Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Winter Chill

Melbourne is having it's coldest day today for two years; we haven't even cracked 10 degrees. That plus all the rain makes it perfect crafting weather. After four weeks quilting Summer at Aster Manor, I needed a little time away from the machine, so I've spent the last few days getting aquainted with some wool I bought last year.

It's a Lincraft wool, a mix of wool and soybean, and really nice to work with. The only downside is trying to match the colour everytime I join a new ball of wool...there are a few "offcuts" floating around my loungeroom. The colours are much nicer in person than they appear in the photo.

I've also finally started on Port-de-France; just a stipple this time, I couldn't face another template pattern for quite a while, and this will get this quilt done quite quickly.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer at Aster Manor

Also known as Summer Wind; quilted, bound and already in use. The new name reflects both the pattern name and the fabric line.

Bella helped out with a marathon hand-stitching session, and I got it finished up last night. The pink backing can be seen in this pic.

But after several days of beautiful weather, I woke up to rain this morning. So instead of a nice lying-on-the-lawn photo, the best I can offer is a couch-drape-with-bad-lighting photo.

Next up, I need to quilt Port-de-France before I start another new project...the funny thing is, I can't actually think of what quilt I want to do next, which is just odd!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Owls and Bunnies

I finished quilting Summer Wind yesterday, which gave me the opportunity to play around a little more with some softies. Leaving the bunny aside for the time being, I tried my hand at a little Owl (or Wol as Pooh would call it).

Its just a simple outline, but I added a seam in the back to minimise how noticeable the stuffing hole would be. The face is also a little rustic, but it has a bit of character. I think next time I'll have a go appliqueing some wings on just to add a little more interest to it, as it seems to be missing "something". I also thought these would be great with a squeaker in them for little ones to play with, though I might have to rethink the eyes/beak a little.

I got the binding machined onto Summer Wind this morning, and since then have been playing around with the bunny (Wabbit?) again. I've imroved the proportions of the lower body, and cut one out ready to go.

I've never done any sort of stitchery, but found the Melly and Me tutorial really good, and have stitched what I think is a pretty good practice eye, so bunny should have a face soon.

Lastly, thank you for all the good messages Friday; it's nice to be able to share my good news with everyone.

Friday, June 18, 2010


After spending the last six months wondering exactly what I was doing with my life, I think I've finally got myself sorted. I found out today that I got into a graduate teaching degree! So by this time next year, I'll be a fully qualified Science and Biology teacher. While I do love research, job security can be lacking, so teaching is a good career change for me.

I'm celebrating tonight with fried rice with hoisin pork, lemon tart (I'm in a baking mood), and a good glass of wine.

The recipe is from a Donna Hay cookbook, and has already been blogged by a fellow blogger. The only challenge I had is that the crusts sank a little as usual, so I had a little lemon filling left; I also had a little dough left so I made a few mini tarts to snack on.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wascally Wabbits

I've developed a bit of an obsession with making a bunny softie; no real reason other than a distraction from quilting Summer Wind.

First I found a free pattern online, and whipped one up. It's cute, but too fiddly to make the arms and legs separately then stitch them in.

Then I spent ages trying to draw up a pattern, and lets just say I'm a quilter, not a designer. Ive got the ears and arms right, but I think the lower body and legs are a bit too small. Plus I got some major puckers happening in the arm pits. The face is actually rounded, just not visible due to lack of innards.

Any tips, hints, suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Getting There...

I've made it to the bottom edge of Summer Wind, and I'm estimating I have about five rows of the pattern to quilt at the top end to finish it. At this point I'm looking forward to it being done, as I've been quilting the same pattern over and over for the last 2 1/2 weeks! It will still take me about another week and a half to finish, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm also getting close to having a website for Bella's Patchwork; after being stuffed around for months, I ditched the web developer and found a new one. I was clear from the beginning that I wanted to launch at the start of May, and here we are in the middle of June! Fortunately this new one has a policy of 28 days or less, so fingers crossed I have it by the end of the month. I'm hanging out to have a launch giveaway! Meanwhile stock is available in my eBay store (link to the right); there has been a slow trickle of sales which I'm hoping will pick up with a proper website.

And after two years (two!) I decided that Phoebe might like her ears and blanket attached; I had trouble with the ears last time so I'd been putting it off. The "bits" had been sitting in my sewing tub for quite a while, and somehow one ear has ended up with a small bloodstain on it...mystery! She still needs eyes, but what's a few more days...

I'm off to Beechworth for the long weekend, so I'll see you all next week.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rouenneries Table Runner

I planned on hand-quilting it, but apparently I lost my hand-quilting skills sometime over the past couple of years.... so instead I machine quilted it; freehand flowers in the pinwheels, squiggles in the sashing, and stipple in the border.

Not a bad way to use up some scraps!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hello, Winter....

First day of winter here in Australia, and the weather has definitely changed in the last few weeks. Its cold, damp, and overcast. However, there are lots of little things going on in the garden!

The gorgeous creeper on our chimney turned a beautiful red and yellow, then dropped its leaves, leaving all the stems behind.

The spring bulbs have started to sprout from the ground.

The bottle brush is having a last flower before the cold.

And there is lots going on in the vegie garden; baby leeks, broccoli, winter greens, and apparently a pumpkin vine which appeared from the compost and has taken over, even though they are a summer plant...