Category Archives: quilting

Japanese Ginkgo progress


This block was started in a workshop with Deirdre McElroy of Roxanne’s products a very long time ago. The design is on of five ginkgo leaf patterns based on Japanese Family Crests. At the time I was just a beginner at needle turn appliqué and learned a lot.

Recently I needed some hand sewing to take to a get together and retrieved the package of fabric and pattern from the bottom of a basket. Fortunately the appliqué was thread basted and so no problems with rusty pins! I really enjoyed completing the block, but did not have any more of the fabric, which really didn’t work well anyway.

After a hunt through my stash I found two very different fabrics that worked well together and so got started on this new project. My skills have obviously improved as stitching the five blocks was no challenge at all. It helps having a finely woven batik that turns like a dream and a very fine needle and thread.

All the blocks were finished and assembled by the end of July. I added a border to protect the edges as lots more appliqué is needed before the top is complete.


The gold fabric I chose looks beautiful but it has quite a loose weave in the self stripe. This has made the reverse appliqué of the bamboo quite tricky. Lots of tiny stitches are needed to hold everything in place. This has slowed progress but I have finally completed the first of the eight setting triangles.

Showcase 2017

I spent a most enjoyable day at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. As usual most of the time was spent catching up with friends, doing a little shopping and looking at the wonderful showcase of quilts.

It was also very exciting to see lots of members of my quilt group Waverley Patchworkers doing well in the judged competition. All the grinning winners can be seen at Waverley Winners at Showcase 2017.

Other quilts that I felt deserved a really close look were:

Best of Show Colourful Retina by Sugy Kim. It is mainly executed by hand including the quilting. My guess is the detailed print fabric seen in the third photo is a Liberty and was the starting point for this quilt.

Jacobean Revival, a small quilt by Julie Adamson. The background, quilting and some of the appliqué fabrics are silk. It won awards for excellence in appliqué and hand quilting.

Another appliqué quilt, but with very different subject matter. It reminded me of a collectors case. The vine is adapted from a William Morris pattern. Called Dance of Life – There’s always one out of step it is by Lisa Anderson and quoted by Nola Williams.

There were a few special displays, one showing different ways of using 9 patch blocks.


As for shopping, only some fusible web I need for a workshop I am running in August, a ball of wool I think will be interesting to use in both warp and weft of my next weaving practice and a book on Tapestry Weaving. The selection of fabrics is a gift from a friend- all because I commented on the design using Roman Numerals, can you spot them. I now have a full range of colours to use in something special.


Abstract composition

The July task for Waverley Art Quilters was to create an abstract composition. A number of approaches were suggested, so I took bits out of each one.

One suggestion was to look at a work by an abstract painter and focus on one part of that work. Another was to take an image, divide it into nine and using one part simplify the shapes. Changing colour combinations was a further suggestion.

I reviewed photos taken at recent exhibitions and settled on one of a painting by John Olsen. The photo I used was of a detail of this work, showing wattles and birds.

olsen2My second stimulus was photos I had taken recently of my Cootamundra in bloom. It wasn’t just the bright yellow blossoms but also the loud buzzing of all the bees that attracted my attention at the time.

I reduced the  image of the tree to black and white with high contrast and focussed on the rectangle at the lower left.cootamundra2 I then went back to the original photo, enlarged it and traced out just the yellow elements.

I also made simple sketches of the bees and also the stem and leaf outlines that reminded me of the humming. My final colour scheme was the yellow fused onto a dark grey. I drew the bees with fabrico pen and then stitched a wandering yellow line on and off the raw edges, redrew the bees with black thread and quilted the humming lines.


Winter sewing

The challenge for the Waverley Patchworkers Quilt In tomorrow is a 12″ block with the theme Winter. As it rarely snows here I tried to think of another way of showing cold overcast days. I found a cute print with people all rugged up on my last visit to Morris and Sons and so combined it with some greys. Once I decided on a unit, the elements were stitched together randomly. Then it was a real challenge placing them in the 9 patch array. And what was I thinking, all those partial seams!


Other quilting projects have been put on hold because I have caught a Mystery Sampler Stitch Along bug. I saw the pattern being worked at Carrum Downs in March and bought threads to use at the Knox Art Show. The pattern by Linen and Threads is released on the first of the month and I am just starting the April band. I’m working in one strand over one thread of 28 count linen because that suited the width of linen I could find. The Cottage Garden threads are hand dyed lengths so placing the variegations has been lots of fun, although it entails quite a bit of unpicking as I figure out each new pattern.


The only machine work finished this season so far is a Gift Quilt I started ages ago from a pre-cut design by Krista from Waverley Patchworkers. It is now basted and ready to quilt.


Many triangles


Designing a quilt made of leftovers is a slow process. Here is the the sketch that is my starting point.


After sewing the triangles into 4 patches with zero to four triangles in each patch, I tried different layouts of the 56 units. I quite like the movement from lighter to darker.


To emphasise this I shuffled the units into a 4 by 14 array and joined them into larger squares which are easier to handle. Next I needed work out how the blocks with the appliqué circles will interact with the triangles. This involved a lot of maths, as the two types of units are not the same size.

Today I am thinking the band of falling triangles will be intersected at two points by the circle bricks. To lock in this thought I have sewn them into three panels and will move on to finishing the appliqué units.



Now for the leftovers

Just like a great meal, a quilt’s leftovers can be made into something even more delicious. I finished making the quilt top in the Bonnie Hunter En Provence mystery in January. The missing borders are now on, as you can see a tweaked them a little to bring in a tiny bit of colour.

Since then I have been playing around with ideas for the left over bits and pieces. So far I have made some units with the half square triangles cut off the ends of strips when making the hourglass units in the mystery quilt. I have added circles made from a set of 2.5″ squares I received late last year and appliquéd onto grey rectangles. The bits leftover from cutting strips for the mystery will also go somewhere.


There will be more solid greys in the finished piece – it is still very much a work in progress.

The final link up for En Provence can be found here, there are lots and lots of finished tops and quilts to see.

Clamshell solution

My carry around hand project for last year started in a Waverley Patchworkers workshop on 1 May with Irene Blanck. It is a very simple method of piecing clamshell units without paper backings. It has been quite addictive and I am really happy with the palette of hand dyes, hand painted and batik fabrics which have come mainly from my stash.img_5142I have been making panels of 6 across 8 rows down and so far have made seven of these. The usual way to make a clamshell quilt is to appliqué the curved edge to a border, cut off the pointed bottoms and trim the sides to a straight edge and add borders. While I have been stitching I have been trying to think of a way to join the panels so that top, bottom and both sides will all have a curved edge. img_5141I considered joining the panels with a mitre seam, but that would introduce straight lines. After playing around with the way the top and bottom panels might meet in the middle I decided that circles would be the way to link them. They are not to stand out, so I am using the same fabrics as the clams. First I made units with the same radius as the clams, then joined them in a quatrefoil with no overlapping, to be the centre of the quilt. This was done by appliquéing a fifth circle of the same size on the top.

The next step will be to make triangular panels of clams starting with a single one which will fit in-between the circles of the centre unit. Further circles will link these panels in a ridge capping style. Eventually the piece will be wide enough to incorporate the panels I have already made plus more triangle units and more panels. This is not going to be a small quilt!