01 April 2015

Hello April

The days and nights are cooler, the leaves are starting to turn, and the footy season starts. What's not to like?

Such a lovely month in Sydney. We can sleep comfortably because the temperatures have dropped and, as I write this, it is raining. Proper rain that will wash the dust from the trees and roads and replenish the water stocks beneath the earth in my garden; none of those 'light showers' that do nothing except dampen the roads. It's wonderful. April, I am so glad you are here!

18 March 2015

Lucy Boston quilt

If you do an internet search on "Lucy Boston" you will find thousands of hits about her novels, most famously the Green Knowe series. You will also discover many links to her patchwork quilts. made famous through her daughter-in-law's book, The Patchworks of Lucy Boston

I've long admired Lucy's Patchwork of the Crosses quilt and finally succumbed on the weekend, when I purchased templates. I opted for the two-inch size (rather than the smaller one-inch set) because I wanted larger pieces to hand-piece. No EPP for me!

I'll be using a variety of black and white prints plus solid turquoise. Here's my first block, which was a breeze to piece. (The background in this photo is a rug - not the fabric I'll be using in the quilt.) This is the perfect sewing project - cut a block in the morning and sew it in the evening. Brilliant.

14 March 2015

My book of the month: March

I love reading stories that transport me to places full of magic. Do you know Sarah Addison Allen's novels? They are all about women with special qualities who live in wondrous worlds.

First Frost is her latest novel. It's a sequel to Garden Spells, which totally captivated me. If you could have an apple tree in your garden that throws fruit at people who are wrong for you, wouldn't you want one?

I have savoured all Sarah Addison Allen's novels. If you love gardens and strong female characters, all sprinkled with magical qualities, you may enjoy them, too.

You can read more about Garden Spells here, and First Frost here.

10 March 2015

Textiles Tuesday

Hello and welcome again to Textiles Tuesday. This time, I have 12 items for you to explore.

* Modern Quilt Show Australia: call for entries! Closing date 3 May.  The entry form is here

* From Business Insider: The Most Successful Creative People Constantly Say 'No' by Kevin Ashton. Worth reading!

* Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr will be teaching in Australia in June. Full details here

* Issue 4 of Through Our Hands online textile magazine now available. It's free! 

* 14-15 March: The Handmade Market, Canberra, ACT.

* World Quilt Competition: call for Australian entries. Closing date: 18 May.

* Knitting is a Right, Not a Privilege, says Work Even. I highly recommend this article.
The most important quote, for me: "The magic is that I’ve developed a skill that decreases my dependence on consumer culture."

*  Wow! Check out what Brian Dettmer creates with old books.

* Like zentangling? Here's a new ebook, A New Twist on Tangle String Lines, from the talented Jane Monk.

* Until 5 April: Golden Textures, Maryborough VIC.

* 27 and 28 March: Margaret Sampson-George exhibition, Wonga Park, VIC

* Don't say I didn't warn you - this website is a place you can spend hours browsing. Produced by the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, the first first module, The American Story, is now available. It is fascinating.

I hope you've found something of interest here. Send me an email if you know of a fabulous article or event, too!

08 March 2015

Celebrating women

Hello and welcome to International Women's Day! Let's all celebrate the multitude of wonderful women we know, whether they are family members, friends or online acquaintances. 

We rock!

01 March 2015

Hello March!

Only one more month of heat and humidity to go, before the weather in Sydney starts to mellow. Counting the days!

I've never understood why we persist with irrelevant northern hemisphere season names in Australia. The climates across our huge country are diverse and do not translate to consistent naming of seasons. Aboriginal Australians have much more complex descriptions of seasons here, as they relate to the geographical area and what occurs on the land at each time of the year. It's all about observing what goes on around you.

The flowers in my photo are of my crepe myrtle. We've had a cloudy few months, and my tree first flowered in early December, which was very early. I thought that meant it was over for the season but no! It has been in full bloom again for the past few weeks and the neighbourhood has been enjoying the gorgeous pinkness of the petals. Lovely.

22 February 2015

The 1718 coverlet quilt-along

Last year, I bought a copy of The 1718 Coverlet: 69 Quilt Blocks from the Oldest Dated British Patchwork Coverlet by Susan Briscoe. Have you seen it? It's a beautiful book, containing the fascinating story of the coverlet**, including a chapter describing how members of The Quilters' Guild of the British Isles constructed a replica of the original. If you love antique quilts, you will want to read about this one.

The book doesn't just have stories in it, though.There are full instructions and templates for making each of the blocks in the coverlet! As soon as I saw it, I wanted to make my own version. 

Time passed, and I still hadn't commenced it. I needed a kick to get started. 

That kick came this week, when my friend Sarah set up a quilt-along. You can read all the details on her blog. There's plenty of excitement happening on the 1718 Quiltalong Facebook page, too! Why don't you join us to make your own version of this amazing coverlet? 

I made my first blocks this afternoon. These ones are machine pieced, but my next couple will be hand pieced. And then there's the applique - the most challenging technique for me. Stand by to see how I progress with that!

** The reason it is called a coverlet rather than a quilt, is because it does not have quilting joining the layers. The original coverlet was made on papers, with the papers left inside the patchwork as a stabilising layer.