Loving the Winter

image of OMG Ombre

Winter means nights in, in front of the fire.

Nights in front of the fire means hand-sewing.

BTW, thank you SBS for playing a great movie last night on the telly ~ “Walk the Line” with Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon~ I stayed up till the end and got lots o’ stitching done.

image of handpiecing

One 1800s Sunburst block finished and well on the way with another.

This is a finished block from last week

image of 1800s Sunburst Block

Admiring my handywork over breakfast LOL

And here’s how the finished blocks are looking on the design wall this morning,

image of 1800s Sunburst Blocks

I just keep telling myself “I am getting closer”.

OMG Ombre is on the quilting machine and nearly done.

image of OMG Ombre

That Prussian Blue Ombre just pops throughout the quilt.

So with the imminent finish of another quilt, I’ve been pulling things out of drawers in the studio, (there is no shortage of UFOs there) and the winner just might be…

image of WIP quilt

Connecticut Quilt

Looking back through my notes I think I started this in *Gulp* 2008 (possibly earlier) and of late I’ve had some new ideas for it.

Not least because I can’t even find my original Electric Quilt drawings for it.  I suspect they were done way back on EQ5!, on the computer that died with out a backup. (Big Lesson learnt that day).

Because I love the fabrics in this quilt so much, it really would be a shame not to continue, and hey, one has recently been reproduced which is kinda handy LOL.

I’m pondering whether to take the baskets off and begin afresh from the star.

I’ve started drawing it up anew on EQ7 so will see where it takes me.

I’m going to carry on with that for the rest of the day.

Thanks for visiting,

til soon,

Margaret :-)

Two finishes

image of OMG Ombre

I have finally completed the top of Miss Hitchens’ Whimsy, just the quilting to do now.

*Insert Happy Beaming Face*

image of Miss Hitchens' Whimsy

Miss Hitchens’ Whimsy

With MHW’s completion I got stuck into OMG Ombre…cutting the fabric for the remaining flying geese blocks.  Well when I say remaining I mean 22 of the 25 needed…I hadn’t got very far initially.

image of OMG Ombre

Ready to sew.

I spent a lovely (coldish) weekend two weekends ago sewing by the fire, using foundation piecing for speed and accuracy.

image of OMG Ombre

The pile of finished blocks getting bigger.

 By the end of the weekend I had made all the Wild Goose Chase blocks and then started playing with the alternate blocks…I needed to decide if I did or didn’t want them scrappy, did I want to add pink triangles? (cos I had a nice pink Ombre print I was dying to use)

image of Alternate Blocks

Some ombres, some checks, some florals… No pink, didn’t look right.

There was a bit of this going on periodically to make sure I was still happy…

image of Alternate Blocks

Yep, happy with that.

But the weekend was over too soon and I had to pack it away :-(

The very next weekend, out it all came again and I finshed the alternate blocks, assembled them and *even* got the border on.

More decisions to be made there of course, lol I had in my head that it would be quite a subtle pieced border…there was enough going on in the centre I thought.

image of OMG Ombre

I started out subdued but got progressively bolder.

I tried all sorts of combinations and ended up with this… Not what I had in mind at all but, hey sometimes you have to listen to what the quilt has to say.

image of OMG Ombre

More ombre, more prussian blue, more brown.

 So I have two quilts ready to machine quilt .. such a good feeling.

Hoping you are getting some productive sewing time too

til next

Happy stitching


Prussian Blues, an almost wordless post!!

image of Prussian Blue and Buff fabric

Oh Boy, if only someone would reproduce these…please somebody, anybody!!

image of Prussian Blue and Buff fabric

Prussian Blue and Buff fabric detail

I’ve got about four or five photo’s to post here.  All these fabrics are from quilts in the collection of Janet O’Dell and I had the pleasure of looking at them over the weekend at the Quilt Study Group Australia Seminar ‘Unfolding Tradition‘.

These few quilts were only a taste of what we saw during Janet’s presentation

Traditional Quilt Turning of selected pre 1850 Quilts and Coverlets

Many thanks to Janet for showing these stunningly beautiful pieces from her collection and allowing me to show some pictures here of the fabrics in the quilts and coverlets.

image of Prussian Blue Ombre stripe fabric

Prussian Blue Ombre Stripe

The first two photo’s are from the same quilt.

These fabrics are in no particular order, I’m just grabbing them out of the folder.

image of Prussian Blue and Buff

Prussian blue and Buff...eccentric, vermiculate print?

These few quilts are a mix of British and American quilts and all 1800- 1850 approximately.

iamge of Prussian Blue fabrics

a selection of Prussian Blue fabrics

image of Prussian Blue Ombre Stripe

Prussian Blue Ombre Stripe

I have more to share over the weeks, we had 8 different presentations over the weekend so this is just a small taste

It was the most fantastic weekend, Thank you to Janet O’Dell (convenor) and all the organizers and speakers.

You can imagine I’m a weeny bit exhausted.

til soon :-)

More treasures from the Sydney Quilt Show

image of Hush a Bye Baby

Here are two very special quilts I saw in Sydney which I (and Jennifer) spent ages looking at.  We were lucky enough to be introduced to the maker (Maureen) while we were ogling this first quilt and the three of us spent a while talking about the fabrics she used.

Unfortunately I did not think to take close ups of the fabrics in this particular quilt (there are some treasures in there),

but you’ll be able to click to enlarge and have a good look.

image of Hush a Bye Baby

"Hush a Bye Baby" by Maureen Teager

This is a very accurate reproduction of a Bedcover (Coverlet?), Cotton appliqued on Linen made in 1834 by Nancy Horsfall.

If you have a copy of the V & A book Quilts 1700-2010, Hidden Histories, Untold Stories you will find a photo of the original, and another of Nancy Horsfall’s quilts on pages 70 & 71.  Both quilts are now housed in Gawthorpe Hall, Padham, Lancashire, UK.

Maureen has drafted the blocks and borders for this cot quilt herself and it is stunning.

There are a lot of fabrics I recognised from my own stash and (among others) I loved the Prussian Blue Ombre which Maureen has used in the large setting triangles.

The next quilt is also by Maureen and some of you may recognise this as it has been produced as a pattern by a few different designers.

image of Nelly the Elephant

Nelly the Elephant made by Maureen Teager

This particular interpretation of this well known quilt has been drafted by Lynn Alchin and Maureen made it in a class with Lynn at Quiltsmith in Sydney.

Like “Hush a Bye Baby”, this quilt is another very accurate reproduction of a 19th Century Quilt.

The original is a top only and was made c.1819 by Catherine Tompkins.  Catherine’s quilt was used to extinguish the flames of the nightgown worn by a young Sue Gwathmey and in commemoration of this life saving event the quilt was never mended or finished.

Catherine Tompkins burnt ‘top’ is featured on page 29 in the book Quilts of Virginia 1607-1899 published by Schiffer.

I did think to take close ups of Maureen’s ‘Nelly…”

image of Nelly detail

Maureen and I definitely have the same taste in fabrics and I think that’s a great use of that Bird Toile.

I’ll have to check my Quiltsmith purchases but I think I also managed to get some of that deep red.

image of Nelly detail

That Dargate Prussian Blue check by Margo Krager is one of my all time faves too.

Both of these quilts by Maureen have been hand quilted, hand appliqued and (not 100% sure but I suspect) hand pieced too.

Thank you very much Maureen for letting me show these here.

I still have a couple of posts worth of quilts from Sydney so stay tuned.

Historical notes about the Quilts sourced from:~

Quilts 1700-2010, Hidden Histories,Untold Stories. V&A publishing 2010 p 70 and 71

Quilts of Virginia, 1607-1899, The Birth of America Through the Eye of a Needle. 2006 Virginia Consortium of Quilters, p29. published by Schiffer

An Ohio Star Strippy, more Maltaville …and something modern, eeeek.

image of Ohio Star Quilt

Friday was bleak here in Central Victoria and moving my sewing stuff out of the studio and in to the living room in front of the fire seemed a very inviting proposition.

I cut and sewed like a woman posessed and finished this….

image of Ohio Star Quilt

I am really pleased to get this finished (well the top)

You may remember it in progress from here

Just to re-cap this quilt came in to being because I needed to make a quilt based on the Ohio Star block for the Vic. Quilters Showcase in July this year where my local quilt group is being featured.

Originally I had planned it to be a straight set quilt ~ maybe with a narrow sashing in the plain white ~ but it has morphed in to a strippy.

image of repro reds

Forty blocks, some of the really fave reds have two blocks and some just one.

On Friday (when I moved in to the living room) I had all the blocks already made,

it was the 400 half square triangles that have taken the time.

I thought it might be quicker than making more blocks.

Jury’s out on that one.

image of Maltaville Centre

Now that the Ohio Star is as good as done I can get back to concentrating on the Maltaville Quilt centre block.

The vine is all sewn and I will prepare more of the applique pieces this week.

A friend and I are going to the Phillip Island Quilt-in this Saturday and I want to take this with me to work on.

I have chosen the next four blocks for the Maltaville mailout this month…

image of block A8

Block A8

Image of Block A2

Block A2

image of Block C1

Block C1

image of Block C5

Block C5

In this bottom one (C5) I have sewn it like the original with its little mishap… I like it this way but have no idea if it was indeed a mishap for the original maker or if this is how she intended it to be.

Last week Jennifer kept me company on a trip to one of my suppliers.

It was her job to find a couple of quilt shops we could visit on the way and she found shops specialising in more contemporary fabrics.

I bought these…

image of Contemporary and Snazzy fabrics

Contemporary and Snazzy

…had to get a Paisley in there didn’t I?

When I was in NZ last month, good friends gave me (and DH) an unexpected and fabulous gift so a quilt idea has been buzzing around in my head in the last few weeks.

A traditional, antique style quilt is just not going to be their ‘thing’ but I think they will like these fabrics and I will have fun working with these.

Not at all what I usually buy, but I really like them.

To -do lists


Happy 2011 everybody.

I didn’t intend to have such a long hiatus from blogging but my little holiday break seemed to lapse in to a bout of computer laziness.

Christmas day here was lovely with family and good friends in abundance…and thankfully my children have reached the age where they can allow me to sit back (just a bit) and enjoy the day.

Ayla in the kitchen

DD, slicing and dicing; Mumsie no where to be seen but no doubt enjoying some of that Champagne.

DH and I had a couple of nights in South Melbourne at DD’s place early this week (cat and house sitting) so we got to do a few city things… balmy Melbourne evenings/sitting on the upstairs balcony/relaxing/restaurant dinners/G and T’s.

Melbourne Skyline

And during the rest of the summer break (which still has a week to go for me) I have thoroughly enjoyed taking the time to get back to some projects and to-do lists.

One quilt (top) I am really pleased to have finished is the Nebraska Basket Quilt.

You may remember this pic from an earlier post

Work in progress

Well now the top is finished and ready for quilting.

Nebraska Basket Quilt circa 1854

This quilt is one I started  a couple of years ago.  My inspiration was a quilt by Mary Novotny Lahowetz (1835-1907)

Mary and her quilt are featured on pages 20 and 21 of the book

Nebraska Quilts and Quiltmakers;

Edited by Patricia Cox Crewes and Ronald C. Naugle, University of Nebraska Press (1991)

Mary’s quilt features this unususal basket block whereby the piecing of the basket extends into the space usually left open below the handle.

Does spotting an unusual block variation get you rushing for graph paper and pencil too?

I have drawn up another block  for the Maltaville Album Quilt 1847 and managed to get that sewn over the break.

I decided to have a go with the ‘back basting’ method which I have seen on various blogs over time…I thought it would be perfect for this Scherenschnitte type block.

Maltaville Album Quilt 1847

Back-Basting in readiness for applique. Dargate Prussian Blue C. 1830, patt # 24413 by Margo Krager

Maltaville Album 1847

Back-Basting, reverse side shown.

Then I cut the fabric a little way ahead and unpicked just a basting stitch or two ahead of where I was sewing…Maltaville Album 1847
…turning the seam allowance under as I went.

I found the method worked very well, thank you to those of you who have shared it before.

Voila…Maltaville Album 1847

The Maltaville Album Quilt (1847) is in the Smithsonian Institute.

It contains 61 applique blocks (one large central block surrounded by 60 smaller blocks) and now I have finished two with another nearly drafted and ready to go.

The original features a lot of Prussian Blues so I am enjoying trialling different options from my stash.

The other bit of  ‘whimsy’ I’m frittering hours away on is my Drunkards Path.  I’ve no idea what this will end up as …a whole quilt or just a border for something, but in the meantine it’s a bit of enjoyable evening hand stitching or something to take to ‘quilting’ if I haven’t got anything else organised.

Drunkards Path Blocks

Drunkards Path Blocks

I’ve been cutting 5″ squares out of my stash including bits of Smithsonian, I need to add some Prussian Blues though.

Okay, one week left of the hol’s…Focus,

Connecticut Quilt, you’re next.

why, oh why, do we keep starting new things?


Hope you didn’t get a shock… I just wanted to make some changes.

My studio space and office table have been a hive of activity this last week or so.

What started the office activity was me deciding I really needed to finalise my new business card design because I wanted a more consistent ‘look’ to…well everything.  So with oodles and oodles of help from  my Design and Technical Support Team Jennifer (5foot1quilts), an image has been designed and colour theme chosen.

This has brought about the new colour for my sidebar and tabs which I am hoping you will see as a 19th century Cheddar and not a 1970s Burnt Orange!!  It did have to be mellowed a bit for the web though so as not to be too hard on the eyes.  Then of course the photo clashed so that had to be changed, this new one will have to do (even though it’s a bit greenish) until  Jennifer has time to make the logo fit in the space without being pulled out of shape.  There are still some changes I want to  make but I hope they will be minor (and so does Jenn!!!).  I’d welcome any comments about whether you like it or not, truly…be honest.

My Prussian Blues which I ordered from the States a couple of weeks ago arrived yesterday…please, whoever is filling the Aussie dollar with helium, you can stop now- I am going broke.

Prussian Blues

Dargate Prussian Blues by Margo Krager for Windham Fabrics. L to R. 24413-1, 24412-1, 24411-1, 24408-2

These are ‘oldies but goodies’ I found and had to have, I blogged about the other Prussians I have over at What Fabric is That.com

True Madder

True Madder from Windham Fabrics #20327

This one came in the same parcel and was one I was down to the last little pieces of and was happy to be able to get more from www.laptopquilts.com

The activity in my studio was prompted by my forward planning for a little time off over the Christmas break, I got to thinking about a UFO or two (3,4,5…) I could get finished and pulled out this as a posibility…

Nebraska Basket

Nebraska Basket Quilt c 1850

I have 30 basket blocks sewn and have several ideas that need finalising before proceeding…

…but I needed wanted a little hand project to do at the Love and Friendship meeting last Saturday so ‘whipped up’ another Morrell block to work on.  I don’t actually require any more Morrell blocks I just felt like incorporating some Smithsonian recently added to the stash, you know how it is.

Sarah Morrell Quilt

Sarah Morrell block using RJRs Smithsonian ~ Rising Sun Quilt 'Potpourri' #2200-1

And then, as often happens when idling around the studio on a wet day, before I knew it I had started planning a new quilt…

And then started drawing, choosing, oh-oh cutting and …might as well go with it, stitching.

Maltaville Album

Inspired by the Maltaville Album Quilt 1847, Smithsonian Institute.

The Maltaville Album Quilt is one I’ve admired for ages…I’ve still got the embroidery to do on this block, but am planning the next block already, those Prussian Blues are going to come down off the shelf.

And finally…yes there’s more

Ohio Star

Ohio Star Variation

Inspired by Kathie over at Inspired by Antique Quilts (yes Kathie I’m enjoying watching the progress of your Red and White quilt) I made a quick trip in to Threadbear this morning to grab some Kona Plain (bone) because I wanted to make a start on this Ohio Star.

In my defence, the Ohio Star is being made for a reason (well, a reason other than I just felt like it…which is plenty good enough reason), next year The Goldfields Quilters (my LQG) is being featured in the Victorian Quilters Showcase and about 18 of us have commited to each providing a quilt to hang in the Exhibition. In order to make a cohesive display some of us are doing Ohio Stars.   Mine is going to be different Turkey Reds and plain White…I wanted a more solid look, hence the variation to the traditional colour placement, then I wanted it just abit more open so added the applique circle.  I think I’m happy with it but I may make the applique circle a bit bigger, that will mean another quick trip to Threadbear to buy the bigger set of Mylar Circles…

And of course I didn’t just leave with the Kona plain this morning did I…


Garibaldi #7017-8 by Sara Morgan for Blue Hills Fabric

Why do we start new things? I don’t know…but a few in blogland have been pondering over the same thought recently.

Is it because if we start it, it’s now something tangible and therefore can’t get lost or forgotten.

Or do we just need to keep on creating…and creating…and creating.

All I can say is I’m glad a vacation is coming up, I’m going to need that time.

Ciao for now…

Fabric, fabric and more fabric

RJR Smithsonian Fabric

I didn’t get back to you about my weekend of super organisation a while back and my snazzy new label maker.  I had promised to post some photo’s of my fabric shelves and now that I’m getting more confident with Photo Shop it’s all getting a lot easier.

As you know I’m a great fan of the Smithsonian fabrics which RJR released quite a few years ago.  Most of my Smithsonian fabrics I’ve kept from all those years ago and they are still some of my most favourite…I can’t imagine I’ll ever tire of them. I keep them separate from my other fabrics, I don’t know why I do…I just do.  Maybe because it makes them easier to be admired and of course they just go so well with each other.

RJR Smithsonian Fabric

My favourite fabric stack...but if only it were taller (sigh)

However, about a third of my Smithsonian fabrics I bought about 5 years after they were released here in Australia and I found them in New Zealand, just in a small town’s quilt shop.  There were still bolts left and so I was able to pick up a bit of meterage.  And some I bought online just a couple of months ago on reproductionfabrics.com so it pays to keep looking.

Smithsonian and Vintage fabric tub.

The leftovers go in here, along with scraps of vintage pieces.

You also know how crazy I go over 1800s repro fabrics and after several years of studying Quilt History I have a developed a keen eye for the different styles of fabrics and where they fit into the time line of fabric production.  So I stack Turkey Reds, Indigos, Cheddars, Chrome Yellows and Poison Greens separately from Reds, Blues, Orange etc.

Turkey Red shelf

Love these Turkey Reds, they were in vogue after 1840.

I don’t use much green in my quilts…just not a fave colour so my regular green stack is hardly worth photographing… but I do have a reasonable stack of  Indigos  and I’m always on the lookout for Prussian Blues, good ones are hard to get.  Dyeing of Prussian Blue dates back to the early 1830s but  was popular in quiltmaking and clothing in the 1840s and 50s.

Indigo/Prussian blues

Love the Prussian Blue on the top, from reproductionfabrics.com

And this last photo shows one of my much loved stacks of French Fabric.  I have two stacks, one  for French fabric I have bought or aquired over the years and the other is this stack…

French Fabric

Fabrics bought from Les Olivades in St. Etienne du Gres, Provence.

Last year I visited Provence and was able to go to Les Olivades wharehouse/shop and showroom in St. Etienne du Gres.  They are reproducing fabric in the Indienne Style produced in Marseilles in the mid 17th century and are well worth the visit, either in person or online.

My DH and I drove  half way across the bottom of France for most of the day (we somewhat underestimated the distance involved) and we didn’t arrive in St. Etienne du Gres until 4pm even though we had left ‘home’ in the Midi Pyrenees at 8.30am, but of course the day did include the obligatory 2hr French lunch!!

I’m so glad to have been able to purchase some of these gorgeous fabrics that I keep them in their own stack…I have lots of ideas about what I want to do with them but I haven’t settled on one idea yet so for now they just remind of an enjoyable but long day out (we got home at 1am but had also managed ‘to squeeze in’ a trip to Pont du Gard at sunset…beautiful)

’til soon,

thanks for visiting…