Sunday, 30 September 2012

From the sky

Red and white quilt, with afternoon shadows
A simple quilt in just three fabrics (two on the front, one for the backing).

Inspired by Millie and Olivia from Red Pepper Quilts, but considerably larger.

Quilt back - inspected by Rosa.
The backing fabric is a black and white line drawing of some of the more famous bits of Paris.

This was also my first attempt a free motion quilting. I practiced a bit on some smaller things - but this is the first large (and it is large!) quilt I've attempted. I was going to wait to tackle a quilt until I'd perfected the technique, but then I thought, hey, nothing ventured ...

Free motion quilting
It is by no means perfect - but I love it in spite because of that.

Thomas, quilt and pillows
I made pillow covers to go with, using these excellent paper piecing instructions for a circle of flying geese.

Flying geese

Fabrics are from Hawthorne Threads:

Violet Craft, Peacock Lane, Falling Flowers in Red
Zoe Pearn, Alphabet Soup, Solids in Clean White
Timeless Treasures House Designer, Paris, City Map in White (backing)

There's a rather obscure footy reference in the name. If you know a bit about AFL, and match up the quilt's colour scheme and the name, you might divine it.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Hello yelllow

Yellow and grey log cabin cushion

Challenge 7 for Iron Craft is "freshen up" - an opportunity to spruce up your home after a dull, grey winter (or, ahead of it, for those of us south of the equator). It also gives me a chance to freshen up my participation, after squibbing the peeps challenge.

Front verandah with new cushions

Somehow, the cushions always end up on the seat with a cat on them

This one, however, plays right into something I'd been planning to do for a while - refresh the cushions on the chairs on the front verandah. Up until now, they've been old sofa cushions in a heavy dark green brocade. So, when we repainted the front door yellow(!), I had a clue about where to go with the cushion covers.

yellow crosses pillow

Both cushions are based on patterns in Susan Beal's Modern Log Cabin Quilting.

I love smallish projects like cushions for trying out different things.

One experiment was to use buttons rather than quilting to tie the layers together:

central motif on the yellow cushion

These gorgeous yellow flower shaped ones are from Tessuti at Chatswood (although I don't think you can get buttons online, but hey, check out the fabrics).

Another was to fussy cut the centres for the stripey cushion:

I love the result, but geez, they don't call it fussy for nothing! I only had to do 16 for this cushion. I can't imagine having the patience to do enough for a full size quilt.


Fat quarter custom bundle from Fabricworm "Bumble"

Fabrics in the bundle: 
October Afternoon Cotton Solid Cream
Jay-Cyn Dottie Color Sun
Jay-Cyn Birdie Spokes Sun
October Afternoon Floral Yellow
American Jane Geometric Tonal Yellow
Robert Kaufman Solid Corn Yellow
Michael Miller Ring Dot Black
Robert Kaufman Solid Pepper
American Jane Geometric Tonal Black
Alexander Henry Love City Smoke
Rashida Coleman-Hale Extras Charcoal
Michael Miller Woodcuts Charcoal
Robert Kaufman Solid Coal

I didn't use all the fabrics, so I have a few fat quarters left over.

The yellow cotton, used on the back of the zigzag cushion and the front of the crosses one, came from Lincraft (can't find it to link to it directly - their online shop is dire). Initially, I bought it to be cushion back for both, but then I decided what I wanted on the front of the second cushion, I needed some yellow yardage.You can't see it in the pics, but I used some leftover backing fabric from this quilt for the back of the yellow crosses cushion.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Mittens to the rescue

Butter mittens

After the disappointment that was my first attempt at challenge 3 for Iron Craft, I pulled out some needles and yarn to see if it's possible to knit a pair of mittens in two evenings.

And, it's a qualified yes.

First up, you want a pattern for mittens that uses DK or worsted. Second, you need it to be interesting, but not too complicated.This is no time to be mucking about with fingering weight yarn, intarsia or complicated lace.. Knitty to the rescue!

cable cuffs

Then, of course, you need to actually have yarn to hand, and fortunately I had some of this lovely Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Butter left over from a beret. It's slightly light for the pattern (really should be a worsted weight yarn), but they've come out beautifully.

They will look fabulous with the beret and my red wool coat. When winter finally gets here. Like in about June.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Not so hot - or misadventures with felting

Challenge number 3 for Iron Craft was "warm up", which is what Kat wanted to do, given it's February, and she's in Minneapolis.

Of course, down here in the Great Southern Land, it's summer - so warm is what we already are. And, although we've just had our wettest January in a decade, and it hardly seems like we've had a summer at all (not many hot, dry days), the January average of 26.1C is above the historical average - and it's the 12th consecutive January of above average temperatures.

Still, winter is a comin', albeit slowly, and not packing the kind of punch she does in Minnesota. And I shall require slippers when she gets here.

So, via Pinterest, I found these:

Crochet version from
which had a link through to a knitted version:

Knitted version from craftzine
I went with the knitted version because I knit faster than I crochet and I wasn't sure how much of what was left of the two weeks it would take to make them. In retrospect, I could have done either version in the time.

I was surprised at how little of the yarn in my disturbingly large stash looked likely to felt. Who knew that all that soft, yummy Zara was machine washable? (I never machine wash anything hand knitted. I grew up with hand-washed hand-knits and it feels wrong to do otherwise.)

Anyway, I discovered some Cascade 220 which I thought would fit the bill, and knitted and felted a small sample square to give me a rough idea of how to adjust the pattern.

For what it's worth, I went with 15 sts and 24 rows on 6.5mm needles. I have a fairly average sized foot - a 38 in European sized shoes.

They aren't felted nearly enough - way too much stitch definition still showing. But, if I keep felting till I'm happy with how they look, I'm going to have to find a six year old to give them to.
Rosa does not approve

So I kind of wish I'd either:
  • gone with the crochet, because I think it might have felted better - the stitches would create a more uniform surface than garter stitch so less felting might have been OK
  • made it in stocking stitch, for the same reason. To do this, you'd need to make a paper version of the L-shaped pattern to work out which bits needed to be right sides.
  • or just made the damned things bigger :).
From memory, and this yarn has been in the stash for awhile and adrift from any ball bands, the colours are:
  • green 8903
  • blue 8905
  • cream 8505

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Hearts and flowers (and spots!)

Red and aqua tote bag
Happy confluence with challenge 2 for iron craft, as the theme - hearts and flowers - matched some fabric I'd bought with the intention of making a tote-ish bag.

I'd been procrastinating over just what I wanted the bag to be (how big, how deep, handles, pockets ...), so the two week time limit for the challenge forced some decisions.

See, hearts as well as flowers
The bag is largely based on the Summer Madras Tote by Anna from Noodlehead. My main modifications were to divide the exterior pocket into three, rather than two; to put a pocket on the inside as well; and using quilt batting to give the bag some body (the original uses cotton canvas).

Red and aqua tote bag

After using the bag for a couple of days, I think the batting might have added a bit too much body. If I make another, and I probably will, I'll opt for canvas or similar as the interfacing and make it slightly longer and wider. Which isn't a criticism or the original pattern, or of my version. It's a reverse-engineering of the amount of stuff I take with me to and from work.

I know we're all supposed to be over red and aqua because it's been everywhere for the last year or so, but hey, who cares.

The fabrics are all from Michael Miller's Aqua and Red - Lil Plain Jane in Aqua, Quarter Dot in Red and Sweet Hearts in Red.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Seen from afar

The first challenge for Iron Craft 2012 was "paper".

Paper waratah earrings
I wasn't quite sure where to start, so a bit of googling found lots of things I was tempted to make, but this one stood out.

The cleverness is all in the original pattern from eveningsong ink. See her excellent tutorial.

I choose to interpret Roger's expression as approval.
You might think he's just fascinated because they move in the breeze.

For those unfamiliar with the waratah, here's a real one for comparison:

Telopea speciosissima - the New South Wales waratah
The waratah is the floral emblem for the Australian state of New South Wales, and also the name of the state's rugby team.

It's one of the proteacaea family, along wiht proteas, grevillias, banksias and macadamias.

The generic name "telopea" derives from the Greek for seen from afar - waratah bushes can grow up to 3-4 metres high, with the flower on long stems at the top.

Saturday, 31 December 2011


Log cabin - lots of cabin, not so many logs
Inspiration: Alice from Red Pepper Quilts
Fabric: Fabricworm custom fat quarter bundle
Black and white daisies wide backing fabric from Quiltsmith (backing)
Count with Maisy Yellow Pebble Dots on Red from The Fat Quarter Shop (binding)
Mod green pod fabric bundle from Fabricworm
Robert Kaufman Pure Organic Solid Orange
Poppies Orchid
Daisies Sunflower
Posie Stripe Sunflower
Posies Sunflower
Robert Kaufman Pure Organic Solid Marigold
Flutter Bunch Sunflower
Daisy Doodle Sunflower
Links Sunflower

Sunshine was for Niece-the-Elder for Christmas.

This rather sad effort is the only full length photo I got.

I love the backing fabric - a rather dramatic black and white print of daisies. Luckily there was just enough left on the bolt for what I needed.

Daisy, daisy
And the binding

The quilting largely follows the seam lines.

Close up of the quilting

I was inspired by RPQ's Alice, although with a very different colour pallete. However, once I'd made up both the log cabin blocks and the four patch blocks and started to think about putting them together, it started to feel like there might be just a bit too much going on. I think it's the brightness of the red and yellow, perhaps. (Alice is in  much calmer blues and greens.)

Anyway, instead of alternating the two styles of blocks, I split them into two quilts, alternating each with plain white squares.

The Other Half of Sunshine
This got me two quilts for the price of one (well, plus a whole lot of extra white solid and twice as much backing and binding fabric and all the extra work ...).

On the other hand, I did have some help.

Rosa assisting

The Other Half of Sunshine is on the bed in the spare room, meaning it's very occasionally for visitors and very frequently for the cats.

4 patch

Additional fabrics for the second quilt are:

Tiny flowers in Buttercup from Hawthorne Threads for the binding

and Ditzy Dots Orange wide backing fabric from Craft Depot