Work for idle hands

I had a hand stitching project to play with while I was away.

Well, you didn’t seriously imagine I wouldn’t be sewing for a whole eleven days, did you? Really? You did? No, I fear the depth of my stitchy addiction is much greater than that, and I don’t do well without a handwork project while away from home.

Cushion half done

Stitch detail Thread detailI did a lot of hand quilting of a not very neat but hugely enjoyable sort. This nearly-finished square is going to be a cushion cover, a large one of the sort you prop behind your back while you drink your morning coffee in bed, which I do every day, so it’s going to be well-used. The fabric was a gift from my friend Mrs R over a year ago. I knew what I was going to do with it immediately, but the piece sat at the bottom of my project pile until this trip. It’s easily portable: needle, thread, thimble, scissors. No hoop. I don’t need to worry about a tidy back, either, as it’s for a cushion. The gorgeous variegated orange thread from Aurifil was a no-brainer too, it’s meant for this job. Watch this space for the finished thing… eventually.

I took along Cloths of Heaven on the trip. The plan was to get Niece No. 3 to take it home with her to Niece No. 1 in the UK at the end of her visit to Niece No. 2 in Sydney, but it turned out she was taking in most of south-east Asia on the way, and I didn’t want my labour of love turned into a grubby rag in the bottom of her rucksack, so I bit the bullet and sent it over by courier. Having it with me, though, meant I could show it off to several appreciative people, which did my morale no end of good.

Selfish stash While I was draping it all over her shop counter, I bought several pieces of fabric from the lovely Carolyn at Misty Threads in my former tiny home town of Dorrigo in northern NSW. If you’re a quilter and ever get the chance to visit, do yourself a favour and nip in to see her. She has thousands of gorgeous fabrics, notions, a longarm quilter in the back, a comfy sofa for gossiping and lots of helpful suggestions.

The three small pieces are intended for my Selfish Sewing, which I will be starting soon as part of Carla’s Bee, Myself and I (click on the button in my side bar to go over there and see what it’s about).

Fabric for Coral Reef Coral Reef detail 2 Coral Reef detail 1This larger piece will be another hand quilting project. The fabulous fabric (not at all my usual colour choices but I couldn’t resist it – I do live next to the Great Barrier Reef, after all) is by Brandon Mably for Westminster Fibers (he’s Kaffe Fassett’s partner and is producing some impressive designs of his own these days). A plan is forming, but I’m not quite ready to share it yet. It’s interesting that I can now contemplate working with yellow, a colour almost entirely missing from my stash. I think F2F has been good for me in that respect, opening up colours I haven’t traditionally wanted to work with.

My sewing time this month has been seriously eroded by travel. I’m off again for 3 days at the end of the month to catch up with a number of fellow bloggers assembling in Melbourne for what promises to be an epic meeting. Before that, though, I have to complete an only-just-started secret sewing gift for one of the assembly. I’ll post about it once I’m back so as not to spoil the surprise.

I’m longing to get back to my sewing room, but first, a bit of highly necessary housework 😦

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32 thoughts on “Work for idle hands

  1. EllaDee says:

    Very very interesting… hand quilting and variegated thread looks like something I’d enjoy once I find myself some of that fabled spare time!
    Having been one of the lucky people to have seen the real thing I can testify to the awesomeness of the Cloths of Heaven. It’s an artwork but also possesses a magical feel of wellbeing & comfort.
    I love Misty Threads and although not a quilter enjoy popping in to admire the lovely things.

    • katechiconi says:

      Aha! I will turn you into a stitcher yet! I find hand quilting the design on a printed fabric is a simple way to achieve something pretty, yet not too demanding or complicated. Perhaps we can have a mini tutorial next time I’m down. Not that I imagine you’ll have much more of the legendary spare time, but it’s something you can carry on your forthcoming travels.

  2. rutigt says:

    Of course we knew you were gonna sew on your trip 🙂 Who can live without a stitch a day (at least)!!!! I love the fabric with the fishes, so lovely colors. I wont be doing that bee-thing, but it is an interesting idea!

    • katechiconi says:

      I like the Bee, Myself and I idea because I always seem to be making quilts for other people, and somehow never have the time for the project I have in mind, which I’ve wanted to work on for years!

  3. I love that yellow floral fabric. Love it!
    Saving your work the grubby rucksack journey was the right call!

    • katechiconi says:

      The background is actually a fresh yellowish green! The design is called Oops-A-Daisy by Keiki for Moda, and it’s gorgeous!
      And I totally agree about the quilt. I think she’d have been very reluctant to take it because of the size, too… It was a very large quilt!

  4. What wonderful cushion fabric! It is a brighter, “modder” version of what I have in my bedroom on curtains. Looks like a fun project. I do know what you mean about travel cutting into your project time. Our year started with travel, and since then 2 colds and a variety of other things have fractured mine. Today is Jim’s birthday and we’re having a party, so that’s where my focus has been this week.

    Cheers!

  5. Travel is the best erosion of sewing time. Have fun!

  6. Magpie Sue says:

    I may have to look for that fish print over here. ;- ) I happen to love all the colors in this post, from the hand quilted pillow and variegated thread to the fish. What fun it will be to gather with fellow bloggers in person!

  7. Bold and bright fabrics…YUMMY! Love the hand quilted cushion too 🙂

  8. knitnkwilt says:

    I too find the need to vary color families as I work. Love both of these.

  9. Lorij says:

    I love the fabric because as you know the brighter and deeper the color is the better I like it. I hope that you had an amazing vacation. Your pillow you’re making is lovely.

    • katechiconi says:

      I had a wonderful time, but so many miles covered… I’m glad to be home and stay still for a while… I prefer bright, fresh colours myself, but it was fun working with the deep ones for my niece’s quilt.

  10. tialys says:

    It’s true that F2F broadens your colour horizons! I’m intrigued to know what the fishies will become. How long until your niece receives her quilt – I’m dying to know what she says about it.

    • katechiconi says:

      I don’t plan to cut the fishies up at all, but add to and embellish.
      The quilt went to my brother in Horsham, so that his firm’s reception could sign for it if he was away. My niece works, and they would not be able to deliver during the day. So my brother is going to take it down to her soon; he’s house hunting in the area, so it shouldn’t take too long, I hope!

  11. Smart call on the big quilt. Too much possibility for harm. Travel is good for the creative flow and handwork is something I love to take along. I hate that the airlines no longer allow little embroidery scissors. I used to take embroidery on my flights and could start conversations with so many interesting people that way. A book always says “leave me alone” I love the bright colors.

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