Saturday, May 31, 2014

Autumn's End

rainbow lorikeet

The last few weeks have been unseasonably warm, a wonderful way to end autumn. Yesterday the younger four enjoyed an extended lunch time visit to a couple of local parks. Master T's AR.Drone was almost as colourful as our native parrots - the Rainbow Lorikeets

Warm sunshine, green grass and blue skies. We have so few deciduous trees that it was a treat to enjoy some autumn tones, to walk amongst the leaves and rediscover their crispy, crunchy sounds.

Sharing at Saturday's Critters, Our World Tuesday.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What Do You Think?

These fabrics have caught my attention - a couple of lengths from my pre-quilting days, some have been passed on, others are remnants from previous quilts or pieces I have just loved. A mix of organza, taffeta, oriental brocade, voile, polycotton and quilting cotton. Will they play well together? Are they too rich in colour? The bromeliads flowering at the base of our stairs suggest nature enjoys a riot of colour.... Do I need to intersperse them with black? 
What do you think?

Sharing at WIP Wednesday, Fabric Frenzy Friday (featured).

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Keep Looking

Whether it be late in the afternoon or early in the morning, whether alone or in company, be the horizon is visible or not, if day looks like night and night like day - joy and beauty can still be found as long as you keep looking.

Sharing at SkyWatch Friday.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Butterfly Dance - Revisited

 A quick walk to the river early this morning was about as far as I ventured from home today. Many and varied family responsibilities filled my time, yet I was inspired by magnificent photos of snow capped mountains, brilliant ideas for embroidery, print making and quilting. The designs, fabrics and faces of the Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh passed before my eyes. The internet brings a great wealth of ideas, information and a real sense of being connected with the world, right from my home in our Australian country town.

Coinciding with the huge US Quilt Market each Fall and Spring Amy Ellis hosts an online Blogger's Quilt Festival. Today I'd like to briefly revisit my Butterfly Dance quilt and participate in the Spring festival, sharing from DownUnder where summer pleasantly lingers into Autumn.....

This is a quilt which nearly wasn't. I had decided not to make a quilt for my friend's tenth baby, which was due late December. But when Erin had a beautiful a baby girl just days before Christmas, I could't stop thinking bout this brand new baby with a delightful name.

There is something about news of a new life which melts your heart. Soon I was pulling fabrics from my stash which needed to become a quilt to share in the joy of a baby as well as wrapping love and warmth around her as she grows beyond babyhood.

The last stitches in the binding were completed late on New Year's Eve. I couldn't wait to meet this newborn, and I wanted to have the quilt finished to deliver when we visited.

Eager siblings watch on as baby peacefully feeds while Erin unwraps the quilt. 

There is great joy in making a quilt to give to someone you know, for even though a part of your heart and soul goes along with it, somehow you end up being a little richer for having given it away.

You can see more photos and read the full story in the original post here.

Sharing in Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival: Small Quilts.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gifts of May

My garden loves me more than I deserve - and I'm not complaining. Watching my Red Intuition rose produce beautiful blooms, one after the other is delightful.

Mother's Day brought more than just gardening assistance - they certainly delivered on the suggested chocolates - with plenty to share (which was the idea)!

Master J came home from uni for a few days to join his old school's Duke of Ed. camp. They bushwalked through the Minyon Falls area.

This is near the top of the falls - you can just see the Pacific Ocean on the far horizon to the left.

 Minyon Falls is about 2 hours drive from where we live. The waterfall drops over 100m/yards and the natural bushland is beautiful.

While Master J was away on camp we bought an outdoor fireplace for some family fun. It's surprising how quickly two packets of marshmallows can disappear!

My order of Gutermann Extra Fine threads arrived, cleverly packaged to keep postage costs to a minimum. I'm thoroughly enjoying hand sewing with these threads - and have ordered three more colours.

Gift of Grace is the name of this rose. It was gifted to me some years ago but it has struggled along in a pot until recently. Now that it's been planted in the garden it is rewarding me with the biggest rose blooms I've seen.

We are enjoying a magnificently warm week for the end of autumn, so we enjoyed a quick visit to a local park today. The weather is just too gorgeous to not enjoy such wonderful outdoor surrounds.

Sharing at Our World Tuesday.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Story of Musical Stairs

Complete (at last), in use and fully loved! Let me share the story of our Musical Stairs quilt.....

Gifted to me by beautiful Ros (Bloom)

Within weeks of finishing my very large Sunlit Treasure quilt (based on a Sarah Fielke's North by North East design) last May, my then 15 year old twin daughters suggested I make a quilt for their bed. Another of Sarah Fielke's designs caught their eye - The Bass Line from her newest book Hand Quilted with Love. I agreed - as long as they would have some input and assist along the way.

Starting with my fabric scraps and moving on to my stash, I cut and pieced, modifying Sarah's instructions to avoid waste and slightly changing the dimensions. The twins gave a yay or nay to various fabrics and gave some general colour suggestions - not too much pink, not too much red, blue and green are good, purple is ok.

Miss N sewing, Miss G arranging - still 15yrs old

They helped layout several blocks and even sewed a few together.

But to be truthful, about 90% of the work was left to me. A little sewing here and a little trimming there, as time allowed (I sew on our dining/homeschool table which is well used by our family of 10) and by early November I had a neat pile of blocks. These were carefully stowed away over our busy Christmas/summer holiday season.

Early last month I arranged the blocks into rows, and sewed the rows together to make the quilt top.

After completing the basting I wrestled and wrangled this large quilt through my 29 year old Janome. I usually use cotton batting but when I visited our only quilt shop to purchase batting I found a lovely smooth and soft to touch, white polyester batting - made in Australian by Matilda's Own. It has a fine scrim, a medium loft and zero shrinkage. With so much white in this quilt I decided to try this polyester batting, and I'm pleased I did for it made it possible (but still difficult) to quilt with an open stipple, being a little lighter and more "squishable" than cotton batting. *(Update June 2015- unfortunately this quilt is pilling badly, very disappointed.)

Last Sunday, Mother's Day, I finished hand sewing the binding. There were still many ends to knot and bury from the quilting but it was usable. Sunday night Miss N, now 16, happily slept like a princess under the new quilt! (When Miss E is home on holidays both twins need to share the double lower bunk bed). May is late autumn here in Australia and the month when the weather turns cool in our area, the perfect time to snuggle under a quilt or two.

 Both Miss N and Miss G, now 16, share a room with Miss E senior who is currently away at uni and is a self confessed bibliophile! This quilt was chosen partly because it looked like shelves of books. Both twins enjoy playing several instruments and singing (one more than the other), hence the name Musical Stairs which ties it to Sarah's original design name to. In honour of all three, here is a photo of the quilt on our new library's staircase!

The only fabrics I bought for this quilt were some more Kona White and a clearance quilt back pack (Flower Shop by Patty Young). All the other fabrics are leftovers from earlier quilts/sewing or from my stash. I even spy a piece from my first quilt in there. So many memories in each block.

My very favourite memories held by this quilt aren't in the fabrics themselves, but in having my daughters share in the process of choosing and making this quilt. It may not be perfect, but in my eyes it is perfectly beautiful.

Quilty Details


78" X 76" (200cm X 192cm)
Scraps and stash fabrics
Matilda's Own polyester batting
Quilted on my old Janome
Begun June 2013
Assisted by my now 16 yr old twin daughters
Completed May 2014
Based on Sarah Fielke's Bass Line quilt design from Hand Quilted with Love

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