ST&D postcard: not embroidery, then…

It’s as I suspected.

I did a test piece and I simply can’t get the needle and thread through the bits where there are three or four layers of fabric, especially when one of those fabrics is a densely-woven batik. Add to that the need to use a layer of waste canvas* and it’s out of the question. So…

I’ve changed things round a bit. The ‘Greetings from Tropical North Queensland’ bit runs diagonally across the back of the postcard and is hand-lettered in indelible ink, as is my name in the address section. I’ve used a font that looks like vintage ‘brush stroke’ lettering, to keep the kitschy-postcard-vibe going. Happy with the result… The front will stay message-free.Here’s the finished block. And now I’ve proved to myself that I can do it, that’ll be quite enough of that!  The next one will be considerably simpler and quicker 🙂 I have another postcard block to do, plus the OCA ribbon block, plus the postage stamp block in the centre, and I’m not doing complicated for each one.

On with the next one! 

*waste canvas is where you place a layer of canvas or other gridded fabric like Aida on top of the surface you want to embroider, do the embroidery, and then pull the canvas out, thread by thread, leaving just the embroidery and the fabric surface. Again, very fiddly, but it produces an excellent result.

NOTE: The free online photo-editing suite I have been using has now decided it won’t let me save my edited images unless I start paying. I ask you all to be patient while I learn to use the built-in editing options on my MacBook, which are not as versatile, but present a more economic option than paying over $140 a year to make my photos a little prettier!


ST&D: Postcard preparation

For those of you debating how to make your postcard block, here’s how I’ve made a start.

Initially, I thought about doing appliquĂ© for the whole thing, but given the design for the postcard I’ve come up with, I can see there’ll be multiple, multiple layers which will need quilting through, so I’m reserving appliquĂ© for the front of the postcard and the stamp on the back, and all the rest will be pieced. That being so, I feel I’ll achieve the tidiest result if I paper piece the appliquĂ© sections into the background, which will avoid any nasty Y seams. The only thing is that I need to avoid a directional print for the background.

The image shows how I’ve drawn my design onto 12 inch quilter’s graph paper, and then divided the design up into sections A and B, numbering the piecing order. There are registration marks to help line up the two sections when the time comes. I’m going to take this plan and separate sections A and B, giving them both lots of seam allowance around the outside – at least an inch on the outside edges and half an inch at the join. This will hopefully ensure that the assembled block isn’t skimpy. You can always trim off, but not add back on, right? I’ve chosen fabrics that are mainly on the cool side of the spectrum to blend with the mainly teal colour scheme. The background will be cream with a very pale teal batik floral print, and the back of the card will be a mid-teal solid with a dark teal ‘stamp’. The lines on the back will be lines of machine stitching.

Given the slightly kitschy tropical beach scene on the front of the postcard (well, I do live in the tropics, near the beach, so why not?), I’ve gone for a message on the front of the card in the sort of font you see on the older type of postcard. If you want to incorporate a bit of embroidered text of some kind, there’s a website here where you can choose from a limited range of fonts and build a caption or a few lines of text. It’s free. I’d suggest you take note of where it tells you the finished letter height, so you don’t end up with text that’ll turn out an inch high, unless that’s what you want, of course! I haven’t yet decided what colour to do the embroidery. Bright pink’s a strong contender, though 🙂

I’m going to give my stamp a ‘perforated’ edge, like the real thing. Not so fine, of course, but this strip of cotton lace will do the job nicely. I love little details like that.

If this postcard works out well, I’ll try something completely different for the next one, perhaps an abstract splodge of colour like my ScrapHappy blocks, or hexies, or some really teeny weeny pieced blocks. It’s a small space, 7 x 5 inches, so why not go a little mad?

Watch this space for how I get on 🙂

Squishy delight!

Sometimes, it’s bills, sometimes junk mail. And just sometimes, the mailbox contains a thing of delight.

Or in this case, two things of delight. The lovely Lynda of Life on the Farmlet has sent me two really wonderful paper pieced envelope blocks to kick off the commencement of Signed, Tealed & Delivered (ST&D), the next Ovarian Cancer collaborative quilt for their next fundraising event in May 2018.

I’ll be posting a call to action at the beginning of September, to remind all of you who’ve said you’d make a block or two what I need you to make, and if necessary, providing the paper piecing pattern which was kindly adapted to the size we need by Katy Cameron of The Littlest Thistle from her Easter post this year. I’ll also repost the sketch of the quilt to remind people what the design looks like.

What a lovely surprise. It could so easily have been the electricity bill!

You’ve got mail…

Er, what? 

Bear with me…

Here’s the deal. For a few days now, I’ve been mulling over an idea for the next Ovarian Cancer donation quilt. As some of you know (and most of you deplore!), I have a terrible habit of using puns not only in my posts, but sometimes in the names of my quilts. For Ovarian Cancer Australia donation quilts, these puns incorporate the word Teal, as that is the Ovarian Cancer colour. We’ve had ‘Time for Teal’, and ‘Tealed with a Kiss’. Now, it’s time for ‘Signed, Tealed & Delivered’. You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? The quilt is going to have a postal theme: postcards, envelopes, stamps, etc. Here’s where my thinking has arrived so far:

© 2017 TallTalesFromChiconia

As always, the colour scheme is predominantly shades of teal and cream. To give this one a bit more liveliness, though, I’m thinking we should add a bit more subsidiary colour, so long as there’s still plenty of teal and cream.

As before, I’m hoping for a collaborative quilt, and that some of you will be interested in participating. The idea I’m looking at calls for a number of different types of blocks: straightforward piecing of HSTs (half-square triangles), paper piecing (I’ll provide a pattern or you can make up your own), or appliquĂ©/embroidery/piecing. This time, I’m asking for blocks to be 13 inches square instead of 12½; on the last two quilts, the quilting shrank the blocks to the point where it was sometimes a bit of a squeeze to trim out to the right size. For the four pieced corner blocks, you can stick to the 12½ inches square and I’ll just quilt them more lightly – I don’t want to make your arithmetic more complex than it has to be…

For this design, I’ll need 4 x HST envelope blocks for the corners, 13 x paper pieced envelope blocks, 10 x appliquĂ© postcard blocks, an appliquĂ© stamp block, an embroidered frank block and the usual ribbon appliquĂ© block, which I’ll make myself unless someone out there is dying to give it a go. If I don’t get enough interest, I’ll modify this design to simplify things and slowly make the blocks I need myself.

If you’re interested in participating, either again or for the first time, please drop me an email using the details to be found on my Contact Me page, or say so in a comment below. And if you’re a new visitor, take a look at these previous Ovarian Cancer quilts for an idea of what we can achieve if we all work together 🙂

Time for Teal,  Stay Positive,  Tealed with a Kiss.

Do also go and have a look at my Ovarian Cancer Pinterest page, where I’ve saved some pins for inspiration for this and other ideas.

And finally, a plea for help: if anyone knows where I can buy a metre of red, white and blue diagonal stripe 100% cotton quilting fabric without paying a truly ridiculous amount of postage (US$50 postage for one yard!!), please let me know. I want it to bind the quilt, to give the effect of the stripes around the edge of an airmail envelope.

I hope some of you will join me on this next adventure!



TWX 15: Tealed with a Kiss completed

It’s done, and on its way.

I decided to make the binding narrow, because I love how it looks, but it does add a whole level of extra difficulty to hand-stitching the binding down because there’s a lot less slack. I probably won’t make the binding so narrow another time. Somewhere between ‘normal’ and this skinny, which was 2 inch wide binding strips instead of 2½ inch.

Of course, the minute I wanted to photograph it outside, the rain came down, so it’s been photographed inside on the design wall. Sorry… it does make everything a bit duller.

Here’s the label, and all you lovely kind people who contributed a block (or several!)  will find your names there if you click on the image and enlarge it. Thank you all again for your wonderful, beautiful blocks and for contributing your time and fabric to this most important cause. I couldn’t have done it without you, and I hope you will continue to join in with our collaborative quilts in the future.

I’ve been mulling over the next OCA quilt off the production line. This won’t be starting for about 6 months, but I wanted to put the idea out there so anyone who wants to contribute has some time to think about what they want to do. It’s going to be called ‘Signed, Tealed and Delivered’, and it’s going to have a postal theme. My idea is that the blocks will still finish at 12½ inches square, but they will feature the front and back of a fabric postcard on a teal background. I’m visualising appliquĂ©, but it could be pieced. The front can depict anything you like (patterned fabric, paper pieced image, machine embroidery, whatever takes your fancy), and the back should be cream fabric, laid out to look like a postcard, with a stamp, a fictitious address, a message and your signature, either embroidered, printed, or using an indelible marker. I’m thinking all the stamps should be teal, and the postcard fronts should feature teal in some way. Closer to the time we start this quilt, I’ll produce an example to show what I’m thinking.

What do you think? Do you have a better idea for executing this title? As always, I welcome suggestions and input, but will ultimately go with whatever I think works best 🙂

TWX10: the last 2 blocks and a first layout

Postal delivery has resumed at last…

Today, I got a squishy envelope containing two beeeyootiful blocks for TWX!  The lovely Margaret of The Crafty Creek had sent me the last two blocks I need in order to complete the layout.  Aren’t they fab?

With these in hand, I was able to get the layout started. Here’s where I got to – I’m not sure this is the final thing, but it gives you an idea.

The bottom row contains hearts and the Ovarian Cancer teal ribbon, as with previous quilts. For the rest, I’ve tried to arrange the blocks into light and dark to create the impression of a secondary large darker X. I’m not sure I’ve cracked it yet, but it’s a beginning. If anyone wants to suggest some transpositions to improve the visibility of the big X, all suggestions will be considered; I’m all X’d out right now! I’ve made a start with the quilting, and 5 of these blocks already have my default wiggly line quilting on them. It’s easy, effective and quick, so why reinvent the wheel?

And another word about Margaret. She’s been following my adventures with Miz Lizzie the caravan, and the dear, kind thing has made a gift for me which you can read about here. I didn’t realise it was for me until right at the end of the post, and while I was reading, I was thinking “ooh, that’s lovely, I must make one myself”. Now that’s a parcel I’m looking forward to!

Hopefully the next time I post about TWX, a lot more quilting will have been done.


TWX 9: dark and gorgeous, and a gift

When we got home yesterday, there was a squishy waiting!

I’d been hoping it would arrive before we left, but the joint actions of France’s La Poste and Australia Post meant I had to wait and see what was coming. Anticipation is supposed to sharpen enjoyment, and in this case my enjoyment was acute! Lynn of Tialys had come up trumps in more ways than one 🙂

miz-lizzie-key-fobFirst there was this completely gorgeous key fob, which you see already adorning Miz Lizzie’s bunch of keys. She’d gone with the camper theme, and I so love that ribbon… The clip that holds it is nice and sturdy too; I think the key bunch is going to get a good workout over the next few years and I’m sure it won’t fall apart.

Then there were these two beauties, ‘dark’ blocks for the TWX quilt, to help form the central dark X of the quilt motif. Don’t you love the bee and dragonfly fabric she’s used on the one on the left? And the postage stamp X on the right has scraps of all kinds of beautiful teal fabrics; I especially love the tiny flashes of red and gold.

lynn3 lynn4






I have a bit of sewing to do before I can clear the design wall and start putting the TWX blocks up, but today’s clear-up day. If the rain ever stops, I’ll be going out to Miz Lizzie to clean, sweep, wash up, strip the bunks, clean the windows and shoo out the ants that have been attracted by the contents of the now empty fridge. Of course, if it carries on raining, some of that will have to wait.

I think the Bureau of Meteorology has soggy news; cleanup will have to be a pleasure deferred…