Thursday, November 11, 2010

clamshells and slugs

How am I going with all the quilts I have to get done? So far so good, I am calm at this stage.
 Christine's sister in New Zealand is helping me out with Duck Hill Farm and the Browne Sister's ( they are the two I am panicking about!) and the summer school quilts bar 1 are almost done.
Last night I finished quilting the clamshell quilt. I wasnt going to quilt it, but rather leave it as a coverlet but then in the end decided to put some quilting on it. I am pleased with the result, so tonight I will bind it.
I also have only about three evenings of applique left to do on the "Bird on a Wire" and that is done, and on the weekend I will back my "Swan Lake"  quilt and bind it. It has to go to Melbourne by the end of next week to travel across to San Francisco for an exhibition. Deadlines make you do things. Then its onto the "Little Sparrow" as I have sooo much work left on that one, but I am looking forward it.

Yesterday Christine and I had a gorgeous and inspirational outing to one of our local primary schools, Wodonga West primary school, to see a quilt display in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden. The garden was the real star of the show. It was absolutely fantastic. We grow all our own vegetables at home but this was the garden I would love, so it had me thinking all the way around the garden. The children were so happy working away, learning life skills, running slugs down to the chook yard for a happy hen's lunch, digging away in the compost. What very lucky children to have such a wonderful thing at their school, and then there was the kitchen!

My favorite quilt was made by Jan from our shop( Jan's grandsons attend the school).It captured the happy feeling in the garden.

Happy stitching, Susan 

Friday, October 15, 2010

a little civil war quilt

I have eleven quilts I have to have completed by March. ( some just to gluing stage thank goodness),
so it was with great relief I completely finished the first one this week and popped it into a bag to Sydney to Quilter's Companion.
 Next year, as it is the 150th anniversary of the commencement of the Civil War, Quilter's Companion magazine are doing a feature and this little quilt will be one of their projects.
I remember about thirteen or fourteen years ago when I made the first Civil War quilt how I excited I was with the new fabrics released by Judie Rothermel. Now there have been more collections than I could remember, so finding fabrics to make this quilt was not difficult. Watch out for the pattern in the magazine next year.
Friday morning is a great delivery day at the shop. A few gorgeous fabrics came into the shop this morning. I loved these three- the brown with blue and pink flowers, the red and pink serpentine and the pretty pale pink. I needed all of them!
Now back to my clamshell quilt. I am hoping to complete it this coming week along with the summer school quilt.
Happy sewing, Susan x

Monday, October 11, 2010

nothing to do with sewing but....

Christine has been in Dubai the past two weeks, visiting her daughter and granddaughter. She had a wonderful time, loved seeing their life and where they live. Today was first day back to the grindstone.
I have been busy sewing a baby civil war quilt due to Quilters Companion magazine by the end of the week, and working away on my clamshell quilt. They are both almost done.

And in between I have been trying to get rid of mess around the house. I was very pleased to get rid of three more bags to Vinnies this morning. I have been telling Christine it still looks no better, but she is like a training partner, giving me encouragement. She told me today eventually it will be done, so I hope so! I have found a few treasures so that is always encouraging.

Yesterday morning my husband and I went to a gorgeous place in Wodonga, Sumsion Gardens, where Michael goes for a walk each lunchtime. He has been watching a pair of swans nesting for weeks and on Friday saw their new babies for the first time. So armed with my camera I found the darling family on the lake and just had to take some photos.
the lakes are also full of long necked turtles and yesterday they were sunning themselves on logs while the swans were playing in the water. The little cygnets were swimming between their parents and when they tired they would hop up on the mother's back and nestle between her feathers. It was beautiful to watch.

happy sewing. Susan

Friday, September 17, 2010

after the storm

The past few weeks have been chaos. I have been trying to get as much done of the summer school quilts as I could ready for the mailout and then the mailout happens. The phone runs hot, as does the email, and its easy to forget about everything else.
Our house has fabric scraps and template scraps all over our family room, Christine ate lunch about 3.00pm, and then I discovered there had been a delivery today of a box of gorgeous things.......

Boxes by Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler each filled with 9 reels of beautiful threads, and some gorgeous new Liberty art fabrics.

I wish they had arrived before I finished cutting out my Bird on a Wire

I am off to Melbourne tomorrow for a quiet weekend, to go to the ballet "The Nutcracker" and for a doctor's appointment, breakfast with my daughter on Sunday and maybe a bit of shopping on Sunday afternoon, home Tuesday.
No phone and no email. Bliss!
Susan x

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

... and a second peek

Just a quick post to put a photo up of "Bird on a Wire". I love it , it is just so whimsical. This is the second little quilt for summer school. The pattern will be available from next week.
the quilt is a reproduction of the centre of an English quilt.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

sneak peek at summer school

It is September and this week we are posting our summer school details and enrollment ( probably Thursday). Karen Cunningham sent everything to me the last week of August but I still had nothing much to photograph as I have been busy handpiecing some little darlings for the centre of my new quilt "Little Sparrow". So the past week I have buried myself in fabric and paper and have been cutting out and gluing.
I have decided to call a stop to the cutting out of this quilt today ( I keep making mistakes!) and took a photos as I think it is becoming obvious as to what the quilt will be like.
Christine is off to Dubai in less than two weeks to visit her daughter so we need to have things sorted out beforehand.
I still have the four corner blocks to go, all the little birds, the butterflies and the rabbits, plus other detailing. ....and some more of the little darlings in the centre and a sawtooth border, but its only mid September.

Happy sewing, Susan

Monday, August 30, 2010

the Fabric of Society pt 2 and a hectic two weeks

I have had the busiest past two weeks! A few hours after writing the last blog post, I packed the car and travelled up to Canberra. That night had dinner with my friend Joc, and Sue Spargo and co from Addiction to Fabric. Next day saw Joc and I off to class with Sue Spargo. Joc had been at class all weekend and was right in the wool embroidery, applique frame of mind. I took a little while to be overwhelmed and then excited by all this. The projects and Sue's work were all gorgeous, and I happily played with ribbons, linens and thought about what I would do for my applique when I got back.
I finished my Greta needleroll all bar the important bits- the applique and embroidery so hopefully as soon as I get a few summer school projects to the stage of being photographed, in the next few weeks, I will return.
In the meantime I have been working away in the kitchen on what I should be doing, and dyeing up and felting wool, beside me, in readiness for the next few weeks. I love dying wool, and found a great use for an old cashmere and wool blanket I will never finish embroidering. I cut off little bits from my dyeing for Jan to take to Melbourne for her Sue Spargo class, so I am eagerly waiting to see what she and Sue-Anne have made.
After class on the Monday with Sue, Joc and I came home and as usual decided we would make several more of the needlerolls.( I am dreaming!!) I must check in with Joc to see how she is going with hers!

Joc loves wool embroidery and made me a little pincushion for my birthday she had made with a little dachshund on it. I just love it! We have the kits at the shop and Joc changed the dog in the kit to a little dachshund.
I had grown up with smooth haired dachshunds until I met Joc many years ago. We got our first long haired dachshund from Joc (Wilfred, the naughtiest dog we have ever owned) and if you have ever owned a dachshund you will know how naughty they can be.
Joc has a new addition to her family, Tilly. Our three at home are getting old now, and it easy to forget just how lively a puppy is. This is Tilly in a rare moment of peace and quiet. Like our dog Bob, Tilly's hobby is gardening.

At the class is was wonderful and inspiring to see Sue Spargo's work in the flesh. It is always motivating to go a class with an international tutor. I just loved the covered buttons

It was also great to see how I can recycle or find a use for all those embroidery threads and ribbons and trims I have.

The next day we all went to the National Museum to the Canning Stock Route art exhibition. This is wow! For someone who like me, who just loves indigenous art, this was an art exhibition I have been looking forward to for the past few years when I first heard it was being assembled. I loved it so much, my husband and I will head to Canberra again before it closes late January.
Here are the girls in the entrance to the exhibition

And the next day, a drive back home which had me thinking and planning quilts all the way.

Now back to where I was two weeks ago!!!

The Fabric of Society pt 2.
Annette Gero, came to Wagga Wagga primarily to talk about wagga quilts. She described how the name had come about as they originally had been made using the Wagga Lily flour bags as a backing. One of the men at the lecture had brought along the original printing die for the flour bags. He collected memorabilia related to Wagga Wagga and owned the cast, purchased from the mill when it closed.
Annette had wonderful stories re the waggas, about how they had contained stories from the depression, the war, and where she finds them.. from under dogs in dog kennels, to being given them and then discovering they are lined with a lifetime of family baby cardigans and little children's outgrown jumpers.
this quilt was brought along, backed with hessian and rescued just in time. It was decaying as we looked at it!

Now back to my sewing. I have Duck Hill BOM to finish by tonight.
Susan x

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Fabric of Society pt 1

Today I have spent a fabulous day at Wagga Wagga where the WW Antique Society hosted Annette Gero to talk about antique Australian quilts with an emphasis on wagga quilts. Annette is a wonderful speaker and makes every piece of quilting so important by making the story of the quilt more important than the quilt itself.
The RSL club hall was packed to capacity and so many people brought with them wonderful old quilts, quilts they had made and wonderful stories.
Early into the speech Annette said how (this seemed truly amazing) almost 14,000 convict quilts were made. I am sure I didnt hear this right. However they only know of one, "The Rajah " quilt, when a lady said she had another one in nearby Batlow, she knew of.

There were some gorgeous old quilts brought along and placed on display.

This one I wanted to take home! I think I am going to start bleaching some of my reproduction 1930's fabrics.

to be continued with the waggas

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

fabric club again

Christine and I have been buried with fabric club. Sunday I was home by myself and locked myself inside and completed the newsletter. By the time I email it to our printer, anything could be written as I always feel braindead.
But with most of my part over I have been madly sewing today. The Summer school mailout is approaching and so far I have nothing to photograph! Today it has been pouring rain, hailing, thunder and everything else so it was a great day to stay home and get stuck into some serious sewing. I wont photograph it yet but my major quilt for summer school is looking gorgeous. What a relief.

On Saturday I am going to Wagga Wagga to hear Annette Gero give a lecture and I have made this the deadline to get my Dancing Dollies quilt all appliqued. Tomorrow I should finish with a big yahoo. Trying to applique the centre with the quilt all joined has been a bit trying!
The Browne Sisters sampler has only been glued as I did not want to stop to sew it.
Then Sunday I am heading to Canberra to attend a class with Sue Spargo, go to the Canning Stock Route art exhibition and stay with my friends Joc and Rollo. I just love Indigenous art and I have been anxiously awaiting this exhibition for months. So I have an exciting week ahead of me.
Joc and I have been friends for about 26 years, and usually I manage a few trips to Canberra, and Joc manages to get down to me but this year we have had lots of upheavals, and I still have her Christmas present and her birthday present sitting here.

A few weeks at the shop we had a special treat as a customer dropped in with her "being quilted" Dear Jane quilt. It was gorgeous. It did give me pangs of guilt over mine. I started my quilt about 15 years ago maybe, then I decided I should do it exactly like the original, so discarded the first ten blocks. I became obsessed with finding the same fabrics, and made about 70 blocks, then stopped again. I have to say I dont particularly like what I have done so I think one day I will start again. This time I am going to piece it just in favourite old fabrics.
We have gorgeous fabrics that are ideal for Dear Jane in stock at the moment so it is tempting to start again!
happy sewing Susan x

Friday, July 30, 2010

Little Birds... is it nearly spring?

We had a day of cute little bird things arriving at the shop today. Unfortunately they didnt bring Spring weather with them. A new book arrived "Little Birds" with the most whimsical little bird projects ever. I could easily have taken a book home and locked myself away to start at least a few of them.
and just a peek inside.......

and little quilt projects too....

then the delivery man arrived with more fabric including this cute little bird fabric, which I wouldnt mind to back a quilt

Back to reproduction quilts! Today was the end of month Ann Daggs class. This week I rushed to get the latest glueing done ( I am only appliqueing Swan Lake at the moment and almost all done). I discovered amongst the new fabrics that had arrived, the greatest browny/black fabric. I LOVE how it looks when it is made into both the bias stems and the flowers, and it looks great on the quilt.
By the way, I have labelled this months notes as 15 and they should be labelled as 16. Yes only four more to go!

and just a funny story .. today at work we were discussing Masterchef. Christine said the other night her 9+ granddaughter was staying over for dinner and Christine asked if she would help. Lucy offered to "plate up"!
And something not so funny, my baby daughter is 29 on Wednesday. We cant believe it!
Susan x

Sunday, July 25, 2010

return to life as normal

Our household has been addicted to watching Masterchef the past few months. It has been great, my husband has arrived home by 7.30 each evening. For the first time in 32 years I have been able to have dinner ready at a particular time and know he would be home. Considering I enjoy cooking, he has also taken an interest in what he eats, which is quite a change. He usually enjoys meals with the least washing up. So I guess until the next series of masterchef, or junior masterchef, there will be a cooling off period!
Over the weekend  I was on a challenge from my friend Mark in Sydney to try some different methods of making macarons. Yesterday's effort was a half disaster. They tasted great but were all cracked on top. Today I made them again, this time using the Italian method of making meringue, and although they are wearing little hats ( I need to practice my piping technique) I think they are pretty ok.
So Mark yes I did make them and fill them with lemon curd.
Now to sewing. I have been busy with finishing off my Swan lake quilt.
On Saturday August 14 Annette Gero is giving a lecture on Wagga quilts, in Wagga Wagga, so I am trying to completely finish my quilt before then ( well maybe the applique!). If you are interested in hearing Annette there are still tickets available.

I set myself a date to finish the applique by the end of July but this week will be a bit disjointed as our Lucy is dancing in the local eisteddfod, and as this will be the last competition we see her in locally, I will be in and out. So go Lucy and my applique will have to suffer! Its Ann Daggs week too so thank goodness for glue!
I didnt publish the last photos of Duck Hill Farm. I love this quilt. It is so whimsical, just stripped back to basics with applique, and totally charming without all the fussiness. I cant wait until I finish it!
Happy sewing!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

a weekend at home

I have had a few lovely weekends away the past few weeks, but totally enjoying my first weekend at home in ages this weekend, not that I have achieved much sewing wise!
I was behind with my Swan Lake quilt and as I have a deadline to have it completed, this was bothering me, so I spent the past week with needle in hand. I am down to about 100 pieces to go now so 5 days work, so no more need to panic.

I was in Queensland last weekend. My husband was attending a conference so I decided to go as excess baggage. Usually he is the one doing the lecturing, but this time he was an attendee, and the conference was at such a nice location (the Sheraton Mirage on the Gold Coast) I thought I would escape the freeze of Wodonga for a few days. I took my clamshell quilt to sew but the nearest I got to clamshells were the tiles on the wall.

I take so much sewing and knitting with me when I travel, that if I was stuck for a month with a volcano it wouldnt be a problem!
Back to class on Friday, we had our last day of Swan Lake, though it is such a huge project, I think the girls will be working on it for quite some time. They were swapping hexagons  but planning ahead for the next quilt.

And what is their next quilt to be? I have been working on Karen Cunningham's Irish Circle quilt, showing the girls what I have done each month ( nothing to show this month!) and they fell in love with it. Karen offers this quilt by correspondence and each month a little packet of patterns arrives in the mail. I eagerly await it, stare at them for a night or so then jump in and have a wonderful time making the circles. So probably just starting with a little bit this year, I will have a few girls joining me with this quilt next year  . 
Karen's quilt is based on the Jane Pizar quilt from Ireland.

Happy sewing, Susan x

Monday, June 28, 2010

Saturday stitching

It is a cold cold day here today. After dropping to -5 overnight at 11am this morning it has only reached 2. I have stayed indoors by the fire and been stitching a few clamshells. I now have enough made to make something of a decent size, and the tin is overflowing, so its about time I joined a few.
I bought a few fat 1/4's from the V&A museum and I was a little disappointed with them, but thought they would look good in a scrappy English quilt. I have made clamshells with them and love them now!

On Saturday we had our Ann Daggs class. The girls on a Saturday, plus and minus a few over the years, have been meeting for about seven years and making special quilts. We have shared births, deaths and marriages, divorces, lost a few favorites due to interstate moves and found a few new special members to take their places. We have almost got lunch right, so on Saturday we confirmed what quilt we will start next year.
meanwhile here are their Ann Daggs quilts.
This quilt belongs to Juliann

And this quilt belongs to Susan

Jeni's quilt is rich and vibrant but still has an old feel to it

Teresa's quilt is quite a lot like the original

Chris has stayed more or less up to date despite having two lots of surgery on her arm!
and last but not least here is Beth's quilt. we decided this quilt has the most "antique" feel to it.
As you can see they do their teacher proud!