Saturday, November 27, 2010

Constance Rose - Art For Sale

Constance Rose Design, one of my all time favorite fibre artists, is having a gallery sale....25% off listed price.  I had to pass on the word.

 Featured in Quilting Arts Magazine Connie is a spinner, weaver, dyer, surface designer and studio quilter who shares her thoughts, inspirations and processes with all on her blog Constance Rose Progressive Textiles

Connie is a member of Fibreactions a group of fibre artists from around the globe who come together to create and challenge each other and themselves in the creation of quilts on a theme.

Her inspirations include "the natural world, the florescence of Art Nouveau and Victoriana, the stylized and repetitive geometrics of Art Deco and ancient Egyptian designs, Native American and ethnic tribal patterns, and the Arts & Crafts and Craftsman styles in functional and decorative arts and architecture".

Connie's current focus is on "traditional small quilts of varying sizes -- utilizing hand dyed, painted, printed and shiboried fabrics, and digital images printed  on fabric".

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Garden Update November

Dear Aunty,

November has been a busy month for me as I race to plant and sow the last of the Spring Vegetables, the beginnings of the Summer vegetables, clear two beds of spent broad beans and return the stalks to the beds, tidy up garden beds top, sides and bottom of yard, that went crazy with the first heat of the season, tie down climbing roses and generally weed and prune.  There is still some pruning and weeding to do along the side garden bed, mulch to chop up and add to the bark paths between the raised vegetable beds, dried leaves to add to the new side beds and grass to mow.

The iceberg lettuce has grown well and tastes juicy and crisp: a great addition to work and school sandwiches.

Iceberg lettuce:crisp and juicy

The several spinach plots are desperate to go to seed but continue to supply and endless supply of silverbeet and spinach.  YUM with lemon and garlic or on its own steamed.  This is some in the strawbale bed that I normally use to feed the guinea pigs.

Spinach desperate to go to seed.

The strawberry runners from the ground cover strawberry plants have taken off in their new strawbale bed on the bricked area.  There are lots of fruit...we can't wait.

Strawberry runners transplanted.

The raspberry canes are covered in flowers with more and more canes popping up in their bed.  There are big hopes for lots of fruit this season.  I am relieved to see all the new canes as my original 20 canes had been reduced by half. This is a bed that requires a lot of build up of soil, mulch and compost.  The two Stellar cherry trees can be seen at the bottom. They have some fruit on them too. Yahhhh, a first.

Raspberry canes with Stellar cherries at bottom.

I have been mentally willing the climbers, kiwi fruit, passionfruit, grapes and native climber to make their way up the strings attached to the old clothes line that is in the middle of one of my beds.  I sort of envisaged a pergola of vines here but it is slow going.  The huge bunker of a house that went up next door took most of my sunlight for the yard.

Urging the kiwi fruit, passionfruit and native flower climber up an old clothes line.

One of the new shaded beds on the side of the unit is coming along nicely with lemon balm, mint, hydranger cuttings from Winter that are growing well, roses, geranium and daisies. 

Shade bed at side of unit with geranium and daisies.

I love these pink daisies and pale mauve geranium that were from cuttings from Robin's Mum last Winter.

Daisy bush from Winter Cuttings

Pale mauve geranium from Winter cuttings.

#3 son's tomato plants in the large strawbale bed made up on the bitumen...the only available sunny spot in the yard...are doing well. Here is a small shot of their beginnings.

The beginings of the tomato bed.
More photos will follow of the rest of the plantings in that bed when it stops raining....glorious rain it has come just as the melon and cucumber seedlings were put in.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Broad Bean Picking

Felafel is in the air.  The broad bean picking is going well with not much left to harvest and a pile of stalks ready to chop up and return to the vegetable bed.  I am freezing the beans to make felafel when #1 son comes to visit at the end of the year.  I love the beautiful light green colour that the beans give to the dish.

Broad/Fava Beans

Chef Kamal on Youtube does felafel using chickpeas.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quilting Adventures Part 2

Hello Dear Aunty,
Continuing on with our quilting story....

 A few more wallhangings which have yet to be put up on the walls occupied a few months of my time.  They will go up when the walls have been repainted...whenever that will be.  The first wallhanging to be finished was 'Mum & I in the 70s" made from 70's fabric pieces from my Mum with some free motion quilting, a modern Fasset piece of fabric and the piecing as my contribution.

70s Wallhanging 'Mum & I"

Free Motion Quilting

70s velvet like fabric

70s polyester backing

The next wallhanging was 'Chelsea', a pattern by Kaffe Fasset.

Chelsea Wallhanging by Kaffe Fasset
'Broken Crockery' using a Broken Dishes quilt block was inspired by the wallhanging of the same name found on the Barbara Brackman blog.

Broken Crockery Wallhanging

 I was quite taken with the American Civil War Reproduction Fabrics and was happy to  join a Block of the Month BOM group at the forum.  We chose different blocks as we went along. I worked two quilt tops during the BOM. One made of the Civil War type fabrics and the other in florals.

Floral Civil War Blocks

Civil War Reproduction Fabrics Quilt Top

I really love the way Kaffe Fasset mixes colours and prints in his quilting designs.    'Floral Strippy' comes from his book  V & A Museum Quilts.

Floral Strippy

The next Fasset quilt I tried was 'Victorian Fans' from his book 'Kaleidpscope of Quilts'.

Victorian Fans

'Morning Garden' quilt was also from 'Kaleidoscope of Quilts'

 Morning Garden

From colours to black and white I made a quilt top in black and white for one of my sons.  It is the Delectable Mountains block and the quilt is called 'Mountain Majesties' and is from Bonnie Hunter's website.

Mountain Majesties

FatCat Patterns  has several BOMs on her website.  One of the free ones was 'Chocolate Stars'.  Here is my version.

Chocolate Stars

Hopefully there will be many more colourful quilt tops to make.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quilting Adventures Part 1

Dear Aunty,
I promised you a rundown on what I have been doing quilting wise for the last couple of years.  I haven't completed very much but I have had fun.  

My first quilts were made from my Dad's shirts and bits and pieces from Mum's pieces of fabric I brought to Tassie with me. We came in Winter and you might remember how cold we felt that first year.  Wanting to conserve energy and finances and having some old blankets to use as batting I jumped right in without having the slightest idea what I was doing.  The first was squares of shirting and stripes made up of four triangles. I learnt that I couldn't cut out squares of fabric accurately.  My second and third quilts pictured below were a little more ambitious involving applique and buttons from my Mum's collection.  With this challenge I learnt how tedious appliqueing around dozens of single leaves could be. I called the top quilt 'He Loves Me Not' and the bottom ' Baskets of Hearts'.

Clearly I hadn't learnt from my experience with applique as I soon launched into 'Birds, Bees, Butterflys, Bugs and Blooms',  The measurements in the pattern were out...or I can't read correctly which is certainly possible...and I ended up with flowers that were twice as long as they should have been. In this challenge I learnt to make the applique flowers by sewing two pieces of fabric together and then turning them inside out. This gave the flowers a nice poofiness and restrained any loose threads. Not having any other idea I stitched the applique flowers, centres, stems and leaves down with an invisible hem stitch.  The borders were done from a selection of all the floral fabrics I had from my Mother's left over fabrics.  When I had finished the top and moved onto the quilting the large bare areas of calico called for a picket fence and lots of bugs, bees, birds and butterflys done in white crotchet cotton...another item I had plenty of from my Mum's former crotchet days. This is a much loved and warm quilt lately commandered by #2 son.

A small wallhanging was slipped in between the quilts. I learnt that I liked quilted wallhangings.

 A knock on the door one day brought a delightful surprise...a parcel from an old school friend.  Inside was fabric, fabric scraps, embroidery thread, threads and other wonderful bits and pieces from a quilter who had obviously grown tired of quilting. Thank you, Lou.

Wanting to make something solely from this wonderful gift I launched into HSTs...half square triangles and the use of value....light and dark with medium sometimes one or the other depending on the fabrics around it. Joining the corners of all these pieces reinforced that the blocks HAD to be the same size. This was my first venture into diagonal piecing, praire points...the triangular edging and small stippling by hand for the quilting. I thought I would NEVER end the stippling. Stippling looks like coral...windy stitching that often goes back on itself. I called this quilt 'With Love from Lou and Josh'.

By now I had started reading about quilting ...books from the library, quilting magazines and the internet. I was hooked.

When I read about iron on 1/4" bias and cutting from a stack of fabrics to have single shapes from different colours or prints I thought of a blank space on my wall and another wallhanging was born from the leftover pieces from my friend's parcel and a few pieces of my own.  I didn't cut the shapes out the way I had intended but I was happy with the outcome all the same.  This wallhanging now carries a selection of my Mother's old costume jewellery.

Always wanting to try something different I thought of Flying Geese blocks when I found out a friend of mine was having another baby and I thought she might like a baby quilt.  I had just the fabric....a trains print on navy blue.

Another wallhanging for the kitchen followed, only this time I used a preprinted panel. I LOVE panels. All I had to do for this project was quilt it and I used the opportunity to try free motion machine quilting. That was a nerve wracking experience with lots of mistakes but I was thrilled with myself to finish. Fortunately it hangs up too high to see the errors.

Hope you enjoyed these....more coming.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Yarn & Dye Sale

Constance Rose Textile Designs of

is a published artist who does wonderful fibre art and daily collage images, blogs about her interesting journey and has to have one of the most handsome cats, BeeGee, in blogland.

Constance Rose is having a sale on some excess fibre, yarns, dyes, angelina fibres, bombyx silk hankies, luxury spinning fibres and supplies that are to die for.   They are available on  and .

I already have an unbelievably beautiful selection of her dyed fabrics that she graciously mailed to Australia. They arrived in perfect condition.

Do check out the goodies.