Saturday, March 14, 2015

Stars

Come along, let me show you what we got up to at St Mark's Quilters today!


Di C started to quilt this amazing dinosaur kindy quilt.


Barb helped Susie to decide how to quilt this little Blanket of Love.


Sue M, Margaret and Sue W kept it simple today and left their sewing machines at home, preferring to relax with some hand stitched bindings.


Liz brought along her magnificent Japanese-style quilt, just back from longarmer Sue Rowles, and with a little help from Gail, Perdita and Gillian she squared it up and machined the binding on, all ready for some long sessions of hand stitching. 

Shhh! It's a special gift for someone.

As usual Di C earned the gold star for Best Use of Colour. Look at those glorious floral pants and co-ordinating lime green tee!


With so much creativity buzzing around the hall we soon needed a little break and some refreshments.


There were pink cup cakes!


And chocolates, a gift from the lovely staff at The Marcia.


This month it was my turn to share a new technique, and with the aid of these quilts - two of them works in progress - and the tutorial here on my blog, a couple of quilters were well on the way to completing their first Modern Hexagon Stars quilts.


Gillian spent a great deal of time carefully considering a suitable arrangement for her hexies, and you'd be amazed how many variations on a theme we came up with over the course of the day!


Di B and Gail had made a start at home. They were both up to the stage of rolling those hexie edges and stitching them down to create star shapes.



But there was one special 'star' who stole the show today.


Di B's mum, Margaret, turned 90 this week, and we celebrated with HAPPY BIRTHDAY candles and a magnificent carrot cake baked by Sue M.


Margaret has only missed one monthly workshop with St Mark's Quilters since we started 5 years ago. She brings elegance, wisdom and a wicked sense of humour to our gatherings, and she stitches a whole bunch of love into her beautiful quilts.


Take a look at the Blankets of Love photo gallery here to see the latest finishes by our other clever quilters.

And now, after that big day, I'm off to bed!


Friday, March 13, 2015

Simon's Quilt

Just a short and sweet post today to share photos of a little quilt I made late last year for a friend's baby, born at Christmas time.


Circumstances prevented me giving it to them until recently.


This was very much a practice piece for my free motion quilting on a domestic machine.




Someone commented that my feathers look like fluffy clouds


Quite appropriate, really, since the colours, to me, suggest sunshine , sea and sky.


I'm happy with that, and I think little Simon and his Mummy and Daddy might be too.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Twisting



It's always fun to try something new, so there was plenty of interest at our first St Mark's Quilters Workshop for 2015 when Di B demonstrated how to make some fun pinwheel variations using the nifty Li'l Twister ruler.

She made it look so easy.


Just a few hours of machining later she had a finished quilt top - Voila!


Gillian, another fan of the ruler, made this variation.


And here are some more she prepared earlier :-)

                                        
Others, like Perdita, chose to work on their own designs. I'm in love with the gelato colours she's using in these half square triangles :-)

 



Sophie and Susan have been away for a little while, but they've still kept busy making these kindy quilts in bright, happy fabrics.


Gail's favourite soft shades are easy to recognise in these two Blankets of Love.


We all enjoy seeing some Show and Tell from our quilters, and Gillian brought in this Advent Calendar, one of several she made for her grandchildren, complete with numbered tiny stockings into which she popped treats for each day in the lead up to Christmas.


I've already written about our latest delivery of Blankets of Love to Dahlia Brigham at the RPA Newborn Intensive Care Unit in January.

Also in January Di B also handed over a huge bundle of kindy quilts to Margie Flint from the KU Marcia Burgess kindy for autistic children, just in time for each of the new children starting at the centre to be given their own quilt to keep.


All our quilters agree that the making of these quilts is a reward in itself, so it was such a beautiful surprise when Margie gave us this pretty double package, wrapped in a silver ribbon, from the staff.

The first surprise was a metal heart decorated with a "Thank you" message to our ladies, and Susie hung it on the wall with our other treasured messages.


The second package contained a huge box of chocolates, and we're looking forward to a chocolate-sustained stitching day this month! 




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Disco

I'm doing a little disco happy dance here because January's Jaybird Mini Quilt Club pattern was one I'd been waiting to try ever since I signed up with Fabric Garden. 

Once again, I love how these little beauties can all be made from the scraps in my fabric stash. Oops, what does that say about the size of my stash?!?


Disco balls, walls of flashing lights, bling and colour (lots of it!) These images danced in my head as I delved into my scrap box and cut out all the tiny pieces, in readiness for another miniquiltathon at Di B's house.


This is how they looked, laid out on the day. 


There are a lot of pieces in this mini quilt - 180 to be exact!


The back of the quilt shows how I simply ditch stitched around each lozenge shape. My plan was not to flatten the individual faceted units by covering them with too much quilting.


I loved making this little quilt, but have to admit that binding such a tiny treasure, especially those chevron patterned edges, gave me a little grief.


I looked at my finished binding for a few days, but finally I could bear it no more and I unpicked the single fold binding and replaced it with double fold.


It's still imperfect, but I can cope with it.


I don't see too many outings in this little quilt's future because it's destined to join my other Jaybird minis on my sewing room wall.

But it was rather fun to take it out for a photo shoot around my neighbourhood. 

Pegging my mini Disco quilt to the wire fence certainly attracted some attention.


- or was it perhaps my happy dancing?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Blues

Blues, aquas, teals, turquoises. I delved deep into my scrap bin for all the summer sea and sky shades I could find to make this quilt.


Ever since I first saw what clever Nicole Dacsiewicz had done with the humble hexagon I've wanted to try it for myself.

With the help of her easy-to-follow Modern Hexagon tutorial I made this.


But I didn't stop there.

I tweaked my hexies by rolling back those edges and slip stitching them down, so now they look like stars. Or starfish, as one of my Instagram friends described them :-)


I like the secondary pattern that's happening here now, don't you?

If you think they're a little like Cathedral Windows, you're right! I've been spending some time lately researching Cathedral Windows variations in the hope of coming up with a reasonably simple technique I can teach at St Mark's Quilters sometime.


Perhaps I've found it?


It was so refreshing to work with these cool, calm shades for a couple of weeks.

At the year's send I had staggered across the line, weary, grumpy, over-committed and emotionally fragile, and I needed time out. My friends probably needed time out from me too :-)


So, for a week I enjoyed a 'staycation' at home. I stitched, cleaned out some cupboards, caught up with my paperwork, and walked Chester the WonderLab.

With a little photo editing of this sign from the park across the road, you can get the picture :-)


I also decided to make a couple of changes that might give me more balance in my life, and I chose my Word for 2015 - Balance.


As every quilter knows, creating beautiful quilts can be wonderfully therapeutic, and giving them away can be equally heartwarming.

Di B and I recently delivered 70 Blankets of Love, made by St Mark's Quilters, to Dahlia Brigham (Volunteer Co-ordinator) at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital's Newborn Intensive Care Nursery.

It was only a short visit, but crammed with joyfulness.


For a start, as the three of us were jostling to take turns of getting photos of each other with the quilts in the foyer, a young, very pregnant mum offered to take the photo so the three of us could be in the shot together.

We got talking, as you do, and discovered that her bub (number 5) was due in just 2 weeks. She looked so serene, waiting for her husband to pick her up after her final check up. She smiled as she told us she was having a little girl, and we were full of admiration when she calmly revealed that her 4th child, a little boy, had Downs Syndrome.

This lovely young mum really made an impression on us.


Inside the nursery Dahlia introduced us to some of the staff and nurses on duty that morning, including midwife Jan Polverino who, with her sister Shirley, a quilter, started the whole Blankets of Love venture back in 1992. The concept has since spread worldwide. I was so excited to meet her! Too excited, apparently, to get a photo with her.

Finally, on our way out, we passed this wonderful, whimsical fiberglass sculpture, decorated by Penny Lovelock, part of a fundraising venture by Taronga Zoo to save wild rhinos. Called "Beauty and Hope", it's painted with Javan fabric designs and of course depicts a baby rhino ("Hope") in utero.


We left the hospital with huge smiles on our faces. As always.