other people's craft · patchwork · quilting

happy hexagons

Do you remember when I showed you my Mum’s hand-pieced hexagons in progress?  Well, now I can show you the finished quilt!

Happy Hexagons quilt

I am so incredibly impressed that Mum hand-pieced the top of this quilt. I think that the borders might have been attached by machine, but otherwise it was many an evening of needle and thread.

Happy Hexagons quilt

Mum learned to hand-piece hexagons in a class taught by Kath Gale of Patchwork Charm. The long-arm quilting was done by Sue Evans of Quirky Quilter. I think that the swirls complement the hexagons beautifully.

Happy Hexagons quilt

And here’s the back!

Happy Hexagons quilt

Mum is already working on another hand-pieced quilt, also hexagons, but entirely different to these ones. I am really enjoying watching her progress (and thinking of the beautiful family heirloom quilts that will grace my daughters’ houses one day). Size wise, the quilt that she just completed is almost the size of a queen sized bed.

Happy Hexagons quilt

I also love watching the way that Mum operates when she is making a quilt. She buys just enough fabric, never any more than needed. In fact, with this quilt she bought small pieces of fabric at a time, only buying more as she ran out and wished to vary the palette a little. There is no leftover, no waste. She gets just the right amount for each part of the process. It is entirely the opposite of the way that I currently sew.

Happy Hexagons quilt

Congratulations Mum – this quilt is absolutely wonderful, and you should be very proud of your work!  (And by the way, Mum does have a name – it’s Alison).

family · other people's craft · patchwork · quilting

Ripe and Blooming

Some months ago I read in Quilter’s Companion magazine that the Quilter’s Guild of NSW were running an Under 35s Quilt Competition.  Being more than a little over 35 myself, I mentioned it to Clare.  She was keen, and after reading the requirements and theme of “How Does Your Garden Grow” she started a concept drawing.

Ripe and Blooming - original concept drawing

Then I let her loose on my stash! Clare chose all the fabrics for her project herself, and I was impressed with her appreciation for value, shade, scale and pattern. She started by piecing the background. I gave some minor assistance with the rotary cutter and the iron (although she rapidly took over the ironing) but that was all – absolutely every other stitch and decision related to this quilt is Clare’s.

Ripe and Blooming - pieced background

Once the background was done, it was time for the applique. She started off by cutting out shapes in paper and arranging them, before moving on to cutting and fusing the shapes in fabric.

Ripe and Blooming - petals ready to be appliqued

Clare did what many of us do as they are making a quilt and allowed it to evolve and vary from her original design as she worked. There are elements that she left out, and others that she added. She drew all the shapes free hand, including the fruits. Pretty good for a nine year old! Then before we knew it the applique was done, the quilt sandwich made, and Clare quilted around the appliqued shapes close to the raw edges to give them more definition.

Ripe and Blooming - stitching on the binding

She quilted long diagonal rows through the background, like the rows that you plant in the garden. A number of binding fabrics were auditioned before she decided on a stripe.

Ripe and Blooming - stitching on the binding

A hanging sleeve was added to the back and the final touch was a label that Clare carefully wrote and hand-stitched into place. Ta-da – Clare’s first ever quilt! And just in time too!

Ripe and Blooming - done!

She named it “Ripe and Blooming”.  Clare says “I’m really proud of myself. At first I was taking it slowly then I found there was no time left! I did the last few things quickly but also being careful.”

I’m really proud of her too! Clare has been to many quilt exhibitions with me over the years, and has watched me quilting and listened to my mum and I talk quilts. It’s amazing how much information is absorbed! I did give suggestions and guidance throughout the process, but Clare was fairly definite about what suggestions she was interested in or not and mainly used her own common sense. The competition quilts will be on display this Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10-4 at The Newington Gallery, Newington College, 221-235 Stanmore Road, Stanmore, New South Wales. If any of my blog readers are planning on going I’d love to see a photo of Clare’s quilt in situ! The winners of each section (Primary, Secondary, 18-24 and 25-34) will be announced on Saturday. Fingers crossed for Clare – but whether she wins anything or not, she’s definitely a winner with designing, planning, cutting, piecing, sewing, quilting, and binding this wonderful quilt all on her own at age nine!

other people's craft · patchwork

Mum’s hexagon progress

Remember my mother’s hand-pieced hexagons?  She’s finally decided how she’s going to join them, and has made a start.

Mum's hand-pieced hexagons - progress

I think that she’s chosen the perfect background print. She’s still hand-piecing these together. I’m not sure that I’ll ever have that patience!

Mum's hand-pieced hexagons - progress

My tiny contribution was rotary cutting the background triangles (with the help of some groovy quilting rulers that I bought from Material Obsession last year). Now I mostly just gaze at these hexagons and ooh and aah. I’m super impressed, Mum!

Mum's hand-pieced hexagons - progress

And you know what – Mum has no scraps left over from this project. She’s used everything. So completely the opposite to my stash and my scrap bin!

embroidery · family · other people's craft · patchwork

more craft by Mum – sashiko tablerunner

My mother is quite modest.  She is quick to point out any small errors in her craft projects, rather than rejoicing in their overall success.  She has high expectations of herself and high standards.  I think that this project is absolutely wonderful, and it was a technique that she hadn’t tried before – and rightly, she is rather proud of it.

Sashiko table runner by Mum

Mum spotted this sashiko tablerunner kit at the BeBe Bold stand at one of the craft fairs we attended last year.  Mum rather likes a kit – there is not waste – and it combined her liking for embroidery and for patchwork.  She’d never done sashiko before, but honestly, you wouldn’t know it.

Sashiko table runner by Mum

The design uses different coloured threads going in different directions, and is extremely effective. The patchwork surrounding it is quite subtle, and really sets off the embroidery.

Sashiko table runner by Mum

I love this table runner, and have great admiration for my mother’s skills. Mum taught me to sew and gave me free rein at her sewing machine, taught me to knit – although as you know, I prefer to crochet and leave the knitting to her – and her drawers include examples of beautifully embroidered doilies with crocheted edgings, candlewick cushions, and now patchwork. Thanks Mum for your example and your encouragement. And even for the eagle eye for the imperfections – because just like you Mum, I prefer to do things well rather than just adequately.

Sashiko table runner by Mum

family · other people's craft · patchwork

Mum’s hexagons, and sick daughters

My Mum told me a little while ago that she was hand-piecing hexagons.  I assumed that she was paper-piecing little hexagon shapes to one another.  I was wrong – she was hand-stitching these!


Aren’t they wonderful! Mum has made around 25 so far, and is aiming at around 50. Then she’ll work out how she wants to assemble them – butted together, with sashing, in rows with diamond shapes inbetween, etc etc. There are actually loads of possibilities! Check out how pretty this one is:


and this one:


and this one too:


Completely opposite to me, my Mum doesn’t stash fabric. She is just buying more fat eights within the same civil war reproduction theme as she needs them, and is adding to her hexagons. When she runs out, she buys a little more. The hand-piecing makes all those seams intersect perfectly – as does the careful use of templates and tracing and marking. Mum, I am very impressed!


We are still the house of illness, although my two little girls seem to be finally improving a little. They’ve barely eaten since Saturday, when their gastro symptoms first appeared, and yesterday morning we even needed to take a little trip into the Children’s hospital for some oral rehydration (luckily we didn’t need to move onto intravenous fluids). It’s made for very broken and sleepless nights (they sleep in my bed with me near our ensuite when they are sick) and a considerable amount of washing and cleaning. Thank goodness for disinfectant! I’ve not seen the two of them so sick before, so I’m very relieved that things are starting to get a little better. Although the doctors have said to pretty much write off the entire week for them to recover. So much for week two of the school “holidays” – but the main thing is that they are starting to improve. It is so worrying and awful when your children are sick – and I know that this is nothing compared to the burdens that some parents carry. Gives a bit of perspective to a number of things in life.  And makes me appreciate the trials and worries that my Mum went through parenting my brother and me anew as well – thanks for everything Mum!


But being confined to the house should mean that I can do a little more sewing and crocheting as they improve! Just trying to be a little Pollyanna-ish…

Around the block · patchwork

around the block quilt top

This was the other quilt top that I finished off at Sewjourn.  These blocks, made by the talented women of Around The Block round 1, have been awaiting assembly for a significant period of time.  But now it is done!

ATB quilt top finally assembled

This quilt top is also a decent size. I love the blocks, and am pleased that I finally decided to join them without sashing into a riot of pattern and colour. Although not using sashing did leave me with the challenge of joining together blocks that weren’t quite the same size. There was some fudging necessary. I figure that is one of the challenges you face when taking part in a quilting bee – everyone sews a quarter of an inch seam slightly differently, and because most of these blocks contain many seams in all sorts of directions, there was significant variation in the finished block size. But it all worked out okay.

ATB quilt top finally assembled

I do have leftover pieces of fabric, and my initial plan was to piece the back. No promises as to when that will happen. Thanks to all the women who made my wonderful blocks – I love this quilt top!

medallion quilt-a-long · patchwork

medallion quilt-a-long: final round!

Who’d have thought it – I’ve completed the final round of my Medallion Quilt-A-Long!

Medallion Quilt - final round added

Oh my goodness, this quilt top is BIG! I pieced the final round and attached it on the weekend at Sewjourn. It was one of my goals for the weekend, so I was really pleased to get it done on Friday afternoon. This was the “anything goes” round, thank goodness – I have now used up pretty much every teensy bit of my Australian fabric designer stash. There are bits of fabric from Aunty Cookie, Ink & Spindle, Pippijoe, Prints Charming, Kristen Doran, Saffron Craig and Yardage Design, most of which had been marinating in my stash for a few years now.

Medallion Quilt - final round added

To give you an idea of just how big this is, here it is draped over a queen sized bed.

Medallion Quilt - final round added

I have to be honest and state that the top isn’t actually quite finished. All those appliqued birds are fused in place, but not stitched. I plan on using the blanket stitch on my Mum’s fancy sewing machine to do that. I’d also like to do more embroidery on the centre panel. Yes, it would have been intelligent to do that before I sewed a whole lot of fabric around it, but I’m not always that intelligent. I’m planning on backing it in fabric from the coordinating Prints Charming Daisy Chain range, once GJs have their next sale on quilting fabric! Then I’ll send it off to be professionally basted. I just can’t see myself finding a large enough space to do that part myself. But I do plan on quilting it myself. So expect this to be finished and on a bed somewhere around, say, 2018…

Medallion Quilt - final round added

I do have to add – I love this quilt top! It evolved quite organically, due to the nature of the quilt-a-long, and I’m glad that I stuck to my own brief of using stash fabrics. It was challenging, yet completely enjoyable. Thanks so much to Meredithe – without her prompting this quilt top would never have come into existence!  You can check out the progress of the other quilt-a-long participants over on the flickr group.

Medallion Quilt - final round added