Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Melbourne magic

Last week my daughter and I met up at Sydney airport and zoomed interstate for a few days to Melbourne. A highlight for me was to be a visit to the National Gallery of Victoria, to their exhibition  The Making of the Australian Quilt. It did not disappoint - exquisite antique quilts, beautifully displayed!

The Mary Tolman quilt 
And here's what I'm gazing at ...divine fabrics and tiny stitches!

No I don't know the lady - she looks mesmerised
Have a look at Miriam's post for her favourite quilt. I couldn't pick one I liked best - loved so many of them! There are also some great pics at The History Blog. If you click on their photos the detail is amazing. It was a great opportunity to get up close and examine the detail of the quilters' work. 

We had fun reading all the 'words of wisdom' on The Westbury quilt: 

Wonderful fussy cut paper piecing (above) in an unfinished hexagon quilt made by the wife of the Governor of NSW around 1846. Sadly she never completed it as she was killed in a carriage accident in 1847.

The old recycled printed papers still in unfinished work makes for a history study in itself - and there's me squinting to read them. 

Inspirational borders that caught my eye:
Quilt by Mary Jane Hannaford


It was very exciting for DD and I to see the original Auntie Green coverlet 

Such a variety of beautiful colours. Quite a masterpiece - especially considering the limitations of lighting at the time.

This was the version I made as a wedding gift for DD in her choice of neutral shades. It was made from the pattern by Irene Blanck (with some little variations).

I do love it and the colours she chose ...but now I am seriously tempted to make a more colourful version for myself. Add that to the 'To Do' list ...

Some momentos from the NGV - including a beautifully illustrated, heavy publication, a cloth tote bag, magnet, book mark and card.  

Sadly the Auntie Green does not feature in the book.  Good thing I took a lot of photos!

And what else did we do in Melbourne? We also enjoyed the exhibition of Australian Fashion through the Ages (also at the NGV) 
I was fascinated by the hand stitched detail in some of the older pieces - so many buttonholes stitched by hand! No sewing machines till 1850's. 

And then there were a lot of more colourful modern creations. Which would you rather be wearing, given a choice?! 
The pant suit looks comfortable and she must be a busy sewer - just look how many threads she's picked up!

I popped in to the Melbourne Quilt Show to see the Victorian Quilt Showcase. There were some lovely quilts - especially some expert broderie perse and hand quilting. Unfortunately no photo sharing allowed - sorry. If you click on the link there are pictures of a few of the quilts that won ribbons. One of them is a lovely machine quilted Caswell quilt (Threadbear pattern by Corliss Searcey) but there was also another Caswell that was beautifully hand appliqued and hand quilted - just gorgeous. 

We caught up with Melbourne friends, caught a musical (Mathilda), a movie (the new Ghostbusters), a few delicious meals at little eateries, and explored the shops - perfect!
Now back to quilting with renewed energy...

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Harrison Rose finished

I started Harrison Rose in June 2015 using a lovely reproduction pattern by Dawn Collector with a Needle. With relatively little piecing on the top, and a thin batting (Quilters Dream Request cotton) the hand quilting has been a breeze.

It measures 69 inches square as I only made nine blocks (instead of sixteen) - a great size for hanging or lap.

Then I machine washed it (with colour catchers just in case), and blocked it on the floor to dry. No colour runs - the catchers were clean - phew! 

It dried very quickly after a good spin, and has a nice soft and crinkly feel - just how I like it - am so pleased.

So where will we live? 
Could be here...

Or here...
Settled on here...


With that finished it was time to get another quilt prepped for hand quilting. I decided on Wheat and Woods and I'm using the same cotton batting again. 

Meanwhile I have decided to finish my SVBAQ BOM - at just nine blocks. Somehow it's not thrilling me any more - possibly because of my colour choices. Click on the link to see lots of beautiful versions in progress - like Wendy's with a gorgeous cheddar background.

We finally had a day without wind so I whipped the blocks outside for a photo together - the flowers do a little to cheer up the winter garden.

I'm thinking they might look better together with some pieced sashing ...but am not sure? I'll let them sit for a while hoping inspiration strikes. 

The Chapman Coverlet is an 1829 coverlet in the collection of the V&A museum in London. It has been on my "to do" list for a very long time. Finding plastic templates available from Susan Smith decided me - time to take it on! I've still not put away all the fabrics pulled for my Benjamin Biggs quilt top (waiting in the quilting queue) so am using the same reds and greens, and adding black, cheddar and yellows. The centre will be constructed around a red floral piece that has been in the stash a few years waiting for "the right moment".

I found that needleturn applique on the little 2 inch squares somehow aggravated the arthritis pain in my hands - the tight gripping of such small pieces perhaps. So I cut some card templates for the applique pieces and adapted the foil and iron method. 
It works beautifully! more time spent on prep but the applique is quick and requires less precision than needleturn, so is easier on the hands. 

 I found the perfect box to store my squares - can you believe it?! A couple of years ago I got the gift of a china mug from the V&A museum - in a presentation box. The box was too lovely to throw away...

If anyone's read this far -  well done! I've been a bad blogger and that's a two month round up. Must try to blog better...