Wednesday 29 February 2012


I feel as if I have been quilting all year so far. I have already quilted my latest Crazy Quilt which I am calling Naturally Crazy. I was quite happy with it when it was finished but halfway through the quilting process I always feel a bit of a panic thinking that it is not going to work.

Here is a photo of one of the blocks called Canada.

I can’t show you the entire quilt because it has no binding yet and I haven’t sewn on any charms.

Now I am quilting my next quilt which is an appliqué quilt and unfortunately I am at the halfway point where I don’t think that it is going to work out. It is giving me a lot of trouble at the moment.

I spent a lot of time with the trapunto. I have been keeping a time sheet so I know how long everything takes. The trapunto took 30 hours.

Here is the back of the quilt showing the squares of wadding that I had sewn to the back of the appliqué.

Here are the offcuts after 3 hours of careful cutting out one part of the trapunto.

When the trapunto was finally finished, I basted the quilt which took 5 and a half hours but that was including preparing the backing fabric.

I finally got to start quilting around all the motifs and my top thread kept breaking every 2 inches of stitching. It was very frustrating. I checked all the usual things and couldn’t understand why it was happening.

I finally got out the book that comes with the machine to see what it said.

Reasons for top thread breaking:

Upper thread tension too tight

Incorrectly threaded

Poor quality or old thread

Stitch plate or hook damaged

Loose threads caught in the pre tension or the take up lever.

None of those things applied to me but I did find out how to get into a part of the machine to do some extra cleaning that I didn’t know existed.

I was sitting at the machine wondering what to do next when I looked at the reel of thread and saw that the thread was caught on the side of it. I had a careful look at it and sure enough there was a rough spot on the edge of the reel that was catching the thread and then it was breaking. I am using silk thread so it is probably a bit more prone to catch than a cotton thread. I changed to a new reel of thread and have had no more trouble since.

I have put that reel aside to use for hand work but I suppose I could file the rough edge if I was desperate to use it on the machine.

I had better get back to quilting.

Bye for now,


Wednesday 22 February 2012

CQJP 2012 February Block

My February block for the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2012 is finished. This time I did a green 6" block using silk fabrics.

Here is the base block before I added any embroidery.

My theme for this year is Christmas so I put a couple of candy canes in the middle of the block. I decided to satin stitch the red and white stripes on an angle and it gives a nice rounded look to the candy canes.

Every month I am trying a stitch or technique that I have to look at a book to remember how to do it. This month the stitch that I cannot remember to do automatically is the chained feather stitch.

I added some beads to the stitch for the first time because I usually leave it plain.

People from all around the world have started putting their blocks on the CQJP 2012 blog. Anyone can look at them by going to the blog. It is so wonderful to see everyone’s blocks.

Bye for now,


Wednesday 15 February 2012

Silk Challenge

At the Waverley Art Quilters end of year dinner late last year, we were all given a 7½" square of silk. Every piece of silk was in a different colour and they were hidden in a brown paper bag so we couldn’t see what we were getting.

This is my piece of silk!

I would never have chosen these colours; in fact it would never occur to me to put bright burgundy pink, bright yellow and orange together. Everyone else got these lovely greens, blues and mauves. I asked if anyone wanted to swap with me but nobody did!

I looked at this piece of silk all December and January, trying to find some inspiration until I finally came across a greeting card that had a bird with a curly tail on it.

I photocopied the silk and then traced the curling shapes and then simplified them to form a bird’s tail. Then I remembered that we had to include some of the challenge fabric in the design so I made up some 2" squares and made a post for the bird to stand on using some other colours in the fabric.

I used all silk fabrics that I happened to have at home. The yellow background and the orange fabric I had dyed myself. Most of the fabrics were the 50/50 silk/cotton blend that is so easy to work with compared to 100% silk. I quilted it with YLI 100% silk as well.

This week the Waverley Art Quilters group met for the first time this year and it was amazing to see everyone’s different interpretation of the silk. It was interesting to find that most of them had trouble with the colours of their silk samples.

We are going to study Van Gogh next.

Bye for now,


Sunday 12 February 2012

Art Nouveau

At the end of last year one of the subjects that we studied in the Waverley Art Quilters was Art Nouveau, which is French for New Art.

Art Nouveau was only popular for a short time between 1890 and 1910 and was soon taken over by Art Deco which was very geometric and so different to the free flowing lines on Art Nouveau.

Examples of Art Nouveau can be found everywhere in beautiful buildings around the world but most commonly in jewellery, furniture, textiles and art.

One of the words used to describe the style was The Whiplash because of the sudden violent curves like a whip cracking.

Artists that were known for their Art Nouveau style were Gustav Klimt and Alphonse Mucha, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Rene Lalique and Antoni Gaudi.

We studied Klimt in 2009 and I made this little A3 quilt.

I have always loved Alphonse Mucha’s work and was inspired by his paintings when I was designing the centre of my Star Crazy quilt.

This is the A3 sized Art Nouveau quilt that I made at the end of last year. I put some Gum Tree blossoms on it to give it an Australian flavour.

I had painted some yellow dots on the top of the flowers but they seemed a bit lost so I added some gold beads and I am much happier about the quilt now.

Here is a close-up of the beading.

One of the books that I was reading while studying Art Nouveau said that the movement stopped because the artists and designers got so complicated with their whiplash technique there was nowhere else to go with it.
I tend to think that it started to seem a bit too frivolous when World War 1 started and the clean geometric lines of Art Deco seemed more appropriate.

I think that I’ll always love the Art Nouveau style though.
Bye for now,

Friday 3 February 2012

Exciting Parcel

My colour theme for my Crazy Quilt Journal Project is red, green and blue silk fabrics. I realised that I was going to run out of fabrics and I also needed some more fabrics to make it interesting.

I am on the email mailing list for Evening Star Designs although I had never ordered anything before. She specialises in fabrics and embellishments for crazy quilters.

I noticed that she had packs of 10 fat eighth silk fabrics in red, green and blue. It was perfect. Different silk fabrics packaged in small quantities are hard to find in Australia.

I love them; they only took just over a week to arrive. You can see that I also bought three different braids, snowflakes, Christmas trees and some holly.

I couldn’t resist the winter pack either.

Now I am really looking forward to making up my next block.

Bye for now,