Monday, October 24, 2011

Old, not Antique

There is  family history in this photo.

My grandmother had the sole distribution of these little gadgets in the UK after the second world war.  They are needle threaders and I associate them with memories of her.  Long before I knew what they were,  I remember seeing bundles of them around  her house.

I confess that I have never used one, even now.  My mother came across a last little
box and felt nostalgic.  The instructions are in German, English, Italian, French and perhaps a Scandinavian language and Dutch.  I can't be sure of the last two.  But all bases were covered because if you didn't read any of the above languages, there are pictures as well.

Particularly useful is the plastic spool holder.

One of my favourite lines is instruction #4.  "Lift needle and it will be threaded, as if by magic."

If the background looks familiar it is an unfinished quilt top from Lori's quiltalong to make "Cheddar Cheese and Crackers way back in early 2010.  Lori gave instructions for a small quilt and I not only increased the size of the block, but also the number of blocks.  Not so smart since mine is still waiting to be finished.  Anyway, there are now lots of nice versions, finished.

At the recent Pearl Beach craft show there were a few  bargains to be had including this book for $1.

The flash has partially obscured the author's name - Beth Gutcheon and the book was reprinted in 1976.

Also at Pearl Beach, I caught sight of an asylum seeker.  Knowing Australians don't celebrate Thanksgiving I wonder how far this creature has travelled.

Just joking.  Actually, it's a bush turkey and a whole colony has set themselves up  at Pearl Beach.

Finally, I know I set the date of the giveaway as this Friday, but as the interest has settled I think it will be OK to announce the winner today.  Congratulations JulieQ. I will contact you to get a mailing address.  Those who didn't win the Kaye England pattern can buy one from her website Search under books and DVDs.

I hope you all get in some quality sewing time this week.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tiny and Teeny-Weeny

Recently I wrote about 2 quilts I busted a gut to get to Adri, the machine quilter, on time.  Here is the second quilt,  a kit I purchased in 2003 from The Patchwork Heart  in Penrith.  Usually I don't buy kits but my heart stopped when I saw this one.

 It is from a booklet produced by Kaye England.   Now that my quilt is finally completed I no longer need the pattern so, with Kaye's permission,  I am giving it away.

Inside the booklet there are poems and songs as well as background to the blocks' names and all the cutting and piecing instructions for each of the 12 blocks.  Just leave a comment relating your greatest quilting bargain (see below) and you will be in the running to win.  International entries welcome.   Competition closes Friday 28th October, 2011 at midnight EST Australian.

Adri  has cleverly customized the quilting so that it is a sampler of machine quilting.  And the back is one of my favourite column fabrics.

I was in two minds as to whether I should use it or not, but as I have previously discussed, the fabric will be enjoyed more on a quilt than tucked away in a cupboard.  One of my memories attached to this fabric is that it was a metsieh (yiddish for bargain).  In 2008 it was on sale for $2/yard, unless, of course,  I wanted to finish the bolt.  In that case it was $1/yard.  I walked away with more than 5 yards and a huge grin on my face.

The little guy on the top left of the quilt is a "dragon" made by my son when he was 10.   I think it is cute, but the dogs often mistake it for a possum at night and growl and bark to try to frighten it away.  It must infuriate them that it never budges from this spot.

Apart from stitching down the binding on my quilt, this week I finished off a section of "Hexagonia".

It has been put aside to permit rumination for the design direction.  The 5/8" hexagons seem huge compared to this little project I started:

A pin is next to the 1/4" hexagons so you can get an idea of the size.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


After a lengthy hiatus and thanks to  Cyndi I am able to start back on my 5/8ths" hexagon portable project.

The side edges measure 16" and the greatest width is 31" across at this stage.  I am making it up as I go and ran out of the background fabric in March.  Cyndi, angel that she is, hunted around and found some more for me.  I count myself extremely lucky.  The back of these things always intrigue me,  so if you feel the same way you may be interested in this

The intention is to hand quilt it, so I have been paring back the seam allowance after sewing.  Somewhere I read that this is a big no-no, but since I use at least a dozen topstitches to put each edge of the hexagons together I am hoping it should be strong enough.  Opinions on this are not only welcome, but desired.

Juggling projects is always a problem for the unrepentant starter that I am.  I managed to finish another quick, basket  block from the Beyond the Cherry Tree Album quilt.

Finally, while I was out and about last week I caught sight of the New South Wales state government trying to make a quick buck.

I know we are almost bankrupt, but selling our state (Mitchell) library is going one step too far!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Loose threads

 After finishing another  block from the Beyond the Cherry Trees Album quilt  I did the right thing and soaked my applique.  Little did I expect the purples to run and I was dismayed to discover that the colour catcher didn't seem to work for purple.  I removed the offending "grape" and was rather disgruntledly preparing to cover the stain with 2 over sized grapes.   Meanwhile, the block was left to soak overnight with the colour catcher.  All of the purple stain vanished so now I know to allow things to soak in water for extended periods.  I challenge you to find the colour run.

The week has been packed with non quilty activity, including hosting a dinner for 14 on Wednesday.

However, I did manage to fit in a machine quilting class with Kim Bradley at Quiltsmith.  It was a wonderful, relaxed class with Kim who proved to be a great teacher.  She was extremely encouraging and advised 10 minutes of machine quilting a day to improve skill.  So I did what I was told and here is a picture of my 10 minutes practice the day after the class.

I have been neglecting my traditional quilting in favour of big stitches and now machine quilting.  It was no surprise to discover my fine stitching skills were very rusty.  I pulled out a large semi-quilted, mainly applique quilt started in 2003.  It is a Karen Cunningham design that she published in a magazine. 

 This spring long weekend in Sydney has been like winter -wet and cold.  It was the perfect opportunity to rediscover my hand quilting.