Monday, 24 March 2008

Appliqueing stems: steps

Appliqueing leaf stems by machine.

I first practised this technique in a most informative class with Dawn Cameron-Dick though I have come across it in magazine articles since. I used a template to mark where to abut the cut edge of the stem. This had to be a little bit inside where I wanted the stem to go. I pinned the stem in a slight curve, the shorter inside curve and machined a scant one eighth inch seam stopping before the end. If handsewing the rest I leave a length of thread to applique with. Otherwise trim the thread, tuck under the bottom and blindstitch the bottom and other folded side of the stem. The stems were made from bias strips folded in half lengthways and pressed.


I am piecing more autumn blocks to supplement ones made in 2003 or so as part of the Pick'n'Mix internet group block swap. Three of the participants asked for autumn themed blocks so I used three different patterns all by Judy Martin; one was a wreath and the others leaves. All are based on an 8-pointed star. I made several extras and and now am making more with the intention of making first a small centre lap sized quilt to be ready for the Hever Show and then adding to it to make something for my bed. To sleep under in autumn of course.

Friday, 21 March 2008


We went to join a local library and to my surprise hanging aloft was a beautiful display of quilts. There was a handout to say they were made by the Material Girls who "get together to chat, to challenge each other to make things outside their comfort zones and to generally enjoy each others' company". I had to photograph "Kel's Wells" by Yvonne Hawkins as I am a fan of this pattern and have made two of my own. (see and look for Hidden Wells albums). I also singled out Christine Gainey's "Sails to the Wind" which I thought was very graphic and Kath Hunt's "Summer Abundance" based on Kaffe Fassett's "Leafy Rosy", a celebration of fabric. All the exhibitors are members of Canberra quilters:
Although the libraries are bigger and better than the Ocean Shores ones the selection of quilt titles is very meagre but that may be because they are out on loan to the many quilters here.

Quilts by the Material Girls
in Erindale Library ACT

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Canberra Quilters

Show and Tell at Canberra Quilters and Joan the lady

I was sitting next to who was working on some

wonderful blocks she was doing in a class with Helen



Had a day on the buses today though first Alan dropped me off in Weston Creek where the Canberra Quilters hold a morning meeting. We all sat round tables and did handwork. A man who had designed and made some kangaroo scissors was there. I bought some and received a free Scissoroo T-shirt as well. I also got some fold up scissors, good for travelling as the points won't push through my bag. We finished with the raffle and show and tell.
Then a bus to Woden and another short ride to a fringe of town shopping area and a good look round "Addicted to Fabric" and "In Stitches" and did some shopping in both. How I wish I could move the former one to Canterbury as it has a huge and fantastic stock of lovely modern fabrics - Amy Butler, Denyse Schmidt and all the Kaffe Fassets. (There was a notice to say thatthe manufacturers of the Fassets had notified them that there was a 10% shrinkage across the widthways grain.This is 4" + and a disgrace, making the fabrics hard to use with others or at least causing wastage. I do prewash but don't expect such a shrinkage rate.) Anyway I feel my fabric purchases would be more under control and focussed with such a shop to hand as one wouldn't need to buy on spec knowing all you might need for a projected quilt was available. And the scraps leftover would provide for the scrappy urge as they mounted up. Bus back and collapse of stout party!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Lanyon Homestead ACT Australia

Barn at Lanyon erected by convict
labour and patchwork pieces
displayed in the parlour. This is
a photo of a display board!


We've been here for more than a week. There are three wonderful sewing and patchwork shops on this side of town and I've paid brief visits to all three. I was left for an hour in one of them: Rosemount at Tuggarong and matched to spend a healthy amount (the eftpos card worked!) so that I was given a handy shopping bag as well. Again I was buying animal fabrics and also a pattern or two.
There are lots of places to visit so I haven't been sewing on the machine as much, more handsewing in front of the TV in the evenings. However quilts have popped up everywhere. First off the War Memorial where I found 3 of the Changi quilts - they are in a very dim setting and semifolded so not very easy to see even when one presses the light button as this too is faint. It was very moving though to see the redwork blocks the women kept in Changi prison, Singapore, during the war had made, some containing a sort of coded message for their menfolk or expression of longing. The one to placate the Japanese guards used mainly innocuous floral motifs.
We also went to Lanyon, a homestead which predated the creation of Canberra though its land was subsequently taken over to allow expansion of the new city. In the parlour was a table with some faded hexagons pieced over papers. Howmany of these lie unfinished all over the world, I wonder . . . It was too dark and distant to photograph so I shot the display picture instead.

NEW ENGLAND WIP: piecing on the move

Like the log cabin blocks this is part of
an ongoing handpieced project for a
future bed quilt I think of as my
"New England" quilt as it uses
reproduction type fabrics including lots
of browns and reds too.
The blocks are in multiples of 1.5" from
3" up to 9". These are 6" and some were
pieced on the bus from Sydney to Canberra.
The brown fabric in the top middle has 2000 printed on it so that will help date the quilt.
I know howmany square inches each size
measures and I am keeping a running total.
I need 4000+ sq. inches for the top and
I'm more than halfway there. Memories
of many places and travels are stitched
into this project.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Reading nook and sitting room Balmain B&B Sydney


After the peace and quiet of Ocean Shores we were ready for the stimulation of the city and on the way to Canberra we stopped off for two nights at Balmain. This was a former working man's suburb now gentrified but lively with varied shops and restaurants. It's very close to the centre just on the other side of the harbour bridge and by the water so you can travel to Circular Quay by ferry in 10 minutes or so. The B&B we stayed in last time is no longer operating so DH booked us in at The Grange, a large old house with a fair sized (for this area) enclosed garden. Imagine my surprise when as I walked into the long narrow hall there was a log cabin quilt framed on the wall and racks of antique quilts in the adjacent room. DH felt he had miscalculated. It turned out our hostess was Jennie Burton who deals in antique quilts. Upstairs were shelves of books available to guests including lots of state quilt documentation titles and books on collecting old quilts so I was reading madly while were in our room. What a treat!
In Sydney itself the highlight was the state Art Gallery with lots of lovely pictures though we were sad that two Sidney Coopers including a view of Canterbury our home town in the UK were no longer on show. But it was good to see favourite Australian artists - Tom Roberts, Hans Heysen, Margaret Preston, Grace Cossington Smith, Margaret Olley and many more once again.

Antique quilts at Balmain B&B

Last Day at Ocean Shores NSW

Local fabric purchases Northern NSW

Novelties from Mooball
and motleys from Mullumbimby.

Silver Thread Mullumbimby NSW

This shop is a general sewing and
knitting store andhas lots of useful supplies
not just specialist quilty ones.
I gather there is a new owner who intends to develop the patchwork fabric side of things.
I got some useful items here - needles,
vliesofix and thread as well a small amount of fabric.

Me outside Moo Moo Stitches, Mooball NSW

Black and white
cows and patterns
are a feature of Mooball.
Moo Moo Stitches is a new
quilt shop in the former store.
There was a weekend quilt
conference going on with meals
in the adjoining hotel. We went there
too - very nice and freshly cooked.
The ladies were doing a stained glass
class with Carol of Toowumba.

Quilts at Bangalow NSW

I saw these pretty
little quilts in the
newsagents window
at Bangalow. They were
there to publicise the local group
- visitors and new members
welcome. I would have liked to
have gone but it was too near
packing up time by then.

DH and our friend

Outside the store at

Crabbe's Creek an

amazing place with

very well priced

good quality wine.

Farewell Ocean Shores NSW

After our return from NZ we were quite busy. A dear friend of many years visited us from Brisbane. She did beautiful beading so we enjoyed doing our respective crafts side by side and learnt a lot about them and I was gived a lovely set of beads and 3 pairs of earrings. I love them.
We also packed up and did plenty f cleaning etc to get the house ready for the next swappers.

Foundation pieced log cabin blocks

Completed block

I love the pretty
background fabric
which goes perfectly
with my other
background choices
and it has just
enough pattern.

Houston Stars block

I repieced this
block using fabric
bought in NZ so
that it finished at
7 inches not 6.5.
I combined the
HST and corner
square into a
single template.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Completed blocks

Single charms arranged to determine layout

Moda charm squares and single block

Ocean Shores - final sewing sessions

I got through a lot of sewing in my time at Ocean Shores NSW, finally posting off one airmail and one seamail parcel back to the UK.
Mainly I used 4 identical sets of Moda Charm squares (Country Ways by Jan Patek) and 3 other fabrics to make blocks for Teri Christopherson"s Sandcastles design from the Black Mountains quilt book. I bought the blue sage fabric for the crosses in a shop called Primrose Patch in Christchurch NZ which specialised in very pretty fabrics. (By the time I'd walked a long way to get there I was too flustered to take a photo).
I also hand foundation-pieced log cabin blocks for an on going project I think of as my "New England" quilt and completed some more Houston Stars blocks.

Friday, 7 March 2008


Christchurch was our last stop in NZ and we hope to return one day. Once back in Ocean Shores I got on with a lot more sewing but will have to upload the pics once we get to Canberra. Meanwhile we're mostly packed up and cleaned up here. It's been a stunning day and we've said goodbye to some of our favourite places especially the beach and the breakwater at Brunswick Heads.
I got so behind because of the difficulty of uploading pictures on a someone else's computer without using their photos programmes or files. However inNZ I discovered internet cafes and kind folk who would transfer my photos onto CDs without any horrible unwanted software like the commercial Kodak booth in the local pharmacy.
It's been lovely here and I've got more donethan I ever expected but the bright lights of Canberra await!!!
Oh and I sent 2 airmail packages off and a seamail parcel as I know there are some excellent fabric shops in Canberra and it has a public transport system.

Patchwork inspiration

This is a tiled floor
in Christchurch NZ
but I can't remember
whether it was in the
Cathedral or the Arts
Centre, I think the

Fabrics from Forget Me Nots

NZ Panel

NZ themes from Fabric Vision

More sheep - ewes
this time, bees and
two sorts of kiwis!

Forget me Nots, Christchurch NZ

This is a lovely shop in the
heart of Christchurch - the
Arts Centre, Wellington
Crescent. It has lots of
made up samples,
patterns, and beautiful
fabrics. Spoilt for


Another fabric shop
small but packed to
the rafters also on
Papanui, Christchurch
not far from Fabric
Vision. Bought some
water resistent
fabric to back a
picnic quilt.

Christchurch fabric shop

Fabric vision general
fabric shop, mainly
dressmaking and polys
but quite a few "craft
cottons" reasonably
priced including some
very bright kiwis.


This is a quilt I made for Bronwen in 1999 when we were living in KL Malaysia for a year. We travelled to NZ and I delivered it to her having finished off the binding in a hotel room in Roturua. I know she likes it and it was lovely to sleep under it during our second visit 9 years later. I used mainly batik fabrics from The Cottage Patch quilt shop in KL opposite Ampang Point, a well known if run down shopping centre. The taxi drivers know how to get there! The quilt shop is across a dual carriageway next to a flyover but all is calm enjoyment within.

Bronwen's quilt on our bed at her house

Thursday, 6 March 2008


Along with DH's cousin we visited Founders Park a little publicised open air museum in Nelson near the tip of the South Island NZ. There there are many relocated and reconstructed buildings showing aspects of life in pioneer and more recent days. Well worth a visit. We were still there at closing time.

Husband with Bristol Freighter

Founders Park Quilt

A quilt on public
display, Founders
Park, Nelson NZ.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Houston Stars fabrics from Threadplay

Fabrics on a
Christmas theme.

Richmond NZ quilt shop

Just a short distance from Nelson was Richmond where there was another lovely quilt shop, Threadplay. DH and his cousin admired the lovely patterns from the comfort of a sofa. I have been making Houston Stars blocks in Christmas fabrics but find myself starting to run low of some especially backgrounds. In this shop I found the same red and one background the same as mine and bought other toning background fabrics and a green. I have yet to find a very dark green in any of the shops so far. Still looking. Between Nelson and Richmond is the Wearable Art museum, WOW, but I didn't want to try the patience of my companions too far. Instead we went to the wonderful Founders Park where DH found a Bristol freighter he'd always wanted to see and I found a quilt hanging in the entrance!

Threadplay quilt shop NZ

Husband & cousin outside

the Threadplay quilt

shop in Richmond NZ.

NZ Quilting Fabrics from Nelson

Bought lots of
NZ fabrics in the
Nelson shop.
Love those sheep!

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Creations Unlimited, Nelson, NZ

Quilt shop in town centre.
Huge stock, whole "island"
of NZ fabrics, lots of
novelties and many
beautiful lines.

NEW ZEALAND side trip

While based at Ocean Shores for 6 weeks we made a side trip to NZ where among lots of lovely other activities I visited some great quilt quilt shops.

Saturday, 1 March 2008


Before I started quilting seriously I did a lot of machine knitting and belonged to a small house group of machine knitters. I still have my knitting machines (under the bed) but haven't done anything with them for quite a bit.
Now four of us with one new member meet every two or three weeks on Friday afternoons to sew together. We thought we would like to make the Houston Stars sampler quilt designed by Gwenfai Rees Griffiths featured in the Britsh Patchwork and Quilting magazine. She uses different methods and of the blocks are quite trick so it is a satisfying challenge for the experienced and a good learning experience for the recent quilters.
We call ourselves the Bonnie Quilters. I had so many quilty commitments I got a bit behind so have taken the opportunity of this wonderful "cleared space" of time here to catch up. So I've posted pictures of the blocks I've completed in Ocean Shores NSW which I'd brought in kit form.

Houston Stars Block 26