Thursday, 25 August 2016

Craft It Forward part 2

Last year I was a recipient in Nessa's Craft it Forward and I received a lovely hand made gift from her last May.  In turn I was to send a hand made item to the first three qualifying bloggers who responded to my promotion. Once they received their gifts they then agreed to host their own Craft-It-Forward on their blogs, and to send out a hand made gift to three different people within 12 months of receiving their item/s.

I only had two bloggers who qualified - Anne Boundy and Filomena Parbery.  I had until May this year to complete my gifts and I just slid over the finish line as May turned into June.

As Anne lives not too far away we caught up for lunch in the nearby town of Kyneton and I delivered her gift in person.  Filomena lives interstate so I posted hers up to her.

I knew that both ladies love Lori Holt fabrics & designs, and that Filomena also loves Bonnie & Camille fabrics.  My sleuthing discovered that both have a fondness for aqua and red.  I wanted to make a gift that was practical so I decided to make the "Stitchy Kit" pattern by Bee In My Bonnet Designs - Lori Holt.
The "Stitchy Kit" & matching Scissor Holder which I made for Anne using Lori Holt & coordinating fabrics.
The "Stitchy Kit" & matching Scissor Holder which I made for Anne using Lori Holt & coordinating fabrics.  Can you see the red Secret Sewing Squirrel button?

anneboundyWhat a day! Thank you so much @bendigolioness for my #craftitforward present! #loriholt Stitchy kit - ❤️ the little scissor keeper 😄 More pics on my blog along with your chance to be one of my Craft it Forward recipients 😍

The "Stitchy Kit" & matching Scissor Holder which I made for Filomena using Bonnie & Camille fabrics.
The "Stitchy Kit" & matching Scissor Holder which I made for Filomena using Bonnie & Camille fabrics.  Can you see the blue Secret Sewing Squirrel button?
  • sew_filomenaThank you so much Fiona @bendigolioness for my craft it forward parcel. As your card said. Yes I instantly thought what deadline had I missed, I don't remember ordering anything !!! Totally forgot about the craft it forward blog post. It was such a beautiful surprise. I love it all. ❤️ you are one super clever talented lady.

  • anneboundyIt's gorgeous! 😍❤️
  • bendigolionessI was the same when I received mine. I went into panic mode thinking I had stuffed up & missed a swap deadline & I was too scared to open it. I thought you'd have the same reaction 😂😂😂

  • I also included some chocolates and a few other items in each of their parcels.  I am looking forward to seeing what items the girls make for their Craft it Forward recipients!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

52 Quilters - Week 27 - Fiona Forsyth - My Influences

Inspire - to have an animating effect upon one's mind or emotions; to stimulate to some creative or effective effort; to elicit or create.

Who inspires me?  My tastes have changed as my skills have developed and I have found myself headed in different directions from when I first started quilting 3-years ago.  However when I sat and thought about it, I noticed that the majority of my work is centered around some of our fabulous local Australian designers, so I thought that I would introduce you to some of them.

Emma Jean Jansen

I have been a huge fan of Emma's for a number of years.  She's a Ballarat Girl (so is "just down the road a bit") & a fellow cat lover.  I have made "The Daisy Quilt" from her "The Linen Cupboard" fabric range; I still have "Harlequin Stars" and "Peace Quilt" waiting to be made and "Outback Blossoms" is currently on layby together with her new fabric range "Matilda". 

Jodie Carleton - Ric Rac

Jodie is a gem!  She is guaranteed to make me laugh until the tears stream down my face every time I see her or talk to her!  She is also a Ballarat girl (& so lives "just down the road a bit") and I have had the pleasure of meeting Jodes quite a few times now.  She is a school librarian turned toy maker & now fabric designer for Ella Blue Fabrics. I have made a number of her toy patterns for myself & for gifts.  Her "Cats Pyjamas" fabric range is my absolute favourite and I have made PJ pants from this range together with some other items.  Her newest fabric range "Bunny Trail" is totes adorbs!! 

Leanne Beasley - Leanne's House

I am yet to meet Leanne in person, but she is based near the Dandenong Ranges where I used to live in Melbourne.  Leanne is famed for her embroidery patterns (distributed through Creative Abundance) and she is now a fabric designer for Ella Blue Fabrics.  I have made up quite a few of her patterns including the BOM "Journey of a Quilter" and am 3/4 of the way through "Mrs Beasley's Sampler Quilt". I have also made her "Hearts and Happy Flowers Bag".   I still have her original "Leanne's House BOM" waiting to be made. I also have all 12 editions of her "Vignette Magazine"

Rosalie Dekker - Rosalie Dekker Designs 

(formerly Rosalie Quinlan Designs)
Rosie is one of the loveliest people that I have ever had the pleasure to meet!  I first met Rosie at Bendigo's Craft Alive in 2004 & I attended an Embroidery Masterclass with her.  I look forward to catching up with her each year when she travels up to Bendigo for Craft Alive.  I have sewn a number of Rosie's embroidery patterns & I have quite a lot of her fabric hoarded away in my stash. Rosalie has designed 7 fabric ranges and is now a fabric designer for Ella Blue Fabrics.

Four of my Faves courtesy of @EllaBlueFabrics
Jodie, Emma, Leanne & Rosalie

Jen Kingwell

I am a mad Jen Kingwell convert!  Last year I attended one of her classes which was hosted by Cotton Factory in Ballarat.  It was here that I learnt many of the techniques used to make her "Circle Game Quilt".  I am currently making "Georgetown on my Mind" and have more of her patterns in my sewing queue. Jen owns "Amitie Textiles" shop in Melbourne and she is now a fabric designer for Moda Fabrics.

Claire Turpin

I have to admit I have only recently found out about Claire Turpin Design but have fallen in love with her patterns.  Her "Kitty Cats" pillows are on my lust list; as is her newly released "Catface" applique quilt.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - June

Here are my blocks for June 2016:

07 June - Block 27 - Dinah
14 June - Block 7 - Augusta
21 June - Block 33 - Farmer's Wife
28 June - Block 21 - Carrie

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

52 Quilters - Week 27 - Fiona Forsyth - My Gallery of Quilts

Today I thought that I would share some of my quilts with you.  I only have a few larger sized quilts which are finished, so I have selected a sample to share with you.  I enjoy machine sewing; foundation paper piecing; hand sewing; needle turn applique; English Paper Piecing (EPP); and embroidery.  I am still not confident in Free Motion Quilting so most of my quilts have been hand quilted. A few I have had professionally quilted by Linda at Ladybug Quilting in Bendigo. 

Please click on the links to see more information about each.  Quilts appear in no particular date order...

Millefiori Mystery Quilt - pattern & fabrics by Sarah Fielke.  Machine sewn and appliqued by hand.  Hand quilted in Perle 8.  Photo taken in Maldon
The back of my Millefiori Mystery Quilt is a Drunkard Path Quilt using the same fabrics by Sarah Fielke.  Hand quilted in Perle 8.  Photo taken in Maldon.
The Daisy Quilt - pattern by Emma Jean Jansen.  Made from "The Linen Cupboard" fabric by Emma Jean Jansen for Ella Blue Fabrics.  Yet to be quilted.  Appliqued by hand.
Savanna Safari - made using Cotton & Steel fabrics.  Foundation Paper Pieced using patterns by Tartan Kiwi and Quilt Art Designs.  Photo taken in Kyneton.  Quilted by Linda at Ladybug Quilting.
The back of my Savanna Safari quilt features a leopard running through the grass.  Quilted by Linda at Ladybug Quilting.
Here's a close up photo of Mr Lion - a foundation paper pieced pattern by Tartan Kiwi.  Quilted by Linda at Ladybug Quilting.
The Circle Game Quilt - pattern  by Jen Kingwell.  Made from Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  Mostly hand sewn using a combination of techniques & hand quilted in Aurifil.
The Circle Game Quilt - photo taken in Echuca
Norma's Kaffetastic Kaffetivating Circle Game Quilt - a lap sized version of the Circle Game Quilt by Jen Kingwell made from Kaffe Fassett fabrics which I made for my friend Norma.  Hand quilted in Perle 8.  Photo taken in Port Melbourne
Four Squared Cats - pattern by Jodie Carleton.  Made using "The Cat's Pyjamas" fabric also by Jodie Carleton for Ella Blue Fabrics.  Yet to be quilted.
My completed Zesty Hexies quilt top (yet to be quilted).  Made up from way too many 1” hexies for me to count!
a close up of my Zesty Hexies top
a close up of  my Zesty Hexies quilt back 
Although not a quilt, I couldn't resist sharing my one and only bag with you.  The pattern is "Hearts & Happy Flowers Bag" by Leanne's House.  The front panels are hand embroidered and it is made from various Lecien fabrics and the "Hearts & Happy Flowers" fabric range by Leanne Beasley for Ella Blue Fabrics.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt Sew Along - May

Here are my Farmer's Wife blocks for May 2016:

03 May - Block 31 - Eva
10 May - Block 50 - Lady
17 May - Block 5 - Anne
24 May - Block 29 - Doris
31 May - Block 48 - Judy

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

52 Quilters: Week 27: Fiona Forsyth - Quilting provides the therapy that I need to cope with Chronic Illness.

In 2010 I was diagnosed with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and later Fibromyalgia.  At my worst I can be totally bedridden for days (or weeks) and unable to care for myself.  I live on my own & I have no carer. 

I suffer severely from brain fog – inability to concentrate or to focus on what I am reading - so I cannot handle computer work or reading for very long.  I often get dysphasia where I jumble up what I process.  I tend to jumble my words (especially when I am really tired or distracted) often without realising it so it’s not ideal when socialising and I rarely use the telephone anymore.   I suffer severely from sensory overload – mainly sounds and lights (and certain odours) – and now from anxiety – so I cannot handle being in noisy environments or being around groups of people.  I also have a compromised immune system so I pick up viruses and infections very easily.  Due to these issues I have virtually become a bit of a recluse.  I am mostly housebound now and venture out of the house possibly once or twice a week for only a few hours at a time.  

Apart from severe fatigue & insomnia – my body clock is totally messed up (I can sleep for days on end or go for days and days without sleeping).  I feel like I am in a constant state of jetlag.  I’m not a fan of sleeping pills so try to restrict them to once or twice a week just to try to regulate, or catch up on my missing sleep when I get caught in an insomnia cycle. I refuse to drive when I am like this because I don’t want to put myself or anyone else at risk.  

Chronic Pain – unfortunately I am on very high doses of pain killers just to be able to function.  Without them I cannot walk. I had an accident many years ago which has left me with nerve damage to my neck, shoulder & spine.  When my fibro flares up it likes to target these weak areas and magnify the pain a zillionfold.

Energy – I never have enough of it!  I suffer from a severe lack of energy and extreme post exercise malaise.  My body cannot generate the energy that it needs to function.  Small amounts of exercise - for example just walking to and from the letterbox - can leave me exhausted sometimes so I have to plan my outings very carefully.  For example, driving to & walking around the supermarket, and then unpacking my groceries when I get home is the equivalent of running a marathon for me and will require recovery time.  

I have had to severely simplify my life and cut back on doing a lot of things that I formerly enjoyed, just so that I can cope with my changed circumstances.  I have so much “down time” and spend the majority of my time at home.  The positive is that at least now I have time to spend on hobbies. As I am socially isolated, my primary source for contact with the outside world is online (mainly Instagram and Facebook).

Sewing has brought much happiness back into my life.  It helps me to escape from my reality and to surround myself with colourful, happy things.  Some days I can manage to sew for hours, and some days just for a few minutes. Some days I know that if I try to sew I will just end up having to unpick it all! 

I spend a lot of “down time” which is where I am literally confined to bed or the couch. I do not sew in bed but I always have something within access of the couch to work on.  It might be appliqué (I prefer needle turn appliqué); embroidery; cross stitch; hand sewing binding on to a quilted project; English Paper Piecing (EPP); or hand quilting.  I tend to hand sew a lot at night when I’m watching TV but some days I just cannot manage to sit at the sewing machine so I settle for a hand sewing project instead.

I have to be careful when I cut out a project.  I NEED to make sure that I am fully functioning so I often cut out a few projects at a time and let them sit and wait until I am able to sew them.  Cutting when suffering from brain fog or dysphasia can be VERY EXPENSIVE!!!!!  I have learnt this the hard way.  Also I cannot stand for long periods of time so I need plenty of rest breaks (I sometimes refer to them as “Instagram breaks”).

I don’t talk much about my health but I do mention that I have “ME/CFS & FM” on my Instagram profile & on my blog.  I have had many people approach and introduce them self to me who either suffer from or know of someone who suffers from one or both of these conditions and I have developed some extremely close bonds with many of these people.  Their comments are often extremely encouraging and uplifting.

Tomorrow I look forward to showing you some of my work.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt Sew Along - April

At the beginning of April the announcement was made that there would now only be one block released per week.  I think too many people were struggling to keep up with the sew along.  My feelings about this are mixed.  A large part of me is relieved as I was struggling to stay up to date sewing all of my blocks, let alone blogging about my progress.  However, the realisation that it was now going to take more than the initial 12-month investment to complete this quilt frustrates me.  I have already cut back on some of my commitments to try to keep up to date with this sew along and the thought of adding another 3-6 months to this project makes it feel like a never ending task - at this point in time anyway. Just my initial thoughts; who knows, it might actually be a good thing.  

Here are my Farmer's Wife blocks for April 2016:

05 April - Block 32 - Fanny
12 April - Block 97 - Tracy
19 April - Block 72 - Mrs. Smith
25 April - Block 44 - Iris

So far I have made 53 blocks and I still have 46 blocks to go.  The big decision ahead of me is: do I continue to sew these blocks as they are announced each week with the official sew along or should I forge ahead and work at my own pace?

I have now used up most of my fat quarter bundle of solids that I was using for the shades of teal.  I am also starting to think about what colour sashing I will use for this quilt - I feel that a solid white would look too stark, and a solid black would look too heavy.  My current thoughts are to use one of the paler shades of teal - such as the lighter shade shown above in block 97.  Meanwhile I have added to my black and white prints as I slowly use up my smaller scraps and I have also purchased some yardage of the darker teal shades.