Antipodean Christmas piecing

I liked the look of this half-square triangle block of Lily’s, and decided that with Christmas fabrics, it would make a good-size pot-stand quilt for a Christmas present – if I scaled up the block a little, as 12″ was a bit small. All well and good, except I had not discovered the magical world of rotary cutting. So I decided to cut the blocks approximately and trim down. I had a cm-only ruler, and the measurements were in inches. It asks for 2.5″ and 3″ blocks – that must be OK if I do 11-12 cm rough cuts. Surely it would all work out!

The (slightly aghast) face of a fellow quilter at work when I innocently discussed this plan made me go off to Lincroft and get a rotary cutter that very weekend…

Armed with cutter, set square and mat, things went together far more smoothly. Smoothly enough to get these little sewn-square strips within two days:

and then to a fully pressed and joined block of proper size the next day!

I betray my geology training: always include a scale measure in a photo. Though as the pen-for-scale gives away, this is Not A 12″ Block. I couldn’t bear to hack all those 36 squares down to 2.5″ HSTs, so I used 3.5″ as the standard size. That also works a little better with the scale of the prints.

Colour-wise, I wanted the prevailing colours of an Antipodean Christmas: bright greens, olive-gum-dusty-greens, with the more traditional hints of gold and red. My stash had all the appropriate patterned fabric, but was completely devoid of solids…perhaps more solids in the mix for next time. This came out looking positively traditional!

Time for quilting. The backing is a FQ of Blue-tongue Lizard: turned out a fat quarter was exactly the right size for backing this enlarged block.

I had been keeping in mind the Starflower FMQ design for use on a Christmas project, and so began my first effort at FMQ. I still had plenty of the nice golden-yellow thread I’d used to sew the block, so stayed with that.

The centre square and the corners each got a starflower, while the main design of the block is accentuated with stitch-kinda-in-the-ditch quilting:

Bound and ready to go!


fantails flock




This is a block for a Secret Collaboration Project, which in a couple of months I may be able to show in its finished glory!

We have a combined set of fabrics, which I helped choose:

(all the whites are patterns. And kinda shiny.)

and then designs are entirely up to each person, but we gave guidelines that applique would probably be easiest. So I had a look at this image:



and then I put together some abstracted fantails (or wagtails if you’re in Australia), adding in one extra fabric in the same palette from my stash:

They look a little flat here; let’s see them outside:



{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

fire-flowers quilt-in-progress

This one has been quite a tricky one for me.

I started with great bravado with the idea of an abstracted garden filled with hot, vibrant warm-palette flowers. Out came the fabrics, and onto the backing fabric went the scraps to applique:

But then I just couldn’t get the picture to gel in my head of how it was supposed to be when finished. My other abstracted quilt (soon to appear, once bound) had a clear, crisp image for me right from the get-go.  I know I want to feature the  large open red-and-orange asters, but they may be too concrete for the rest of the piece. Perhaps applique held together by feature quilting of flower-outlines on the black background in fire-coloured hand-quilted threads. I keep harvesting images, and I’ll sit back down with it soon…perhaps after its substitute quilt is done!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

stash gardening with Auntie Cookie

After seeing this quilt at Film in the Fridge, I thought ‘ooo, Australian-based designer, I must take a look’. And then I saw that Auntie Cookie had a fabric shop. It called to me, this fabric. I resisted for a full week, and then relented.

A Choice Cuts set of five fabrics from Papercuts and Papercut Blooms. The pieces are an intermediate size: smaller than fat quarters, larger than charm squares. Slightly tricky!

I kept looking at this set, which I had already pulled from my stash, and wondering how they’d go at living together…let’s see:

As often with me, the story here may be “add more solids”…

Still hunting the best block to use for it. There’s not enough fabric for a big project, but a bag panel would be fine. I was thinking to perhaps try it with the Best Friend block from Cut to Pieces, as it needs something that would work well with the large pattern of the Auntie Cookie fabrics – any other suggestions?

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

sweet little wonky star

Now we’re officially in November – so many Christmas projects are under way! I already made the Christmas fruitcake, so it has time to be well fed with brandy before the big day. It gets a capful each weekend.

I’m rather fond of this little hand-sewn ornament, so I thought I’d share it, in all its delightful wonkiness.

The sugar-glider fabric is a particularly nice Australian Christmas one – the shimmery gold print is quite durable. The varigated metallic hand-dyed embroidery thread was from a dyer in Christchurch. It was a little tricky to get the beads on the star’s tips to cooperate with the thick thread!

and the back:

It was made from this image, whose origins are sadly lost in the electrons of the Internet.

Sunshine and spring

I had been looking at modern block quilt-alongs, and the Summer Sampler blocks are particularly gorgeous. So when I had a baby quilt to make, I decided the Arkansas Traveller block would be good to try! I didn’t have a machine at that stage, so this was all to be done by hand. And it’s a good way to learn paper piecing.

First off, pick out the fabrics: greens and yellows! A bright combination, with yellow to form stars, and green to give contrast. The gum-leaf fabric is from my stash, originally bought in Canberra, but the rest were from a shopping trip to New Moon Fabrics in Pasadena. A huge and wonderful shop – a lot of their stock was down at a quilt festival on the other side of Los Angeles, but you couldn’t see where it had gone from their shelves. I might have to show a little of the rest of the fabric I got another time. This was the pile I auditioned on getting home:

I tied down the selection for the diamonds a little further from there…

(and no, I didn’t have a cutting mat. But paper piecing can hide all cutting imprecision!) Finally, the first of the four diamond blocks were hand-stitched together:

and then to add in the greens!

a conference or two later, and a fair bit of stitching…

one finished hand-stitched paper-pieced block!

It’s quite large, so I’m planning that another three should be enough to do the full quilt. Then the greens will form their own stars. The batiks make the block shades more into blue-green than I’d anticipated, but that’s part of the experimentation. And since finishing this, thanks to Freecycle, I have a machine, so the next blocks will come together much faster!
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