Monday, 28 April 2008

UFO attack: Rubik's Cubes

These are blocks I received as part of an internet swap some time ago. I have many such blocks and have not completed a single quilt from any of them so I am attempting to put this right as part of my UFO attack. There are 12 blocks and we were to use Kona black and batiks, one warm in colour and one cool. The secondary pattern that evolves is fascinating. I suspect the pattern has an older name than Rubik's Cube but this is what we called it. This group has a particular fancy for black based blocks. I'm not sure they fit in my house - I just like making the blocks! So this quilt will be for charitable purposes whether as a gift or a money raiser. The Quay Quilters' Group has a bi-annual show and quilts often sell whether on display or on the sales table. 10% of sale proceeds go to local charities.
Anyway I now realise I should have put triangle corners on the pink "buffers" in the border and will have a go at appliqueing some on - a case of more haste less speed!

Sunday, 27 April 2008

More Mystery quilts

The red and green quilt top has been made by Annie of Quayquilters and the blue and red one by me. I have made all three sizes and this is the first "Done Done". I am quite relieved everyone seems to like their quilts though I don't suppose they would tell me if they didn't! I have two more completed tops and other folk around here are working on them too so more to come.

Saturday, 26 April 2008


I planned some mystery quilt instructions for my quilt group, based on pictures seen in Australian Patchwork and Quilting of quilts instigated by Pat Davies NSW. From the article it wasclear she devised instructions foridentical traditional blocks. I split up the pattern differently into 6 different units and made three quilts to test different sizes and also my written instructions and the fabric requirements. The results seem to have been very successful and if Pat is "out there" please get in touch so I can say "Thank You" formally. I have a unique name but Pat Davies proved impossible to track down on the net. What drew me most of all to this picture was the fabric requirements: a dark, a light and 2 mediums. This is the aspect of mystery planning I find the hardest as I don't want folk to waste time and fabric to achieve an unsatisfactory combination. All the quilts look good but different from each other and reflective of their owners.
The pink one is by Maggie of Crab & Winkle, the blue one by Joyce of Quay Quilters, the red and green by Marion of Crab & Winkle and Mary of Crab & Winkle is holding up her larger pink and green one.

Friday, 25 April 2008


This is my one and only vintage quilt, a 1930's-40's Dresden plate from Illinois USA bought at the UK Festival of Quilts in 2008. I love it. The quilting is fine and the fabrics are a source for making a retro quilt of my own one day, the colours being bolder than the ones seen on so called reproductions though this is slowly changing lately. The world outside my bedroom window is burgeoning with fresh oak leaves, apple and pear blossom and the last remnants of daffodils so the quilt reflects this, replacing the Millennium one that has been my bed since the New Year.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

AGM Karin Hellaby's book

Here's Karin's book, ring bound for ease of use.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Folded Flying Geese quilts

These are the quilts Karin pinned up in the class which are illustrated in her book. The one on the right has all the geese folded back and I think I prefer it to the one on the left made by a student that has just some of the pieces folded back.

AGM My Geese in a Snowstorm project

Here are my blocks laid out. The browns are mainly Japanese Leicen fabrics and the background is a very nice cheapie from JoAnn's or somewhere with a very pale ditsy brown print. I thought for once that I was choosing very good taste fabrics but the effect is brown, brown, brown. I am going to put some very thin orangy piping between the large centre block and the border.
I have sent off for narrow piping cord and a trimming tool from Susan Cleveland. I was impressed by her Simply Quilts presentation and felt I could give this a go, never having done piping in any context before.

Friday, 18 April 2008

AGM Karin Hellaby's Folded Flying Geese

The workshop was just three hours but the atmosphere was very calm and purposeful. Karin divided her teaching up so there were easily absorbed step by step "bites" along the way. Those of us who had her Flying Geese book brought it; others had one on loan for the duration of the class with the option to buy. The book is beautifully illustrated and set out and covers masses of techniques so is very good value. I try to buy all of them as they come out.
We started with a 2.5 by 4.5 goose rectangle and two 2.5 sky squares. The rectangle was folded in half wrong sides together and sandwiched between the two sky squares with the raw edge aligned to the edge of the squares again right sides together. The seam line was sewn from the top down the side over the folded edge to the bottom of the square. The fold of the goose caught in the seam was clipped and the goose flap opened out to form the goose triangle. Matching the pressed fold line to the seam made this easier.
We did two sizes and there were instructions for a third.
You then have the option of folding back and catching down the folded edges cathedral window fashion but this decision can wait till the completion of the quilt.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

1718 Coverlet

This is a reproduction of the 1718 coverlet. The original was purchased some years ago by the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles and professionally conserved with the help of grant money. It is the oldest dated patchwork so far known in the world. Because of the age and fragility of the original which can only be rarely displayed, guild member Pauline Adams masterminded the making of a reproduction using silks as similar as possible to the originals. Some designs she created with her computer. The reproduction was displayed at the AGM and Pauline spoke about the project and laid out the vast amount of documentation that accompanied the coverlet. The whole is pieced over papers, NOT appliqued. I made one of the easier blocks, a pink hourglass near the top. We were sent a kit with just enough items to complete our section. This included special linen thread. We had to attach the pieces to the papers sewing only through the hem and the paper NOT the surface fabric and then to oversew the pieces together with tiny stitches so many to the inch. It was scary. The pictorial blocks were fiendishly difficult apparently but this is how all patchwork was done at this time. The papers are left in as they are in the original and the backing then added. X-ray type research is being done into the papers of the original to shed more light on the quilt's history and maker.
I believe the original is to make a rare appearance at the QGBI's inaugural exhibition at its new permanent home, St Anthony's Hall in York to be held from June-September. I plan to make the trip.
I should like to see a book on the lines of the Dear Jane one giving the patterns correctly drafted, allowing the quilter to decide how to make them.

This is Lucy Boston's house in Hemingford Grey.
The Norman widows are genuine and the main part was built pre 1150. Her Green Knowe children's books are set here and the hero Tolley's room is just as described. A full account with pictures is found in Celia Eddy's online magazine site at the above link. She shows pictures of the patchwork. These were peeled back one by one on the bed by Diana Boston, Lucy's DIL, when we were there but no photographs were allowed in the house.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Quilters' Guild Conference & AGm

After returning to the UK from downunder on Monday I set off to Cambridge for the QGBI (Quilters' Guild of the British Isles) annual conference and AGM. I always enjoy this weekend and this time got there the day before and left the day after so I could see something of Cambridge itself and visit a couple of National Trust properties nearby - Anglesey Abbey on Thursday and Wimpole Hall on Sunday afternoon. I followed a balanced programme of conference choices with a trip on Friday, a workshop on Saturday and lectures on Sunday.
The trip was the highlight of my visit and fulfilled a long held wish to visit Hemingford Grey, home of Lucy Boston, artist, writer and PATCHWORKER!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Goodbye Canberra and Australia.

We set off on Friday. Tomorrow is packing and cleaning day. In fact I'll start on the fridge today.

Here is a picture of the house we've been staying in; most of the others in the suburb are variations of this with different elements added or subtracted. This does seem to be one of the more spacious judging from 3 windows for the living room. We've been very happy and comfortable here. Satellite TV was a bonus as if back I would settle down Campari and soda in hand to watch Simply Quilts followed by Knitty Gritty, very droll.

Many of the local streets are named after holders of the Victoria Cross and it is very moving to see their names recorded on every signpost of their street. Pte. Partridge was a shy boy from the bush who was decorated in WW2 and went on to read Encyclopaedia Britannica in the quiet evenings on the farm and to achieve more fame as a quiz show contestant.

I also include an image of a canoe tree from near Broulee, the bark carved by aborigines long ago to make a canoe and now a cacred site.

These images reflect how much is familiar to me in Australia, shared history, kith and kin and what is other, strange and wonderful.

Animal Alphabet blocks

At Festival of Quilts in the UK last year (2007) Project Linus requested 6.5" blocks for children's quilts. Our group Crab & Winkle made several
and swapped them for others (not
all of which were as good!!). Now I am making more still, basic picture squares with the letter machine
appliqued on. M for moa should confound some people. We plan to assemble them in a group workshop soon.

Back from Broulee

We've spent several days on the NSW South Coast in a little settlement called Broulee south of Bateman's Bay. The drive passed thround some wonderful undulating country, cattle and sheep farming. We stopped off at two small places, former gold mining towns now cafes, antiques and small shops. Bungendore was on the main line from Sydney to Melbourne and there was a quilt shop. It was closed on the way out but open on my return and the fabrics were very well chosen mainly country style colours but I bought some useful neutrals for my autumn quilt. Braidwood seemed busier and bigger and there was a quilt shop on each side of the road. One had a long arm machine and a small stock of fabrics but useful blenders. I got some greens here. Across the road was a shop piled high with fabrics and more were arriving when I was there. I got some Australiana and novelty fabrics here.

Once we got to Broulee we went to Moruya to do some food shopping and there opposite Woolworth's was a wonderful large patchwork shop, the best presented of any on this trip with islands of ranges, patterns and made up samples, baskets of the relevant FQ's etc. I found it so handy to gather together lots of fat quarters that go with other cut pieces I have. I bought patterns here too.

I didn't think much of the fabric shops in Bateman's Bay though the Bargain Box did have good prices. Patchwork by the Bay was hard to find and a bit drab, I thought. My alloted half hour was too long.

Coming back I followed a Canberra quilter's recommendation and stopped off at Spotlight in Queanbean, a huge homeware chain. Here there were lots of Chinese cottons, pretty and cheap and patchwork fabrics too. I bought novelties and some pretty backs for children's quilts.

Oh and Broulee and its surroundings were beautiful, picturesque and amazing blues of sea and sky.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Autumn leaf blocks

There are two versions of the Judy Martin leaf blocks, one with 4 leaves and a secondary pinwheel pattern and one with six leaves and a "frame". I've also done a couple of single leaf blocks with plain backgrounds which are intended for an inner border though I shall probably use a more patterned fabric for the large triangle. Judy Martin's blocks were 10"; I resized mine to 12".

Some completed wreaths

Making wreaths continued

Add 4 alternate triangles
then the corner units.

Wreath blocks in the making

The first wreath seam was partially sewn
and completed as the final step.