Summer has arrived!

Adelaide hasn't had any really hot days so far this summer, but then we had 42C yesterday and 43C today,  with a balmy overnight low of 28C, so we are all looking forward to the "cool" tomorrow, a much anticipated 35C!  DS2 refused a sleep on Saturday, despite my efforts all afternoon, hence I didn't get to the shops.  Lucky for me my local patchwork shop is open on Sundays (Tricia's Discount Fabrics, Edwardstown) but unluckily for the credit card, as I blew off some steam at finally getting out of the house child free!  Its a good thing that I didn't try to make any new year promises about not buying fabric, as I brought home four metres of background fabric (tone on tones in creams/beige) for that all important reason, "just because"!

The three sewing kits I made to send to Qld are finished and kitted out with scissors, threads, tape measures and needles. 



Barri Sue Gaudet pattern from Quilt a Gift
 This pattern was from the book Quilt a Gift by Barri Sue Gaudet, that DH brought me last year (?) which I adore, but hadn't made anything from until now.  These are NOT the colours that the author used, but it was a matter of finding fabric in my stash that matched the felt I had on hand.  I am not sure how practical the ribbon ties will be, where I have the pencil and tape measure you are suppose to store four spools of thread.  I enjoyed making this, but cheated and didn't do all the lovely embroidery as per the pattern.
Barri Sue Gaudet pattern (pin cushion and front of needle book) from Quilt a Gift
 I did keep in the colour scheme here, but it was the last bit of suitable pink fabric I had.  Because I didn't think that Ms Gaudet's pattern was just what I needed, I used her lovely embroidery for the front and then designed my own needle book, which I think is spot on!  I have one pocket for a packet of needles, two for pens/pencils, one for scissors, a felt "book" for needles in use and then on the other side is a big pocket, perfect for storing floss, tape measure, fat quarters etc.

Couch Companion by Leanne Beasley
I made myself one of Leanne Beasley's Couch companions last year and I LOVE it, BUT I knew that I was going to run out of time so skipped all the stitchery on the front and pin cushion.  As compensation I used the beautiful Michelle Hill William Morris fabrics that I won at the Guild meeting in December.  This is a handy sewing kit, because it has plenty of pockets, but I did reinforce the underside of the pin cushion with wadding then interfacing, so the pins don't go right through.  DH found out the hard way when he picked up mine over Christmas, ouch! Oh and I used one of the fancy stitches on my machine to do a line of machine embroidery across the pin cushion. 

Tomorrow I am meeting a friend at Patchwork Apple, sadly they are closing the doors in March but happily have decided to have a closing down sale.  I am keen to get some more fabrics to match my hexagons, with the thought of actually DOING something with them, hmm, well at least I will have the fabric when I get motivated!  Happy quilting Sue.

What a week!

What a week, DH has been in NZ for work and while he was there he experienced two small earthquakes in Christchurch.  I thought he might have some interesting photos of the big earthquake they had last year, but instead the camera was loaded with pictures of weeds and agricultural products suffering disease... work stuff!   

So while DH was away the kids and I were going to Horsham, until the waters started rising in Victoria.  So we stayed home, watched the TV reports and rang my parents daily to check they were OK.  Then after the river peaked (Tuesday) and the water only got up to the driveway of my parents home, we all let out a big sign of relief.  After my change of plans I had agreed to host a morning of cutting fabric for the charity quilting group I belong to, so my parents travelled over to see us instead.  It was great to have a visit and lots of productivity occurred, but not much sewing.  I am still waiting to hear from some of our friends in the Wimmera as I suspect that they may have got wet feet and certainly I know that their harvest will be adversely affected.  And I am sure that there is more potential flooding to come for those people who live and work alongside the Murray River as the flood waters from Victoria come down. 

 This is the pin cushion I made as part of a sewing set to be sent to people affected by the Qld floods.  The pattern is from the book Quilt a Gift by Barri Sue Gaudet.  I haven't worked with felt a lot, but this was perfect for hand work in front of the TV.  I have made the front for the accompanying needlebook but it isn't finished yet.  I have also made  a Couch Companion (pattern by Leanne Beasley but completely stuffed up the binding and need to fix it up.
So before the floods started this is what I was making, a sewing machine cover and matching mat and thread catcher, designed by Roslyn Mirrington of Bloom and featured in Homespun Vol 11. No 11 (machine cover) and Homespun Vol 12. No 1 (machine mat, thread catcher and a matching pin cushion).  As you can see it already takes pride of place in my sewing room.  I must say that the interfacing lining and I had a love/hate relationship, but I ONLY brought the beige stripe fabric, the rest was from my stash!  Of course that meant using the interfacing that was in the cupboard and it was a bit too stiff.  Ironically I had 2 metres of the tape measure cotton tape in my stash, 1 m in imperial measurement and 1 m in metric.  I had brought them mail order from Hatched and Patched last year, while I was on a mission to find crushed walnut shells (for inside pin cushions) and I am yet to use the walnut shells!  The thread catcher is suppose to have tape measure around it also but I didn't have quite enough to go right around.  Still I am very happy with the look and I used up heaps of scraps.  Bloom used matching buttons and what I call fresh modern prints (e.g. Hope Valley range by Denyse Schmidt for Freespirit) in her project, but as you can see I went with the country look in fabrics and used as many brown buttons out of my grandmothers button collection as I could! 

I had better get back to finishing my sewing kit projects for the Qld flood appeal, happy quilting, Sue.

Queensland Floods

I have been watching the news over the last two days, as the Queensland floods unfold into the largest natural flood disaster Australia has ever seen.  Some towns have been flooded more then once and some have been cut off for days and weeks in some cases.  So far it has been reported that 12 people have lost their lives and fears are held for the safety of many many more. 

So what to do?  When in doubt... sew!  Check out this blog by Gum tree designers
http://www.gumtree-designers.com/2011/01/we-need-your-help.html and start
1.stitching (scissor keepers, pin cushion and needle books)
2. collecting up those extra fat quarters, needles, scissors and threads we all have, and
3.donating money for the flood relief appeal and the cost of posting your sewing goodies

I hope your family and friends are safe and dry tonight, happy quilting Sue.

Harvest in progress

For those of you that are interested here are some action shots from my family farm, while harvest was in progress.  The abundant rainfalls in Western Victoria produced bumper crops in the spring.  However continued rain over Spring and into harvest (and the locust plague) has reduced the potential of many farmers crops and in some cases they were simply washed out.   
Header unloading canola into field bin.
 My oldest brother (with DH and DS1 hitching a ride) was harvesting canola, and is just emptying the grain into a field bin in the paddock here.  The field bins are used as temporary storage until the truck driver arrives.  You cannot see them, but there are locusts flying all around me as I took this shot.  The  front of the car was covered in them and we hit a couple of small swarms as we drove over to Victoria.

The truck driver contracted to haul the grain.

Loading the "dog" trailer with canola stored in a silo.
This is "our" truckie, Vinny - who has a patchworking mum!  It was a nice surprise to see him and his "new" truck, which DS 1 & 2 loved!  He filled up the truck and trailer (with canola) from the silos back at the farm house - you can see more silos in the background.  The auger (large red "pump" for shifting grain) is self propelled (eg you sit on it and drive it around) which is a lot flasher then what Dad had when we were kids.  I hadnt seen it in use before and would have loved to driven it... that's the farm girl in me coming out... well I did sacrifice my ride on the header for DH!
Happy harvesting, Sue.

New Years Resolutions

Last year I decided that I would set myself a New Years Resolution to start a blog and to finish some of my UFO's.  I didn't set myself a goal of how many  I wanted to finish, just to whittle the total down.  And overall I am very pleased with the outcome of my NYR, as I have kept my blog going and finished six UFO's.  In total I made 4 quilts (large lap or single bed sized), 9 cot quilts, 2 wall hangings, 2 table runners and 7 bags, plus numerous small items such as nappy wallets and make up purses. 

SO what to do for 2011?  Let me ponder that a bit longer while I show you even MORE photos that should have been posted in 2010.
Christmas tree decorations for ADQ patchworkers
Creche staff Christmas Tree decorations
 These cute owls are a from a free pattern I got off the Internet, I slightly amended it and made 16 for the ladies in my patchwork group.  I think they make great Christmas tree decorations and so did DS1 who pestered me for a red one.  I made some more Gingerbread men (apologies the picture was saved the right way up but now will not behave!)  for the staff at our son's creche, along with some edible treats.  I found these really quick to sew, but didn't make any extra :-( so I must remember to make one each for DS1 & 2 next Christmas.  I didn't use a pattern for these, just traced around a biscuit cutter from the draw and well the rest is fairly self explanatory! 


Wedding blocks by the Eastwood Patchwork Quilters
Remember that I asked you if I should put these blocks on point or sashed?  Well they were staring at me from the design wall (while I made Christmas tree decorations) and I started to feel guilty.  So I started sewing them up (week before Christmas) and finally finished about 10 minutes after my DH finished packing the car, the morning we went off to visit our families for Christmas!  I thought there were only 3 seams left, but it was actually four, lucky  DH is an understanding man!  I am now a bit unsure what to do next?  Do you think it needs a border?  I think it does but a pieced border sounds like hard work given that the mix of fabrics is so diverse or am I just being lazy?

Now I have had some thinking time I have decided my NYR will be to reduce my UFO's by half (currently stands at 6) and my WIP (4) by half and  to complete the Celtic quilt top (for the daughter of my quilting friend Bea, who passed away last year).  I am sure that this is ambitious enough, as I know that I will not be able to resist the temptations of new patterns/projects, plus we have five friends expecting babies this year, so more cot quilts are required! 
Happy quilting, Sue.

Belated Happy New Year

 OK so it has taken me twelve months to get this photo, but it was on my mothers camera/pc so it required an extended visit to unearth it!  I made this cot quilt top for Phoebe (last Christmas/Jan), a very special first grandchild for my mothers school friend.  All the fabric was brought from Periwinkle Patchwork (Dennington Victoria) and I really love the fresh crisp colours.  I cannot get away from the simple beauty of 1 patch + 4 patch combo, particularly with such gorgeous prints.  The pattern was from Ursula Reikes ABC Easy Baby quilts book, I have taken the title from memory, so not exact, but it is the best book for simple and fast designs.  
Phoebe's cot quilt
My mother then quilted Phoebe's quilt and delivered it to her grandmother in May (2010) at their school reunion.  My Mum felt the quilt deserved some special quilting, which I think she delivered very nicely.  Her free motion quilting skills are far better then mine, but this did prompt me to take some lessons and practise, practise, practise! 
Quilting detail on Phoebe's quilt
This is my best friend enjoying her flannel quilt, which I "whipped" up for her (to both our surprise) as a birthday present.  Well she got the fat quarters for her birthday (in September) and I had made the top and had it quilted (by Vicki Jenkins, Horsham Vic) and bound to give her in November.  It was just good luck that it was still raining and cold overnight in the Wimmera (western Victoria) so that she could enjoy it.
Flannel quilt (XL lap size)  for my Best Friend
Quilting detail on Lara's cot quilt
 This the quilting detail on the girls cot quilt I completed in November - with the fat quarters I won at the SA guild meeting.  I am very proud of my free motion quilting on this quilt and was pleased when my brothers and father choose it to be presented to Lara, the fourth child (third daughter) of good family friends. This is another Ursula Reikes pattern from one of her Easy as ABC children's quilt books. 

Lara's cot quilt
 Happy quilting Sue!

September is Orange

September's colour for Rainbow Scrappy Challenge is Orange.  I dont use a lot of orange, mainly for kids quilts, so the scrap pile is ...