Tuesday, 24 February 2015

SAQA Postcard

Last year I finally joined SAQA (Studio Art Quilters Association) and this year there will be a conference in Portland, Oregon in April.
There will be some Australian representatives going over and a call was made for members to make a small postcard so there can be a display of work from Australians.

I decided to participate and made a postcard with an Australian flavour.
I found a piece of mono-printed fabric that I had printed last year with my Gelli plate. The postcard is supposed to be 4" x 6" and so I cut a 4 x 6 hole in a piece of paper to get  an idea of size and where to place the kangaroo.

After I had fused the kangaroo I did some embroidery to embellish the postcard and add some interest. I used chain stitch and colonial knots in a curved line under the kangaroo and some lazy daisies and colonial knots up in the top right hand corner.

When I had finished the embroidery I fused a piece of felt on the back and did some machine quilting. It didn't take very long.

I trimmed the postcard to 4' x 6" and printed out a label with my name and address for the back, but even with the felt behind the postcard, it was still too flimsy and quilt- like to be called a postcard. I had some very stiff interfacing which I fused to the back between the postcard and my label and the postcard was nice and firm.

I finished off the edges with a brown satin stitch.

Luckily the postcard fitted inside a normal business size envelope and I posted it off to the Australian representative.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Sunrise Dilemma

I have started making a crazy quilt block that will depict a sunrise. I looked around for a sunset type of fabric in my stash but I wasn't really happy with any of them. After an unsuccessful painting attempt I decided to go ahead a use the best fabric I could find.

First sunrise fabric

I wasn't really happy and thought that the centre looked a bit heavy and didn't have the delicate, soft look that I was going for.

I was looking through my fabrics for something else and came across and a fabric that was much more suitable, but I had already foundation pieced my block!

I decided to change it and because I didn't want to make a new block, I unpicked the centre stitching and carefully removed the first fabric.

Centre fabric removed
You can just see the fabric that I used as a foundation underneath where I had removed the centre fabric. Then I cut out the new fabric to exactly the size I needed plus a seam allowance.

New sunrise fabric
I did add a little bit of paint to make the sunrise spread a glow a little more. Then I carefully inserted the new fabric and appliqued it in place.

New sunrise centre fabric
No one would know that it wasn't the original fabric, so I was very happy to solve that problem. I think I took the photo above before I had actually done the applique stitching.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Crazy Quilting Books

I often get asked what books I use for Crazy Quilting and the truth is that although I have many books I hardly ever use them because I have been Crazy Quilting for over ten years now and I know all the basic stitches without having to look up any books.

I was at my local bookshop over the holidays and I bought a charming little book that I thought might be handy. It is called Stitch Encyclopedia-Embroidery.

It is not a very big book and it doesn't have very detailed instructions for doing the stitches. Sometimes when stitching away I can wonder what I will do next and having this little book near me can inspire the next stitch. I photographed a couple of the pages so you can see the detail in them.

When you have been stitching a while you don't need the really detailed step by step books that show every step of the way.

Another little book I have near me is a book by Dorothy Bond called Crazy Quilt Stitches.

I love the spiral binding so the book can open completely flat. This little book has no instructions, just little pictures to inspire the next stitch. It was published in 1981, long before I had discovered crazy quilting. I don't even know if this book is still available and I managed to get one by accident when someone was giving away her embroidery supplies when she was moving house.

When you have been crazy quilting a while this is all you need to inspire the next stitch sometimes.

I know there are beginners out there who need the really detailed step by step guides and I'll do a review of my favourite books in a later post.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Round Robin Blocks Received

Last year I participated in a couple of Round Robins and I received all my blocks back except for my green block and my needle-case. You can see my post from 14th Oct here. Over the Christmas break they were finally returned to me.

Here is what the green block looked like before it was embroidered, it is 6 inches square.

Green base block

Now here is the block with all the beautiful embroidery on it.

Green block complete
The embroidery is beautiful and definitely worth the wait. I particularly loved the dragonfly with his beaded body.

The ribbon flowers were beautiful as well.

I had done the needle case in orange coloured silk because it's a colour I don't usually use and I thought that a small project like this was ideal for trying out different colours. Here is what the base looked like. It's not very big, from memory it is 4 x 6 inches.

Here is the embroidery on the needle case.

Once again the embroidery is lovely and it has been personalised by those couple of embroidered L's. It is not quite finished though; there are still some blank spots. I plan to finish it off and make it into the needle case so I'll post the photos when I've finished it off.

The beauty of Round Robins is that you get to see other people's embroidery up close because everyone's style is slightly different and everyone has their favourite stitches that they do well.

I have not planned to participate in any Round Robins this year because I will be concentrating on getting my crazy quilt finished.

Bye for now,

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Preparing for a great 2015

I still feel in holiday mode but next month all the groups I belong to will start and I will be back into the thick of it again.

I don't make New Year resolutions but I often think of a word as inspiration for the coming year. The word that keeps popping into my head is Preparation.

I am a morning person and often feel as if I am the only person who loves Mondays. I love the feeling that I have a new blank page in front of me just waiting for me to fill. So a new year is like all the mornings and Mondays rolled into one, instead of a blank page, I have a whole new book to fill.

So I have been writing lists and planning my year ahead. I am in the middle of a new crazy quilt with a seasons theme and I would love to be able to finish it this year. The trouble with hand embroidery is that it takes so long.

Autumn block
I haven't done any quilting for a while so I thought I would get some blocks basted together and put them next to the machine for some occasional quilting practice. I found some fabric in the cupboard that I will probably never use in a quilt that will be perfect for practice.

The floral fabric on the left will be sashing and the plain in the middle will be the quilting squares and the one on the right will be the backing fabric.

I think I will put some crazy blocks together for some embroidery practice as well.

At the moment I am doing an online camera course but the more I find out about photography the more I realise how much there is to learn.

The other thing occupying my time at the moment is a Photoshop course that I am doing online with Pixeladies. I already use Photoshop to re-size my photos and do some other things so luckily I am not a complete beginner but I am still picking up lots of tips and tricks. You can print out the lessons but the really good thing is all the lessons are on video and I find it so much easier to learn that way.

The Waverley Art Quilters start again next month and our holiday homework was to make a sketch book with painted pages and inspirational photos and I still haven't started that.

Two years ago I designed a miniature applique quilt and I haven't started it yet, maybe this year?

So you can see I have plenty to do and it will be interesting to look back at the end of this year and see what I managed to get done.

You may wonder why I am trying so hard to be prepared and the reason is that from Easter onward I will be minding my granddaughter 5 days a week! It's is only for this year but I am starting to realise what a big commitment it will be.

Roll on 2015 because I feel ready.

Bye for now,

Sunday, 18 January 2015


We celebrated Christmas at our place and it was the first Christmas with our grandchild, Savannah, My husband's father was also there so we had four generations at the Christmas table.

The next day my husband and I went away for a few days. We decided to drive interstate to Adelaide and visit family and friends and instead of driving the straight route we drove along the Great Ocean Road to see the beautiful coastline that everyone always talks about.

We stayed at Apollo Bay the first night and then set off early the next morning for a day of sightseeing. The first stop was at Ngatanwarr, which was part of the Great Otways National Park. We went on the Maits Rest Rain-forest Walk and because it was 7.30 in the morning we were the only ones there. It was so lush and green.

Maits Rest Rain-forest
From there we drove along the coast to the Twelve Apostles, we certainly found the holiday crowd there. We could hear so many different languages spoken, it must be a huge tourist attraction. I have wanted to see the Twelve Apostles for years and it didn't disappoint, those limestone rocks were just as beautiful as people said.

Twelve Apostles
We spent a long time there and I took a lot of photos. There are many lookouts along the Great Ocean Road and it would be almost impossible to do them all in one day but we did go to quite a few.

Loch Ard Gorge was beautiful, almost like a secluded beach, except there were many tourists there!

Loch Ard Gorge
There were little caves along the shore and some more adventurous souls than I went exploring.
Loch Ard Gorge Caves
We walked down many steps to find a beautiful little grotto and I can't remember the name of the place.

Secret grotto
After a long day of sightseeing the beautiful coast we stayed the night at Warrnambool and set off early the next morning for the eight hour drive to Adelaide.

We had a lovely time in Adelaide visiting family and friends and one night we were having dinner at Brighton beach and we watched a beautiful sunset.

Sunset on Brighton Beach.
We were only there a few days and we had the long drive back home but our daughter had dinner waiting for us when we arrived.

I spent the next few days packing up the Christmas decorations and cleaning the house. 

Last week I taught crazy quilting at the Victorian Embroiderer's Guild. It was a two day class and they were a lovely enthusiastic class and one of the ladies even finished her journal cover and the others weren't far behind.

After that great rest and change of scenery I feel ready to start 2015. I wonder what this year will bring?

Bye for now,

Monday, 22 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Another year has flown by and as usual I look back and see what a busy year I have had. This year I taught on the cruise to New Zealand, recorded 3 episodes of the TV show Susan is Craft, I was the Coordinator of the Waverley Patchworkers Quilt Show and I also coordinated the Waverley Art Quilters Group and I kept up my duties as a quilt valuer with Victorian Quilters.

I taught quite a few classes on crazy quilting and machine quilting and was busy at home because I have my daughter and son in law living with us while they build their house and my two sons also still live at home. Running a household with 6 people and doing everything else made for a busy year.

I am not complaining, I have a wonderful life and the most exciting thing to happen was the birth of my first grandchild, Savannah. She is now 6 weeks old and is keeping everyone delighted but busy.

Savannah 6 weeks old

Thank you to the kind readers who have taken the time to comment on my blog, you have made my poor attempt at keeping up to date seem worthwhile.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone and let's see what 2015 brings to us all!

Bye for now,