Documenting a Smithsonian Heritage Quilt kit.

image of Smithsonian Institute Quilt Kit

One of the things I was lucky enough to bring back from the US, due entirely to my friend Sherry’s generosity, thank you :-), was a quilt kit from the Smithsonian Institute.  I will make it up but instead of just ripping it open (my usual M O) we talked about documenting it as it was unpacked.  At over 20 years old this is quite an interesting piece of quilt making history so that is what I am going to do today, in real time, that is I will photograph and upload after each stage of seeing what is actually in there.  I’ll only hit publish at the end though, that would be annoying to get copious posts in quick succession wouldn’t it.

So here goes, this is what came home with me

image of Smithsonian Institute Quilt Kit

American Heritage Quilt Collection, wall hanging.

It cost $64.95 at the time, which seems pretty steep to me.  Especially for American prices and this is 20+ years ago but it is the real deal from the Smithsonian, bearing their logo.

image of American Heritage Quilt Collection

It's authentic with the Smithsonian's logo on the packaging.

I’m going to slice along the bottom of the packet to open it, rather than cutting the top off.

Now that it’s out of the packet you can see the cover better

image of American Heritage Quilt Collection

Tulip Garden, Wall Hanging with backing 40" x 40" Pre-stenciled wholecloth quilt.

I knew what to expect in regards to fabric in the kit (tho I haven’t got that far yet) but the first thing I saw gave me an “oh this is interesting” moment.

image of History of the quilts

The History of the Quilts (Provenance)

Here are the five quilts which the Smithsonian licensed to be kitted up and their provenance.  I didn’t know the Maltaville Album Quilt was one chosen, here titled Floral Album Applique ~ second from top.  Mine is called Tulip Garden Applique.  Click on the above image to zoom in closer.

The reverse of the above page shows the pictures of the different quilt kits available, 11 in all.

image of Quilt kits available

Five are wholecloth "white on White" kits and six are applique.

 I wasn’t intending for this to be a post about the Maltaville Album Quilt, but this just came out of the packet, it’s real time remember :-)

So, the Maltaville (here called Floral Album Applique) was available as a quilt 88″ x 114″ 12 blocks with one large centre block and surrounded by applique borders  or  as a wallhanging 40″ x 40″ .

Wow :-0

Also included in the paperwork is a 7 page set of general instructions prepared by  Holice Turnbrow.

image of general instructions set

I’m up to revealing the fabric, unless there is something else folded up inside.

image of applique background fabric

Sorry, these two would have to be the most boring photo’s, pretty much all white.  In the photo below I accidently hit auto on the image adjustment but a happy mistake as it does show up the printed applique pattern better. However it makes the quality of the fabric look terrible when in fact it is a very nice quality.  I had wondered if I might substitute a different backgound but after seeing it I am happy with this.  That’s both the backing fabric and the printed applique background you see.

image of applique patternAfter zooming in on the photo I think there’s elements of a pomegranate there.

I’ll fold that back up and see what else there is.

image of binding supplied

Pre-cut binding supplied

Before folding up again, I just had a look inside the backing fabric and there is the pre-cut binding, one continuous piece, even joined at a 45 degree angle.

image of kit contents

A bag of fabric and some more instructions by the look of things

Now we’re down to the applique fabrics, I knew these were fabrics I had seen before because of course I could see them from the back of the kit when I saw it for the first time.  I had remarked to Sherry about the coincidence of these being from the same range my LQG used for our very first raffle quilt for our very first exhibition in Castlemaine, Vic. November 1992.  So these fabrics would have been 1991 or early 1992 in to Australia and purchased from our local quilt shop Threadbear Quilters.

image of applique fabric

Applique fabric and a label

There’s a half yard (18 ” x 44″) of the red print by Marcus Brothers Textiles Inc.

12 ” x 22″ of the green print also by Marcus Brothers,

Bias cut strip of the green is included ~ pre joined,

and a plain cheddar piece, 11″ x 6″.

And a label.

Another set of instructions, these one specific to this project and again by Holice Turnbrow.

image of applique instructions

I think I would really like to make this up, but would prefer to keep this kit intact.

It would be great to make it in some RJR Smithsonian fabrics and I always have plenty of plain background on the shelf.

 I’ve just had a look on the book shelves for a photo of the original, sure enough I found one.  If you have  Mimi Dietrich’s book Quilts from the Smithsonian, That Patchwork Place publishers 1995 you’ll find a photo on page 40

I had better get a move on, it’s that same LQG’s first meeting for the year in about two hours, I want to go as I haven’t been for a couple of months.

til soon

thanks for visiting


Time flies when you’re sewing.

image of ironing

I am astonished to see it’s a month (or so) since I posted last, but I take comfort noticing that some of my favourite bloggers are doing the same.  Weeks and months are whizzing by in the blink of an eye.

Since May I’ve had an internal monologue of… “life will get a bit less manic, I just have to get through July and August”.

I think I started breathing again on the first of September.

Since I was here last I have…

  1. been on a lovely weekend away with Linda, Bev, Jenn and Debbie to Sorrento.
  2. been working steadily on the Vintage Quilt.
  3. enjoyed a day with lots of other quilters and the Chester County Criswell Quilt at Linda Collin’s home.
  4. finished the last bit of embroidery and finally started quilting the Maltaville Quilt.
  5. finished a quilt for the US with Jenn and Irene (more about that later, we’ve had to keep it very quiet until recently)
  6. been teaching at Patch n Quilt in Gisborne.
  7. dragged out the Welsh Quilt for more hand quilting (the weather’s been miserable)
  8. been quilting quilts for the  Goldfields Quilters (my LQG) exhibition next month ~ all customers’ quilts done, just mine to do now phew.
  9. finally made a start on reproducing one of the Antique Quilts I bought in Paducah, but I only started that today so does that count in this list?  Oh what the heck, course it can count.

Pictures would be nice wouldn’t they.

Linda blogged ages ago here about the Sorrento Retreat but here’s a few more pics.  It really was a super weekend :-)

image of ironing

Now that's novel

I love this one of Linda,

image of circles

soooo many circles

As well as other sewing, I sewed more circles on the Vintage quilt,

We watched a wonderful movie called The Help.

We all cried, ssshhh don’t tell anyone.

Do see it if you can.

And there were so many books to browse, not just sewing but also our other passion…


And just take a look at the quilt on the floor and keep it in your mind.

image of books galore

Books galore

The Vintage Quilt is coming along nicely, I finally got my design wall up in the cottage.

That sure helped.

image of Vintage quilt progress

Progressing nicely

Just a couple more borders and it will be done.

The day at Linda’s enjoying the Chester County Criswell Quilt was fantastic.

Linda has blogged about it here

Many thanks to Sharon for making the quilt available for us all to enjoy, and to Linda and Bev for a fabulous day, so well organised.

The Maltaville Quilt went on the machine yesterday

image of quilting

I’m sooooo very happy to see this at the next and final stage.

Do you remember this Red and Green quilt, it was one I purchased in the US in April?

image of Antique Quilt

June Orr's 1849 applique quilt

I’ve been intending to recreate it as a pattern and I had drafted the blocks a little while ago.

But today, I finally got fabric happening.

The impetus?

I’m going on a retreat with my LQG this weekend and I needed some handwork ~ easy to transport, not too taxing.

But warning, it’s not Red and Green.

image of large block

One of the large blocks

I think I must have trouble with two fabric quilts.

I love them~ I really do, but it’s just there are so many great fabrics that it’s hard to stop at two!

So now for the Irene’s, Jenn’s and my ‘secret’ quilt.

If you’re on Facebook you could take a little look at the link below then I’ll try and fill you in as best I can cos it’s a bit of a long story.

Are you back? Did you see a quilt that looked like the one on Linda’s floor in Sorrento?

Crazy huh!

When Irene and I were away in the US we met fabric and quilt designer Marianne Elizabeth.

I could talk for an hour on the serendipity that brought the three of us together, but trust me, it was a fabulous bit of fate.

So, we chatted about fabric and quilts, then Marianne showed us some pieces from her newest fabric collection

 Arabella Rose

and invited us to design a new quilt using them.

What a thrill.

So a big part of why I (and Jenn & Irene too if I can be so bold as to speak for them) have been a teeny bit quiet around blogland is that we have been sewing, and sewing and sewing and sew…

The quilt is called Harmony Rose and we want to introduce it to you properly ~ and in a special way ~ very soon.

You’ll just have to be patient a little bit longer, there’s just a bit more to do on the promotion.

And there’ll be a pattern of course.

I’m going to sign off for the night, it’s quite late oooh it’s suddenly tomorrow.

til soon


USA continued, visiting D.C.

image of Washington DC

 Warning, you may need to make a cup of tea before sitting down.

I could go on indefinitely with posts titled USA continued,

but I think we might all get sick of that ;-)

So I will make this the final post about the USA trip even though I’m sure I’ll still post the odd photo of USA quilts, people and places over the months to come.

 I saw so much to inspire me that you can imagine I have quilts dancing around in my head and I have this morning started on Something New, which I will want to show you a little of before long.

As promised this post will be about the time in Washington D.C.

image of Washington DC

Don't let the summer blouse fool you, it was brisk on that bus brrrrr

Irene and I actually stayed at a Holiday Inn hotel in Alexandria, VA

(just across the river and more to our budget than being in DC itself)

It was suggested by Fiona of  Country Threads ,thank you Fiona it was perfect for us.  We were riding that subway like locals over the four days.

The main purpose for being in D.C. was of course to visit the National Museum of American History.

I have been in fairly regular contact with Associate Curator Doris Bowman since embarking on my Maltaville Album Quilt and was keen to see the original quilt if possible.

To say the half day at the Smithsonian was “brilliant” is an understatement.  I was bowled over by Doris Bowman’s generosity in allowing me to view, touch ~ gently, and photograph the original quilt as well as allowing me time to just look and learn.

image of Maltaville Quilt

"How have they finished that edge?"

Now I know, after the red piping there is a 1 1/8″ finished folded binding ~  left unfilled.

The quilt itself threw up some surprises and answered some of my questions, but with those answers comes more questions.

image of Maltaville Quilt

Detail of centre block

Cleverly using the wrong side of the green fabric to create subtle shading,  I have done that myself in the past but it was a nice surprise to see it here.  There is a lot more embroidery than I had realised though ~ not my strong point!

image of Maltaville Album Quilt

Harriet Able's block

I didn’t do my stems or leaves like that, but I like the way it looks.  I think I will be a convert to Harriet’s method.

image of Maltaville Album Quilt

On Earth In Heaven block by Delia Burr

image of Maltaville Album Quilt

Mrs William Thompson Maltaville block

As I say, embroidery is not my strong point which is why my bird block is still waiting for that embroidered detail.

I showed Doris my version of the Maltaville, which looks so stark and *white* next to the original which is so warm and mellowed with age.

I posted a photo of me grinning like a cheshire cat here on the Maltaville Blog.

I was also able to view some other quilts which are of interest to me, it should come as no surprise which four quilts topped that list,

The Rising Sun Quilt,  The Little Sister’s Quilt, Benoni Pearce’s Groom’s Quilt and the Copp Family Quilt.

It was such a privilege to view these quilts, even tucked away in their drawers.

image of Groom's quilt detail

Benoni Pearce's Groom's Quilt 1850, detail

image of Rising Sun Quilt detail

Betsy Totten's Rising Sun Quilt, detail

image of Little Sister's Quilt detail

Little Sister's quilt, detail

It’s not known whether Susan Holbert (born 1834) made this quilt herself or if her older sister Emily Holbert made it for Susan.

But Emily Holbert did make this quilt in 1847, Emily died in 1858.

image of Emily Holbert quilt detail

Emily Holbert quilt 1847, detail

image of Fabric detail, Copp quilt

Copp Quilt early 19th century, detail

I saw even more quilts than these and will share them with you over time.  I am very, very thankful to Doris Bowman for being so generous with her time and knowledge.

  While in D.C. we also visited the DAR museum.

image of hexagon quilt

Hexagon quilt, Vermont Room DAR Museum.

image of DAR museum quilts

Penn family 1850s Baltimore Album Quilt (left) and Mary Mannakee Quilt (right)

We visited the DAR twice, the first day we didn’t get there til 3pm as we had taken a drive out to visit Stella Rubin Antiques , more about that another day!  So another visit was needed to really study the quilts on show at the DAR.

You may like to put the kettle on again as there are just a few more things I want to share.

I don’t want to sign off from the US trip without mentioning the day Irene and I spent with friends Marsha, On the Go Quilting and Stella ~ no blog, yet ;-)

image of Quilting friends

Back row: Irene and Moi. Front row: Stella and Marsha.

We had a great day together at the New England Quilt Museum and the Lowell Textile Museum.  We even squeezed in a trip to Candlelite Quilts to do some more shopping.  Marsha, we made a dash to the USPS on the Friday for our final mailing home, we had three mailings home in all for a grand total of five boxes!!  Marsha has blogged about our fabulous day together here and here

And Stella, I will be in touch real soon about ‘you know what’.

I’ll finish with a few odds and ends

image of Dress 1845-1848

Dress 1845-1848 American History Textile Museum, Lowell, MA

image of New England Mill

Mill building, Springfield, Vermont

 I wish the above photo had sound.

image of Rockport MA

Rockport, MA

I know I will have to do another USA cont. blog post because I haven’t shared anything from the Winterthur Museum yet.

But that will have to be another day, next time I want to show you a little of a new project.

And the latest Quiltmania magazine is out, with the  final instalment of my Mid 19th Century Star quilt along with the photo shoot Quiltmania did here last year.  Very Exciting.  I will try to be back in a day or two.

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


Just a bit of a (long) catch up

image of Dylan

I was going to say “where do the weeks go. . .”

meaning my US trip is approaching at an alarming rate (2 weeks til departure day and still a lot to do)

However as I was preparing some photo’s for today’s post, it suddenly felt like

“where do the years go?”

as my gorgeous boy child

image of Dylan

is gettin’ hitched, his words, just a few days after my return. I wish I were exagerating.

So in addition to the items on the ‘to do’ list was a worrying “when will I have time to shop for the wedding?”

Well the wedding frock gods were shining on me the other day. I went to the Essendon Quilt Exhibition (always a fabulous show) and timed it with some errands I needed to do in the area. Wedding shopping wasn’t on my mind for that day.

But I chanced upon a shop that looked promising and found something.  It’s the complete opposite of what I had in mind (which was a long silk shirt over trousers)

image of dress

wee bit glam

Only need to decide which shoes to wear.

However, after a nose bleed inducing amount of hours flying back from Boston, I am probably being optimistic about either of those shoes.

“I have been sewing”

Oh boy oh boy have I been sewing!

Last time I posted I had three Maltaville blocks to draft/sew and a couple of pesky calyxes to add to the centre.

Drum roll.

image of Block B2

Block B2

I seem to have not taken a photo of its neighbour B3 (don’t know how or why that happened)

But the final block I drafted and sewed was G7

image of Block G7 progress

Block G7 in progress

This one took some time, not one I could prep in one hit :-(

image of Block G7

Block G7

but finished now none the less.

I have trimmed the Centre block

image of Centre Block

If ever there was a case of the maxim measure twice, cut once this is it.

Of course I measured a lot more than twice LOL.

Then continued with the assembly of blocks

image of joining the blocks

and just yesterday sewed the last seam

image of Maltaville quilt

And now realise I’ve photgraphed it upside down :-(

But that’s as much as I will do on it til I get back,

I will worry about any embroidery and border treatment, not to mention the quilting, later.

I have started prepping some pieces for my travelling sewing, but will show that soon.

I will have my LQG Raffle Quilt to quilt as soon as it comes to me, which I know is imminently.

Here’s a sneak peak as we were assembling it last week

image of Goldfields Quilters raffle quilt 2012

image of Goldfields Quilters Raffle Quilt

They look pretty pleased with themselves don't they

Apologies for the colour, there is wierd overhead lighting which is great to work by but does awful things to photo’s

I am going to be updating some pages on the website this afternoon, I hope, hope, hope you don’t get swamped with emails about updates.

I’ve been a bit scared to do anything on it in case.

But I apologise if it does happen, I’ll be ready to bin the page if it happens again.

til soon


In one short month I’ll be on my way. . .

iamge of Maisie the super cat

so it’s time to put the suitcase on the spare bed and start throwing things in its general direction as I think of them,

lest I forget something very important.

iamge of Maisie the super cat

"Can I come?"

Whenever a suitcase appears, Maisie is in it.

I am working very hard to get the Maltaville quilt finished (just the top of course) before I leave next month.

Even though I have three blocks left to draft and stitch, I spent a couple of hours the other day sewing as many blocks together as I could.

Image of Maltaville progress

Pretty happy with that if I do say so myself

Of course I found that I never did get those last two calyxes sewn on the centre block, so that will be tonight’s job. . . they’re a bit fiddly.

Here’s the blocks I have completed since Christmas

image of blocks

With only three blocks to go, I think I can return most of these fabrics to the shelves now

image of my Maltaville fabrics

It probably ought to be a little bit ceremonial I think ;-)

But for now I’m going over to the Maltaville blog to do a post, the next mail-out is in a few days time so I’d better let everyone know what they’re getting.

Jenn has updated/added another couple of pages to the Quilt Station website and unfortunately subscribers are getting notification of them, which shouldn’t be happening.

I really apologise if you’re getting these unecessary emails.  Everything that should be disengaged while working behind the scenes is disengaged, but they are still getting through.  We are stuck as to why, very frustrating.

til soon


Maltaville Matters

A few of you have let me know I have a quilt in the lastest Quiltmania magazine :-)

I was thinking this post would be about that but, alas the mail delivery to my little country area of Victoria is a weeny bit tardy so I’m hoping it will be there when I go the Post Office tomorrow.

Cos I’m busting to see it!!

To keep myself from going insane with excitement and anticipation I’ve been busying myself in the studio.

I’m not sure what to show you first, maybe I will have to do a couple of consecutive posts so it doesn’t all end up a jumbled mess.

Maybe a little bit of Maltaville news first.

I finished this block at Quilting last Wednesday night so I’m happy about that

image of Block F6

Block F6

Then I prepped another, and finished it.

image of Block B4

Block B4

I also took copious photo’s of this one in progress because I have been using a product which Jennifer recently got me on to.

It’s called Appli-Kay Wonder by Floriani, and I felt a tutorial for the Maltaville Blog was in order, so that will appear soon on the

Maltaville Album Quilt Blog tutorials

In the original quilt the block bears the verse

The only amaranthine flower on earth is virtue

the only lasting treasure, truth

So this sent me on a trip around the web which lasted several hours,

to learn more about the author of these words, English poet and hymnodist William Cowper 1731-1800.

Image of Painting of William Cowper

William Cowper, oil painting by Lemuel Francis Abbot in 1792. This painting is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London

This verse is taken from his work The Task: A Poem, in Six Books published in 1785.

The only amaranthine flower on earth is virtue

The only lasting treasure, truth

But what is truth? ‘Twas Pilate’s question put

sorry, I just had to add it again, this time with the last line from that verse.

The maker of the block was a Mary something long starting with W, Water…y?

I’m hoping Fiona has better luck as she’s been great with the deciphering of names on this quilt.

Then of course I went off on another search for the Amaranth flower,

well there’s a few varieties to choose from but I just chose this because I like the look of it

image of Amaranthus flowers

Amaranth flowers

Amaranth are long lasting, so it seems a fitting flower to appear in verse, which it does… many times.

Today I prepped this block to sew tonight

image of Block H5

Block H5

and I’m happy to be working again on a quilt that’s been on the back burner for a few months and I’ll share that with you soon.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be enjoying that Quiltmania magazine,

see you soon

Red & White Pine Trees Quilt

image of Pine Trees quilt

I’ve got quilting tonight, it’s my LQG’s first one for the year and I’m looking forward to catching up with all my quilting buds.

I’ve got heaps of Show and Tell of course because I can take the two finished quilts from the previous post


this quilt top…

image of Pine Trees quilt

Pine Trees quilt

You might remember I had run out of puff a little while ago with this quilt.

Truth be known, I had made two and a bit blocks several months ago,

and the ‘bit’ of a block is because I got some of the units turned the wrong way

(isn’t that what always happens when sewing late at night)

I could use those units in another block, but I guess that was enough to get out of sync with it.

So on Monday I got the Ikea tub out (all my projects are in Ikea tubs) and decided to just get on with it.

image of Pine Trees Quilt in progress

ooodles of half square triangles

First things first,


then sew.

So many half square triangles, I quickly dubbed the day Mundane Monday.

I sewed them in chains of twenty as that is how many are required for each block.

I had to make 260 of these for starters

image of half square unit

(I had already made 60, luckily)

But I got on with it because I didn’t want to still be making those the next day or it would be tedious Tuesday

image of Pine Trees Quilt in progress

Down to the last few

By the end of the day I had all the blocks done.

Tuesday morning I was set to get this knocked over in the day.

Way back at the start I had cut all the setting triangles and plain squares,

the border strips and even the binding, as I was worried about having enough of the Smithsonian Red.

image of Pine Trees Quilt in progress

"I can feel an empty tub coming on..."

There’s no other way to do it is there?

Is this what you do too, just lay it all out on the floor and start sewing…

image of Pine Trees Blocks

image of Pine Trees Quilt

Nearly there

I realise now I didn’t take a photo of the borders, which I sewed as four sets of complete strips

(Red, White, Red, White)

then added them with mitred corners.

I think if I had done them as four separate rounds I’d still be at it.

The inspiration for this quilt,

apart from Linda Collin’s Exhibition later this year :-)

and apart from having enough, with only a little to spare, of Red Smithsonian Fabric,

was an 1875 – 1900 Pennsylvanian quilt in the American Museum in Britain (Bath) collection.

The original quilt is quilted with Feather Wreaths in the plain squares and Clamshells in the pieced blocks.

If I decide to do that it will keep me out of mischief for a while LOL.

I’ve got to join a back before I get up to that bit.

In the meantime, I’ve got this to work on tonight at quilting

image of Block F6

Block F6

The whole block is stuck done and ready to go sew, time for a quick cuppa then I’m off.

Til soon…


Happy Holidays

image of Christmas at our house

image of Christmas at our house

Season's greetings from my house to yours

My wish is to have time to relax on that sofa with some hand sewing, and something festive to eat and drink.

I know that won’t happen on ‘the day’ but Boxing day will do.

The studio is taking shape and I have been over there doing some work, but I’m still in that transition stage, where whatever it is I need to put my hands on…it’s in the *other* building.

I’ve noticed a few of us are enjoying new spaces at the moment…

Sue from I Sew Quilts

And Sally from Feather on a Wire

I’ve not yet moved my fabrics over, I need to work out where I want my shelves.  And I just know I’ll change the furniture around a couple of times before I settle…and even then I’m likely to change it again.

Maybe it’s a Libra thing.

I do know it’s a DH thing to want to put shelves up just the once ;-)

So here’s a pic of the studio looking a bit more lived in.

image of studio


That was all written last week…and I’ve only just sat down to blog again.

And the first thing I did was pop a new header photo up top…it’s a fabric I got on ebay.

Never saw this Margo Krager Dargate on our shores, at least not at any quilt shops I frequent.

However I don’t think it really ‘goes’ with the other colours and unfortunately I can’t find the previous blog header photo.  It’s possibly in the folder that Jenn made, it has sub folders and each one she has marked *don’t touch* mmmmm

When she comes out next I’ll smile and ask her to put it back how it was…please.

I hope you all had a super Christmas, I have to do secret shots of my family because we’re all a bit camera shy.

I managed to snap this one of them relaxing after making short work of the antipasto platter.

image of Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

DH has his back to the camera and I have caught my two kiddies chatting away like the happiest of siblings that they are.

Christmas was a small affair this year, which was very nice for the cook, moi.

Since then, I have been catching up with hand sewing so my Christmas wish did come true :-)

I had a few Maltaville blocks earmarked to F.i.n.i.s.h., they had been hanging around way too long in various stages of completed-ness, so they went to the top of the ‘to do’ list.

image of Block A5

Block A5

Block A5 was pretty straight forward… four small stars and eight little hearts.  Tick

image of H2-progress-wm-wr

Block H2 in progress

Block H2 was another matter entirely.  I had in fact progressed beyond this photo and months ago had sewn the centre shape…

but horror of horrors, the middle bit of it where the blades come together looked lopsided, even tho it looked perfectly symmetrical on the pattern sheet.

Well that was how it has stayed all that time but this week was the week to get it off the wall and deal with it.

Back to the drawing board, making sure the centre was a circle.

image of Re-do-wm-wr

Start again

And while I was at it, I decided to sew the star using Barbara Brackman’s method of a star from a circle which I mentioned a while ago,  here’s Barbara’s method here

I had made a couple of hasty trials (with bad results) in the past but for this one I calculated I needed a 4″ star with 1″ cuts.  That should give me the star shape I wanted.  I know I’m missing the point of this being a ‘free-form’ star aren’t I!

image of Free Form Star

Free form star

Nope…I can’t live with that. I know it’s a satisfactory replica of the stars on the original quilt but I just am not happy with the way it looks.  I know they are supposed to be ‘imperfect’ and template free and I know I am missing the point of it all completely but it’s not how I want my quilt to look…not my Maltaville anyway, maybe on another quilt it’d work for me.

I think the ladies of the 19th Century were just plain better at doing it sans template than I am.

So for this quilt I’ve gone back to the other way ~ an eight pointed star cut from a template.

image of block H2 in progress

Block H2, last star being sewn down

This block is now finished, so H2 done. Tick

C3 The Iris… this was a block that required only four Dark Blue pieces and a clayx added to it.

Of course, the reason I procrastinate over a block (and I’m sure we’re all the same) is that I’m just not happy with it and I’m not sure why yet…but it will come to me if I leave it long enough LOL

As I added each of the last four Dark Blue pieces, The Brown became less and less Okay until it just had to go.

I know the block would have originally been much stronger tones and probably a purple, but I liked the way it has faded to a warm brown.   But it wasn’t looking right in my version.  So now it is Purple.

Off with the old, on with the new!!

image of progress

And while I was at it, that free form star is going too cos I’m not doing them like that now.

I love that Smithsonian fabric but it’s just a bit ‘flat’,

image of free style Star


C2 finished. Tick

image of Block C2

Block C2

And one more block to show, truly all this done since Boxing Day.

image of Block C3

Block C3

This one has been drafted for a while but I hadn’t had a chance to do any more with it, but now finished. Tick.

I’d like to get a little more quilting done on the Welsh Quilt too but someone has other ideas.

image of Maisie

In our house a cat can sleep peacefully knowing they will never be moved.

til soon

Gathering Dust…

image of Pine tree quilt blocks

Yes that’s what Jennifer said when she popped in yesterday,

“How’s that quilt coming along…it looks like it’s gathering dust?”

image of Pine tree quilt blocks

Pine tree blocks...still in progress!

It’s true I set the machine up on the end of the table so I would be able to sew the blocks in the evenings,

but it just hasn’t been happening.  No reason, just not in the mood.

The machine has been there longer than I care to remember now, has to be a month I’d say!!

Never mind, I’ll get to it eventually.

Today the postie brought two treasures

image of Quiltmania magazine

Quiltmania magazine

and some fabric.

I grabbed a bit more RJR Smithsonian fabric from Heart of Dixie and *filled the bag* with some oldies but goodies.

image of fabric

Fabric goodie bag

Heart of Dixie is a great spot for those fabrics which have long gone in Australia, our repro stuff gets snapped up so quickly.

I’ve also been busy drafting for the Maltaville Quilt and getting very good at paper cutting.

I remember asking my daughter a while back about the pronunciation of Scherenschnitte

(she spent some time in Germany and then Zurich in her late teens as an au pair and going to German language school)

The conversation went something like this.

“darling how is Scherenschnitte pronounced?”

“How is what pronounced!!”

“Scherenschnitte, how do I pronounce it?”

“Mumsie, I don’t know, what are you talking about? I don’t know what you mean”

“you must know, you would have done it with the kids…Paper Cutting”

“ohhh, Scherenschnitte” pronounced in a way I could never hope to repeat.

Anyway here is my effort at that activity, I’m better at doing it than saying it LOL

iamge of Drafting blocks

Scherenschnitte galore

the above has now resulted in this

image of pattern H4


I find that the old fashioned paper cutting, like folded paper dolls,

is the best way to do some of these blocks and get them symmetrical (hopefully, though I’ve had a few rejects)

iamge of Pattern C3


I should add that I’m sure my pronunciation is not too bad it’s just that where languages are concerned DD is a bit of a perfectionist.

Another nice thing that is happening is the arrival of  Spring and soon Summer.

One of my cousins in NZ has joined me up to her Facebook Garden Group so I have been photographing,

and therefore enjoying more,

my garden as well as hers.

So here’s a lovely rose to enjoy from my garden.

image of William Morris roses

William Morris Roses

Til soon :-)