Friday, November 13, 2015

The BIG Reveal!

My version of Jen Kingwell's My Small World quilt is finished, quilted, bound and gifted. Yay!

But (for a change) this post isn't about the quilt. It's all about the recipient, my brand new granddaughter!

Sarah and I couldn't wait to give her some welcoming cuddles.

Cute as a button, and every bit as beautiful as her cousin, The Princess, she is definitely another little Princess! So, in future, on my blog, these precious little people will be known as Princess 1(formerly The Princess), Mr J (now a proud Big Brother) and Princess 2 (his baby sister).

The safe arrival of a baby is always a reason for rejoicing, but this little one's birth upsized that joy for our family. Two years ago I wrote this blog post. It was the second hardest I've ever written, after the hardest one a year before. 

Watching and waiting while this little one was being formed inside her mummy was like holding my breath. After all, Harry's gestation had gone smoothly too, giving no hint of the tragedy that was to come. I didn't dare share with more than a few close friends the news that another bub was on the way. Finally, with her safe arrival, I felt I could at last exhale with relief and share our happiness with the world.

Harry will always be part of our family, even if he isn't here to hug, and my heart is bursting with thankfulness to God for our new little baby girl.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tips for My Small World Quilt (Part 3 - The Rainbow, Orange Peels and Clamshells)

If you're like me, you probably finished Section 3 of your My Small World Quilt and, bedazzled by the sweet rainbowy goodness of section 5, leapfrogged over the space on your design wall where Section 4 should go, to work on this colourful little corner of the world in the top left hand corner. 

It's certainly my favourite "neighbourhood" in My Small World.  

I've previously explained how I worked the Half Dresden, the Hexie Hillock and the New York Beauty Arc, but I've left you waiting far too long before explaining briefly how I approached the rainbow.

1. The Rainbow
Once again, Floriani Stitch and Wash Fusible came to the fore. Using the templates for the arcs provided in Jen Kingwell's pattern, I cut out the skinny, curved pieces and ironed each one onto a different fabric. 

Next I cut these into semi-circular shapes, folded back my seam allowances and used my Sewline glue pen to finger press these in place, ready for appliqué. This is how the pieces looked from the back.

And this is how they looked from the front.

I took the second largest semi circle (the large spot in my picture), placed it on top of the largest semi circle (the rainbow stripe), and pinned it in place with my tiny appliqué pins.

After appliquéing it to the stripe, I turned my work over and carefully cut away the striped fabric from behind the spotted one. I repeated this with each subsequent arc of the rainbow, in each case trimming away the excess fabric from behind the appliqué

Finally, this was how the finished rainbow looked from the front.

And here's the back view, showing those strips of Floriani Stitch and Wash Fusible stabilising the arcs.

2. The Orange Peel Blocks

Again, I just traced the petal shapes from the templates in the pattern, and ironed the petal shapes onto the wrong side of the different coloured scraps I was using. Then I cut out the shapes, leaving an approximate 1/4 inch all around. I folded that seam allowance back onto the Floriani and, using my glue pen, I glued them down read to hand appliqué. Very simple.

3. The Clamshells 

Yes, *again* I used the Floriani method, but I only folded back the fabric on those main curved edges, not the clamshell "stems". The trick to success with this block of My Small World is to first appliqué the bottom line of clamshells to the background fabric. Again, there's no need to do anything to those stems.

Once this row is firmly stitched in place it's easy to just stagger the positions of the clamshells in the top row so that they alternate with the bottom ones and cover the stems completely.

Of course there are other methods, but this is what works for me. 

I hope you're sharing your progress pics on Instagram :-)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sewing Circles

At this month's workshop some of our St Mark's Quilters were sewing circles, baby Dresden circles.

Armed with a plastic wedge templates, bamboo skewers, and a few useful tips from me, our lovely ladies were soon creating colourful little circles of awesomeness.

Look at Di C's first Baby Dresden!

After chain piecing her tiny wedges Gillian discovered another use for them :-)

Our Queen of Blue (Di B) made this one.

Meanwhile Susie pin-basted this Blanket of Love and started to free motion quilt it. 

And these finished Blankets of Love, bound for RPA Hospital's Newborn Intensive Care Unit, were added to our growing collection.

Made by Susie

Made by Barb

Made by Barb

Made by Di B

Made by Margaret

Yes, we do enjoy ourselves at our monthly workshop!

Do you belong to a sewing circle? I'd love you to tell me about it.

Friday, September 25, 2015


Our St Mark's Quilters haven't been twiddling their thumbs between monthly workshops. Look at this lovely pile of finished quilts!

Margaret made this sweet Blanket of Love with a cute centre block of Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter Rabbit gathered round Mother Rabbit. 

Di B made this one in her favourite colour.

"The S Team" (Sophie and Susan) quilted this panel of owls to make a bright and beautiful kindy quilt.

They also finished off this story book panel, adding jazzy borders to make it even more eye-catching.

Susie was very clever with her free motion quilting and created a gentle 'breeze' wafting those white fluffy clouds on her Blanket of Love.

Another pretty pink confection from Perdita...

...and another, just as pretty and even paler and more delicate.

I love the way Di C has used multiple fabrics in pale lemon to add a little sunshine to this quilt.

Gillian took on the challenge of finding a way to use a fairly uninspiring piece of donated bird fabric. Wow! Look at the result! 

By taking her cue from the bright colours in the birds themselves - gold, orange, emerald, scarlet and cobalt - she's made a stunning kindy quilt.

As usual, the hall hummed with the sound of sewing machines, chatter and laughter as fabrics were transformed, in the hands of our skilful quilt makers, into comforting quilts for grieving parents, tiny bubs, or preschoolers.

Di C, always so methodical, pinned and labelled her blocks.

Wow! A little preparation saved any later unpicking (aka frog-stitching). 
She didn't have to "Rippit" "Rippit"   :-)

Liz was a careful block labeller too.

Sue W's latest mini is looking out of this world.

And Gail was playing with pandas.

Gillian did some heavy lifting and created a quilt that's going to be a favourite with a little truck-lover at The Marcia kindy.

We haven't made these for a little while, so Sue M decided to stitch up a cheery humidicrib cover for the Newborn Intensive Care Nursery at RPA. 
Can you imagine what a difference it makes for families sitting beside a seriously ill bub to see bright, pretty colours like this amid all the medical machinery.

I'm loving the happy look of that polka dot binding Susie was about to apply.

With such perfect springtime weather I thought I'd take a group photo. 
At least, it seemed like a good idea at the time. 

Unfortunately the sunshine that was so welcome was just too bright for that perfect shot.
Still,  there's no mistaking the smiles on the faces of our wonderful St Mark's Quilters

But the brightest spot of the day was when we celebrated Di B's 60th birthday!

It was actually the launch of the two week "Festival of Di", the first of many birthday celebrations being held by her friends and family for our generous, warmhearted and talented co-leader.

Happy birthday from all of us, Di B, and may there be many more!