Unfinished Angel, a race.

Unfinished angel at front, finished angel at back

I have an hour and twenty minutes to finish the Christmas Angel in the front of this picture for the music teacher.  I have a box of chocolates on standby.

Unfinished Angel and fabrics at right, finished sample at left.

As you can see from the finished example on the left, I am doing pretty well.  I may even make it!

The winner of the Junior Chef pattern is Jody.  Jody I will email you shortly, I just have to make a pair of wings and a tiny apron first…

For all the summer hemisphere folk, what are you doing for the teachers to mark the end of another school year?

Photography and Works in Progress

Close Up of "Mosaic Rose" a Matching Pegs Pattern

I have been waiting for a little sun to try and get some good cover photos, but got sick of waiting.  It is still overcast, but hopefully bright enough.  This is a close up of my “Mosaic Rose” cushion.  My aim was to show a close up of the needle-turn applique.  You can see the whole cushion here."All a Flutter" Cushion Pattern by Matching Pegs

I finished making this more traditional version of “All A Flutter” for the cover.  I like it, and Amelia has already bagsed* it for her bed, which is where this shot was taken.  The pattern cover will not have wrinkled sheets in shot!Works in Progress on my sewing table

I have several more samples in progress, and have been sewing every evening, when I am too tired to write or draw diagrams.

Happy sewing everyone, I’m getting back to it…

* To “Bags” something: Aussie and Kiwi slang for reserving something, similar to calling “dibs”.

Move along…nothing new to see here

A peek at a invizable zip diagram that I drew

Here is a little peek at what I have been doing every single day this week.  After about 4 years on the learning curve, drawing diagrams on Illustrator is something that I have become pretty good at, (modest aren’t I).  In the past week I have drawn diagrams that visually explain many of the different techniques for needle turn applique; the stitch, outer points, inner points, clipping and “off-the-block” applique.  What you see here is part of a series of 4 diagrams that illustrate how to install an invisible zip.  Just drawing the actual zip took me several hours, but now I can use it over and over.test print of Matching Pegs patternsMore test prints arrived of the first 4 complete, shop-ready patterns.  The 2 additional patterns I have finished writing up this week just need covers.  It is all pretty exciting to me, but probably not to you, dear readers, as you have seen all this stuff before.

At least, once the patterns turn up in stores you can say, “I knew her when she just wrote this little blog and revealed her crazy peg-matching habits to the world”.

Are you super excited about anything that everyone else finds unremarkable?

Speedy Applique

Fusible Machine Applique by Matching Pegs

Needle-turn applique is my first love, but when you are trying to create quick samples, to demonstrate alternative colour combinations, then nothing beats the speedy method of fusible, raw-edge machine applique.Quick fusible machine raw-edge applique "All A Flutter" by Matching Pegs

The past week and a half has been extremely stressful at our house, with a situation arising that none of us expected.  It has now been resolved, and the outcome is pretty good, but it was a roller coaster that we would have preferred not to be on.  Sewing around pretty shapes has been a therapy that was particularly calming, and just what I needed when I was too caught up in the “what-ifs” in my head.

What craft technique is your therapy of choice?

All A Flutter with Text

"All A Flutter" black text cushion on our bed

Ta Da!  I’m pretty pleased with my finished “All A Flutter” cushion, and think it looks great on our bed.

"All A Flutter" by Matching Pegs with Bleck Text Fabric

To take some photos in decent light, I decamped to Michaela’s room."All A Flutter" cushion by "Matching Pegs" in sunset colour wayWhere I also shot the same cushion, made in an alternate colour way.  The black, text cushion features applique that has been completed by the needle turn applique method.  The cushion in sunset colours has been created with raw-edge fusible applique, stitched via machine."All a Flutter" by Matching Pegs in two different colour waysThey end up looking very different, but I am equally happy with both of them.  The pattern, “All A Flutter” will be available at the end of the year.  The pattern will include directions on how to make it as a square cushion as well.

Do you bother with decorative cushions on your bed?

More Bright Butterflies

Bright Butterfly C from "All A Flutter" by Matching Pegs

Today I finished my last two bright butterflies for my “All A Flutter” cushion that I have been needle-turning in bright fabrics.  You can see the first three here and here.Bright Butterfly B from "All A Flutter" by Matching Pegs

It should not take me long to finish them as a cushion, now that I have an invisible zipper foot for my trusty Husquvarna.  I think a trip to IKEA to pick up more feather and down cushion inserts might be on the cards!

How do you like to finish your cushions, zips, buttons, bows, envelope enclosure?  Do tell.

The Wedding Gift

Home made cushion for a Wedding Present, using hand-printed fabricWhen I receive a wedding invitation which requests that attendees “bring no presents”, it invariably translates in my head to read as “bring a handmade gift”.  The only quandary in this recent situation was what to make? Especially because the bride in question is widely known as an accomplished designer and maker of lovely things.  The answer was to use some rare and unique hand printed loveliness from another clever lady, and to keep it simple.hand printed fabric made up into a cushionNow you will notice that the colours are rather subtle, even though Melly herself is very much into ‘bright’, but that was my cunning plan.  Melly’s decor is rather more restrained than her designs, and this will hopefully blend in, and still allow her creations to be the stars in her own home.Wedding Cushion Back

I thought it would be only polite to her lovely groom, Scott, to be a bit gender neutral as well.  I’m pretty pleased with how it all turned out, especially with an invisible zip and a feather-and-down-insert, that has just that perfect amount of squishiness.M & S tag on the "wedding cushion" which includes the wedding date.To commemorate the reason for it’s creation, I added this little tag to the cushion, featuring the initials of the bridal couple, together with the wedding date, skating close to the edge of nostalgia but hopefully not tipping right into shmaltz.  If you notice the date, you might realise that mid-September in Victoria can be quite chilly.  That being so, I was pretty pleased with the outfit I put together.Claire and Luke dressed for a weddingNot only was the dress lovely (IMHO) but it was from Target, (so quite affordable) and went perfectly with a vintage, toasty-warm coat that I have.Wedding outfit with vintage coatThe coat was my Grandmothers, and possibly belonged to her sister Verna before her.  Verna was very stylish, and was married to Cleg, who had a well know fabric store in the centre of Melbourne, which still bears his name.  The coat is British, I’m guessing it is from the 60’s and it is marked with the Royal Warrant!Royal Warrant on a Aquascutum CoatSo I was nice and warm for the ceremony, which was outside on a deck, overlooking the vineyards and surrounding countryside.  As a final touch, I took another vintage item, this one belong to another of my Grandmother’s sisters, Rita.Vintage Lucite HandbagThis was Rita’s lucky handbag, one of my most prized possessions.  It is made of Lucite, and I believe it would be extremely collectible.

I would love to share some photos of the stunning bride, bridal party and venue, but that would scoop the bride herself.  Stay tuned to Melly’s blog, because it was all stunning.

Do you make handmade Wedding Presents?


Pythagorean theorem and lots of super-wide-calico

Woodland Play Tent by Matching Pegs

6 months ago I was posting cryptic statements on Facebook about how I was working on a large project that required lots of super-wide-calico, (2.4m or 95″wide) and a fair bit of calculations involving Pythagorean theorem.  Now I can finally reveal the result, Ta-Da!  This is my project that is published in the current “Australian Homespun – The Kids Issue” (No.113; Vol.13 No.10) as “My Treehouse Adventures”.  The third project that I have had published in Homespun, (all in the annual Kids Issue) this one was by far the most challenging.

Woodland Play Tent by Matching Pegs, with a closed tree-window

I made 3 different scale-card-models, and then kept sewing and unpicking a prototype made of old sheets, until I got the structure right.  I designed the appliques in Illustrator, and kept printing them out and pinning the paper versions onto the prototype until the scale and placement were pleasing.  Eventually I felt ready to sew up the real thing.

Woodland Play Tent by Matching Pegs with the tree-window open.

I am particularly proud of the “Tree-Window” on the tent which has a rather nifty construction.  I took these photos on a grey old day in May, after rearranging our Lounge room, and co-opting Amelia to be the “kid” in the photo, as no one else was home.  The instructions I sent to the magazine ran to 11 solid pages of text, and 24 diagrams.  Thank goodness they have a good technical editor, who was able to cut them down somewhat, (and was also reportedly impressed with my instructions and diagrams :-)).

Woodland Play Tent by Matching Pegs, a rear view of the tent

I am really proud of this project, and would be thrilled to see any versions of it made using my instructions.  My kids loved playing inside it before it was sent interstate (for photography), and can’t wait for it to come home.  So go forth and buy this year’s “Kids Issue” of Australian Homespun, and don’t forget to email me a finished picture or two.




Thank-You for the Teacher Stitchery being prepared

Once again I have started on the end-of-year presents for the teachers.  This afternoon I cracked out the pencils and started preparing a couple of stitcheries, that I have made in one iteration or another for the last three years.  Amelia and Michaela have both changed their hairstyles recently, but I am not going to tweak their portraits anymore.  This is the final design that will be released as a pattern at the end of the year, (Thank You for the Teacher). Once I have finished colouring, the stitching will start.

Have you had your pencils out lately?

Snowy River Damask

"Snowy River Damask" digital fabric from "Lila Ruby King" etsy shop

A little while ago I mentioned some really beautiful fabric that I had ordered from an etsy seller in Greece.  Lila Ruby King is an Australian designer and maker, based in Athens.  This fabric that she designed is called “Snowy River Damask”, and is named for a river and region that is familiar to most Australians, as it is immortalised in one of our most famous poems “The Man from Snowy River” by A B ‘Banjo’ Patterson.

"Snowy River Damask" fabric detail

The animals and plants on the fabric are from the region including The Quoll, Powerful Owl, Lyrebird, and Peregrine Falcon.  The horses are, or course, not native, but are the ‘brumbies’ (wild horses) that live in the area, that are a key part of the poem.  The poem is ‘microprinted’ behind the portrait of ‘Banjo’ on our 10 dollar note – and those who are shortsighted like me, and have very good focus up close, can attest that it is possible to read it.

I am not sure what I will do with the fabric yet, but I was just so enchanted with it that I felt compelled to add it to my stash.  It is rare that I see Australiana done well.

"All a Flutter" Butterfly E

After the subtlety of the Snowy River fabric, this butterfly looks very bright indeed.  I just have 2 more to sew before I have a complete set, (you can see the first two here).

Have you added anything unusual to your fabric stash lately?