This blog should be called "The Adventures of a Fabric Junkie!". I am passionate about fabric, threads, colours and textures. I can record my crazy quilting, sane quilting, embroidery and everything else that I consider important in my life.

Photo shows my block for the Hurricane Katrina fund-raising quilt "All That Jazz".

Sunday, April 29, 2007

My own block from the Easter Gathering

I have FINALLY finished my thirteenth block - the one for myself. I have used all the colours that were in all of the other blocks, pink, green, aqua, mauve, yellow and cream. I worked my class piece of Melanie Roses on the block and also stitched the variegated green tatted circle which I completed on the plane so it is truly an Easter Gathering block. I can start sewing the squares together now as I think I am only waiting on three blocks to come and I know they are going to go well with the ones I have at the moment and can form the bottom row of the wall hanging quilt. Actually I have some other blocks from a previous DYB swap, I might include them as well.....after all, thirteen is a bit difficult to fit evenly into a quilt....

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ANZAC Day Library Bag......

I have been promising my grand-daughter Taylia that I would teach her to sew on my sewing machine and we decided that if she had a sleep-over Tuesday night then we could make something on Wednesday (ANZAC Day) holiday. I told her she could choose some fabric from my patchwork stash and this girl has good taste - she spotted the hand-dyed fabric pieces that I bought from Catherine at the Easter Gathering and swooped!! Then she had to decide what to make so I suggested a few projects that only involved sewing straight lines and she finally chose to make a new Library bag for school. I couldn't believe how fast she took to the machine - two practice lines on some scrap material and she was off (mind you, I had turned the machine down to half speed)....all I did was cut the strips of fabric, pin them together every 10 centimetres along the edge and rule a guide line with a pencil. I kept thinking how proud my Mum would have been if she could see her great-granddaughter sewing away......maybe Mum could see us, I don't know.......

Work in Progress

This is the outer shell of the library bag before the lining went inside and before the strap handles were sewn. At this point it was a very serious work in progress as you can see from the expression on a seven year old's face. Some of the corners of the squares leave a bit to be desired but hey! when it's the first time you've used a sewing machine, that's OK..... Taylia had been busy for about two hours by this stage and all I had done was cut and pin th pieces of fabric and rule guide lines to sew along.

Sewing the Handles

This was the tricky part, sewing the handles in long, straight lines then sewing across the bottom of each strip. At this point I decided to teach her how to sew in reverse and then forward again to secure the ends of the straps. Her eyes were like saucers when I pushed a knitting needle into the strap and she pulled them inside-out to the right side. Talk about concentration!! I told her that the black pin-tin (actually papier mache) belonged to her Gramps's Grandma so it is very old. The matching lid is on the table somewhere. All I did with the straps were to fold them over lengthwise and put pins in to hold them plus rule the pencil line - Tay did the rest.

The Best Library Bag Ever!!

Success! Taylia is so proud of her finished Library Bag. The only sewing that I did was the line around the top of the actual bag to (a) close the opening where she turned it inside-out and to (b) make the handles a little bit more secure. She took to the sewing machine like a duck to water and made the bag in two 2-hour stretches with a little break in between for Nanna to have a cuppa. I took the photos as she worked so she can take them home to show Mummy and Daddy because she reckoned that they would not believe she did it all herself.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Op Shop Spoils

I had the most wonderful morning shopping in our local Good Samaritans Op-Shop today. I scanned the best bits because I can't believe the fabulous haul. There are two purses, one covered in yellowy/gold sequins and beads and the other one "hand-beaded" in tiny dull gold beads. Eddie is about to "un-hand-bead" them both and at the moment is unpicking abother one which was covered in red beads and coral coloured sequins. Believe it or not, he finds unpicking and sorting beads and sequins off bags, purses and clothing very relaxing and doesn't mind how much I give him to do. There is also a cream waistcoat in the photo with rows and rows of different rayon laces, a pearl collar for unpicking and the very best item would have to be a dull fawny-yellow silk skirt with appliqued machine-embroidered leaves around the bottom. The leaves are attached with stitches about one inch long so real quick and easy to unpick. The leaf veins are yellowy-gold glass beads. That would have cost me $3.50 but because it was 50% off everything in the clothing lines today, I got it for $1.75. Unfortunately, it had been part of a two piece suit and the top was apparently better than the skirt. Although the lady looked high and low for it, it was no-where to be seen and in the end she came to the conclusion that it had "walked" out under a jacket or jumper - what a shame!! Anyway, I am drooling over my spoils in any case....double click on the photo for a larger than life image.

Blocks for Andrea and Margaret



I have finally finished the last two Easter Gathering blocks. The pastel Apricotty one is for Andrea and the blue and yellow one is for Margaret. Now the only one left to do is my own.....mostly pastel colours. At last I can put away all the threads, laces, beads etc which I have been carting around since I took the first blank blocks to England to sew while I was there. Five months later I can put everything back where it came from.........hooray!! Anyway, here are the two blocks, I hope the girls are happy with them. Unfortunately the scanner has created a shadow at the top of Margaret's padded silk print which is not there in the flesh.
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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Fat me.......

Okay, here's the photo that did it!!! Sandie took it while I was waiting for permission to dive into the pile of Chicken Scratch fabric and because she is taller than me, the angle of the photo makes me look even worse. I couldn't wait to get to the local gym and sign up for a whole twelve months after seeing this plus I went shopping and bought all low-fat groceries and will try to stick as closely as possible to the Weight Watchers diet as money and circumstances will allow. Don't worry, I'll be posting more photos of thinner Viv at a much later date!
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Blocks for Norma and Brenda

This is the third time I have tried to publish these two blocks which belong to Norma (top) and Brenda (bottom) who both live in the US. Norma's block is mostly green and cream in keeping with the colours in the skirt of the little Snowflake fairy in the centre picture. I found working on this block was very relaxing probably because of the lovely gentle quiet colours. Norma hasn't seen this block in the flesh yet so I hope she likes it when she sees it.

Brenda's block on the bottom is a lot brighter than I usually do but that was what she requested, ie. Bright colours. This was a fun block and I finally found just the right place to attach the gold Easter Bonnet charm which I received in a swap last year. I dyed the butterfly ages ago and thought it was a bit bright until I realised that it was a perfect balance to the fabric in the bottom corner. I tizzied him up a bit with coral coloured beads on his lower wings. It was great meeting Brenda in the flesh after she had made the long journey from Texas to Australia for the Easter gathering.
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Tatted circle

This is the little bit of variegated green tatting which I did on the plane coming home from the Easter Gathering. I chose a plastic shuttle which didn't have a crochet hook imbedded in one end so that it wasn't regarded as a dangerous weapon of mass destruction! Once it was finished at about the same time as the wheels of the plane came down for landing, it looked a bit like a Christmas wreath. I blocked it flat and attached it to the corner of my own Easter Gathering block then added a corded flower in the centre and little coloured plastic flower beads around the edge. If I do another one for a Christmas wreath, I wouldn't use the variegated thread again, instead I would use a plain dark green one. However, this one looks quite happy on the corner of my block.
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Catherine learning how to TAT

These two photos show Catherine concentrating while I was teaching her to Shuttle-tat. She managed to pick it up quickly and it wasn't long before she was doing knots which slid along the shuttle thread just as they were supposed to. I hope she goes on to complete edgings and motifs for her crazy quilting projects which are beautiful anyway. Check out Catherine's blog "Calidore's Garden Ramblings" in my side panel.
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Melanie Roses

At the Easter Gathering we all took turns at being (a) the teacher and (b) a student. Consequently all of us learnt new skills and techniques which we hadn't known before. Julia taught us how to do "Melanie Roses" using 4ml silk ribbon. This is a block which I am working on for myself and these are my first attempt at Melanie Roses. I am really glad that Julia chose to teach these as apart from being very easy to do, they look totally true-to-life.
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The first crazy quilting blocks for the Easter Gathering

These two blocks are very similar in colour even though the only common fabric is the rose pink satin. The one at the top was for Sandie who very kindly hosted the Easter Gathering. Sandie loves pink so although the picture in the centre was of a darling little Angel walking a pet lamb (Sandie's an animal lover) and mostly greens and creams, there was enough pink in there for me to add pink fabrics and threads. I was really happy with the way the colours combined to create a sort of harmoneous feeling.

The bottom one was for Julia who is primarily a "Victorian" person and loves sludgy colours. She does the most gorgeous crazy quilting using colours on a black background - something I have yet to muster up the courage to try. Her picture was a Victorian style Angel with palm leaves which set the tone of the block. I remember telling Julia that I was working on a block with an Angel in a cream dress with a rose pink shawl around her shoulders and asking her to guess who it was for. "Well, it can't be for me - it must be Sandie's!!" she answered.........which put me off a bit so it got put to the back of the list while I thought about it. In the end, I was happy with it and I think she was too.
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More Easter Gathering blocks

The block at the top of these two was for my friend Mary Lewis. Mary always loves cream on cream so that is what I gave her. The picture in the centre was of a cute little girl Angel leaning on an old cross which was covered in Ivy so I added a little bit of green and gold colours to compliment the cream. I am always amazed at how many shades of cream there are......from yellow cream to greyish cream, whitey cream to pinkish cream........on and on and on......thousands of them!

The bottom picture was Maria's, who had asked for turquoise. I was soooooo far out of my comfort zone with these colours as I usually like either old Victorian colours or bright zingy colours toned down with black. I had heaps of fun trying to match the colours in the old postcard, adding vintage buttons and a gold crucifix charm, beads and sequins. The three flowers on the bottom left were stitched from threads unpicked from a rayon crocheted cardigan (Mary spent hours unpicking that jumper while I was visiting her in Mollymook last October) but the flowers, worked in rows of stem stitch, turned out just right for that corner.
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More Easter Gathering blocks

Here are two more of the Easter Gathering blocks. The top one was for Belinda (Bear) who specifically asked for purples. I tried to add as many shades of purple as I could put together but the picture (which looks a bit blurred here) demanded that I add some complimentery aqua and green colours as well. Nevertheless, I was happy with this block and it passed muster with the people I work with who watched these blocks grow every lunch break.

The bottom block was done for Kathy who has had a bit of a tough time of it lately and requested that no-one do blocks for her because she just didn't have the time to reciprocate. Well, Kathy is our friend and we all thought that she deserved to get a dozen blocks anyway. I hope she likes this one when she eventually gets it.
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Easter Gathering Crazy Quilted blocks

These are the first two of the block I made for other people at the Easter Gathering. The top one was for Maureen who requested Creams and pastels. Everyone had a silk print of an old Edwardian Easter postcard in the centre of their block and Maureen's picture seem to demand yellows, golds and apricot colours to be added to the cream.

The one underneath was for Catherine. Her picture was of a yellow chicken hatching from an egg and surrounded by very pretty pastel coloured flowers. I loved the colours in this block and skipped from one area to the other adding seam treatments and embellishments with the greatest of east as the block sort of "spoke to me" about what it wanted me to add next.
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Easter Gathering of Crazy Quilting friends

As soon as the UK holiday was over, the next exciting thing in my life was the Easter Gathering of the some of the Australia crazy quilters. In the end seven of us plus five husbands manage to get togther at Sandie's place near Port Pirie in South Australia. Pictured here are the other six cquilters. Back row: Brenda from Texas, Maureen from Victoria, Sandie from South Australia. Bottom row: Maria from Tasmania, Catherine from Victoria and Julia from Western Australia. Julia and I plus our DHs Eddie and Reno flew from Western Australia to Adelaide then picked up a hire car and drove to Pt Pirie. We had the best time ever, sightseeing, sewing, learning new skills to use in our crazy quilting, diving in for a Chicken Scratch (I didn't mean to bring home more stuff than I took with me......but everyone knows what happens during a chicken scratch when you see a beautiful piece of fabric that you simply MUST have!) Sadly six other ladies had to pull out for various personal reasons but everybody made a block for each of the others which meant that all of us made twelve blocks to give away and came home with twelve blocks made by twelve other people. Great fun was had by all!!

Flower Fairies

Before we went to England, I bought three Flower Fairy books on and had them posted to my mother-in-law's address so they were waiting for me when I got there. I love the Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker and the little Columbine Fairy is definitely my favourite fairy of them all. I am trying to encourage my grand-daughter Taylia to love them too although at the moment she is in love with Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, just as I was at six or seven yrs of age. I also bought lots of Mill Hill seed beads and over-dyed threads for my crazy quilting on Ebay from UK sellers which were sent to M-i-l's address so it was a bit like an early Christmas for me when we arrived, opening all my parcels.
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Scottish Highlands

We also spent a few days exploring the Scottish Highlands around Fort William and Mallaig and stayed in a lovely Bed & Breakfast called "Glenlochie" at the foot of the mighty Ben Nevis. The snow at the top of the Scottish mountains was the only snow I saw the entire time we were away and it was so far away that it looked more like icing sugar on a huge cake. I've wanted to visit Scotland ever since I was a little kid and was egged on by my grandmother whose father was Scottish. Grandma instilled a great Scottish pride in me but sadly she never actually visited Scotland she would have loved the place! Much to my family's amusement, I played the side-drum in the Perth Ladies Highland Pipeband from when I was twelve until I was fifteen years old and my favourite Scottish singer is Kenneth MacKeller.

View in Wales

We travelled to Wales to spend a few days with Eddie's cousin Rob, his partner Karyn and Rob's 92 yr old mother Aunty Nesta. What a great time we had driving around the Welsh hills with it's patchwork of fields and hedgerows. I asked Rob to stop the car at the top of this hill so I could photograph the landscape. I wish I could capture the view in crazy quilting but that green colour is so peculiar, not at all like the greens in Australia. I think Wales is so pretty and the colours change with the weather.....
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Our Very Special UK friends

Nothing is nicer than catching up with old friends especially when we only see them every three or four years. This particular evening we went to a pub for a meal and a quiz night which was a lot of fun. Marlene on the left is married to Ron in the centre right while Vic at the back on the left is married to Rosalie on the front right and that's me at the back in the black jumper. These are special friends who are always there when we land in England. Ron and Marlene have been to Australia to visit us once but we are still working on Vic and Rosalie.

Blog Catch-up time.

I am so ashamed. I haven't had time to add to my blog since last November. So much has happened since then that I need to go back to November and start at the beginning. In December, Eddie and I went to England to spend Christmas and New Year with his Mum and his extended family. Here is my favourite photo of the two of them together, standing in Anlaby Road in Hull, Yorkshire. My lovely mother-in-law certainly doesn't look 84 years old in this trendy outfit!