Tuesday 18 December 2012

Feathers Around the Block

In July and August this year I completed two quilts where I did feathers inside the block around a central motif.  The first one is Debbie’s where she had a star in the centre and the feathers were uniform in each block.

Originally I was just going to ditch stitch the star, but it looked a little unfinished, so I decided to also quarter inch around it, which looked a lot better.

The second quilt belongs to Colleen.  Here the centre appliqué varied in shape and I adjusted the feathers accordingly.

With both of the quilts I really liked the effect the feathers created where the blocks met.

Ankle update – I went back to the hospital last week, and I am now allowed to walk without the boot inside the house, but need to wear it outside, particularly if I am where there are crowds, intoxicated persons, or kids.  I am making good progress, but it is a slow journey.

Tuesday 11 December 2012


On the weekend Paul trimmed back the vine on the back fence.  As he was doing so, he found a possum hidden in there.

It was quite tame, and nibbled on the piece of bread he gave it.  It was very cute, but I wonder if this was the one that got into our roof last winter and was disturbing my sleep.  I didn’t think it was cute then.  

Paul didn’t cut the vine back too much around the little critter’s home so he wouldn’t disturb him too much.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Allover Feathers

This striking quilt in reproduction fabrics was made by Barb.  Whilst it could have been custom quilted, Barb opted to have me quilt it with an allover freehand feather design.

I wanted to try a more random feather with the feathers going through a range of sizes as I thought this looked interesting and elegant.  

I practiced drawing it out to make sure I had the feel for how the feathers would fit together.  Barb generously allows me to be creative and try new things on her quilts which usually means she gets something special.

I was really happy with how the feathers looked, and they show up great on the back.

Saturday 1 December 2012

Marking and Stabilising - Tutorial

In my previous post I showed you Allison’s beautiful appliqué quilt, and now I will share how I marked and stabilised this quilt and the order in which I did the quilting on it.
After loading and outlining the appliqué so the quilt was stabilised, I could roll forward to this point. I marked with chalk the external outline for the edges of the feathers.  I made sure that the width of the feathers remained consistent, and it was roughly half way between the inside and outside appliqué keeping a balanced feel.

Then I marked the stems of the feathers.

I quilted the stems, and some of the feathers before rolling forward and stabilising the quilt again by outlining the appliqué, and doing some of the McTavishing.  I had also by this time, done some of the McTavishing above the feathers.

I found the centre point of the appliqué and marked the outer edges of the centre oval of feathers then I marked the stems of the feathers.

I quilted the stems of the feathers and some of the feathers in the centre, continued the outer oval of feathers down both sides, and did some of the McTavishing around the appliqué to stabilise the quilt to this point.

The quilt was stabilised enough to allow me to roll forward to continue the feathers on the outer oval.  I referred to a print out of an earlier photo to make sure I was keeping the dimensions of the oval the same as the top of the quilt.

I rolled back and completed the inner oval.

I now marked the bottom part of the outer oval of feathers.     

I quilted the stems and the feathers of the bottom of the outer oval.  Note there is a small amount of McTavishing around the appliqué above the feathers - this was part of the stabilisation so I could roll the quilt forward to this point.

From this point I continued to stabilise the remainder of the quilt by outlining the appliqué and McTavishing in places to hold the quilt layers together.

I completed the quilting by rolling back and forward filling in the McTavishing in all the unquilted spaces and finishing off with the pebbles around the feathers.

As you can see, with a quilt that is as heavily quilted as this one, I don’t start at the top and do all the quilting at each pass.  If I did this, I would distort the quilt.  Rather I do enough to stabilise the quilt at each roll forward and then fill in all the gaps later. 

Ankle update - the boot is scheduled to come off in two weeks – horray! 

Friday 30 November 2012

Appliqué and Feathers

This gorgeous (and huge) appliqué quilt belongs to Allison.  I quilted this back in August.  Right now I think about my life in terms of ‘before the broken ankle’ and ‘after the broken ankle’.  Even though August wasn’t that long ago, it feels like another lifetime.

It was quilted with two ovals of feathers mirroring the shape of the appliqué, and McTavishing on the background.  

I did a small row of pebbles next to the feathers to emphasise them.

The back showed the quilting beautifully.

In my next post I will show how I marked the feathers and the order in which I quilted this large quilt.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Australian Christmas Quilt

This is another quilt I did way back before I broke my ankle.  This is made by Carol and I love the design.  

This is my favourite block.  The mother kangaroo’s expression seems so tolerant with her pouch stuffed full of presents.

Nearly two weeks ago I went back to the hospital for more x-rays, the cast came off, and I have graduated to a boot.  I get to wear this lovely fashion accessory for six weeks as I learn to take weight through my ankle again.  I am now ‘furniture walking’ i.e. hobbling between pieces of furniture, and using a cane.  This is lot better than crutches as it gives me a free hand to carry things.

I am slowly catching up with the allover bookings, and many of my wonderful customers have allowed me to postpone their custom bookings until after Christmas.  I am still quilting sitting down, it is slower, but I have worked out a routine that helps.  

I am learning patience........

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Cute Applique Quilt

Before I had the accident, I took photos of a few quilts I was working on, but because of the extension I didn’t find the time to post them.  Speaking of the extension, it is finished (imagine me in bed in hospital co-ordinating tradesmen on my mobile and you have an accurate picture).  I will post pictures of that soon.

Pictured is a quilt made by Elaine, which I think is really sweet.

I did small loops as the background fill, and quilted some large daisies in the border.

Elaine does exquisite appliqué and embroidery, and I have posted two of her quilts on my blog in the past.

Click here to see what I consider one of her best appliqué quilts where I used curved cross hatching to create a circular effect.

Click here to see Elaine’s butterfly quilt.
I have an appointment on Friday for more x-rays of my ankle.  If all is well, the cast comes off, and then I will be in a boot for six weeks. 

I have adapted well to quilting sitting down and have new routines for loading and unloading the quilts.  I am still slower, but improving.  I have mastered the crutches, but it really is a skill that I would have been quite happy to never have had to learn.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Circle Back in Time

I quilted this quilt for Chris Serong earlier in the year.  Chris entered it in Vic Showcase in July and it won highly commended in the Traditional Two Person Professional Category. 

When it came to the quilting I continued the circular theme.

Monday 22 October 2012

Australian Machine Quilters Festival

Late September, early October the AMQF was held in Adelaide.  I had been looking forward to going for months, and had our accommodation booked back in May. 

Even though I was only just over a week out of hospital, I was determined to still go, and got my doctor’s reluctant ok.

We had one day at the show, and Paul pushed me around in the wheelchair.  The quilts were amazing and so inspiring.

The trip, especially the long drive from Melbourne to Adeliade, really took it out of my physically so soon after my accident, but I wouldn’t have missed it, and am so glad I went.

This is a picture of Chris Serong’s quilt, ‘Circle Back in Time’ that I quilted earlier in the year.  I will have more close ups of it in my next post.

Friday 19 October 2012

Broken Ankle

I broke my ankle on the 11th of September, and I am now hopefully almost half way through the healing process.  I don’t have an exciting story as to how I did it.  I fell down the bottom stair, and my foot got caught between the stairs.  Of course I did a good job - I broke both bones, one of them twice, and dislocated it. 

Luckily it was early in the morning, so when my husband took me to emergency it was quiet, so I got treated straight away.  I have never been in so much pain in my life.

I ended up spending eight nights in hospital waiting for the swelling to go down so they could operate to put in a pin.

This is a picture of the third cast I have been in.  And if you think this looks big, it is the smallest and lightest so far.  My mother-in-law knitted me the little foot hat to keep my toes warm.  In two weeks this cast comes off and then I am in a boot for six weeks.

Last week, I started quilting again with my machine lowered, so I can sit while I work.  I am slow, but it is great to feel productive again. 

I have never had an accident like this before, and it has made me realise how lucky I am.  I could have hurt myself so much more seriously.  I live in a country where I have access to excellent health care.  My family have been so supportive – cooking, cleaning, driving me around.  My customers have been so understanding.  I will definitely not take my health for granted in future, and be a lot more careful.