Saturday, August 31, 2013

Scrappy Lanyards

I've had this scrap buster idea running around in my head for a while now and whilst I was in between a block trimming project, I pulled out a bunch of scraps and trimmed them down to 2 1/2" squares or 2 1/2" wide strips. Then I pieced them into long strips, ironed them in half then 1/4's, slipped on an attachment, joined the ends, over-stitched and tidied up the loose threads. Voila....lanyards! Out of seemingly....nothing! And they're the best kinds of finishes for a Friday.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Turning down the volume.....

I have been suffering from incurable 'low volume' quilt love and the only way to get it out of my system was to make one of my own.
Pulling the fabric was tricky.I'm not completely convinced I nailed it but I did get to play with some of my favourite pretties. I left them sitting around for a while and found myself agonising over what to do with them. I've always loved Cheryl's original from her Sunday Morning Quilts book but I wasn't feeling the scrappy strip. In the end I settled on 4.5" squares. Plain and simple.
Night after night or whenever there was a spare moment I would cut into this beautiful pile of fabrics remembering when and where I had bought it or from whom it had been gifted. I obviously got so into the cutting that I ended up with enough squares for the back and for another little number I'm currently working on.
Some of my colours are a little deep but through a lens they're not so bad. They're muted and add interest.
 I love this quilt. It's so pretty. And, I was lucky enough to enjoy a little break in our very rainy weather to sneak in a few shots last Tuesday.
I know low volume is not out of my system yet. They're just too darn nice!
Seeing as I shot this quilt on Tuesday, I'm going to link it up with Quilt Story Fabric Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Quilts 1700-1945...

Clare and I were very lucky to fly to Brisbane last weekend and immerse ourselves in the Quilts 1700-1945 exhibition, a smaller version of the V&A's very successful exhibition from recent years. And, although reduced in quilt quantity, no less inspiring!
We rose spectacularly early to board a 6.05am flight out of Adelaide, made a beeline for the train into the City, alighting at the Cultural Centre's doorstep. A small brain snap from both of us as we found ourselves in the GOMA first up. Both of us feeling very silly when the security guard pointed out that this was a 'contemporary gallery for modern artwork'. Yeh, yeh, yeh, he didn't have to labour the 'modern' point ! So, we turned on our heels and laughed at how we had both misread the website, reading what we wanted to read and interpreting it as such because we were both familiar with that part of the gallery complex. Back on track we unchecked our luggage from the GOMA, headed on over to the Art Gallery across the courtyard, and re-checked in our bags for an early tour.
The exhibition is not extensive, only about 30 or so quilts but each one gob-smackingly amazing in it's own right. Perfectly preserved silk and wool quilts from 1648, paper-pieced blocks with the backs exposed so you could read the papers that were used in the piecing, miniature hexagons made from military uniform wool just 1.5cm wide, silk ribbons converted to pinwheels and hourglass blocks, gifts of comfort from Canada to war-torn London and hexagons made from the clothes women and girls were left standing in having been captured and imprisoned in Changi Prison during the second world war. And then off course, the jewel in Australia's crown, the Rajah quilt made by convict women sent to Australia for petty crimes to give them something meaningful to do with their idle hands whilst making the treacherous journey from the UK to Tasmania in the colonial days of settlement.
I could say that many of the quilts weren't my style and won't be put on my to-do list in the near future but that sounds like I didn't like the exhibition. Far from it, each one told a story, made me gasp in awe, or made me incredibly sad or happy as I tried to imagine what life must have been like for each of the individuals who had played a role in the birth of these quilts. From the genteel crafts-woman showcasing her needlework skill to the gathering of remnants from the woollen mills or pyjama factory in the village. I felt an affinity with each person who stitched a bit of their soul into every one of the quilts that were on display.
I also felt very proud to be a part of a community that was present as an audience on the day. Lots of women who like us had their sensible shoes on and talked in hushed excitement as they pointed out fabric combinations, block patterns, colours used, humility patches and sheer skill involved. It was electric and we felt connected. And to top it off? The playlist in the toilet. Well done curators. What a lovely fun way to finish off the day!

Mind you. We didn't completely leave the gallery there because we came back again the next day before our flight home to enjoy a gorgeous little maker fair in the form of a suitcase rummage and if we'd had more time we would have stayed a little longer to stitch away at the sit and sew session.

Oh...and there was a bit of fabric shopping squeezed in too from a very lovely little shop in East Brisbane, Voodoo Rabbit. It has a great collection of goth, rockabilly and Halloween fabrics, along with some pretties.
If you're near Brisbane, I urge you to get yourself to Quilts 1700 to 1945. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Yee ha....!

Well howdy! Seems like I've been missing from these here parts for some time. Yep, off chasing, herding and rounding up life every which way, I'd say. Leaving not enough time for quilting...let alone taking photos and blogging about it. However, a couple of weekends ago I found myself in between things and spent a whole day basting. It nearly killed my knees, elbows and the fingernail on my right hand pointer finger but I managed to completely baste three quilts that day. Since then I've quilted two, bound two and finished one. And this is it. My Maverick Star Cowboy quilt!
It's a beauty. I love the simplicity of the design which highlights the retro colours. Essentially it's either a nine patch block of 3.5" squares or a 9 patch with a maverick star embedded.
I really like the back which features two single rows made from some left over squares trailing out of one left over star block and set into a plain stone colour background. It was a real challenge to make sure the back was lined up well with the top but I guess, that's what floorboard joins are for aren't they!
I think I've mentioned before that the foundation fabrics are from a really old range by Benartex called Happy Trails. I've added in some Denyse Schmidt who always manages the right balance of 'old-style' without being 'old fashioned' and various other reds and blues from the stash. The binding is also a DS quilts that features in the blocks. I can't remember what it's called but I managed to pick up a little from Spotlight when it was out. I wouldn't mind getting a little more as it's lovely for binding.
This quilt is heading to the UK as a gift for a friend's new baby boy and will be a nice cot or floor mat size at 45" x 54".
I should also add that I managed to take these photos early this morning before heading off to work and before the rain rolls in around lunchtime today. As I was running around setting up shots on my front gate I was being watched by two council workers trimming the trees on the streets. I'm sure most people who spy a quilter blogger at work must wonder "what the heck is she doing...?". But we smiled, said howdy, commented on the weather making our work difficult and went about our separate tasks.
It's a funny old world we live in, isn't it but I guess that's what makes life interesting!
I'm delighted to have such a lovely finish this week for Crazy Mom's Finish it up Friday and I'll be feeling less guilty about things as I head off to Brisbane (very early) tomorrow morning with Clare to see the Quilts 1700-1945 exhibition at the GOMA. More on that when we return.