Wednesday, 5 May 2010

I Spy The Talking Quilt

I bought a stack of old quilt magazines at a secondhand book sale a few weeks ago. I was browsing through 'Country Quilts - Fall 1995' when I came across an article on 'The Talking Quilt'. It was an I Spy quilt made with 98 different novelty print charm squares. The author made square in a square blocks with each charm square, sashed with navy blue, and put the blocks on point with a wide border. It looked very nice, but the best part of the article was two pages of ideas for using charm squares. Eureka, I said, just what I need for the market stall this week; I'll photocopy the pages and give them to customers when they buy a pack of charm squares.

Then I thought a little more; instead of photocopying the pages, I'll make the blocks and add them to my display. I used 6.5 inch charm squares that I sell at Two Bits Patches and made them up to 12 inch blocks. Here's the six blocks that I made - and I haven't used up all the suggestions yet.

Cobblestones / 9 patch

Log Cabin / Pieced Star

Square in a Square / Antique Tile.

Do you have a favourite pattern for a child's quilt? I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Two Bits Goes Live

I've been selling fabric online for nearly 5 years now. I started on eBay and moved to the Australian Oztion site. Two and a half years ago I took the plunge and launched my own website designed by Christine Abela from Gecko Gully. I enjoy selling almost as much as sewing; I get to buy heaps of fabric, sort it by colour and design and post it all over Australia. It's still just a hobby but I hope that my baby business will grow and help to keep me in retirement.

Up until now my online commerce and my real life quilting companions have existed in parallel universes. Only one friend in my patchwork group knows I have an online shop. I'm not too sure why I have kept quiet about my online presence, but that's how it is.

However, that will all change on Thursday week. I have applied to have a stall at the Sale Country Women's Association Craft Exhibition and Two Bits Patches will be coming out of the (fabric) closet.

I'm excited about my first market but also a little nervous. Will I have enough stock to make a good display? Will I have too much? Will I sell anything? Will I bring the things that people want to buy? Will my friends laugh at me? Of course not, but you never know...

I have been told by the CWA organisers that every one is looking forward to seeing what I bring. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Hawaiian Applique 101

I'm actually learning something new. I've always wanted to try needle turn applique but was convinced that it would be too hard and the end result would be a disappointment. However I bravely enrolled myself in Quilt University's Hawaiian applique course to see if I could get the basics.
So far so good. As you can see I've cut out the breadfruit pattern and it is now basted to the background. Next week is the needleturn, the tutor says that's easy too, I certainly hope so!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

What's Your Favourite Colour?

I have always loved colours. When I was in primary school my mother made all our clothes as well as sewing a wardrobe for herself. I always enjoyed the trip to the department store when it was time for a new outfit. I wasn't that interested in patterns or even fabric. My favourite part of the store was the display of knitting yarns on the wall behind the counter. The balls of wool were sorted by colour and the resulting rainbow always impressed me. When I started knitting I always chose wool with as many colours as possible.

This list on The Phrontistery is fascinating. 168 definitions of obscure colour terms. I was familiar with argent, goldenrod, heliotrope and saffron; I could guess at rufous (reddish brown) and nigrine (black); but what about niveous, puccoon and minium? Did you know lurid is red-yellow, pavonated is peacock blue, and smaragdine is emerald green? Well, you do now. Try using solferino (purplish red) and smalt (deep blue) in a conversation this week.
The centre to the chocolate heart quilt is finished and I'm adding the borders. I've made some changes to the original pattern, measured across the center and finished the border on one side. I am very pleased with the result. I think the shades of badious, castory and brunneous look very well together.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

2010 Year of the Signature Quilt

Over the New Year weekend I got my antique signature quilt out to get some photos. The Criswell quilt was made in Chester County Pennsylvania in 1852 by my g-g-grandmother Mary Criswell. The quilt was made for Mary's parents Andrew and Alice Criswell. Each of the 60 quilt blocks was made by a family member or friend; each block has a name and most have a location. The fabric is very worn as you can see in the photo, but the writing is still legible.

Jennie took a photo of each block and I'm putting them up on Flickr. My first research area is the people who made the quilt. My family tree is online at and I'm putting together the jigsaw of the Criswell family. I've discovered that the Chester County Historical Society has a quilt collection so I hope they can help me research this one.

Next job is to research the patterns used in the album blocks. I got Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Applique for Christmas so that will come in handy.

One day I'd like to have a go at reproducing the quilt. I guess I'd have to learn to hand applique first, so I'm registered in Hawaiian Quilting 101 at Quilt University. The unit starts next week, I promise to blog my progress.

Friday, 1 January 2010

My Sewing Room Window

This is the view from my south facing sewing room in the summer. This part of the garden is badly in need of a refit. The garden is best in spring, lots of bulbs and enough rainfall to keep things green. As soon as the hot weather hits in November everything dries off and brown replaces green. I need to pull everything out and start over but it doesn't rank highly on the to do list.
The big eucalypt trees in the photo are between our property and a gravel road which leads to the neighbour's house. We take the dog for a walk each morning along this track; we occasionally see wallabies, kangaroos and koalas.
What sewing am I doing? I'm doing a sample for a mystery quilt I'm presenting to our patchwork group and I'm in the middle of a semi-major clean-up. The chocolate hearts are all in one tub now and are top of the UFO list.
Made a quick trip to the new twilight market and had a chat to Lara from Chocolate Coated. Bought a Sewline fabric pencil, I've heard good things about these fabric markers. I'm always too nervous to mark a quilt top, I usually stitch in the ditch but now I have no excuse to try something more adventurous.