Patchwork & Quilting Feed

So Beautiful

My friend Angela has been quilting her old embroideries and the latest one is quite stunning.  It was a cross stitched embroidery stitched by her late mother-in-law, so it held special memories.  She turned it, from an embroidered table runner

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To a stunning work of art by mounting it on a background and then quilting it.

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This is then an heirloom for future generations.  What a wonderful way of transforming a piece of embroidery.

Quilt shows and Judging

I'm glad last week is over.  It was full on with a trip to Toowoomba to see the quilt show and then a couple of judging jobs later in the week.  But, having said that, I wouldn't change any of it, even if it wore me out.

The Toowoomba Quilting group always has a good quilt show which they exhibit at the same time as the Carnival of Flowers and the flower gardens were just spectacular.

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For some members of the group who have moved here from interstate this was their first flower and quilt shows and it was a pleasure to see their reactions.

The quilt show always has a couple of pieces from Robin Ginn, and again, her work didn't disappoint.  Friend Margaret and she recognised each other from their early days of quilting.

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 There were a lot of beautifully made quilts but only a few that were original designs.

Robin sustained a serious back injury in her 20's which has left here unable to sit at a sewing machine so all of her quilts are completely hand stitched.

This one was inspired by a piece of furnishing fabric in which she could see the eyes of birds.

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This quilt is for her grandson who was born in Japan and he suggested the Kohi fish.  (Robin has a beautiful garden with many water features.)

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Then there were the quilts of friends that I have seen coming together during my visits.

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I bought the pattern for this one but am not sure I will make it.

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to be continued.




A little research into the materials I will use

After reading about some problems that have arisen with the use of 'bowl cosies' I decided to carry out a few experiments myself regarding the safety of materials used and just what are the problems involved.  Now, I do not have a lab, or have access to one to do this test, just my kitchen, microwave and a box of matches .

Some writers state that

" wadding or fabric that has polyester included  in it's composition can sometimes catch fire in the microwave oven and you should only use cotton thread, wadding and fabrics."

  The problem that I see with this is that although goods are marked cotton that doesn't necessary mean that there is NO synthetic fibre included in the fabric.  Because of modern weaving methods a synthetic component is often added to the warp fibres to give strength to them , otherwise they would break under the pressures that are used by modern machinery, and labeling laws do not require this component  be stated on the label. In other words it could still be labeled cotton.

For this experiment I chose to look at my left over fabrics from my last quilt.  (I thought that they would make good cosies as gifts but I couldn't give them to anyone if there was a danger involved.  I had visions of some teenager putting the item into microwave and setting the timer for 15 mins on high and the next thing you know there is an explosion.)

There were no problems with the outer cotton fabrics.  They got a bit warm but that was all.

As I cut the samples from the wadding I noticed that there was a colour difference between the two I had selected.

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I put them into the microwave oven for 10 minutes each and and they became warm to touch but not hot and they didn't catch fire.

I then did a burning test and if they had been 100% cotton the should have burnt like paper which didn't happen.  They burnt very slowly and there was a clear oily residue left on the clay plate.  A clear sign that there was some synthetic content. 

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I also tested some wool wadding.  The microwave test returned the same results and in the burning test the fibres smoldered but did not catch fire and there was that smell of burnt feathers. 

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I repeated both the tests again and got the same results.

So for this component of the tests and if the time in the microwave was 10 minutes or less there didn't seem to be a problem but if the fabrics were exposed to an open flame there was a problem.     Those fabrics may react differently if they were in the oven for a longer period of time.

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I then tested some wadding which had two pieces sewn together, again for 10 minutes in the microwave and this returned clear burn marks where the sewing thread had burnt.  The thread was labelled cotton but it must have been cotton around a polyester core. 

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I repeated this and got the same result. 

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These results show that in my experiments the most dangerous component is the sewing thread.

For myself, I would heat my food in a container or plate and then put that plate onto the cosie but not put the cosie into the microwave.  I believe there is a real element of risk involved and there is the potential for a fire.

 I will use cotton thread in the cosies and I will tell my recipients they are not to go into the microwave oven.



Not only have I now finished the binding on my scrap quilt.  I made this from the scraps left over from the piecing.

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I have also finished the quilt bag, made from all the left overs.  I like to make a bag for each quilt from the materials I used in that  quilt because when you pack it away at the end of winter it is easy to find in the cupboard when you need to get it out again.

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These include the blocks that I made mistakes on.

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But I am having trouble programing my old sewing machine  (30 years old) to do the label.

I now have 3 queen sized quilts to make so am on the lookout for designs for the other two.  I found some vintage looking fabric for my daughters quilt.

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I am going to use this French General fabric for my sister's quilt.

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And I have no idea what I will use for my niece.


As I now have 2 machines set up in my workroom I need another machine cover for the second one.  I love this old machine but I think I need to have it serviced again.

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This is the pattern I will use.  I have some of those butterflies on the pocket already made in my stash, I just hope the colours all match. This pattern is a cover and doubles as a mat.

Screen Shot 2023-08-20 at 2.08.17 pmI am trying to not use my hand too much and keep it in it's splint but it doesn't seem to do much.  I now realise that I have been putting up with weakness and pain in this hand and wrist for all the years since I got Ross River Fever, I just blocked it out until the level of pain made itself felt more urgently.

Thinking about a quilt

I was speaking to my daughter about a quilt I was finishing and who I might give it to when she interjected that I hadn't made a quilt for her.  That made me stand back and consider that statement.  Why hadn't I made her a quilt? 

Well, I actually had made her a quilt when she was in Primary School.  It was a cat quilt and we sat together and drew all different expressions on each cat which I embroidered.  We added some dancing mice as well.  I remember she took it school for show and tell and it was a great success.  But, she left it in the shed out the back on the farm and the rats and mice got into it .  This was when she moved out of home.  After all the love and thought I had put into that quilt I was hurt that she thought so little of it, so I think I decided I wouldn't do that again.  Then I forgot about it. 

Now I have to think about it again.  I will make her another quilt to go in the new house she and her husband are going to build on their new cattle property.  I was silly for being so upset about that old quilt. 

So now I am thinking about designs. 

  1. Their bed is King sized, so it will have to be big. 
  2. Their property is up on the tablelands and looks down on the Condamine river.  
  3. The temperature drops below freezing in winter.
  4. The scenery and outlook is just spectacular which means that the quilt shouldn't try to outshine this. 
  5. The house will be very modern in design.

These are some photos of that area.  They have lots of creek crossings to get to their property.


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All this makes me think a traditional design would be the best choice.  I found this old quilt at the French General website.

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Somehow or other I think this or a variation on the Flying Geese block will be the one and I think I will use the colours of the surrounding bush for my colour palette and she likes the design.  Now to collect the fabrics.

A bit of a diversion

I have been cooking lots of soups which I have frozen for future use.  The quickest way to reheat is in the microwave but I keep burning my fingers.  I had seen quilted bowls that some of my friends had said are really good so did a search and found some instructions on how to make them.

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Why didn't I take notice of what my friends were saying?

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These are great and I didn't know I needed them.  Also, they are a good way to use left over fabric and especially wadding.  And as well as that they are just the right size to practice my quilting.  Some more of these are on the horizon.  (I have Ikea bowls and found that I needed to start with an 11" square of fabric.)

My Workspace

Oh how I wish I  was a tidy soul! 

I seem to create mess where ever I move.  Not intentionally, it just sort of happens and I find it very difficult to discard things, so they mount up.  I am not a horder more a collector and can dispose of things if I really have to.  Now in my later years I find that I have been living with ADHD disorder all my life without knowing.  I have just thought I was a bit hyperactive, well more than a bit I suppose.  But, that can be a positive.  I have lots of activities on the go all the time.  But now I find my auto-immune problems are catching up with me and I have to slow down.  (My parents were told I wouldn't live past my teenage years, but I'm still here in my 70's.)

Screen Shot 2023-06-24 at 11.04.55 amWhat brought this on?  Well I looked at Christine Kelly's  Gentlework's blog which led me to her  Facebook  page and there was this beautiful workspace.

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I wonder if it looks like this all the time, or if like me, it can descend into chaos?

I love the way she repurposes old embroidery.

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I keep telling myself to "stop, clean up, be more organised, just finish one thing at a time" .

I have to try and get this room organised.  My cleaning lady comes this week!

Duel Purpose

I choose this pattern because I thought it would be easy.  (You can download it for free at Jordan Fabrics.)

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But there were a few things I hadn't taken into account.

Firstly the difference between Imperial and Metric measures.  This caused me more trouble than I would have thought.  Still, I found that making the blocks a bit smaller I have been able to over come this.  (I am so glad I did a trial first and could correct the size.)

I thought at first that the big trouble would be removing the paper that the pieces have been sewn onto.  My wrist is far weaker than I had at first thought and this project requires me to rip out the paper the fabric is sewn onto.

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So, it has now become an exercise in using my non dominant hand. At first it was slow and tedious, but, if this wrist keeps deteriorating, very necessary.

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From the quick quilt I thought I was making it has become the start of learning another process altogether.  I thought that it will take at least a week to get all the papers out but actually it was very simple.  I used a short machine stitch to begin with and then creased each sewing line with the back of the scissors and the paper just came out.

To bad about my stitching though.  I got two blocks on the wrong orientation and had to replace them. 

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I tried a bit of needle work yesterday but my wrist still wasn't with out pain although it was a lot better than it has been.  I will stay with the machining for a while longer I think.

Now I have to think about the borders.  I will make them a bit bigger than the pattern because I have found a blog that I think will help me with my walking foot quilting.

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It is called Blooming in Chintz and the writer has a similar machine to me.   I have been practicing quilting with my walking foot for some time and this seems to be the next step on that journey.  It is a great blog with lots of inspirational quilts and clear explanations or all processes that are featured.  Worth a visit.

Progress made at Toowoomba

I have come back from a weekend at Toowoomba with my quilting friends.  I always enjoy these weekends, they are special.  I love the school where we do out stitching, the old houses, the parks, just everything.

I have finished all the strip quilting for the blocks. 

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Everything has to be cleaned up and the corners added, so good progress.    I have no idea just what I will do with this quilt.  I think it will be a gift for my niece.

I also received another quilt that needs to be finished.  I had a good look at it and I think the problem is that the stitcher didn't get the designs orientated correctly, threw up her hands in horror, and then donated all the fabric and pieces to the quilt group.

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I will finish the applique and embroidery that is needed to finish the main blocks and then take it back up there again in August and we will discuss what should be done next.  This quilt will be for a major raffle.  I'm sure it can be rescued.

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Then I get an email alerting me to Constantine Quilts in S.A.  who have just finished quilting this exact same quilt.  Now I know now how it could look.  A bit different from the original pattern so we will see what can be done.  (There is one block missing completely from my bundle.)

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I also brought back some new books,

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and some old embroidery that I want to do something with,

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plus a pile of other odds and ends.  So, I have added to my list of things to do.

It was a great weekend.



A bit of recycling

I picked up some old embroidery from an Op shop, Oh, maybe 2 or 3 years ago.  This piece was so badly damaged that the only thing I could save was this bit of 'white-work'. I thought that I would cut away all the fabric right up to the stitching and hope it wouldn't fall apart, it all held.  (I had been putting that off for some time thinking I might wreck it.)

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It has been sitting on my desk along with a bundle of scraps since then.  I knew I wanted to use if for something, but nothing came to mind.  And then, out of the blue I had a brainwave.  Well actually I need a needle case for my longer and thicker needles and this looked as though it would fit the bill.  Firstly, I hand stitched the piece onto the background with a fine white cotton, leaving the open bars unattached so it still looked like white work.

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The backing fabric came from a quilt I made some time ago.  This piece was from the edge where it had been trimmed back so the wadding was still attached.

I used a piece of silk shibori fabric for the linning, stitched around the edge and turned it through.  I decided not to top stitch the edges as that might distract from the embroidery, the batting was just a bit thick.   Then I added some wool batting leaves in which to put the needles.  It is just great for those larger needles and the white leaves stand out from the Shibori fabric making the needles easy to see.

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I did a double row of stitching, sewing either side of the mid way fold to attach the leaves.  This makes a good fold.

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I then got out my button box and lost a good hour deciding which button to use.  (Button boxes are a trap!)  I stitched the loop in a perle 8 thread.

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So now when I go to patchwork meeting I have a proper needle book and I will not be pricking my finger as I dive into my sewing pouch looking for my needles and I have saved that piece of embroidery.  I love looking at the stitching used to make the bird's feathers.  Someone put a lot of love into that bird.


For the Quilter

Well, I made it through the medical procedure, I was a bit worried about this one, but, looks like I have a bit more time yet.  And that means I can do more stitching.  After taking my knitting to a patchwork meeting, which resulted in mistakes and a big 'unpick', I am really rethinking just what I will take with me to these meetings, both embroidery and patchwork.  The embroidery ones are easy, I have a number of 'simple stitching' pieces to take with me.  It is the patchwork ones that I have had to think about.

Most members seem to take Sashiko, but I need to concentrate to get it just right.  I have an applique runner that needs to be finished and I bought a second hand pattern to make a Claire Turpin Design called Hen House.  It will be a great quilt for my grandniece who loves chickens and rabbits. (Maybe I should look for rabbits as well.) I have all the fabric for the applique but not the background.  So that one will have to wait.Screen Shot 2023-04-30 at 11.14.44 amWhile looking at Claire's website,( she lives in Western Australia), I remembered Ruth De Vos,  who lives there as well.  I was walking this morning admiring all the gum blossoms that are in flower, thinking that my Mother loved these flowers and could never get a tree to grow that flowered and here they are just everywhere on the island and looking wonderful.

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Which brings me back to Ruth.  She specialises in native flowers and has some wonder appliques and

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Screen Shot 2023-04-30 at 11.37.30 amBut, it was all the information that she has on her blog regarding machine quilting and applique techniques that I found interesting.  But, this hasn't solved my problem about what I should take to that Patchwork meeting!!

I think it will have to be that unfinished table runner.  Now where did I put all those pieces of fabric?