Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pfffttttt! to Pintees.

Ahhh bugga!
I thought I was sooooooo smart!

Oh well, I still have them for sale and I'll send them off to Mortals too from here if you like.
$2 each plus postage . . . . let's say $3:00 all up and I'll supply the little padded bag and stamp to send them to your Mortal.



I invented and made Pintees to give away to the quilters that attended the Bathurst Bun Fight in 2010.

Not many came so I still have a few Pintees left.
I have decided to sell them.
So far I have sold 3 to Angels for little pressies for the  2011 SCQ Retreat Angel/Mortal swap.
If you are interested contact me at my email
deequilter@yahoo dot com

My invention.

A pin cushion on a golf tee that sits inside a cotton reel.
Small & useful.
I thought of them.
I made them.
I sell them.

Friday, September 24, 2010


 When I got home from work on Monday, there was a parcel waiting for me. I looooove parcels . . . especially ones I don't know what is inside. And it's especially nice to get a present when I get home from a morning shift, 'cause my 'evil twin' does morning shifts and she's not in a good mood by the time she gets home.

It was my prize from Pathwork Promises.
Wooo hooo!!!!!
Go here to check them out:

Patchwork Promises is one of the quilt shops I 'follow' on Face Book. And they wanted us to put up photos of finished articles to go in a draw. So I put up a photo of the 4 needle cases I made from a an Annie Downs design . . . . and I won the draw??

Well, this is what I won!

There's a really great book "Material Obsession" by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke, which I fell asleep reading that night, not because it's dull, oh no, but because I have been working morning shifts and I crash every night I'm on them. Not even a really good quilt book will keep me awake much past 7pm when I'm doing morning shifts. (so I had to try again the next night and the next.) And I've earmarkes two quilts in it that I want to do, which means I now have to live to 143 years old. Plus a 25pc 'Slice' of really yummy blues and greens from the Flutterby series, a hera marker which is something I've always wanted, and a you-beaut 'Karisma' propelling pencil/marker, including a refil of white leads.

Now, is THAT a good prize or what!???

All for just putting up a photo, . . . . easy peasy.

So next time you see a give-away prize for visiting a site or blog,
Maybe you will be happy dancing (in your jammies) too!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Machine Quilting It My Way

I just cannot get my head around this machine quilting gig. And it's not as if I haven't tried, and tried and tried . . . . and tried. I've had lessons and lots of advice from some of the best in the business, so yes, I can say, I really have given it a really good go.

Stippling is beyond me, and I no longer attempt 'decorative' loop-de-loops, squiggles, swirls, petals and leaves etc, not after a disasterous attempt at 'flowers and leaves' inside nine patches across a child's quilt that still languished in the back of the cupboard somewhere.
And so, . . . I meander . . . .  but my meandering is more like the route of a herd of thirsty elephants with a wallow in the mud when they get there. I call it elephantwalking or elephantandering.
And there's something about 'in the ditch' that just doesn't happen after about 2-3 inches of creeping down a seam-line. With my 'let-them-lay-where-they-may' philosophy when it comes to some quilts whose seams go every which way, SITD is usually not a possibility.
And I sew want to be good at this! I have far too many quilts to be quilted to ever be able to afford to have all of them tended to by a professional.

So I do it anyway.
Sometimes I'm happy, sometimes I'm not.

I always make very careful choices of the backing fabric when I know I am going to be quilting it. It has to be 'busy' and not too pale. Busy backings hide a multitude of sins. And I'm also very careful about the thread I use on top. I don't want it to stand out, so I usually choose a varigated thread in colours to blend in with all the fabrics used in the top. I audition a few choices of thread by laying the quilt down on the floor and drizzling a few yards of each possible thread choice over a part of the quilt. (usually three or four reels of possibilities and 'drizzle' it over a good quarter of the quilt).  Then I leave it alone for a while to decide for itself. I check back occaisonally to see it the quilt has 'accepted' or 'discarded' the candidates. Remember, I'm looking for something that totally blends in, NOT stand out. The thread in the bobbin always blends in with the backing, and is usually of one colour, not varigated. When the thread is chosen, I usually procrastinate a few days, . . weeks, . . . . years, again until I feel the 'urge' or the stress of not having it finished gets to me.

And then with or without a glass of wine, with or without tango music, I go for it!

First I elephantwalk a strip about a foot wide right down the middle of the quilt spreading my meander (erradically) about 3 to 6 inches to the left and the right of the centre line until I run it off the border at the bottom. I have a kind of F/F/F/  

pattern rhythm that just sort of happens now and then and then goes away when it wants too, but it's usually just random wandering of about 1/2 to 1 1/2 inch distance from each other (whatever happens, wherever it goes), taking care not to 'cross the line' in too many really obvious places. 

Then I go back to the the top of the quilt to the right of the centre scrawl and do it again, until I back myself into a corner or reach the bottom. If I do BMIC, I swear the appropriate F word (to go with the pattern) and just end off there and begin again somewhere else. (I find this happening less and less the more quilts I elephantander). Then when that right side is finished, I turn the quilt over, and starting near the center strip of previous elephantandering, I wander down the other right side of the quilt.
Once it's all finished, binding on and all, I hang the quilt up and stand back and have a look.

It really will!
Trust me . . . . I'm a quilter!

I don't usually tell the person I'm giving it too that I did the quilting. And I certainly DO NOT say, "don't look too closely at the quilting, it's not very good 'cause i did it myself", cause that will be the first thing they do. My theory is, If I've made the quilt for them then they probably are not a quilter, so they are not really going to know how good or bad the machine quilting is, are they?

So there you have it . . . . I've fessed up and feel better about my machine quilting. Do you?

Oh!, the best tip I can give you is "GARDEN GLOVES" the cotton kind with little rubbery bumps on the palms. (to fit your hand snugly, not too big in size) And hey, the Sunday Telegraph is giving away the perfect kind with every copy today.

Friday, September 10, 2010


View IVY

It's my standard I Spy quilt. 

The big squares are cut 6.5" and the small are cut 3.5". The small patches are made into a Four Patch and each 4P is paired up with something completely different from the big square pile.
There is an Australian and New Zealander theme to this one. Ivy's daddy's family are Australian and her mummy's family are New Zealanders. So not only has it got koalas and kangaroos and crocodiles and such, but it also has kiwis, pukekos, fern carvings and things. Her grand-daddy Ron was very fond of horses too so there are a few of them included. He was an Australian buck-jump champion in his youth.

September - garden

Sunday, September 5, 2010

NAPCAN : What can I do?

I am a victim of childhood abuse - I don't know how, but I am still here. Damaged but alive.
The brutal physical and insidious psycological damage inflicted on me by a parent has affected me all my life. Only in the past 15 years have I come to terms with it all and learnt to let go. I now understand why that parent was the way they were. But I will never forgive. I don't have to. There is no excuse to treat children in such a manner.
I am 58.
I am a survivor.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

2001 SCQuilters Queensland Retreat Siggy Squares

I have been ratting around in the sewing room finding all my UFOs and in the last couple of weeks that I have been off work I have embarked upon OPERATION UFO. 
There's heaps of them! I've been photographing them as I have found them and have been putting the photos up onnmy face Book wall where a few discussions have gone on as to what to do with them. 
I dragged out the box of siggy squares I have collected since I joined Scquilters back in 1998 and somewhere along the way decided a Disappearing Nine Patch would be a good Idea. . . . and it was . . . it looks quite good, . . . but the top (which s probably the stage it will stay at for a while) has turned out bigger than I expected. So I won't be doing that again! I don't want these siggy square quilts to go on beds. I have some vague idea that they can hang on my display wall in between 'real' quilt projects. I added a blue and white Hawaiian print fabric for the centre patch of the starting 9 patch block.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gone up again

Weight's going up

will have to get back on the program.

motivation - low
energy - low
mood - low

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Here’s how I put longer legs over the legs of my table to raise it to the height I like for basting and cutting.
First of all, I started out with a plain formica top table. The legs were plain, – no angle to them, no fancywork on them, just straight up and down. My husband Rod found some square metal tubing and cut it to the height I wanted minus 2 inches (to allow for the table top and the plugs in the bottom of the legs.) I slid the metal legs over the legs of the table.
Easy Peasy. Table now is 38inches high. 
 As you can see, I use the space underneath it for storage. The top couple of drawers have cutting tools, scissors, pens and pencils, plus a choc box of quilters safetypins, and two tins of bead head pins that I no longer use prefering flowerhead pins these days.The rest of the drawers have FQs in them sorted by colour.
table leg extentions 002                               table leg extentions 003
I've lifted the table up a bit so you can see the actual table leg inside the metal tubing.
table leg extentions 004                           table leg extentions 005
the 'new' leg is now supporting the table.           The industrial plastic stoppers were made to fit, to protect the floor.

What's on it right now.
It hasn't got a name or an owner yet. Way back in August last year when I put up photos of it while I was working on it someone suggested 'Purple Passionfruit' which is kinda OK 'cause we were also talking about a trelis that Rod had put up on the veranda. But will now consider any other suggestions you all may come up with now that it is nearly finished.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Basting the 'Ivy I Spy' quilt.

layering&basting 001 

First I bulldog clip the backing to the table top.

Then I put the wadding on and once it's in the right place I give it a bit of a pat to pat out any bumps and help it grip the backing fabric. Then I put the quilt top in place and pat that down too. These two layers are only laid on the backing. They are only bulldog clipped along the front edge and the right side edge to stop the whole lot moving while I baste it.

This table has square metal tube extensions slipped over the legs to make it 38 inches high which is the height I find comfortable.

More about how to raise the height of your table later.

layering&basting 004 
See how I have placed the layers on to the backing using the edge of the table to line them up.
layering&basting 003
When I am happy with how it’s all lying, I hand baste the section of quilt that is on the table top.
Then I move the quilt to the next section to be basted. Usually I slide the quilt upwards, to place the center left section on the table top. Then I would slide it up again to baste the bottom left section.
Then I would reposition the quilt with the top right on the table and baste begin basting the right side of the quilt that has previously been dangling off the side of the table. Then I move down the right side as I did with the left side. Always bulldog clipping as I position each section. The more clips the better. I usually use 5-6.
I'm missing about 5 bulldog clips. Last time I remember having them was at the retreat. Hummmmmmmm. Now where did I put all those hanging tapes we used for the quilt show. Bet the clips are in the same place. (Well, I guess they are both ‘safe’)
I don't like using safety pins ‘cause I find they get in the way when I've got the quilt in the machine and removing them as I go cause they're in the way is a pain in the bum.
I like thread basting as I can sew right over it and then pull it out when I have finished the machine quilting. I am using up really old thread when basting. Like, some of these reels must be 30 years old. No good for using in the machine cause it breaks a lot. Ideal for basting because if I do stitch thru the thread it doesn't pull the quilting stitches when I'm taking it out - it breaks.
layering&basting 005
You can see how high the table is. (38”) I've got my weight on my elbows, so I'm not really bent over that much and because of the height of the table, my back doesn't hurt.
layering&basting 007
I love that little light. One of the best investments for sewing ever. And portable too.
layering&basting 008
I'm working down the edge of the top first. Then I’m going to work across the 'bottom' of what is on the table and then up the side of what is on the table then across the top slanting in until I go below where I started. I'll just keep going around and around on each section until I reach the centre. Then I’ll reposition the quilt and do the same again.
Mind you, It doesn't matter which way you baste. This time I’m going round and round and round, some times I go diagonal, sometimes up and down. It's just got to hold it all together while you are quilting it and then it all gets pulled out. I'm lucky, I can baste with both hands so I can go to the left with my right hand holding the needle and to the right with my left hand.  - You can teach yourself to do this.
layering&basting 009
I like using stripes for binding. This is going to be a fairly wide binding as I have cut the strips at 3 inches. I joined the strips on to the end of one another this time so as to continue the stripes without going to all the fuss of aligning and joining them on the angle.
If it was not striped fabric I would have joined each end on the 45` angle.
And that’s how I baste a quilt.
Hope you enjoyed it.
Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I haven’t put up any photos in recent posts so while I was waiting at the docs today for Rod, I was having a bit of a think and decided that every now and then I will post a photo or two (or more) that I really like from my collection and tell you a bit about it/them.
Here’s the first one.
SthIsNZ0308 054
This is a mobile home we saw during our South Island campervan trip in 2008. It was amazing! And what’s even more amazing, it wasn’t the only one we saw. Each was as individual as this one is. We stopped and had a chat with the guy in the photo, for the life of me I can’t remember his name right now, but his name was just as ‘different’ as his house.
SthIsNZ0308 059
They had a full sized oven in the kitchen, a pot bellied stove in the lounge room, a computer in the study, and two upstairs bedrooms.
Around the other side he had french doors opening off the loungeroom.
SthIsNZ0308 057
They have travelled all over NZ doing odd jobs as they go and said they have a wonderful life. No doubt about that, he was one of the happiest people I have ever met.
I like the way the other expensive campervan sits beside it, totally out-shone and up-staged.
  SthIsNZ0308 058

I Spy Quilts

Rod has a couple of doc appointments to go to today and since he isn’t allowed to drive yet, I will be going with him. First one is at 1:20. It will include a stress test on his heart. While I’m waiting, and since I tidied the sewing room the other night and sorted out most of the WIPs, UFOs and PHDs, I have been doing a bit of sewing. 
I have already put the binding on ‘Coastal Story’ (as I have re-named it, - previously seen in this blog) already and will probably stitch it down this evening.  - More about that quilt later,  . . . . I’m actually thinking of selling it.  
But the most important task at present is the 5 I Spy quilt tops (single be size) made for a friend. Today I am putting the borders on a couple of them and getting them all ready to go to the quilter. These quilts have been around for a few years. They were commissioned when my friend Di was expecting her first grand child and added to in number as the total of grand kids increased. Her oldest gkid is now 4 years old. (I think - could be older) I have had a mental block on getting them finished. I think I know what that mental block is/was but it's kind of complicated to explain. Be that as it may, I am working thru it and getting over it.  
Di will be very pleased to hear this.
Di is my 'other' sister.
Di is a very patient person.

I will get in touch with Belinda (award winning machine quilter and personal pal of Eucalypt Ridge Quilting, via Orange, NSW) and arrange for us to go ...for a drive to deliver them before I go back to work.
BTW, last night, we slept under a quilt I started making for Rod about 10 years ago. It’s called ‘Is This Big Enough?’ which I will explain later when I share that story with you.  
Photos to follow.  
Peace By Piece.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010



no comment.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Time Off

I've managed to get a few weeks off so I can ferry Rod around to his doctor's appointments - he's not allowed to drive for a while and generally keep an eye on him for a while. So things are going to be a bit tight around here for the next month or so.
He's going well with quitting smoking - hasn't had one since the heart attack. Still has the urge as the psychological habit is the hardest to break when you have been smoking for 50 years. We are gradually sorting out docs appointments and hopefully a cardio rehab program for him. I want him around for a few more years so I am going to make sure he sticks to the program so to speak. He's grumpy a lot, usually with me, but that's ok. I'd rather have him grumpy than not at all.

Got on the scales for the first time in a while. Have gained weight.
Loosing motivation fast. Feel on the verge of totally pigging out all the time.
Feeling very down. Ho hum, woe is me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rod is home

Hi to all.
Thanks for being in touch every one.
Here’s a brief rundown on Rod. I’ll elaborate at a later date.

Rod is back at home. RPA sent him to Bathurst Hosp on Sat last week (17th) and they sent him home on Sunday. So he has been here at home nearly a week. He is doing well and taking things very v...ery easy. Runs out of puff very quickly. The docs in Syd were very impressed with his remarkable recovery but concerned that he was not taking the whole episode seriously enouh and told him that most people who have a massive heart attack like his spend the first week flat on their back wondering what the heck happened instead of hasselling nurses to 'unplug' him so he can have a shower/go for a walk etc. Twice they waved a big stick at him for not taking things seriously and one of the nurses got up him too.
The frequency that they used the word 'massive' was/is very unsettling. (he had 2 angioplastys/angiograms and has a 5cm stent in the big artery that goes into the heart which was totally blocked.)
Now that he's back home he's stewing because he left his wallet in the ambulance that bought him back to Bathurst, and they haven't posted it to him yet. So yesterday, he went and got his licence replaced so he is back driving already.
What worries me the most is how he gets worked up over trival things that really have no effect on his life (like tv ads etc) then when I try to calm him down he gets cranky with me! (I figure I will probably reach screaming point about this time next week.)
One really good thing to come out of this - - - he has not had a smoke since the 12th. Not one. I found his smokes when we got home and have them in my work jacket so they are out of his sight and hopefully out of mind most of the time too. When he has quit for a month then I will give them up too. That's been a deal between the two of us for a looooong time. Maybe this time it will work. I don't smoke at home, just at work now and then. He was quite surprised when told this recently cause he thought I had quit a month ago when he said he was going to, (but didn't)
I don't feel like 'playing' anymore so don't know when I'll get back to facebooking. BFN.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Done with a purple Zig 'cause I ran out of black pens


BTW, check out the weight graph - - - - 
I have now lost 20 kilograms. 
Only 18 to go. 

Not a big loss this last fortnight, probably because of this dreadful cold I have  . . . . . and quite frankly, I don't care - - - - - probably because of this dreadful cold I have.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 5, 2010

Yesterday’s ZT and a comment on the Tour D’ France.

Here’s a zentangle I finished yesterday,  . . . . well last night actually,  . . . . . as I watched the Tour D France. I printed out a couple of Sally’s ZTs to have a closer look at some of her designs. I check out designs others have done too. Is this cheating??? Can you ‘cheat’ with zentangles??
You see, I don’t have an ‘artistic’ mind so to speak and I find I get stuck in the same patterns, so looking at other zts kind of nudges my imagination into action. The scallop with the V in it is my own, haven’t seen that anywhere else yet. So is the big black dots ‘spinning’ off the coil with the little dots in between. And I like to think that the koru symbols here and there are my native Aoteoroa (NZ) ancestry coming through. 


Speaking of the Tour D’ France, 
. . . aren’t those Aussie boys gutsy. He did break his collar bone and has had to retire from the race. But he got back on that bike yesterday and lead the pelaton for ages setting the pace to wind those 3 breakaways back in. Splendid work!
And what about that pile up near the end!!!! How big a tangle was that!!! I don’t think I have ever seen worse in the race. Would have hated to have been on the bottom of that! I hope everyone made it out in one piece.
And BTW, Mark Renshaw who crossed the line second, just happens to be a Bathurst boy.
He’s Mark Cavendish’s lead-out man but since Cavendish was in amongst the big tangle, Mark went for it himself.
Happy happy dances here in Bathurst today.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

HEY FOLKS - - - - LOOK - - - I CAN DRAW AFTER ALL! ! ! ! !

Sally, an internet quilty friend of mine was in Bathurst recently for the SCQuilters 2010 retreat. She bought some of her projects with her for ‘Chantelle’ (a huuuuuuge suitcase, - - - - the tide went waaaaaay out in Tasmania when Sally left the island) Amongst these were some of her Zentangle drawings.  I was very impressed with these. I was very impressed with everything she did – such a talented textile artist, - go check out her blog,   but those zentangles had kind of haunted me ever since I saw them, until recently, when I decided to check out what they are all about.
Now this was a life changing decision as I CAN’T DRAW!
Never have been able too!
Couldn’t draw to save myself!
Stick figures are beyond me!
No joking!  - - - - - - - I CANNOT draw.
So keep this in mind when I tell you all, off I went to the Zentangle site and blog and I decide maybe I would give them a go.
Now basically, they are doodles, but doodles with intent.
You can read heaps and heaps about how Zentangles as such got started and by whom at the web site     I printed of quite a bit of the information there and took it to work the next afternoon. It was interesting reading. – nothing new really, - we’ve all done squiggle patterns and coloured them in when we were kids, but this is sort of going a step further by not using colours but instead using patterns to ‘colour’ in the sections, and some very canny people have cleverly ‘named’ and marketed the idea. Lots of therapeutic benefits naturally, especially for those stressed out and unable to relax etc (moi).
You really need to read at the web site or the blog as I’m not doing a very good job of describing it all here.
Aaaanywaaaay, before long, (2 + hours) I had done my very first zentangle, on a blank cell-card with a pencil as I had no decent pen available at work that evening. And I haven’t got a photo of it either as I gave it to the Fiona, the Therapeutic Manager/Psychologist at work, along with everything I had printed out as I could see the potential this could have as art therapy for the inmates in the Acute Crisis Management Unit where we both work. Between us, we have since developed it into a program for the inmates and have already had three or four sessions with them. They want to Zentangle and all bar one has  taken to it like ducks to water, love it, and want to do more all the time. Unfortunately, they are not allowed to have pencils (sharp objects) in their cells so they can only ZT while they are in the day-room under officer (me) supervision. Maybe I will be able to show you some of their zentangles one day. There’s all sorts of restrictions on taking photographs inside a gaol (jail to you Americans) and I sure as hell ain’t bringing their drawings home with me. That is even more no-no.
Here’s a photo of four of my first five ZTs though. I put a thimble in the photo so you can compare the size. They don’t have to be big. The little one is on the back of a business card, the big one (my second) is on a cell card which is about 6 inches square. I date them as I finish them.
The circles in the corners which you see repeated in three of them was inspired by the old strap-iron work of the brackets that are holding up the landings inside the wings in the main gaol which was built in the late 1880’s.
ZT 014
So folks, I’m thrilled to say, I can draw after all!

Give it a go mate,  - - - - you can too.
BTW, there was a king-tide on Tasmania when Sally landed on her return home as she had twice as much loaded into that huge suitcase.
How she lifted it onto the scales at the local airport I don’t know! 
The little SAAB jet that connects us to Sydney took off with one wing lower and circled twice before it got on course!


Bought to you by - ‘Dee Easy Peasy Info For New Quilters’ ©

G’day Newbie Quilter.
Welcome to a wonderful world of Quilters. We are an entity unto our selves you know, and I’ve written this to help you get into the swing of things. As with any new venture, there are going to be words and terms that you will not understand to begin with. I will explain some of them here to get you started. As you come across others, don’t be afraid to ask. Quilters will always help another quilter, especially a beginner. Consider joining a local quilting group or internet quilting list. This way you will always have the knowledge and advice of experienced quilters to help you along the way.
Here’s some terms to get you started. Knowing these will help when you read quilting magazines or books or hear other quilters chatting. Keep them handy until you are familiar with the terms. You will notice that imperial measurements are still used. Ask me to explain that some time. Too long to go into it here.

Patchwork Quilting - this is what the craft/art-form/hobby you are about to embark upon is usually called. Also referred to as ‘patchwork’ or just ‘quilting’. Both commonly used but not strictly correct. You see, in reality, the patchwork part comes at the beginning of the project and the quilting part comes near the end of the process. 

Patches - are the pieces/shapes you cut out according to the directions.

Piecing - stitching all the patches together in a particular order. 

Applique - sewing particularly shaped pieces of fabric on to a bigger piece of background fabric. 

Blocks - the units you’ve made when you have stitched all the patches/pieces together. When you’ve sewn the required number of blocks all together & you have a 

Top or Quilt Top - what you now have when all the blocks are sewn together. 

Backing - the fabric you have chosen to be the underside of the quilt.

Wadding - the material you have chosen to pad-out/stuff the quilt.

Layering - laying the backing & wadding & quilt top, one on top of the other prior to basting. Also referred to as sandwiching.

Basting - securing the backing & wadding & quilt top layers in readiness for quilting. There are a few ways of doing this. Long tacking stitches radiating from the centre or safety-pinning in a grid being the most used at present. Spraying a specialised glue is also growing in popularity but can prove difficult to do on ones own.

Quilting - the ancient art of stitching together three layers of fabric. By machine or by hand, it’s your choice.

Binding - the thin strip of fabric sewn around the edge of your quilt after you have finished quilting it. The binding conceals and strengthens the raw edge of the quilt.

Label - the identifying tag on the back of the quilt. Made of fabric and embellished with pertinent information about the quilt, its maker and its owner. Your choice to include it and your choice of design.

That’s the formal terms out of the way. Now for the colloquial ones.

Stash - your collection of fabric be they lengths of fabric or small pieces. Give it time - yours will grow. She who has the most fabric wins.

Fat Quarter - A piece of fabric usually 18 inches by 22 inches. To get a FQ, cut off a yard of fabric, cut it in half down the centre and then cut each length in half again forming a square-ish piece of fabric. However, the size can sometimes vary depending on which measuring system the shop is using to cut their fabrics. Always ask a shop if their FQ’s are cut to imperial or metric measurements. If they don’t understand what you are asking, be very wary of them. 

Fat Eighth - usually measuring 9 inches by 22 inches, it’s a Fat Quarter cut in half. You will find both of these ‘fats’ breeding in your cupboard if you are lucky.

S.E.X. - a Stash Enhancement Expedition = going shopping for fabric. Any where, any time, any place - alone, with a special friend or in a group, all quilters enjoy S.E.X. 

H.W.S. - He Who Suffers, also referred to as ‘The Pack Animal’ at craft and quilt shows as we only take them to carry the purchases, usually married to She Who Quilts.

Fudging - manipulating tiny adjustments to get the pieces to fit &/or sit just right. 

U.F.O. - UnFinished Object. W.I.P - Work In Progress. W.D.S. - Wanna Do Someday and PhD = Project Half Done.

Of course there are many more, but you’ll pick them up or make them up as you go along. Half the fun is working them out as you come across them.

Basic Equipment

You are going to need some equipment to get you started.
In the back of most quilting books and some magazines, you will find a list of equipment and instructions for various techniques used in the book. However, I can recommend ‘Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!’ as a very good book for beginners and I found the best list of equipment and explanations why you need the various tools in ‘Fat Quarter Friendly’. I purchased the first book mentioned for $36:00 about 5 years ago and the other one in April 2001 for $39:83. Most quilting books are fairly expensive, usually because they are imported, but once your stash is about ankle deep ‘Fat Quarter Friendly’ is well worth the money. (No affiliation)
Starting at the beginning of the process, this is a list of what I think you should be spending your money on to get you started.

Fabric - the lengths stipulated in the pattern you have chosen. (Or any thing else that takes your fancy) Save yourself the time and money and start buying 100% cotton straight away instead of polyester/cotton mixes. Mind you, there is nothing to stop you from using polycottons if that’s what you want to do, but in the end, just like many of us before you, you will find they just don’t ‘work’ as well as 100% cottons do & polys hate hot irons. I know from experience.

Thread - It’s best to buy cotton thread if you are sewing cotton fabric. There are some good cotton wrapped poly threads around too. Generally, the more you pay, the better the thread. Matching the thread to the fabric is not necessary if not damned near impossible in quilting. Neutral colours such as off-white, beige, greys, pale-blue, pale pink work with most quilts.

Pins & Needles - The thinner and longer the pin the better. If you don’t mind spending a few dollars, buy fine silk pins. They are so thin most machines will glide over them with out causing a problem. Flower head pins are similar. If you are on a budget, then the glass bead head pins will work just as well. Remember to change the needle in your machine regularly. Save your old needles in a film canister clearly marked and find out how to sharpen them. For machine piecing you will find size 80/12 about right unless you are dealing with thicker than usual quilting fabrics when you should use a 14 or even a 16. For hand piecing &/or applique, use a size 10 or 11 Sharp. For hand quilting, try the bigger sized quilting needles to start with but a 10 or 12 Between is just as good (and usually easier to thread). I learnt at a machine quilting class that Jeans needles are the way to go for machine quilting. They are tougher than usual and take more punishment than the ordinary sewing machine needles. 

Cutting Table - This should be of a comfortable height to you. Shorter than 5 ft 6 in will probably get away with the kitchen table. Taller than that and you will probably find something about 36 inches or higher more suitable. If it’s too low your back is going to hurt so slightly too high is probably better. If you have to use the antique dining room table, always put multiple layers of newspaper under an old sheet on the table so that any ‘over-cuts’ don’t damage the finish on the table and ruin the edge on your blade.

Cutting Mat - Sometimes you can pick up a mat & cutter combination deal. Get the biggest cutting mat you can afford. It should be at least 18 inches by 24 inches. These can be expensive when bought from specialist shops but cheaper ones can be found in major fabric chain stores and even in those ubiquitous cheapie shops. So long as it is a ‘self healing’ mat it will work with a rotary cutter. Don’t worry if it is blank on one side. That’s the side that I use the most. 

Rotary Cutter - To start with buy one with a blade about 2 inches in diameter. You will find this size the best for cutting through multiple layers of fabric. If you can afford it, buy a spare blade now. It is common for Newbies to damage the blade the first day out and it’s frustrating to be learning to cut with a notched &/or blunt blade. Always read, observe and obey the safety directions. These things bite and they are very messy when they do.

Cutting Ruler - Start with a 6 inch by 24 inch ruler. It’s the one you are probably going to use the most. If you have the funds to begin with, also buy a 6 inch by 6 inch. Very handy. Later you will find there are rulers to suit most shapes, and projects designed to be cut only with the ruler invented for the purpose. Buy these specialist rulers later on down the track if you really think you can’t live without them.

Fabric Scissors - Even though you have a fabulous rotary cutter, you are still going to need a good pair of scissors. I recommend Sierra Sharps. (No affils) They are expensive so hide them from hubby and the kids. In fact wear them on a chain around your neck and don’t let no body use ’em for nuffin’. 

Paper Scissors - These are the cheap pair that the others can borrow. Naturally you won’t be able to find them when you need them so buy 2 pair or even more. You’ll use them for cutting templates, plastic or cardboard, and everything else except fabric which they won’t cut anyway once they have been used to cut everything else. 

Thread Clippers - ideal for trimming threads while sewing. Any kind will do and usually the cheaper ones work better and hold their tip edge better. I wear mine around my neck on about a yard of soft elastic so they are always exactly where I want them and it also eliminates the annoying clank as they get put down each time.

Sewing Machine - anything will do. A working Op-shop buy is just as good as one worth more than the family car. You only need a basic straight stitch to piece and machine quilt. The ability to drop the feed-dogs will also come in handy for machine quilting. If you can’t drop the feed-dogs there are ways around this so don’t worry. If it is an Op-shop buy or hand-me-down from great Aunt Agnes, make sure the machine has some presser feet with it. You will eventually work out which one works best for you to achieve a quarter inch seam. If it has a walking foot you’re in luck as it will save you purchasing one later when you see how much easier this makes machine quilting straight lines. If you plan to machine applique you are going to need an adjustable zig-zag stitch &/or a blind-hem stitch. All machines need to be dusted out and oiled regularly and serviced according to the manufacturers instructions.

Iron & Ironing Board - Press as you go is the best way to go. However do not wiggle press as this can distort your block. Instead, dab press. A steam iron is recommended but I never use one and instead have 2 squirt bottles nearby, one with water and one with diluted starch. An adjustable height ironing board can be situated next to your sewing machine so you don’t have to leave your desk to iron. However, an ironing board across the room is good for your health.

That’s it for the equipment - sounds a lot doesn’t it. It’s a big investment but all up it will probably cost you less than golf clubs, bag, cart and membership, or a drill, router and power-saw or a sun-roof, sheepskin seat covers & mag wheels. Keep this in mind when justifying expenditure. 

This whole thing has turned out longer than I expected but there are still
Some Things You Need To Remember

1. NEVER let the Quilt Police faze you. - They are the only ones that ever achieve perfection. 

2. The Fix It or Leave It Rule of Thumb - when you make a mistake - ask yourself, “Can I live with it?” If the answer is ‘no’ then fix it - otherwise leave it. 

3. Learn how to Fudge - it saves frustration and saves asking the question in #2.

4. Treat the rotary cutter with respect. Get in the habit of engaging the safety cover before you put it down - every time - without fail - or you will regret it. It’s a scary piece of equipment in the wrong hands. Never, ever leave a rotary cutter and a child un-attended in the same room, no matter how old the child is.

5. Do not try to make a quilt in a day when you first start out even if the book/pattern says you can. You won’t have the experience or the stamina until your stash is at least somewhere near knee high.

Well, that’s about all I can think of for now. Other questions will arise as you move along your learning curve. If your teacher won’t answer them, asking for your money back should wake them up. If you are learning on your own from books, take the time to find and mix with other quilters, don’t be shy about showing off your handy-work and never be shy about asking questions. But the most important thing of all to remember is to take the time to relax & enjoy yourself. You deserve it.
Trust me, I’m a quilter.
Del Soden
Keep stitching
We can sew our world together
Peace is by Pieces.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Just realised something important.

I've just been and updated my weight chart (ticker) and I've just realised that I am now PAST THE HALF WAY (weigh) mark towards my final goal. 

That makes me even happier.

Doing  BIG happy dance here!


Well folks, as of an hour ago it's official - I have reached my second goal which was to get under 100kg. OFFICIAL weigh in this morning - I am 99kg exactly. (is that Rocky music I can hear in the background?)
the customers in the chemist shop this morning thought I was a weirdo ‘cause of the cheer that Rod and I did when the scales finally stopped on 99. I really expected it to be more, but it was wonderful to watch those scales fluctuate between 98. 9 and 99.
It would have been much nicer if they had stopped at 98.9 but they finally made up their mind at 99.
I am VERY happy.

now I'm going to bed cause I don't feel well. Have quit smoking again. I think it's withdrawal.
I expect lots and lots of cheering and praise and back slapping and 'likes' when I get back online later.

I'm soooo looking forward to my bacon and eggs treat!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I've taken THE PROCESS PLEDGE.  And here it is:

I, Del Soden, (aka Dee/Deeozpq/Deequilter), pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can’t quite put them into words or be sure I’m being totally clear.   I’m going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there.   

Now it's your turn. 

and see what it is all about.

Here are the prompts R0ssie has listed to get you all started.
  • Do you have any new sketches to show?
  • Is this design inspired by a past quilt or someone else's quilt you saw (link, please)?
  • Does the color palette come from somewhere specific?
  • Are you trying to evoke a specific feeling?
  • Is this quilt intended for a specific person?  How did that inform your choices?
  • Are you following a pattern, emulating a block you saw somewhere, using a liberated process, or totally winging it?
  • What are you hating about this quilt at this stage?  What do you love?
  • Did you push yourself to try something new?
  • In working on the quilt, are you getting ideas about what you might want to try next?  What?  Did you sketch it?

Friday, June 11, 2010

SO CLOSE - and yet so far and a long time ago.

I didn't know whether to feel good or bad today after weigh-in. You see, it's been a while since I did an official weigh in (I think about 4 weeks) and I wasn't really looking forward to it because in the past month I have been way off the program some days. And I haven't done that much walking either. (SCQ Retreat, annual leave, bad weather) I've even had bread and pasta, shame , shock horror! So it was with trepidation that I got on the scales today. As usual, they did their little 'one at a time please! - - - get off !!!' protest and swung back and forth for a few gut wrenching seconds. Time enough for me to think, " this is NOT going to be good - beware world! I am NOT going to be in a good mood!" But then they settled on 100.8kg. SO CLOSE  - - - and yet so far. You see, my second progress goal is to get under 100kg. Now, recently my smaller sized work pants have had a bit of gut room in them, (down from size 28 down to size 24,) so I knew I had lost something, but didn't think the result would be as good as that. The graph is on the move again. Yippee! and after a totally out of control month. But still, my bacon and eggs 'treat' evades me. (sad face) I am sooooo looking forward to that!

Going to put up a real 'before' photo here today. You can't really see me, but I'm in the back row on the right as you look at the photo. I was 10 years old that day. It was February 1963. Those are my friends from Mt Wellington Primary School. Two of my sisters are also in the photo. Susan is there in the back row on the left and Lizzy is the little cutie standing out the front. She was nearly three then. And the other little girl in the front row is one of mum's god-daughters, Merrilyn.
Back row: Susan (big sis) Melody, Joslyn, Heather then me.
front row: Pamela, Susan, Audrey, Merrilyn and Charmaine.
and I do remember their surnames, all except Joslyn, but it will come to me.
No, I'm not happy. Something rather dramatic happened that day, for which, because of my age, mum and I were not prepared for at all, and considering it was only a month after dad was killed, I wasn't handling things too well.
I'll tell you about that some time it you like. 

Mum was a bridesmaid for lots of her friends and ended up with a lot of god-children. She was one of the last of her peer group to get married so I guess they all felt sorry for her. So the second photo is mum and dad's wedding photo. Didn't they look elegant?

From the left is Joe, our grandfather, who gave mum away 'cause both her her parents died when she was 15. Then there is Uncle Harvey, dad's lil bro, Aunty Brenda, Bill MacDonald, (dad's best mate, they went thru WW2 together) then I think it's one of mum's cousins, either Pat or Norma, dad Kenneth, and mum Doreen. They are in the Auckland Domain, outside one of the two beautiful  glass-houses that we often visited for a day out in those pre-TV days. For those of you who have been to NZ, The Domain, is the huge park and gardens where the Auckland Museum is.

And remember last month I went to visit my Aunty Brenda (dad's lil sis) and Uncle Gordon, well here's a photo of them when they were young. It's not the photo that I particularly remember of them that led me to always thinking of Uncle G as my Surfie Uncle, but it's obviously taken on the same day. In the one I remember, Uncle Gordon was holding a surf-board, which I have since found out was actually what they called a body-board in those days (small version of a surf-board which were 15 to 20 feet long then) and he had made two of them after seeing someone at Waipu beach the week before. You can see how dishy he was. He's still dishy. And she still has her 'movie star' looks too as you can see in the previous photos of them with their quilts below this blog.

That's all for now.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Flaunt

Last week I went up to Newcastle to visit my Aunty Brenda and Uncle Gordon. My little sister Liz flew up from Melbourne too. They are the last of my mum and dad’s generation. We had a grand old chinwag and got a few family mysteries sorted out.
When I first started quilting in 1994, Aunty B was one of the first people I made a quilt for. It sat as a top for ages and then last year I finally finished it. I had also decided to give Uncle G  a mystery quilt while I was making it. It so reminded me of him. I had always thought of him as my surfie uncle from a photo I had seen as a child of him as a very young man standing on a beach holding up a surfboard.
So last week, these two quilts were finally delivered.
Here’s a photo of the quilts in their new home.
And one of the four of us. They're looking pretty good for their mid eighties, aren't they?

B&G 005 B&G 006 B&G 021

Monday, May 17, 2010

Jawj Kills the Glove

Haven't figured out how to upload a movie taken with my camera to the blog yet. You can see the video of this on my Face Book.

Posted by Picasa

OOOOPS! - - - - well it was SCQer's Retreat!

Weights gone up a wee bit.
I did go for wise choices but I guess I had too many of them to choose from.
Oh well, it was the SCQuilters 2010 Retreat so maybe it's not so bad after all.

This is me and my Tasmanian Quiltymate Sally on the 'Gala' night of the retreat. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spray Basting

Monday, May 3, 2010


Here’s a Top Secret project I have been working on.
It’s a ‘venue’ banner for the SCQuilters’ Retreat being held here in Bathurst this weekend.

It will be hanging up at the gate to the Goldfield Conference Centre on Thursday morning so it will be real easy for people to see where the drive is. Then when everyone has arrived on Friday it will be hung inside the venue somewhere so everyone can have their photo taken in front of it. I’ve got a smaller banner that attaches to the bottom saying “Bathurst 2010” so it will be easy to pick which year these photos belong to. 
The idea of this banner is that it will be passed on to the next committee to be hung at their retreat venue, (but they will have to make the town and year add-on piece themselves) and then they will pass it on etc.
The yellow fabric used is specially designed SCQuilter fabric that used to be available a few years ago, but is no longer made. I’m afraid I can’t remember the name of the two ladies that used to dye and print it. Some one will remind me, - - - was it Ami & Michelle ???
That’s Heathers tank stand that’s it’s hanging on for the preview this morning.
I am very pleased with it and very proud of it.
See you SCQuilters soon.

Friday, April 30, 2010


Well, I finally have a stitching/quilting FF to share with you all. It’s been a long time.
Remember that needlecase I showed you a few weeks ago,  - - - the Annie Downs one, - - - well I made a few more of them. One with one of her stitcheries on it and two with machine embroidery on them, - - - well I enjoyed those little projects so much that I decided to embark on something a bit bigger.
I like to have something to hand sew while I am at work on the night shift. I had bought a quilt kit for myself with applique and piecing while I was on hols in February, but couldn’t start it when I wanted too because there was a bit of a delay in me receiving the pattern/instruction book.
So, I had to find something else to do.
I had bought Annie Downs’ ‘A Gardeners Journal’ book so I could use a couple of her little stitcheries on some more needlecases and while I was looking through it, I thought “ this quilt is really nice.  I think I might give this a go.” This also gives me a chance to use a chockie tin full of embroidery threads one of my work mates gave me. His wife died a couple of years ago and when he was going thru the cupboards he found a whole lot of her sewing gear which he passed on to me. I’m using threads from this chockie tin instead of Annie’s thread colour recommendations. Don’t know what fabric I’ll end up with for the pieced part of the quilt. Will work that out when I get to it.
Here’s a picture of those I have finished so far.
April Sts 005
I have decided that all the ladies in the stitcheries will have red of-some-colour hats.


The Southern Cross Quilters 2010 Retreat is on here in Bathurst on the Mother’s Day weekend. About 150 internet quilters from Australia and New Zealand are coming to town. Now THAT is going to be a lot of fun!

The country side is looking great as there has been a bit of rain around this past month and providing we don’t have a cyclone through here, the trees are going to look gorgeous too. 

Here’s a sneak preview of part of a project I have been working on for the retreat and some tree photos I took today.



Check out the graph!!!!!
I’m so close now to my next goal which is to get below 100kg.
And here’s some photos of me in my SIZE 20 shirt and my SIZE 20 trousers, both bought from the
CARE Australia shop for $2 each. I have never been able to buy clothes from St Vinnies/Salvos/Care as
they don’t often have my style of things in my size. So I was very happy about this. And notice
how ‘fitting’ the style of the shirt is too!
BTW, the trousers are a bit big on me!!!!!!  - - - - now there’s a first!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

View 101.8 kg
View Full Album 
Doing a big happy dance here!

Anyone got those Zumba discs I see advertised on TV?
Would like a personal review on them please.
Am thinking of buying them.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning . . .
We will remember them. . . . . .
Lest we forget.


We will remember them. . . . . .
Lest we forget.
Those are my dad's World War 2 medals (New Zealand) on the top and my youngest son's Iraq medals below, sitting on a quilt made from recycled Australian Army shirts that Aaron took to Iraq with him.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Now You Can Look

NOW you can look at my weight graph!

I am doing a happy dance.

Not quite Zumba but happy happy happy!!!!!