Thursday, April 30, 2015

Butterfly Kisses

The soft and beautiful appeal of this quilt once basted has made me even more eager to complete it so it can be in everyday use as soon as possible. 

Basting on our large dining/homeschool table is much less of an effort than crawling around on the floor. I began one night after evening meal and completed basting early the next morning.

 As the fabrics and design provide plenty of detail for the eyes already, I had been trying ti think of a subtle quilting technique, preferably by hand. I recently saw a new-to-me quilting technique using little hand stitched crosses demonstrated by Jen Kingwell on a Fat Quarter Shop YouTube clip (at the beginning and in detail around the 7 minute mark on the clip), the perfect effect I was looking for. After testing a variety threads I settled on DMC stranded cotton embroidery thread for the quilting, using two threads, just as I did in my cross stitch days of years ago. The finish is so soft to the hand.

Below are a series of photos to show the main process, however I suggest you check out the YouTube clip mentioned above for more details. You begin and finish your thread length by burying your knotted end in the batting. Each cross only takes one small pinch through all three layers (first step as shown below). When moving between crosses you travel the needle and thread through the batting only, surfacing in the location of your next little random cross.

It is quite a quick and fun technique, with no need for exactness. It feels like I am lightly landing here and there, adding little kisses to the butterflies - which has led to me naming this quilt Butterfly Kisses.

For the backing I have chosen a length of the Sarah Watson's stunning Biology feature print with a narrower strip of Biology Floral Burst in Navy added above and below to cover the size required - here it is draped over my ironing board prior to basting.

Above you can see the quilt back showing the gentle quilted effect of the little pinches of fabric. They blend in nicely with the fabrics chosen.

Now about half way through the quilting, the subtle little crosses in matching off white give just the effect I was hoping for and are a pleasure to stitch. Thank you Jen Kingwell! 

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

100 Years

Ernest Jackson, Gallipoli casualty

Today is ANZAC Day, a day when we in Australia remember and honour those who have fought in wars to keep our country safe and to uphold justice. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The 25th April is the date which marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by the Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War (Gallipoli in 1915). My great uncle Ernest was in that first landing. He died a week later, the day before his 25th birthday, after being wounded 28th April 1915 at Gallipoli. 

This ANCAZ Day, 2015, marks the 100th year since that ill-fated landing. I remember my Grandmother speaking of her early days, she loved her brother Ernest deeply and named the first of her six sons after him. I've learnt a little more about him and my family history here today. His younger brother, Henry, was in the same battalion, served in WWI for over 4 years and lived to be 74.
Their service, our heritage - Lest We Forget.

***Thank you Rod for you comment and link to more information (47 pages) 
from the National Archives. It was obviously very difficult for families trying to source any information or assistance regarding their lost loved ones. It was great to be able to see my great grandfather's handwriting too.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Silver Trimmings

This week we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and I would love to be able say that life is wonderful, but it isn't, and that's ok. For 25 years we have struggled with my husband's various health issues, adapting our family's lifestyle to accommodate his needs. Thankfully he has been well enough to keep a full-time job for most of these years. The last 13+ months have been seen us face one major health challenge after another, stretching us in ways we hadn't imagined. I'm hoping that by the time our next anniversary comes around he may be able to hold a decent conversation for more than a few minutes, to be capable of working part-time, that maybe his skin will tolerate being hugged and that it would be possible to sleep in the same room again. Maybe we will be able to go out for an hour or two as a family, all of us. That he will find peace in his body and mind. In the meantime we continue to rely on God's grace, and a good deal of determined perseverance.

Despite all this, we know he loves us all dearly. I was able to choose a silver chain as his special gift, and he was pleased. The children baked treats and prepared a special afternoon tea just for two, with flowers from the garden and an abundance of chocolates to share. They also insisted I had the day off from homeschooling while they cleaned windows, baked and made a yummy cheesecake for dessert! There is so much to be thankful for.

Hockey season is in full swing, a change from our summers of cricket. 
Miss N was awarded a small sports grant by our local federal MP. 
My Biology quilt top is complete. 
I have bought a Trimmings pack from Umbrella Prints. Their annual Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge will finish in a few weeks. I'm not sure if I will make something to enter or continue working on my current quilt. Meanwhile those lovely organic Moody Blues fabrics sit calling my name too.....

Sunday, April 19, 2015

"The Inheritance"


Some of the words, by Graham Cooke.

Our pastor finished his message with this powerful clip today - I want to listen to it again......

Thursday, April 16, 2015


It was a case of less is more. With Miss O's eye for colour and design we removed five colours of the solid coloured hourglass blocks - two shades of pink, a deep teal, light blue and dandelion yellow. Each of these eliminated colours worked well with at least one of the prints from Sarah Watson's Biology collection, however when they were all placed together we had a rabble, not a harmonious swarm! Thankfully I had made extra blocks, leaving enough for a nice sized quilt as well as some lovely bright solid blocks for a future project.

All the blocks have been sewn into their rows and pressed with seams in alternate directions to nest together better. The rows of blocks waiting to be sewn together now look like shingles on a roof or perhaps like the minute overlapping scales on a butterfly's wing.

Sharing at WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

They Come, They Go

We love to have them come home and are always sad to see them go, yet it is right that they continue their education, following their dreams, for our eldest two are now 20 and 23. Although their visits overlapped by only three days, we did manage a fun barbecue lunch at a lookout less than an hour's drive from home. I had been here once before, about 17 years ago, when the twins were little babies.

A pleasant drive but not a particularly impressive lookout nor facilitates to encourage visitors (other than cows!). The company however was the very best and that's what really matters. 

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