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January 2020

Toowoomba Visit

So, I made the long drive up to Toowoomba for the sale at Precious Time Patchwork Shop's sale and I think I behaved myself well.  That is, I only bought fabric that was marked down to $5 per metre, but, I did buy quite a bit.

Cats, not sure what I'm going to do with this but I'm sure I will think of some thing.  Big cats,

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and some medium sized and small ones.

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Then there were pieces for quilt backing.  At $5 per metre I got a whole back for just $20, well a few quilt backings actually.

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Then I am very low on light coloured fabrics in my stash, so some of them.

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I have already forgotten why I liked these ones!  It will come to me.

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and the last 2 are just because I wanted them.

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Then on they way home Angela had to drop in some donations at Vinnies.  Whilst she was doing that I found a little bundle to buy.  I spent under $20 for this lot. 

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The rock mellon with the forks is for my niece who is so into "mid century modern" style.  Kate has really bad pain from a medical condition and this is to cheer her up.

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This set is sooo 1950's.  It will look great on her 1950's sideboard.  Now I have to find somewhere to store this lot.


Queenies Quilt Show Report

Every year "Queenie" of Queenie's Needlework does a great report on the Tokyo Quilt show.  This year is no different.  Do go over and have a look.

Part 1

Some great images of the quilts with some close-ups of the embroidery.  A Japanese quilt would not be complete without embroidery.

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This looks at bags.  How about this one with "bagworm" skin incorporated into it.

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These are framed quilts.  So small and so precise.  (It is worth while reading some of the comments on this one.)

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Great report Queenie.

(All images from Queenies Blog.)


Some work completed on the cross stitch and I have finished that lettering. (Phew!)

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I was looking at the card Pam H gave me for Xmas and realised that it was stitched not drawn. (free machine work)

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It wasn't until I looked at the back that I saw my error.  I think I will invest in double sided framing so that I can appreciate the back as well as the front.

Update on Phillipa Naylor Class

So, I have finished one block.

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Only 11 more to go.  I couldn't fussy cut the fabric or I wouldn't have had enough to make all the blocks I need.  As it was I had to pattern match the fabric to get the last one.

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So I am just going to have to alternate them.  This will be the first of my charity quilts for the year.  I am really enjoying this course.  All the little tips and tricks are great.  The other things has been that in the past I have always found patchwork stressfull.  Miss Perfectionist just wasn't getting perfection every time she sewed, hence, the stress levels were always rising.  I am now finding that I am enjoying the process and not stressing.  I am sewing at a pace that suits my body clock and the results are coming as a result.

I am off to Toowoomba today to the sale at Precious Time.  Hope I don't get carried away.

Another down week

We had the girls staying for the whole week.  My son and daughter in law both had to work so the girls came to the island to stay with us.  That meant I was not able to do much of my own work or get to this blog for the duration!  As it was only the girls and not the whole family I did not have anyone sleeping in my sewing room so I thought I might be able to stitch early in the morning.  But no, there they were at first light wanting to sew.

Jasmine who is 7 1/2 (birthday at the end of May) wanted to show me that she should be able to get a sewing machine for her 8th birthday.  (Her sister got one when she was 8.)  But first she was distracted with making necklaces.

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Then she wanted to make scrunchies.  She is like her aunt in her choice of fabrics.

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We made one.

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Then the production line just kept churning them out, 10 in total.

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I think she may have gone into my room without me because my machine is now in for repairs!!

Monique decorated and made a bag.

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Jasmine cut a hole in Monique's fabric so grandma had to make some repairs by replacing the plain fabric with the spot one.

Of course there was swimming and riding our bikes everyday.  Here the speed limit is only 40K so it is safe to let kids wander on their bikes.

The big outing was to see Cirque du Soleil.  Even Grandma loved this.

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Now I can get back to my own work.  But I may need to buy a new sewing machine!  The repair man can't give me an answer for 4 weeks.  Looks like lots of people had problems with their machines over the holidays.

A beautiful present.

Another gold package arrived in the mail.

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I know this is from friend Pammy.  I have kept all the gold envelopes that have come in the mail over the years and now have quite a collection.

Inside a beautiful hand drawn card.

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I think I will frame this one.  And the wrapping paper is hand printed.  It is also now all ironed and rolled onto a cylinder for future use.

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And an antique embroidered piece from India.

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It is the front of a child's dress.  Shiska mirror work and lots of other stitches.

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What I at first thought were buttons are actually little tassels that have felted up.

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The stitching of the front opening is interesting and isn't perfect. But that adds to the charm.

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It is actually stitched through 2 layers of fabric.  The top layer looks like silk, but it might be a good quality rayon and the backing is a printed cotton.

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The back of the embroidery is interesting as well.

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Isn't it just .... I can't think of the right word.  Mouthwatering, Wonderful, out of this world, too much. Just, just...

Thank you old friend.



A little every day is keeping the wheels turning.

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I should really read all the instructions CAREFULLY  before I begin a project.  That lettering is stitched over 1 thread.  I am going cross eyed trying to see it and maintaining a good tension for this section is challenging.  It has become so difficult that I am only able to stitch one length of thread a day on this section.  Still I can enjoy the rest of the stitching.

I have also completed all the 1/2 square triangles and the flying geese pieces for the 12 blocks of the Crown Quilt.  Another thing I didn't think of was shashing for the blocks. Hmmm.

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Progress report on the Phillipa Naylor on-line class.

I was introduced to Phillipa's work at the 2017 Houston Quilt Festival where she had won the "Miniture Quilt" category of that years show.  It was a beautiful piece and the precision of the sewing blew me away.

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When I saw an advertisement for an on-line class I knew I wanted to do it.  I also knew she had a background in the fashion industry and the skills learnt there would be invaluable.  (When I did my training as a Buyer one of the places my Company placed me was in their garment design and manufacturing business.  Becoming a  seamstress was not something that was seen as a great career so I would have not gone here of my own accord.  But, what I learnt from those wonderful women has stayed with me for the rest of my life.)

One of the things I believe is that you should always 'keep learning' even if you think you know a subject well, there is always someone who looks at it a different way, or has another experience  of the topic.   I am only a few lessons into this course and that belief is being shown to be well founded.

The one area I am inconsistent in my skills is precision.  Some times I hit it, sometimes I just miss.  It drives me up the wall.  So, this unit on precision quilting is testing me but Phillipa has all the moves.  The project is a crown block with lots of points and different angles.  ( I didn't see that at first.)

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What I saw was, here is a chance to use up some of my fabrics.  Maybe I could use this design to make one of those quilts on my to do list.  I rushed on to see what fabrics I had and sure enough there was enough for a quilt, bar about 20 centimetres of the white.  (which I had no trouble buying.)  Notice I missed the batting, backing and binding.  I'm hoping they will be in my stash.

The design called for a feature fabric for the centre, and medium, light and dark fabrics.

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The quilts I wanted to make this year for charity were for children, hence the cats.  I have now finished the cutting out, enough for 12 blocks.  (The tips given for this task were very helpful.)

I am now in the process of finishing the 1/2 triangle blocks.  There were two very good tips given here.

Use a leader strip before you start stitching.  This works a treat. Lovely even stitching and the machine doesn't eat the fabric. Screen Shot 2020-01-11 at 4.23.51 pm

Use either side of your 1/4" foot when chaining.  Why didn't I think of that?

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I can highly recommend this class.

New Book and Recycling Project

As I have mentioned before, I greatly admire the work of Kate Davies at KDD& Co  

and have recently purchased her new book Wheesht.  ( If you follow this link you can read Kates' overview of each chapter.)

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It is about creativity, but not what you would normally expect from a book about this topic.  The content here is more 'thought provoking' rather than 'how to'.  I believe that it will take me quite a long time to get through every chapter and do the writting justice by considering the content and pondering what this could mean for me.  Even then, in light of what I have read in Chapter 1, this process may cause changes in my practise that could be on going.

To illustrate, Chapter 1 is concerned with darning.  It was my grandmother's darning samples that she did when she was 7 or 8 years old that got me interested in embroidery to begin with, so my attention was peaked.  I don't do a lot of darning, winter is short here and I tend to live by the saying "a stitch in time saves 9. " So when it came to the task for this chapter I couldn't think how I would do anything.  But the chapter also made me think why I have nothing to darn and I realised that although winter is short, and that is a valid reason, I also put my clothes in the Charity bin and buy new ones because the replacement cost is so cheap. Another reason is I don't like the look of repaired clothes.  That led to the question "why don't I like the look of repaired clothes? "   I'm a bit shame faced to say that the answer was "what will people think of me".  (I'm still pondering this one.)

Then I considered just what did I have to be repaired?  An old quilt.

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I made this back in the 1980's before we had patchwork shops here.  It is all made from cotton dress fabrics of different weights.  It have been washed so many times the fabric is very soft and lovely to have against your skin.  This is the quilt my husband always pulls out when he needs a quilt.

But the use of dress fabrics has led to so some of the seams coming apart.  Not only coming apart but fraying so badly it can't be resewn without some major work.

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The answer is to patch it.  I love those Boro garments that are patched and darned with Shashiko stitching, my solution isn't nearly as elegant but I unpicked the binding and trimmed that flaying before adding the patch.

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As I had made this quilt so long ago I couldn't find the original quilting thread or anything like it.  So I settled for my "spagetti thread" , which is a bit heavier than what I used originally.

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I then replicated the quilting pattern I used originally, with a few adjustments, and patched that seam.

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I know other sections are going to fray like this so this will be an on going project.  I am going to count this piece as my Recycling Project for this month.  I wonder what Chapter 2 will produce?

The birdbath

I finally got my birdbath.  It has taken ages to get here and this is it's second column,  my husband dropped and broke the first one.  It is very solid but I kept the old one as well because it is so dry here.

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The little bird should sit on the edges, but he kept being attacked so now he sits in the tree.