a cushion cover or a framed picture, but I added a cute button which I bought at the NOTY show last week,  framed the NOEL with Christmas fabric from my stash, and backed it with more Christmas fabric.  I might use some jumbo ric rac to hang it up, or I may just put it on the table over the Christmas months.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

New quilting classes with Linda Steele

I have just booked into a three day workshop/class with one of Australia's top quilters, and I am looking forward to it very much.  As much as I am loving my new Janome, I really don't use it to its full potential as the  variety of possibilities with various pressure foots and things is way beyond my limited comprehension.  Linda assures me I'll be able to do a lot more with it after her classes.  They are being held in Balwyn - you can find more details on Linda's blog here.

Another good quilt show next week.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

NOTYQ Exhibition.

I took a heap of photos at the NOTY show last weekend, and have posted them on my Quilts Shows blog here if you want to have a look.
And here is what I bought:
Two lengths of fabric - owls and aboriginal art - $10 each metre.
And lots of cute buttons! I was looking for this seller at the Quilt convention, but she told me she doesn't go to the big craft shows. So I made up for lost time to the tune of $60 - eeeeek!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

NOTY Quilt show this weekend.

NOTY shows are one of the best quilt shows in Melbourne.  They are only held once every two years, so if you miss out this time you'll have to wait two years for the next one!   I know Eltham is a long way to travel for some of my blog readers, but I can guarantee you it is well worth the drive.  As well as the fabulous show of quilts by these talented ladies, there are traders selling lots of goodies....as if I need more stash...sigh.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Works in progress.

I've been working on/playing with a variety of projects lately. I'm half way through another quilt for the PNG Quilt Collective, but have also been doing some cross stitching on the Peacock Sampler and simple backstitch on the Possum. It depends where I am at the time of stitching - I do the possum in waiting rooms because I don't have to refer to the pattern while stitching over drawn lines on calico.
I cross stitch the Peacock when I'm on duty at the Guild because I'm sitting in one spot for a long time, and can have the pattern spread out in front of me without it being disturbed. The quilt top is sitting on top of the sewing machine patiently waiting...

But all of a sudden I had an urge to make something cute in felt. This generally happens when I see a pattern in a magazine, or if I pick up one of my felt cuteness books to look at. So this is what I made yesterday. I love felt because it is so easy to work with - cut into shapes and sew together!
It is supposed to be a mobile phone case, but as I don't have a smart phone, I'll use it for something else, or I'll give it to my grand-niece for her birthday next week.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My two entries at the EGV Annual exhibition.

Today was the final day of another very successful exhibition of members' work at the Embroiderers Guild of Victoria.  I was on duty again this morning, and took the opportunity to photograph my two items on display.  The Guild doesn't usually allow anyone to take photos, but as I was only photographing my own work, the ladies on duty turned a blind eye...thanks girls!

The next time these appear in public will be at the Lilydale Show in November, along with another two projects being worked on at the moment.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Embroiderers Guild Annual Exhibition.

The Victorian Guild's exhibition is on now, and finishes on Sunday 22nd September, so if you haven't been yet, do try to go, as it is well worth a visit. (I've got two items in the Exhibition too - just mentioning, lol).
I was on duty at the Gift boutique on Sunday, and bought a cute little cross stitch pot holder for $10.  There are hundreds of items to choose from, and all the proceeds go towards running the Guild.

I will be on duty again next Sunday morning, so if you happen to visit, pop into the Gift boutique and say hi! 

Some stitching done today.

It's been a while since I've spent hours stitching in a hospital waiting room, as Ken has been keeping away from hospitals as much as he can!  But today he had cataract surgery, and had to be at the Eye & Ear Hospital at 7 am.  His procedure didn't start until about 11 am, so that meant about 3 hours stitching time for me, allowing for a coffee break and a walk around the block.
I decided to take a simple one colour stitchery project with me, as it is easier to sit and sew without having to change threads and consult a pattern.

I'd seen this in a recent Country Threads magazine and put it aside to do, because possums are regular visitors to our front porch at night!

This is what I achieved today.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pile of donated fabrics.

Sue, who made 20 quilts and bunny rugs for the PNG Quilt collective, also gave me a huge bag of fabrics to make more quilts. I took two photos because the first one doesn't give the impression of just how much fabric there is, so I piled it all up for the second photo.
In the top right hand corner of both photos is a purple floral piece.  This is actually a pair of flannelette sheets that Sue bought at Savers, to cut up and use as backing for the PNG baby quilts.  What a super idea!!  Opshops often get winter sheets donated, and when they are washed and pressed, they can be cut up to the size required and made perfect backing for quilts, being soft.  So much cheaper than buying flannelette by the metre from one of the fabric shops.
If you are reading this and would like to make up some quilts but don't have the fabric on hand, just email me, as I will never use all this myself (I've got enough of my own stash) and will be very happy to share this around to those who would like to help out with the PNG Quilts.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Patchwork mat for internet forum swap.

I have just posted this little mat to a lady who is swapping hand made goodies with me in a forum I recently joined.  I posted this to her today, so by the time she sees this, hopefully she will have the mat and this won't spoil the surprise!   We had to provide a list of interests, and she listed gardening as one of her hobbies, so I decided to make a mug rug/place mat with vegetables on one side, and flowers on the other, and she can use whichever she prefers as the top side.

More quilts and rugs for the PNG Quilt Collective.

Sue over at "I Purr Furr to Craft" met up with me at Savers in Mill Park yesterday, to spend time and money at one of our favourite opshops.  She also presented me with 20 (yes, TWENTY!) quilts and bunny rugs that she has made for the PNG babies.  You can see them over at the new blog I have set up for the donated quilts.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

PNG quilt and peacock shawl.

Another quilt arrived yesterday from NSW - see the Patea PNG Quilt Collective blog for details.
At the Embroiderers' Guild, the committee ladies are busy setting up our annual exhibition.  One of the members approached me and said "I have something for you", and handed me a beautiful beaded peacock shawl.  You can see it on my Peacocks blog.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

New blog for the PNG babies quilts.

As I am receiving more information from Yaso about her long term project in PNG, and as the donations keep coming in, I have decided to open up a separate blog for these quilts.  I've copies all the relevant posts from this blog to the new one, but I have left them here as well, as there were a lot of comments that I thought should be left.  But from now on, I won't be posting details of the quilts and donors here, although I will mention them briefly here, and redirect readers to the new blog which is called Patea PNG Quilt Collective.

Monday, September 02, 2013

PNG Quilts.

On Sunday, Jane from Leongatha in rural Victoria, delivered ten bunny rugs to me for the PNG babies.  She'd made them all from flannelette - lovely and cosy for wrapping babies up on cool nights!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Embroiderers Guild Annual Exhibition.

Yesterday I delivered two of my finished projects to the Embroiderers Guild, to be displayed in the annual exhibition of EGV members' work.  I entered Ken's Retirement Quilt (the motorcycle quilted throw) and "Time For Tea", the table runner I made for Ken's cousin.  Poor Rosemary hasn't seen this yet; in fact she doesn't even know of its existence!  I want to put it in the Lilydale Show in November too, so she might get it by Christmas, lol!

Ken's cousin D. and his wife Yaso came over here for afternoon tea yesterday.  Yaso was keen to see the baby quilts that have been donated to me for her, and she had a close look at each one, delighted by all the work put into them, and very touched to think that so many people would do this for the babies of the PNG tribes she helps.  She told me more about the background of her work (she is a lecturer on International Development at RMIT) and travels to third world countries with her students to teach them how to help disadvantaged people there.  She is going to Africa for three weeks later this year, and back to PNG in January.  She promised to provide more background information for me to post on my blog, so all the people who are making baby quilts for the PNG babies will understand more about her work. 
Yaso asked me if it would be possible to obtain a photograph of each person who has made one or more quilts for her, as she plans to put on an exhibition next year at RMIT (University) about her work in PNG, and she wants to include photos of the native people accepting our quilts, as well as photos of the people who made the quilts.  I will be emailing all the donors direct in the future about this, but if you are one of them, and reading this now, please feel free to email me a photo of yourself any time!   (It would be nice if you are photographed holding any quilt that you have made).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Apologies to NOTY members.

I was invited by NOTY (North Of The Yarra Quilters) to give a show and tell talk on my linens today, but I had to back out at the last minute.  Ken has been quite ill this past week with a cold (with COPD it becomes more than 'just a cold'), but I usually manage to avoid catching viruses from him.  This time I was out of luck.  On Friday night I was feeling a bit tight in the chest, but I determinedly selected the linens I planned to show, and packed them in my car ready for the morning.  I woke up feeling awful, to put it plainly, and took two cold and flu tablets, which usually see me through a few hours.   But after phoning Christine from NOTY and telling her I would be late, I had to call her again and say I wouldn't be able to come at all, as I ended up feeling quite sick, and as well as that my throat was on fire, so I knew I wouldn't be able to do much speaking.

I've NEVER had to back out of a speaking engagement before, and I feel very bad about letting down the organisers and members who were looking forward to seeing me.  Still, apart from that, it would not have done the NOTY ladies any good to be exposed to my germs if I had to cough and sneeze my way through a presentation, so I am hoping they will understand, and perhaps invite me back again at a later date.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fabric journal.

I have read a lot of books on making journals, both paper and textile.  I've even bought a book or two on the subject, but until now I've not done much from them - a couple of small projects, but not a journal.  Like most craft lovers, I've got bits and pieces that are experiments with fabric and paper that I've seen in books and online, and thought "I must try that!"  So I tried, maybe liked the result, maybe not, but either way, it ends up in a container of some kind with all the other experiments - not good enough to do anything with, but too good to discard, because 'you might do it again one day'.

A few months ago I was reading Mary Mac's blog, and she mentioned a project she was intending to do, something called "Travellers' Blanket".  When I read about this, I thought it was a kind of rug or blanket with individual textile pieces fastened to it.  That was not really correct, but it  got me thinking about my fabric experiments, and what I could do with them.  Then at the Quilt Convention this year,  one of our Guild members showed me something she had made, and there it was - perfect solution for my bits!  I feel such a fool because I can't remember this lady's name, and she is quite well known in the Guild for her innovative sewing style.  She had made up a large book from calico, and sewn various experimental pieces on each page.
So when I was looking for something completely unrelated to the above, I discovered my little learning projects in a basket of stuff, and decided that I had to do something with them TODAY, otherwise they'd get lost in the depths of my stash again.  I have a huge stash of calico and a tin full of bias binding, and lots of buttons, so I got everything out on to my work table....

Cut the calico into 12" x 24" pieces, used the bias binding to neaten the edges of each piece, and made this journal by laying the pieces on top of each other and machining a line of stitching down the centre to make this:

Above: The front is a layered collage of patchwork fabric, laces, ric rac, buttons, etc.

Above:  On the top left is a trial 'reverse applique'.  I had never heard of it before I saw it described in a book, and wanted to try it.   The green piece is Aida with stitching in ribbon and thread, with sequins.  This  was a challenge project in an online forum many years ago.  The item below these was in a library book and had to be done before the book was due back, otherwise I would forget it.  It involved laying ribbons out in a grid on top of a sheet of water soluble foundation, machining them to same, then soaking the whole piece in water until the backing dissolved.  I loved this idea!
On the right hand side is a completed cross stitch piece.  I saw this in a magazine and was inspired to make it because I love playing with colours, and this design is simply layers of coloured thread blended and matched in layers of cross stitch on Aida to make this gorgeous pattern. It isn't something you would frame and hang on a wall, so what else do you do with such a thing?  Experiments journal!

Above:  These pages are little patchwork samples that I made to see how they would look in a bigger project.  The one on the left is a 'brick wall' pattern, and the right hand side is my first attempt at joining triangles together to make a block.  I had a lot to learn before I got that technique right!
 Above: this is calico with fabric paint applied by various means.  The piece on the right has a stitchery of a mermaid started but I doubt if it will ever be finished.  Just another experiment.

 Above: These stitches in perle cotton on homespun were done in a series of workshops at the Embroiderers Guild.  Most of the other students were much neater and ended up displaying their work in nice books, but my learning attempts are always messy.

 Above: This was slightly less messy.  Sharon Boggon's TAST lessons on her blog were great fun to follow and I learnt a great deal, working on Aida with mostly stranded cotton, but using other items such as ribbon or cord as required.

 Above:  Another project seen in a book borrowed from the library, which had to be done before the book was due back.  Pieces of fabric sewn together at random over a length of calico, then ribbon, lace, ric rac, or any other trim is machined all the way across the whole thing.  You can then make something out of it, or decorate a tote bag, whatever.  As you can see, I didn't use mine for anything, but I liked doing it and keeping a sample to remind me of the technique.

Above: There are more blank 'pages' waiting for my future experiments!