Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Green Spinning Stars.


I think I learned something important about the way I make through finishing this quilt.

I've always hand-quilted my quilts. I started machine quilting when I started making my drawstring quilts, when demand and efficiency called for a faster method. I planned with this quilt to use my machine as well. It would be my first machine-quilted big quilt. Then I would be a real quilter.

I started but I didn't enjoy it. I felt like I was fighting with my machine, constantly tugging and rolling and squashing through that small gap under the machine arm. My machine's not really built for it. And you know what? I don't think I am either. Not at the moment anyway. I didn't like the way the stitches sat in the quilt, unlike hand-stitches.  I unpicked the machine stitching, made myself comfy on the couch and started rocking my needle, up and down and up and down.

It's nice to do something because you like it, not because you don't think you can do it any other way. And quilting is much more fun with wine and a movie, rather than a sore neck. I feel like I'm just starting to give myself freedoms to make things that I want, the way I want, to give myself creative authority, if you like. I'm going to keep hand-stitching my quilts, for now at least. It's much more me.

What about you? Do you always follow the rules when you make? Do you feel like you can make or do something the way you like it rather than the way you should? Do you still feel like a novice, even when you've been doing something for a while?

Friday, 24 February 2012

Big Ideas for Little People: Paper Pinwheels!

So, I'm slowly learning that when I find, or come up with, a great idea, I dive in before I've put thought into how to see it through to the beginning. Is anyone else like that? When I was thinking of something fun and easy to make with Tully, I came across these pinwheels. And before you could say, "Do we actually have any timber dowel to finish them off?", we were drawing lines and colouring in.

I have to say I was SO surprised as I watched Tully colour in his triangles. I didn't know he could colour in the lines! And he stayed tuned in till he'd finished colouring in each one. And you can see that I'd finished mine in the background and had time to take photos. Go Tully!

So to make these fun pinwheels, cut out a square (we used a big square from card, another unthoughtful decision because then we couldn't use a pencil to hold it in the end), and draw lines diagonally across, from corner to corner, through the centre. The colour in the triangles.

Cut along the lines, about two-thirds to the centre. I cut to the '11' and '15' on my ruler here.

Fold one corner, the same one, from each triangle, into the centre and pin. If you have them, (we didn't end up using them. You'll see why...) add some beads to the back on the pin so the paper doesn't stick on the dowel.

Ask Tim if you have any timber dowel lying around. No? Sit and feel a bit impatient while Mummy and Daddy come up with plan 'b'...

We used a scrap piece of timber and a small nail. Hurray for Tim!

Then, spin around and around really fast and watch it go!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

In the making...

Every so often, I'm so caught up in making and home life that I hardly go near the computer. That's been this week. The uni semester has started back, Tim's working, and a steady flow of visitors, mostly students, have started making themselves at home here again.

Amidst the fullness of life, I have still had lots of opportunity to sit at the sewing machine. It's been so long since I made time to sew quilts, and now I have three on the go!
I blogged about these warm scrappy spinning stars here. Inspired by how they came together, I decided to make a cool spinning stars quilt for a gift, but instead of cutting scraps, which takes forever, I sewed these strips together and cut 45 degree triangles from them. I'm really happy with the two different blocks that have come from them!

Then, knowing that we were going away with friends this weekend, and wanting to join in Jennifer's Modern Mini Challenge over at Ellison Lane Quilts, I used daycare day on Tuesday to make a solids woven quilt, from this pattern I made from coloured-in paper.

I'm so happy with how it turned out! I've now backed and basted it and have started hand-quilting it. Hopefully I'll get lots of chances to sit and stitch while we're away.

Such a productive, colourful week! It also included a canceled debt, a confirmed custom order that I'm very excited about and a beautiful surprise in the mail that I'll tell you all about soon!
What about you? Tell me how you're week is going?

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I'm joining in WiP Wednesday for the first time! Thanks for stopping by if you've dropped in from over there!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


I shared this photo a few weeks ago in a post about Tim losing his job, again. I remember feeling a bit uneasy about it. Would you all get sick of hearing about our drama and disappointments? Would you all think I'd married someone who was directionless or too fussy or lazy?
Well, your response was overwhelming. Encouraging in the true meaning of the word, to fill with courage.

I was taken out for coffee that evening by a lovely friend who shared her experience of her husband changing careers.
I received an email from another. It was short, a 'thinking of you', but behind it I knew, was another story of months of unemployment, unideal work with weeks away, at great cost to family and health.
I read of a beautifully creative woman coming to terms with a new, unnerving diagnosis here.
Another accepting and finding joy in an unexpected pregnancy here.
Another sharing her amazing and frightening story with a very sick baby here.
Another email turned up in my inbox a couple of weeks ago from someone I'd never met. "I have tons to say, would love an hour to write you..." She wrote briefly about her own season of 'beans and rice' for dinner.

But most precious to me was this letter from my own mum.

"...What you are going through brings back memories of when Dad was off
work for 6 months with his bad back and then he lost his job because the
business went broke. We lost our house, car and we had to pay into the
business to get out, all this without a job... I remember very clearly
standing at the kitchen sink, with tears streaming down my cheeks,
crying out to God asking Him how we were going to survive...

I remember this story. Dad had fallen from a roof of a house he was building. A beam fell on him. But I hadn't remembered it as a mother with small children. I remembered as a six year old girl. I remembered Dad drinking out of bendy straws. Not the stress or the heartache.

A couple of weeks ago Tim signed another contract at the uni as a research assistant. He also has teaching work lined up when the semester starts back again in 2 weeks. It's taken a while for me to write about it here. I didn't want to have to share another disappointment if something happened. But Tim's home today in his office, working. And I just felt so thankful. Thankful for enough work and money, thankful for a job for Tim in his field, that still gives him time for our volunteer work and family. And I'm thankful for your stories. They have given me courage to live mine and to tell it.

Monday, 13 February 2012

In the Making (and a Fugly Winner!)

Did anyone else used to have an outdoor 'Banana Lounge' made out of woven plastic like this? A friend and I recently went and visited the Maitland Art Gallery, about 30 minutes west of us, and found a very cool series of art made from this retro plastic by Lucy Barker. I decided to give it a try with scrappy fabric.

My friend Mandie and I stood huddled and puzzled over this array of scrappy squares for such a long time. I didn't want a perfect 'two by two' pattern. I loved the way Lucy used some longer weaves  to accentuate colour and line. We tried placing fabric on top of each other, weaving long strips and copying the pattern and eventually turned to coloured-in card.

I used this 'pattern' to put the scrappy mini below together. I'm really happy with how it's turned out, but this woven card has get my itching to do the same with solids. Don't you think it would be effective?

Then, with some other scraps, I've been cutting for another quilt top, this time with warm reds, playing with a 'Spinning Stars' pattern by Anna Maria Horner, available for free download here.

There are 72 of each piece to cut! I've been working at it all day. I see triangles every time I close my eyes!!

So that's what I'm working on, what about you? 
You probably just want to know the winner of my Fugly Giveaway, do you? Let me just head over to now. :)

Mr Random chose number 6! I promise it's legit, I just don't have my techy husband here to get a page grab. Must learn this myself one day!!

Congratulations Eilah! I'll send you an email now! Thanks to everyone who entered and started following, I look forward to getting to know you better and sharing colourful ideas with you!
"eilah said...
I'm a follower--generous giveaway Jodi!"

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Tale of Two Blocks Part 2: Wrap Skirt.

Once upon a time there were two scrappy blocks. Destined never to become a quilt (I got a serious case of cold feet!), they were forever separated and made into two, beautiful, individual pieces of scrappy goodness. You can read about the fate of the first block here.

The second, as you can see, became a reversible wrap skirt. And I have to say I'm just as tickled about how this turned out as I was with my pocket pillow.

 I used the same pattern as this scrappy skirt. And the same amount of planning (none) as my pocket pillow. I wanted a border on my pillow, I could have probably done without here. Though, I do like what the orange brings. Maybe a smaller scrappy block next time?

For the reverse, I used this funky, retro butterfly print. I was saving it for something like this. I love it!

And, I think I might just go put this in my Etsy shop. Though it does look like it was made for my beautiful friend Sharon, don't you think? Maybe we could strike up a deal! :)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

A 'Fugly' Giveaway!

Hey! I'm joining in Lucy's Fugly Fabric Party over at Charm About You! If you're new here, welcome! I'm Jodi, mum to 2 munchkin kids and budding textile artist. I make reversible clothes, quilts, drawstring play mats and sell them here in my little store on Etsy. Please stop a while and look around!

Today I'm giving away a half yard bundle of these not-too-fugly fabrics! They are, none-the-less designs that have sat on my shelf for quite some time and are now waiting to be appreciated even more by someone like you!

Here'll you'll find some Joel Dewberry, Anna Maria Horner, Amy Butler, Jennifer Paganelli, Tanya Whelan and 2 yummy flannel prints by Erin McMorris! All are pre-washed.
Will you give these fabrics a loving new home? To enter, leave a comment, maybe tell me what you make if you won. Followers get an extra entry! Leave an extra comment letting me know you follow. A random number generator will draw the winner on Monday evening, Sydney time.
Thanks for stopping by Tickle & Hide! Go check out Lucy's blog to see what other unloved fabric you could rescue!

A winner has been chosen! Thanks for stopping by!

Charm About You