Friday, December 18, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Only a week to go until Christmas!! Yikes!! I feel like I've been racing against the clock to finish up projects by the end of the year. Every spare moment has been used for painting rooms and furniture, wall papering, framing pictures, decorating doorways with paper cutouts, cultivating a colourful rug addiction, researching bathroom tiles... basically turning our house into a home. A fun and colourful Daisyland! There's been lots of creative activities but no sewing, in fact I sometimes wonder if I've forgotten how to use my sewing machine. I guess I'll find out in the new year when I hope to focus on stitching and fabric once again.

Santa recently dropped off the latest edition of Simply Moderne. It was great to take time out of the festive frenzy, put my feet up and flip through the colourful glossy pages. I love this magazine with it's great articles of quilt shows and variety of quilt projects. The cover quilt is by Australian quilter Wendy Williams. It's bright colours are as merry and twinkling as Christmas lights. 

I was especially excited to find an article about my friend LeeAnn Decker of Nifty Quilts with lots of pictures of her beautiful quilts.

I'll be working pretty much every day till Christmas now so I'll get in early and wish you all a joyous holiday season and a happy and peaceful new year. I'll see you in 2016 for more bloggy good times. 

PS. Just like the Christmas specials on TV that come around every year here's a link to a Christmas Adventure I wrote a few years ago. It's fun, festive and features cute fabrics. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Desert to Sea book Giveaway!

I know I've been a quiet blogger of late but it's Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day and I've taken part in every Giveaway Day for the last 5 years so I couldn't let one go by without joining in. 

Today I'm giving away a copy of Desert to Sea: 10 Quilts from Australian Designers. 
(If you already have a copy of the book there's something for you too so keep reading)

This description of the book sums it up perfectly,

"Take a journey to the great Land Down Under … Ten beautiful, eclectic quilts designed by eight inspirational Australian quilters, reflective of the bountiful colour and beauty of the Australian landscape and culture. Quilt patterns to entice and challenge passionate quilters to make unique quilts that will bring a little of the Land Down Under into your home. Betty Kerr, Charlotte Dumesny, Danielle Aeuckens, Jane Davidson, Lorena Uriarte, Cathy Underhill, Rachaeldaisy and Jeannette Bruce, bring to you quilts made with their favourite techniques, injected with a piece of their own personalities and style. Compiled by Jane Davidson."

Here are some photos of the my quilt Ric Rac Razzamatazz that is one of the 10 projects in the book. 

With a very cute koala!!

Now I know a lot of awesome people have already raced out and bought Desert to Sea (thank you!) so to make it fair if the random selector picks someone who already has a copy of the book I'll make them a special custom made mini quilt instead. 

But wait, there's more! 
I think we all agree parcels are more fun padded with fabric. To tie in with the Aussie theme I'll include some Australian town name text fabric. 

This giveaway is now closed - Thank you to all of you who entered!! Congratulations to Bea of une aiguille dans une botte de foin blog for being selected as the winner. 
If you're interested in getting Desert to Sea ( it's a great book full of fabulous colourful Australia quilts) you can purchase it here from Amazon or ask at your local book shop or quilt shop. 

For 2 chances to win:
*You must be a follower of my blog or sign up as a follower, eg GFC, Bloglovin, Feedly, Let me know in a comment how you follow.
*For a second chance, let me know in another comment what you like about Australian quilts or something you like about Australia.

The giveaway is open until Sunday13th, 6pm Blue Mountains Australia time, when a winner will be picked randomly. I'm happy to ship anywhere in the world.

Normally I like to reply to comments but I'll thank everyone now for visiting my blog and wish you all good luck. And a big thank you thank you to SewMamaSew for hosting such a fun event. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

The story continues...

I know you've all been wondering whether Asterisk Tricks survived it's washing adventure so I'll jump right in and show you... 

The Before photo...

and this is how it came out of the washing machine.

I flattened out the confetti strips with my fingers so they laid flat again.

There was a bit of fraying but not too much.

In fact I really like how the fraying has softened the edges and added texture to the strips. 

It's really hard to tell from the photos but washing has really set the quilting. Maybe because the linen shrunk it's puffed up the stitches. The overall quilt shrunk by a whopping half a inch. When it's only a 16inch quilt to start with half an inch seems a lot.

I didn't block the quilt to bring it back to a true square, I like that it wears the signs of its journey through the watery depths. I think it goes to show that quilts are tougher than we think. 

But wait there's more!!!

I have two more quilts in this series that I made earlier in the year but haven't gotten around to showing on my blog yet.  The year has just been flying by faster than I can blog!

First we have Concave Wave. 

The linen curve edges looked way too plain so I started adding stitches with perle 8 thread...

and kept stitching until the linen was densely patterned. I really liked the effect,  the way both the colourful part and the "neutral" part have something engage and look at. A lot of punch for a little quilt. 

The next quilt I named Curve Verve. The pattern is a reverse of Concave Wave. 

More fun times with colourful stitches

Those who look closely will notice each point has different patterns.

I do have more of these little bright quilts on the go at various stages of completion. They've been packed away while we're painting the house but they're sure to come out again to play at some point in the future. 

Until then I hope these little quilts have done their job of adding some colour to your day. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How often do you wash your quilts?

After my last post I received an email in which the person mentioned that it seemed none of the 3 quilts I'd shared were made to be washed.  The person was right in that they are mini quilts and designed to be hung as art so they don't really need to be washed but of course it got me thinking about washing quilts.

I very, very rarely wash my quilts. I guess I'm lucky where we live that we have such lovely sunny days and I often take advantage of the sun's warm rays to hang quilts out to air. I find that freshens and fluffs them up. I don't have a clothes dryer so I can't compare it to tumble dried crumply goodness people talk of.
I don't have any pets hopping on the beds so that lessens the need to wash. Though I would jump at the chance to have a pet quokka, sloth or guinea pig( or all three!) 

So whether a quilt can be washed or not isn't foremost in my mind as I'm coming up with my designs. Plus in recent times the quilts I've been making are wall quilts and they just need a shake every now and then to stop them from getting dusty. I rotate the quilts on the walls every month or so and they don't get a chance to get dusty. They get their share of sun freshening too. 

But as I looked at my little mini quilts I thought why not have a go at washing one and see what happens. With a small quilt like this it would be just as easy and gentler to hand wash it but as part of the experiment I've decided to bravely chuck it in the washing machine to see what happens.  The quilt I picked was Asterisk Tricks, the one with the least stitches holding down the confetti strips.

It's done and I'm now writing this post as it's sploshing and tumbling in the washing machine like a disco dancing mermaid.

and I'm wondering...
Will the tie threads will hold? 
Will all the raw edges from the confetti strips unravel and disappear forever along with soap suds into the dark pipes? 
Will my quilting seed stitches pull, catch and tangle? 
Will the colourful colours run and cause tie dye rainbows on the linen? 
Will the linen distort and leave me with a strangely shaped soft sculpture?
Have I sent an innocent mini quilt on a fast track to the rag bin? 
oh my golly gumboots - 
It may never look like this again!! 

In the meantime here are some snapshots of my past week. 
Our house is being painted. Which means a lot of our furniture is being stored in my sewing room and piled up around where I sit at my computer. It makes things a little bit awkward but it's worth it for fresh white walls. 

Outside it's been raining. Glorious garden soaking spring rain!!

I never know quite how to photograph rain, especially when I'm trying not to get too wet myself, but I love how raindrops gather on leaves...

and make other leaves look glossy. 

The flamingos are in charge of looking after the lettuces. 

And Buddha adds a peaceful feeling to the garden. 

 On the sewing front I finished quilting this quilt and am halfway through the binding.

There goes the bell sound the washing machine makes when it's finished it's cycle... I'm off to see if my little quilt survived! I'll let you know how it turns out in the next post. It's too late in the day for photos now.

So tell me, I'm curious - how often do you wash your quilts? It'll be interesting for everyone to hear each other thoughts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Colour Collision

Each year Quilt NSW ( formerly known as the Quilters Guild of NSW) has a suitcase challenge where members are invited to submit mini quilts of 40 x 40cms (16 x 16 inches) in a set theme. 

Some of you may remember that I made some quilts for the Mini Modern theme last year. To jog your memory you can pop over to the post about my Trio of Quilts here.

This year the set theme was Colour Collision. A chance to play with colour- yes please!! And the idea of "collision" immediately sparked ideas. Just like last year I got carried away on an inspiration wave and ended up making three quilts.

I decided to continue the recipe of steel coloured linen combined with solids and a few patterns thrown in. The use of negative space features strongly too.  Oh and they have to have rhyming names too, coming up with titles is half the fun! I've made a few now and I like that they work as a series.

The first quilt I made for this years challenge was Collision Vision- a square of half inch wide strips. It reminds me of those sprinkles used on cakes, or a game I used to play when I was a little girl called Pick Up Sticks. Is that still around anymore?

I used different coloured perle8 thread to sew the strips. It took a while to make because I sewed a layer or two and put it aside for a month or so. When I came back to it I added more strips, and got distracted again but eventually came back to it and added more strips. I really like how dense the square of colour ended up, but that you can still see glimpses of the background linen which adds an airy look to it.

On to the next quilt I made - I've named this one Collision Indecision because I'm not sure it really works. I was going for the clashing colourful fiesta look but I don't think the randomly mixed colours do the idea any favours. I can't help but wonder how it would look if I'd used cool colours for the circles and warm colours for the ribbons, but then maybe that would look too controlled? I guess I'll just have to try it one day to find out.

Asterix Tricks is a fun one - My idea was that the ribbons come together, or collide, to create colourful sparks. 

I also played with colour with my quilting stitches.

and the mixed coloured threads tied through each star.

It was a toss up whether to send Asterix Tricks or Collision Vision... 

but in the end it was Collision Vision that was sent off the Quilt NSW head office. 

When I sat down to write an artist statement it came out as a poem - it's funny how my brain works sometimes with things just popping into my head. Could I really just write a poem?? I'm not even a poet!! I decided to go with it and this is what I wrote: 

Colour collision. Following a vision,
Fabrics I choose. Pink, orange, green, yellow, blues
Cut and stitched. Fingers bewitched
Layer upon layer. Colour, the player
Soon what is there. Becomes a square.

A few weeks later I received a call from Quilt NSW. I'd forgotten about the challenge and had no idea why they were calling but when I returned their call it was the exciting news is that my little quilt had received a Judges Commendation award! Woohoo!! I couldn't make it to the meeting to receive my ribbon in person but I'm thrilled with the award. 

So what happens next? All the quilts entered into the Suitcase Challenge are packed into a suitcase and travel to several shows for the next 2 years or so. In the mean time you can have a look at all the entries here at the Quilt NSW website.  It's always wonderful to see how different people interpret a the same theme. 

Does it make you wonder what you would make for Colour Collision? 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Simply Moderne #2

The postie was whistling as he popped the new edition of Simply Moderne in my letter box. I saw him and went out to greet him.
"Have a great day!" he called as he continued on his way.
Ooohhh, a Simply Modern magazine!! Of course it would be a great day with all these pages full of quilty gorgeousness at my finger tips.

When you get a new magazine do you read it methodically from the beginning? One page after another, and resist flipping through to the end in case you spoil any surprises?

or do you skip straight to the projects?

Are you curious about the product and book reviews?

I often read articles about quilters first ( Hello Lorena).

But in this case I raced straight to the article about the Sydney Quilt Show. 

 And was soon hollering and dancing a merry jig around my lounge room and singing 
"Yippee Yay!! Oh Happy Day!!"
 There was my Blooming Doilies taking up a whole page!!
That's not all though - my Undercover Colour quilt was also included in the article. Oh happy day indeed!!!

There are lots of my other favourite quilts from the show as well. It was wonderful to see them again. I know I've said it before but Quiltmania and Simply Moderne are super stars for showing off Aussie quilts and quilters to the world.

To celebrate I made myself a cup of tea.

and settled into reading the whole magazine.
I thoroughly enjoyed every page, from the beautiful front cover...

all the way to the back cover.

A little note for Aussie readers - It takes a while, like a couple of months for Simply Moderne and Quiltmania to make it into our newsagents. There's a couple of things you could do so you don't miss out. You could organise with your local newsagent to keep a copy aside for you when it comes in. Or you can subscribe and get the magazines delivered straight to you, that way you get them when they're released without the long wait. If you're lucky you might even catch the postie whistling as he pops it into your letter box :) Here's the link to subscribe.


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