Thursday, May 23, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival: "The Eternity Quilt" and "The New York Cat Mat"

My two quilts for the Blogger's Quilt Festival are the Eternity Quilt and the New York Cat Mat.

Eternity Quilt

Eternity quilt detail

I made this for a creative project my church service was putting together. It was ridiculously complex, and only after I finished it did I realise there was a much much MUCH easier way to put it together! *facepalm*

However, it was also my first wholly self-quilted quilt using the quilting machine at my LQS (The Avanti HQ at Hobbysew Top Ryde). And, of course, it had to be a complicated design. The quilting I had planned for this baby was not only not rectangular, it featured negative space, and the need for some very fine stippling to bring out the negative space. Never let it be said I'm not up for a challenge!

Material Obsession's Swap Day: the Eternity Quilt, finished and hung.
a super-sized picture version

The Eternity Quilt
Quilt Measurements: 94" x 94"
Special Techniques used: Quilting around negative space.
Quilted By: Sel @ Mad Quilter's Disease (a.k.a. me!)

I'm quite pleased with it, even if it's not technically perfect. It's going in the Sydney Quilt Show 2013 - my first quilt show!

The New York Cat Mat

The name of this one is both true and slightly humourous, since it was intended as a 'mini quilt' but the cats have ended up colonising it.

But you made this for us to sit on, Mummy! And it is sooo comfy! #cats #quilting #funny

It was made during the New York Beauty Quilt Along by Sew Sweetness back in February last year. I started in jewel-toned batiks, but then found I didn't like the colours quite as much as I thought I would. So I only ended up making 6 blocks - two of them the basic "Block 0".

New York beauty mini #quilt. Free motion quilted. Will probably become a cat mat.

I quilted it with Penny Poppleton's machine ("Thor", a Bernina 400) and it turned out rather better than I expected. I wanted to practise some of the FMQ techniques in Angela Walter's famous book "Free-Motion Quilting" on a home machine, and although it was a little small and fiddly to undertake, Thor never failed me!

Practice makes perfect...well, better at least...

I left the 'spikes' unquilted, but closely quilted just about everything else in the quarter-circle sections, including the centre dots which were close-quilted spirals, and then did a mini version of my standard 'fiery curls' FMQ pattern (also visible on the Eternity Quilt).

New York beauty finished

The New York Cat Mat
Quilt Measurements: 11" x 28"
Special Techniques used: Paper-piecing, free-motion quilting.
Quilted By: Sel @ Mad Quilter's Disease (a.k.a. me!)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WIP Wednesday: the one with summer dresses!

It has been a busy and not-busy week.

The busy has been in general sewing activity. The not-so-busy has been in general quilting activity.


Butterick 5317 in Heirloom

I took it into my head to make this dress back in, oh, January. It would figure that I only start making it once it gets too cold to wear it!

Dress! For summer! In a fabric line from 2years ago! #retro #fashion #dressmaking
Ignore the mess of my WIR! *facepalm*

I like the design, I like the way it looks on me, and it goes beautifully with the Joel Dewberry Heirloom range in voile!

However, I will be travelling to the US in August-September, specifically San Francisco, Estes Park in Colorado, Raleigh in North Carolina, and New York City, and so I am hoping for sunny skies, warm weather, and the opportunity to wear this in temperatures above 20C!

Santorini Sun And Sky

I have otherwise been binding one of my quilt for the show - the Santorini Sun And Sky.

Santorini Sun and sky binding

I still have to make the sleeve for the hanging rod. And one for the Eternity Quilt. This will be a new experience... *meeps*

things to be done

And there's the Blogger's Quilt Festival on this week and next, until the 31st May! So many pretty quilts! I'm going to enter a couple (eternity, and the new york cat mat) and we'll see how we go!

Short and sweet!

What have you been doing this week? Have you linked up at Freshly Pieced?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WIP Wednesday: the one where it never stops

Lots of WIPs this week, no finishes. (Not really.)

Also, if you happen to know alli b, would you let her know that she's won my Mendocino giveaway?


I forgot to ask people to leave their email addresses, and she was one of the people who didn't. But she won! And I have no way to reach her! (ARGH!)


Diamonds Dancing In Rainbows

Diamonds dancing

Sewed the centre together. Need to find time to add the borders (black, with a continuation of the diamond shapes where appropriate).

Dead Simple QAL

Dead simple

This quilt is several years old now! I finished the top at least a year ago, but didn't have the time or money to get it quilted.

Did the longarm quilting on this a couple of months back, but now I've actually pulled out some fabric for the binding and started prepping the binding.

Santorini Sun And Sky


Quilted! And has the binding on, but I'll take better photos when I've finished the binding and it's ready for the show!

Scrap Attack {String Fever}

Selvage blocks

A few more blocks made - this time in the blue-green series. There are so many scraps! This is going to be a long-term project, I fear. But it will be done. (Eventually!)

Mermaid, Honey

Honey mermaids

Decision reached! Mendocino Mermaids are going to be for a 'Honey' quilt, c/o Elizabeth Hartman's awesome book Modern Patch-work.

I've spent the last week swapping yardage, and buying scraps. I have what I need now and I'm not getting any more! I'm thinking that the 'neutral' background for the borders and the background will just be white, although I'm wondering if a delicate grey might not be preferable instead.

SeeSusanQuilt is doing one like this already - and she has a much better range of fabrics than I, as well as rather more of it.

Go check hers out!

Baby Quilts

Basted and quilting!

Baby quilts

Other notes

I've worked out what to do with the Valley Of The Kings fabric. Now I just have to make sure it doesn't look too same-same. Might need some more (or similar-looking) fabrics from the collection - or similar collections. Luckily, there's a sale at my LQS! (I just have to find the time to get down there. Ugh. Time, where are you?)

I hope all the mothers had a lovely Mother's Day and were appropriately appreciated by the people in their lives!

I made lunch for my mum (and stepdad) - duck and pomegranate salad with crusty bread (I didn't make the bread, I bought it). And she made dessert. I took a photo of the dessert because it was souffle...and it ROSE!


My mother is awesome. She is also an amazing cook. She taught me to sew and to think and to be independent. And I love her very much. And she doesn't read this blog. That's okay, she knows she's awesome, and she knows I love her.

So that's my rather busy week.

What have you been doing this last week?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Giveaway Day! And we have a winner! And a problem...

The winner of the 2 FQs of Mendocino Mermaids is...alli b!

Unfortunately, alli b hasn't left her email address for me to contact her. So if she doesn't claim this in a week (I'm going with "midnight on Friday night in Sydney, Australia"), then I'm going to have to re-draw another winner from the existing entries.

alli b, you can leave a comment on this post and I'll get your address for sending this out!

And if you entered the giveaway, but have a no-reply blogname, you can drop your email in the comments of this post.

random post is not entirely random - second chance at Mendocino?

I should have offered a second entry if people followed my blog.

If you're one of the 142 or so people following me and you'd like a second chance at my Mendocino Giveaway, leave another comment before I close the draw! (probably around 6-7 hours from now since I'm out of the house and won't be back for a while.

Some of you guys are new, some of you guys have been here since the days I had all of five followers. But I'm very honoured that you think my projects are interesting enough to follow - it's been a pleasure, all the way!

current work:


plans for today: quilting Santorini Sun And Sky!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

WIP Wednesday: the one where baby got back

Okay, so it's baby quilts got backings but accuracy was ditched in favour of cool-sounding, catchy WIP Wednesday names...


Baby Quilts

Backings done in soft flannels! Now to find time to quilt them!

Baby got backings

Not sure about this weekend. I've got big quilt quilting to do this weekend...

Scrap Attack: Selvage Strings

Got a few of these done during the week, so I have a small collection now - hopefully to become a larger collection as the weeks go on!

Selvage blocks: slowly growing.

A close-up of the textures. I'm using a lot of Kona solids selvages,which means they have fringed edges, and the result (at least with these blue blocks) is rather akin to the waves of the sea.

Texture close up.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with the rest of the colours!

Gone Nowhere

Diamonds Dancing In Rainbows

I was going to sew the top of this together on Friday night...and then I was exhausted and distracted and couldn't get myself together. ARGH.

To Do

Santorini Sun And Sky

This got accepted into the Sydney Quilt Show 2013, along with the Eternity Quilt, so I'm quilting it this weekend. Angela Walters book on quilt designs has been very helpful, but I'm going to try a pattern of my own inventing and see how that goes. (It may not. It may fail horribly. Eek!)


Quilting on Saturday!

Mendocino Quilt

I have many pieces of this collection, having built them up over the last year or two. Now I'm looking at putting it all together in a quilt with some fabrics from Art Gallery - I think these ones are Pat Bravos. The colour is very very close, and while the designs don't match, they'd provide some nice contrasts and similarities.

Mendocino plans

White background, maybe?

More Mendocino plans

The trick is mostly working out what to do that will allow all the fabrics to shine and minimise wastage!

Right now I am contemplating two patterns from Modern Patchwork: 'Honey' or 'Glam Garlands'. Your thoughts?

Also, if you happen to have any Swimming Sisters (Plum, or Ivory), or Octopi (Blush, Natural, Orange, or Gold), or Seahorses (Orange, Fuchsia or Rust), let me know. I'm happy to swap Mermaids in Gold, Kelp in Blush, or Swimming Sisters in Fuchsia, one-to-one! (Definitions of the colours are here at the Free Spirit fabric page.

And speaking of Mendocino Mermaids, I have a giveaway for Giveaway Week: 2 FQs from the Mendocino Mermaids line. Go here and check it out!

So...what have you been up to this week?

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Eternity Quilt: From Go To Whoa

Around August last year, the service I attend at my church decided to do a creative project, where creative people in the congregation put together an artwork based around a line from the Apostle's Creed:

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

I chose the line "the life everlasting". Which is a bit of an odd duck choice for a quilter - how do you design a quilt that embodies the concept of everlasting life?

While pondering my choices (infinity, a fibonacci sequence, some kind of spiral quilt) I also considered the synonyms for 'everlasting' and one of the options that came up was the term 'eternity'.

'Eternity' had a lot more Google results than 'everlasting'. In particular, it had the Arthur Stace Eternity graffiti tag, which is well-known to Sydney Christians. Arthur Stace, returned from WWII, turned to a life of crime, only to find God in the late fifties. He then started chalking the word 'eternity' in copperplate all over the sidewalks and walls of 1960s Sydney - a reminder that our life on this earth is short and that we'll face judgement and eternity after.


Another result - and more immediately relevant to the quilter in me - was the Eternity puzzle - a mathematical/computer puzzle of 209 pieces.


Yes, it looks complicated, but it can be broken down into equilateral triangles and half-equilateral triangles by rows.

So I had a design - all well and good! Now how to put it into practice?

What I needed was a large collection of fabric in a large variety of colours. Oh, so conveniently, the Kona solids series had 213 colours (at the time) - with an extra 28 colours coming out in late 2012. Perfect! All I had to do was buy the Kona Lights and Kona Darks boxes - each with 100 solid colours.

My credit card nearly had a hernia.

eternitymosaic1 1. Kona colours, 2. Kona colour matching!, 3. Kona darks, 4. EternitySolution, 5. Selvages! Getting there!, 6. Eternity quilt: pieces, 7. Eternity quilt: I really don't want to think about how many pieces there are..., 8. Kona lights, 9. Eternity quilt:organised be sewn next week!, 10. Greens and browns and creams., 11. Eternity quilt rows 1&2, 12. Eternity-ArthurStace, 13. Eternity quilt: pieces laid out

Organising the colours, arranging the colours, and then labelling each colour was a herculanean task. I needed at least eight equilatriangles of every colour to make each puzzle shape - one or two of them needed nine, due to the half equilatriangles.

And then there was the piecing. Oh boy. The piecing.

eternitymosaic2 1. Material Obsession's Swap Day: the Eternity Quilt, finished and hung., 2. Eternity quilt: closeup, 3. Half triangles to eternity, 4. Eternity quilt: as at Friday, 5. Rows laid out, ready to sew. I could probably get these done tonight., 6. Pieces of eternity: taking longer than expected. *sigh*, 7. Eternity quilt: ready for basting, 8. Eternity quilt: the signature doesn't seem quite big enough..., 9. Quilting like a crazy quilting thing!, 10. Eternity quilt: Saturday, 11. Eternity quilt: Saturday, 12. Trimming, 13. Eternity quilt: sewing together

The plan was always to quilt 'Eternity' on it - in honour and memory of Arthur Stace and the bible verse:

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.
He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11, New Living Translation

Eternity quilt: the signature doesn't seem quite big enough...

I quilted it myself, using the Avanti HQ longarm at Hobbysew Top Ryde.

Quilting like a crazy quilting thing!

The main pattern is my trademark 'fiery curls' - fairly large, getting smaller as they go further in, with a fine stipple all around the quilted 'Eternity' signature.

Eternity quilted!

I would have preferred to do some trapunto to plump up the word "Eternity", but didn't really have the time or the know-how then. It seems visible enough.

The ladies of the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild helped me sew the binding on at one of our sew-ins - just in time for Swap Day at Material Obsession!

Material Obsession's Swap Day: the Eternity Quilt, finished and hung.

Since then, it's been photographed for the booklet my church is putting together on the Apostle's Creed (with photography/prints of many other artworks), and has just accepted into the Sydney Quilt Show 2013 where it's going into the "Art Quilt (Open)" category for judging!

Giveaway Day - 6th May [FINISHED]

May Giveaway Day!

May is not one of my favourite months. By May, summer is definitely over down here in Australia, we've finished up Daylight Saving Time, which means it's dark by 6pm, and we're firmly heading for winter. I'm not much of a fan of winter - too cold for my liking, I leave and arrive home in darkness, and it rains a lot - although at least it doesn't snow! So, I'm dreaming of beaches and sunny days and temperatures that are at least 25C - preferably 30C!

This May Giveaway Day, I'm giving away 2 FQs of Heather Ross' Mendocino Mermaids line - Mermaids in Gold, and Seahorses in Gold and Aqua.

It's Giveaway Day! #Mendocinomermaids #fabric #quilting

Nice, eh? Pretty and sunshiney and cheerful! (Wait, why am I giving away bright and cheerful...?)

At any rate, to enter this giveaway just tell me what you're looking forward to this summer (if you're in the Northern Hemisphere) or relate me a story from the summer just past (for my fellow antipodeans). I'll choose a winner via random number generator once the deadline's done (10am Saturday AEST).

Good luck!


We have a winner - alli b - who hasn't left an email address! She has a week to get back to me (in comments), or else the giveaway will be redrawn.

Friday, May 3, 2013

News! Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair - accepted!

Two of my quilts have been accepted for the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair Exhibition!
...both of them got in. I'm kind of flabbergasted...

You're allowed to submit up to two quilts, but they usually only accept one (so far as I know). So I'm kind of boggled. Also: because the show tends towards the more traditional and 'art' quilts.

You probably all know the Eternity Quilt, of course:

Material Obsession's Swap Day: the Eternity Quilt, finished and hung.

And those of you who've been reading my blog for a while (two years) may remember Santorini Sun And Sky:

Santorini Sun and Sky

It was produced during Don't Call Me Betsy's Kaleidoscope QAL back in 2011. However, since I was out of work at the time, I didn't have the money to get it quilted, and my little home machine was distinctly inadequate to the process, I felt. So it's been folded up on the shelf for a while.

I've booked time with the longarm again in order to finish it up. I think I'll try my hand at a swirly, watery design - kind of snails, but more rippley.

This will mean I'll have three quilts in the show in which I've had a hand making: my own two, and the SydMQG guild quilt. That's a lot of quilts for someone who's never exhibited before.

*breathes into a paper bag*

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WIP Wednesday: the one with selvage strings!

PSA: It is generally inadvisable to sew through one's finger:

By the pricking of my thumb... Or, rather, the stabbing of it...

That baby went through the nail and out the pad of my thumb. Owwwww!


I finished backings for Santorini Sun And Sky, and HST Harvest. Folded them up and packaged them in recycled packaging that was originally addressed to me. I stuck a label on it with the address of my quilter and posted it off at the post office.

And received the parcel back at my house on Monday when the label fell off.


This time, I've written the address on the package. No labels to fall off this time!


Baby Quilts

One of the babies has been born! A boy, still nameless last we heard. He's going to get the less colourful one (his parents are little more conservative).

And I've decided to back the quilts in flannel. It'll be nice and soft, as well as using up the fabric.

Scrap Attack {String Fever}

I tipped out my box of selvage strings:

Selvage collection 2013. Scrap Attack coming on!

It's a large pile. The ruler is in the back to provide perspective! I've been collecting strings for quite a while now!

Then I started sorting them:

String by color

The pile in the middle is mostly the whites and low-volumes. I'm still deciding how those are going to work. In the meantime...colours!

I put a couple of blocks together last night. I'm not sure if this is the "proper" way to do it, but this is how I'm doing them!

Blue blocks

I have a layout plan, too!

We'll see how it all comes out in the coming weeks. :)

To Do

Diamonds Dancing In Rainbows

I'm going to sew these together. I'M GOING TO SEW THESE TOGETHER.

Maybe on Friday night? I have the Sydney Southern Cross Quilters meeting on Saturday, so having something new for that would be good!


How about you? What have you been doing this week? Have you linked to WIP Wednesday?