Wednesday 30 November 2011

Summer's Blush - a new layer cake PDF quilt pattern

My quilt that I have been making from Fig Tree's 'Strawberry Fields' range is finally bound and ready for snuggling under.

The weather has been dismally wet, and it has been tricky getting some good photos.

This quilt is the largest I've made, and fits our queen bed. After years of procrastinating over a quilt for our bed, I've finally produced the goods! And I am really happy with it. I love this Fig Tree line.

I pieced the backing since I had insufficient meterage of any fabric to back it in one. I pulled together all sorts fabric bits and joined them in strips.  

I love how the back has come together, and it fortuitously makes the quilt virtually reversible!

I have called the quilt 'Summer's Blush'. The soft colours of the 'Strawberry Fields' fabrics reminds me of late summer, of freshly picked, warm strawberries, and full blown roses, faded to blush in a hot Australian sun.

I have written up a pattern for the quilt which is now available as a PDF download in the shop.

Pattern details

The quilt is constructed from a layer cake plus yardage for the sashings and borders. The layer cake was purchased from Jane at Want It, Need It, Quilt It. I have used a linen/cotton blend fabric for the nine-patch elements. 

Quilt size: 93” x 93” (236cm x 236cm) 
Block size: 16” finished

The pattern includes: 
List of fabric requirements 
Detailed cutting, layout and assembly instructions and diagrams 
Helpful tips throughout 
Binding instructions

The pattern is an 11-page 2.3MB downloadable and printable PDF document. There are more details available in the shop listing.

As a little pre-Christmas thank you to each of you who read my blog and leave universally encouraging comments, all patterns in my shop will be discounted to AU$7.00 for three days.

Pattern prices in the shop will return to AU$8.50 per pattern at 11pm AEST on Saturday 3rd of December.

I'm off to snuggle :)

Paper Kites and rain ... so much rain

My find for this week is a gorgeous song called 'Bloom' (!) by The Paper Kites, an up-and-coming Indie band out of Melbourne.

If you enjoyed that one, then try 'Featherstone' - sweet film clip; watch it to the end!

And if you love them as much as I do, both songs are able to be downloaded free from this page @ Triple J Unearthed.

This music is soothing my mood today. Easy, sweet, comforting and a tad melancholy. The rain clouds are building again outside, casting a grey impending gloom. We have had SO MUCH rain. The crops are a disaster. Trying not to think about it. 

My roses have been blown to the ground in the wind and rain, so I have been collecting them up, trimming the spent blooms and coercing the buds to open. These are the lovely David Austin, 'Strawberry Hill'. 
I am pattern writing today and hope to be back later today with photos of my 'Strawberry Fields' quilt and a shop update. 
Bloom x

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Sixteen and stepping out in style

How is it that 16-year-old girls today are SO beautiful and SO sophisticated? Here are some photos from my daughter's Year 10 Formal on Saturday. Lovely, lovely dresses - all short, but thankfully not as short as last years'! And with legs like theirs ...

The hairstyles were very pretty, lots of curls and up-dos.
And the shoes!! Oh my! Without exception, they were spectacularly high. Within about half an hour the groans set in, the hobbling started and complaints flew: "Why did I wear these shoes"? Seems their mothers were right, huh?!  Just sayin'!

I grew up on a farm with three brothers, so I'm not that great with the 'girl stuff'. But I'm sure getting an education via my daughter and her friends! They were all astonishingly beautiful. I am still reeling and wondering where the last 16 years have gone :)

Wednesday 23 November 2011

A class with Sarah Fielke

I spent five glorious hours on Saturday at Patchwork Orange in a class with Sarah Fielke. We had a wonderful day that passed far too quickly, blissfully absorbing Sarah's knowledge, and talking about this, that and everything. We covered everything from needle threaders & thimbles, needleturn applique and hand-piecing to bullying, Japanese culture, and education in Brethren schools! Thank you to Lucy, the owner of Patchwork Orange for organising a great day.

A highlight of classes with Sarah is that she brings many of her divine quilts. I love seeing these quilts up close. They are even more stunning in real life! 

On this trip, Sarah brought:
'The Night Garden', a beautiful little quilt, with light fabrics sparkling vibrantly across a deep blue and green background.
And the 'Wing and a Prayer' quilt. This quilt won the 'Best Reproduction Quilt Inspired by an Antique Quilt' award at the The Sydney Quilt Show in June 2011. It is technically excellent and visually stunning.
Sarah spoiled us with a peek at some pre-release fat quarters of her new fabric range, St Ives. It was very special to see this range before it hits the shops. The story behind this range is personal to Sarah, being a representation of many things from her childhood and a tribute to her mother. You can share the story at this post over at True Up. Oooh, and we each got to keep a little piece of St Ives to take home. This was my choice:
Sarah also brought her first quilt made from St Ives. This is 'Made in Cherry' and is available as a free pattern at Lecien. Sarah made four of these for Market, one in each colourway of her new range - impressive! 
So did I actually do anything other than talk and drool over quilts? Well, no, not much. But I was keen to have Sarah show me how to hand-piece the block from her 'Jazz Hands' quilt.
I know I've sung Sarah's praises before, but I feel I need to do it again. She is a most inspiring quilter, with a brilliant knack for paying homage to traditional quilt designs, while catapulting them into the 21st century with her unique and fun flair. She is wonderfully generous with her knowledge. And for the quilting superstar that she is, she is so refreshingly understated about her work and achievements. Hmmm, this is starting to sound like a school report comment :) 
Signed: Ms Bloom x

Friday 18 November 2011

Marally workshop

I had the pleasure (yes, pleasure!) of teaching my first ever workshop yesterday at Marally Craft.
As you all assured me, there was absolutely nothing to worry about, the girls were all just lovely and we had a great day.
Here we all are with the day's creations; from left, Wendy, Val, Kate, Susan and me.

It was such a thrill to see these women work with my pattern and come up with such beautiful and unique versions.
Susan was working with pretty and subtle shades of green and pink. Love that striped piping! Despite arriving with the declaration that she was an embroiderer, not a patchworker, Susan coped brilliantly!
It was very exciting to finally meet 'Show and Tell' Kate. I had heard many lovely things about her, but somehow we had never crossed paths.
Kate was working with Anni Downs' gorgeous new fabric line 'My Favourite Things'. That little peep of red piping really made these fabrics pop. Kate is a prolific stitcher, and works meticulously - her blog is a 'must-see'.
Val created this very cheerful version with 'Happy Campers' by American Jane. I love how the yellow and black measuring tape works with this range. Oooh, and more striped piping - lovely!
Wendy went 'fun and funky' with her stunning lime green and purple fabrics. The measuring tape simply looked silly with these fabrics, and was quickly replaced with some perfect lime ric-rac.
Wendy had us all impressed with her choice of fabrics. She had noticed some wonderful spotty sewing baskets at Marally, and decided to purchase one each for her daughter and daughter-in-law for Christmas. 
She plans to make up the mat, thread keeper and pincushion to match the baskets, for the most wonderful Christmas gift, so thoughtful and generous!

Thank you ladies for making my debut workshop such a positive experience, and to the girls at Marally who took care of our every need. I had the best time. Let's do it again soon :)

Tuesday 15 November 2011

I ♥ my quilter

My Strawberry Fields quilt is back, and as usual Belinda (Eucalypt Ridge Quilting) has magically transformed it. She adds a beauty to my designs that is impossible for me to achieve.
As I was picking up my quilt, we got to talking about the concept of losing ownership of a quilt if you outsource the quilting. I confess to once feeling that I was 'cheating' to get someone else to quilt my work. I'm over it. Life's too short. These days, it is an enormous relief to hand my quilt tops over to Belinda, in complete trust that she will do something beautiful with them. If not for her, I would have completed the top, and it would have languished in the corner incomplete because quilting with my domestic machine frustrates me. I still quilt small pieces myself, but at 93" square, this baby was way too big to wrestle with.

We decided to use Anne Bright's 'Strawberries' design for my quilt, to link with the strawberry theme of the Fig Tree fabrics.
Can I take a moment to sing Belinda's praises? You won't hear it from her as she's not a 'blow-your-own-trumpet' sorta gal! She turned my quilt around in 10 days, despite my telling her that there was no particular hurry for it! My quilts don't challenge Belinda much because they are usually edge-to-edge designs, but I can tell you, this woman is an unbelievable quilter. She has won awards at major quilting festivals, both national and international, for her spectacular work. I have pinched these examples from her blog, to prove my point:
The precision and detail in her exhibition quilts are extraordinary. And when I get to occasionally see them in real life they take my breath away!
Belinda is also regularly called upon to quilt collaborative charity projects for Australian Homespun.
There are countless more examples of Belinda's exquisite quilting on her blog and at her website gallery.
As for my simple little quilt, all that remains to do is the bind. Pure pleasure!

Sunday 13 November 2011

Turning can'ts into cans

I have been asked by the lovely girls at Marally Craft in Orange to teach a workshop. Yep, quietly terrified about that prospect, but I've stepped out of my comfort zone and accepted!
The workshop is on this Thursday 17th November. If you are nearby and would like to bear testament as to how terrified Bloom can be join us, please contact Marally Craft on 
ph: 02 6362 3860 or email:
I have put together a slideshow of some of your versions of my 'Beyond Measure' patterns to inspire the girls who are coming to the workshop. I thought you might enjoy it too.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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My thanks to all the lovely women who have purchased my patterns and made them up. And to these ladies in particular for the use of their photographs:
Tilly, a friend of Josie @ Dilly Dimple

And because I know you'll ask about the stunning Australian designed fabrics used by Jess, the 'Mikko' fabric is by Surface Art, available here,
and Saffron Craig's designs are available here.

Think of me on Thursday! Despite the fear, I am really looking forward to it and know it will be lots of fun :)
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