SAL 54: Dahlia #1

It’s SAL time again, and this time, I’m ready ūüôā

I missed last time because we’d been travelling and I had nothing at all to show. But now I’ve got the new project up and running.¬† It’s a Kaffe Fassett design, from his recent Bold Blooms book, which I posted about earlier. I had to buy myself a new tapestry frame because nothing I had was large enough and none of the local shops stocked one which would accommodate a 22 inch canvas. Nor could I buy the yarns he specified, which are a bit specialised and mostly only available in the UK. So I’ve had to make substitutions based on the image in the book. The colour variations in the DMC tapestry wool I’m using are not as subtle and delicate, but I think it’ll be acceptable. Not exactly like his, but enough to make a very nice cushion cover!

So, without further ado, here’s where I’ve got to. Not a huge amount done, but the chart is rather tiny and keeping track is quite difficult. Hopefully I’ll have made some slightly more impressive progress next time.¬† I’m already thinking about doing this same design in a different colourway. I’m thinking an orange/red/hot pink dahlia on a navy background… I like this new frame a lot because it stretches between the two arms of my chair and takes the strain off my own arms a bit.

Do go and see what the other talented people in the SAL group are working on. We’re an international group so not everyone will be posting at the same time, but if they haven’t got their post up yet when you visit, do make the time to go back.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Jess, Sue,
Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret,
Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Catherine, Mary Margaret,
Timothy, Heidi, Connie, Jackie

See you next time, on 10th December!


A feast of eye-candy

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a major fan of textile designer Kaffe Fassett.

He’s the most versatile and creative person I know of, creating paintings, mosaics, knitwear, embroidery, fabric and quilt designs, all coupled with an unerring and simply amazing sense of colour. So when I discovered he’d produced a book called Kaffe Fassett’s Bold Blooms (Abrams, New York, ISBN 978-1-4197-2236-3), I knew I had to have it. I’ve collected many of his quilting books over the years, but this one is not linked to Westminster Fibers/Rowan fabric ranges as the quilting books are, and roams freely amongst textiles of all nations, colour theory and his own development as a designer and artist, as well as many new quilt and needlepoint designs.

I don’t generally use large quantities of his fabrics in my own quilts. They’re expensive, hard to get in my part of the world, and mostly, they’re too saturated en masse for the effect I’m after. I’ve had quite a few pieces in my stash for many years, treasured, gloated over, petted and admired…. and then put away again. I don’t often make his quilt designs, preferring to execute my own designs.

The Hatbox Quilt is one notable exception, but here again, I’m not using many of his fabrics, and my colour scheme differs from his, both the original version in his book¬†Passionate Patchwork, and the brighter, more saturated version in this new book.

What I use Kaffe’s work for is stimulus, inspiration, enrichment and for the enjoyment of beauty. Which is why I am now the proud and delighted owner of this beautiful book. It contains not only quilt designs and valuable information on colour work, but also needlepoint charts for some of his floral designs. One of these will be my next Stitch Along project, once I’ve finished the blue sampler. It’s a wonderful book, lavishly photographed, exquisitely printed and produced, and full of the most beautiful visual treats.

If you can’t buy it for yourself, get yourself to the nearest library and reserve or borrow it. It’s gorgeous…

Bee, Myself and I #1

Despite all my best intentions, I missed my promised January kick off for Bee, Myself and I, Carla’s selfish sewing bee.

I had good reasons, but I make no excuses. I’m here now…

Background cuttingI don’t, however, have a nice¬†stack of lovely blocks to show you. I’ve been prepping piles of pieces (sorry, sorry, can’t resist a bit of alliteration) for my long-deferred, long-desired Hatbox Quilt.

Passionate PatchworkMany years ago, I bought Kaffe Fassett’s Passionate Patchwork. While I’ve never wanted to make¬†any of his quilts, I’ve always loved all his¬†books as a treasury of exuberant colour and pattern combinations. The Hatbox Quilt was an exception. I fell in love with that quilt, and the book has lived for years in my quilting bookcase with a marker permanently at the page showing it.

Hatbox quilt spread Hatbox quilt closeupCarla’s wonderful idea¬†has given me the excuse I needed to start. To begin with, I decided I wanted more consistency of background tone and colour for the interiors of the display than in the original design, which meant selecting a small family of fabrics which will support and showcase the hatboxes without being too emphatic themselves. I also wanted the interiors to be a bit more modern in feel; some of the hatboxes will use quite vintage or reproduction type fabrics, and too much reproduction or busyness is not what I’m after.

Selfish Sewing collectionI have a selection of 26 fabrics ready for the hatboxes themselves. There are 36 blocks, so some of the boxes will have mix and match colours. Now that I have some fairly tedious preparation behind me, catching up and making three blocks a month for the next year should be pretty straightforward (famous last words…?).

If you click through the Bee link given above, it’ll show you everyone else who’s participating, and it’s a sure thing there’ll be lots worth looking at.


See you next month, with the first of the finished blocks!


The Loot: in pictures

Hello. ¬†This is going to be a pictorial post. ¬†These are the latest additions to my criminally large stash, but I was totally unable to resist them, and the Husband was complicit, so what could I do…?

Westminster Fibers, a range of soft colours, to be paired with the brights below, sashed in white and turned into a cheerful napping quilt for my sofa.

Westminster Fibers, a range of soft colours, to be paired with the brights below, sashed in white and turned into a cheerful napping quilt for my sofa.

Westminster Fibers, a selection of brights

Westminster Fibers, a selection of brights

Martha Nagley prints in bright pink and acid green, just gorgeous

Martha Nagley prints in bright pink and acid green, just gorgeous

Moda Chez Moi. I love this colour combination, but have no idea what it's going to become one day...

Moda Chez Moi. I love this colour combination, but have no idea what it’s going to become one day…

Now the only problem is going to be exerting enough discipline to continue work on Morning Tea. ¬†To that end, I’ve provisionally booked a Skype appointment with one of the charity trustees early next week, which will hopefully keep me up to the mark over the weekend. ¬†Frankly, there’s no reason why I couldn’t complete the quilting in the whole pictorial section in the next three days, since I’m keeping it extremely simple.

I was also inspired by another quilting blogger to pick up a leaflet about Project Linus while I was at the quilt show. ¬†I think it’s a brilliant concept, an excellent use of resources, and my only slight reservation is the need to complete a quilt to schedule. ¬†I think I should also find out if there are any other ladies in my area participating, since there’s nothing like a spot of peer pressure to make me get cracking. ¬†And I have SO many scraps that I could churn out scrap quilts for quite some time. ¬†Reminder to self: ¬†Sort scraps. ¬†Yeah, right…

OK well, the road trip’s over, the bags are unpacked, the loot drooled over, the rubbish cleaned out of the car, the dirty laundry’s half done, and now it’s time to turn my attention to the subject of food. ¬†Strictly comfort food tonight: tuna pasta bake, a favourite of the Husband’s. ¬†Tomorrow I’ll post about the Gardens of Chiconia, which have survived the neglect.

Fresh inspiration

The stash is fatter, my wallet is thinner.¬† A LOT thinner…

The Quilt Show was very useful.  There were some really good quilts on show there, but an awful lot of emphasis on the actual quilting rather than the beauty of the whole.  I felt the patchwork/piecing aspect was a bit sidelined.  Having said that, there were gorgeous quilts of all sizes on show, and all sorts of useful gadgets, fabulous fabrics and classes and workshops galore.

I’d given myself half a day there, mainly to avoid bankruptcy, so I wasn’t attending any workshops. I inspected and drooled over, but didn’t buy, new all-singing, all-dancing sewing machines (who has $3-$6,000 for that kind of thing?), I treated myself to an A4 slimline LED lightbox for tracing designs (it’s cool, so you don’t end up in a muck sweat after half an hour) which came with a free LED folding rechargeable desk lamp for¬† brilliant light where you need it, and of course, fabric.

One jelly roll of 2.5″ black and white graphic prints, which is going to be a lap quilt for my lovely friend Tracey, who supports the ‘Pies.¬† One pack of 10 x 25cm full width strips of pink and green Martha Nagley prints (don’t know what for, just loved them), and two packs of 10 x 25cm full width strips of¬†assorted Westminster Fibers prints by Philip Jacobs, Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mabley, which are going to be 5″ squares, sashed in white and turned into my next napping quilt! Last but not least, I’ve treated myself to 300 x 1″ precut hexagon papers for my next EPP project; my current collection have been reused so many times the edges are going.¬† There’s also a glue pen in there somewhere, for quick assembly of hexagon flowers for a travelling handwork project.

And if I ever buy a non-DSM quilting machine, it’s not going to be a stand-up long arm, but a sit-down Sweet Sixteen.¬† Love how user friendly they are, how intuitive, and how they fulfil my requirement that the machines I use are not more intelligent than I am!¬† And at around $7,000, a whole lot more affordable, too.

Now it’s the end of the day, and we’re just 650km from home.¬† I’m sitting at the table in the motel room, cataloguing my loot and gloating quietly. OK, not that quietly.¬† The kind, wonderful Husband, who kept egging me on to buy stuff I’d fallen in love with, is looking a little jaded. He’s been dragged round a quilt show populated almost exclusively by women of a certain age, watched me spent loads of money, and has then driven us halfway home.¬† All without complaint, and with a smile on his dial.¬† They broke the mould when they made him…

I’ll take photos of the fabric and other bits and post them when I get home as a sort of Quilt Show Gallery.¬†¬†But now it’s time to have a drink and put up my sore feet.¬† More soon.

UnFinished Objects

On the road: I’ve been reading through the blogs and recent posts of my fellow quilters, and am shamed to realise that my UFOs are even more unfinished than everyone else’s.

In some cases, barely started.¬† I will concede that I’ve had a few major life milestones which have got in the way of the sort of sustained effort that turning out a finished quilt on a regular basis requires, but I’m not by nature the kind of person who’s comfortable leaving things unfinished.¬† So when we get home from this road trip (4 more days, and a 1500km return journey), I’m going to finish Morning Tea, and then get my nose to the grindstone.

It means resisting the lure of the plant nursery. It means that digging the tropical garden over is going to be light relief from hours at the cutting table or sewing machine. It means that the Husband will be spending evenings in his chair in my sewing room, being asked to comment on things he is only vaguely aware of and not fully comfortable opining about!¬† It means … (drumroll, dramatic music)… I have the perfect excuse to buy fabric at the Quilt Show in Brisbane.¬† It also means my brother will get his Tree of Life quilt before he turns 60 next year.¬† Happiness all round.¬† I’ll post the drawing I made for that another time, but it’s a serious, full-on, major applique project with incidental piecing in the background.¬† There will have to be major investment in fusibles, lots of templates and a major scaling up¬†from the drawing¬†as a prelude to getting out the rotary cutter and scissors.¬† Why do I do these things to myself…?

I also have in my cupboard fabric for the winter bed quilt I’ve been promising myself for a couple of years, fabric for the Kaffe Fassett Hatboxes quilt I’ve loved and lusted after for even longer, a UFO Ohio Star quilt in reproduction¬†American Civil War fabrics, a fresh green and white lap quilt for my sister in law, a lap quilt for my sister in France, and the scrap quilt or two my frugal nature obliges me to make from the enormous selection I have lurking in the aforementioned fabric cupboard.¬† Now, I know that I can be beaten hands down in the UFO challenge by many, many of you, but this is not a situation I’m comfortable with.¬† So I need to get the garden to a point where I can leave it alone (apart from watering and feeding, of course), and then I need to crack on.¬† Let’s see how a little self-imposed peer pressure works.

I know that going to the Brisbane Craft & Quilt show next week is asking for trouble, but events like these are few and far between in my neck of the woods.¬† I actually won tickets to it last year, but ended up not going because that was the weekend I first met my now-Husband in person.¬† Since it was an old fashioned case of love at first sight, I never made it to the show.¬† So this year I feel impelled to get there, and since the Husband has indicated that buying books and fabrics is in order, and that we might actually look at and price up a new sewing machine with a larger throat so quilting is easier, I’m going to be in hog heaven.¬† Yes, it’ll mean the fabric cupboard is even more stuffed, but I’ll also come back with a head full of inspiration and a gut full of enthusiasm.

I think what I need is a small hand-sewn portable project to carry around with me instead of playing Sudoku on my phone all the time.¬† Why didn’t I think of that before we left on this trip.¬† Drat!¬† Oh well, I’ll have to see what I can pick up in Brisbane… Heh, heh, heh.

More soon…