The first Tuesday in November…

image of Robbie and me

…is Cup Day, that’s Melbourne Cup Day of course and we get a day off.  It really is the race that stops a nation. Why? I don’t know.

I’m not really interested in Horse racing but I do like horses and even used to hurtle about the countryside on the back of this trusty steed.

image of Robbie and me

Robbie and moi.

But given that we do have a day off I am going to catch up with some long overdue blogging, that’ll include reading as well as writing.

I was bit out of action with a bee sting the other week,  of course Murphy’s Law dictates that after I had prepped lots of hand sewing to take to my LQG’s Quilt-in I was stung and could not even pick up a piece of cutlery, never mind a needle.

image of normal hand

Normal hand

image of big hand

Big hand

Yikes…it’s been a long time since I’ve been stung and haven’t really had that reaction before.

All back to normal now.

And sewing again, phew.

I promised a little while back that I would share some pics from Quilts in the Barn, I took close-up photo’s of the fabrics in  Linda’s antique quilts  because I spotted some originals of fabrics which I have the repros of…does that make sense?

So here is what I shot, with thanks to Linda :-)

image of Red fabric

this one's the antique quilt

image of new red fabric

This one's the repro Windham True Madder #20331

Jo Morton did a great one too for Andover fabrics a while back

image of Jo Morton repro fabric

Jo's interpretation for Andover fabrics

The next fabric really caught my attention

image of paisley fabric

This paisley fabric is in Linda's antique quilt

These are my two bits of repro (it also came in green)

image of Repro paisley fabric

Windham Civil War IV c 1860 by Nancy Gere #25310-52

image of Repro paisley fabric

Windham Civil War IV c. 1860 by Nancy Gere #25310-32

I am really liking little spots and dots (almost as much as paisleys)

image of Antique yellow fabric with spot

The real deal

image of new yellow fabric

this one's the repro, Scrappy Dots by Judie Rothermel for Marcus Bros. Textiles 2006

Aren’t we lucky that we have such great fabric designers producing excellent repro’s for us to use.

Another thing I’m happy about is finding more of this

image of madder fabric

I didn't think I'd see a whole bolt of this again.

I took a trip to Melbourne on Friday with Jenn to do some fabric shopping etc and stopped at Quilters Bazaar in Gisborne on the way.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw this fabric as I have had my now paltry sized piece for a few years and guard it jealously.

She had a whole bolt of it so maybe it’s been re-released, not sure and the staff didn’t know.

Anyway I now know what it is as before I knew only that it was an International Quilt Study Centre fabric, but it is designed by Kathy Hall with Jo Morton for Andover Fabrics patt #4132.

LOL I now have enough to make curtains, but there’s more there if you want any too.

Here’s one more pic from Quilts in the Barn, this one is one of Jo’s quilts featuring the above fabric

image of Jo Morton Quilt detail

detail of Jo Morton quilt using Madder Stripe fabric

and here’s my Maltaville saturn block using the same fabric

image of Saturn Block

Saturn Block for the Maltaville Album Quilt 1847

I think I’ve got time to quickly post a couple of pics on the Yahoo group ‘repro lovers’ before Jenn arrives for this afternoon’s task.

I don’t think that race is going to stop anyone in this household this afternoon.

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.

Moving along with the Maltaville…

image of Block H7

I can’t believe how much of a roll I am on with this quilt, I think because I am over (well over) the half way mark I feel like I just want to race to the finish line.  That sounds just a teeny bit ‘sporty’ and I am not the least bit sporty…

I’d rather be sewing/reading/or having a tooth pulled than running with a ball.

I have completed a previously prepared block.

image of Block H7

Block H7

The fabric in the Flowers and Berries is a favourite Mary Koval fabric which has been in my stash for several years.

I have only a small amount of the red but lots in the blue colourway.

image of Mary Koval fabric

Treasures Uncovered by Mary Koval pattern #25830

I do get excited when I see a very well done reproduction of an old fabric and the red is a brilliant example.

image of original fabric

This one's the real deal

When I met Mary and we talked fabrics she told me that she does like to change things just a little sometimes to personalise it and you can see here she has changed a colour in the rectangle shape from blue to green and one pair of dots is black instead of blue.  The scale is altered too (but not too much), but in essence it’s the same fabric. You can click all the photo’s to enlarge for a better look :-)

The reason I chose this fabric for a Maltaville Quilt block, and I’ve got enough for a couple more blocks, is that it comes from a quilt made in 1848 (dated) so only a year after the Maltaville’s date.

The quilt, which that piece of fabric above comes from, is a signature hexagon friendship quilt from Shepherdstown, West Virginia and dated at 1848.  The block above includes the inscription Remember me White cottages.  The quilt forms part of the quilt collection in the  American Museum in Bath, England.

I have drafted and prepped three more blocks.

The blocks which I can prepare in one hit are my favourite, I can zoom along with those, maybe take it to quilting and finish a block in an evening.

image of Block E1

Block E1

I have introduced a new fabric in this block above …oh really, that’s not like you ;-)

The blue is an RJR Smithsonian fabric from the Rising Sun Quilt, pattern Woodlands # 2209-2 and the brown a Jo Morton fabric which I used in the tree trunk of the bird block.

Some blocks have to be prepped in stages and this is one of those, I do these ones at home in the evenings so I can sew a few leaves then add another layer.

image of Block C2 in progress

Block C2

You probably can’t tell yet but it’s the Iris block.  I have repeated the madder fabric used in the Saturn block A4 as I hadn’t used it again so far and it’s a fave.

Last but not least I have prepped H2

image of Block H2 in progress

Block H2 in progress

With this block I am trying something new to me, the circle in the top corner will be a star.  I just want to see if this method is going to work for me so only have one star attached at the mo.

The method was featured on Barbara Brackman’s Material Culture site a few weeks ago here and I am keen to give it a go, it seems a lot easier as long as we don’t get too hung up about ‘perfect’ stars.  The stars in the original of H2 look like they were done sans template so it seemed the best block to try it out.

Yesterday I took a rare midweek day off, I was meeting an interstate cousin in Melbourne for dinner and decided it would be a good chance to do a couple of long planned city things beforehand.  At the last minute I asked Jennifer if she wanted to come too as one of the places on my list was the Melbourne Museum and I know it was on her list too.

I took photo’s of the early 20th century Australian domestic handcrafts on display, and I was interested to compare them to the New Zealand items I have seen from that era, we were a patriotic lot with King and Country featured heavily on both sides of the Tasman.

I’ll prepare a post shortly about it.

I am going to Quilts in The Barn this coming Sunday and am looking forward to seeing Jo Morton’s quilts and catching up with friends, please say Hi if you see me.

1848 Quilt original fabric references sourced from: Classic Quilts from The American Museum In Britain, Laura Beresford and Katherine Hebert, Curators. Scala Publishers Ltd 2009 pp 52, 53.

Stop press:

Getting ahead of myself, Quilts In the Barn is not this coming weekend but the following one, the 2nd-4th September (thanks Irene xx)

Maltaville musings

image of Maltaville Quilt in progress

On a whim I decided to photograph the progress of the Maltaville Quilt and do a quick post.

I’ve been charging along with the drafting and prepping as my LQG has its annual retreat weekend after next and I want to have lots of lovely hand sewing to do.

However once I get them prepped I can’t help myself…I just have to start sewing them.

I have no self control, always just too keen to see how it will look.

image of Maltaville Quilt in progress

To illustrate just how much of a whim this post was (I quickly pinned up a couple of half done blocks from last night on to the design wall), on looking at the photo I now see I have pinned a block in the wrong place.

Oh well… that’s impulsiveness for you.

The half finished block in position B7 (second row down, second block in from the right) should be one row down in position C7.

Last night was Census night and so I was filling in the census form otherwise I would  have finished that block.

Back to the photo… you can see that the empty spaces are filling up and I have two blocks drafted and awaiting some fabric choices.

Many of the blocks are completely finished but the four little birds need a bit more work.

And of course there is a whole bunch of grapes waiting to go on the centre block (now that could be a project for the retreat)

And there are assorted leaves to go on but they don’t take long (at least that’s what I tell myself).

I also had some happy news this week…

Some time ago I wrote to the Smithsonian Institute regarding their Quilt Collection and donating some proceeds from the sale of these patterns.

This week I received a reply saying they have a Fund specifically devoted to the National Quilt Collection, the fund takes no overhead or operating expenses from it so the funds are used entirely for the preservation, documentation as well as researching and distributing the information of the quilts in their collection.

Isn’t that great…This was what I was hoping as it was my intention that the donation be used for just that purpose.

Big thanks to you Maltaville subscribers who are also making this possible.

Til soon…

Spring is getting ready to…spring

image of daffodils

Some of my recent posts have made mention of the bleak winter we have had, well look now…

image of daffodils

First blooms

I took a little stroll around the garden at lunchtime

(it’s warmer outside than in because I let the fire go out last night)

I have masses and masses of Daffodils but the first are just emerging now, give it a few weeks and my garden will be a blaze of yellow.

Violets too…

image of violets

I wish you coud smell these...heady.

I look out my window to potted Hyacinths… but I will plant these out in the garden when they die back.

image of hyacinths

ooops...Spot the spray starch through the window, this is my workroom.

And just to illustrate that here in Australia we know we really shouldn’t moan about cold winters,  hanging on all through winter are two roses still in bloom…a bit ratty looking but they’ve seen more than a few frosts.

image of roses

Dublin Bay, a (usually) very gorgeous climber.

I have been very productive on the Maltaville these last few weeks, drafting and prepping.

But before prepping comes auditioning the fabrics.

image of G5

The Prussian Blue is a given, and the Red. At this stage I’m going with the fabric on the top right hand side for the arcs.

Some fabric choices fall in to place so easily and these next two I’m really happy with.

I ‘m really pleased how close these fabric choices are to the original…maybe the best so far.

image of block D1

Block D1

image of block D8

Block D8

I never did get any little yellow check of the right scale or shade for a few of the blocks so I have

repeated a light cheddar (or a dark butterscotch yellow)

which I have used in another block for this next one.

image of block D3

Block D3

Time to light the fire again, I have another Maltaville block partly sewn which I want to finish

this evening and  I need to make sure the living room is


til soon…

More Maltaville and another Sydney Quilt

image of B5

An icy snap has descended on Central (or maybe all) Victoria…I think there is snow not far away.

I have been up in my sewing room today, drafting.

I still haven’t moved in to the cottage…I’ve decided it needs major worka floor length window I would prefer to be a door and the solid door needs windows in it, but all that’s another story for another day.

So I drafted and prepped another Maltaville block today, some of you are keeping up so well I need to keep at it.

image of B5

B5 prepped.

It’s ready to sew tonight…hope there’s something good on the telly.

I’ll add the calyxes to the buds last.

For this one the main stem is narrower at the top than at the bottom so I will needle turn that whole stem.  For the other stems in this block I was able to use a bias maker.

A couple of weeks ago I realised I didn’t have any blocks from the second row done …Row B.

So this is the block I prepped in readiness for Sydney and did absolutely zilch.

image of B8

All finished now though luckily.

Fiona from Country Threads in the UK has written to let me know she has deciphered the poem from the Maltaville centre block and between us we have worked out which block another poem comes from so we may be able to give some more information for the quilt.

Thank you Fiona.

Here’s another quilt that I really liked from the Sydney Quilt Show.

It’s a favourite traditional pattern…it’s been on my to do list for a long time.

image of World of Feathers

World of Feathers by Wendy Whellum

Wendy is one of the Maltaville Ladies.

I really like the simple palette of blues & tan, and the red stars where the blocks join make the whole quilt very dynamic.

This is Hand Pieced and Hand Quilted…twice…yes that’s right.

Wendy first quilted it 1″ apart then felt it didn’t look right so added another row to the Baptist Fan design.

The Baptist Fan is perfect…it has such a lot of movement.

image of wendy's quilt detail

Check out those points...perfect.

Of course before I looked up and saw on the label that this was Wendy’s quilt, I noticed this piece of Smithsonian fabric.

Thank you Wendy for letting me share your gorgeous quilt.

I have sent out a request on my yahoo group about the other Sydney quilts I want to show so hopefully it will yield some results.

til soon…

Ooops it’s been two weeks…

image of centre block progress

Sorry, I didn’t mean to disappear for a fortnight but that flu did knock me I’m afraid.

Thank you for your well wishes, and yes my DH looked after me well…he cooked all the meals and kept the fire roaring.

I didn’t manage any hand-sewing over the last two weeks, but I did sit down and put in the time to finally finishing the pattern for the

Banyan Tree Medallion Quilt

image of Banyan Tree Medallion pattern

It’s amazing (not in a good way, maybe astounding would be a better word) how long something can be at a virtually completed state, but then just sit in limbo waiting for me to give it a final ‘tweak’.

But I am glad to say that the Banyan Tree Medallion pattern is complete, and being printed as we speak.

It will soon be added to the Quilt Patterns for on-line purchase and also hopefully at your local quiltshop.

Now that it’s nearing Maltaville mailout time again, I wish I had felt like sewing the last two weeks but I did nothing on that.

So last night I hastily got the centre out and started selecting and cutting some more pieces because it was looking a bit unloved.

image of centre block progress

It’s looking a little better now isn’t it, I will get some more happening with it tonight.

Today I have been tracing the copies to go out to you this week…

Yes  :-) those of you who are up to mailout number five will be getting the Centre Block.

image of Tracing

It’s great to see some blocks over on the Maltaville blog,

it’s making me keep at it that’s for sure as I can see that there are a couple of you keeping right up to date with the mailouts.

Here’s a block I finished a little while ago that I don’t think I’ve shown yet.

This one was really fun to do.

image of G6

I am off to Sydney this weekend for the Sydney Quilt Show, I’m going with Jennifer and we are both looking forward to it.

I’m also meeting up with Petra who is bringing ‘home’ my Mid 19th Century Star quilt.

It will be super to meet her in person at long last.

Jenn and I want to get to the Quiltsmith and Material Obsession shops as well as the quilt show of course so we have a busy weekend planned.

It’d be great to meet up with any of you who are going to be at the quilt show on the Saturday, let me know if you’re going to be there and we’ll work something out.

Til soon…

Can’t talk but I can still write…

image of all in for a chance

A week ago at Bookclub, all the other members were talking about their (losing) battles with the latest winter flu.

“have you had it?” one of my bookie friends asked.

“No I never get sick, about 8 years ago I had what my Doctor called ‘the once in 10 year flu’ so I’ll be right for another couple of years”


Since the weekend I have felt ghastly.

On doing my sums it’s actually 11 years since I had the once in 10 year flu.

(I’ll be seeing my Doctor later today and squeaking to her that I got a one year bonus)

My voice has all but gone.

Anyway, that means it wasn’t until this morning that I gathered the energy to pop all your names in a box for the draw of Smithsonian fabrics.

image of all in for a chance

Looks pretty good odds to me…

I got DH to draw out two names as I don’t want anyone visiting while I’m all contagious and revolting,

and he picked out Lynne and Mary-Jo in that order.

image of winners

So Lynne, you get these ones

image of giveaway

and Mary Jo you get these ones

image of giveaway 2

Congratulations to you both.

Email me your snail mail addresses and I’ll get them in the post to you :-)

I’ve got quilting work to do today, it’s one of mine on the machine and not terribly difficult (not a lot of brain power needed for that one)

but I will leave you with a photo of the Maltaville centre, still under construction.

image of centre

Surprisingly that one bunch of grapes was only one evening’s work, from making the 21 individual grapes to sewing them down.

til soon…

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.

Maltaville Album Quilt ~ I’m ready to start the centre…

image of Maltaville Album Quilt centre block pattern

I can’t wait to start cutting out fabric…

image of Maltaville Album Quilt centre block pattern

It seems to have taken so long to get to this stage.

For a long time it has been only in the first rough draft stage.

image of first draft

Just a basic outline with some very general placement to judge the spacing but this stage allows me to see how the shapes will fit and the scale the individual pieces need to be.

However straight away I wasn’t happy with the vine.

It was too uniform because I had used a compass to put the margins for the inside and outside of the vine, which is well and good for reference points but it needed to be more free-form.

image of another draft

Many versions (and days) later I had this -above- which I am happy with but all the shapes are hand drawn so they are not exactly the same…way too many templates.

At that point I was really itching to get the fabric out and start the  block.

I thought “I can work off this drawing and make a good master copy later”.

I just wanted to start sewing.

But I controlled my natural impulsiveness and stayed focused…

image of last copy

I’m glad I did because I altered the stems again for the better, changing the way it branches off in to the corner roses.

And made templates for the shapes so that there won’t be a million different templates.

I figure that with the stitching little variances will occur anyway.

image of progress

and fiddled about with the spacing again.

I think this way it will work well, there is a frame work there but still scope to place the flowers and leaves randomly.

I’m tossing up whether to add something to the middle (optional of course)

I could…

add an inscription or poem

applique something ~ bird?  Not more grapes!

Or have it perfect for some intricate quilting.

Any suggestions?