Category Archives: Quilting

Australia – Fabric and Friends

Oops, I meant to post in the middle of the week, but its was kind of busy around here this week.  I blame it on this little guy:

Thimbleanna: Winston

TheFirstChild and SweetiePie were gone for a week and we got to dogsit.  Cute little Winston is still a high-energy puppy and he took up all of my extra time.  We had lots of fun taking walks, playing with his cousin dogs, and taking a few pictures.  He did NOT want to wear those goggles, poor little guy!  (But, ever the gentleman, he’s always wearing his bow tie.)

Anyway, one last post from Australia.  I saved the fun stuff for last.  Kellie took me to some beautiful shops.  First up was Sunspun — not a fabric shop, but since I love to knit, just as good!

Thimbleanna: Australia

What a fun little shop — packed FULL of pretty yarns and samples.

Thimbleanna: Australia

Yarn shops confuse me.  I can’t buy yarn like I do fabric — maybe because I’m not a scrap knitter like I’m a scrap quilter.  I have to have a specific project in mind when I buy yarn.  So, in spite of all the beauty, I walked away with just a pattern book.  I’d like to chalk it up to self control, but confusion is the true story!  It was a wonderful stop though.

Thimbleanna: Australia

Then we were on to Amitie where we met up with Jan.  And I met Louise – SO fun!  Oh, and Judy Newman was there too, so it was really fun to meet her.  I know I’m forgetting someone else — I was in a fabric stupor.

Thimbleanna: Australia

Look at all that gorgeous fabric — and all in Amitie style.  Shelves of Liberty!

Thimbleanna: Australia

A pile of fabulous quilts, with our star, The Aunt’s Quilt on top of the pile.  I don’t know what I was thinking — WHY didn’t I get a good picture of THE quilt???  Or any of them, for that matter!

Thimbleanna: Australia

Here’s a shot of the lucious quilts in the front window.  I was so busy looking at everything and just enjoying it all and I’m sad that I didn’t get more pictures.  ;-(  It was SO amazingly inspirational though — I was overwhelmed.  Amitie certainly lived up to her reputation!

Thimbleanna: Australia

After Amitie, Kellie, Jan and I had a fun lunch catching up and then Jan took me for the afternoon and evening.  I have to stop here for a minute and rave about the food that Kellie and Jan made for me while I was in Australia.   We don’t eat much lamb (well, any, really), but in Australia they have it quite a bit.  The first night Kellie made delicious lamb chops (I bought some for TheManoftheHouse to try when I got back and they’re not called lamb chops but that’s what they look like — it’s more like a roast) and roasted potatoes.  Later in the week, Kellie also made lamb strapback (I hope that’s what you call it) with the most delicious fruit salad I’ve ever had — she drizzled it with some sort of basalmic molasses (that I sadly can’t find here).  Words just can’t describe those delicious meals!

Then, the night Jan took me to her house, she plopped this jumbo bowl of grilled pineapple and prawns in front of me.  I thought it was our main meal, but it was the appetizer.  And, being from the landlocked midwest, it was my first experience actually peeling the shrimp, which Jan’s girls thought was hysterical.  They were probably wondering how I escaped from my corn field!  Dinner was a delicious roasted lamb (which I thought was beef until the next day) with roasted pumpkin and vegetables.  And THEN, Jan had invited Meredithe to dinner and it was so fun to meet her.  We were so busy talking that I didn’t get any pictures of all of her beautiful quilts. (And trust me, that’s a tragedy.  Because, you guys.  These girls are all Australian quilters.  By default, all their quilts are beautiful!)   Since we were having an all Aussie dinner, Jan requested that Meredithe bring an Aussie dessert, and what’s more Aussie than Pavlova?  It was amazing — I LOVE bananas and raspberries — maybe I was an Aussie in another life!

Thimbleanna: Australia

Such a fun night and I was sad to leave the girls, but time was short and there was much to do.  The next day, Kellie took me out to the country.  We had the best day and went to another beautiful little quilt shop.

Thimbleanna: Australia

Mill Rose is just full of fabric.  Feast your eyes on all that Liberty!  There was some serious drooling and fondling going on in this room.

Thimbleanna: Australia

Another big room of fabric — behind that brown row of fabric is another double-wide aisle of beautiful prints.

Thimbleanna: Australia

Thimbleanna: Australia

What a fun little quilt shop.   After all that fondling and shopping, we were parched and hungry, so we went next door and had a delicious lunch in the Mill Cottage.

Thimbleanna: Australia

I didn’t buy much fabric.  It’s easy to be restrained — not that I didn’t LOVE all the fabrics, but we’re so spoiled with prices here in the states — we pay less than half of what fabric costs in AU.  I couldn’t resist buying just a little though, so, here’s a picture of my purchases.

Thimbleanna: Australia

From Mill Rose, the six prints on the left are Terra Australis by Emma Jansen.  Can you see the boomerangs, kangaroos, and Australian continents?  I had to have a little souvenir!  And the prints on the left and across the bottom are from Amitie — just some low volume prints that I loved.

So, that’s it.  Whew!  What a fun trip, made all the better because I was able to see Australia with friends.  Kellie is always so good to me, and I miss her and her cute little family.

Oh, one last picture. You can’t take all those road trips and fondle all that fabric without some sustenance. I now have two new candy favorites (which I can’t find here boohoo!) — The fantales are sort of like a big milk dud — caramel and chocolate, what’s not to love?   And the Babies are like Gummi Bears — only WAY better. Way, way better. And, in case you didn’t know, they’re pronounced “Baaayyyyybies” — as in “The Dayngo ayte mah Baaayyyyyby!”

Thimbleanna: Australia

XOXO,
Anna

TAW Update

By now, I’m pretty sure you’re probably getting tired of seeing my little trip around the world quilt, so I’ll just apologize now.  We get our assignments monthly, so I like to document the stages of this fun project.

Thimbleanna: TAW

Our assignment this month was for rows 24 through 30.  We technically have until the end of the month to reach row 30 (if you’re trying to keep up like me), but I’m getting ready to go on vacation and I didn’t want to return and be behind.  The rows are really getting time-consuming now, so, to be behind just a few rows means to be behind a lot in time.  I’ve been working like a crazy person to get this far and I’m so pleased that I made it before I leave on my trip.

Thimbleanna: TAW

It’s been amazing to me that I’m not tired of this project yet.  I love picking out fabrics for new rows — even though I don’t really know what I’m doing anymore.  I’m basically just trying to stick with the basic colors that I used in the first 9 rows.  It’s really surprising to me to how it changes personality as the rows are added.  I really liked the way rows 1 – 9 started out (upper left), but I worried after rows 10-18 (upper right) that it was looking a little too yellow/red/brown.  (Btw, sorry for all the different lighting — ideally, I’d take the pictures in the same setting, but it doesn’t always work out.  I was hoping to go outside tonight, but it’s been pouring most of the day, so I had to stay inside.)  Then, by rows 19 – 24 (lower left) I’d managed to add more blue in which made me happy.  I thought maybe I should tone the blue down a little, and now (lower right) there’s maybe a bit too much green going on.

Thimbleanna: TAW

I’m guessing I’ll have 10 – 12 more rows, so I need to take more time and figure out how to finish it up to get the effect I want.  As if I even knew what I want.  That might be part of the problem.  I’m pretty far out of my comfort zone here!!!

Anyway, if you’re still here, thanks for sticking with these TAW posts.  If you’ve never tried a TAW, you might really love the adventure!  This little quilt is getting pretty big now — it’s just a bit bigger than the top of a double sized bed.  And, as you can see, when it’s rolled up, it pretty much fills my little train case.  I’m going to need a bigger case!

Thimbleanna: TAW

That’s a good problem, right?
XOXO,
Anna

Trip Trippy Dip

I’m still working hard on my Trip Around the World.  This is my baby through round 24.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

Amazingly, I’m still on schedule.  The assignment for this month was rounds 19 through 24.  The instructions were to a) use our exchange fabric, b) have at least one row be a “make-do” row (i.e., play like our pioneer grandmothers who would have run out of some prints and had to improvise in some of the rounds by using more than one fabric), and c) use the red dot in another round.  I used my red dot in round 24, my exchange fabric in round 22, and rounds 21 and 23 were make-do rounds.  Round 21 was a true make-do round — I was four squares short of that green spotty fabric, so I placed a the green polka dot from round 4 in the corners of round 21.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

I’m thinking I want my quilt to be at least a double and maybe a bit bigger.  I calculated how much more work would be needed if I went to 44 rounds (which would make the quilt 88″ x 88″).  I’ll only need 20 more rounds, but surprisingly, in terms of actual little squares of fabric, I’m not even half-way yet.  The half-way point will occur somewhere around row 29 or 30.  Yikes!   I’ve been at this for 2 1/2 months now, so if I could hold to the current pace, I’m guessing it would take me another 3 – 3 1/2 months to finish.  I don’t see that happening though — fall is always a busy time around here and the big winter event will soon be just around the corner.  So, I’ll keep plodding along (although, I’m thinking a lot more time will be spent in choosing fabrics and colors — it’s getting harder and harder!) and not be disappointed if this project doesn’t wrap up until after Christmas sometime.

I wanted to show you something fun (at least to me LOL) — remember in the Becky Goldsmith post where I mentioned that I’d dipped into the 70′s stash for one of the fabrics?  That fabric is the little blue floral in round 23.  I’ve placed my TAW on top of a quilt that MeMum made in the early 80′s using that same blue fabric.  She uses her quilt every day and I’m amazed at how well the blue in the fabric has held up.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

When TheFirstChild was about 6 months old, I told MeMum that I wanted to learn how to hand quilt.  She sent me this LeMoyne Star quilt that she’d pieced so that I could figure it out.  I quilted one block in the center (there are 12 blocks in the quilt) and realized that TheFirstChild would be an adult before I finished the quilting.  Since we wanted it to be done in a more reasonable amount of time, we sent if off to a quilter.  It was a good decision and it’s fun to look at the quilting and figure out which block is mine — you can definitely tell.

Thimbleanna:  Trees

Life is a little slower now without a baby, and I’m really enjoying all of this handwork. If you missed the first Trip Around the World Challenge, Brigitte has started another one. I’d tell you how to find it, but facebook and I hate each other* and I can’t figure it out. You could probably start by going to Brigitte Giblin’s homepage (don’t blame me if that’s not her homepage … see previous comment about me and facebook) and poking around. (Good Luck LOL!)

Have a great week!
XOXO,
Anna

*Case in point: I think it’s ridiculous that every time you “like” something on facebook, it gets splashed all over for everyone to see. Can’t a girl have a little privacy and support her friends? The only way I’ve found to keep that from happening is to block your friends. That’s just Stooooopid. (I’m done with my rant now haha.)

Becky Goldsmith

Our little local quilt guild has had Becky Goldsmith here to lecture and teach this week.  (Thanks again Jenny for keeping me in the loop!)  I’ve been  long-time fan of Becky Goldsmith, who, along with Linda Jenkins are the team of Piece O’ Cake Designs.  IMHO, Becky and Linda were among the pioneers of the fun, quirky side of quilting.  When quilting made it’s big comeback in the 70′s and 80′s, everything was pretty traditional.  Now we have traditional and modern and we got to the modern side of things with the help of quilters like Becky and Linda.

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

I’ve also been a long-time reader of Becky’s blog.  Long-time being relative, since blogs are fairly new compared to the 20 years that Piece O’Cake has been around.  What I really love about Becky’s blog is that she’s very observant and she makes you sit up and take notice of things you might have missed.  She spoke about this a little bit at the beginning of her presentation.  She showed us interesting slides like the one below.  (Sorry the pictures are so dark — it was dark in the room.)  What is the first thing you notice?

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

Becky said she posted this photo on her blog and she was surprised at the number of people who noticed the arrow in the negative space between the E and the X.  Did you see it?

Another thing Becky notices a lot are manhole covers.  I LOVE it when she posts manhole covers on her blog.  Here’s one of my favorites that I remember from her blog and she showed it last night.  I want to hang that one on my sewing room wall!

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

The main topic of Becky’s presentation was color and she spoke about different ways to use it.  I thought the following quilts were interesting.

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

They’re made out of the same pattern.  Becky decided to experiment with colors when she made the quilt on the right and she got a big laugh out of the crowd when she said that quilt “sucks”.  The colors don’t work as she arranged them.  (Below you can see an expanded view that shows that the quilts are indeed, the same pattern.)

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

Becky said to embrace your mistakes.  The quilt that sucked became a great quilt back.  I loved this next quilt.   Awhile ago, Becky requested that the readers of her blog each send her a piece of fabric that they thought was really ugly.  I remember when she requested the fabrics and she got some REALLY ugly scraps.  (Another big laugh when Becky said that some of the scraps were almost pornographic.)  She said there were probably only 4 pieces of fabric that she actually liked.  But, she arranged them according to color and made the quilt below — Wow!

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

I loved her message.  Look at everything with fresh eyes.  And use your design wall.   She also talked about cleaning out your stash and only keeping the fabrics and colors that you love.  Get rid of the old fabrics that you no longer love, i.e. ugly fabrics.  I have to say, I disagreed with that idea and had to chuckle when I thought about it after just seeing the beautiful quilt that she made from ugly fabrics.  I have a LOT of ugly fabrics from the 70′s and 80′s.  I don’t like the colors anymore.  But, I love scrappy quilts and you just never know when you might need a bit of ugly fabric.  I just dipped into the 70′s stash this week and found a perfect print for my Trip Around the World.  So … you never know.  I know I’ll never in a million years use all the fabric that I’m hoarding (and sometimes I get sick thinking about it) but, at least, I’m going to have some variety to choose from.  (As an aside, can you tell me why it is, with a large stash, that you often can’t find a color or print that you want?  I don’t mean it’s lost in your stash, I mean you don’t have the color that you need for your quilt.  I think it’s one of the mysteries of quilting.)

Thimbleanna:  Becky Goldsmith

Anyway, if you ever get the chance to hear Becky speak, take the opportunity. She’s fun and inspiring. And if you’re not following her blog, you should!

XOXO,
Anna

Still Trippin’

To quote one of my fellow American Trip Around the World Challenge bloggers, “I’m totally obsessed with this project”.  That’s why it’s been so quiet here — I’ve had my head down hand stitching these little blocks.  It’s really starting to get time-consuming now — it takes me at least an hour to do one side of one round.  Our challenge this month was to complete rounds 10 – 18 by today.  July 15th.  I put the last stitch in round 18 with 45 minutes to spare.  I know I didn’t really have to get it done by today, but I really want to try to stay on track.  It’s been my experience that a little slip in schedule can quickly become a big slip.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

I did have a little burp in this month’s task.  I had cut out rounds 13 and 14 and then I had to clean up the fabric that was on every flat surface in my house because people were coming over for the 4th of July.  When it came time to stitch those rounds, I couldn’t find the little cut squares anywhere.  That’s what happens when I clean stuff up and cram it all into my sewing room.  I ended up re-cutting the fabrics in order to continue on.  And then, somewhere around round 17, I found the little devils (pictured below) neatly tucked away in the new train case sewing box.  Doh — didn’t think to look in the obvious place!

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

I’ve long since stopped finger-pressing the seams on the back, but I wish I was still pressing them.  They’re flopping all over the place and shedding threads.  I feel like I spend half of my stitching time plucking little threads off of the back and it’s driving. me. crazy!  The back does have a sort of pretty texture to it though.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

Jan eloquently wrote about viewing your colors out-of-focus, so I thought it would be fun to look at my block that way.  It’s so funny to me how this block is taking shape — I don’t feel like these colors are “me” at all.  I’m not sure what “me” colors are,  and I like these colors, but they don’t quite feel right.  I’d love to make another version in different colors.  Or maybe ten more versions — then maybe I’d find “me”!

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

A little closer look and you can see some of the prints a little better.  I love the Alison Glass text print so I had to try to use it here.  I threw in three blue rows in a row in an attempt to “blue up” this block, but it doesn’t seem to be working.  I still see predominately yellow and brown.

Thimbleanna: Trip Around the World

I might have to get more aggressive with the blue this next month. We have a fun new twist to the challenge. A partner will send us each a quarter yard of fabric and we have to use it in a round. I’m afraid to do any more rounds until I see my exchange fabric so I hope it will arrive soon!

We’re having the most beautiful summer this year. This week we’re experiencing another polar vortex and let me tell you, a polar vortex in July is a whole lot more fun than a polar vortex in January! I’d gladly suffer through the brutal winter that we had this year in order to have a beautiful, cool summer. As a snow lover, I feel like we hit the weather jackpot this year. I wish I could share our cool summer with those of you who are burning up here in the northern hemisphere– come for a visit!

XOXO,
Anna