Back in July one of my favourite quilters, Sarah Fielke, put out the call on her blog The Last Piece for tea cup blocks for a birthday quilt-a-long. The tea cup block is from her pattern All That and the Hatter from the book Hand Quilted With Love.
I was immediately drawn to this quilt when I saw it in the book, and loved it even more when I got to see it at the Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair, there’s a picture of the full quilt on Sarah’s blog. The amount of piecing involved seemed a bit daunting. Making this tea cup for Sarah was a perfect way to try out a single block that would go to good use. I also made my first cut into one of my pieces of Liberty. That was a bit scary but oh so worth it.
If you’d like to see more of the blocks, Sarah has been posting pics on Instagram tagged with #birthdayquiltalong to show the many beautiful and varied tea cups she’s received so far. I can’t wait to see the quilt top when she gets to making it.
Sewing and quilting are always much more fun with company. Even with breaks for chatting or nibbling on yummy morning or afternoon tea, I get a lot more done when sewing with others. I’m also one of those people who will turn on the TV for company at home but always end up distracted. When sewing or quilting, a little more attention to what is in front of me is required so I’m really loving podcasts for a bit of company and quilting podcasts are great when you’re playing with fabric.
If you don’t know, a podcast is a like a recorded radio show, you can download them via services like iTunes or often you can listen directly from the hosting website. I subscribe to a number of podcasts through iTunes and sync these to my iPhone so I can listen to them where ever I am.
The beauty of podcasts is that nearly anyone can host one. There are plenty of high quality, professionally produced podcasts out there, and there are also a lot of really great podcasts created by passionate people who just love to talk about whatever it is they’re into, and they do it all on their own computer then share it with the world, thanks to the power of the internet.
Some of my favourite podcasts are by quilters. I don’t just listen to them at the sewing machine, but also when I’m walking to or from work, when I’m doing the washing up or other jobs around the house, and in the car. I wanted to share some of my favourite podcasts I like to keep up with in the hope you might give them a try to, or if you have your own favourites that you might share them with me, I’m always on the look out for more.
The first two are examples of podcasts where the conversation is pretty free flowing and casual. It’s mostly just the podcaster chatting away, occasionally they’ll have a guest as well. The second two are more structured shows with regular segments and guests.
This was the first quilting podcast I began listening to. After a quick search on iTunes and a flick through some reviews I thought Katie’s perpective of a being a relatively new quilter around my age was something I’d relate to. It’s been great to start from the very first podcast and listen along, following her growth as a quilter and into teaching. She also shares fun stories about her Corgi’s and other interesting bits and pieces, I love her honesty.
“Your place for things quilty and geeky”. This podcast tickles my geeky funny bone like nothing else. Pam is absolutely hilarious, and somehow manages to create so many beautiful, varied quilts, all while keeping a detailed spreadsheet of her incoming & outgoing fabric, and sharing her love of cats.
This is another podcast that I started listening to right from the beginning (and naturally had to go back to the very first blog post and read those along with my podcast progress… stalker). I started listening to this podcast while still playing World of Warcraft and every now and then it reminds me of a certain place in the game, bit random but there you go.
This is a fairly new podcast, starting just a few months ago so I didn’t have to go back all that far to start at the beginning, and was caught up in no time. Brandy Lynn discusses a range of quilting topics, often with a focus on Canadian quilters and groups. I find it really refreshing to hear from someone else outside the US and there are regular segments I always look forward to, particularly “the gentle judge”.
This actually is a radio show, that is recorded and made available for download/listening afterwards. Pat Sloan hosts the show and usually has 3-4 guests who she interviews in each program. It’s a great way to hear from your favourite quilters and also discover new ones.
And if you’re looking for something a bit different, or have to occasionally bargin with your fellow travellers on a long road trip (like I do), then one of my favourite general knowledge podcasts is the Stuff You Should Know Podcast. If you just enjoy learning about new “stuff” or tend to be absorbed for hours in the wikipedia rabbit hole then you’re bound to enjoy this podcast. You’ll learn about the things you’ve heard of but never really understood or thought much about. For a quilty reference, listen to the episode on “How The Amish Work”.
You can search for podcasts on any other topic you like to. There are sports podcasts, music podcasts, movie & tv show podcasts… you name it, there’s probably someone out there talking about it on a podcast.
If you don’t know about the Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair, go check out my previous post, where I share how my interest and experience has changed over the last 4 years.
On top of the gorgeous quilts and great workshops & seminars, there are aisles and aisles and aisles of stalls selling just about everything for sewing, quilting, knitting & crochet, card marking, scrapbooking, beading and other crafty things, you’ll also find a lot of amazing gadgets and products you never knew existed.
Before heading to the show I put together a list of the things I was looking for and did a bit of research on some options before hand so that I was prepared. Included on the list were:
Some mini scissors & another thimble since I’ve lost mine somewhere…
It was a great show and very successful for me, I found almost everything I was after and of course, a few things not on the list as well. I didn’t manage to find the rulers, but did find a vendor and have since bought them online.
On to the loot! How pretty are these Perle 8 Cottons?
Perle Cottons by Valdani (top row) and Presencia (bottom row).
I got a great deal on the lamp from the Daylight Man stand, it’s perfect for my new sewing space (more on that soon). It’s a Daylight Slimline Table Lamp which clamps on to the back of my table and has a flexible arm so I can get it wherever I need it. It uses an energy efficient daylight bulb which is great for colour matching, easier on the eyes than normal lights and the bulb will last for ages. I love it so far and the difference in colour between the lamp and other lights is amazing.
I may have also found some fabric I just had to have from Material Obsession – an Alexander Henry print, Atzlen, from the same line as my first quilt back which I’ll be using to back the brother of my quilt.
Alexander Henry fabrics – Fiesta Firecracker as my quilt back (bottom) and Atzlen (top) for the back of another quilt to come.
Another favourite vendor is Kelani Fabric, every year they have amazing fabrics and patterns, this time I picked up some Echino bicycles, I’ve already used a piece of the green in a cushion back. It’s always lovely to chat to Saffron Craig at her stall and I can never resist her fabrics.
Left: Echino Nico Cycling in Chocolate, Fuscia and Green. Right: Valley View by Saffron Craig
I got a couple little presents for friends and decided to get a decent mini iron & rest. I have a cheap mini iron which is super handy, but it has a collapsing handle which is really annoying and it doesn’t get all that hot, but I know I’ll use it so figure it’s worth getting a decent one, especially since there won’t really be room for a full ironing board & big iron where I’ll be sewing from now on.
By far my favourite not-on-the-list finds was some awesome washi tape.
Super cute washi tape!
That’s it for another year of the Quilt & Craft Show. Maybe, just maybe, I might try to enter a quilt in next years show, and can continue to discover new aspects of the show.
Just over a week ago my feet hurt, my brain hurt, my wallet hurt a little bit to.
This is my fourth year making the pilgrimage to Sydney, which is about an hour and a half by train from where I live. The Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair combines a quilt show organised by the Quilters’ Guild of NSW, with over 400 quilts on display, as well as hands on workshops, seminars, textile displays, guest artists and 2 huge halls of stalls.
Check out this awesome timelapse video of the show setup, it’s so hard to imagine those halls as being empty!
The first year it was all about beads for me as that was my hobby at the time, and maybe a few costume trims. The second year I was getting into sewing but missed out on pretty much every workshop I wanted to try (didn’t get in early enough, silly girl).
Last year was all about trying new things, I’d planned out all the workshops I wanted to take and was there when the doors opened with a map of where I had to go to register. I learned English Paper Pieceing, Felt Appliqué and made a small mirror wallet on a Bernina sewing machine to try one out as I was considering upgrading.
My sample projects from the 2012 show.
This year I wanted to see the quilts. I’d wandered through the quilt show the year before but really just skimmed through a few aisles, maybe paused in front of a few quilts with bright colours but I couldn’t really appreciate them. This time I stopped, I looked at the overall quilt, I looked closely at the piecing and quilting, I read the makers story, and I could appreciate all the work that went into each quilt, whether it was to my taste or used my favourite techniques, or not.
Believe me when I say, the quilts were amazing! Some were ginormous (including this rainbow stunner by the Sydney Modern Quilt Guild), many had tiny, itty, bitty pieces, a few we’re blinged out with beads or Swarovski crystals. I saw at least 2 of the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt Easy Street and while the show is predominantly more traditional it was great to see some classic styles made in bright colours (Kaffe Fasset was popular) and a handful of more modern quilts as well.
I can’t share photos of all my favourite quilts, photography was only allowed for personal use and not to be put online without permission, so I’ll respect that. Luckily a day or two after the show I saw one of my favourite quilts pop up on twitter, I found the maker who has very graciously let me share it here, thanks Jenn! The colours, the quilting, the scrappy binding… this quilt was just a breath of fresh air.
Prism Perfect by Jenn, go check out some of her other awesome makes at pennypoppleton.com. Thank you to Sel who let me share her photo instead of my crap, indoor-lighting phone photo.
Honestly, after maybe 50-100 quilts I think my brain was so full of inspiration I don’t think I took much more in, I didn’t even get around to see all the quilts. I think next year I might split up my trip over 2 days so that I can take my time looking through the quilts and also get to some workshops and look around the stalls.
If you haven’t been before I’d highly recommend going, the Fair takes place in capitals around Australia throughout the year, though I’d assume the quilt show portion is put on by different local groups in each state. Take your time, enjoy the quilts, make a shopping list and try to stick to it. Check out my next post – Part 2: The Loot(coming soon) (finally here!) – to see what was on my list (and what wasn’t).
Kapow! Rainbow explosion! I went a bit crazy with this one…
There were two layout options for this star, this was the alternate version and as soon as I saw it I knew the white would outline the centre start to make it pop. You can see some examples of the two different layouts (along with the May block) on the Don’t Call Me Betsy blog.
The first dilemma was what to do in the corners. With the constant of the navy background across all my blocks I didn’t really want a hard square edge on each of those corners so I decided to use the same background in the corners, with a bit of colour bursting out.
The second dilemma was colour. I think my issue with coming up with a 2-4 colour combination is that being my 5th block I’d already used the more obvious harmonious and contrasting combinations. I tried a few and was getting nowhere so added all the colours and started moving them around and had a bit of fun making a rainbow, and it stuck.
My third dilemma was matching points. Oh boy… In my defence I tried to put this block together on my third day home sick while going a bit stir crazy and under the influence of cold & flu medication.
You can see in the middle of the half square triangles a point where white meets navy meets colour one meets colour two meets navy, and that happens on both sides. Trying to get that point to join nicely with 10 layers of fabric was painful (to be nice). Considering that, there’s only one that I really battled with, and still don’t love, and there are other points that could have been better but I did the best I could at the time and I’m calling this a learning piece.
My May block is designed, time to cut and piece ready for the June block coming out this weekend.