Sunday, May 30, 2010

Melbourne Markets

Just a quick post today. I've been thinking that having a stall at a market might be a good way to drum up some business for my store, but most markets seem to be for hand made or home grown products only....does anyone know of any markets around Melbourne where I could set up a stall selling fabric (mostly fat quarters)?

I've not really spent much time marketing around Melbourne, so any ideas/suggestions most appreciated.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hide & Seek With Miss Bella

Bella has a tendency to go "missing" in our house; she finds a nice place to curl up and go to sleep, and being deaf, no amount of calling is going to help you find her. However, stomping your feet works if she is under a bed, but usually we have to go around the house checking her usual spots; under the dining room table (on a chair or the floor), inside the couch (yes, inside!), curled up in a casserole dish under my bed, or tucked under mum's bed.

While checking out blogs a little earlier, I realised I hadn't seen her in a while, and went on the hunt. She turned up sound asleep on my quilt where it was bunched up behind the sewing machine....

A little nudge and she was awake and keeping an eye on my progress...

And for those that asked, a little peek at the quilting of Summer Wind; just a simple feather motif that I'm hopng will fill the space reasonably quickly.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Port-de-France and a Little Progress

Despite a few initial hiccups with the first block, I did eventually get this quilt pieced. Unfortunately the colours don't lend themselves well to photographs, especially in the autumn light....

Summer wind is basted up and in the machine...with a little help from Bella of course (we only just fit on the loungeroom floor).

And all three of my fur-babies are enjoying the sunshine streaming through the front door, even though it's not that warm out. Bella is at the top, Jack in the middle, and Millie (who has a really bad cold at the moment) is at the bottom.

Friday, May 21, 2010

2009 Designer Mystery Block of the Month

All I can say is wow. I really like the way this quilt has come together, and it looks fantastic. And it's huge, which will make quilting interesting.

The extra borders seem to have pulled the sashing taught where the two smallish blocks are, so by the time its quilted, it won't be noticible at all. I can only guess that my accuracy improved over the course of the last 12 months...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

BOM 12!

Finally, here we are at the last block. Has it been 12 months already?!

Now to assemble the quilt; I've got all the 'bits' ready to go, but I've found one minor problem....some of my blocks are a tad smaller than they should be. Most are only a fraction but block 2 is about 3/4" too small. It means a fair bit of 'easing' but hopefully any little wobbles in the sashing eases out by the time its quilted. You can see the puckered sashing in the top row, near the legs of the coffee table...

(not enough room on my lounge room floor, so all the blocks are a bit squashed up)

Which won't be for a little while as I still need to quilt Summer Wind, and finish Port-de-France. So much for my old method of only ever having one project on the go at a time! The main reason I keep putting off the quilting is that I hate spending money on batting...silly, I know.

I made my first fabric sale yesterday. It's safe to admit there was a bit of squealing and jumping going on in my house. I expect business to start slowly, but each little bit of progress is so exciting.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Port de France Blocks 9-11

A little more progress the last two days...

Block 9 is a sawtooth star, smaller than blocks 1-8, and there are six of them.

Block 10 is a pinwheel (times 3)

Block 11 is a churn dash, which I've never made before but really like (times 3).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Port de France Blocks 3-8

I've been sewing away like crazy, and finished all eight of the larger blocks for Port de France. I had a minor hiccup with block 8 in the same way as block 1, but I cut the background squares 1/8 inch larger and that seemed to fix it up. These are the blocks:

(apologies for the rotated photos, blogger keeps doing that even though they are the right way around on my computer).

In other, more frustrating news, my computer has a trojan...I've managed to get rid of most of it manually, but there must be something left behind as my browser gets hijacked occasionally...very annoying.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Finally Some Progress

Who'd have thought it would take four days to get a simple block sorted out! I spoke to another quilter working on the same pattern, and to the Fat Quarter Shop. I fiddled around with scraps and made a number of the same unit, testing to see if my 1/4 inch seam was off. I still couldn't get the block to work. So in the end I gave up on the "fancy" version of block 1 and made a simple version instead.

Bouyed by my success, I headed straight onto block 2, and it was assembled in about 30 mins. If block 1 is the only one in this quilt that is going to give me trouble, we might just be ok.

Bella appears to have taken a "naughty pill" today. She spent half the night trying to push a 50c coin under my door, and has spent a good amount of time "bull-dozing" the rug in my bedroom. She crouches down and runs at it, bunching it up. There also appears to have been some sort of game with her water bowl, as I walked into the kitchen to find water splashed all over the floor, fridge and cupboards!

Monday, May 10, 2010


What seemed like a very dull day turned into a very exciting afternoon; my first delivery of Moda fabric arrived!

I've started with just a small assortment of some existing lines (Whimsy, Hunky Dory and Martinique), but am looking forward to stocking full lines as new ranges are released. Bella and I had a good time examining the boxes, and she has given them her paw of approval.

Until my website is up and running, I've opened an eBay store which I'll be progressively listing things in, so if you'd like to check it out, you can find it here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What Am I Doing Wrong?

I thought I'd spend a relaxing Friday arvo working on the first block of the Port De France quilt; how wrong I was! Here is the problem, and I'm hoping someone can help:

If I follow these instructions:

I get this flying goose unit; there is no seam at the top, meaning the point gets cut off...

But if I offset the triangles, I get the seam allowance, but then the unit is 1/2 an inch too short to attach to the centre square.

This pattern is one of the most odd I've worked with; all the instructions are diagrams as shown above and no written directions. Anyone have any suggestions as to what I'm doing wrong?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Banana Cake 2

You've probably relised by now that I'm a bit of a sucker for a good banana cake. It's mostly out of necessity; we always seem to end up with way more bananas than we can eat before they go here is the recipe I tried today.

125g butter, softened
155g (3/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
2 eggs
300g (2 cups) self-raising flour
50g (1/3 cup) plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
160ml (2/3 cup) buttermilk
2 large overripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush an 11 x 21cm (base measurement) loaf pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base and 2 opposite long sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing it to overhang slightly.
Use an electric beater to beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until just combined.
Stir in half the combined flours, and half the cinnamon and ginger until just combined. Stir in buttermilk, remaining combined flours, cinnamon and ginger, and banana until combined. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth the surface.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven. Set aside in the pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack for 30 minutes or until cooled completely.

I used sour cream in place of the buttermilk, but it requires a little milk just to moisten it up a bit. I also found it need 55 mins in the oven, but this will probably depend on your oven. It is also meant to be iced with passionfruit icing, but I'm all out of icing sugar at the moment, so it's the "healthy" version for me!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

AQC Haul

I'm a few days late, but here is my wrap up of AQC. I was impressed with the layout improvements made for this year; there was more room to move between stalls, though that doesn't help a lot when 20 people are queued up at each stall!

There was a good range of shops present too, and I was pleased to see that pre-cuts have made a bit of a comeback this year. The prices were a lot more reasonable than last year too; I've previously seen layer cakes as high as $70!

I was very restrained, and only purchased a few fat quarters; Whimsy, Make Life, and a Prints Charming print. Oh, and a new blade for my rotary cutter. I thought those Make Life fabrics would make gorgeous statement cushions.

I did also order a kit from the lovely Ballarat Patchwork: Nine Birds, which will be arriving in the next couple of weeks. I was drawn to it despite is not being my "usual" style. Sometimes you just need to do something a little different.

There's not much else going on at the moment...I'm slowly plugging away at the Mystery BOM finishing kit, and recovering from a fantastic night at the John Mayer concert in Melbourne last night. Boy that bloke can sing!