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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Prussian Blues

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

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

True Madder

True Madder from Windham Fabrics #20327

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

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

Nebraska Basket

Nebraska Basket Quilt c 1850

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

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

Sarah Morrell Quilt

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

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

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

Maltaville Album

Inspired by the Maltaville Album Quilt 1847, Smithsonian Institute.

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

And finally…yes there’s more

Ohio Star

Ohio Star Variation

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Ciao for now…

Gotta tell you about this new stuff…

Perfect Circles

I went to six to midnight at Threadbear last night (yes I’m mobile again…gorgeous boy child fitted the new alternator yesterday morning then promptly took off in my car for his own job,  returning at 5.30…pushing his luck)

Anyway, I want to share these new needles and other time saving tools Corliss has in stock.

First up is this packet of Mylar Circles, they’re called Perfect Circles and are by Karen Kay Buckley.

Perfect Circles

Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles available from Threadbear

Perfect Circles

Packet didn't photograph too well, sorry.

Now for the important stuff… there are two packets available, one with the smaller circles and one with larger circles.  I only bought the smaller circles. There are fifteen sizes in my packet, starting at 1/2″ or 12mm  and goes up to 2″ (I just measured across a ruler, DH has one of those gadgety things that measures thing really minutely, when it matters…I didn’t think this mattered that much)   And you get four circles of each size.   Also included in the pack is the ring to keep them all neat and tidy, essential…can you imagine the mess if they ever got loose.  Oh, and an Instruction Sheet, usual method of cutting a larger circle, stitching round the edge and drawing up around the template.   Starch with a *non residue leaving* starch…I use Best Press,  and Voila a perfect little circle.

As soon as  I saw them I thought *Phebe*…cos I haven’t even contemplated those apples yet.   But this morning I got Phebe down off the shelf and made a tiny apple with my new circle.  The smallest in my pack is just a weeny bit big for Phebe’s apple trees but I can live with it, especially cos they’re perfctly round.  I’m all for anything that cuts out a fiddly step and leaves more time for stitching.

Here’s Phebe…


My Phebe, designed by Di Ford.

The apple tree has my newly made apple dangling off it waiting to be stitched down.   My beloved Smithsonian Fabric is getting used in Phebe “cos she’s worth it”.  You can also see that my Sarah Morrell quilt (also by Di Ford) has made it back up on the design wall after a hiatus on the shelf.

Phebe Detail

Detail so you can see the apple.

The other things I found at Threadbear is the black mat, shown at the top of the post (the circles are on it)   This is a bit rubbery and fabrics for piecing or applique just stick there without falling off.   Great for keeping everything together.  I also found that I can use it instead of my sandpaper board,  the fabric doesn’t grab like it sometimes can on the sandpaper.

And new needles to try…needles

This morning I tried the quilting needles for piecing and I’m a convert.  The packet says “pierces smoothly through fabric” and it’s true.

Also, gold tipped so I can thread it and it doesn’t bend.  Superb.  I haven’t tried the Applique ones yet…I will when I sew that little apple down though,   but I’m sure I won’t be dissapointed.

I see some bloggers have a list of UFOs and WIPs on their sidebar and the progress of each (if any LOL)…I’m starting to think this could be a good idea for me too, if only to help with my eternal quest for orderliness and ,well, it’s just like another form of filing isn’t it.

Look out…if I get around to it the list is scarily long.

Thanks for visiting…

Still stitching…

morrell blocks

Since the Melton Quilt-In two weeks ago I’m still going strong with the Sarah Morrell 1843 Quilt.  I have finished another 4 Broderie Perse Blocks but I’m not actually counting how many I have left to stitch so I can’t tell you.  It’s mid winter here and if I’m not out, I’m by the fire stitching in the evenings.

Here’s the stack of still to do blocks…all stuck down just ready for needle and thread.

morrell blocks

Ready to sew, Broderie Perse Sarah Morrell blocks.

Ok, couldn’t help myself, just hopped up to count them…13, unlucky for some.

morrell block

This is the one I'm working on this week. Hope it doesn't take all week!

But, here is the stack of finished blocks…morrell blocks

Two years ago I started this quilt so I’m not doing too bad… and in anticipation of feeling like a break from Broderie Perse this week, this morning I prepared one of the pieced borders for the smaller Broderie Perse blocks.  I’ll hand piece this one (because of the diamonds) though I foundation pieced the others.  Fave Smithsonian fabric being used in this one.

morrell border

During the week the Secret Sewing Sisterhood posted about their Sarah Morrell quilts.  If you haven’t had a chance to look (or don’t know about them) do please have a look.  Their latest post is about all the Sarah Morrell Quilts they’ve made, all the quilts are gorgeous and seeing them is certainly keeping me motivated.  They started theirs *years ago* with Di Ford (Di produced the pattern) back in the days when Di owned the wonderful Primarily Patchwork in Theatre Place off Maling Rd.

And just to show that the Connecticut Quilt has not been forgotten (or forsaken), here is the latest pic showing I’m steadily chipping away at it. The basket borders are sewn, but not yet attached.  I just have to draft up the tiny Ohio Stars for the corners of this border.  This pic’s especially for Megan (Ryland Quilts), she gave me a gentle hurry along through the week and she’ll be expecting to see more done next Friday at our six to midnight group.

connecticut quilt

Connecticut Quilt 1865-1890, getting there.

I’m off to the Melbourne Quilt Show tommorrow,  it’ll be my first time as a ‘Quilt Angel’, (or ‘white glove person’) so I’m sure I’ll enjoy that.  I’ve seen most of the quilts as I was there on setting up day but the quilts didn’t have names on them then so tommorrow I’ll be able to see who’s done what.  There are fabulous quilts and I know there’ll be a great array of traders too.

Thanks for visiting…

Connecticut Quilt c.1865-1890

I got so well organised with my Connecticut Quilt basket handles last Friday, that I finished appliqueing the handles on Friday night!!! (mid-winter here so a night in front of the fire, a glass of red and some hand-sewing…aaaahh bliss)

Therefore I didn’t take them to the Melton Quilt -In on Saturday after all and I managed to finish two more blocks for the Sarah Morrell Quilt instead, so I am very happy about that.

Sorry it’s just a short post for you today but I am going to get out the machine and sew the handles to the basket ‘bottoms’ as soon as I’ve made my morning coffee…It will be a great morale boost to get this basket border on, the poor Connecticut Quilt has been just a centre star block for a long time.

talk soon…

Sarah Morrell Album Quilt 1843

Connecticut Quilt

Tommorrow several of us from the Goldfields Quilters are heading off bright and early to the Melton Quilters Quilt-In.

So I’ve just been puddling about in the studio deciding what to take, well … finalising what I’m going to take, I had decided earlier in the week to take these little Basket Blocks from my Connecticut Quilt which only need handles appliqued on, all cut/marked and ready to go.

Connecticut Quilt

I could/should (and will) take these.

But then I like to have a back up plan, in case I just don’t feel like working on the project I’ve brought with me… (This truly happens to me, I don’t know why.  Maybe I just have to sabotage my own plans…crazy)

…so I decided to dig out the blocks from the Sarah Morrell Quilt which I have been working on.  Love, love, love this quilt from 1843 which Di Ford (see Secret Sewing Sisterhood) recreated the pattern after.

I have completed a lot of these blocks already, pretty much all the pieced and needle turn applique ones, but have ‘quite a few‘ Broderie Perse ones to do and so I’ll take some of these to Melton.  And while I was deciding which blocks to take, I thought I might as well photograph and show them to you.

There are already many Morrell photo’s on blogs around the world but one of the reasons I want to show you mine is because I decided to use fabrics from my own stash, including my precious Smithsonian and Vintage fabrics, instead of the fabrics which came in the block of the month (those fabrics were gorgeous but I put them away in my stash in favour of using others). I also wanted my quilt to be more like the original in colour…  but I do want to say a big Thank You to Di Ford for a brilliant pattern, beautifully presented and well written.

Anyway here are some pics to enjoy…and I hope I get lots done tommorrow :-)

Morrell Quilt

This block's finished / top row, block 4

Morrell Quilt

I'm taking this one to finish...

Morrell Quilt

Haven't even started this one...tommorrow's the day

In the block above and the next couple below I used fabric cut from Den Haan and Wagenmakers ‘Tree of Life’ panel.  I’ve managed to get a lot of use out of just one panel…it appears in at least one other quilt of mine and I’ve still got bits left.

Morrell Quilt

Another finished one.

Morrell Quilt

Haven't started this one.

Morrell Quilt

mmmmmmmm Smithsonian...and it's finished.

Morrell Quilt

got a bit lazy, one big piece of Vintage Fabric stitched down...but it's finished.

Morrell Quilt

I'll take this one's already to go, I'd even left the needle in...Bad.

Morrell Quilt

more Smithsonian Row 7 / block 6

Morrell Quilt

I decided to add an odd fabric in the centre, It's where William Strahan had his name.

Couple more…

Morrell Quilt

Vintage Fabric Row 8 / block 6 (finished)

Morrell Quilt

Smithsonian fabric...but I'm not sure if I'll use this one, it might not work.

Now I’ve got to organise my lunch and sewing notions for the day.

Thanks for visiting…