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

Ebay links to Smithsonian Fabrics

image of RJR Groom's Quilt fabrics

Yes, amazingly they’re still out there…and I’m using quite a few in my Maltaville Album Quilt.

I’ve been in touch with the seller of these fabrics on ebay and she has some Smithsonian fabrics still available for purchase.  I have purchased from her several times and she is a 100% trustworthy seller whom I am happy to recommend.

I’ve photographed the fabrics I have used in Maltaville and a few that I may use in the blocks to come so this may help in any shopping you’re wanting to do. However I cannot guarantee that all these fabrics are still available but I know that some definitely are.

Starting with the Groom’s Quilt

image of RJR Groom's Quilt fabrics

Groom's Quilt fabrics, (L to R) pattern Honeysuckle colours Olive and Terra Rosa; pattern Arbor colour Bottle Green; pattern Queen Anne's Lace colour Crimson.


Copp Quilt

image of Copp Quilt fabric

RJR Copp Quilt fabric (L to R) pattern Willow colour Terracotta; pattern Copp Vine colour Sapphire; pattern Autumn Petals colour Indigo


Rising Sun Quilt

Image of Rising Sun fabrics

RJR Rising Sun fabrics (L to R) pattern Teardrop colour Madder; pattern Rainbow colours Blue and Madder.


Little Sister’s Quilt

image of Little Sister's Quilt greens

RJR Little Sister's Quilt (L to R) pattern Jasmine colour Clover Green; pattern Maze colour Green Grass, pattern Plume colour Olive Green; pattern Rosehip colour Bottle Green.

image of Little Sister's Quilt fabrics

RJR Little Sister's Quilt fabrics (Lto R) pattern Rosehip colours Tobacco and Midnight Blue; pattern French Tulip colour Cherry Red.


Good luck with your shopping.

Smithsonian Fabrics

image of Dylan's quilt label

I feel I’m back to normal a little now and can catch up on some of the blogging ideas I’ve had on the list for a while.

Waaaaaaaaay back on January the 15th I mentioned showing some of my quilts featuring my Smithsonian fabrics.  Today I’m showing the quilt that belongs to my GS (that’s gorgeous son) I started it back in 1997 as the label shows.

image of Dylan's quilt label

I like using a leftover block for a quilt label, but in this case (and with the benefit of hindsight) it’s a bit of a waste of precious Smithsonian fabrics.

The quilt itself is still a favourite of mine…and Dylan’s luckily.   It was ‘just’ a sampler but using only star blocks which I hand pieced over a period of time, then eventually assembled the top by machine and then hand quilted.

Image of Dylan's quilt

twelve star blocks, sashed and set alternately with a fabric from the Lowell Museum Collection

Not content with only adding one spare block to the back of the quilt, I then decided to add another three!!! All using my precious Smithsonian fabrics…

Image of Dylan's quilt (back)

The back showing four 'spare' blocks.

Luckily, these blocks are not quilted through and some have large enough pieces to make it worth just ‘whipping them off’ and reusing the fabrics in a more current project.

image of Dylan's quilt

One of four spare blocks

Unpicker…where are you?

I don’t think I’ve ever removed anything from a quilt once it’s finished…once it’s, it’s finished and it is what it is…but this is kind of special circumstances…I want to use those fabrics.

I haven’t broken the news to Dylan yet, but I’m sure he won’t mind…I’ll make it up to him.

Maltaville Album Quilt 1847

Oak Leaf and Reel

Well I’m hurtling along with this, especially after Jennifer suggested I ought to be a dozen blocks ahead just to be safe…thanks Jenn :-) I know you’re right.

I have spent some time drawing up a plan of the whole quilt to clarify how many different types of applique blocks there are (wreath/lone flower/four elements/eight elements/symbols  etc) and how many are variations of the same block or are exactly the same.   I’ve also been mulling over ideas of how many blocks per month will work etc and how best to select what participants get each month (some easy/intermediate/complex for instance) so that still has to be finalised but I’m making notes of all my ideas.

However, more importantly I’ve finished stitching the Saturn block, drafted and stitched an Oak Leaf and Reel block and drafted and nearly finished stitching a Starburst block and drafted another block ready for fabric choices tomorrow.   Phew…I need a drink and a lie down.

Oak Leaf and Reel

Oak Leaf and Reel block using two Smithsonian fabrics; Little Sister's Quilt, pattern Maze in Grass Green and Copp Quilt, pattern Willow in Terracotta.

I love the Oak Leaf and Reel pattern,  my DD is named Ayla which is Hebrew for Oak Tree and it’s on my ‘long term list’ to make her a quilt using this pattern…one day.

oak leaf in progress

Stitching late in to the night...

I decided to use the Back Basting method again… a little bit of work before hand but I like the method for these *cut as you go* blocks.

Starburst Block Drafting

Starburst Block,

After drafting this block there was a little bit of tweaking to get the scale right, you can see I had to take just a whisker off before I was happy with it.

This morning I decided I had better cut all the background squares (in the past I had been fighting with 6 plus metres of fabric whenever I made another block)…perfect opportunity as DH and DS were out for the dayand I needed to take over the dining table for this job.

cutting background


All the background squares cut, the centre square cut and (LtoR) Starburst, Saturn, Oak Leaf and Reel, Peacock and Feather Blocks.

Oh, while I think of it…6.9 metres of background (plus binding)  needed if any of you are getting your supplies ready in advance.   I used a Kona plain/colour Bone.   I really like the quality of the Kona plains, it’s nicely woven to provide a good base for applique.

Two nights ago my DS (nearly 22) brought in to the house a quilt I had made him years and years ago (he lives in a little s/c cottage on our property so sort of still at home but ‘out of the house’)  I spotted a veritable stash-full of Smithsonian fabrics in it and when I looked at the label I had started it in 1997, say no more…actually I am ashamed to say I had made the label out of Smithsonian fabric too…What was I thinking!

So I need to am going to give it a wash before I photograph it and show it to you but it got me thinking about my other quilts which have a fair share of these most beloved of my fabrics.  Here’s one for today…(I have quite a few and I’ll try to show you one every few days)

Fair Isle

Fair Isle

Fair Isle is so named because it reminds me of the Fair Isle knitted jerseys  my mother knitted for me. (translate…Jersey is a New Zealand word for Pull-over/Jumper/Sweater)

Mum and Uncle Pike

Mum and her older brother (was she knitting for him too) about 1948

My quilt label says 2004 but that would have been when I finally finished the hand quilting (a job which took several years of intermitent quilting)  I started this in 1997 when the backround fabric was released.

Fair Isle detail

Fair Isle close-up. Background is my fave pink. I have heaps of the Green Smithsonian left; Copp Quilt pattern Berry Leaf in Avocado but would give my eye teeth for more of the red.

Like the Welsh Quilt I got my inspiration for Fair Isle from a British decorating magazine.

Fair  Isle inspiration

They're probably telling me what bedside lamps to buy but I only noticed the quilt...sorry about the sticky tape through the page.

10 pm, time to do a little stitching before bed.

Thanks for visiting…

I’m off to ‘quilting’

Malatville Album Saturn

Do you just refer to your local quilt group as Quilting… I just yell to DH from the door “Ok I’m off to quilting…see you” even though I don’t actually quilt there.   I belong to quite a few different quilt related organisations and always refer to them by proper names, it’s only my fortnightly Wednesday group (The Goldfields Quilters) that has lost its moniker.   Do you do the same?

Anyway tonight is quilting, the first one after the Christmas break, and even though the rain is pouring down (and thunder has just started) and the roads will be yuk I will be steadfastly going because I can and many of my quilting comrades in Qld and NSW can’t go anywhere due to devastating flooding, so I’m going for you guys and will encourage everyone to go through their stashes to help you replenish yours.

After my last post a couple of you asked about the Maltaville Album Quilt being a kind of quilt-along or pattern.

Well, Jennifer (my technical support and  5foot1quilts ) had suggested just that very thing last week so your queries were very timely, thank you.

After talking with Jenn about it again and working out how best to do it, I can say that yes I will be doing a pattern which people can join in and download the patterns each month.

I do just want to get another block or two ahead before I start though and I’ll have to spend a little time learning how to do downloadable patterns etc, and there’ll probably be a blog to go with it that participants can post their blocks on too.  Stay tuned and I hope to get it happening in the next few weeks.

In the meantime… I have spent the morning preparing some hand stitching ready to take to ‘quilting’ tonight and my next Maltaville block is one I’ll be taking.

Malatville Album Saturn

Maltaville Album Quilt ~ Saturn Block

This is now all tacked and glued down but I though I’d show you some of the process.   What I needed was something 5 1/4″ round to trace around…you know how hard it is to draw a circle.  My Perfect Circles templates don’t go that big so I started hunting around the studio then the kitchen where I spotted these…

Copper Pots

Gotta be something close in that lot

Circle is 5 1/4" exactly.

Fabric Choices

Choosing the fabrics

At the last minute I decided to make the little moons out of three different Smithsonian fabrics for a bit of tonal variety so the bottom fabric has been joined by two more.   I’m really happy with how it’s looking and this one won’t take long to stitch (I hope).

However as this is going to now be a Quilt-along it may have been smarter for me to start with the centre block (doh).  At present I’m just doing them in any order that appeals but I should probably start thinking about a more orderly approach.

Connecticut Quilt

Connecticut Quilt

I spent a blissful Monday and Tuesday further planning and sewing on the Connecticut Quilt.  I have added the small Ohio Stars to ‘square up’ the quilt in readiness for the next border (red and cream squares).

I stared gung ho by making a little block and then rejected it


I really like this striped fabric and it certainly ‘went’ with everything else around it but when I put up on the wall with the quilt centre it lacked definition…

Ohio Star

That’s better against the baskets.

These blocks are tiny…3 1/8″ finished, so it was easier to make the units oversized and trim them down.Tiny units

And the light fabric is very fine so starching it helped to stabilise it for such small pieces.


I prefer the Best Press on the left (no residue) but had to resort to Crisp when I ran out

And just because there’s no time like the present to start playing around with something new (I am still en vacance after all) here’s another little bit of hand stitching I prepared this morning.

French Quilt

French Quilt

French Quilt

French Quilt

18 months ago I bought some very gorgeous fabrics when I was holidaying in the south of France (from Les Olivades in St Etienne du Gres near St Remy de Provence) and have been pondering possible quilts to use them in.   Last week I found a pattern for a variation on the Double Wedding Ring, the pattern was by Deb McArdle who is a designer and tutor from Ballarat (Deb was one of the quilters  whose work I noticed and enjoyed early in my quiltmaking days and in November I had the pleasure of being a judges’ assistant to Deb when she was one of two judges at the One Step Further Exhibition in Melbourne)

Deb has come up with this really interesting way of creating a Double Wedding Ring using a square and bias strips.

Bias strip

Making Bias Strip using fusible paper

Super quick and easy.

Now I’ve just got time to tidy up the mess I’ve made in the studio after all this morning’s activity before organising dinner for the family and heading out the door to Quilting.

To -do lists


Happy 2011 everybody.

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

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

Ayla in the kitchen

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

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

Melbourne Skyline

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

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

You may remember this pic from an earlier post

Work in progress

Well now the top is finished and ready for quilting.

Nebraska Basket Quilt circa 1854

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

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

Nebraska Quilts and Quiltmakers;

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

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

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

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

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

Maltaville Album Quilt 1847

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

Maltaville Album 1847

Back-Basting, reverse side shown.

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

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

Voila…Maltaville Album 1847

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

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

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

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

Drunkards Path Blocks

Drunkards Path Blocks

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

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

Connecticut Quilt, you’re next.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Prussian Blues

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

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

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…

Hey there’s my quilt

'Rainbow' RJR Smithsonian from 'The Rising Sun Quilt'.  Used by Di Ford in her 'Above the Rain' quilt.
Vintage Sampler designed by Margaret Mew

Hey there's my quilt...

Since I last posted I have done so much I hardly know where to begin with this post…  Ok I’ll do it chronologically, that seems to make the most sense.

Two weeks ago Lindsay (that’s DH) and I drove to Adelaide for the inaugural Australian Machine Quilters Festival (tho I recommend flying, that’s what we’ll be doing next time)  I am soooooooooo happy I went…I did three machine quilting classes with very informative, encouraging and inspiring tutors (Kim Brummer USA, Claire Fairless-Lewis NSW,Australia and Sharon Parkinson SA Australia) and came home completely fired up to try new things on Violet (my trusty long-arm) so I have been quilting up a storm since then and really happy with my progress too.  It was terrific to be in classes with other professional machine quilters, I think our industry is unique in that there seems to be no ‘professional rivalry’ and we are all happy to share our trials and tribulations as well as our triumphs…so that we can all learn and grow.

Another highlight of the festival was the quilt exhibition where I saw ‘my quilt’, well no, let me explain… the  quilt at the top of the post was beautifully pieced and appliqued by Lyn Ilett and quilted by Wendy Gleeson, but it is my design and pattern (Vintage Sampler 2005) and it’s always a thrill as a quilt designer to see the evidence that someone has liked your work enough to, not just buy the pattern, but also likes it enough to keep working on it til the end.  I was really chuffed to see it hanging there.

My Vintage Sampler quilt spent many years in residence at Threadbear and only came ‘home’ this year so this coming weekend it is one of the quilts I’m entering in my local quilt group’s exhibition.  Which brings me nicely to the next thing I’ve been up to…Quilting those last few quilts for myself and customers to enter in the show.   I’ll probably get better photo’s on set-up day at the exhibition than I have managed to get here at home so I’ll post more about those later.  If you are anywhere near Castlemaine and want a great day out, see the details of the Exhibition here at the Goldfields Quilters blog.

oooh, have to back track a bit, on the way back from Adelaide we stopped for lunch at a little town named Keith and while we  were relaxing I was flicking thru a very ‘up market’ glossy magazine called South Australia Country Life (or something similar…it reminded me of the English Country Life magazine with the real estate ads and photo’s of debutantes and society weddings) when my attention was caught by a photo of an applique block and then some photo’s of antique sewing machines…as I read I quickly realised “hey that’s Lynne… she reads my blog, I sent her some fabric, she sent me some in return, oh this is too exciting”.

Backtracking just a bit further cos I want to share a great link with you.   In Adelaide, Lindsay and I decided to stay closer to the city and not out at Mawson Lakes which is where the Festival was held so we made a booking at a hotel in what was described as ‘Cosmipolitan North Adelaide’ and it suited us really nicely, great restaurant choices just outside the door, but most fortuitous was directly across the road was a shop called Fabric of Life which specialises in Indian and Turkish textiles, all fair trade and exquisite.

It was pure chance that we were in the right place because I don’t think I would have found it otherwise, and yes I bought an Indian quilt which I will photograph and post soon, but if you have time I urge you to have a look at the website, there are some very beautiful and inspiring designs.

Now, up to the present day…Quilts in the Barn…which is where I went today to see an incredible selection of quilts by The Secret Sewing Sisterhood and I’ll also link here to Linda’s Quilts in the Barn as I know Linda and the Secret Sisters have plans for posting all about the exhibition once it’s over, so you’ll be able to see photo’s of all the quilts at those two blog sites I’m sure.

The quilts were all stunning and I would happily have each and every one of them in my home, absolutely without exception (this is an important statement because, whilst we, as quilters, appreciate all the quilts we see and admire the dedication required to make them, we don’t necessarily want to ‘own’ every one we see)

But today when I was there I found my focus really went to the fabrics and so that is what I want to share with you here…I hope you enjoy these close-ups.

Moorish Memories

Moorish Memories Quilt, Merri Garton. Designed by Meghan Leslie.

Centre Block Jane Austen Quilt

Jane Austen Quilt II by Di Ford

I hope I have the info correct in the captions, but I loved this Prussian Blue used as the urns in two of the quilts.  Snippets of it appeared in quite a few of the quilts but it is really shown to its full advantage in the centre blocks of both these quilts.  I never had this fabric but if I had, I too would have used it ‘here and there’.

Marylebone Quilt

from a corner of the Marylebone Quilt by Di Ford

This is just a drop dead gorgeous fabric…that’s all I can say about that.

Mary Brown Quilt

Detail of Mary Brown Quilt 1851 by Meghan Leslie. Work in Progress

This I’m showing because I’m hoping you can see the exceptional applique skills of Meghan. All the quilts showed a very high level of workmanship but this really impressed me.  Keep clicking on the images, they’ll get really detailed.

Broderie Perse

Antique Wedding Sampler by Barbara Worcester, designed by Di Ford.

Ditto the Broderie Perse by Barbara Worcester. This is Broderie Perse excellence.   It appeared to be done by machine (so uniform and dense was the stitiching) but… the thread colour changes with every colour change in the fabric, in exactly the right place…not possible by machine.  Something to aspire to.

Below are a few favourite fabrics I have in my stash and use repeatedly in my own quilts…it’s great to see them enjoyed by other quilters too and of course there will be a ‘glut’ of Smithsonian fabrics here, avert your eyes if you’re not a fan.

'Rosehip' by RJR Smithsonian collection 'Little Sister's Quilt'. Used in Drayton Hall Quilt by Di Ford

'Rainbow' RJR Smithsonian from 'The Rising Sun Quilt'. Used by Di Ford in her 'Above the Rain' quilt.

'Rainbow' from The Rising Sun Quilt' shown here in Di Ford's Morrell.

Like Di, I am down to my last snippet of this fabric.   I might get the centre of a flower (or two) but that’s it.

'De Monaco Rose' RJR Smithsonian 'Little Sister's Quilt' shown in 'Pennsylvania Applique' aka 'Poppies' by Deb King, designed by Di Ford.

OK, enough Smithsonian already…

here are two fave fabrics of mine, used and enjoyed ‘here and there’ in most of my quilts.

A fave reproduction of Serpentine Stripes c 1820 - 1850. I have three colourways of this one.

This pretty pink is now completely depleted from my's all in quilts.

Well it’s now 11.50 pm… I was up this morning in readiness for an 8.30 departure to Quilts in the Barn and so now I must go to bed.

I have more photo’s to post and Jennifer and I will be adding a new post to What Fabric is soon as we have been buying Smithsonian again…among other things… and have a few things we want to show you.

But for now, night night.

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…