Using Backgrounds

image of Concord Massachsetts

Autumnal greetings and welcome new followers, I really appreciate you being here xx

image of Concord Massachsetts

Just a beautiful pic of Fall in Concord, Massachusetts for you to enjoy

Y’know… I’ve been thinking about how you, my dear friends, can get more out of these blog posts.

How can I make them more informative and inspiring for you?

And if you’re not in near proximity to where I’m teaching (though that IS expanding), how can I share with you the fabric inspiration I talk about in my workshops?

As I’ve been stitching the Suffolk Coverlet (new), that pondering has been taking shape.

image of Hexies

My nightly companion… Hexies for the Suffolk Coverlet

I realised I’ve actually been looking at what I want to share with you for months, it just took me a little time to figure it out.

It’s *Backgrounds* and how I…

Choose what I’ll use,

and use what I choose.

And why?

image of Antique fabrics

See that patina? … the blotches and age stains? Simply put… that just rocks my boat.

In ‘Quilts From the Colonies’ I talk about the nostalgia and familiarity I felt (even as a child) looking at antiquities.

 I don’t really know *why*it*moves*me*… but it does.

There’s just something about old stuff and how it makes me feel.

Old, faded, battered & stained = Well used (loved), handled & cherished by generations and it has a history.

image of Antique blocks

A few more from my collection… I buy these just because they make me feel all warm amd fuzzy inside.

So of course… I want to get that *look*.

I just want it to look like this.

image of antique quilt

In earlier days my MO was to Tea Stain pretty much any background print,

and any print that had white,

and any print that had too high a contrast going on.

I loved the print and I loved the colour, but I didn’t always love the colour value.

Vintage Sampler 2005

Vintage Sampler 2005

Vintage Sampler 2005

Vintage Sampler 2005

 I would also use the wrong side of fabrics to tone things down a bit.  I wanted to flatten out that high contrast.

This pic shows what I was wanting to achieve, and my love affair with brown.

Antique fabricThere’s contrast here (above), but the background has discoloured and now sits (imho)  more calmly against the print.

Below is a recent finish where the print evokes the same feelings of calmness and nostalgia.

Indiana Medallion 2018

Indiana Medallion 2018

Quantities permitting, if I’m using a plain fabric my absolute preference would be to use a tea stained fabric.

Left. Patty Harants print (Gold Star for that one) and Right. Marcus Bros Aged Muslin

Left. Patty Harants print (Gold Star Miss P for that one) and Right. Marcus Bros Aged Muslin

 There’s a few that are commercially available.  Alas the Patty Harants fabric above left is from years ago.  But the Marcus Bros Aged Muslin is one I have used in many quilts, it’s a standard line for them and comes in many different tones from off white through to brown. And just FYI, it comes in colours too.

But what I’ve been doing with the Suffolk Coverlet is …

Anne Romsey's Coverlet c 1790 Dedham Essex/Suffolk

Anne Romsey’s Coverlet c 1790 Dedham Essex/Suffolk

…using tone on tone prints to create the look of random discolouration, or patina.

Suffolk Coverlet backgroundsWhy did I decide to use these four fabrics?

Far right is the background for the centre Broderie Perse appliqué … not a lot left so can’t use that.

Far left is the background to the Pentagon border … didn’t have a huge amount left but have since sourced more from Margo Krager.

But I didn’t want to just switch from one background fabric in the centre, to using a whole other background for the rest of the quilt because I think that is too big a jump, I want to blur the meeting point.

So as well as repeating the two already used, I added the tiny spot… tonally and scale wise the three are similar.

But what’s with the fourth? Why is that fabric there?

FabricBecause I like it,

Actually, I love it.

Because I have only a few off-cuts left and it’s been in a couple of my favourite quilts already (and I have a feeling this one is going to be another favourite quilt)

Because  I think every quilt should have something that doesn’t quite fit… but you love it and that’s all that matters.

And because I don’t want to make the *obvious* fabric choices in my quilts…

and may I be so bold as to say,

I don’t think you should make the obvious choices either.

Please use the fabrics that give you joy, and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Making shapes and sttiching them together

Making shapes and stitching them together.

More hexies

The four ‘background’ prints are totally random. No rhyme or reason to it at all.

Hexie Rosettes of all colours and prints

Hexie Rosettes of all colours and prints.

I’m so sorry this has been quite a mammoth post, I hope you’re still here til the end.

As I don’t have time to blog as much as I’d like, I’m wanting to offer you quality over frequency… I want to share fabric choices with you on a deeper level than just showing pretty quilt pictures.

I really hope I haven’t bored you.

Thanks for sticking with me

Til next

Happy stitching

Margaret xx

Quilts from the Colonies (not the book) Part 3

After dinner show and tell, the others had gone to bed but a few of us decided to have a little show and tell

Hello again, I think you’ll find this final part of the Colonial Quilts posts totally swoon-worthy… I sure hope so.

Our tour made its way to the small town of Te Aroha in the Waikato region to view a c 1820-1830 Broderie Perse Chintz coverlet.  This coverlet, which I first visited in 2014, was the impetus for the whole trip.

 As she was revealed, there were gasps and smiles.

The unveiling

The unveiling

And we had two whole days to spend with her.

The first day was an in-depth study day convened by Janet O’Dell.  In the morning we spent time studying the evolution of fabric manufacturing and printing.  Janet’s knowledge in this area was invaluable in giving us an understanding of the cotton industry.  As well, Janet brought many antique coverlets and assorted pieces from her own collection to compare fabrics and quilt styles with the Te Aroha coverlet and we studied those alongside Te Aroha’s coverlet in the afternoon.

image ofComparing fabrics

Comparing a piece from Janet’s collection with the Te Aroha coverlet.  This was the best match we got!

Spots are always the same… or are they?

Close but not quite

Size and spacing are not always identical.

Sometimes the print was similar but the colour not the same.

image of Yellow ground print

Yellow ground with brown motifs from Janet’s collection.

Image of yellow ground print

Yellow ground with brown motifs ~ Te Aroha coverlet.

Or the colour was the closer but the print was different

Te Aroha coverlet

Te Aroha coverlet

Te Aroha coverlet

Te Aroha coverlet

Small geometrics, especially the interesting ‘stacked’ designs featured frequently in Te Aroha’s and Janet’s coverlets.  But not once a perfect match

Small gemetric prints featured in many of the pieces Janet brought with her

Small gemetric prints featured in many of the pieces Janet brought with her.

Te Aroha's coverlet features many too

Te Aroha’s coverlet features many too

Te Aroha’s coverlet is in the medallion style.  At its centre is a large Broderie Perse design featuring flowers, trees, butterflies and other motifs cut from a chintz fabric.  In addition there are some birds cut from plain and print fabrics.  The centre arrangement of flowers and trunk has a seam through the centre to create a symmetrical design.  One tree on the centre section has also been pieced to create the desired design.  Here however, they have not been cut from the same fabric.

image of Broderie Perse

Centre section showing pieced roses and trunk, pieced tree and plain & print birds

All these are raw edge applique attached with a herringbone stitch in white thread.

The Rising Moon blocks are all pieced over papers and whip stitched together, the half circles are appliqued on top, again raw edge and a herringbone stitch.

The coverlet is not backed, but is hemmed on all four sides.  Family history tells us it was a finished piece, and was used by the descendents of the maker.  It would be put on the bed for special visitors, including any house calls from the Doctor.

It was quite a sobering moment when she (the coverlet) had to be returned to her usual abode.  We’d all grown fond of the grand old lady, and crowded around her for one more photo and some last minute looks.  Carefully covering her up again and making sure she was safely wrapped, before she was collected and carried out.

It was good for her to have a really good airing and a whole 48 hours flat

Thank you to these ladies for making this Study Trip so wonderful and especially to Janice, 6th from left.

Thank you to these ladies for making this Study Trip so wonderful and especially to Janice for being so helpful in bringing it all together.

Just a few pics to close of the Broderie Perse workshop we did on the Sunday.  Students worked on their own version of Miss Hitchens’ Whimsy as featured in my book Quilts from the Colonies published by Quiltmania

How very special to have the original coverlet on hand for inspiration!

Broderie Perse Workshop

Broderie Perse Workshop

Maureen's Centre looking divine

Maureen’s Centre looking divine

Mine on the floor in the distance (albeit on sheets) The 'real deal' gets the table.

Mine on the floor in the distance (albeit on sheets) The ‘real deal’ gets the table.

Well that’s the trip… I am already thinking I would love to do it again next year and add some different museums and quilts  if possible. Let’s see what transpires.

Don’t forget to click on all the photo’s  to really get a better view.  Click agin on the green arrow for zooming in capabilities… you’ll be glad you did.

Thanks so much for visiting these posts, I know there was a lot of info to take in

Happy stitching

til next

Margaret xx



















Quilts from the Colonies (not the book) … Part 1

Anne Romsey Coverlet c 1795-1830 Made in Dedham, Sussex, England. In the collection of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand

Yes already I see I’m going to have to do this in parts, photo and info heavy post right here.

I’m not long back from my wee jaunt across the ditch… to New Zealand that is.

Have I got your attention?

Yes… my travel companions were amused by the constant use of the word ‘wee’ everywhere we went.

Me being a Kiwi lass, I was not at all surprised and found it familiar and comforting.

It’s a colonial expression from the Scots, and we use it all the time.    “That’s a lovely wee sewing bag you’ve got there, if only I had a wee bit more time I’d love to have a wee look at it”

The purpose of going was to see Antique New Zealand Quilts, I’d already seen one a few years ago … my Miss Hitchens’ Whimsy from Quilts from the Colonies was inspired by a coverlet from Te Aroha which I saw in 2014.  And I knew there were more scattered around the country.

Let’s have a pic and then I’ll explain all…

image of Anne Romsey Coverlet c1795-1830

Anne Romsey Coverlet c1795-1830 Dedham, Sussex, England. In the Collection of the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

If I didn’t have your attention before, I should have it now!

This is only one of the eleven quilts and coverlets seen in just four museums in NZ’s North Island.

I’ve been planning this study trip for some time ~ researching quilts and coverlets of interest and working with the museums as most of these quilts are not on permanent display.  The four museums we visited have all been very generous with their time and collections. Janet O’Dell was a key member of the trip too as she brought with her not just some British antique quilts to study (more on that later), but also her wealth of knowledge.  And I know the museums gained as much from her as we did from them.

Let’s make this a fairly ‘photo heavy’ post shall we.  And I’ll reference where I can, what was seen, and where you can see more images of the textiles online.

Day one saw us bright and early to Tamaki Paenga Hira -Auckland War Memorial Museum to view two coverlets.

Anne Romsey Coverlet

Details of the Anne Romsey Coverlet

Anne Romsey’s Coverlet has two dates inscribed on the back ~ 1795 and 1830

More photo’s and documentation is available here

We then saw a late 18th c Irish Coverlet, maker unknown.   It was in the medallion style of much earlier coverlets so at first one would think it was a much earlier piece.  It’s in very good condition with the Chintz still highly glazed.

Irish Chintz Medallion

Irish Chintz Medallion c 1880-1890  Maker unknown.

image of Irish Chintz medallion detail

Irish Chintz medallion detail

More photo’s and documentation is available here

Then we spied a box that looked suspiciously like a quilt archival box!

Two more...

Two more…

We had a bonus two quilts to view! … The red and white quilt is quite fragile, so that stayed in the box but we were able to carefully unfold sections for a better look. Circa 1840 from North Carolina, USA  Maker unknown.

image of Red and White North Carolina, c 1840

Red and White applique quilt, North Carolina. USA. c 1840. Maker unknown.

More photo’s and documentation is available here

And the final quilt was an early 19th c Log Cabin Quilt from England, maker unknown. An assortment of cottons, wools and silks are used here.

image of Early 19th Century English Log Cabin quilt.  Wool, silk, cotton

Early 19th Century English Log Cabin quilt. Wool, silk, cotton. Maker unknown.

More photo’s and documentation is available here

We were then treated to a rare opportunity to have a wee peek in archival drawers.

As Jane said…”let’s just open a random few and see what’s there”  Lots of interesting early stitched samplers featured heavily along with early colonial artefacts.  These I didn’t have permission to share but I would encourage you to search through the museums extensive online collection to see what you find.

Heartfelt thanks are extended to Jane Groufsky, Associate Curator Applied Arts and Design at Tamaki Paenga Hira – Auckland War Memorial Museum.  Our visit exceeded our expectations as you were so generous with your time.

The following day we travelled in convoy to Tauranga, a beautiful port city in the Bay of Plenty.   A very informative morning was spent with our guide Barbara at The Elms Mission.

The Elms Mission

The Elms Mission Tauranga

Two quilts are here and both were made by Scottish migrant Euphemia Ballingall Maxwell (1830-1918).  Euphemia worked on the crazy quilt from 1887 and completed it just prior to her death in 1918. Her applique coverlet is believed to have been made or completed by Euphemia after her arrival in New Zealand in 1865 so both these quilts are New Zealand made.

The Elms website used to have an online collection, but a look today as I’m writing and researching shows an updated and beautiful website, but no clear pictures of quilts.   However there are several photo’s and lots of documentation available in Pamela Fitz Gerald’s book “Warm Heritage, Old Patchwork Quilts & Coverlets in New Zealand and the women who made them”  ISBN 1-86953-529-4

It is readily available here.

image of Crazy Quilt 1887 - 1918

Euphemia Ballingall Maxwell’s Crazy Quilt

image of Borderie Perse Coverlet

Euphemia Ballingall Maxwell’s Applique coverlet 102″ square.  Centre section.

Broderie Perse Coverlet, fabric detal

Applique Coverlet, fabric detail.

A return visit to The Elms is already on my agenda… what an interesting historic home it is.  Thank you to the staff and especially our knowledgable guide Barbara who brought the family alive for us.

I am going to hit publish for this post and get straight on to part 2.  I think otherwise it’s just going to be way too much… not a wee post at all.

Enjoy… and stay tuned. I expect to have part 2 done by this evening



PS. some of the pics look a bit faded but click on them for a sharper and bigger image xx
















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


Progress x three

image of 1800s sunburst blocks

I’m so close to finishing Miss Hitchens’ Whimsy … I can hardly believe it.

I’ve calculated just four evenings of stitching will complete the remaining two small corner blocks.

(once I have prepared them of course)

image of Miss Hitchens' Whimsy corner

Miss Hitchens’ Whimsy corner block…two down, two to go.

And then I just need a few hours to assemble because all the border strips are sewn…

image of Miss Hitchens' Whimsy borders

Miss Hitchens’ Whimsy outer borders.

…and the centre is done.

image of Miss Hitchens' Whimsy Centre

Centre block…FULL of Broderie Perse.

It is such a *good* feeling.

So that is the first of the three quilts that are in the *Priority Pile*.

The second is the 1800s Sunburst Quilt…maybe progress is too specific a word for this.  Chugging, nay Plodding along might be more apt but I am getting there and I periodically have another finished block to admire.

image of 1800s sunburst blocks

1800s Sunburst blocks, the top left is the most recent finish

I still get a thrill out of finishing one and deciding “which one next?” At the moment I seem to be drawn to these Vermiculate style patterns.

image of 1800s Sunburst blocks

More blocks.

Once MHW is finished I’ll be able to get a bit more gung ho with these blocks.

And I’ve decided to use these Leaf Templates from Made Studio for the elipse corner applique…I’ve used these before and really like the accuracy and speed of these ready made templates.

image of Applique leaves

Made Studio Leaf Templates.

The third is my OMG Ombre (that’s the working title lol)

With the arrival of more of the fabrics I wanted I can get cracking on this (yay)

image of OMG Ombre

Prussian Blue Ombre by Pam Weeks and Eccentric print by Lisa DeBee Schiller.

I’m itching to start sewing again on this… But first I’m going to prepare those last two MHW blocks…today.

I hope you are enjoying your UFO’s too.

thanks for visiting

til next

Margaret :-)

Summer Sewing

image of sewing day

The temperature is rising as the week rolls along,

30 today (86F) 38 tommorow (100F) and 40 Friday (104F) and back to 34 Saturday (93F)

It’s a good time to be a hermit which I confess I am in January.  Apart from two walks around the corner to our little shop for mail/paper/milk I have not left the property since Christmas eve!!! Bliss.

My little studio is not airconditioned but it’s still quite pleasant in here, not sure how I’ll feel by this afternoon :-0

On Saturday Irene and Jenn came over, the three of us had not had a chance to get together to talk about what we want to do through the year, singly as well as collectively.  So it was a meeting of Turn Left for Harmony, all meetings should be like this.image of sewing day

I am ticking things off that list of ‘summer jobs’, one was to make the remaining three cushions of my intended set of four.

Possibly it is 18 months or two years since I made the first cushion, but happily all four are now made, tick.

image of cushion making

Next job…

Work through the steps for making Perfect Bias Stems, 1/8″ wide using a set of laminated instructions purchased in Houston from

Amidon Quiltworks,

Previously I just made a 1/4″ stem with the bias maker and folded it in half but the bulk was less than ideal.

 Amidon Quiltworks sells a two sided laminated instruction sheet for Perfect Bias Stems designed by P3Designs and the sample stem Amidon gave me was 1/8″, perfectly bendy and flat.  Granted it was made with Batik and that is tightly woven and does behave itself well, but I was keen to have a crack at it.

I followed all the steps (20) carefully, it has been well thought out and I won’t show too much as it is copyrighted to P3Designs.

image of making bias stemsI used an RJR  Smithsonian fabric, Stem #1 worked well but I was a little disappointed in the fabric wastage, for the next stem I altered the instructions slightly to compensate.  It is a little bit fiddly (but these are skinny stems) but after making the six stems I needed I had worked out where I could minor tweak what is a very good method devised by P3.

My stems actually ended up being 1/8″ to 3/16″ wide, but I know where I went wrong and perhaps the coarser weave had something to do with it too but I don’t use Batiks so the method needs to work for my fabrics.

The Verdict… I am happy, but could be a bit happier, with the results and the stems are not bulky.  I’ll use this method again.

So what’d  I do with those stems?

LOL, started a new quilt of course

image of Applique Chintz Basket

Some Dutch Chintz, some Smithsonian... what a lovely mix

This morning I started chooosing the flowers, it will be Broderie Perse for those, and settled on carefully selecting flowers from (but felt like hacking in to) the panel from the 1810 Chintz Medallion, Virginia Quilt Museum range by Quilting Treasures. Luckily I had two as I needed to cut in to them both to get the flowers I needed.

image of Broderie Perse fabric

1810 Chintz Medallion by Quilting Treasures.

As is typical with me, I really don’t know what this will be nor how big, I’m just having fun with it for now.

image of applique block

ready for stitching when it gets too hot to do much else.

I didn’t plan for a butterfly in this block but as the panel had one I thought I might as well use it :-)

Off to clean up the table and then play some more before, it’s now mid afternoon and the temp is still OK in here.

Thanks for dropping by


Give-away winners

image of Large Panel

I decided to wait until at least Saturday night because it will still be the 13th July somewhere in the world when we’ve moved on to the 14th July here so yesterday I drew the winners for the give-away announced back here.

Well actually Jenn did it, she was at my place as we had some work to do, always there is work to do!!

I have to tell you, even something as simple as drawing a give-away was not without confusion :-0

But first I had fun choosing a couple of extra pieces of fabric to go with the John Hewson panels,

image of Large Panel

Large Urn, with warm brown and light blue for the first two names out

I wanted to give you something a little different to go with the panels, something other than a companion print

imagie fo Birds

Birds, with a madder and an eccentric print for the 3rd and 4th names out.

So with that all done, it was time to write out the names and pop them in a container of some description.

The first thing I did was go on to the post page to see that there were 23 comments,

I had made two replies so that means there are 21 people in the draw, yeah.

Then I wrote down all the names on pieces of paper, and just to be sure I counted them.

There were only 20!

So I counted them again, making sure paper hadn’t got stuck together.  Yeah there’s only 20.

So then I read out the names and Jenn checked all the pieces of paper.

Yes everybody is there, so why does the page tell me there are 23 comments?

So I went to my dashboard to check what is going on.

Haha, but not before checking with Jenn that, uummm 23 minus 2 is 21 isn’t it, I actually said that!

There was an extra (already approved) comment that for some reason had not appeared on the list, I have no idea why but rest assured your name went in the draw CMB :-)

Alrighty, after all that hullabaloo we were ready to pull some names out.

image of the winner is

Putting Jenn to work... again.

Looking at this photo I have to make clear, I am somewhat considerably taller than 5foot1Jennifer

and Jennifer could not see in to that box.

Drum Roll, first name out is…

image of first name

Marianne from the Netherlands

Then Judy

Then Ady

Then Jennifer Carlyle Shelton

Congratulations to all of you,

I’ll email you for your postal addresses.

image of Ready to Post

Ready to post

Thank you to everyone who sent in lovely comments.

You all know I had the pleasure of spending a day at the Winterthur Museum, Curator Linda Eaton was very generous with her time allowing Irene and me to enjoy the quilts in their collection.

Please also enjoy and be inspired by these few pics, an homage to John Hewson

image of Quilt c 1830-1850

Quilt c 1830-1850 using John Hewson fabrics. Maker unknown. In the collection of the Winterthur Museum, Wilmington, DE.

image of John Hewson Birds

John Hewson birds, detail of the above quilt.

image of John Hewson Bird

Applique Counterpane early 1800s. Birds cut from John Hewson fabrics. In the collection of the Winterthur Museum, Wilmington DE.

image of John Hewson Butterfly

Detail of above with John Hewson butterfly

  thanks for visiting.

Til soon


A Facebook page

image of Banyan Tree block prep

You may have noticed the new Facebook icon under the Quilt Station header logo

Yes Quilt Station is on Facebook so if you’re a facebook user, please click on the icon and have a look.

I’ve only done one post so far, it’s about a new quilt Jennifer and I are doing together.

I think this will be a great way for me to post and keep in touch more instantly while I am away, but I will still be blogging in the States.

I’m meeting up with a few of you and I’m really looking forward to that :-)

I’ve organised my sewing projects for the trip.

I wanted to get on with making another Banyan Tree Medallion Quilt, so at first I thought I’d prepare the Hexagons for one of the borders,

even tho I haven’t finished the centre yet.

I spent an afternoon choosing and cutting all the hexagons required and then bagged them in to the 24 blocks.

image of oodles of hexagons

oodles of hexagons

Then I even started to create a few and that’s when I thought

“keeping track of these fiddly bits while I’m away is going to drive me mad”

so I went to plan B

image of Banyan Tree block prep

Banyan Tree Medallion centre block

I figured I should “just get on with the centre block”

so I gathered the appropriate threads ~ the colours I only need a little of I wound on to cardboard.  I have an empty floss container for a thread cutter on the plane, so that’s ready to go in the cabin bag.

The new quilt Jenn and I are doing is another Maltaville Album Quilt, but this time much smaller.

It’s only 25 blocks and it’ll be Red and White, as we hope to have it finished for Linda Collins’ Quilts in the Barn exhibition later this year

Jenn came over last week and we made some more decisions about it.

image of Red and White Maltaville Quilt planning

Further planning for the new Red and White Maltaville Album Quilt

We had previously done a couple of mock ups on EQ 6, with blocks that represent blocks in the quilt, really just to see we had a balance of block types.

But because months can go by without doing anything on it, we’re always trying to figure out which block is what and where we were up to.

We’re a bit hopeless and impatient when it comes to too much preparation, well I am anyway.

Image of Red and White Maltaville Block

Red and White Maltaville block

I prepped a couple of blocks and will try to get them done while away

image of Red and White Maltaville Block

Red and White Maltaville

There’s only 2 full days til I leave tho,

eeeek better get a move on if I want to prep another block.

til soon


I’ve been just a little bit preoccupied…

image of Steam Train

I have had several posts swimming around in my head and two have even made it to drafts.

And now a month has got behind me.

At least it wasn’t ten years that got behind me like the Pink Floyd song ‘Time’

but I have felt like their lyrics

…and you run and you run

to catch up with the sun

but it’s sinking,

racing around

to come up behind you again…

could have been written for me these last weeks.

Yes, I just wish there were more hours in the day, or that I could function on four hours sleep a night…that’d do it.

One of the posts that made it to drafts was a sort of ‘Ten things you may not know about me’

But then I thought if I told you those things you might wish you still didn’t know those things about me and it might ruin a beautiful friendship.

So I will tell you just one… I think this one’s safe.

Here’s a clue.

image of Steam Train

Love it !

I know it’s not fashionable but I’m a bit of a Train Spotter

Out of respect and admiration for all the dedicated Train Spotters around the world I will say that I am not as totally commited as they are…Basically it’s got to come right past my door, but when it does…I’m excited.

Over the years I’ve lived in a train station I’ve seen lots of these come through, but I still rush out and wave like a lunatic (much to DH’s embarrasment but I don’t care) when I hear that whistle blow, and the distinctive sound of a steam engine.

image of Steam Train

I'm taking a photo of you taking a photo of me taking a photo of...

She’s got to make it up Tunnel Hill so she’s under full steam, the sound is awesome.

My Dad was a truly dedicated Train Spotter, his dad was an engine driver (naturally in the age of steam) so what can I say…it’s in the blood.

I think of you Dad every time I see one of these and I’m waving feverishly on your behalf.

So, what have I been doing other than waving at Trains?

The last week I was at the computer…for the entire working week.

I had set aside some time to convert one of my patterns to a digital format.  I think that’s the correct term these days.

(And ended up basically re-writing it in the process, cos you know…things can always be improved)

It was just part of my Business plan/forward planning, waaaay too boring to go into.

By midday Monday (yep only four hours in) it became blatantly obvious that I didn’t have the skills to pull this off all by myself.

I think I wasted a couple of valuable hours muttering under my breath and getting extremely angry a little bit frustrated with myself.

Hasty phone call to techy Jennifer who dropped everything and came to my aid…She knew I was on a time limit with this one.

I have learnt *So Much* in that week.

One little sentence that doesn’t even come close to expressing what I (we) have accomplished.

Total immersion…that’s the only way. Like learning French.

Thanks more than I can say Jenn, you’re a totally brilliant teacher.

I’ve also been to Linda Collins’  Quilts in the Barn…Always a fabulous display.

There’s a nice group photo in Linda’s post, part of the joy is meeting up with old friends and meeting new ones.

I caught up with Linda again just week before last and she happily OK’ed me posting some close up photo’s of her old quilts along with the reproductions of the fabrics in them.  As you know, the fabrics are my special interest.   I’m always the one with the camera about two inches above the quilt, people must think I’m incredibly short sighted (or long sighted, never quite sure which is which)

So I promise I will post about those old and new/old fabrics very soon.

As well as enjoying the day, I bought some fabric from the Quilted Crow while they were at QitB.

image of Fabrics

I bought these for a quilt I have been planning since my last post.

This one … click here to see it

I have decided to progress with that quilt and develop it in to a Strippy, probably, unless I come up with another idea.

I probably should have broken this in to several posts because it’s getting very long, but…well I might as well keep going or another month might get behind me ;-)


As I am not in the least bit sporting minded…

yawn, boring…why would anyone want to watch people chasing around after a ball, often in the rain

…I am astounding myself by watching (and enjoying) the World Cup Rugby that is being hosted in my home country across the Tasman.

I check the RWC website and the TV guide, prep some applique in readiness and sit down in front of the Telly on Saturday and/or  Sunday for a few hours of  sewing and rugby watching.

image of Maltaville Centre

Maltaville Centre

During last weekend’s matches I nearly finished the Maltaville Centre

I would have finished it except I mucked up the second to last calyx and didn’t want to miss any action by cutting out a new one.

So I went on to finish this block instead

image of Block G2

Block G2

But there’s still more I’ve been doing…

On Friday night,

when I probably should have been resting my eyes after five full days of staring at a computer screen

and stretching my brain to the limit,

I started this

image of Banyan Tree mark II

Banyan Tree Medallion Quilt mark II

On my ‘to do’ list for a while has been to make another Banyan Tree Medallion quilt as the last one was raffled and I didn’t win it.

As I have produced a pattern for it, I decided I needed to have my own quilt.

A little while ago I had bought some very lovely cream sateen which I thought would be perfect.

I hope it won’t be a you know what to sew.

And by Sunday I had it looking like this, but I will still add a bit more to it I think…not too much

image of Banyan Tree mark II

Banyan Tree Medallion

Here’s what the first one looks like…

image of Banyan Tre Medallion quilt

Banyan Tree Medallion mark I

…and the new one will be pretty much the same.

But of course the centre has been revamped because of the fabric choices I’ve made this time round.

So that’s what I’ve been doing…

There is actually more, but my fingers are just about bleeding LOL, so I will leave that for another day.

Not a day too far away.

Later this week I’ll choose the next four blocks for the Maltaville BOM and show what I’ll be sending out.

Thanks to the Rugby there’s a few to choose from.

Morrell and Valdani…and a new studio space

image of Morrell block

After my last post Kathie said she’d love to know what I think of the Valdani threads so I had a quick rummage around in the sewing room for something to have a little trial with…

image of Morrell block

A Sarah Morrell block in progress using RJR Smithsonian fabrics, from the Rising Sun Quilt collection... the chintz is Potpourri #2200 in Purple and the small print is Teardrop #2207 in Plum.

…then remembered this nearly finished bit of Broderie Perse for my Sarah  Morrell quilt.

I had been using one strand of DMC for the stitching and had been around all the raw edges except for the purple roses because I didn’t have the right shade of purple in my DMC threads.

The Valdani ‘Antique Violet’ #P-10 was a perfect colour match even though in the photo it appears to be closer in shade to the pieced  fabric…because of its variegations it blends beautifully (is variegations a word?)

I am a quilter who refuses to obey the rules and I cut my thread (but not DMC obviously) longer than fingertip to elbow…always have… and sometimes/frequently I am sorry I did that, but like Homer Simpson I keep doing it.  But this thread didn’t tangle or knot, it didn’t shred -granted it is meant to be stronger than DMC- and because it’s a bit thicker it gives a really nice edge to the Broderie Perse.

I like it a lot.

If you click on the photo it will give you a close up view, then click again on the green arrow to get a bit closer still…all the purple is Valdani and everything else is DMC -single strand.

I was so inspired I added two of the border strips – all four have been made for ages – but I won’t make the corner pieces just yet as I am concentrating on other projects.   So this block will go away again but it’s slowly progressing on its journey.

Very soon everything in my sewing space will be turned upside down and inside out because it’s moving to a new home…

image of the cottage last !!

…I know, you can hardly see anything but I had to do some major photoshop cropping because I am embarrased about the weeds.

My gorgeous son told me 6 weeks ago that he’s got his own place and I have been counting the days until he vacates the little cottage at the bottom of the garden..and that day is Friday.

I will love having my own “I’m off to work now” space because it’s so easy to get distracted when working from inside the house even though I do set myself quite regimented working hours.  The cottage has a little kitchenette (more ette than kitchen) but it’s big enough for a fridge, a couple of cups -for visitors – and a coffee machine, it has its own loo and even a shower so I may never need to come out.   I’m planning on moving my computer and printer over there too so I will have my design space and office under one roof.

Pictures from the inside coming soon-ish