Australian Quilt Market, a trade show for people in the Patchwork and Quilting industry, starts tomorrow. I’m just back from setting up my “Matching Pegs” table in the Creative Abundance booth, along with Jodie, Melly, Fiona, Simone and Clare. I’ve got several new patterns debuting there including “Butterfly Fairies”, (shown above).
I looked up the collective noun for Butterflies, and there are several, but the most appropriate to me seemed to be a kaleidoscope of butterflies.
I’ve got a kaleidoscope of Butterfly Fairies. They are so much fun to make, especially their tiny bubble dresses, and their fancy hair.
I’ve finished the quilt that I gave you a peek at, in the last post, and I’ve whipped up another quilt top, with the colours you can see above. I can’t wait to show it to you in all it’s glory, but it deserves it’s own post, especially as Anita, my quilter, did such a beautiful job.
I’m also looking forward to showing you my two “Hope is a Thing With Feathers” stitcheries, which are complete, and wrapped around canvases, but all in good time.
In the mean time, I can show you the swing tags I made for Market. They were fun to make, and you know me, the pegs on each tag match the colour on the top of the corresponding pattern.
I can also show you the photo I shared on instagram yesterday afternoon, of the piles of fabric that I am going to have to try and re-shelve after AQM is over. I’m going to be like a librarian, after exam time is over.
Last of all I have to share a proud Mum moment, and show you Michaela, who received a Student Achievement Award in front of the whole school on Monday for working extremely hard to improve her writing, both in form (neatness) and in content. Her Dad and I are very proud of her.
I’ve been cracking on with making a new quilt that I’m fabulously happy with. Even the scrappy little pile of trimmed edges looks delightful to me. It’s the colours you see, a successful colour combination never fails to excite and enchant me.
This colour combo is a cracker. Small piles of these fabrics have been waiting in a clear zip-lock bag for months, waiting until I had the time to embark on a new quilt. Yay, how wonderful it feels to start a new project!
Just quietly, I have a whole other bag full of cuts of fabric that are going to become an alternative-colour-way version of this quilt. I’m pretty thrilled with that colour combo too, but shh, this one is my favourite. I’m always in love with colours that you could describe as sunset inspired. The colours are a lot like those in Michaela’s Sunset Quilt that I finished back in 2010.
This photo doesn’t capture the colours precisely enough, it looks a little cooler here than it is in person.
Here you can see my “Hope is a Thing of Feathers” stitchery, (being worked in “peacock” (1201) stranded thread by Cottage Garden Threads) which is almost completed. I was sitting in the car, waiting for one of my children, when I realised that my nails and my coat matched it, (not to mention my iphone and water bottle, which were also on hand). Do you do that that too, discover that you have made more than just your clothing match?
We don’t celebrate Halloween here. There are not that many families that do in Australia, and we are not among them, however Amelia’s Taekwondo class was encouraged to come in (loose) costume for a bit of fun. This is what Amelia and I came up with – Zombie child. No one knocked on our door last night, even though I was prepared with some mini-chocolate bars, so they were all for us.
Did you do anything for Halloween?
This is the total amount of sewing I did in September. It was a rough month, (inside a generally painful year). I wish I could tell you why. In “real”, non-internet life I would probably tell you, because I’m a real sharer, but it’s not my story to tell, and I have no business putting it out there on the internet. I know these cryptic posts in blog land often turn out to be marriages on the rocks, or nasty terminal illnesses, and I can safely say that it is neither of those things. Someone in my family needed my every waking hour, and while I missed sewing, creating and blogging, family always comes first and I have no regrets on that score.
I did manage to make it to the fabulous bloggy meetup, “Crafty Hijinks” in Ballarat in September, which was a much needed day off to spend with lots of like minded crafters. Thanks to Jodie and Gillian for organising it!
Now that life has settled down a little, I’m back on my sewing machine and my computer trying to make up for lost time. Like so many other bloggers, in-between posts you can find me on Instagram. I’m often bemoaning the complexities of drawing comprehensible Illustrator diagrams, (the one above is the most complex diagram I’ve ever attempted, and I’m rather pleased with it) or extolling the virtues of chocolate, my addiction of choice.
On Instagram I’m matchingpegs, you can find me here.
Meet wonky little Miss Fairy Dolly. She’s a prototype that is in need of a few tweaks. If I was clever enough, there would be a whole back story about her life and personality*, but in the interests of actually posting something, you will have to meet her, sans story.
I can see all the things I am going to change about her, but one thing that I’m super pleased with is her bubble dress. It’s so bubbly that it’s practically effervescent. Her rainbow hair was tricky. Although I like it, it was hard to hide the stitching that attaches it to her head, so a less variegated yarn might be better next time. I’m already started on her cousin, the slightly less wonky Fairy, I’m hoping that you will be able to meet her soon…
*(Perhaps you can come up with the back story of wonky Miss Fairy Dolly).
This weekend I went on the annual Guild retreat, that my Quilters Guild, (NOTYQ) runs. It was a pretty nice reward at the end of all the driving required during the last two weeks. This was my fifth retreat, and the third for this quilt top, which is understandable when you consider that it is all hand-pieced. The inspiration for this quilt was Cathy’s quilt, or I should say, her two quilts, as she has made this twice. Cathy English-Paper-Pieced hers, but I have been using traditional hand piecing methods.
It took me all year to piece this last ring, made up of the 88 cocoa coloured diamonds, although to be fair, I haven’t touched it much at all since our holiday in January. Next I have 48 squares to add, for the last full revolution. 24 of these will end up being trimmed back to triangles, when I square up the quilt, and there will be 5 lots of partial revolutions in the corners to fill in the square.
The 48 squares will be green, and I spent the morning cutting them out. I am lucky enough to have three kids home sick today, with a mild tummy bug that I am still recovering from (my kids bring out the sarcasm in me). It’s too hard, with them all home, to concentrate on any pattern writing, so I figured that I may as well use the opportunity to do something quiet and happy.
Looking up from writing this post to see my quilt, (which was still draped over my ironing board from the previous photo) silhouetted against the sunshine through the window, made me really happy too.
Does hand piecing make you feel happy too?
For the past week, theatre has taken over my life. I have become a taxi driver, taking my eldest daughter to daily rehearsals in the city, at Hisense arena. Thousands of parents, from across the state, have been doing the same. Saturday was the culmination of all the months of work, with 2 performances of the Victorian State School Spectacular.
Amelia is a member of the Performing Arts Unit Choir, a choir of about 30 kids that lead the rest of the mass choir, which is made up of many seperate school choirs. She was sitting at the front of the group that you can see, that is lit up in pink, at the centre of this shot. All the people around them, with little lights, are members of the mass choir. Amelia has committed every Saturday afternoon to this choir all year, and they sounded terrific.
Our commitment has been to drive her every week, and in the past week, every day. On one particular day, I drove three return trips to the city, and racked up 5 1/2 hours of driving! A highlight of these lengthy peak-hour trips was seeing this car. I got Amelia to take a snap, because I knew Rory would love to see it.
The Spectacular performances are not the end of my job as a taxi/Theatre-Mum. Every day this week Amelia has a rehearsal or performance of her High School Production. That’s right, 2 solid weeks of singing every single day for Amelia, which means two weeks of driving at odd hours for me. This morning we covered new territory for both of us, when I applied her first lot of stage make-up ever. I was pretty glad that the school had given very specific instructions regarding what to apply and where. I think we did OK.
Due to all the driving and late nights, I haven’t had much creative energy, but I really needed to reward myself in some way. I decided that following someone else’s pattern was the best kind of distraction, so I have been making another of Nikki’s fabulous A-Line Skirts. This time I have drafted my own pocket, and have inserted it with french seams. Even though I have made it in stolen moments here and there, I am almost finished, just the hem to go. I can’t wait to wear it, and show you.
I’m pretty impressed (if I do say so myself) that I did manage to turn Luke’s old straw hat into a Regency era bonnet, which was relatively comfortable and carefully finished. The hardest part was actually getting a good photo of it.
In the end I resorted to putting it onto the most cooperative living mannequin available, my eldest daughter, Amelia. If you look here you can see the inspiration for it. To create it, I cut off the crown of the straw hat, (just above the hat-band) and stapled together a pinch of the brim at the back. I made a replacement soft crown with a large gathered fabric circle and band, just like on my chef’s hat.
Above is a reminder of what the hat looked like before.
After gathering a large amount of fabric, I attached it to the underside of the brim, and stitched it in place, around the edge. I bound the edge of the brim with bias binding, just like on a quilt. The crown was gently stitched to the brim, covering up the old hatband, (which was a really handy thing to stitch through, easier than the straw) and a red ribbon finished it off, covering the stitching.
The red ribbon crossed over at the back, and I stitched it to the edges of the brim in 2 places that corresponded to just behind my ears. This gave it the bonnet shape when it was done up.
To show you what it looked like on me, I will have to show you a terrible night-time selfie.
I spent the day of the party in bed with a migraine, so even though I was on track to finish the dress and bonnet in plenty of time to get a daylight photo, it wasn’t to be.
In the end, I cut a few corners with the dress. I only finished it thanks to my hubby Luke who pinned up the hem, (while I stood there in the dress feeling frail) and my Mother, Madeleine, who stitched it, just in time for us to leave. Next time I’ll show you the dress…
I know this doesn’t look like much, but it’s actually a Regency costume in waiting, just squint a bit and use your imagination. I have a book character costume party to go to this weekend, and I had plan A, B and C for the characters I was considering going as. I wasn’t planning on making a costume, but a trip to the costume store turned up nothing suitable (except for one dress, which would have been perfect without the multiple grey stains on the cream fabric).
This is plan D. I’m making a Regency dress because it’s achievable, and doesn’t require the same crazy amount of fabric and sewing skills that plan A,B and C would require. What you can see there is the lining of the dress. I adapting an old Empire-line Maternity dress pattern that my Mother already had, just using the pattern pieces to make the bodice. I’ve made the lining using the pattern pieces as is, while I am adapting the top layer to have lots of gathering in the bodice area. I’ve spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at the many boards dedicated to Regency Dresses. They are both lovely and fascinating, but not particularly flattering. The idea seemed to be to disguise the real shape of a woman’s curves, and create artificially high boobs.
This is the pattern piece for the sleeve, which I have cut 3 slits into, and inserted paper to add volume along the lower edge to create puff. I was hesitant to add any bulk into the top of the sleeve, because it actually forms part of the neckline. It’s an experiment, so I’m not sure how it’s going to go. I have fair sewing skills, but no drafting skills to employ when it comes to garments, but I figure that I only need to wear this dress once. It’s not the wisest plan to be making this in the school holidays either, but I’m giving it a red hot go, wish me luck!
By the way, at this point I’m guessing that most of you will be thinking that I’m going as Elizabeth Bennet, but I’m not. I tell you after the party who I was.
What is your proudest costume creation?
Michaela decided yesterday that she desperately wanted to embroider a panda. She came to me with her drawing, all ready to go. Usually I would just scan her drawing, scale it to fit in the hoop, and trace over the lines in Illustrator to create a pattern. The scanner has been a bit temperamental lately, so I explained that I would redraw it in Illustrator, as closely as possible.
After recovering from the disappointment of hearing that she would not be able to operate Illustrator by herself, (it took me years to teach myself) she started directing me. She decided to leave out the eyelashes, and after looking at some pictures of real Pandas, she decided to make the face and the black-eye-surrounds more oval in shape.
She worked out her own colour plan and has chosen all of her floss. Now she just wants me to release a pattern!
If I design some more “Hoop Faces”, what do you think I should add to the collection?
Are you ready to get crafty with felt? This is my newest pattern, a Creative Card “Felt Blossoms”, (which will retail in Patchwork stores for as little as $6) which is making it’s way to stores as we speak. The pattern features really clear illustrations, that make whipping up a few of these blossoms very simple. You may find it hard to stop at just one.
Looking through my archive I discovered that I first designed these clips in June 2008. In this photo above, Michaela is wearing the prototype. She is not quite 3 years old, awwwwwww. After making several hair clips that were more generic flowers, I decided that I wanted to design one inspired by the Cherry Blossom. The bottom-right hair clip, in the top photo, (and on the cover of the Creative Card) is the same clip that I made back then.
I have made so many of these for presents, that I have lost count. They are a great hand-made addition to any store bought present. I’ve made all of my “Felt Blossoms” with 100% wool felt, most of which is from Winterwood, who sell online. The other ingredient you need to get your hands on are hair clips like these…
I bought these in a pack from Spotlight quite some time ago. Clips like these are listed under a myriad of names online, you may already have some in your house. The pattern illustrates how to sew them onto the blossom, through the hole. If you only had clips without the hole, I think that you could use some improvisational sewing to find a way to attach them, (or perhaps you could resort to the hot glue gun).
The Creative card looks like this…
If you would like to try making one of these, and your patchwork shop does not stock my patterns, you can politely ask them to get one in for you. If you mention that there are no minimums on orders from my friendly distributors, Creative Abundance, they might be more willing, (in other words, if they wanted to, they could order in one pattern only, just for you). Otherwise, you can find my patterns at one of the retailers listed under “My Patterns and Stockists” on the top-right of my blog. “Under the Mulberry Tree” stocks all of them.
Have you been making anything with felt recently?