Saturday, 21 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Yesterday I successfully defended my PhD thesis (yes, NZ readers  - on the very last day of the university year, just before the commencement of the great NZ shutdown!!) It feels like the best kind of Christmas this year with days of nothing but lazing around with family and friends ahead.

Merry Christmas to you all my crafty friends!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

A small Y-seam miracle!

I'm a huge fan of Rachel@woodenspoon. When I saw her mini-quilt using Sarah Fielke's 'Night Garden' pattern from the book Quilting from little things, I decided to be brave and have a go at those awkward Y-seams.

1. All looking pretty ok so far, but don't get too excited Megan, winter is coming...

2. Perhaps a tad over-zealous with my pencil, but I can never see tidy little dots I mark.

3. Now, Sarah's book is lovely, but I have to say, a bit minimalist as far as diagrams go. I could not understand the instruction "When you reach the Y junction of the seam, pivot on your needle and continue sewing out to the stem of the Y" with no picture to help. Hmmmmm. I appeared to be on the wrong side of the fabric to pivot, so I went for an origami approach instead.

4. OMG!! It worked.

5. A little undersized, but its not from the sea, so no need to throw it back.

6. I'm pretty happy with this little experiment. The sun is shining, I'm going to celebrate by heading to the beach and just maybe, my first sea swim of the summer.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

My lovely pouch {and some Penny Patch progess}

We had a fun time at our Monday Modern meeting this week. There might have been wine involved ;-)
A secret santa gift exchange was also involved. We each made a small gift, popped them into santa's large plastic bag (he's all style) and took turns to choose one that we knew wasn't our own. After unwrapping them each person tried to guess who had made the present they had received. I didn't do so well at guessing, but my pouch turned out to be made by Karyn. I love this fabric and it had the most perfect looking zip.

It is a most excellent size for storing my paper piecing supplies:

(Just focus on the pouch and ignore the attention seeker in the corner)

I did a bit of sewing this morning then a lot of humming and haaaahing over my Penny Patch quilt. 

I'm not entirely feeling the love. I think the teal is a bit too samey samey (technical term) so I'm going to try and add a few different greens in. More head scratching and indecision to follow I suspect.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Catching up

Hello quilty friends! I'm back from my whistle stop tour of London and Copenhagen - great cities with lots to see and do! I did not purchase ANY fabric at all - well done me :-) Instead I turned my geeky attention elsewhere - the British Library, for example, which I completely loved.

However, fabric and textiles are never too far from my mind. I spent ages in the V and A museum in London admiring garments and fabric and of course those amazing tapestries.

I snapped a shot of my friend's rug thinking it was interesting inspiration for a quilt:

And finally, just to prove I did make to Aarhus University, here I am with my friend Kirsten. Alas, I am not the glamorous looking blonde...

Monday, 11 November 2013

DUDQS {finished}

I managed to get my doll quilt finished over the weekend - I will be pleased to get it posted away tomorrow and tick it off my 'things to do' list. I'm off to London then Copenhagen on Friday (taking my thesis 'on tour' in a manner of speaking) so the list is quite long!

I had fun creating some little Liberty blocks then setting them into Essex linen. Then it was the trusty old straight line quilting treatment which does create lovely texture. 

I couldn't resist packing up the parcel with some yummy jaffas - a little kiwi treat for my swap buddy :-)

My next task is to get some more TP hexies basted so I can take some hand-stitching with me on my travels. Carolyn from Monday Modern showed me her 'plane safe' scissors and now I have some of my very own - so cute!!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Penny Patch QAL

I remember calling one of my posts not so long ago 'a thing for solids', and when I look back at the quilts I have made, I see solids have featured a lot.

But lately I have become more interested in quilts that have some depth and texture and find myself wanting to experiment with finding ways to explore that idea. I credit Alison over at Little Island Quilting for this change in direction, I'm just completely smitten by her quilts. I'm starting to see some different effects are made possible when you think about making a quilt that doesn't have any solids in it. Enter the scrappy Starburst quilt by Jen Kingwell, and now the Penny Patch.

Rachel at Stitched in Color has kindly created the Penny Patch QAL.  I loved the original colours in her Vintage Tangerine quilt and when she created a fabric stack that incorporated fabrics similar to the original fabrics she used, and I realised that I had quite a few of the fabrics in my stash, it seemed liked quilty destiny ;-) 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Miami vice hexies

Sorry, no Crockett and Tubbs shots here - I just got into the habit of calling this unfinished quilt 'Miami Vice'.

When I have finished quilting my other little charity quilt, this one is next on the list. It is made with Oakshott cottons and I love the simplicity of it. 

I have been thinking about my Tula Pink hexies and my anxiety about doing hand applique. Adrianne gave me some helpful advice which I am going to try out, but decided it was sensible to start small. I made a few hexies a while back with some of the Miami Vice quilt fabric. I never really loved them, and finally realised that it was their centres that were bothering me.

Once I've finished changing the centres, I'm going to see if I can manage a modest cushion :-)

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Charity quilt {finished}

Every time I have thought about taking a photo of this quilt it seems to have been a howling gale outside! I finally managed to scoot out yesterday after work and get a shot or two. I like the way this little quilt worked out - I used the Cluck Cluck Sew pattern 'Bizzy Kids' but added a border so that I wouldn't waste any of the batting Helen gave us to make the quilts with.

Sunday, 20 October 2013


Recently I joined my first every quilt swap on Flickr - the Down Under Doll Quilt Swap. I figured it couldn't go too horribly wrong if it was a friendly swap amongst us Antipodean types! I confess to feeling a bit nervous now though - there are some very talented people in the group.

I decided I would feel a whole lot more ready to meet the challenge of this swap if I had a design wall that wasn't the floor so off I trundled to Bunnings to get some tape and hey presto, job done!

Basically to make this quilt I built some blocks then spent ages trying to figure out how to get them to go together - both in a design sense and in a construction sense. You'll see that I couldn't resist putting in one of my Starburst blocks :-)

I'm going to put it away now for a few days and see if it is 'finished' when I look at it again. Hopefully the answer is yes!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Sewing therapy

Yesterday was a BAD day (cue moody music). First my car had to have some major surgery which cost big bucks and then I received an email letting me know that my thesis was not sent to my examiners until 5 weeks after I submitted it. This means that rather than the examiners' reports turning up any day now (which is what I was expecting) there is more anxious waiting for me until the beginning of November, and the high probability I won't get my oral exam done before the end of the year thus dragging a stressful process out even longer. Grrrrrrr.

What to do? I felt like sewing to unwind, but it had to be something easy-breezy-covergirl-like. I decided to start a new charity quilt using my favourite block - the 16 patch. I love making these because of their sweet little interlocking seams (cue birds singing).

And then there is the satisfying squareness of them, clean and simple. 

Do you have a favourite block to sew when you need some cheap therapy?

Thursday, 10 October 2013


School holidays seem a great opportunity to pull out fabric and experiment. Thanks to all the lovely people who made helpful suggestions about my becalmed Tula Pink project - enthused by your suggestions I pulled out any fabric that I thought could possibly work with my hexies and made an enormous mess on my lounge design floor. I didn't have any 'perfect minty green with a white spot' (if you know of one, I'm all ears) or any purple on hand to try, but I haven't ruled them out. Here are today's contenders:


A blue/grey from my stash (I think its a Kona - more detective work required),

A cream on cream spot:

Luckily whatever I decide I still need to make lots more hexies so no urgent decisions need to be made!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Keeping it real around here

I always look forward to the first Monday of the month when our Monday Modern group meets. It is informal and stimulating at the same time. Last night conversation got around to the topic of how many projects people have on the go at one time. I realised for the first time how much of a multi-project person I am in my hobby life. Like many people, my work life is dictated by tight deadlines and the need to always prioritise, finish one thing then move straight onto the next, so I think this is why I love doing the opposite in my down time.

So, in the interests of keeping it real -  a peek inside my work basket reveals two quilts waiting to be quilted,

quite a few blocks that represent half-formed ideas, or gone-off-the-boil ideas for bigger projects,

and problems that I don't yet have a solution for. Like these Tula Pink hexies and feature fabric. 

I lost my sense of direction with this and don't really know where to head. I suspect with TP less might be more. If I could find a great background fabric I think that might kickstart the project back into life, but the colours are a little tricky. White is definitely a no go - but  here so you can't see my manky carpet.

I have no sense of urgency to complete any of these projects, and lots of choice on any given day I have time to sew, and that makes me one happy little crafter!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Learning to be {scrap} happy

I'm slightly addicted to making my Starburst blocks - probably because they are teaching me a few useful lessons. Things I have learnt so far:

1. If you don't like a block, make another one. Surprisingly the world won't end and sometimes the outcome will make you smile.

2. If in doubt, cut the pieces you plan to use and lay them out. This will help you avoid unintentionally channelling Halloween if its not your thing.

3. A block that starts out looking like it is going to be a bit ho-hum can be unexpectedly pleasing. I can't really identify why I like this block so much but I do. 

Now I must away and try and get my charity quilt basted. I've been successfully avoiding crawling around on the floor for days now!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Cutting and deleting

My Stardust project is really stretching me. I'm not a natural at scrappy and I literally spend hours deciding which two fabrics to put together to make the stars. Amitie sell starter packs for Jen Kingwell quilts so, thinking this would help, I bought one. It was a great idea in some ways, the pack included lots of small pieces of fabric and there is plenty of variety in colour. My stash largely consists of useful background/binding/backing fabric and completely useless bits of fabric that have proven to be difficult to use (aaaah the joys of being a novice).

The one drawback was that the helpful person who made the pack didn't sort the fabric into pairs for me, which would have saved me hours of angst and sorting and resorting. Haha - uptight? Me?? I went ahead and put the sashing around a couple of the keepers because I just couldn't visualise how it was going to look.

This has helped me make a few decisions. I realised that while I want to embrace my inner scrappy (buried very deep apparently), I want to keep the block backgrounds quiet quiet low volume. This means that a couple of previously made blocks have been stood down from the current squad. Even though I have made nine blocks, only six have their place guaranteed.

This last one is currently under review (possibly because I made a mistake with the nine-patch in the centre). We shall see ...

Friday, 27 September 2013

Monday Modern quilts at Highwic

It was my turn to be the overly-helpful volunteer at Highwic this afternoon which I thoroughly enjoyed. I let the other volunteer tell me what she knew about the house before I set off with my camera. She recounted how the original Mrs Buckland gave birth one month after arriving in New Zealand. The journey via ship can only have been a nightmare. She went on have 10 or 11 other children before she died and Mr Buckland married her companion and fathered another 10 or so children. Not sure if he felt solely responsible for trying to increase the European population of NZ, but he certainly did his part!

It was difficult to get good photographs - those early settlers weren't big fans of natural light!

The sons of the house slept in the attic. Check out the lovely concave curve of the mattress. I remember the beds in my grandparent's spare room had that same curve. As a child I loved it and could never understand why the grown-ups complained about it.

The women had a room of their own to while away the hours doing handcraft and reading. That big book in the centre is the bible. 

Here are a couple of my quilts - in the ballroom no less! I loved this room. I know not everyone is a fan of wood panelling but I think it is beautiful.

The kitchen is a lovely light room. The team who set the quilts up did a wonderful job - there were little quilt surprises everywhere. Below is a picture of Glenys's quilt on a chair tucked under the stairs:

And not a quilt photo obviously, but something about this rocking horse made me laugh out loud. The exhibition runs until 4.30pm this Sunday, so you still have time to catch it!