Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Daisy Chain quilt tutorial

I have had a couple of enquiries about the Daisy Chain quilt I made for my daughter (see previous posts here and here). I have put a quick tutorial together on how I made this quilt, and what cutting measurements I used.


Cutting:
Cut 4.75" strips across the width of your chosen solid and print fabrics. You can use as many print fabrics as you like. I think I used about 20 different prints. You will need at least 98" (2.75 yards or 2.5m) solid fabric.


Construction:
Sew half of your fabric strips together as shown below. Crosscut these strip sets at a 45 degree angle into 6.5" units (as shown). If you piece and cut carefully, you should be able to cut four units from each strip set.


Sew the other half of your fabric strips together and crosscut as shown below.


You will need 80 units. Lay your blocks out in ten columns of eight units each until you are happy with the placement. Join the units to form vertical columns.


Unpick the top solid fabric parallelogram from each of the odd-numbered columns, flip the parallelogram over and sew to the bottom of each of the even-numbered columns. 


Join the ten columns together. Square up the top and bottom edges of the quilt by trimming the excess as shown.



These measurements will yield a quilt 60" wide by 84" long.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A kind of hush

I've been very privileged to have some of my projects published in Australian Homespun magazine over the last few years. My latest quilt design is in the March issue (No. 130). It is a soft and pretty number, called 'A Kind of Hush'.


It is made from a layer cake of Figtree Quilt's 'California Girl', plus some yardage. I get serious satisfaction from working out how to make a pre-cut go a long way. If, like me, you have a layer cake stash in the cupboard, then this quilt could be for you!


You can purchase Homespun magazine in Australian newsagents or download an electronic copy from Zinio. There's even a blurb about me in this month's issue which I think I can share with you without breaching copyright. 


And if it doesn't rain it pours - I have a second project coming up in the April issue of Homespun. You'll never guess what it is! A mad idea that I've had rattling about in my head for ages came to be. Here is a clue, just to tease:


Have a good week. Bloom x

  


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Ooooh, the possibilities ...

I treated myself today to a class with renowned Australian quilter, Brigitte Giblin at The Home Patch in Bathurst. I have long admired Brigitte's work for her adventurous use of colour and pattern, but always with serious respect given to historical designs.


It was a fabulous class, and such a treat, as Brigitte pulled quilt after gorgeous quilt from her suitcase to show us. I felt quite overwhelmed by their loveliness, and by the sheer time commitment in constructing such intricate pieces. Does this woman not sleep?!

Many of the quilts were from Brigitte's book, 'Feathering the Nest'.  I had so many favourites, I didn't know which one to start! This photo shows detail of the centre of her 'Baby Hexagon Quilt'. Half inch hexagons - so lovely! 


Another favourite was her recently completed 'Mary Tolman' quilt. I so enjoyed making my Little Hexagon Purse that I am sorely tempted to have a go at this one. Brigitte very diplomatically and wisely cautioned that this quilt is a BIG commitment - she seems to know me!


One of the things I enjoyed the most about the day with Brigitte was her sharing of ideas for finishing quilts. Many of her ideas are strongly influenced by traditional European techniques. She rarely binds her quilts with the usual double bind, feeling that this is a rather heavy finish. You can see on this quilt that she has opted for a row of hexagons slip stitched as an edge. Other quilts were simply joined front to back with a tiny whip stitch.


With my head fairly bursting with possibilities, I settled upon starting a 'Baby Clamshell' quilt.  Brigitte's version was wonderfully soft and light. She often makes quilts without batting, sometimes bagging them to keep them feather-light.


And so a new quilt is underway. I intend to use up lots of scraps, although remarkably a few new fabrics snuck into my work basket as I left The Home Patch. Wish me luck!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The 'last-minute' queen

Does this look familiar to anyone?!


The bind of my daughter's quilt was finished on the car trip to Sydney. We moved her in to college at Sydney University last week on a very wet and dreary day, so the photos are awful.


You might just be able to make out the quilting though, 
done to a deadline by my ever-dependable quilter Belinda
The pattern is 'Festive Daisy' by Anne Bright.


This is the view from Madam's verandah - tough huh? Yes, that would be the Great Hall she is a-pondering.


She has hit the ground running, is having a great time 
and is enjoying watching the Sydney weather change rapidly
across the towers of the Main Quad.



We are all missing her like crazy, but thankful she is happily and safely settled.


 I am distracting myself from the nagging emptiness deep in my soul by doing some gardening ...


... and cheering myself with new season Johnny Jump Ups :)

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Thank God for Grandma!

Today we head to Sydney to settle our eldest daughter into Uni. Thankfully Grandma arrived last night:

... to take up pyjama pants ...


... to sew hanging loops to towels ...


... to make last minute adjustments to tops that are too big ...


... and to get the bind on the farewell quilt.


Meanwhile, I'm fluffing about, wondering where the last 18 years have gone and how I'm going to get through the next 18 hours!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Tool of the week

Behold, my favourite gadget right now:


Any clues? Its footprint is barely bigger than my phone, making it compact and lightweight.


It unfolds to reveal a handy portable light! For a whopping outlay of $11.25 at Officeworks, it has thirty LEDs, three brightness levels and recharges via a USB cable.


While it won't compete with a dedicated craft lamp, it wins on portability and ease of use. Perfect to throw in your bag for sewing group.


I use it on its brightest setting, and it is certainly adequate for a short stint of stitching. Nifty, huh?!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

I'm late, I'm late for a very important date

In true White Rabbit style, I'm late to the tea party. 


Sarah Fielke of The Last Piece put out a call (some time ago!) for anyone willing to make her a tea cup block or two to contribute to a special version her 'All That and the Hatter' quilt for her birthday. Astonishingly, no-one (other than her Mum) has ever made her a quilt. Perhaps her wonderful talent leaves everyone too intimidated to think of quilting for her?!


Sarah designed 'All That and the Hatter' for her most recent book, Hand Quilted with Love. Latest news has it that she has another book waiting in the wings, cowritten with Amy Lobsiger - can't wait for that one.  Sarah has been inundated with tea cup blocks from ladies the world over, and is on a feeble promise from me! At last, I have found some sewing time and can be true to my word. Blocks are on the way Sarah :)




To the Post Office for me.

No time to say "Hello, Goodbye"
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late.

Source


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Deuce

Another significant day passes in the Bloom household as our youngest girl starts Year 7 and our eldest girl doesn't head off to school at all! A little disconcerting really. Time just keeps marching by, tossing its head indignantly at me and flagrantly ignoring my protests.

A hot, hot January was spent enjoying the tennis, both onscreen and off. I made some progress on this quilt, and it seemed only appropriate that its first appearance be on court. Quilt top is on your forehand side, backing on your backhand :)


I drafted this quilt using Quiltography. However, I didn't construct it using half-square triangles as the diagram suggests. I really wasn't keen on all those seams - 'seamed' like far too much work :) 


So in laziness, surely induced by the weather, I devised an easier option. I cut strips and sewed them together as shown below. Then I crosscut them at 45 degrees. I sewed these parallelogram units together in columns. This method means the main vertical seams of the quilt are on the bias, but this caused no problems. In fact, the top came together like a dream. 


The fabrics I've used are mostly Amy Butler's 'Daisy Chain' with a dose of navy from Tula Pink, Anna Maria Horner & Joel Dewberry.


I used surplus fabrics to piece the stripped backing, making the quilt reversible.


I'm very happy with how this quilt has turned out. It will head off to University with the eldest Miss. She chose the fabrics, a wonderfully cool and tranquil palette and a perfect antidote to the weather here.


A very happy New Year to you. I hope 2014 brings you good health, peace and contentment. Serve up!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas memories

My very best wishes to you and your families for a blessed Christmas. I hope your celebrations are filled with great joy, special times with family and friends, and of course some spectacular food!

As I have been preparing for our Christmas today, I have been reflecting about some favourite things that make my Christmas special. Some of these things are simple pleasures, and many of them are borne from childhood memories.

While many people have a song that might trigger a memory, I find that flowers often trigger mine. Nothing signals Christmas to me quite like hydrangeas and agapanthus.


One of the farms I grew up on had beautiful hydrangeas growing along the length of the house, and I remember as a child gathering up bunches of them, both pink and blue, to bring inside for Christmas lunch. I would put them in my Mum’s biggest Bohemia crystal vases.


My agapanthus memory is from one of my University lecturers when I was studying for my Doctorate. Dr Edith was the only woman in the Department of Agricultural Chemistry, and in an attempt to pretty up the annual Christmas party, she would raid the University gardens in Science Road and return with armfuls of agapathus. She placed them in the largest glass cylinders she could find from the lab and we would stand back and admire them together. I’m not sure that the men of the Department even noticed!

My all-time favourite Christmas foods from childhood are pickled pork and condensed milk mayonnaise! To this day, I still request them from Mum. 


Condensed milk mayonnaise is one of those food oddities, like Vegemite, that you either love or hate depending on whether you have grown up with them. The mayonnaise is made from condensed milk, vinegar and Keen's powdered mustard. I suspect it originated in country days when the only milk available was in a can. How food availability has changed! My favourite Christmas meal these days is this mango, avocado and dill salad, combined with fresh prawns. Mmm!

My favourite Christmas carols have always been ‘Away in a Manger’ and ‘Silent Night’. As a child, I would go for a walk out to the paddock by myself and sing these at the top of my voice, trying to hit every note perfectly. I grew up with three younger brothers, so I sung in isolation to avoid the teasing!


These are just a few of my Christmas memories. I am sure you have many too. I hope you have time amongst the madness to remember some! Wishing you all peace and joy as we celebrate Christ’s birth.

Bloom x



Thursday, 28 November 2013

Playing

Playing about with linens and crocheted blooms
in the late Thursday afternoon sun.


Preparing to teach a class at Marally on Saturday. 
We will be making journal covers.


Stitching up a couple of last minute variations.
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