Monthly Archives: January 2016

Three Allietare quilts

Had a catch-up in the city today with quilting friends, two of  whom also participated in the Bonnie Hunter mystery over summer.

two topsAs you can see Vireya and Joy have made beautiful tops, Vireya’s in colours to reflect the bush she sees from her sewing room window, Joy used a sharp collection of colours following Bonnie’s suggestions.

three tops

Three tops (actually mine is still just blocks) three interpretations of the same pattern.


Succulent corner

soil in

This is where I was up to last night, all the soil in and a jade plant in a pot in place. The weather again interrupted garden plans, but this time in a good way. There was a thunder storm in the morning and rain continued off and on for most of the day. This is the rain radar at about 1.30pm. I am just above the centre line on the inner circle, therefore inside.weatherIn between showers all the new plants plus the ones salvaged before digging started went in. I am keeping most of the older succulents in their pots and a flying dragon I have had for a long time has finally found a home. I also put the solar panel for the water pump on a star picket. I had thought of getting it onto the roof but the cable isn’t long enough. At 5.00 the sun broke through and the pump got the water moving. I will have to wait for clear day to do the final adjustment.

This corner of the garden is now looking so much better as you come around the side of the house. I now have to patiently wait for the sedum to do their matting and the variegated Aptenia cordifolia to tumble over the sides. It also means the plants beside the steps up to the clothes line are looking a little shabby, and the verandah is still stacked with stuff that really should be thrown out. That is the trouble with improving one room or garden corner, it just highlights the next projects. As for the water feature, at the moment I have covered it with pretty tiles to keep the leaves out and wait for inspiration to strike.


Filling the bath

The weather has been very conducive to digging and other strenuous gardening activity and my bath is now part of the garden. I had to take out a section of the bank to ensure the bath sat level with the drain clear so excess water can get away. The far sides sits on a ledge cut into the bank and the near side is enclosed in stacked bricks. The bottom sits on rock and stones except for the drain. I found another frog, this time it was hiding in the frog of a brick – most appropriate. A fast mover so no photo.

Following the suggestion on the ABC Gardening Australia  website, I used polystyrene pieces to partially fill the tub, covered it with weed mat and then topped with some very nice compost from the nursery. I had a lovely time choosing some new plants as well while I was there.

The black box is a sump (waste water box) for some flowing water I will be installing. I had noticed the neighbours bees making a bee line for the water  that was lying in the bottom of the bath, so I will add a shallow pool for them. Not sure yet what that will look like, but I do have a small solar pump that will keep the water recirculating. When the sun finally came out I was able to test it. You can see the bubble coming up on the left side of the lid.

Wildlife to day is in the form of an Australian White Ibis I have been trying to get a good picture of for ages. I got close enough as he bent his head before taking off to the other side of the pond. He has been living in the reserve opposite for some time, but is wary of people. He will have a bit of a snoop around the place though; he was wandering along the garden path next door the other day when no one was in.

Preparing for a bath

The tub that came out of the old bathroom has been sitting out the back collecting leaves and water for a while. Time to integrate it into the bank and plant it up with succulents. The ground is rocky and an old concrete septic tank is buried below. It is the deepest part of the small cut that was made when the house was built and the tank went only part way into the ground then covered to make this bank. The alternative was blasting the rock that is not far below the surface here. Nothing much will grow in this spot, hence the need for a container garden. garden bankMy first job is to clear out the scrappy marjoram and erigeron, trim the box and move the succulents that still grow in an earlier tub garden.

succulentsThis one was in a half wine barrel, but all that remains is a hoop, the staves are long gone.

I rescued the plants and the top layer of soil that was quite good, then had to dig down through the roots of the nearby quince trees to get the first metal band out.

archeology 1 At this point the dirt is full of roots and is completely exhausted. Because of the trees I used a trowel to get down further to find the lower band of the barrel. When I finally found it, completely buried below roots and stones I half expected Tony Robinson to bounce around the corner exclaiming about the ingenuity of iron age britons and the sophistication and skill shown in the riveted joint.

archeology 2

Then I remembered that this is the wrong hemisphere for such a discovery, and this barrel is a 20th century artefact although the construction technique is much older. I have discovered recently that my great great great grandfather was a cooper in various towns on the River Orwell, Suffolk in the early 1800s. I however have only a little idea of how a waterproof container can be made from wood and metal.

My genuine find is much more satisfying. A beautiful big Eastern Banjo frog, known as a Pobblebonk because of their call, had dug itself into the good soil at the top of the barrel. It was quite puffed up when I first saw it, don’t know who got the biggest shock, but it quickly settled down, posed for the photo then hopped away. Earlier I had seen a much smaller frog or toadlet, but it was too quick to get a good look at it.pobblebonk


Another mystery completed

A bit of light hand sewing was all that was possible in yesterday’s heat which meant I could finally finish the mystery quilt by Di Ford Hall that I have been steadily working on, all by hand, since it was published in Quiltmania in 2014. It is quite big, 179 cm square, so I had to go right to the top of my design wall to fit it in for the photo.montmellick

The final step was the border and I auditioned a lot of fabrics from my stash and hunted out border prints in lots of quilt shops. I settled on a 1999 Moda pillar print by Barbara Brackman and Terry Clothier Thompson that was in my stash and a stripe from Di Ford-Hall’s 2015 Cloverdale design for Andover Fabrics. The pillar print is split down the centre, then to bring the bright mustard back into the quilt, I bordered that with a strip from the Andover fabric. I really like the way the seaweed edge blends the two together. Splitting the big print is one of Di’s techniques and it really works well integrating the border into the body of the quilt. I spent ages measuring and adjusting the fabric so that it would make an interesting pattern at the mitred corners. I am so glad I didn’t rush this final step.border mitreThis mystery started with a centre medallion borderie perse appliqué cut from a large floral VOC Chintz by Petra Prins. I decided to use the mustard colourway of the print rather than the one with a white background and then added a bargello look fabric from the Virginia by Williamsburg collection by Windham Fabrics for the border. There is not very much of the chintz left, it is mainly holes.

As each part of the mystery was published I adapted the colours in the pattern to suit my brighter version. At times I had serious doubts about this, but with the encouragement of my many friends at different sewing groups I kept on going. There is so much to learn from making a quilt like this, it makes you look at each piece of fabric very carefully for its design potential. Nearing the end I thought it was looking a little dull, so brought a touch of the bright Windham fabric back in to the stars in the final round.

Here is the original quilt made for the magazine and using the fabrics which were sold as a kit . The details of the magazine issues are on the Quiltmania website (there is one stray picture, not sure what it is from) and the whole pattern can now be purchased from various quilt shops.46-Quilt-Mystere-di-ford

And if you want a closer look at my finished top click on these segments.

Lucky 13

My mystery quilt, which is no longer a mystery, is finally coming together. Over the weekend I started assembling blocks from all the units made in the in the first five parts of the Allietare mystery.


first block

First block on the design wall looked good. By the end of Sunday I had used up all the units I had and ended up with thirteen blocks and some of the setting triangles.

thirteen completed

This is too few to do justice to the pattern but at least I now have a bit of an idea of how a complete quilt in these colours will look.  I guess I will be making a lot more of these blocks over the next few weeks.

Quiltville’s Mystery Monday Linkup Reveal has 98 other versions of this Bonnie Hunter mystery.



Allietare progress

Seeing the reveal of Bonnie Hunter’s 2015 mystery has motivated me to get on with the final steps. I am very happy with the way my colours are working together in the different units so far.

step 4

Step 4

step 5a

Step 5 uses the half square triangles made in step 1. Aren’t they pretty!

step 5b

These units, also made in Part 5 are used in part blocks as the final blocks are on point. I’m very happy my “neutrals” have so much pattern in them as most of the other fabrics read as solids.

I now have to make some more of the four patches from part 3 to have enough units to make some complete blocks and check out how all the colours work together.