Saturday, December 22, 2012

Scatterday W

Let the fun begin. 

The letter for this round is W and the categories are 
# Expensive 
# Music 
# Exciting 
# WIP 

So now you need to venture out and find a photo for each of those categories that begins with W. As I said in the previous announcement for this round you will have two weeks in which to organise yourself, so publication date is 5th January. 

Can't wait to check out the blogs.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What is Scatterdays?

Scatterdays is a bit like categories.  Every Saturday a letter and four different categories will be listed.  Scatterers have one week in which to find one thing for each category, photograph it and upload it to their blog.  The following Saturday surfers often cruise around to check out what you found.  After you have checked out other scattering blogs you can then start on next week's list.. and so it goes around.

If you would like to join in simply email me your name and blog....then get ready to photograph.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Scatterdays Announcement 1

Scatterdays starts this Saturday.  For the first round you will have two weeks to find and upload your pictures but after that it will be one week between my announcement and your blog display.  I have allowed two weeks for the first round as this is a busy time and as I thought it would be good for the displays to start with the new year.

If anyone misses the announcement of the letter and categories this will always be updated at the top of the side column on my blog.  Also just to the right here
is a full list of participants with direct links to their blogs. Could everyone please check that the link works and get back to me if it is either not working or incorrect?

If you would like to add all/some of the links to your own blog it is very easy >>>> go to settings >>>>> layout >>>> add a gadget >>>> select the gadget blog list and add them in the box that turns up.  If this isn't clear and you would like more info plz get back to me.

As I am also running this through SCQ there will be four categories with the fourth being a quilt related one everytime... some will be easy and some perhaps not so, while the other three will be random. There are many new categories from last time as I will be using my category source from a game I devised for school and it has some very different categories to the original game.

Looking forward to seeing all of the new entries.  Come and join us.  If your name isn't listed then contact me with details of your blog and I will add it to the list

Monday, December 10, 2012

More Blocks from Carol

 Well Carol has been busy. Two more blocks from Collection 2.  The beautiful floral and pink I called Flamboyance, while the sparkling one below was originally called Not Here Thanks. 

Raconteur was such a great quilt for allowing an unbelievable array of fabric designs and colours to be used.  While these two may look world's apart I used equally as diverse fabrics.  Some even made it into the quilt while others made it into the not this time pile. 

It may surprise people to realise that there were about thrity blocks left over when I completed Raconteur.... You would think that as I am an ex-maths teacher I would have been able to count how many blocks were needed.  But then which quilter doesn't have left over blocks... the beginnings of another quilt?

Not Here Thanks
Not Here Thanks was named as my family drove through one of those nuclear free suburbs which have the signs declaring as you drive into it. 

We were on the way to visit a friend in the hospital and we wondered if people living in that area would also reject nuclear medicine in their treatments. 

In this day and age nuclear medicine gives quick, accurate diagnosis of conditions such as cancer, heart disease and numerous others. In some cases, radiation is used to treat the condition. Just a wonder?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

First Entry

Yesterday I received the first entry int a competition I am running and it came from Carol Le Maitre. Carol has finished the block I called 'Merry Xmas'. Don't you just love her colours they are so vibrant.. they were even more vibarant before I converted her jpeg for uploading to the web too.  I can't wait to see more. 

She is now working on one of the hand pieced blocks and hopefully we will see it soon.

In an effort to get as many people as possible to send in a photo of their finished block/s I decided that I would do a draw periodically from everyone who sends in a photo of their finished projects.  The prize... why more patterns of course.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Photoshop Skills Improving

Well this has been a productive few weeks.  I have finally managed to write up some of the patterns for Raconteur and boy have my Photoshop and CAD skills improved.  I know that self praise is no  praise as they say but this isn't meant as a skite.. just a comment on how practice does improve one's skills. Now if I could work out how to add a border to this jpeg that would be something else.

This is the wallhanging which I photoshopped out of Raconteur..wouldn't it be grand if we could make quilts as quickly as this took. Yes I realise that you don't know it took me the better part of two days to make this picture but trust me that is a lot quicker than what it took me to make the blocks for this quilt.  Going by my average from the original quilt it would take me about 200 hours and by anyone's calculation that is a lot more than two days.  Mind you there is no softness or comfort gained from snuggling up to a computer screen jpeg:(  

I suppose I shall have to continue with the quilting as nothing beats that tactile sensation.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pattern Sale

To celebrate the recent success of Raconteur at the South Australian Festival of Quilts and also the fact that it appeared on the cover of the latest issue of Australian Patchwork and Quilting I am having a sale on the pdf patterns check out the sale prices here.

Pattern Sale

To celebrate the recent success of Raconteur at the South Australian Festival of Quilts and also the fact that it appeared on the cover of the latest issue of Australian Patchwork and Quilting I am having a sale on the pdf patterns check out the sale prices here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Competition Winners

Well I have been away for the past two weeks and so am running behind in selecting the winners for the two recent competitions which ran through this blog.  

I just did a random spin the wheel and see where it stops to find that Linda Hubbard from Canada  was the winner of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks but as she had already won a copy of the magazine she kindly said to redraw it and so Trish from Tennessee is the second lucky winner.

After clearing that draw up I then did the next draw and Fran C from Aussie is the winner of one of the collections from my Raconteur patterns.
Fran has chosen Collection 8 and I can't wait to see what her collection looks like when she finishes.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Quiltaway Weekend

A few weekends ago I went to the NSW Quilt Guild's retreat at Jamberoo. This is usually held in September but, luckily for me, this year they had to run it later as the usual place had already been booked for that weekend.  It was a perfect weekend.  Company was lots of fun.  Food was great and many things were completed..or at least there was great progress.  

Three quilts which I just adored were the New York Beauty which was being made by .. the person who sat beside me all weekend and whose name I can't remember right now for the life of me :( but it is still a beautiful quilt.
 Another beautiful quilt was this one, which if I remember correctly is an Anne Summerland reproduction pattern.  It has also been a while in the making but will definitely be worth the wait when it is finished. 

The final quilt which I would love to have a go at some time was being made by Judith D.  It came from a magazine and looks similar to the Milliefirore Quilts designed by Willnye Hammerstein.

Perfect weekend for everyone.

Friday, November 16, 2012


 A couple of weeks ago we visited our youngest son who now lives in Oslo.  What an amazing place.  This photo shows you what it is like 5pm on a Friday just ten km's from the centre of Oslo. Notice the lack of pollution and traffic. 

Here you can see his block of units on the RHS of the road and his office on the LHS. This photo was taken just to show how far it is he has to travel.  If you look in the distance you can see a red roofed building.  There are traffic lights there and if he wants to go to work during rush hour, say between 8.30am and 9.00am then he has to walk all the way up to the lights and then back down to his building.  Needless to say he doesn't go to work until 10 so as to avoid the traffic!
While we were visiting it was Paul's birthday and so Richard proudly gave him a true Norwegian souvenier...  a HUGE ceramic moose head.  Just what one needs when flying..huge and breakable.  He suggested we could take it in our hand luggage but I thought it might be considered a weapon die to the weight and size.  Luckily Wilbur survived the flight home and now has pride of place in the pool room (refer "The Castle").

And last but not least this waterfall is just behind Richard's place.  This river runs through the centre of Oslo, providing one of the most idyllic walks I have encountered in a built up area.  There are no free standing houses in this area.  All are medium or high rise but there are many beautiful parks and walks.  Just a merely 4km from the city centre there are three wonderful lakes and all are accessible by regular public transport.  Definitely a place worth visiting. 
If you like cold, snow and lack of sunshine then it would also be a great place to live.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Great Sign

 While wandering around London recently we came across this sign.  

Funny now when one reads it but wouldn't it have been terrible to have lived in times when people were actually drawn and quartered?

Monday, November 12, 2012


 We have been very lucky lately and managed to visit both of our boys who live overseas.  PJ lives in Oxford and works at one of the oldest colleges at Oxford Uni.  He has a research fellowship with All Souls College and is having the time of his life there. While wandering around we saw lots of wonderful old buildings, is there anything else there? 

The photo above is of his office.  His room is just to the left and one floor above the entrance.  Fantastic view of some of the best buildings in Oxford. 
While we were there he took us to see Pitt-Rivers Museum.  The artifacts in this library were donated by Pitt-Rivers onthe condition that they be displayed in the same manner he had displayed them.  Consequently there are thousands of things  all crammed together with his original tiny hand written labels.
In this cabinet you can see some shrunken heads and the labels.  Did you realise that it was only the heads of important people that were shrunk?  They scalped the head off the skull and then filled it with hot sand(?) or something until it shrank and then filled it to regain the correct form.
Loved wandering around the place, especially as it was term break and there were very few people around. Mind you the old cobblestone paths get sore on the feet after a while.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Woo hoo! Another Surprise.

I have just heard that I won two prizes at the South Australian Festival of Quilts with my quilt Raconteur - the Storyteller's Collection. It won second prize in the Open Traditional and also the Retaining the Tradition Award..... Really brightens up the day.

I know this isn't a great photo... actually in truth it is a great photo but the problem is that this is a king size quilt of miniatures and so is very very hard to photograph.  You can see several photos of the individual blocks if you look through the blog.  

To celebrate winning the awards I am giving away the pdf pattern to make one of the collections (that's one of the large hexagons which contains seven little miniature hexagons).  To be in the running to win a collection simply leave you name and the collection number that you would like to win.  You can see all of the individual collections here.. or just pick a random number if you prefer:)
I will select the winner on the 23rd November.

Xmas Runner

Well here it is a Xmas runner.. oh if only it was as easy to make as it is to draw and colour.  Such is life but here is one colour version for a Xmas runner.  I realise that many people like other colours these days for Xmas but it is impossible to present every version.
Xmas in Australia happens in Summer and that is also when much of our fruit rippen.  Unfortunately we live in a fruit fly area and these 'darling' little fellows decimate just about every piece of fruit that hasn't been sprayed, even if the fruit is picked while still green. This year my husband decided however that he wasn't going to spray the fruit fly every two weeks.  After some web surfing he discovered that many home gardeners now bag the fruit to keep off the fruit fly. Yesterday his parcel arrived from China, amazing how much cheaper it is than buying locally, only $16/100 including postage.  In the $2 shop they are usually 2 for $3.  
So here is a photo of my husband 'bagging' his peaches.  And here is a close up of two of his apricots inside the bag.  He has bagged our apricot tree, peach tree and also the maqui berry bush, lucky he keeps all trees trimmed to under 2m :)  The berries have been bagged in a hope of preventing the parrots from feasting on them.  Our garden is a veritable paradise for animals.  

We used to have a blue tongue lizard until last year and he was wonderful for keeping out slugs and snails out of his strawberry plot.  Unfortunately for some reason last year he disappeared and so it seems as though this year we will have to look into something... anyone have a blue tongue they want relocated?

Everyone has their favourite animals and he works hard to preserve his fruit and vegetables...except from Thumper... an escapee from the local caravan park. Amazing isn't it considering Thumper only eats the youngest and best shoots.... I would include a photo but he hops away at the slightest sound..... the guilty always run away:)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Big Day is Here.

Well here it is Wednesday and now I can unveil my latest block.  It has been really great seeing the fantastic array of blocks and if you haven't yet won your own copy please leave your name below for yet another chance.  If you are listed as anonymous please note I won't be able to track you down if you are the winner.  So please log in somehow; via your own blog or webmail addy are usually the easiest ways.

Now the block above is my final block.  I had originally planned for the outer green to be the same as the inner green but unfortunately miscalculated how much fabric those outer sections needed.  

My original plan was to make the block in colours similar to the layout just above and to the left  but couldn't find the right yellow for the background.  Yes I know it doesn't look yellow on the web, but in real life that is yellow. I included the layout on the right just to show you the difference colour can make.

My third layout was my first plan for the medallion layout.  This one would be perfect for someone who likes applique with all those open spaces near the middle.  However as I personally don't do applique it would be the design I am least likely to use.

Btw if anyone wants to try any of these three layouts you will need to increase the block by 200%.  The extra part blocks in the first two layouts are regular size.

And if you, like myself, have way too many UFOs but still want to try out this block why not make a table runner.  Three full blocks plus two quarter blocks with a small border makes a table runner a bit under 50inches in length and approximately 16in wide.  Perfect for Xmas..... just had a thought check back later.. say tomorrow and I should have uploaded a Xams table runner for those who like red and green that is.

Anyway back to the important thing... leave your name so you can be in the draw for your own copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Issue 6. Good luck.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Almost Here.

Well it's almost my big day for the 100 Blocks blog tour.  My post will go live just after midnight on Wednesday Sydney Australia daylight savings time, that is +11 hours GMT so if you are here and my post isn't posted yet then please check back.  Although each day's targeted blogs are posted at 12.01am on Quiltmaker's Quilty Pleasure blog not everyone lives wherever Quiltmaker is based.  Previous posts there have been people like me who have attempted to guess when we should go live to line up with Quiltmaker but this time round they have decided it is best if everyone simply goes live at 12.01am local time.  So if you are here before Australia's midnight kick off please check back in a few hours.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Blog Tour Begins

Well today is the beginning of the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks blog tour.  Each day everyone visiting the Quiltmaker's blog Quilty Pleasures has a chance to win their own copy of the magazine plus a host of other prizes. 
I have been working hard lately to release patterns from my latest quilt, Raconteur - The Storyteller's Collection and to celebrate finishing many of the patterns I have donated a set of instructions for this wallhanging from the quilt.  
The wallhanging consists of seven of the collections, joined together and then finished off with striped triangles.  I have just this night worked out how to add the triangles to my image and although it isn't perfect I think you can still see what it will look like.  The wall hanging still needs a small yellow border but I have no idea how to do that so I shall leave that to the viewer's imagination. 
If you are the lucky winner I would love a photo of your quilt when you finish to add to the gallery on my website...with the border really will finish the quilt:)

 This is my first time that I have sponsored a blog tour and I can't wait to see another version of my quilt.  Good luck.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I just received a parcel and you won't believe what was in it!   Yes Issue 6 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks.  It is a great magazine and there are some fantastic blocks in here.
I had been told a couple of weeks ago that my block was going to be in this issue but I didn't realise that November would arrive so quickly.
Starting next Monday there will be a blog tour where you have the chance to win your own copy of the magazine.  
Each day Quiltmaker will feature several of the designers and on each of their blogs you have a chance to win a copy of the magazine.  
My day is Wednesday so be sure to stop back in for a chance to win my copy. Also by visiting the main website at Quiltmaker you also have a chance to win some amazing prizes from many sponsors.
So when you find some time go to Quiltmaker's Quilty Pleasures every day and check it out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bloggers' quilt Festival

I just received a reminder that today is the final day for entering the Blogger's Quilt Festival so that is why I have finally organised myself to upload my entry. 

A couple of years ago I used to dye my own fabrics, but after a relatively short time period I worked out that I could either dye fabrics or make quilts there was not enough time to do both and so I gave up dyeing.  
About the same time I decided I really should learn to applique and so enrolled in a class to learn how to do it properly.  After a relatively short time period I worked out I could either applique and have no enjoyment in my quilting or return to hand piecing and enjoy quilt making and so I gave up applique.
When I started to make the quilt that I hoped would use up all of my hand dyed fabrics I looked for a fabric that would add some strength and colour to the  quilt and although I hated black muslin it was the perfect colour for the quilt. After a relatively short period of time I worked out that I hated the black, hated the applique and was also definitely onto the path of hating the quilt..... noticing a pattern here?
In an attempt to get rid of my hand dyed fabric, my appliqued quilt with the black muslin background I knuckled down and finally finished the quilt, only took about five years.. it could have languished in the UFO pile for an eternity.  

I ended up entering it into a competition and won a prize for Best Use of Hand Dyed Fabrics.  It is quite a dramatic quilt but one must remember why I used so many fabrics in this quilt.... to get rid of my hand dyed fabrics so that I could give away all of my hand dyeing materials and simply get back to enjoying quilting.

So what did I win?  You guessed it $250 of dyeing products:(  I figured dyeing silk scarves had to be less messy than dyeing cotton and so purchased some silk scarves with my winnings.
 Several years down the line I remembered the scarves and last weekend a friend loaned me her silk dyeing dyes.  Voila!  Silk scarves dyed, dried (with the hair dryer) and blowing in the wind.  
Perfect finish to my dyeing and appliqueing attempts.

Details for my Blog Festival entry are
The finished quilt is huge, a big queen size, of about 100in x 100in.  If you want the pattern it is available on my website I would love to see what it would look like in other fabrics. 

What category am I entering in?  
      Well I would say it is definitely a ROYGBIV (colour wheel quilt), that was one thing I wanted to achieve and I think I was successful with. 
        Plus although I don't like the black I do have to admit that it does look good on the wall,so wall hanging is my second category.  Lucky we have 13 foot high wall:)

Go and check out the other entries in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.... and vote for mine too if you like it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cobargo Retreat

 Well I have finally finished the block.  Here it is in Civil War Reproduction Fabrics.  Doesn't it look different.  I have included another of the collections from Raconteur so you can see the change.  The blocks from Snippets, the one just here to the left were put together to show how different a collection would be if there was a stronger focus on dark colours.

I hadn't intended initially to add the white sashing but, unlike Raconteur, the blocks clashed when they were laid side by side and so the sashing was needed.  I have always loved scraps and so adding the log cabin corners was the perfect way to bring the seven hexagons into one collection.  The different coloured borders carried the scrappy feel right through to the edge.  

Since finishing this collection I have been playing with how to finish off the whole thing.  If I leave it at just one block then what you see is all that there will be but I have found a great way to join several of these collections with what appears to be a spiral.... so if the interest continues you may in some time in the distant future see another development... or then I might simply move on and finish some other quilts.

So why did I call this post Cobargo Retreat?  Well because that is where I will be teaching this class.  I can't wait to see what combinations other people will choose, both in colours and fabrics.  Also in blocks as at the retreat they all start with the same four blocks but then they can choose up to three different blocks to complete their collection.  It should be interesting.

Friday, October 12, 2012

More pairs

 I thought I would upload a few more block pairs from Raconteur so that people could again see the difference that colour makes to a block.

Although the first two blocks aren't identical you can see that they are almost the same.  Doesn't the dark frame add a class to the block. Or perhaps that is because, being civil war reproductions it was a more serious time and the fabrics reflect this and are more sombre.  Whatever the reason the change gives a different feel to the block.

The second pair or blocks are both at odds with the rest of the blocks in their respective collections.  This block, Crystal Dreams, appears quite soft when made in the pale green of the civil war fabrics.  It will most likely be in the middle of the collection being the 'odd man out' of that collection.  

The final block is the same one from Raconteur. By the time I came to make it I was fed up with all of the soft wishy washy backgrounds and decided to add some life.  

Funny when I was looking at the separate fabrics there appeared a stronger contrast between the two fabrics.  Another lesson learnt that in miniature it is important to look at every piece of the fabric.  I still liked the finished block although others haven't been as keen on it... but then again it is my quilt.

Friday, October 5, 2012


The title Raconteur -  A Storyteller's Collection comes from the fact that all of the blocks within the quilt are named and each represents either an event that happened or place that I visited whilst I was making it. A few blocks are named after something significant that happened previously in my life. 

The central block in this collection is called "I Remember", which I wrote for my mum. Mum unfortunately has dementia. when I made the block she had been suffering with it for about three years and by that stage although she could remember that I was a significant person in her life she no longer remembered who I was.  Although there are six children in the family  she had not seen most of the others for quite a time and as such they were total strangers to her. 

The writing, which fades as it approaches the middle, reads

I remember Mum use to smile.  She loved music.  She loved knitting, but most of all she loved us.  Sometimes she forgets.

Unfortunately now she remembers nothing.  I am luckier than my siblings. I at least had the advantage of spending time with her in the past few years while she could still remember.

Friday, September 28, 2012

What a Difference Value Makes

Snippets is yet another version of Raconteur, actually it is my fourth version but I haven't yet uploaded the other two.  They are all so very different and when I get around to uploading them..... which I will do as soon as I have finished enough blocks to show anyone :) 

The blocks in Snippets are the same size as those of Raconteur but in a different range of fabrics and values.  In the original Raconteur all of the backgrounds were light and the outer borders were the same, whereas the main design sections were pastels, or what I saw as pastels.  For Snippets I have decided to border the block in the same fabric as the main design.  As is obvious from just this block the change is quite dramatic.  

I have had to add sashing between each of the blocks in Snippets since unlike Raconteur without the sashing the different blocks clash.  I am still working on finishing the outer edge of the block and will upload the entire block when I have done so.  Hopefully in the next week or two.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cathedral Windows

Well I have finally finished.  I have for many years wanted to make something using cathedral windows but figured my attention span wasn't in for the long haul.  

Actually about five years ago I even enrolled in a class with Megan Orr to learn how to do it properly.  Unfortunately only one person enrolled in the class... little me... and so it was cancelled.  I had been so keen to do the class that I had purchased the fabrics and was set to go.  

Well the fabric became a PIG (Project in Grocery Bag) until last year I met Megan at the Sydney Quilt Show.  As we started talking I told her about my fabric and plans to 'one day' make something small.  Megan was wonderful and explained how to do it.  She even had samples there to show me the different stages.

So armed with fabric AND knowledge I started my runner.
I made this one shorter than usual as the table upon which it lies is only small but I like it.  I have also been working on a normal length one using Australian flower in the windows and boy has that taken a long time.  With the help of a few friends I have now finished the top and now only need to quilt and bind it.  Hopefully should be finished soon.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Raconteur - Feathered Star

 Tonight I drew up the foundation papers for my feathered star...isn't it cute!  And yes before you ask the block is the same size as the applique ones I uploaded a couple of nights ago... 2.25in after the border has been added. 
As you can see  there is even some space around the star to allow it to float in the background before it reaches the border. This was added when I was planning just in case my block turned out too big.  There is no way I wanted the points cut off and neither did I want to have to remake the block.  

Definitely perfect for those small scraps you have been saving for just one day.  Mind you it is necessary to have a lot of those scraps. From memory there were only 142 pieces in this block.

I was in a real feathered star phase when I designed this one.  I had recently returned from the guild's Quiltaway weekend at Jamberoo where Jane Gibson was making tiny feathered stars and I knew I just had to try it.  I had never made anything so small and so I went looking into what would be the best way to do it and that was foundation piecing.  When I made this I figured I would simply make it the usual way, a square but have extra fabric around the edges so that I could cut the hexagon from it.  

In the second photo you can see the block when I was part way through making it.  Yes that is a bobbin in the corner and that little piece of paper beside it has seven pieces sewn to it... see I told you it only needed small scraps.