Saturday, 14 June 2014

'Baled Up' knitting set

Do you remember this teaser from a few posts ago? This was a clue to my most recent project in last April's issue of Australian Homespun magazine.

This project was borne of my childhood memories of woolsheds and stencilling wool bales at shearing time. It ended up as a three-piece knitting set called 'Baled Up'. Homespun did a really lovely job of the styling; very country meets city!

Initially, this idea took form when I was brain-storming about gifts I could make for my brothers. I had intended to make cushions for them and I wanted to stencil the names of our childhood properties on linen, in a similarly rustic way as we stencilled on our wool bales.

When Homespun asked me to submit a project for their magazine, I decided to broaden this initial concept. And so, from a vague germ of an idea, spawned not only a stencilled cushion, but a wool caddy and a knitting needle roll.

And so Madam Knitter, you may sit at your 'knitting chair', with your personalised cushion warming your back. The caddy is designed to sit by your chair and hold your wool. It is fashioned to look a little like a wool bale. It is fully lined and has inner pockets to hold scissors, a tape measure, or in my case, my glasses :)

The needle roll unfolds to reveal various sized individual pockets for all your needles, crochet hooks, gauges etc.

This project was published in Australian Homespun No. 131 in April 2014. The magazine is available as a digital download through Zinio. And no, my brothers still haven't got their cushions!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Cuddle up

My Mum has been keeping herself busy making cuddly, shaggy quilts for her grandchildren.

One of the grandsons has claimed this one.

This quilt started life as a dog's breakfast eclectic pack of eye-spy charm squares. On first seeing them, I wasn't sure how we could pull them together. There were whites, brights, muted country colours and everything in between. 

But we surprised ourselves. We pulled out tone-on-tone prints from the stash, and bordered each charm square. We chose a pale green abstract print for the backing, and the whole thing came together quite nicely! 


I employed my Boy to help me take these photos. He's 15. He loves to help his mother with quilt photography :)

The day was dull and blustery. We were having trouble getting a shot, with each gust of wind blowing the quilt every which way.

But then, genius that he is, Boy said, 'Mum, you realise that if we put the quilt on the other side of the gate, the wind would blow it flat" ...

Aaaah, much better. At least one of us was thinking! Thanks Boy ;)

Sunday, 11 May 2014

For Jessica ... or is it Jessika?

I sewed up this little quilt not long ago for one of my nieces. Jessica has just turned one. While it was intended as her birth gift, I figure she wouldn't have appreciated it much earlier ... would she?!

I have used my 'go-to' baby quilt, the smaller quilt in my 'Abracadabra' pattern, simply because it can be made up so quickly. I have used an assortment of Aneela Hoey fabrics with some Denyse Schmidt prints, and an Amy Butler dot.

Jessica's big sister Kate also has a version of this quilt, so now they can snuggle together wrapped in love from Aunty Ros. 

Their mother, on unwrapping Jessica's gift, looked at me straight, in all seriousness and gasped, "You realise it's Jessika with a 'k'?" I momentarily died a thousand deaths until I caught the cheeky glint in her eye. Naughty!!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Well hello!

You can be fairly sure that when my blog is quiet that there is stuff going down at home. Well, a lot of stuff has been going down lately, most of which is mundane and not very interesting. However, the thing that has been consuming my life recently has been the health of my youngest daughter. We have entered the murky realms of an eating disorder with her. We have kept her from serious harm through sheer blood, sweat and tears. But we are now seeking professional help, and to say it is challenging for all concerned is an understatement! I won't go into details for her sake, but suffice it to say that life is pretty tough right now. We will all be OK. We are exhausted, but determined! It would be sensible to walk away from my blog for a bit, but I feel like it is my one small luxury right now. I do have some sewing and gardening news, and I will share it as I can.

Here is a photo taken in my garden a couple of days ago, 
just to keep you going ... and me! Best wishes, Bloom x

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.

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.

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?!
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