The turquoise twirl

One of my favourite shirts is wearing out.

It has been darned and otherwise mended multiple times, but the fabric’s just getting too thin. Don’t worry, I’ll be recycling the good bits into patchwork fabric, but I love the colour and its absence will leave a hole in my wardrobe. So the other day I went and bought 3 metres of a pretty batik to make myself a replacement.

The original shirt is turquoise, blue and white in a sort of jumbled paisley pattern, and it’s a traditional short sleeved shirt with a collar. The new fabric is turquoise and a little green and white, also in a paisley pattern. But the similarity ends there, as the new garment is collarless and has a deep V-neck and a handkerchief-point hem. It’s a slight simplification of Butterick B6056, without the peculiar pockets, and shorter sleeves without tabs to hold the rolled-up cuffs.

The Husband has many wonderful talents, but taking a flattering photo is not among them. I try. I ask that he doesn’t press the button at the moment of maximum hugeness of person, roundness of face or doubleness of chin. It makes no difference. I always look at least 5kg heavier than I should. This is where a daughter would come in handy, to prompt sucking in of cheeks and tummy and the correct three-quarter view pose.

I used the best of them, and it didn’t help that a sleek and slender Mouse photobombed all the others. The contrast is, frankly, cruel. However, I’m happy with my new clothe, and it’s cool, light and very comfortable. The fabric is still a little stiff and new, but once I’ve washed it a few times, it’ll soften. Batik’s a little firmer and more tightly woven than the pattern demands, but I think it’ll soften enough to drape nicely in time. I love the colour, and yes, I do have some gorgeous scraps for the next ovarian cancer quilt!

Worth a tiny baby-elephant-type twirl, I’d say 🙂

Sea Glass #6: One of those days…

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…


What happens when a pin and a sewing machine needle decide to go head to head. I’ve never seen a pin that shape that was still in one piece….

freestyle-seamsI have decided that I’m going to make these mismatched seams ‘official’. You’ll recall an earlier gripe about how the 2½ inch strips you get in many jelly rolls are not accurately cut. This is what happens if you don’t laboriously line up, check and trim out every single strip. There are over 80 x 42 inch strips in the quilt top so far, with more to come. Life is just too short. So for the purpose of this quilt, all junctions that are not a lilac pinwheel have official consent to be, um, freestyle. The pinwheels match. The important stuff matches.

Some of you hawk-eyes out there would have noticed if I hadn’t mentioned it. I hope the majority would have overlooked it or forgiven it for the sake of the general effect.

outer-border-fabricsHere’s the fabric I’ve decided to use for the outer border. I took snippets of all the fabrics used in the 16 patch blocks to the fabric shop, and laid them on a variety of colours and patterns. This is the one that lets all the others sing happily whilst not being dull itself.  I’ll be combining it with more 16 patch block corner- and centre-posts to form the outer border.

Two more seams and the main quilt top is assembled. Eight more 16 patch blocks, eight plain strips, and the border’s ready to be added. But tonight, I’m hemming the binding on the matching cushion, which is otherwise finished.

I’ll show you that another time.

Indigo renamed

This quilt seems to have caught the imagination of a lot of people.

Screen shot 2014-11-30 at 7.04.19 PMThere’s a sort of universal appeal about indigo. I don’t know what it is: the richness and depth of the colour, the fact that it’s a natural dye, or the length of tradition behind its use. Whatever the reason, indigo is used all over the world, it seems.

So far, I have fabrics from Bali, Japan, England and Indonesia. I have been offered some from Rajasthan in India, and some African indigo prints, possibly Adire from Nigeria. They’re all very different, but somehow, they just work together.

Because the first fabric gift came from Japan, I’m renaming this quilt with a Japanese name. This is what it looks like:

Screen shot 2014-11-30 at 4.19.45 PM

It means Worldwide Friends.

I’m going to embroider the name in the Japanese font shown onto the quilt, and also the name of the givers onto the fabrics which were gifts, as a commemoration of the worldwide circle of friendship that is quilting.

If you’d like to join in and offer some indigo scraps, email me (see the Contact Me page on this blog), and I’ll send you my mailing address. All that is needed is a piece of cotton fabric 2½” square, which is enough for me to make one hexie, or one petal of a hexie flower. Your name will be added to the others on the quilt. The embroidery’s going to be in red or white, so this could end up quite a colourful effort! It doesn’t matter if there’s also a lot of white in your fabric, or the overall effect is a bit pale, because that is also part of the design plan. If you have no indigo, but would still like to join in, then a piece of a deep red would also work.

When the quilt is finished, I’ll do a post which gives links to the blogs of everyone who participated, if you would like people to visit. If not, let me know and I won’t add the link.

So, what do you think? Would you like to join in?

A Slow Sunday…

After the long slog last week, I’m taking it a little bit easier.

Which is not to say that I’m idle. Evenings have been devoted to making strides on the wedding sampler for our anniversary. It’s beginning to look as if I’ll get it finished in time, although framing as well is too much of an ask. See for yourself (and this daylight shot is a bit more accurate for colour, finally):

The sampler's taking shape.

The sampler’s taking shape.

Visualise this with a wide brimmed pink hat and pink pants...

Visualise this with a wide brimmed pink hat and pink pants…

I’ve finished the holiday top I was making with a beautiful dark blue and white batik trimmed with the turquoise I didn’t use for the binding on Isfahan. The pattern is very simple so the fabric can play the lead role. It’s Kwik Sew 3601, but I tweaked it a bit to add the large bands at the bottom of the sleeve and hemline – mostly because I didn’t have quite enough fabric! I also had to make the sleeves in two pieces for the same reason. Luckily the pattern’s busy enough that you don’t see the seam down the centre of the sleeve. It’s loose, cool and comfortable, and is going to look very good with my pink sun hat! One of these days, I’m going to get an overlocker/serger. It’ll make some projects so much easier! I may have to venture onto eBay for the first time in my life: the thin end of the wedge…

Hand work for the trip, and a subject close to the Husband's heart.

Hand work for the trip, and a subject close to the Husband’s heart.

And finally, Anzac Day is approaching on 25 April. The Husband has spent most of his adult life in the Australian Army Reserves, and  I’m from a family where four generations have served either in wartime or in the Reserves in some form. So we both think that remembering the sacrifices made by our servicemen so that we can enjoy all the freedoms and privileges of Australian life is very important. I needed a holiday handwork project, and the Husband wanted something appropriate to Anzac Day. I think both our requirements are satisfied with this. It’s a kit, but quite a nice one.

Tomorrow is the start of the final week before we go away, and it’s beginning to get crowded with stuff I have to do. High on the list is sandwiching and pinning Happiness, so it’s ready to start hand quilting when I get home. Once that’s done, the decks will be officially clear to start on Amistad, Broken Bottles and the rest. I shall be taking my camera on holiday with me, and hope to come back with lots of photos of flowers, shells, landscape, local crafts, sunsets, sunrises and whatever else takes my fancy. The island is exceptionally beautiful, has a very long history and some fabulous  historic houses and gardens, and best of all, my oldest BFF. Excited, moi? Some mistake, surely…

More soon.