Community Quilts 453 to 459

14 07 2019

Here’s the latest batch of quilts I quilted for the West Australian Quilters Association’s Community Quilts program. I lost my quilting mojo for a couple of months, but it seems to be back! Number 459 is from a quilt top I made in January, all from scraps, many of which came from offcuts of previous Community Quilts.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)

Community Quilt 453

Community Quilt 454

Community Quilt 455

 

Community Quilt 456

Community Quilt 457

 

Community Quilt 458

Community Quilt 459

Photos of all the Community Quilts I’ve quilted are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/sets/72157630291250200/





Gorgeous Melbourne!

7 05 2019

I’m in Melbourne for a conference, and I deliberately came a day early to go see some things.

Melbourne certainly turned on some magical weather today! I put a rain jacket, scarf, and spare leggings in my handbag in anticipation of its reputed ‘four seasons in one day’, and all I experienced was gorgeous autumn sunshine, clear blue skies, and no wind. All the parks are stunningly green (so different from the still yellow/brown of where I am in Western Australia).

By 1pm, I’d already hit 10,000+ steps. First stop was a local cafe for breakfast, then down to the MCG and across the Barak Bridge, along the Yarra River to Federation Square, where I spent most of the next 3 hours. My main reason for going there was to see the Hans and Nora Heysen exhibition at the NGV at Federation Square (the one devoted to Australian art). And it certainly didn’t disappoint — there were hundreds of sketches, watercolours, oil paintings from both father and daughter, including all the really famous ones. And lots of info about them as people and as artists. They were from the Hahdorf area of South Australia where one branch of my family is from, and one of the paintings was of a farm owned by people with the surname the same as some of my ancestors — I wonder if they’re related?

After seeing the Heysens, I walked around the other exhibitions in the gallery (all free; only the Heysen exhibitions had an entry fee [$18]), including the exhibition of Year 12 art. Then I walked back to the hotel, picking up some basic food items at the IGA, and stopping off at Fitzroy Gardens.

I’m resting my weary feet right now, but if this weather holds, I may venture back to Fitzroy Gardens a little later just to let those ancient trees remind me of my place in the world.

The conference starts tomorrow, and so my opportunity to see more of Melbourne will be limited — it’s today and tomorrow morning (when I’m catching up with some friends), and that’s it. Everything else is conference related.

 

 





Quilt for sweet baby James

14 04 2019

I have a new grand great nephew! (Aside: Why isn’t it ‘grand nephew’? If my sister is the grandmother and my mother is the great grandmother, then why aren’t I a grand aunt? Why does that relationship get called ‘great’ instead of ‘grand’? Aha! I just looked it up and I *can* [and should] be a grand aunt: https://www.familytreemagazine.com/articles/news-blogs/now-what/aunts-and-uncles-grand-not-great/)

James was born almost a year ago, and was recently adopted by my nephew and his husband. Of course, a new child means a new quilt! When I asked, they said his nursery was in tones of greys and blues, with elephants a big theme. So an elephant quilt it was — I even had some fabric printed with tiny elephants that I used for the appliqued elephants.

 

Wide vertical strips of various grey fabrics, split by two yellow horizontal strips, with appliqued elephants

Wide vertical strips of various grey fabrics, split by two yellow horizontal strips, with appliqued elephants

In the panel between the two yellow strips, I stitched a row of elephants

In the panel between the two yellow strips, I stitched a row of elephants

Above the topmost yellow strip, I quilted stylised suns, representing the harsh heat of an African summer

Above the topmost yellow strip, I quilted stylised suns, representing the harsh heat of an African summer

For the quilting, I did narrow wavy lines with grasses popping up every so often to represent the ground below the elephants, followed by wider wavy lines representing heat haze, then spiky lines representing mountains in the distance

For the quilting, I did narrow wavy lines with grasses popping up every so often to represent the ground below the elephants, followed by wider wavy lines representing heat haze, then spiky lines representing mountains in the distance.

Another picture showing the quilting. You can just see the tiny elephants on the fabric used for the appliqued elephants.

Another picture showing the quilting. You can just see the tiny elephants on the fabric used for the appliqued elephants.

I stitched continuous 'u' shapes in the yellow strips. They have no particular meaning.

I stitched continuous ‘u’ shapes in the yellow strips. They have no particular meaning.

I used an animal alphabet fabric for the backing

I used an animal alphabet fabric for the backing

And of course, the animal alphabet backing fabric had 'E for elephant'!

And of course, the animal alphabet backing fabric had ‘E for elephant’!





Kudos to American Airlines

2 04 2019

I must say that American Airlines has upped their game a LOT in the past few years. The new Flagship Lounges at the major airports (I’ve tried Chicago and now JFK) are wonderful, with good selections of food (not just stale cheese and crackers) and drinks, friendly staff, good showers, oodles of power outlets, good seating for working at a laptop (Qantas could learn something from this… too many of its lounges have very low [and round] tables which are fine for putting a cup of coffee on, but not conducive to working on a laptop without severe stress on your back).

And the flight I just took from Boston to JFK? Amazing! It was on an A321 (flight 1140), and even though I’d booked and paid for Economy, I was seated in Main Cabin Extra (I think that’s what it’s called), which was akin to a full international Business Class, with lie-flat seats, two each either side of the aisle. The First Class cabin was a real First Class, with single suites either side of the aisle. Because it was such a short flight (about 45 mins in the air) and bumpy, there was little service where I was seated—just a bottle of water. And being a noon flight and so short, I didn’t need to lie flat to try to sleep. I didn’t pay any extra for the seat either—just the normal Economy fare—but I think my status as Qantas Platinum (OneWorld Emerald) meant that I was able to choose the seat that I did for no extra charge. I had no idea it would be as good as it was.

This is streets ahead of what many of my previous experiences with American Airlines have been.





Sophie Standing Workshop: March 2019: Kookaburra

18 03 2019

I had the privilege of attending another 4-day workshop with textile artist, Sophie Standing. Last time (2017) we did a shell; this time, it was a kookaburra. I enjoyed the kookaburra more, as we could inject quite a lot of personality into its face (especially the eye) and body. Although some people used some pretty ‘out there’ fabrics, I always intended my kookaburra to be fairly realistic in its colours. So I chose fabrics that emulated its natural colours, as far as possible.

We all had quite a bit of prep to do before the workshop—in my case, that meant painting the background (leaves, flowers, branches, and a background wash over the blue duck fabric I used [note to anyone else doing something similar: check if the fabric is waterproof/water resistant! Mine was, so I had a hard time getting the background wash to take hold; the branches etc. I did with acrylics with a dry brush and no water in the mix, and they worked out much better). This was a residential workshop, so we could work as much as we wanted outside class time too. We stayed at Avalon Homestead about 5km outside Toodyay, Western Australia, which has two purpose-built crafting rooms, and 16 en suite bedrooms. Three yummy meals a day were part of the workshop fee too.

The photos below (click on an individual photo to see the detail) are just a selection of the ones I took showing the progress of my kookaburra—the full set is in this Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/albums/72157707423447255

The original photo of the kookaburra (permission was obtained from the photographer to use it)

The original photo of the kookaburra (permission was obtained from the photographer to use it)

My initial fabric choices; these changed a bit over the four days

My initial fabric choices; these changed a bit over the four days

Initial cutting, pinning, and placing fabric onto the background and drawing

Initial cutting, pinning, and placing fabric onto the background and drawing

We started stitching the beak by the end of Day 1

We started stitching the beak by the end of Day 1

Stitching the eye was the first task on Day 2

Stitching the eye was the first task on Day 2

Next came the head feathers and shading detail

Next came the head feathers and shading detail

Stitched tail feathers

Stitched tail feathers

Bird is all stitched, but the line between dark and light on the body was too harsh so I added large cream flowers to soften it

Bird is all stitched, but the line between dark and light on the body was too harsh so I added large cream flowers to soften it

The claws were fun to do, and, to place the bird properly on the branch, I did quite a lot of black stitching on the branch to blend the joins

The claws were fun to do, and, to place the bird properly on the branch, I did quite a lot of black stitching on the branch to blend the joins

The kookaburra is finished! Notice that the yellow flower fabric on the neck is now gone. I added a small cream and apricot Liberty print to cover it and stitched over it to blend it in. The shiny blue fabric was some lycra I picked up in the dance fabrics section

The kookaburra is finished! Notice that the yellow flower fabric on the neck is now gone. I added a small cream and apricot Liberty print to cover it and stitched over it to blend it in. The shiny blue fabric was some lycra I picked up in the dance fabrics section

I stitched the outlines and central veins of the painted leaves, the flowers, and the small branches

I stitched the outlines and central veins of the painted leaves, the flowers, and the small branches

End of Day 4. A flock of kookaburras!

End of Day 4. A flock of kookaburras!

I had a bit of time left on Day 4, so decided to try stitching a large eye. I chose a cat's eye and used about 20 different coloured threads to create this eye, which is about 2 inches high and 3 inches wide.

I had a bit of time left on Day 4, so decided to try stitching a large eye. I chose a cat’s eye and used about 20 different coloured threads to create this eye, which is about 2 inches high and 3 inches wide.

I had heaps of fun doing this class, and it reinforced how much I like thread painting. I really should do more of it.





Community Quilts 445 to 452

3 03 2019

Here’s the latest batch of quilts I quilted for the West Australian Quilters Association’s Community Quilts program. The first three are from quilt tops I made in January, all from scraps, many of which came from offcuts of previous Community Quilts.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)

Community Quilt 445

Community Quilt 446

 

 

Community Quilt 447

 

Community Quilt 448

 

Community Quilt 449

Community Quilt 450

 

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Community Quilt 451

 

Community Quilt 452

Photos of all the Community Quilts I’ve quilted are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/sets/72157630291250200/





Retreat with friends

20 01 2019

Early in January, I went on a 4-day quilting/sewing retreat with some friends. During that time I made a jelly roll rug (my first ever!), and four quilt tops. The jelly roll colours were much more vibrant than the photo shows. The jelly roll fabric was from the ‘Pastiche’ range by Jason Yenter, In The Beginning Fabrics (http://www.inthebeginningfabrics.com/ and http://www.inthebeginningfabrics.com/shop/c/p/Pastiche-Strip-Rolls-x28221827.htm).

The jelly roll instructions I used/modified are here: http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2018/06/jelly-roll-rug-tips-and-tutorial.html, with an accompanying 22-minute YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8xblarkuBg

 

Three of the quilt tops are simple — each took me about 4 hours from scrap fabric to a finished top, with borders. Each cut piece is 6.5 x 3.5 inches.

The other (pink one) was a scrappy improv quilt, where I take bits of sort of matching fabric scraps and sew them together, until I end up with other pieces of fabric that I can cut into blocks—in this case, 12.5 inch blocks. Then I added sashing strips and a border. This sort of improv quilt takes much longer than the simple scrappy ones, but it’s a good way to use up smaller scraps.

We all worked on our own projects, in that comfortable silence that good friends have. These retreats are good for my soul!

Look at this amazing wolf Jo made from a Violet Craft pattern!

And Carol has decided that usual sized hexies just aren’t enough (I can’t even do those!), so she does miniature ones! I think she’s mad!!