Saturday, July 17, 2010


After working at a cracking pace, I have completed 48 half square triangle blocks of crazy patchwork. 39 blocks have been completed since Friday afternoon. I like to do quilts that aren't repetative, hence the rush to get this part done before I lost interest and had 20 metres of fabric kicking around my sewing room, cut up into pieces. Originally I had both machines set up - one for sewing and one for doing the decorative work, however I changed tack and decided to concentrate on the worst part!!
All the blocks have been sewn using tear away paper as the foundation. There will probably be a few days work trying to rip this out, but I need the paper under the blocks anyway to do the decorative embroidery stitches. I will also add a few butterflies and such with the embroidery machine - let's face it, I am on a roll now, and what was a going to be a strip quilt is now but a distant memory.
This tear away is the iron on type, this meant I could stick down the butterfly feature fabric, and then start adding the other fabrics.
For this type of crazy patchwork, the centre piece should have an uneven (in this case 5) number of sides. Because of the print of the fabric, a couple of mine did end up with 6 sides.

Crazy patchwork is achieved by simply sewing strips of fabric around your chosen centre. It is important to sew a seam, press back, then lay another strip of fabric across and sew, trim back any excess, press open and so on.
Just keep working around until the centre is filled and then work out to each corner. Something I did learn along the way - it is better just to cut your fabric into strips, rather than pieces. I had some small bits of fabric from the stash and I thought it would be a good idea to cut them up into 48 pieces - 1 for each block - but this made them difficult to use. Better to decide how far you think the fabric will go - say 12 out of 48 and then replace that fabric in the next 12 blocks, with something else. They can then all be mixed and matched at the end.

Just keep sewing, trimming and pressing until all the gaps are filled. These will now have the decorative stitching completed and then be trimmed up. At least during the construction phase I managed to empty 10 bobbins that had been half filled with assorted colour thread. It will never be seen.
Stay tuned!! Sue xxx

Monday, July 12, 2010


It's been a long day today, but look what was waiting on my arrival home. A large parcel from Hancocks. Lots of mermaids and sea creatures and suitably co-ordinating stripes and swirls. Oh and some batik, which comes at the right time, it goes perfectly with the purple stuff at the bottom of the page.

There are many days as the mother of a teenage boy, when the question "What the....?" is asked.
Here we have an example. The following is a small series of photo's that answers the question "Why are there small bits of toilet paper behind the door of the toilet" I think these photo's solve that age old mystery!!

This little game had been going on for quite some time.

At the quilt group last week, we were playing with "quilt as you go". I bought truckloads of fabric for the exercise, because I am keen to make a bedspread/quilt complete with pillow cover the works. I did 4 squares and hated them. I was going for girly and I got male geometric.

So I went through the elusive stash (you know, the pile of fabric that never, never, ever matches anything you need) and actually found a couple of bits and pieces and then I went back to the fabric shop and bought a couple more bits and so now I have done this.

Much more girly, and much more work. 4 squares done - 44 to go. It is big.
Here is Norman, sitting on some of the fabric selection, he is working out which colour will show up better when he sheds, white or black, black or white, decisions, decisions.

I was having a bit of a Masterchef moment last week, so I bought these. Two good things are immediately apparent. 1. I can't set fire to the handles and 2. The handles can't fall off, ever. This should minimise the chances of the great tomato soup spillage of Christmas 2009 from occuring again and questions like "what is that smell?"
And I made one of these -

In my quest to get some artwork up on the walls, I put this together.

It's a bus/tram roll for the uninitiated. They are the latest thing. I bought a canvas, I was going to do stencils and then I had a brain wave - the camera shop - one week later and no mess and best of all it is done.
The other domestic goddess moment I had was with this. I can't wait to see the possums balanced on this sucker. Should be a laugh a minute.
Whilst out in the garden, I spied these two beauties, certainly a great splash of colour on a cold Melbourne afternoon.

And just to give him some recognition, here's Harv.

Til next time. Sue xxx

Friday, July 9, 2010


This type of finish is used in the place of binding. You can use the same fabric as the border, the back, a contrast - the choice is yours. I used this method for this particular quilt because for some reason I had some sort of brain infarct and the back wasn't big enough - oops.

Check the edges of your quilt to see if any adjustments need to be made to the width and length. I do this by folding in to the middle. Do the edges overhang? If so, you will need to adjust them, just as you do with a normal binding. Measure through the middle of the quilt or take a couple of measurements across the quilt (whatever method works for you). Cut your strips a little longer than this measurement. Mark with a couple of pins, the start and finish leaving the excess evenly at each end. Quarter and eighth this strip, marking with a pin at each point. Make a matching second strip for the other end. Now fold and pin the quilt top into quarters and eighths. Pin the strips, right sides facing each other, matching your marking points. Do both ends. Ease if necessary. Stitch these strips into position using a 1/4inch seam. Leave the end pins marking where it should line up with the edge of the quilt and start stitching about an inch in. Don't bother to tie on and off as you will need to undo some stitches shortly.

Repeat for the other two sides. Make sure you open out the ends so you don't accidentally sew over them. Take the quilt to the ironing board.

You are going to make a mitred corner now. The edge just sewn on to the quilt should be laying flat on the quilt - right sides together - this will be a little messy at the corners for a minute. Peel back the first piece of fabric from the corner and fold back on itself creating a 45degree fold. The fabric will now be wrong sides together in the corner. It should line up with the corner of the quilt. Fold back the other piece of fabric, it should look like the picture below.

Press in a fold line on both pieces. This is where you may find it easier to undo a few stitches. Pin the the pieces together following the fold lines and stitch.

Trim the seam and press open. Restitch around the corner, making sure everything sits flat.

If you are just going to do a straight facing, you will now just need to trim the corners back and then flip the facing over to the back. (You can join me in a minute for the finishing).# If you wish to do curved edges or scallops, you are now going to need to draw up some paper templates to create a placement guide.

For this example I did a scallop template. You will need to decide how deep you wish to take the scallop - this example is 1 inch. Fold your paper into a concertina type fold or just do two or three folds. If you are doing a more sweeping design for the edges, you may need to make a full size template or just draw up one half, but remember to flip it over where necessary.

Cut out the desired shape. You will need to take care if you are doing scallop type designs. Every single scallop needs to have the same side depth. If you are doing a round corner, you will need to draw this in.

The best methods for marking out the templates is to either start bang in the centre and work out or start in the corners if you have some specific shape in mind for those, and then work towards the centre. You can adjust these shapes to get a pleasing arrangement when you get to the centre.

The following photo shows the back of the quilt. The facing in position on the front, waiting to be flipped to the back. You can also see the stitched line that you have completed (1). (2) shows the template line that you will sew on. When drawing the template, do not draw above the sewn line - if you are doing scallops or curves, they will end up with flat tops (3).

Now sew on your drawn line, remember this is the stitching line. If you are doing curves make sure you have your needle down when sewing, it will make for sharper corners and cleaner curves.
Trim back the fabric to a 1/4inch seam, clip the curves and make "v" notches where appropriate, trim off any corners.
#Flip the facing over to the back of the quilt and adjust the seam line, by rolling between your fingers, until the seam is either right on the edge or just rolling to the back. Pin until you are ready to press.
Now as we all know, a third hand would come in very handy at this point, especially when you are trying to roll, press and take a photograph - with the back of the quilt facing you, and with pins removed from the area where you are going to work, adjust the facing by pulling towards you a little and press at the same time. Continue around the entire quilt. Remove the pins before you press as you will end up with marks.
Using a suitable thread - needle and bobbin, stitch around the entire quilt. Work from the front and stitch using either a straight stitch or decorative stitch with tensions adjusted accordingly.
To finish off the raw edge, undo a few stitches from the corners and fold the fabric under. Press and pin, then slip stitch into position. As you are stitching, make sure you secure these corners as you go.

And there you go, a faced wavy edge. (Yes I know I started out with scallops, but there was a mishap - okay!! - it involved scissors and clipping).

For enquiring minds, the turtles are machine embroidered and came from Embroidery Library.
Hope this is of help to some of you.
Till next time.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I am, without a doubt, a big girl's blouse. I fear many things, but the thing that is "fearing" me most at the minute - well the last year and a half anyway, is "the Dentist". My dentist had the nerve to retire. This left me in a dilemma of major proportions, who would take the time to drug me, keep me calm, what to do. I remained at the same surgery because they do gas, and a few other drugs, that allow the dentist to get on with their work without me "assisting" . This worked well as a system for many years, so I decided to try another dentist in this practice. This dentist was a newby and when I returned a couple of days later complaining of tooth pain on the wisdom tooth just filled(yes I still have all of mine), x rays were taken and it was decided I needed a root canal. Next dentist in the practice to have a go, was herein after referred to as Dr Kevorkian. I was suitably drugged up and gassed and ready to go. First needle, he says - do you gag? and without a reply something hits the back of my throat, even drugged I start to flail, "just some salt to help with the gag reflex" - he starts to drill, I yelp, another injection and the drill hits the tooth again, apparently I have now wasted enough of his time and am sat upright and told to wait in the waiting room for my beloved to come and get me. Mental note, find a new dentist. A referral is made for an endodentist - they don't do drugs. I am now panicking. Endodentist suggests jaw issue not root canal - I ask him about new dentist - he recommends one (4th dentist in three weeks) - he looks at me and recommends his associate (5th dentist) - there is talk of crowns - many crowns (obviously he has many children requiring private school tuition or has a world cruise booked). Crown one is completed - this is not without incident, but I try not to cry whilst I am in the surgery, only in the car on the way there and on the way back. A couple of months go by and I head back for crown two. I suggest perhaps we could look at drugs, he assures me that I did so well the first time around, that I will be fine - I double my deodorant strength, I sweat, I shake, I cry, and mostly I panic. Get to the temporary crown part, two days in I ring and ask about the fact that my face feels like it is on fire - guess what - you need a root canal - good gravy - my blood pressure is going through the roof. Back to the endodentist (different one this time - that makes dentist 6) and we are only in June. Still no drugs on offer - they have the audacity to ask me to be still whilst trying to inject me - not just one lot, but 4 lots of needles to numb my face and don't get me started on the "dam". I endured the two root canal treatments with a temporary crown. This became almost comedic as I would be back at the dentist every two weeks or so (I think they lost money on this one) having to get the stupid thing re glued. I lost it on a long weekend and had to go to see an emergency dentist to get it re stuck, (dentist 7), I lost it on holidays in July (kept in a safe place that time, until I got back home) apparently in Cairns the dentist didn't have 5 minutes for a re glue and wouldn't be able to fit me in for a week!! Of course, by the time the root canal and waiting time had passed the proper crown that had been cast month earlier - DIDN'T FIT - you know what this means don't you - another set of impressions - oh the indignity of it all. So fast forward to the start of this year and its time for teeth cleaning - that fabulous form of water boarding that you get to pay for, still showing fear, still being reassured I would be fine. I then loose a temporary filling on another tooth that was lined up for a crown. With shoulders slumped, I return once again to my arch nemesis. After discussing options with regards to making a start there and then, (his faithful assistant is in the background making noises about mixing the impression stuff) he can see the deranged look that is forming on my face (he had seen it before on tooth two) - we opt for another temporary filling - let's face it, I wasn't going to open my mouth if I saw the impression plate coming at me - by the end of this session - the dentist admits defeat. He says - "you know - I hate to see you so distressed" -I interrupt with - "not as much as I am hating to see ME so distressed -"so I think I should give you a Valium for your next visit". A Valium(READ ONE) - is he kidding - I could drive on A VALIUM - I make an appointment for some time in the future or when the next temporary filling falls out and hit the Internet. And there I found it, the holy grail of dentistry - sleep dentistry - I make an appointment - he is a nice quietly spoken chap and his faithful assistant looks into my eyes and I feel calm - yes - you can get that done whilst you are asleep, no you won't know anything about it. I leave the surgery feeling like the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders - appointments are made. Fast forward to last week the visit went off without a hitch - one minute I was talking to the anesthetist and the next I was awake and in an armchair drinking apple juice and taking my coffee with a syringe with my beloved leaning over to wipe up the overspill. SO calm, so easy - I still have to deal with the actual crown fitting, but if you have terror at the thought of the dentist this is the way to go. Whilst all of these dentists (with the exception of Dr Kevorkian) were all very calm and patient and even though my appointments that should have gone for a hour, went for longer because I kept stopping them and generally interfering - they didn't get the "fear" and were convinced that in some superior being fashion they could fix it when in reality I was under so much stress and it was only making it worse. So for those of you who feel the fear, you are not alone, there quite probably is no rational reason for the fear, but this may be a way to resolve it for you. True, you are not actually fighting it (cause your asleep) but as long as you have somebody to drive you home, who cares??