November 24, 2016

Istanbul - Just a peek

My Istanbul Quilt is back from the wonderful Desley who once again has woven her magic and I am thrilled with the result.
As I have mentioned in previous posts - this is our Wedding gift to our DS#1 and DDIL, so I am not going to show it all off until it is bound!

BUT because I just had to share, here are just a few 'teasers' for those who have been following my progress .....

Outer border

(Here I have strayed from the original pattern in that my borders are not RED.)

The Center medallion

(You have all seen me working on the applique here, so I think it's OK to peek)

and it's outside edge...

(Lots of lovely feathers and pebbles).

I can't wait to show off the finished quilt - but I think there are a couple of people who need to see it first!

November 2, 2016

Never a dull moment

Is it ONLY Wednesday?
It seems like it should be much much more!

Since my last blog post my Father had a tumble and broke his wrist landing him in hospital.

Sitting in 'Emergency' was not my idea of a fun Friday night - but I did get a bit of knitting done!

The last few days have been taken up with trips back and forth with my Mother for visits and appointments with the associated medical and Aged Care assistants.

I am REALLY glad I have a simple pattern and a very big ball of wool.

* * *

I did manage to also fit in some sewing.
This time I am trying my hand at making a Jinny Beyer pattern for her Medallion Table Runner.

I came across the age old dilemma of having a "Great Wall of Fabric" and nothing that I could use!

DH walked in and said ...
"This one, this one and ...this - no, THIS one!"
Infuriating isn't it?
But on the bright side - if it doesn't work
It's HIS fault!

October 29, 2016

Making the Australian Quilt Exhibition

I have wanted to see the Rajah Quilt ever since I first heard of it - and I was delighted when I discovered it would be in Melbourne as part of the National Gallery of Victoria Exhibition.

"Making the Australian Quilt 1800 - 1950"

The Quilt is named after the convict ship "The Rajah" which set sail from England in 1841 for the penal colonies in Hobart Tasmania.

From 1817 - 1843 Mrs Elizabeth Fry supervised a total of 12,355 female convicts by teaching them Patchwork skills as a respectable trade and occupation for the voyage.

These women were all given:-
a Bible, 2 Aprons, 1 small bag of tape, 1 Once of pins, 100 needles, 9 balls of sewing cotton, 24 hanks of coloured thread, 1 small bodkin, 1 thimble, 1 pair of scissors and 2 pounds of patchwork pieces.

At least 29 of the 179 women prisoners on board the Rajah put their gifts and newly learnt skills to good use by contributing to the making of this remarkable quilt.
It is the only known example of a convict quilt made during transportation to Australia.

The exhibition was well worth the visit and my DD & I spent ages peering at the construction of the blocks and applique and admiring the tiny stitches that held them together.

This incredible quilt was made in 1857 by Mary Jane Tolman and sent as a gift to her brother James, in Hobart.

I could not resist including a close up of the blocks - so vibrant they could have been pieced yesterday!

The quilt contains 6063 paper pieced hexagons and being held with 120 stitches per hexagon - there are three quarters of a million stitches in the quilt!

A letter from the maker to her brother asks if his female friends liked it.....

There were so many beautiful examples of hand worked quilts on display I cannot mention them all (you will have to go and see it for yourself - or buy the book!).

I will leave you with some photographs of just one last exhibit -

How beautiful is this....

Wonderful work
and exceptional fussy cutting...

Put away at the end of the day's sewing,
never to be finished.

Having done white glove duty I know just how fascinating the reverse of a quilt can be I was delighted to discover a photograph of the BACK of the Rajah quilt. This link will take you to further information.

Making the Australian Quilt
National Gallery of Victoria
(Ian Potter Gallery - Federation square)
22nd July - 6th November 2016

October 24, 2016

Dear Timeless Treasures.... I am NOT happy.

My Aunt has suffered a Stroke and  I decided to make a quick quilt.
Moving past the ordeal of not being able to find pretty floral prints at any of my LQ Stores I chose something that I liked and hoped she would too.
* * *
I chose a pattern that I could QAYG. Carefully fussycut all my blocks and sashing and sat to sew my first block - a 'sample' before chain piecing the rest.
Everything was going beautifully, I pressed the seams to the dark side and picked up the next piece to add and.... WHY did it not fit?

In all the years I have been sewing I have NEVER found a fabric that actually shrank when it was pressed - until today!
I showed DD and we did the experiment. First we pressed, and again it shrank - then we spritzed a new block with water and watched in utter disbelief as the corners of the fabric started to curl.  Pressing the block dry with the iron resulted in the fabric shrinking HALF AN INCH across the 9.5" block!

This photo is of 3 of my 9.5" blocks - the furthest away is as it was cut, the middle fabric has been pressed and the closest to the ruler is what I ended up with once it was wet and pressed!

I am FAR from impressed, at $24 a meter, this was not cheap fabric and I bought 5 fabrics in the range, each one tested and with the same results.

Maybe it was a 'one off' issue, so to be fair - I took another length of Timeless Treasures fabric from my stash - removed the selvages and measured it ....

Then to simulate the worst treatment this fabric would endure (in it's life as a table runner) washed it in warm to hot water
-I was surprised to see how much dye was shed - and then ironed it dry.

The result was a loss of 2 inches across the width of the fabric.

In my opinion, 5% shrinkage across the width of the fabric (the length was unaffected), would not result in a good looking and enduring finished product.

Oh horror! What about those folk you see in Quilt shops that buy this fabric to make clothing from ????

* * *
So dear Timeless Treasures - you have lost this customer.
I am left with the wonderful task of washing / pre-shrinking and pressing a substantial amount of *4 1/2" blocks, re-cutting or re-drafting what was a simple and quick pattern to enable me to use the reduced sized fabric or put it all in the too hard basket and waste the $120.00 that the fabric cost.

Worst of all - my Aunt will not have her quilt any time soon.

*Footnote -
The 4 1/2" blocks are now 4 1/4" x 4 1/2"
The 9 1/2" blocks are 9" x 9 1/2"
and my sashing... a beautiful Duck Egg Blue Moda solid - They are still as cut

October 19, 2016

I've been a bit busy ...

Where on earth has the last month gone?

I could say that I have been 'blissfully sewing' but that would be fibbing!
The last month's sewing has been far from blissful.

I have been working on finishing DS#1's Wedding Quilt.

The original pattern, has now been enlarged from a wall quilt to fit their Queen size bed.

There has been a lot more applique,

(I think I may now be officially 'over' hand buttonhole applique!)

There have been mistakes
and mis-cuts
and plenty of un-sewing
and yes the occasional tantrum.

But my borders are now on and DS#1's Wedding Quilt is booked in to be custom quilted -

And THEN I will show you the finished result.

AND - just because this quilt will not be for sleeping under....

I have also been working on their "everyday" quilt.

20 of these done -
just another 10 to go

and then I can start on the alternate blocks!

September 20, 2016

Welcome to Spring ...

It is on days like today I wish that I had my new camera with me ...

 Breakfast at Grandma's.

It just makes my heart sing!

* * * * * 

Australian Magpies are fiercely territorial and have VERY long memories - they have been known to attack (even years later) if you have 'ticked them off' at any time - especially when nesting.  
However, should you take the time and get to know them, they will reward you with their presence and beautiful carolling song.

September 12, 2016

Unravelling a 10 year mystery...

As UFOs go - I do not have a lot of the Quilted variety.

I have only been quilting for around 11 years and (to keep DH happy) - I try and finish them.
Before that I did a lot of 'tinkering' with other crafts - I made toys and lingerie and tried my hand at embroidery, needlepoint, latch-pull, house and garden renovation and... I knitted.

On the 5th August 2005 I began knitting an Aaron style cardigan.
(I had made one once before and finished it in 2 months.)

It must have been picked up and put away sporadically over the next couple of years when, somewhere in 2009,  I suspect the dreaded "Muuuuummmmmm!" must have stopped me in my tracks -
Why else would I have put my knitting down with only 15 stitches to finish a row?

For the past 2 weeks I have been ill (thanks for sharing DS & DH), and have once again picked up my knitting basket, as it meant I could potter without getting up too much.
Yesterday I found my cardigan - which of course will no longer fit me (a win for DD) - and taking the afternoon to work out where I was... picked up and finished the back.

11 years after I cast those first stitches on - because I had the wool - I have decided it is time to finish this UFO!