Quilts for VanEssa

I know, I know, it’s been quiet round here.

I’ve had a lot of vertigo. It’s… unpleasant. I’ve been busy, but haven’t been doing anything worth showing. Lots of hand-stitching on the Delft quilt (two and a half sides stitched down onto the border with teeny weeny hemstitches). Lots of long-overdue tidying up that I can just put down quickly if I start to feel weird. Mending. Loading stuff into VanEssa and finding homes for everything.

Anyhow, today I felt OK, so I thought it was time to start something new. And that something is the bunk quilts for VanEssa. First I had to separate the existing quilt blocks into his’n’hers.

Hers are the loud, vivid, fancy blocks. Well, you didn’t really expect anything else, did you?

His are the simpler, plainer, less vivid blocks. Calm, pale, formal, but still colourful. And the eagle-eyed will notice that this quilt is a extra row taller. Because the Husband is a head taller than me, so he needs the extra cover 😊

As there were only 30 blocks originally, I needed fillers to make reasonably-sized quilts for the two bunks. So I used a really pretty Jocelyn Proust ‘fruit dove’ print which picks out some of the colours already in the blocks.

For the backing, I’m going to use an old cotton doona (duvet for non-Aussies) cover, in the Natalie Engdahl Sunset Frangipani print. It’s huge, splashy, colourful and fun. And I don’t use it any more (not big enough for our bed), so it’s an excellent use for it. It won’t be too eye-searing as a backing for the quilt, but it will be a flash of unexpected colour if the quilt top gets folded over.

I’m going to keep the quilting simple and supple, so probably cross-hatching. Now I have to do some more cutting and decide whether to use a quiet warm grey or a bright greeny-yellow for the sashing. Or maybe both: his and hers.

That’s a job for tomorrow.


Ovarian Cancer: CYTL Blocks 8-10

And here’s the next lot.

You saw Blocks 5, 6 and 7 for Can You Teal the Love in the latest ScrapHappy post, but today I’m returning to the partial use of new fabrics, specifically, some of the ones I was able to buy thanks to the Spotlight gift voucher donation.

It’s going to be important that there’s variety with these blocks. Some need to be dark, others light. Some colourful, some plainer to ‘rest’ the eye. Some will have a big hit of pink, others just a tiny dash. Quilts for this important cause need to be light-hearted and joyful, and playful, varied and colourful blocks is the way to go, in my mind.

So, I’m really looking forward to receiving the first of the several collaborative blocks which are on their way, so I can work to balance and create harmony with these creations from different sources.

I’m going to hold off making more blocks for a bit while I wait to see what arrives.

It’s all up to Australia Post, now!


Floribunda 13: Block #17

Well, hello again. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I’ve been furiously making masks; Queensland had a few cases appear suddenly, initially without any idea how. They’re on top of that now, but we’re still required to wear masks in public places, inside and ideally outside too. Everyone who’d put their masks away, got rid of them or had no more stock of disposable ones because of relaxed restrictions was suddenly in a bit of a pickle. I’ve made 10 in the past 3 days, so that’s the family sorted, but I’m keeping the supplies handy.

Now that the rush is over, I’ve had a chance to get on with Floribunda. I’m worried I’ll get lazy about it, let it migrate to the back burner, and then discover that I don’t have enough time to finish it before the Mackay Show admissions date. So I got another green block done. I have a pink block laid out ready to go, maybe tomorrow, or if I’m feeling energetic, perhaps tonight.

I still have to ration my sewing time; although the ankle is much improved and I’ve graduated from crutches to a cane, if I have to stand for more than a few minutes, walk too far, or let my leg dangle (as in sitting on a regular chair) the ankle balloons and throbs. So far, it’s good for an hour of sewing (or a seated tai chi class, as I discovered this morning), and then I have to elevate it. Do-able, but dull…

I got my anniversary present fabrics. The gold one is potentially for the back of Floribunda and the grey one is potentially for my most recent F2F blocks, either as backing or as filler blocks. They’re both Jocelyn Proust designs for Spotlight, and by luck they were both 40% off 🙂 The gold background fabric shows zebra finches, and the grey leaf fabric shows rose-crowned fruit doves. I really love her designs, combining simplicity and innocence with sophisticated colour choices and design. As bolt-ends in both cases, I could only get 3m of the gold and 2m of the grey, but I’ll work around that.

I hope you all had a great Easter and are ready for the seasonal change: winter for us and spring for the northern hemisphere. I’m really looking forward to cooler days and nights and fresh, crisp mornings for dog walking.

Once I’m walking again, that is.

Lullaby 3: finished

It’s done.

Quilted and bound, yoyos stitched down and label added to the back.

The label shows the first verse of the famous Brahms Lullaby. One of the lines translates as ‘slip under your quilt/covers’ and I knew the name was meant!

The baby girl for whom the quilt is destined is due to be born in November. I’ve also been asked to make a pair of gifts for her 8 and 6-year-old brothers, so you can look forward to seeing those in the not too distant future, as everything has to be sent to the family in Austria at the same time.

Meanwhile, the next job is some F2F blocks for myself!

Lullaby 2

The top’s done.

Here it is, with the yoyos pinned at the centre of each hourglass block. Maybe the yoyos make them look more like bowties…?

Next step is the backing, and then the quilt sandwich. I suppose I should start to think about how I’m going to quilt it, but I tend to think it’s going to be cross-hatching in a diamond pattern. Well, it’s kind of asking for it, really, don’t you think?

Before I go any further though, I have a big tidy-up to do. My cutting table is entirely covered with a litter of elastic, threads, scraps big and tiny, mask fabrics and half-finished projects. I need some space to work; this mess is demotivating and inhibiting.

So, piece a backing, cut batting, and out with the basting spray 🙂


In case you thought I’d been neglecting my sewing machine…

Far from it. I have devoted the past two days to a baby quilt. Now normally, I don’t take commissions to make quilts. There are plenty of people out there who do it for a living, and as I’ve written before, I often find the process painful due to working with colours I don’t enjoy and the changes of mind that happen along the way. But I was asked by my lovely, lovely Tai Chi teacher if I’d consider making one for her forthcoming god-granddaughter in Austria. Oooh, sounds like fun!  She wanted something Australian but not too in-your-face about it, she wanted it to be for a baby, but not too babyish, and she’d leave the colours up to me. Now, I happened to have in my stash two lovely Jocelyn Proust designs, featuring Australian flowers. Both were on dark backgrounds, so I hesitated a little; one was black and one was navy. I pulled complementary colours from my stash, in solids and tone-on-tone prints. Hurrah! She chose the one I preferred!

I’ve eliminated the white, added more coral pinks and a lilac with a small white spot/pattern. I had to. Wouldn’t you know it, I was two inches short of fabric for the design she and I wanted to use. It alternates large squares of the print with hourglass/bowtie blocks of the complementary colours. I couldn’t quite get the solid squares from the fabric I had. So I introduced the lilac, bordered the squares with it and used it for some of the hourglass blocks. It works well, I think. Simple, but striking, and most of all, quick to produce – we’re on a deadline here, folks, as always with a baby on the way. The nice thing about hourglass blocks is that there’s a great quick way to produce them without cutting triangles, stretching bias edges and all that fun. You can find it here, and she’s even done the math and calculated sizes for you. If you want a visual presentation on how to do it, you can’t do better than The Missouri Star Quilt Co’s YouTube video. I love it when people do all the hard work of calculating and seeing how to cut something with minimum waste for me.

The colours aren’t quite right in this photo, it’s not so pink

The back will be the lilac fabric – I have just enough left over. To the inch; it was clearly meant to be! The label will feature the words and music for the first verse of the Brahms Lullaby (hence the quilt’s name), mainly because the translated words talk about ‘slip under your quilt/covers’ :-), and also because my Tai Chi teacher also teaches music and will be able to read the music as well as the words. We don’t know the baby’s name yet, so this is something I can do to personalise the quilt for her. I’ll show a photo when I get there. We’re also considering sewing yoyos onto the front, either at the centre point of the hourglass blocks (not that my points don’t line up!), or at the junction where the blocks meet. We like the idea, for a little texture to entertain the baby when she’s older and using the quilt as a play mat. I still have to work out what colours I’d use – and find my yoyo maker!

So, that’s been my sewing work for the last couple of days. Next is sewing it together, sandwiching and quilting it, sewing on yoyos and binding, and then adding the label. She’ll have it in plenty of time to mail it to Austria before her god-grandbaby is born in November. And the god-grandbaby will have something warm to snuggle under in the cold of an Austrian winter.

Time to get on and trim the hourglass blocks to size….