Monday 29 December 2014

New Year Bliss

The week between Christmas and New Year is one of my favourite times of the year. There are no appointments, no work commitments , and the whole family can relax at home doing their own thing. I get to sew!
Fabrics are everywhere, designs are playing around happily in my head, and ideas begin to transform themselves into projects.

I have been able to start and nearly finish  my counted cross stitch pin keep from Blackbird Designs.
My sewing purse made from half inch hexagons has been very useful indeed as I move to follow the best sunlight around the house and it gives me great joy to look at each day.

I have decided to play around with making 6 inch blocks with a few fabrics I picked up in Houston , and at the Cottage Quiltworks in Warriewood. I have made about 20 so far.
Here are a few of my favourites


A love affair has started for me with the colour I call musky lilac. The blocks are dictating the quilt they wish to be made into.  Using black and white border prints is adding a fresh, modern twist to the traditional blocks which I like on point. 

Do you make New Year Resolutions? I don't, although I do pause and consider the blessing of another year to share with friends and family. I know I drive people crazy with my optimism and my effervescent  enthusiasm but that's the way I choose to see the world. Sure- I talk too much, I love food too much, I cry like an empath and I have way too many things to do in a day but really wouldn't want to drastically change the status quo. Friends would worry there was something wrong!  Perfection is way over rated in my book. So here is to the New Year and to imperfections . That's what makes life fascinating.

Happy sewing, Miriam x

Monday 22 December 2014

Christmas Greetings

It is Christmas. Another year has slipped  past. Whilst I had every intention of being able to 'do it all!' this year, I must gracefully accept that life has its own way of nudging things along and pointing us in directions we could not even begin to imagine. 

What I love about the holiday season is the time we are given to gather together with loved ones, and the time we are given to reflect and remember fondly those who are no longer with us. Our lives are enriched by those we meet along the way. As Barbara Streisand sings " people who need people are the luckiest people in the world". Thank you to all my friends and family for your love, your friendship, your laughter and  your tears aa we ride life's  roller coaster  together. 

Giving - a word that is synonymous with sewers and quilters alike. May this festive season be a time of making and giving, as we pour our hearts and souls into tiny stitches that come together as thoughtful gifts. 


Wishing you all a peaceful holiday. Happy sewing, Miriamxxx

Monday 15 December 2014

The Brad Pitt Border

Ah! The Brad Pitt Border. This border, which is on my version of Marg Sampson George's Not the Levens Hall Quilt, has the ability to look great on many a quilt. It is a wonderful way to use up special fabric pieces and scraps left over from central medallions.

Here is an overall view of the quilt border.

Below are some close ups. I have used some of my favourite fabrics in the strip pieces.

In the checkerboard section below notice how the light fabric pieces are not all made from the same fabric. Some are small dot, some are crowns. This detailing adds greatly to the visual interest of the quilt. These sections are constructed square by square, and not strip pieced. This means that each checkerboard is unique. Notice also that the coloured squares contain a range of colours from light to dark, which gives it depth and movement. 

I hope you enjoyed looking at the border in detail. I adored making it. I felt as if I was creating a singing picture in fabric. 

Happy sewing, Miriamx 

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Not the Levens Hall Quilt in close up.

In my last post I showed this quilt top. I am glad so many of you liked it.This quilt makes me smile every time I look at it. There is plenty to see if you look closely.

There have been a few requests for close up shots so I though I would start with the quilt centre square in this post. This is anatomy of a quilt 101! 

Firstly, let's begin with the central hexagon medallions.


Each medallion is fussy cut, and hand pieced using the paper piecing technique. I had a tiny piece of the pansy fabric, so used it cleverly in three of the medallions to unify them.

Which is your favourite medallion? 

In my next post I will show close ups of the border. My friends have named the border the Brad Pitt border- because it looks great with everything!! 
Happy Sewing, love Miriam x 

Thursday 4 December 2014

A fabulous year of quilting

Thank you for visitng my blog. It is always wonderful to have you join me. Please stop by often.

Firstly, the wedding of my niece Laura was beautiful. Welcome to our family Matt.

 Laura was glowing and everything was perfection. My grandmother's exquisitely embroidered table runner was placed underneath the cake. This was such a wonderful touch and meant so much to my Mum, my sister and me.

As the end of year is approaching, I thought I would start to revisit some of my quilts made this year.
I started the year with making a quilt for a 1920's cane lounge we had at home. I took off the Kaffe Fassett fabric that I had covered the seat with and reworked it into a quilt. 

Next I designed a quilt for my sister and her husband. Using a mixture of techniques- paper piecing, appliqué and machine piecing, a beautiful quilt using Civil War Reproduction fabrics was born. I wanted to use the red, as it matched a chair in my sister's bedroom. The red worked well with the prints and really let the quilt sing. Jo-Ann Philips did a sensational job custom quilting it. Thank you Jo! 

My special treat this year has been attending classes taught by Margaret Sampson George. I hand pieced this quilt top . It is yet to be quilted as I am not sure yet how best to handquilt it, but I will keep you posted. It is a bright, happy quilt with lots of lovely things to look closely at. 

I also joined Brigitte Giblin's Trip Around the World challenge. With instructions to use a red dot as the central square, to hand sew by eyeballing each quarter inch seam, and not to press as you go. - the adventure began. Here is my quilt top, which I am currently hand quilting in a cross thatch pattern.

My eldest son Nathan turned 21 this year too, so of course he had to have a quilt. 

I also put together this quilt for my Dad. He loves it. 

It has been a wonderful quilty year, but that is more than enough for one post! I also did a few other things too - next time I will show and tell.
Happy sewing, Miriamx

Friday 28 November 2014

A wedding! Congratulations to Matt and Laura.

My niece Laura is getting married today. Hooray! We are all so excited. The weather is perfect and the hair appointment  time is approaching for my daughter Hannah and I to have our up-dos done together. The boys have new outfits, shiny shoes and even the cars have been polished both inside and out! If you like I will post a few snapshots of the wedding in coming days.

Why I mention the wedding is that quilters adore weddings! By nature, quilters are givers, and they love the thought that their loved ones can be wrapped in love with a handmade quilt they have made especially for them. Blessed is the person born into a quilting family!

With that said, here is Matt and Laura wrapped in the lap quilt I designed and made for them. I used half square triangles and played with  light and dark contrasts. It is modern, vibrant and fun loving, just like them both. The quilt has already found the perfect spot in their first home.

It has been a year of quilt giving for me, and in the next few posts I will do a retrospective of my quilts for 2014, so pop by often to check them out.

My tissues are packed, and my mascara is of the industrial strength waterproof variety. For those of you who know me, I am an empathic crier, so you can just imagine how hopeless I am going to be at the wedding, when we all turn to see Laura coming down the aisle and hear the music. Oh dear - here come the tears of joy already!
Happy sewing, happy days...  Miriam x

Sunday 23 November 2014

Bags Galore!

Just before I went away, I held my first 2 bag workshops at the Cottage Quiltworks in Warriewood . There was much sewing done during the workshops, but little did I know that even more would continue at home, and here are some of the spectacular results, courtesy of Fairholme Quilters Blog.

Georgie has finished this beautiful small bag, in addition to her fabulous Whopper Shopper.

Margaret made this beautiful bag ,complete with shoulder strap.

One of Lynn's granddaughters will be very happy this Christmas with this adorable fairy themed bag.

Pat made this trendy shopping bag. Don't you just love the use of blues and lime greens!

All these bags are beautifully lined, and many have zippers cleverly inserted too. There are more to show in future posts. 

With such hot weather happening here in Sydney, I decided to stay indoors and have a closer look at my "scrap bag" purchase from Cherrywood Fabrics  I am in love with these solid colours, and my mind is abuzz with ideas for using these pieces. I will keep you posted. 

Happy sewing, Miriam x

Monday 17 November 2014

Thank you Kimberly Jolly from the Fat Quarter Shop

Today I felt like Santa. I was able to see all my friends from Fairholme Quilters this morning, and give them the books so generously donated by Kimberly Jolly from The Fat Quarter Shop when I met her in Houston.

Everyone was thrilled to receive them for our library. The books are filled with quilts perfect for our community quilt needs, with clear instructions and lots of great ideas for using precuts. The quilts are fresh and timeless, suiting both our young and senior quilt recipients. 

Thank you Fat Quarter Shop . 
Happy reading and quilt making Fairholme Quilters,
Miriam x 

Friday 14 November 2014

No Place Like Home

It is true that I have had the most amazing few weeks in the USA . I thank you all for following me on this blog . I have loved sharing just some of the highlights of my whirlwind adventures with you and I do so hope that you will stay tuned to my blog, as I ramble on about my life in stitches. Please feel free to comment when you feel like it. I love hearing from you all.

So , I am back home. How sweet it is to be back with my family and friends. My bags are unpacked,  the washing pile is depleting, and I am slowly adjusting to the time zone. My sewing room looks like a bomb has hit it, but that's nothing new! I have 2 bags of goodies to enjoy delving into over the next few months. 

I usually buy printed fabrics, but I seem to be also turning towards beautiful coloured plain fabrics at the moment. The orange bag has some wool felt bundles in it, that are just crying out to be used in some small, cheerful projects. So much choice, and such little time!

Before I start designing new bags and new small projects, I need to finish the Trip Around the World Quilt that I have been hand piecing over the last several months, with  Brigitte Giblin's Facebook TAW group. The top is finished.  What do you think of it as a table topper? 

It is always good to have things to look forward to, and I am looking forward to seeing my friends at Fairholme Quilters on Monday morning. 
Happy Sewing, Miriamx 

Monday 10 November 2014

Last Day

My last  full day in New Yok was Autumn perfect. I explored the Guggenheim, where my favourite exhibit was Kandinsky Before  Abstraction. I have always loved his use of colour in his abstracts, so it was really interesting to see his woodblock prints and early painting. 

Then I just had to do some window shopping at Tiffany and Co. and Bergdorf Goodman. The Christmas windows have just started appearing and here is one of Bergdorf Goodmans sparkling beauties.
My final night was spent at Ellen's Stardust Diner,where all the waiters sing Broadway tunes.
A fitting end to a wonderful American Adventure. Happy Sewing, Miriamx

Sunday 9 November 2014

Purl Soho

Quilters are usually very talented people, and often enjoy doing other hand crafts too.  I also love to knit and crochet in the cooler months, and with this in mind I stopped by Purl Soho to check it out.

Barbara was happy to be photographed with a bright array of solids in the background. They also have a marvelous range of tempting Liberty Prints.  On the wall they display them in this pretty way

If you like luscious wools and wool felts, then you would like it here too. 
Being the consummate tourist I also walked across the Brooklyn Bridge this afternoon ( carefully!) This is a must do for anyone coming to New York. 

Happy Sewing , Miriam x 

Saturday 8 November 2014

Art , but could be a quilt too!

Mama Mia! The MoMA is the best. Sometimes I feel like the world is standing still and I am in heaven. Today was one of those times. The MoMA has just opened a Matisse exhibition of his paper cuts. Well, if ever there was an art exhibition that "speaks" to a modern quilter, then this is it. 

Whether you are a modern quilter , or a lover of appliqué , there was inspiration everywhere.

I was struck by his clear use of colour, positive/ negative space ,and shape composition. 

Of course , there was also the regular pieces on display- Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh. 

Mondrian is just asking for modern quilt interpretation

I found a few textile pieces too. This piece by Al Loving reminded me of a few stray batik strips in my stash.

This piece named "Bed" by Robert Rauschenberg incorporates an old quilt in its composition. He tries to act in the gap between art and life. I think about quilts that way too, and I am sure I am not alone.

That was my day , and I am content.
Happy sewing, Miriam x