30 April 2009

Material Obsession Two

I snagged my copy of Material Obsession Two yesterday, hot out of the boxes of brand-new books. It's over 220 pages and is chock-a-block with fantastic basic information about how to make quilts. And did I mention that there are comprehensive instructions for 21 original quilt designs?

Written by my friends Kathy and Sarah, this is the sequel to Material Obsession, which was published last year in Australia. I'm so proud of them both - writing a book is a seriously intense process. In Material Obsession Two, there's even a quilt named after me - Erica's Honesty. How exciting!

29 April 2009

Two amazing things

The good amazing - Jennifer Maestre, sculptor. I am in love with the extraordinary sculptures she makes with coloured pencils, and you might be, too! Click here to be awed. I so want some of these brilliant pieces.

The bad amazing - the searches some Google users make. It always interests me to examine the statistics for my blog, especially the referring sites. I'm sure the person who Googled 'grandma porn star' was very surprised to be led to my posts about my hand-pieced Grandma's Star blocks! The mind boggles.

28 April 2009

Welcome to blogland, Fiona!

I always enjoy having another friend join the fun in blogland. Fiona, whose beaded creations I have shown here before, has taken the step to join us, so can you all please click over there now and leave her a welcoming comment? I'm sure she'd appreciate knowing that you stopped by!

27 April 2009


Sitting in the sun, out of the wind, knitting on the diagonal. Simple work, making patterns.

26 April 2009

A garden is never finished

This pile of butchered vegetation is what remains of my white bouganvillea and potato vine. I have been growing them, intertwined, for the past eight years until they came crashing down on themselves during some strong winds we experienced this week.

I grew them against the back fence, so that they could provide some privacy for me (and my neighbours). I pruned them regularly so they didn't bevome too rampant, but just stayed lush and dense.

I have already filled my garden waste bin with chopped-up pieces and now have to wait two weeks until it is emptied and I can refill it. Since there's no where else for the vegetation to go in the meantime, it sits in an unattractive heap across two garden beds. At least it is down on the ground, and unaffected by the horrible north winds that have been blowing since Friday night.

We lost the footy last night because we played a dreadful game. There were few postives, except that there is always next week's game to look forward to!

24 April 2009

Book buying fun

I know I've raved before bout the excellent value and service that's offered by The Book Depository (free delivery worldwide!) so I won't keep ranting. Just believe me - I haven't found better. Anyway, having just ordered this book (and trying not to hyperventilate with excitement), I discovered that the website now has a fun new feature. You can see what books have been ordered throughout the world by clicking here. Geez I love technology.

23 April 2009

The days are getting cooler

and that's the perfect weather for nesting preparation. Not that it gets terribly cold in Sydney compared to some other places - it doesn't snow, for example. But there's something very comforting about being snug inside while gazing out at the gusty showers.

So I've been busy organising my most comfortable spaces; making sure that everything I need is at hand for a productive sewing season. As you can see, the Feathered Star block is progressing and once I finish stitching all the fiddly pieces, the sections will come together quite quickly. This is a large block - nearly 20 inches - and would be a wonderful centre for a medallion quilt. Hmm.

21 April 2009


On a showery, blustery day such as we are experiencing in Sydney today, it is reassuring to know there is shelter. This yummy fabric with its selection of girly umbrellas takes away any chance of gloom.

19 April 2009


No photos today because the camera batteries died yesterday. They don't seem to stay recharged as long as they used to, so I'll be purchasing some new ones later today. Yesterday I jumped and screamed at the Swans game and took photos of the new stand at the Sydney Cricket Ground. I took progress photos all last year, so am looking forward to sharing them with you later.

We won yesterday - great crowd, great game. That means we have won 2 games and lost 2 games so far this season. I guess I can't complain about that. There is lots of work for the players to do so they improve, but I'm sure they won't let us down.

Still hand piecing the Feathered Star block (nearly there), but have to race off to work now. Gotta earn money to pay my bills!

15 April 2009

Excursion day

Even though it's sometimes difficult to coordinate meeting with friends who live in different parts of the state, planning a creative excursion is so worth it. Today I went with Brenda and Fiona to visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbour. Despite the fact that the garden was established in 1988 and I have lived in Sydney my whole life, I had never visited before. Sometimes that's just the way it is - we take our own city for granted.

I took loads of photos that have started my subconscious thinking about shapes and colours. Today I'll just show you some of the building photos. I simply adore the curved sections of the Chinese pagodas. Aren't they interesting against the city offices and apartment blocks? The top left photo is of The Gurr, a hexagonal, two-storey building with golden ceramic roof tiles. Divine. And yes, the sky really was that deep blue. Another glorious Sydney day.

13 April 2009

Ready to quilt

The blocks are pieced, the borders are attached, the quilt is sandwiched and pin-basted. Now that the drizzly rain that has been threatening all day has finally arrived, quilting beckons.

I won't start until tomorrow, though, because now I'm back hand piecing my Feathered Star block. Cosy, settled in front of the footy on TV (we lost on Saturday night) - what could be more enjoyable?

12 April 2009


There are welcome rabbits and unwelcome rabbits. This bunny box came to my house last night, along with its contents - yummy chocolate eggs. It is welcome and has such a cute face that I think I'll keep it around for a while, just because it makes me smile.

This morning, though, I saw a real rabbit hopping down the driveway next door. My first thought was that I hallucinating due to chocolate overeating but, on second glance I confirmed it was a real-life rabbit. This could explain some of the munching that has been going on in my vegetable garden! I so hope it was simply an indoor pet that got away for a few minutes, otherwise I'll have to fortify the veggie patch some more.

11 April 2009

Postcard challenge

Feel like whipping up a few fabric postcards? I have just the challenge for you - the 40 day floral fantasy postcard frenzy, organised by Cecile. Full details are here, so get stitching!

10 April 2009

Selvedges and linen

I have so many gorgeous selvedges now that I felt compelled to start a new project. This is just the beginning.

After doing so much hand piecing lately, I'd forgotten how much faster it is to sew by machine. I now have a small pile of blocks with which to play!

09 April 2009

Design a textile

According to their website, the V&A Museum has a national collection of textiles, covering a period of more than 2000 years.

" It has a broad geographic range with aparticular emphasis on Europe. Most techniques are represented, including woven, printed and embroidered textiles, lace, tapestries and carpets. These are classifiedby technique, countries of origin and dates of production.Particularly rich areas of the collections are the early silksfrom the Near East, lace, European tapestries and English medieval church embroidery."

Wow! A visit there is certainly on my agenda, but in the meantime I was distracted by a nifty part of their website where you can design a textile, using parts from the collection. It's a simple design opportunity, without a lot of options, but great fun. Here's my textile - a 4 x 4 repeat. You can try it for yourself here.

07 April 2009

Playing with feathers

Yes, this really does seem to have a zillion pieces, but I love Feathered Star blocks. This will be a sample block, so I have chosen a splashy print by Kaffe Fassett to take advantage of the large pieces. The block will be a smidge under 20 inches, when I eventually finish hand piecing it - perfect for the centre of a medallion quilt.

I have hand pieced a queen-size Feathered Star quilt before, so I know how gorgeous these blocks can be. Here's the link to my 2007 story about my quilt.

05 April 2009

Sunday snapshot

Recovering - from a thoroughly satisfying, most exciting Swans' game last night. (We won by 38 points.)

Coddling - my sore throat. It's amazing how easily three hours of screaming last night has made me lose my voice.

Adjusting - to the end of daylight saving.

Admiring - the miracle of sprouting seeds. I sowed parsley, silverbeet, cucumber, lettuce and rocket in a large terracotta planter a couple of weeks ago. Now they are all showing their tiny green heads and I realise how many I will need to cull.

Revelling - in a glorious autumn day. The sun is shining, the washing is is flapping on the clothesline and my salvia is still flowering.

Cutting out - a huge Feathered Star block in pink and yellow fabrics. I suspect there are a zillion pieces.

Reading - La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith. Another book of his that enchants me.

Appreciating - how content I am. Life is good.

04 April 2009

William Morris designs

Although I am looking forward to my quilters' trip to the UK in August, sometimes you don't need to leave the comfort of home to see original design sources. If you admire the free-flowing designs of William Morris, the Whitworth Art Gallery at the University of Manchester offers a real treat on its website. You can see (and virtually turn the pages) of some of the pattern books of Thomas Wardle, who was a dyer who collaborated with Morris for many years. Wonderful designs.

Prize-winning Australian quilter, Michele Hill, is well-known for her amazing William Morris inspired quilts. She has recently released a book, William Morris in Applique, which has patterns for many of her quilts. It is simply gorgeous!

01 April 2009

Clicking and clacking

means it's knitting weather. I've discovered I love knitting with bamboo needles - so light and so smooth. Last night I started knitting a square - three times. I have a plan to make knee rug, but couldn't decide what size needles to use or what stitch to use. After three false starts, I've decided on moss stitch, which I think will look interesting in this variegated yarn.

This afternoon has been cutting time. I've rotary cut masses of pieces for my Grandma's Star blocks. Such a boring task. Now I'm hand piecing up a storm - that's the fun part!