Saturday, June 10, 2023

Vintage Star

I've been trying hard this year to use up some of the different types of fabric I have.There's a huge stash of vintage material I've been collecting over the years and treasuring/hoarding.  I'm realising, finally, that if it's 'too precious' to use I might as well sell it all. So I picked a pattern and started cutting. 

This was a twelve inch Rolling Star type block, and I kitted 20 blocks quite easily. There were some fabrics that were pretty much used up, especially the lights, but I found that it's going to take a few tops to make a dent in the overall stash. That somehow makes the fabrics more useable because I'm not going run out any time soon. I intend to kit up a few more projects before I put the fabrics away again.

They went together quickly and I chose  sashing colours without too much fuss. I thought I was cheating because the pale yellow I used wasn't vintage, but then I realised it's thirty years old anyway, so it was getting on in age.

(Excuse the dreadful photo, my design wall is always in shadow)

Then I made border units of three and a half inch pinwheels and continued the sashing out to the final border, a vintage green  gingham. I can't get the colours to read true, it's much warmer and prettier in real life.

It's fun using these old fabrics, finally cutting into some of the most precious ones.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

A finished top....maybe?

I finished my top that I was agonising about, having run out of the gingham material I used in the sashing. Or rather, I didn't have enough for the final round. I really didn't want to introduce another fabric so I just moved on to another project. 

Then I realised that if I just cut 2" strips instead of the  2 1/2" sashing in the rest of the top, I could squeak it out. Maybe. I did have to piece some of the scraps together, but I made it in the end. 

I don't think the difference is a big deal, but the binding will chew up some of how much of the gingham shows, and I have no idea what I'll use for that. More agonising, or perhaps a small border? The decisions slow me down every time, sigh

Here it is spread on a queensize bed, so it could use a little bit extra round the edges, hmmm.....


Saturday, April 01, 2023

Ages ago Bonnie Hunter showed this vintage quilt on her blog and I filed the idea away in my memory. I'd already made a crib quilt using this block pattern, but once again I'd sold it. 

The half blocks as a border intrigued me, and I wanted to use a stack of fat quarters that were pretty, but not really my 'thing'. 

The actual block is really simple, and the half blocks just used two setting triangles on the sides to turn them into rectangles.  They were such fun to sew I didn't want to stop.

I tried lots of fabrics for the sashing and eventually decided on a vintage pink gingham. I miscalculated how much there was, and despite ekeing out every last little bit there wasn't enough to add the last round of half blocks. I scrabbled through the vintage stash and found a slightly different pink, and that got me to the outer edge, but now there's not enough for that final round, grr.

So I've been thinking about using a solid colour, either a pink or the blue to frame it, but I'm not too happy with the look. I'll come up with something, but I'll have to dwell on it for a while. I'm going to keep making these blocks though, they're so quick and easy to do.


Friday, March 24, 2023

Second time around

Many (many) years ago I sewed heaps of four patches as leader enders, from all sorts of different fabrics just to use them up. Then I put them together in a nine patch setting, and then they sat some more. In the earliest recorded appearance of these blocks I was setting them together on point, way back in January of 2006, a few weeks after starting this blog. Wow, that was along time ago.

Even at the time I was regretting using the pink and blue and other modern fabrics, because I wanted this to look like a reproduction quilt. But the blocks were there and had to be used for something, so I persisted.

I did like the finished top and it was duly quilted after we got the statler. Nevetheless I had it tucked away in my mind that I would remake it one day with more suitable fabrics.

Eventualy I sold it when we had our shop and I sort of regretted it, but realistically I didn't need two quilts of  the same design. However  now I was free to begin making the four patches from repro fabric and get started on the replacement blocks. 


I sewed on the four patches as leader-enders for quite a while last year, and had so many that I slightly changed the block construction. My original design had a plain square in the centre, but I substituted another four patch, so I could use an extra 42 or so. I ended up with three four patches leftover, how's that for efficiency? Hmm, that means I used 210 four patches, I'm glad I didn't have to make them all at once.


Next will be the frustrating task of choosing setting fabric, something that seems to bog me down over and over. Can't be too dark, can't be too light , can't be this colour or that.... I end up pulling out far too much fabric and messing everything up, and then have to put it away again. Which is fine if I find the right fabric, but just often ends in complete frustration. Still, this time might be different?


Sunday, February 26, 2023

This is Bonnie Hunters Winter Blues, finished in November of '22. It was actually started in May 2021, and was a great leader-ender for months and months.

The sixteen patches are one of my favourite blocks to sew and they piled up in a satisfying manner. However I decided to  make a slight difference in the alternating Puss in the Corner block which contained too many light areas for my taste. I made the rectangles pale blue and I really liked the added pattern it made in the surrounding blocks.

There were a couple places where the pale blue was so light the effect was broken but I consider it to be added interest. My main goal was using up all the pallid blue fabric that had sat in the stash for literally decades. 

I had never sewn a border like the one in the pattern, but it went together perfectly. I worried that the bias edges would be hard to handle but there weren't any problems. I think I'll do this again in the furure, a lot of vintge log cabins had borders similar to this one. 

I was hoping that my scrap buckets of blues would be totally depleted with this top, but amazingly they weren't. The paler blues have diminished somewhat, but I still have lots and lots of blue scraps, mainly gifts from Keryn, who has made a lot of blue quilts over the years.And then passed those scraps, excess parts of blocks, triangles and strips on to me. She's always had a 'cutting problem' and I've always welcomed the influx into my stash. But this year I've decided I want to cut into my yardage as well, so even though I'll always pick what I can from scraps and already cut shapes, I really want to play in the drawers of beautiful fabrics as well.

These are some of the quilts I've made to try and use all my blue scraps and I'm amazed that I still seem to have so much. They're worse than a sourdough starter, it seems the more I play with them, the more they multiply!

Small Blue Chain

Blue Lake

Scrappy Mountain Majesties

25 patch
The 25 patch was made with the scraps from the mountain majesties, and there were still leftovers to go into the scrap drawers, sheesh.

Blue Chain.
I would estimate that 80 % of this blue fabric came from scraps;  mine, Keryn's, donations from friends or found at the op shop.I'm grateful for all the fun I've had sewing them, but it's time for the stash to come out to play too.


Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Antique Chain top

I started these blocks to use up scraps of large florals and some charm squares in early 2020. I posted about my progress here.

The alternating blocks were so easy to make that I still have about fifty in the Drawer of Requirement, ready to start off another one.

The photo makes it look a bit patchy and very busy, but in real life I think it just seems rich and textured. The addition of the large brown floral border contained the fabrics and pulled it all together.

I used this square just above the centre, so that I could tell which way to put the quilt on the bed. The couple playing Blind Man's Buff  (or bluff) seemed to demand attention anyway.

This pattern sewed up an enormous amount of hard to use scraps, and went together very easily, so I'm thinking another one, perhaps as a lighter variation will be in the works someday.


Wednesday, February 08, 2023

2022 Tops

My quilt diary tells me I finished twelve tops in 2022, four were new projects, and eight were UFO's. However I started ten new projects so the rough total of projects remained about the same. (I'm not confessing that number by the way, I don't care how many I have but some folks take me to task over it.)

In no particular order.....

This is a sort of Rolling Star design, made with vintage fabrics. The blocks were really easy to do and I loved the pinwheel border.

I made this at the start of 2022, and blogged about it here.

I also blogged about this little top before

Winter Blues,  a Bonny Hunter Quiltville pattern

A plaid top I called Gridlock.

I think I called this Antique Chain

No name yet, probably Checkered something

Two baby quilts

Three little flannel baby quilts

I'll do posts about them in more detail later on, just want to get them on the record for now.


Wednesday, January 18, 2023


We were up at dawn next day so we could get on the road before it got too hot, but John noticed one of the tires had a slow leak. Matt fixed it in fifteen minutes, finding a screw that had imbedded itself in the tire. 

Rob and co had left even earlier, as they had an extra three hours to travel, and we'd said our goodbyes the night before. There were hugs for Sam and Matt, and thanks for everything and then we were off.

The first 100 k was the dirt road and it was very windy and plenty bumpy over numerous creek crossings and soon the girls started saying they felt sick. Sure enough, they all succumbed  after half an hour, making the stress level in the car rocket up. I texted Elisa and she said Logan and Eddie had been sick too. Perhaps the early start and hitting the dirt road first up was rough on them but we were not happy travellers! Fortuneatly they hadn't had anything to eat as we intended to stop along the highway for breakfast, so it wasn't as unpleasant as it could have been.

Once we got onto the bitumen the symptoms subsided and they all started complaining about being hungry, good grief. We stopped in Hawker for a drink and some crackers we had in the car, I didn't want to risk giving them anything else to eat. 

We got home about 2.30 and everyone was relieved to get out of the car. 

Then we had to unpack and wash sicky things and sort out everything. What a day....

The night before Matt and I had been cleaning up in the kitchen, when I asked "Have you enjoyed having your family up here?" and he said "It's been great!" Then he added with a big grin "But it will be good when you've all gone home!" Yes, it's nice when life gets back to 'normal'. 


Sunday, January 15, 2023

Boxing day

On Boxing day Matt wanted to take us on the Ridgetop tour, but my back couldn't stand four hours of bouncing around in the 4wd. To compromise, at 8 am he and I set off for Coulthard's lookout, which is the first half hour of the track. I still thought it was pretty rough, but Matt said it had been graded since the rains, and it was good going. I did a lot of hanging on and gripping the phone tightly as I tried to take photos; if I'd lost it out the window it would have been smashed on the rocks, or fallen hundreds of feet down the slopes. 

Matt was driving a Land Cruiser, and he's fallen in love with these vehicles, they can go places that look utterly impassable.

We kept climbing higher and higher, and I ran out of adjectives to describe the views, amazing, stunning, incredible, awesome...

The track twisted and turned and climbed and climbed until we reached the lookout, which Matt really wanted me to see. Yes, for the views, but also because one of his jobs had been to completely replace all the wood on the structure, which had rotted and was becoming unsafe. 

He'd had to make the  trip to Adelaide, 630 miles each way, dragging a big trailer, to buy the wood and fixtures, the stain and paint and take it all back.

Then when he started the work he had to drive up here every day with the wood and all his tools until the job was done. He's so proud of it, and I think he did a fantastic job.

The view wasn't bad either!

I forget what this hill was called, but if the photo is enlarged you can see a pale strip running across the horizon. That is Lake Frome, an enormous inland salt lake. 

The scale of this country is hard to take on board, and I wonder at the reactions of overseas tourists who come out here.What do they make of such harsh conditions and the remoteness of the area?

When we were driving up to Arkaroola Lily lamented that she'd left her purse behind. We explained that it didn't matter, because there were no shops anyway. All three girls said "No shops?!' in astonished tones. I suppose shopping is a part of the culture now, more's the pity.

Keryn and I and our brother Greg made quite a few trips to the northern Flinders area when we were in our teens and there was a school camp to Arkaroola when we were 16 or so. How the teachers managed thirty teenagers in a bus on the dreadful roads, setting up tents every night, feeding us all, making it such a fantastic experience I'll never know. They were either brave, or foolhardy. I'd taken the boys to a camp at Angorichina when they were younger, and neice Seonaid worked at Parachilna so we knew what the area was like, but some people must find the country a bit of a shock to the system.  I kept replying to the kids complaints (bull ants, heat, dust, insects etc etc ) ...You're in the Outback now!!

And this was a good season, with lots of rain, when there's drought it's even harsher.

We bumped back down the track and then Matt turned around and took Rob, John and Logan on the whole ridgetop tour. He really does love driving and he's learning all the information so that he can become one of the regular tour guide/drivers.

For the rest of us there was swimming and reading and later in the aftrnoon (fortunately after everyone had come back) there was a thunderstorm and rain which cooled us down a bit.

One last meal of Christmas leftovers and then an evening swim at sunset. Perfect.


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