Archive for July, 2008

Home: in at the finish

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

Well, I’m finished! Here’s the completed “There’s no place like home” quilt for July:

Home final

It’s a little hard to see the drawings on the final quilt, but in person and in detail the effect is quite delicate. In as much as orange and blue can be delicate!

Click the image above to see a larger version – you’ll get most of the detail on the bigger shot.

Here’s how the whole thing came about:

First, throwing the fabric all over the table. Always a good start!



More stuff

Doing some drawings on the fabric. I was trying to decide how dark the pen lines should be, and in the end I didn’t go for the darker, sharpie pen drawings.

I drew benches, chairs, lamps and windows (very home-y things to me), coffee pots, a cup and some knitting (of course!), a dog – my dog (who I miss dreadfully), and then, on the blue fabric, I drew our heavy luggage, these bags we have lived out of for three months and whose weight we will soon – oh soon! – be able to put down.

Singer sewing machine

Oiling Mom’s old sewing machine, checking that it worked (hurrah, love those old machines), and sewing away! I put down the main image of me, cooking, and constructed the open window image first. Then the rest of the quilt was designed around those two ‘anchors’.


I even had to be called twice for dinner (aside: isn’t it nice to visit your parents and not to have to do the cooking? Ahh.)

Sewing late into the night.

Stitching in the car on the 5-hour drive through the mountains to Vancouver.

Hotel stitch

… and sewing in the hotel room two days before we fly from Vancouver to Auckland, and then… to HOME, Melbourne.

Until finally:


put the coffee on, honey – we’re home!


Home Away From Home

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Hi Bev.

Quilt No. 2 is complete!

For some reason I really struggled with the binding on this one, and was so very relieved when I finally got to the hand-stitching. (Perhaps it would help to be fully conscious when I stitch.)

I used the netted fabric you sent to help create a sense of movement in the water and then machine-quilted the tiles of the pool floor. I created this piece fairly quickly, and completed all the machine quilting on the front in one sitting. The beaded lane markers were kind of an experiment, as I’d like to work more beads into my pieces.

I would have finished this quilt sooner had I not fallen into the habit of creating two-sided quilts. I seem to excel at increasing the degree of difficulty. But I sure am having fun! Here’s a look at the back…

I simply embellished a fish on the print you sent and stitched a child-like rendering of a house around the fish. I worked on this during a stressful week and found it to be a very easy and wonderful project to have on hand.

I’ve spent much of my life feeling like a fish out of water, so it seemed appropriate to cozy up this little fish by stitching a roof above his head. This particular fish is completely “at home” in the water, kind of like me.

Okay, I guess this means it’s time to move on to quilt No. 3

Two down, 10 (or more) to go.



Talkin ’bout a home

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Morning Jennifer!

That’s the name of a song sung by Chris Isaak, and I’ve got it going through my head as I work on the July piece. I’ve got a main idea now, which is to show the sunshine-y, breezy goodness which is waking up in my bed at home in Melbourne, with the window open and the smells of the garden coming in.

Of course, when we left for our around-the-world trip, it was autumn in the Southern hemisphere – so that means we came home last week to find winter. No lovely smells and soft breezes for me! It’s chilly. Closed window, covers over head, hot water bottle: the works.

But the idea was strong and as we’ve been on the road I’ve been thinking of home a lot. This is the one moment that sums up good feelings about being there, and some of my longing for comfort and familiarity. Three months of moving on every 2-3 nights, and I dream of my own bed.

The view out my window in the morning.

I’ve been wanting to try different ways of putting my drawings onto fabric, but it had to be something I could do while travelling, living out of a suitcase.

So I used a fabric pen and drew directly onto the fabrics. I drew all of the images that came to mind when I think of home: comfy chair, coffee and time to craft; myself in the kitchen, cooking up a storm; the orange tree in a big pot in the yard, next to the bench where I like to sew. QuailAnd I drew a little quail, which is a reminder of an everyday visitor to my parents’ home, in Canada – a non-cliche Canada reference just for me. Because anyone who moves around has more than one home, right?

Once the drawings were done, I cut up the pieces and moved them around endlessly until I thought they ‘fit’. I wanted to keep it simple enough that it wasn’t cluttered, and I wanted areas for the eye to rest on the brown and cream muslin. I hope that’s what I have achieved!


Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

I told you that I’d been having a little bit of trouble coming up with an idea for this month’s challenge, so here’s a little picture post about how the second quilt – ‘There’s no place like home’ came together.

Searching for inspiration! Of course, that’s always the first step. These two little tin houses in the V&A Museum, London, caught my eye. So I snapped pictures, thinking of the project..

Biscuit tin house 1930s

They’re so schmalzy, and cute, and retro.

(They’re biscuit tins from the 1930s, and this one below has a little sign saying ‘Bicky House’ above the door. It looks like it can also be used as a coin box; I wonder if that was original or if someone cut the coin slot later?)

Another biscuit tin house, 1930s

Anyway, this is the parcel of fabric I had from you, which was on my mind when I saw the houses in the museum. It’s also slightly retro, cheerful and breezy too…

Home fabric parcel

Could they work together to kick off an idea?

Let’s see where this goes!


Home: The Design Phase

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Hi Bev.

I brought my camera to the pool today and snapped some shots of my home away from home. This is where I go to burn calories and blow off steam. This is the place I’m going to try to represent in my next quilt. Wish me luck!

This is the drawing I’m working with:

I know, it’s looks like my daughter drew it, but I’m going with it. The proportions are off and I didn’t fuss with it because I’m not trying to make a realistic, perfectly proportioned fabric likeness. Instead, my goal is to achieve a whimsical likeness of a place I enjoy spending time.

We’ll see how it all shakes out.

- Jennifer

Sunshine Start

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

I’m having a little trouble with July. Not the sunshine and beach and swimming bit, because I’m lucky enough to be doing a lot of that at the moment – but the stitching and finishing the project bit of July.Tea in the window at home

This month’s theme is “There’s no place like home”. Which is ironic for me, really, because I haven’t been home in a little under three months, and I’m about to embark on a long and tedious air journey to get there. Oh, if only Dorothy and her red shoes would click-click and whisk me there!

Home is where I’ll be soon, and it’s what the mind dwells on now we’re turning that way as we loop back on the last leg of our round-the-world adventure.

The main body of this month’s quilt is mapped in, but it keeps moving as I arrange and rearrange the shapes. What I do know is that it will involve drawing directly onto your fabric.


Going Home

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Hi Bev,

I hope you’re enjoying your travels and on the verge of discovering a great fabric store. The July package you sent is absolutely perfect. I really can’t believe how perfect, actually. Did I tell you my idea when we did our unveiling of the the June quilts on Skype? This month I’m going to do something a little unexpected with my interpretation of the “home” theme and the fabrics you sent will work very nicely into my plan.

When I think of “home,” the first thing I think of is the place I grew up, my parents house in suburban Detroit and what a relief it was to have a comfortable refuge from the nonsense of the world.

I’ve lived in several dorm rooms, apartments and houses since I left my childhood home. But there has been a constant substitute, a place I’ve gone quite regularly to feel “at home.” And that will be the subject of my quilt.

I can’t wait see how this month’s quilts turn out!



What the quilts reveal

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Okay, so that was a LOT of fun! Not just making the quilt, and plotting and planning and scheming and thinking (then sewing and cursing and sewing and stitching…

Bevs June Self portrait

But maybe the most fun was “The Reveal” — i.e. show time!

Here’s how it happened. I arrived in the UK in June, after a month in Europe, and we were staying with old friends, Roger and Di. Roger was my “Man in Redbourne” – my fence – my parcel-keeper and message man – i.e. he received and kept the first Posted Stitches parcel until I could pick it up, several weeks later.

- “Hello folks, lovely to see you. – Oo! It’s my parcel!”

- rrrrrrriiip! Shred, shred, shred…


Excited, fabric in hand, the stitching and embellishment began – I’m a gal with a deadline, and there’s only two weeks of June left. There’s been thinking, but now I need to stitch.

Two weeks later, late one evening in London, cosy in the flat of best friends, an email from Jennifer: ‘are you there? Can we chat?’

Now, bear in mind that we’ve never met. We’ve chatted once on Skype, but this was even more fun – we got the video conferencing going and talked away until the wee hours (my end), late afternoon (her end). “And here’s what I put here…. and this is what I did with that fabric you sent me…” It was ace! Odd to talk to a mostly-stranger – wonderful to find someone so on the same wavelength.

And amazing to see what each other had done with our fabric packs. When you pack the parcel, you get a vague idea of what might be made with it – for example, at the last minute I threw in a scrap of brown fabric, because I knew Jennifer’s hair is brown. But she embroidered her hair: the brown became a different part of the quilt entirely.

Somehow both of you get a hand in the creation of this thing, this little piece of art that is all learning, all stitching and thinking, and a tangible part of a new and growing friendship.

Hurrah for technology, I say. Let the second challenge begin!