Tuesday, 27 November 2012

I love an old quilt

Old quilts have so much character. If you listen for a while they will tell you all sorts about the lives they've had, the people who have owned, slept under and wrapped themselves in on a cold night.
In history books we see quilts that are worn and stained, have rough repairs, bits cut out and holes burnt in.
An encyclopedia of fabrics
At the Adelaide quilt show there was a fabulous display of old quilts; some from the turn of the century and earlier.

Green and Red baskets, Welsh whole cloth and Log Cabin

A log cabin quilt that I have had the pleasure of studying closely is one that was made by a grandmother for her 2 granddaughters and celebrates the centenary of the American Declaration of Independence in 1876.

Made by Grandma Stanford, 1876, aged 72 years
for Carrie Head and Alice Head
 The poor old thing could certainly tell a story or two. It is very warn but much loved; I'm sure of that.
It is signed, which gives it a whole new meaning and fabrics that were included in the "logs" were ones which  were specifically printed for the American centenary celebrations.
                                                    Baum Textiles brought out a line of documentary prints a few years ago
Pillar print
(called Walnut, root and berry, I think)
"all men are created equal"
and to our surprise and delight some of the original prints that had been reproduced  were used in the original quilt.
The pattern configuration in the original quilt is called Straight Furrows; this is achieved by placing light sides of the blocks together and the same with the dark ones. It is also interesting to note that Grandma Stanford used a "Quilt as You Go" technique. This idea is not so modern after all.  

fabric disintegration due to mordants  in the dyes used. You can also see 2 prints that were reproduced.

My rendition of the original quilt has the same setting, but a bit smaller; a 6 x 7 setting rather than 8 x 8
and my colour pallet is slightly less patriotic, opting for more subtle pink tones instead of reds. The overall effect is the same with the blocks creating rows of light and dark value fabrics
Stanford Cabin

Stanford Cabin is available as a pattern and can be purchased through my web site www.pinmoneyquilts.com.au
 or from Mrs. Martin's Quilt Shop

A simple Biscuit...

We always have biscuits in the jar, generally homemade unless they are the ginger/spice/christmas biscuits.
I don't have a favourite recipe but my motto is the less complicated the better. I heard a chap on the radio talk about this recipe and it is so simple that I remembered it without having to write it down - my kind of recipe!!
The recipe only has three ingredients : 1 egg, lightly beaten
                                                              1 cup hazelnut spread 
                                                                 1 cup of SR Flour, sifted

3 ingredients
Add spread to the beaten egg and mix until combined. Then add the sifted flour and mix together with a fork.
Set oven to approximately 175 C
Roll mix into balls that are about walnut size. Put on a tray lined with baking paper and squish with a fork.
oven ready
( the bickies spread a lot so don't cram them on the tray too much)
I think the cooking time is about 15 minutes. They are usually ready when they look ripply and you'll be able to tell from the smell of hazelnut chocolate in the kitchen.
Remove from oven, let sit on the tray for 5 minutes and then put onto a rack to finish cooling.

waiting for friends
WARNING: these bickies are very easy to eat so it is advisable to share with friends so that you don't eat them all yourself


The Lad's Home

back to normal and all is
good with the world
I am pleased to say that the Lad came home safely and am sure that everyone is glad that they went to the mountains last week and not this week -sheer dumb luck!
Just as pleased that the  massive amount of washing brought back from camp is washed, dried and put away. Not a pleasant thought to have all of that hanging around for the week.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Yes, please...

Okay, I can't help but share this....it is kind of fun, whether you are attracted to the guy or not.  Let's see how far I get with this by NOT PROMOTING and paying Facebook.  Hit that share button so all your friends can see too!

Found this on facebook and thought it was worth sharing. Imagine how many Fat Quarter bundles would be sold if this deal was part of the package. Mind you, I would be just as happy for him to offer to do the vac, make the beds or bring me a cup of coffee.
The house work has gone to the pack this week; I'm working on my Summer School sample. I am retiring my "Stanford Cabin" from teaching rounds for a little while but it is still available as a pattern for anyone who is interested.
Both Stanford Cabin and the new one (I think that I will call it Cabin Carnivale) use "Quilt as you Go" techniques; Stanford Cabin is a replica of a quilt made in 1876 and Cabin Carnivale is one that I dreamt up. More to come tomorrow - sleep tight all. 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Cats with style

Chardy hour
We all know that cats are on a higher plane than anything else on the planet - that's what my cats have always told me.
This kitty that we met in Orvietto did not like anyone who smoked and wouldn't sit at the table until the wine was poured.
A local passerby thought it was hilarious that kitty would take a swing and hiss with determination each time she tried to pat it with the hand that held the cigarette

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Dear Jane...

No it's not a letter; Dear Jane is the title of a book of patterns based on an civil war sampler quilt owned by the Bennington Museum, Vermont, USA.
The original quilt "In War Time" was completed by Jane A. Stickle in 1863 and is an encyclopedia of designs, techniques and fabrics. Not one is repeated. 
Janiacs all over the world have strived to replicate this masterpiece, enthralled by the miniature blocks that range from   3 1/2" to 5" in size. Each one is a treasure.
I have taught Dear Jane classes for a number of years now and have seen many variations of this famous quilt develope over the time. It is fantastic to see a student's skill level as well as artistic confidence build with a quilt such as "Jane"

Jane's tickled in Red - Lynne Windross 

"Jane's tickled in Red" by Lynne Windross is an amazing execution of an exceptional quilt.
Lynne chose 56 reds for her solid border cones and used these fabrics for the pieced blocks as well.
Many thanks to Lynne for allowing us to see her treasure again. 

A Dear Jane with contrast sashings and cones - the fabric is chocolate with a little white spot
Lucia's Quilt (thanks for letting me show this)
quilting Jane by hand

Last Saturday's "All Day Jane" class at Somerset Patchwork proved timely for many as the challenges were met and conquered. To piece or to applique, colour choice and piecing sequence are issues that come up often. How to organise a large, long term project such as Dear Jane or Nearly Insane are important issues that should be considered along the way. 
Planning the border

Challenges in life...

Applique or more exactly it's execution is a subject that sends some of the Wednesday girls into a cold sweat. I like to look at it as a challenge to be conquered. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day!
Carol is working on her version of Barrington Court. It's a pattern by Susan Ambrose and has dozens of melon pips appliqued onto a gridded background.

Barrington Court - Susan Ambrose Designs

Carol's version is based on a pallet of mauve, pink and aqua; a stunning combination. In class we cut out the 144 background squares required for the next step and Carol's homework is to start on the prep of the melon pips.
Carol's Barrington Court - centre medallion
A sucker for punishment; I hear you say? Carol is using this quilt as practice for the next project.
Both she and Sue are lining up my "Best of Friends" pattern as the next quilt to be stitched.

Block No. 22
"Best of Friends - A Reverse Applique Sampler" is a quilt consisting of 32 different blocks that surround a larger central one. Yes, the technique used is reverse applique but this is no more difficult than any other applique. There are only two fabrics used instead of lots of bits and the trick of it all is in the preparation.
Said quilt is on its way back from the USA after being exhibited at the Houston Spring Quilt Festival.
Isn't it odd how "things" get to travel more than we do.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

I love Wednesdays

I'm sure that we've all got a favourite day of the week. For many it will be Friday, Saturday or Sunday but
mine has always been Wednesday. When I was a teenager it was because Wednesday was "Hump Day"; half way through the week and all down hill from here on.
Now that I'm older Wednesdays are set aside for patchwork classes. There's a great balance of stitching, socialising and challenges. My Wednesday girls come from all walks of life and we share stories, solve the world's problems and stitch. There are times when you will hear the confessions of a quilter's retail therapy,  or that a new grandchild is due. These things are the essence of patchwork and without them it wouldn't be half as much fun.
Today's "golden moment" is a story of a child busting to go to the loo. Mum suggests to the child that he should squeeze his cheeks; to hold on for just a little longer if he can. When she has the chance to glance his way from the driver's seat the child is sucking in the cheeks of his face in as hard as he possibly can.
Some of the Wednesday girls are working on Dear Jane. She can be an intense chore at times and I find that the best approach is to be gentle and organised. The idea is to enjoy the process and not promise a project of this size for special occasions that require a deadline. (This nearly always ends in tears). 

We are hoping to get a group together to see the
Dear Jane exhibition in February 2013. It will be fantastic to see a mass of these extraordinary quilts in the one place. Hats off to all of those who are entering their work to be exhibited. 

Kim's Centre grid

Meanwhile there are those who have just begun the journey. Kim has chosen subtle changes in her background that will form a gentle secondary design when complete.

Plum Pudding Day

It's that time of the year again for the christmas cakes and plum puddings to be made. Friends come around for lunch and assist with the cooking. It's always easier to make a few at a time.
The recipe that we used this year is out of  one of Maggie Beer's Books. Her recipes are easy to follow and this pudding is always moist.  One and a half times the mix will yield  four 1kg puds. 

  Maggie's Book -well used and much loved

Macerating fruit

Friend with benefits -cooking skills that is

Puds on the boil
Four puds wrapped up tight and ready to go
Yum! Not long to go; Brandied custard and Double cream - perfetto

An empty nest

The lad has gone away on school camp this week. It's not 10.00 am yet and I am missing him already
-a good opportunity for some spring cleaning me thinks! (didn't happen)

Dandenong Ranges Parks
This may have been a good idea at the time but it was such a beautiful spring day that I went for a drive instead, up to the Dandenongs, stopped at Sherbrook Forest for a stretch of the legs and then onto
Mrs Martin's Quilt Shop for some retail therapy and a cuppa; the perfect day.
We have an amazing backyard and don't visit half as often as we should. Tall gums line the roads like soldiers and there is always an abundance of wild life to be seen.

Sulphur crested Cockatoo
Crimson Rosella
I don't like seeing Skippy's paws on bottle openers though. It's one type of souvenir that we could do without. I didn't check where these implements came from but the paws were real. Gross!!

133 Emerald/Monbulk Rd, Emerald 3782
Mrs Martin's has an eclectic selection of patterns, fabric and crafty things

Sunday, 18 November 2012


On Thursday we jumped on the plane at Tullarmarine and toodled over to Adelaide for the day.
Sounds a bit decadent, doesn't it. It was actually for my sister's special "0" birthday.
We managed to squeeze the Adelaide quilt show into the day's socialising and who should we run into but
Karen and Paul from Somerset Patchwork in Mt. Waverley. They've literally travelled the world
in the last month. It's good to see them home again.
Somerset Patchwork stand at the Adelaide quilt show

Wednesday Girls

On Wednesdays I have a class for a group of women whose talents are many and varied.
(you'll be pleased to know that their names have been changed to protect the innocent).
Pat has been working on my "Carpenter's Square" pattern - it's coming together nicely.
Pat's Carpenter's Square
Carpenter's Square consists of 4 large blocks that interlock to create an overall pattern; sort of like a
grecian knot. It looks quite modern considering the design is based on one from the 1800's.
Carpenter's Square - based on a pattern form the 1880's

Visit www.pinmoneyquilts.com.au  for info. on the pattern

Lorraine is working on a quilt for a friend; It's not in her preferred pallet so the challenge is to enjoy the process and come up with something unique. It's not as easy as you might think.

colour pallet and centre block - Well done Lorraine

This is what we've got so far. There will be a border or two and repeating block pattern

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Happy trails

Today we've booked the "grand tour" Sigh!!
First to Barcelona (haven't been there before) and then on to Venice, Florence, Rome, Singapore and home.

The ever speedy ambulance in Dubai-


the River Arno, Florence

Ah Roma! - actually can't repeat what Davido the Centurian was yelling at the top of his lungs.
Roma had just thrashed Lazio (rival football team) and the young lad was very impressed to know that he could sware
 in italian and get away with it for once

Singapore - have you ever had your feet nibbled by little fish? A bit creapy at first but your feet will thankyou for perseverance
 I'm not well travelled but I am quite content to go back to Italy every time. One of my favourite things about Italy is its age. Every lump of stone, door way and corner have stories to tell and it is palpable. Australia is only a child in the world and has such a lot of growing up to do.

Did you know....

Chooks have a temper and are quite impatient!
I love my chooks and I have often said that they're better than gold fish; Today I'm not so sure.
All three are cross and are making as much noise as the Bella does when she barks at possums.
I think that there's a queue for the laying box and these girls don't like to be kept waiting or being asked to speed it up a bit.
The racket is quite impressive actually. I tore down to the chook house to make sure that no other creature was attacking the girls: all three were complaining at the same time - never heard anything like it before.

Angry birds

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Missing in action

Oh dear; it has been a while! It has been one of those times when everything seems to happen at once.
It's time to strap myself in and have a crack ....and so to the news.

Best of Friends - a Reverse Applique Sampler

 You may recognise this quilt and can't place where you've seen it. If you've been to Houston recently you may have seen it there.
It was a huge thrill and honour to have a quilt juried and accepted into an international quilt show and exhibition. Unfortunately I couldn't get to the USA to see it in person but Karen from Somerset Patchwork very kindly took some photos for me and even brought back a catalogue with a note to check out page 66.
What a shock to see my quilt featured.
Best of Friends is available as a pattern and it is also part of a small range of greeting cards - go to the web site www.pinmoneyquilts.com.au  for more info.on this and other bits and pieces.
Tomorrow I'm off to Adelaide for the quilt show over there and to enjoy a girly day with my sister. I've had my hair cut into a new style - just need to sort out what to wear.
Safe travells to all