Sunday, September 28, 2014

I did something other than Sewing!

On Friday afternoons at work the conversation usually turns to our plans for the weekend. My fellow florists get up to all sorts of different things whereas my reply is usually " Oh you know me... I'll be sewing".
This week I had something different to say!! 
My reply was " Mr Daisy and I going on a a twilight trip on a vintage steam train through the Blue Mountains!!" 

And that's what we did. 

On Saturday at precisely 4.48pm the train arrived in clouds of steam and smoke. 

The sound was thunderous!! Really, really, really loud!!!

We were in economy but it seemed luxurious compared to modern trains. 

We settled in nicely

and were soon on our way.

I didn't capture it in a photo but at lots of points along the tracks people were lined up to wave as we flew by. Of course we had fun waving back!!

The views were picturesque,  the Blue Mountains are always beautiful. 
Travelling with the windows wide open created a more intimate experience with the passing vistas. The wind blew in our faces and also blew in little bits of coal from the engine. At one point I looked down and noticed the little bits of coal had gathered on in my napkin,

Some detail shots from around our carriage,

funny how I'm attracted to circles in my photos. 

Our destination was Katoomba where the train waited while we had an hour and a half for dinner. Luck had it that there was a restaurant across the road from the station that we'd been wanting to try. Bistro Niagara was wonderful - great service, great food, great atmosphere. A real gem in the mountains, we'll definitely go back.

By the time we returned to catch the train home it was dark. 

but that just added to the fun and added another element of the experience. 

As we pulled away from the station the conductor kindly offered to turn off the lights in our compartment so we could more easily see out the windows. It was a clear night and the stars really put on an extra shiny show for us. As we rolled through the mountains on our way home we reminisced about our train trips in the past from the Red Rattlers from our childhood days to stories of travelling overseas. 

We soon arrived at our station. Happy travellers, slightly windswept. 

It was so good to get out and do something different. It certainly blew the cobwebs away.
 But it's also nice to spend the day in my sewing room - that's where I'll be today!!
And Mr Daisy will be off flying planes , but that's another story for another day. 

I hope you've got fun things planned too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Trio of Quilts

Each year the Quilter's Guild of NSW holds a challenge for it's members to make a mini quilt with a set theme. Some examples of past challenges include Hexagon Hype, Purple and Yellow, Spot the Spot. The only limits are the size of 40cm x 40cm (16inches x16inches) and that the piece be 3 layers. The quilts then become a travelling suitcase exhibition and will tour for a year or two.

 I've been a member of the guild for a few years now but somehow each year would fly by before I'd get something made. Ha, no more excuses - this year I finally jumped in early and got sewing. 

The theme for the 2014 Suitcase Challenge was "Mini Modern".
Just to make sure I was on the right track I looked up What is a Modern Quilt? and found the answer on the Modern Quilt Guild's blog

"Modern quilters work in different styles and define modern quilting in different ways, but several characteristics often appear which may help identify a modern quilt. These include, but are not limited to: the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, and alternate grid work."

So I grabbed some bold fabrics, did some improv piecing, tried to keep it minimal, added some negative space and high contrast with the grey linen, 
and this is what I came up with.
I called it Wiggle Jiggle because I think the wobbly lines look as though they're doing a wiggly dance. 

Did you notice the binding? To add extra Wiggles at the edges I sewed the binding to the back first and then brought it around to the front and appliqued it down it a wiggly jiggly way. Once both sides of the quilt were appliqued I finished by binding the top and bottom with linen. 

While I had my little pile of colourful fabrics sitting on the cutting bench I decided to see what I could do with straight lines. I started with squares and then added skinny lines and it just grew from there. As with the previous quilt I also incorporated the binding into the design.

And to continue the rhyming names this little quilt became Square Flair

Seeing as I'd made two quilts I thought I might as well whip up a third. 
 I looked at the pile of little coulourful scraps and proceeded to sew them together. 
This time I was going to have both straight lines and curves!

The result became a big zany blob and a fun 2 sided border. Rather than doing any binding at all I used the pillow slip method in which I sewed the quilt sandwich together inside out and then turned it the right way around so the raw edge are tucked inside the seams.

I had fun with the quilting on this one. Besides using lots of different colours I varied the length of the stitches. I'm really pleased with the result, after all variety is the spice of life.

As for the name - as soon as I thought of Bright Meteorite I knew that was it!

So in the end I made three quilts... I have sketches for more of these little moderns, using the same elements of colourful bits mixed with linen, and exploring different edges. Coming up with different rhyming names could be tricky though. 

Back to the reason I started these in the first place -
 the Guild's Suitcase Challenge. 
I now had the dilema of which quilt to enter. I did Um and Ahh and practically had to pull a name out of a hat to decide which one to send. In the end one little quilt was packed up and sent off on it's merry way. 

I'm curious -  which one do you think I sent? 

Wiggle Jiggle, Square Flair or Bright Meteorite? 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Where have I been?

Crikey! It's nearly been 2 weeks since I last did a post!! 

Where does the time go?? 

 My excuse is that I've been working extra shifts at my day job while a couple of my colleagues have been away. It's kept me busy, but included lots of laughing times with flowers and foliage flying everywhere. 

But now things will be settling down and returning to normal. 

I must say, I'm looking forward to catching my breath...

and spending more time in my neglected sewing room.

I did add to my big box of scrappy yo-yos when I had a spare moments here and there...

and got a few rows of big stitch quilting done. Nice and easy when I'm just following the dots. 

I'll have more time for blogging too!! My show and tell is piling up. 
In my next post I'll not only share one finished quilt but three!! 

I promise I won't wait 2 weeks this time :)
Until then, I hope your days are as colourful as a rainbow balloon flower!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Double Denim Wedding Ring Quilt is going on tour

Woo Hoo - Exciting News!! I'm very pleased to say that my Double Denim Wedding Ring quilt has been chosen to be part of a Double Wedding Ring Quilt exhibition. The group of quilts, curated by Victoria Findlay Wolfe will be on display at Original Sewing and Quilting Expos all around the US. I can only wish that the exhibition would come to Australia too, I'll keep my fingers crossed, you never know what can happen...
In the meantime I'm doing happy dances at the thought of my quilt travelling around and being part of a wonderful group of quilts. Yippee!!  

The tour kicks off this weekend in Atlanta!! No doubt all the quilters there are already planning to go. Who can resist seeing those wonderful quilts, sewing workshops and maybe doing a bit of shopping too. 

Here's a list of all the dates for Original Sewing and Quilting Expos around the US so you can see when the Expo will be nearby and you can pop the dates in your diary. 

Atlanta GA - Sept 11th-13th 

Frederickburg, VA - October 2nd - 4th

Overland Park, KS - October 9th - 11th

Fort Worth, TX - October 16th -18th

Minneapolis, MN (edited collection)- November 13th - 15th

Tinley Park, IL -  November 20th - 22nd

Lakeland, FL - March 5th - 7th , 2015

Atlanta, GA - March 12th - 14th

Cleveland, OH - March 26th - 28th

Schaumburg, IL - April 9th - 11th

Worcester, MA - April 16th - 18th

Indianapolis, IN - May 28th - 30th

Greensborough, NC - June 18th - 20th

The Exhibit will also be going to the Road to California Show in January 22-25th 2014. 

Phew!! That's quite a list of dates!! And what a great tour of the US!! If only I could travel with along with the quilt too. I was thinking that if any of you go to the show and see my quilt I would love it if you took a photo of yourself with my quilt and emailed it to me. You could wave at me if you like. It would be fun to know my quilt is having lots of friendly visitors. 

Here are some relevent links if you are interested... 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hello Spring!!

Dear Spring, 
It's that time of year when the leaves begin to pop out from branched buds to wave a welcome as you approach. Shy bulb flowers start to show their faces. 
I love the way you arrive in a cloud of blossom, bearing armfuls of colourful flowers and a warm sunny smile. 
Your friends, the birds and butterflies, are always close on your heels and soon it's one big happy party complete with lively bird song and heavenly scented breezes.
 Even the sun stays up later and later to join in the fun. 
Dear Spring, I'm so happy that you've come to visit us again. 

Happy flowers to everyone!


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