Monday, December 10, 2012

More Blocks from Carol

 Well Carol has been busy. Two more blocks from Collection 2.  The beautiful floral and pink I called Flamboyance, while the sparkling one below was originally called Not Here Thanks. 

Raconteur was such a great quilt for allowing an unbelievable array of fabric designs and colours to be used.  While these two may look world's apart I used equally as diverse fabrics.  Some even made it into the quilt while others made it into the not this time pile. 

It may surprise people to realise that there were about thrity blocks left over when I completed Raconteur.... You would think that as I am an ex-maths teacher I would have been able to count how many blocks were needed.  But then which quilter doesn't have left over blocks... the beginnings of another quilt?

Not Here Thanks
Not Here Thanks was named as my family drove through one of those nuclear free suburbs which have the signs declaring as you drive into it. 

We were on the way to visit a friend in the hospital and we wondered if people living in that area would also reject nuclear medicine in their treatments. 

In this day and age nuclear medicine gives quick, accurate diagnosis of conditions such as cancer, heart disease and numerous others. In some cases, radiation is used to treat the condition. Just a wonder?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

First Entry

Yesterday I received the first entry int a competition I am running and it came from Carol Le Maitre. Carol has finished the block I called 'Merry Xmas'. Don't you just love her colours they are so vibrant.. they were even more vibarant before I converted her jpeg for uploading to the web too.  I can't wait to see more. 

She is now working on one of the hand pieced blocks and hopefully we will see it soon.

In an effort to get as many people as possible to send in a photo of their finished block/s I decided that I would do a draw periodically from everyone who sends in a photo of their finished projects.  The prize... why more patterns of course.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pattern Sale

To celebrate the recent success of Raconteur at the South Australian Festival of Quilts and also the fact that it appeared on the cover of the latest issue of Australian Patchwork and Quilting I am having a sale on the pdf patterns check out the sale prices here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Collection 3

Here it is Collection 3.... so that is two down and only 57 to go:(  

When I put it like that I am not sure when , or sometimes if, I will ever finish this.

At this stage it is still fun.. which explains why it is that I am still wide awake at this unearthly hour, almost 1am.  In this photo you can see how I filled out the edges along the top.  I had made those stripy sections ages ago for a lone star quilt... that's another story.  Anyway when I had finished all of the collections I didn't have enough time or ideas to make small filler blocks and then remembered I had these leftovers.  As you can see they are just perfect .

Well better hit the sack. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Friends have asked me why I made the hexagons so small.  Well there are several reasons for this
1. I am a scrooge economical and didn't want to waste too much fabric trying out my new idea.
2. I am a scrooge loathe to waste and wanted to use as much of the piece of paper as I could.  Six hexagons fitted comfortably onto an A4 sheet of paper.
3. I wanted a portable project.
4. The tin which I was given at the Sydney Scquilters retreat was only small and so the blocks couldn't be too big if they were going to fit.
5. I thought my first sample was so cute I decided to keep all of the blocks that size.
6. I was only going to make a few blocks for a wall hanging for the Sydney Quilt Show.

The next question was then why did I make such a large quilt.
1. One of my first few blocks had only seven pieces and I was told that they were too big to be really classed as miniatures so I decided to make a lap quilt.
2. After making a few, well ok after making many, I decided that there was no way either of my boys would want a quilt like this so I may as well make it a usable size so queen size it may as well be.
3. 300+ blocks later I calculated that I had made too many blocks for a queen sized quilt so may as well make it for our own bed.  We have a king size bed.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Before and After

 Here is a photo of one of the blocks which I decided to machine piece.  Doesn't that look cute?  If you look carefully at the autumn coloured piece of fabric near the bobbin you will see a pin .. this is a clover applique pin which is only tiny.

Also looking carefully you can see on the foundation paper the markings for three feathers.... they are also very cute.

And here you can see the finished block... a feathered star.  I couldn't resist trying it after seeing some unbelievable feathered stars made by Jane Gibson a couple of years ago at the Jamberoo retreat. 

If you blow up the picture until the outer edge of the hexagon, the outer edge of the border around the hexagon that is, is 2 1/4in you will be able to see the block full size.

For anyone curious about the numbers this block has 138 pieces.  It should have only been 134 but I had to add four extra strips on the edges as I made it a tiny bit too small.  btw there is another block with more's cute too.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

 Well here it is my ribbon.  Doesn't it look great.  Oh I still find it hard to believe.  

Besides the ribbon Charles Parsons donated 28FQs from the St. Ives range by Sarah Fielke for the  prize.  I think it must be the entire range.  I have absolutely no  idea what I will do with these as they are so far out of my comfort zone but I know that I have to start making a baby quilt for a niece who likes modern things and so I suspect that these will be the highlights. 

What a great day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Second Viewer's Choice

Woo who!! Just found that I received second viewer's choice at the Sydney Quilt show.  Can't believe it.  First entry was this stunner of an applique quilt by Rhonda Pearce. I could say that one day I will make a quilt like that but that would simply be a complete and total lie with absolutely no chance of my even thinking of starting it,let alone putting needle to thread and fabric.

Applique is generally a favored technique in the Sydney Quilt Show and so I even included some in Raconteur. 

My first attempt was the tried and trusty buttonhole version but I knew that wouldn't cut the ice in the professional category..even though my stitches were perfect and exactly the same size throughout.  I suppose that was the problem machine buttonhole isn't really that difficult to manage these days.

So for my second attempt I tried needle turn applique and even choose a difficult circle.  Ok so a circle doesn't have many points as such. Well yes when you put it like that I do have to agree that it doesn't have any points but isn't that why I chose it? and I did turn them over some cardboard, using a needle.... and tack them then iron them to size and also baste them into place before appliqueing them onto the background fabric.

Then finally in an attempt to include some 'real' applique I decided to do broderie perse, as a friend who once tried to teach it to me said, 'It is a great technique as no-one knows where your piece should start or finish.'  And so I ventured into the broderie perse exercise.  After several attempts I realised why I hadn't spent much time doing it matter that someone might not know where it should start or finish it wasn't that easy if everything looked like a great big blah!!  Now I know you will say but it looks good and I must admit without a shade of blushing that in real life it looks fantastic.  

So why the fantastic result after such a dismal effort. The reason, which I will reveal shortly, is the same reason that my next block is also super fantastic.  I have to admit that there is no short cut to precise points, both inward and outward bending, nor to curved curves.  It is just practice, practice and more practice.  Many years of it I must admit.

I suppose while I'm admitting things I should also admit that Merelyn Pearce did both of these lovely little blocks for me.  So if your applique skills are as good, or more precise atrocious, as mine simply find a friend.

For those non-Australians reading this let me just say that Merelyn does unbelievable applique and has won Best of Australia with her applique quilts a record three times, she generally doesn't applique anything as simple as this... it was my design choice and her skill...perfect match?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Not Another Error

You won't believe this but if you look closely at the cover for the previous post you will see that I have misspelt my own name  in my email addy. Just for fun I think I will redo all of the covers tomorrow. Phooey!

Cover Completed

Well here it is my first cover.  Personally I think it's great but that is a totally biased opinion from a person who has worked really hard on this for way too long:)

It's funny but I finished this a few days ago and it was only last night while I was talking with my son on Gvideo, similar to Skype but with less interference.  Anyway as I was talking with him I was trying to upload this onto the net when I realised that I had an error in it. 

I had written the edge length for the small hexagons but the length across the longest middle for the large hexagon.  Wouldn't have been so bad but I have been busy scaffolding my patterns for the past week and that part was already set up in ALL of the blocks.  Oh well gave me something to do this morning....copy and paste the samething many times.  Hopefully I don't run across another repeated error.

Anyway what do you think of the cover layout?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Collection 1 - not yet

I have been writing up my patterns when I thought someone might ask why didn't I call the first collection, Collection 1
Well the reason for this is that when I made Raconteur so as to not muck up the  placement I numbered every collection left to right, top to bottom... including the corners and half blocks.  So as you can see Collection 1 is a corner block.  

If I manage to get around to marketing this pattern I think people will want to start with full blocks rather than corners and so I figured I would start by writing those up first.  Secondly I will do the half blocks and then finally I will do the corner blocks.  I think I will put all of the half and corner collections together into one collection, but I will worry about that when I get there.  But for now I will simply work on the full blocks.  

Mind you this was one of my favourite blocks.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Collection 2 written

Yes that's right I have managed to write up the instructions for the first of the 59 collections. Well actually the first of the 49 full collections. I am sure the part blocks aren't going to take me anywhere near as long as I have already completed the foundation papers for those.

It took me three days to write up all of the instructions and then my laptop wouldn't talk to my printer...temperamental thing! Anyway as the laptop wouldn't talk to the printer I had to transfer the file onto a thumb drive and then onto my Mac. 

All was going well when Charmaine phoned. So of course being of the modern age I figured anyone can multitask when the only tasks I am needing to do are copy onto a thumb drive and talk. Not hard you say. 

Unfortunately my thumb drive was too full to take the file. So no problem all that was needed was to delete some stuff off the thumb drive... some things like old back up files of my past three days work. Delete..still not enough space....delete .. more space needed.. I know the problem is that I haven't been emptying the recylce bin so although I have dragged the files away they are still taking up space....seemed logical to me. 

empty bin... 'are you sure? asks polite PC. "you bet I am ... so away it goes. 

Now to drag across file.... It's gone!! Oh phooey. I hadn't been clearing out my thumb drive I had been clearing out my hard drive! Including my back up files. Three days work down the drain!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Story Begins

Raconteur - The Storyteller's Collection. 

Well I have finally finished it. Only six years in the making but it is finally over and done!!! 

Lots of numbers to please the mathematicians among you. There are 49 full blocks, 8 half blocks to fill out the sides and 4 corner blocks to taper the corners. 
Each small hexagon, called a block, has a side length of 2 1/4in AFTER the borders are added. Put seven blocks together and you have a collections. Add a frame around all of those to make it into a larger hexagon with sides of 7 1/8in. So you can see we are talking about big blocks.. well they are big when they reach the collection stage. 

I counted the pieces and came up with 13931.. a palindromic number. To confirm my numbers Paul then counted them and came up with 14,281.... close but not really. Anyone else want to count? 

I must run now so check back in a week or so for further info if you are interested in how this darling quilt came to be.