postcards galore

I’m having a stall at the Art and Craft Show here in Gatton, this Friday 2 November and Saturday 3 November, so I’ve been busy making lots of things for it. I have been creating little pieces of quilt art, which I’m hoping will be popular. The Show will have lots of goodies on sale by lots of people who have all spent lots of time in creating them!
Most people have possible Christmas gifts on their mind when they are browsing, because it is lovely to be able to give a handmade gift, don’t you think?
Some of the items I’m making are textile postcards. These are little pieces of quilt art which can be used as a card to give, as well as be pinned up on a board for display. They can be written on the back and posted just as they are. I’ve done all sorts:

some are pieced with lots of bits, some might be appliqued

some might have paint, sketchy stitching and lots of embellishments,

some might have free-hand quilting

some are obviously Christmas cards

some can be used for other occasions

All of them are done in my style- a frayed edge here or there, bright colours, liberated and not too fussy. I hope you like them!

a few photos

One thing, among many, that having a blog does for you is awaken an interest in photos. The internet is a powerful visual medium, and a blog post is always better with lots of pictures. There is an online photo challenge called ‘photo a day’, run from the blog Fat Mum Slim ( ). A list of daily prompts is released for each month, challenging you to take a photo each day and post it either on a Flickr site, or on a blog, or using Instagram on your i-phone.
While I don’t actually do it every day, it is fun to do if you love photography and looking at lovely photos. If you happen to have Instagram- it’s a free app- my username on that is haleydog123 so you can check out the photos I share ( that is, when I remember to do it!) Instagram has some great features- you can give different effects by applying filters, and it will automatically share the photo with your Flickr site or Facebook, if you want it to.
Here are some recent photos I’ve taken:

October 5: shadow

October 11: something close up

October 17: fruit

October 26: something I’m listening to- the night-time

I’m obviously not an expert photo-taker ! but it is fun to take the photos and to come up with a photo that embodies the theme for the day, even if it only means something to you!

Aha moment

Our local quilt group recently had a demonstration visit from a quilting tutor who also sells tools and supplies. The information we were given was excellent and we all picked up lots of hints and tricks. One thing that a few of us realised, and not for the first time, was that we often have previously picked up a particular tool or gadget, taken it home with all good intentions to use it, but more often than not, the same tool is still languishing in a drawer, perhaps even in its original packaging! Sometimes it’s not that we have forgotten we have it, but it might be a tool that requires us to change how we have always done something in the past and it’s a little too hard to work out how to change our habits. Or perhaps we can’t remember how to use it properly, and we’re just leaving it until we have more time to sit down and work it out. We were given a timely reminder to go home and check out all those tools and gadgets and make use of them!
A related issue to that, is how we may well be using a tool or even our sewing machine, but not using it to its fullest capacity. Many machines these days come with a large selection of stitches but only a small number of them are regularly used. They also come with a lot of different presser feet (foots?…) and we can buy extra feet to do all manner of tricky things. The 1/4 inch foot that is common to many machines is one that us quilters would use a lot. My Bernina machine has such a foot, and I probably use it more than any other. But just the other day, I discovered something about it that I had never noticed before in my hours and hours of using it.

I was sewing the binding on this little quilt, as shown in a previous post, and I was doing a continuous binding with mitred corners. You know the one- you sew the binding down one side, stopping a quarter inch from the corner. To know where that 1/4inch point is, I have always stopped a little way back, used a tape measure and made a little pencil mark so I know exactly where to stop. But, the foot actually has little notches in the side so you can tell where a quarter inch is in relation to the needle, both behind it and in front of it! Yay!! This was such a revelation, that is for me – please tell me I’m not the last person to work this out?

I mean, I knew you could tell where the 1/4inch was from the front of the needle to the front of the foot, but I hadn’t noticed the notch that also went towards the back of the foot a 1/4inch from the needle. So when you want to start the next seam of the binding a 1/4inch from the top edge,after folding the binding up and back down again, you just line up the edge of the quilt top with that back notch and put the needle down, knowing it will be the right distance, without getting a tape measure out. Isn’t that wonderful!! I’m still excited by it. Gees, I hope I’m not the only one…..

I bought this little kit when I was at the Quilt and Craft Show last weekend. It makes a little hanging with five stitched birdies, so how could I resist it?
It was at a lovely stand by “Mai Misaki” which sells Japanese quilting fabrics and kits. It had some really lovely things
I know I don’t need to be starting another project at the moment, but it’s cute and simple, and it won’t take long… It will also give me a chance to practice my stem stitch, which is a little shaky.

And I have been sewing more things for my stall at the Art and Craft Fair: some shots of a few little things and parts of things….

Finished quiltlet

A few random things in today’s post. I went to the Quilt and Craft Show in Brisbane on Saturday. Lots of vendor stalls with many lovely things to look at and touch and drool over! The quilt display was amazing, and in fact there were so many that we didn’t get around to look at all of them. Clearly, more than one day is needed to make the most of it! Congratulations to two Gatton Quilters, Alison Green and Shirley Manley, who both won prizes. Here is a link to the Queensland Quilters page to see their quilts.
I finished a little quiltlet that I started last week and showed in a previous post (pattern from Modern Quilting magazine):

It looks lovely and fresh with a citrus-coloured binding:

I quilted it with straight parallel lines which suited the overall simple look.

The back was a plain white with just a little colour, and I put 2 corner pieces up the top to enable it to be hung easily as a wall-hanging.

It may be one I’ll put up for sale at the Art and Craft Fair I’m working towards in a short few weeks time.

It was so hot on Sunday that the doggies had to have a bath, so I have to show here how nice they look now, so they can see the drama was worth it!!
This is Chleo, our old lady:

and Haley, the puppy, now 8 months old, all shiny and sleek but with velvety black ears:.

These two photos were taken when I caught her in on my son’s bed this morning, trying to act innocently and convince me that she was allowed to be there:

And lastly, I just had to show this gift that my sister gave me for my birthday- isn’t it the cutest teapot with its colourful knitted cosy?!

quilty reading

I tool part in a survey last night which was researching the changing patterns in readership of printed newspapers and magazines. I love reading and read a lot of magazines, books and newspapers.

I have brought up my three children to also have a love of reading, and they always know that at least one of their Christmas presents will be a book. We have books and magazines all over our house.
and while I know that e-books and online reading is a big growth area, I personally don’t see my preference for printed copy ever changing. I also read a lot online, from blogs and websites and the occasional e-magazine, but I will always choose a printed version first. There’s something about holding a new magazine or book in my hands and looking through the pages of coloured photos, reading and pondering over the printed words for inspiration. I buy a lot of quilting magazines through subscriptions, both Australian and overseas, which helps to save on the costs.
I also buy a lot of quilting and craft-related books, and while I have to admit that I haven’t made something out of all of them, I’m sure I will some day! I’m in the middle of making this quilt, which is from a Kaffe Fassett book:

I guess we all make choices over what we spend our money on. I used to also buy general interest magazines, but stopped buying them some years ago when I decided that I’d rather use my limited funds on a quilting magazine which I can keep and return to many times. I still catch up occasionally on the weekly magazines, either through some that are passed on to me, or by borrowing them from the Library. Our local libraries do a great job and deserve our support.
There is a local second-hand book sale in Gatton at the moment by the local Blue Care organisation. I got this pile of books yesterday for only $10- a bargain mix of titles for myself and other family members.
So many books and so little time to read!

colour play

A style of quilting that I really love is that made popular by Gwen Marston – liberated quilting, where wonkiness is in, where points don’t have to meet exactly in the middle of the block, or the log cabin strips don’t have to be all the same width and at the same angle. To have a break from whatever project I might be working on, I have in the past made some liberated house blocks and liberated stars. I put these away in a tin and have been slowly building up the numbers. One day I’ll put them all together to make a quilt top. But then the other day I got to thinking that I might make a little mini quilt with some of these ‘ready-made’ blocks.
I pulled out this house to use as a starter:

and then also these stars

When I couldn’t sleep in the middle of the night I went through my stash to look for some other fabrics to put with them and found these:

The colours all look okay with the blocks don’t they? But… something wasn’t quite right. I left them on the floor for a couple of days, stepping around them, hovering over them, scratching my head trying to work out why I couldn’t commit to the choice. I finally realised what wasn’t working – while all the colours looked good together, there was no variation in the value of the colours. They were all medium-toned, there was no dark or light to give some variation.
So, I took some away and added others, with some darks and lights added in. While still a work in progress, I’m liking it better.

It was an interesting exercise, as it brought home to me again, that choosing the fabrics for a quilt is not always an easy thing, and no matter how many times you might do it, each time is a new time and you have to keep working at it!
Another display of colour: roses from our garden today show these bright coloured beauties, including the yellow bloom with red-tinted petals (the Peace rose).

This next bunch are from a different rose bed in a different part of the garden, also containing a Peace rose, but oh so more delicate. A different bush and different soil with varied results.

And this little cutie- a double bloomed rose.
And, accidentally I stumbled upon this really cool effect that you can create with photos; its called embossing, and this is the first photo of the roses above:

I wonder how I can utilise that…….

Fractured art quilt pictures

The art quilt group of my local quilt group has been working on these fractured pictures all this year, as posted about previously here.
Re-creating a picture or photo in fibre or textiles can take a lot of thought and effort, and many members initially felt a little unsure as to how to approach each month’s task. After this month’s recent meeting I was reflecting on how far each of us has grown in our art quilting progress.
Many of us, probably of all of us, were originally more of a traditional quilter in the quilts we made, but these monthly challenges have stretched us; it’s been great to see some ladies, who may still not call themselves an art quilter, continue to ‘play’ and try out different techniques and try out ‘what if’ scenarios.
This month, we had pieces of two different pictures to re-create. These will be the last for this year, and once everyone has finished their pieces we will allocate one picture to each person to then assemble. We are planning to put a thin black border around each piece when joining it to the others and the plan is to at least get the top assembled to show at our Christmas meeting.
This is my first picture for this month: it was part of a scene of a lake with a frozen ice top. That in itself took lots of playing and experimenting! I ended up using a mustard-coloured fabric for the base, a little shading with a black Inktense coloured pencil and then free-hand stitching on top with silver thread. (Picture on the left, my re-creation on the right)

The bush and trees were done by first felting some dark green crocheted wool and then some grey yarn for the tree trunks. Lots of stitching on top helped to give the look of the sinewy undergrowth.
This next picture was part of a night lights scene. I used check fabric to simulate the buildings and hand-dyed multi-coloured fabric for the water. Once again Inktense pencils were used, this time to give the shadows on the water. Stitching with silver thread was used for the ropes strung over the water.

The photos below were of Margaret’s pictures, one of which is another segment of the nightlights picture (not quite finished) – check out the fine silver chain or thread (?) she used for the rope- very effective!

This one of Lyn’s is part of a balloon picture:

One of the other pictures is a map of Australia, so each person in this group was given a state to recreate. I only have a few here, and even though Tasmania doesn’t show on the picture, we have included it!

Jan (L) & Shirley (R) -recreation in top left, picture in top right; map picture on left, Meryl (WA) and Lyn (NT and SA)

And another of Meryl’s:

Looking good!

A new venture….

I quilted this quilt on my long-arm machine recently,for Trudy:

she used a lovely collection of fabrics in the body of the quilt, set off really well with the striped border. I love stripes! they fit in almost everywhere.

I quilted an all-over design in a pink-coloured thread.

In addition to that I have also been making lots of small pieces of quilt art. I’ve decided to take a stall at an upcoming local craft fair, the Christmas in the Country Art and Craft Fair, held every year here in Gatton. I feel like I’m jumping in at the deep end as this is not something I’ve done before, but thought it might be good to get some exposure and get my name out there. Just the thought of it is very scary! and especially as it was a late decision means I am on a tight schedule to get enough items made for sale.
One of the things I might have for sale is a number of small quilts, as in wall-hanging size or little “quiltlets” – I love that word: quiltlet, reminds me of piglets?!
Anyway, I happened to be reading the ‘Modern Quilting’ magazine last night and saw this pattern for a simple little quilt.

Its simplicity and clean lines appealed to me, so today I set to making it. I first had to pull some fabrics from my stash, and this is what I decided on:

It is basically just a series of little squares, including 9-patch and 4-patch, but because I wanted to use a variety of different fabrics for the little squares, I couldn’t employ a time-saving method of cutting strips of fabric, sewing them together then cross-cutting. I cut out the little squares individually and sewed them together into their blocks. Lots of chain-piecing.

I also increased the size a little to make a wall hanging size, as the original pattern was for a large block only 11 inches square. While I was sewing, I had lots of thoughts about how this simple quilt was a good lesson in re-enforcing those basic rules we learn with quilting, plus our our own we pick up along the way:
-sewing just a thread less than a quarter inch seam to allow for when the seam is pressed back;
-the importance of pressing the seams open in alternate directions so they will nestle in together when sewing pieced strips together;
-when you are not sure about the addition of a particular fabric into the mix, include it in more than once so the eye is drawn around the quilt;
-when sewing strips together that are themselves made up of lots of pieces, try to make it so that you sew along with the seam allowance facing the foot on the top strip which will help to nestle the seam in to that on the underneath piece;
-and getting into a routine of piecing small patches together in a certain order so that you don’t get mixed up over which pieces go in which block!
So far, it’s looking good!

Converging ideas

My interest in the technique of creating ‘Convergent quilts’ was rekindled after my recent trip to the quilt festival. This technique was devised by Ricky Tims some years ago now, and I loved the effect you can achieve with a short period of time and effort. This quilt that I also showed in another post is one of Ricky’s that he displayed at the festival:

Ricky Tims: Convergence Quilt

There are lots of variations, but you can basically start with just one piece of fabric that is multi-coloured, such as a hand-dyed, cut it into strips, re-arrange the strips and sew them back together again. I made this little quilt about 7 or 8 years ago and had it hanging in my office at work until earlier this year as a bright colourful addition to the walls.

From using one piece of fabric, you can move on to using a selection of fabrics, use the resulting pieced fabric as a background for applique, vary the look with different border treatments; the list is endless. I used the book ‘Ricky Tims’ Convergence Quilts’ published by C&T Publishing (2003), which has lots of lovely eye candy.
When I got home last week I had a play using the technique with a random selection of fabric scraps. I used fabric which I didn’t particularly like or thought I would ever use, thinking my feelings toward them would change! This is the result:

I don’t think it has turned out all that well? or maybe what I think is ugly fabric is another’s beauty. Maybe it could be used as the base for something else, e.g. applique something on top, or even cut it up and incorporate into another project. I’ll keep it in mind for now.

I have also been playing with a needle felting machine, just experimenting with wool scraps, ribbons, threads and bits and pieces to produce this:

Still more can be done to it and I’ll also add lots of free-hand stitching on top with coloured and shiny threads. Lots of possibilities beckon.

September holidays

We have had some really busy weeks lately, quite apart from the quilting festival. With the school holidays and university holidays we have had children coming and going, a few interstate trips, visits to the beach and just a little sewing fitting in here and there.
We have just come back from a couple of days at Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast which was beautiful as always. With my son not feeling the best, and therefore not over keen to go in the surf, it was a little more low key than usual so I did have time to sit and relax and do some hand sewing. It’s always a different feeling sitting and doing that in the middle of the morning, without feeling like you should be doing some housework or something else!

When my daughter was home from uni, she brought a lovely ball gown which needed its hem taken up, and of course Mum is the best person to do that, right? It was a lovely blue colour with folds and gathers, so I couldn’t resist taking some pictures of it.

Another one of my textile postcards: this is to the theme of Weaving.
I used some fabric given to me by a friend who brought back some lovely textile scraps from India. After weaving the background, I cut out the circular shape and re-positioned it, securing with extra stitching as well as kantha-like stitches over the surface. It was an experiment from a technique I learnt in an online class with Jude Hill from Spirit Cloth. It probably would have been more effective, that is the circular piece more noticeable, with a different choice of fabrics.
And, this beautiful day lily came out today- it only lasts a day or so, but oh so nice!