Thursday, March 31, 2011


I have finished my 'different' piece for the Art Quilts Around the World quilt, its a bit pink, but the funky black stitches on my Bernina were fun to do.
I do not normally use pink like that, however the black sort of balances it.
This is a great group and I am really enjoying the challenges set, hope to meet some more of the members one day.  Looking forward to the next challenge.
In the mean time trying to finish the Lisa Walton challenge, almost there, too tired some nights after work, and went out last night, found a nice wine bar with good live music and great food, and especially great company....
This measures 12 "x 12"


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

QQ challenge

Here is my QQ challenge quilt, a little faith required when you cut from the back of the fabric and ignore the design on the front! I was quite happy with the result, except the quilting which could have been a bit more formal and organised. Oh well, next year I will get more organised...
Time just got away from me and I was a bit stretched at the deadline.
The 3rd prize winner was a fantastic patchwork "cow' by Karen Mersiades, surprising us with every piece she makes. Not sure if they are on the Queensland Quilters website, but maybe soon for public viewing.
Today the postman bought a delivery.... some books ordered from Amazon, the Aussie $ is so good I ordered them last week.  Very speedy delivery too! A book by Phillipa Naylor -bedtime reading tonight and also the Twelve x Twelve International Art Quilt Challenge. So happy to have this to drool over and be inspired. It may not help me with this current challenge, but look out next time!
I am - yes I am working on my own challenge pieces this week, one due tomorrow for Art Quilts Around the World, and one to be in NSW by next week. 
Work has been busy and I am feeling my age when I do a quick turn around with little sleep after  a busy shift. A weekend off is just what I need.
Maybe I can get some quilting done or something more than housework if it continues to rain.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Start or finish?

Its so much easier to start a new project than finish and old one, isn't it?
I have many almost finished projects, but am still starting new ones.
This year I am on a mission to try to finish as many as possible. However, yesterday I started another challenge, this one for Lisa Walton's felt challenge, a  short deadline. OK, I have almost finished, but must be careful not to procrastinate too much as it needs to be posted to NSW, and I just put oil pastels on the wings so must wait for it to cure before I do much more! Its meant to be whimsical, I am showing a sneak preview of the wings, yes, my friends know that this has gone through a metamorphis onthe weekend, and the project has changed many tmes, but I was inspired and just started making. I am really good at machine quilting, so this is a step sideways for me to try something  a bit different, I have enough beads to last a lifetime I have discovered.  So no need to buy anymore, what a saving!!
Went to the Craft Expo yesterday, had a lovely time chatting and looking, bought  a few necessities, good Bottom Line thread- my favourite, and looked at the Queensland Quilters Challenge quilts, well done to the prize winners, especially my friend Jan who does some really amazing and precise work. A picture of mine to follow.
Off to start a new project ....after a bowl of fortifying porridge.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sleeping beauty and a clean sewing room

Ok, I have worked 2 night shifts now, met a few new babies !!, the weather has been a bit( a lot actually) warm, enough for the air con to be on all day to be cool enough to sleep well.
Now a weekend off -almost- to be human again, some sewing, eating, a visit to the Craft Expo to see the Queensland Quilters Challenge quilts, didn't win a prize but you never know what will happen next year!
I am on a mission to keep my sewing room clean. I have new shelves from Ikea, my husband says ' you said you were going to keep the top of the shelves clear",  no thats actually what he wants, but I have other ideas, somethings need to be stored on top because of their size says me! and I like to look at finished and half finished things to make me happy. My ribbons make me happy, they need to be there to inspire, there are some things that are stored in a cupboard  and some in folders, sometimes I forget they are there, they cannot inspire if they are not seen.
I am trying my best! 2 virgos in the one house, and this one is clean when she wants to be!
See not too  messy after all!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

At the gym

Where have I been? well, at the gym some days, faithfully trying to get toned and lose a little padding around the middle. Shame I like good food too much!
They have new bikes, obviously expensive! you can ride on tracks up and down, you can see yourself riding as a carton character, a little hard at times, good animated scenery -I fell off twice today, well my cartoon did! But it is a good workout and times passes quickly.
My floral piece that I am doing for Art Quilts Around the World, which is being done again, this is the first effort, its more like a pot holder than anything else, its meant to be on point. Hmm, a challenge of the difficult sort, shold have chocen something easier. Should not leave things to the last minute. Looks like its sideways, but the picture is there!
Off to work, night shift, hmmm at least I can have the excuse to have the air con on all day to sleep.
Have signed up to do Lisa Walton's wool challenge, I know not much time, but you neve know I might be inspired with a days off work.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dear Friends

This is a picture of a quilt I made soon after moving to Brisbane, one of our dearest friends had become very unwell after we left Tasmania, in our absence I made him  this quilt. Machine pieced and quilted, with a personal quilted message as I spoke about last week. A boys quilt!  Chris stayed last night on his way to a business meeting, he reminded me of the quilt and of the special message, that he keeps it on  his lounge and admires it every day. He still is thrilled that I thought so much of him and made him that quilt.
Incidentally 'Dear Friends' was the name of one of the lovely restaurants of Hobart in the 80s and 90s. 

Friday, March 18, 2011


The Queensland Quilters Challenge quilts were due in last week, we had a tight time line at the end, but my daughter and I got our pieces finished just in time.  This is Isabels first time entering the challenge.  An interesting fabric choice which made  for a good challenge. A sneak preview of mine here. They will be on display at the Craft Expo in Brisbane March 24-27. I am looking forward to seeing how others approached this fabric.  I do love a challenge, even if it takes me ages to get a good idea, then procrastinate over it and then finally get around to making it!

The soft floral piece for the Art Quilts Around the World on line group has ben done, but I am unhappy, so have started again, luckily its only 12" x 12". Its really hard to use fabrics you don't like or would not normally buy.
I ordered the Twelve x Twelve book online today, can't wait to see it and drool over the pics!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Flood quilt and the queen of the last minute

Here it is, almost finished, just needs the binding done, hooray. I have actually enjoyed working on this quilt as it is so soft and really needed some soft curves.
Donated quilt for Queensland Quilters flood appeal
Now onto my own work, a few deadlines looming. I have given myself the challenge of using pastel prints for an art piece- not sure what to do yet but I expect it will come, then there is a 'flower garden' for another challenge, maybe a formal rose garden?? I have some lovely pictures from the National Rose Garden in Longford in Tasmania from earlier this year.
I nearly always leave it to the last minute! why? "the queen of the last minute" it does sometimes make you just 'do it' and not procrastinate and the work is often more spontaneous than if you have thought about it for ages.  Being creative is sometimes difficult, you see so many great ideas in books and magazines, but don't want  to copy,  using them for inspiration is a fanatstic thing, but its important to use original ideas and not copy.
What is inspiring is colour, shape and texture.
I have an idea for the flower garden that has just sprung into my head........

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I  have almost finsihed the 5th flood relief quilt, on behalf of Queenslnd Quilters Inc. It was donated by another quilter, she had actually layered it with the batt and back, and hand basted it. The batt is a lovely soft poly wool blend, quite different from the others which had a  100% wool batt which was quite stiff and unwieldy, and in this Brisbane weather quite hot, I do have an airconditioner in my sewing room, and used it!  had this quilt on the floor to work out what style of quilting design to use, and as often  is the case my daughter walked over it! she said, 'wow that one's soft!' I suppose thats the thing, is your quilt comforting?, or is it like sleeping under a sheet of cardboard like the quilt on our bed at the moment, it is softening, but slowly. I  think it probably is a cottonl batt, and it is heavily quilted which does make a big difference.
Of course this begs the question - what batt should I use?, thicker is not always the best, we have a lovely polyester batt in a quilt that I hand quilted, so warm and even in Hobart warm enough to feel snug. Wool and cotton come highly recommended, but you can get them with a mix of ployester which makes the handle of the batt quite different.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thread tizz

Having volunteered to machine quilt several quilts for the Queensland Quilters Flood effort, I am in a tizz over thread! I tried to use machine quilting thread purchased several years ago, thread that is thicker than I now normally use, thread that I thought I could use up and never buy again! I thought that I could use it in the bobbin as well - big mistake.... wrong! I ended up unpicking a bit then using my favourite Bottom Line in the bobbin, much better effect. The moral of this story is -if you are going to do it- do it well. Save yourself the agony of handing in a half hearted job, one that you will be unhappy with. The quilt I am working on has been donated by a quilter, the fabric is pretty, the design simple but pretty. Will post a picture when it is done.

My next challenge is to make a piece for the on line group Around the World in 20 Quilts, a challenge to use a colour that I do not normally use. I chose this range of fabrics in prints I do not normally use, soft pastels, something I would never buy for myself. Still thinking about this, it is due atthe end of the month, hopefully by the end of this week I will have a finished piece. Soft and pastel, not loud and unexpected. hmmm might end up to be unexpected.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

too little time

today I got out of bed after less than 5 hours - broken- sleep after a busy evening at work, only to shower, breakfast and go back again.... hmmm why do I do it? I work in an amazing field, no one day is the same as another, there is joy, heartbreak , and frustration.  Where is  this? I am a midwife. No more to be said , you all know this if you are human and have tried to "build a family", one of the hardest jobs inthe world, and touted as one of the easiest....
I came home to find that my lovely husband had stood in for me as President of the school P&F at a major function, he had worked hard, come home exhausted, and yet cleaned the kitchen, did the laundry, chauffered a child etc.
 25 years later he is still looking after me.
I have watched over my daughter as she finished the challenge quilt she is making, ironed the clothes, thank heavens a uni student does not need ironed clothes!
Off to bed so I can turn around and do it all over again tomorrow.
My 4 days off will be filled with quilting, designing, sleeping, eating and maybe a meeting or 2 and a haircut.
What a joy to have days off in the middle of the week when all the other 'normal' people have to go to work!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New heading!

Did you notice I have changed the heading to Jane Madly Quilting? thats me I am a little bit mad, trying to juggle too many balls at once, falling over sometimes.
My quilting life aims are to try to be just that little bit different, to rock the boat a little, to do the unexpected. You may think that I am straight laced and serious, but underneath I am a bit crazy and enjoy to be different.
My quilts, while traditional  sometimes always have some unexpected little aspect.
My life is not ordered, I work shift work, I sleep at odd times of the day, I am well known to go to sleep at dinner parties at someone elses house, even at my own house when I am the host!
My family knows that this is me and they just get on and accept it that I am just that little bit mad......
This is a close up of my quilt juried into the Queensland Quilters State of the Art quilt exhibition last year. It is an image of a hand, my sons actually. My father passed away in 2009, he always greeted people with his hand outstretched, it is a quilt made in his memory. Heavily free motion machine quilted. My daughter had done some drawings of heavily patterned hands, almost like henna tattoo designs, so I used this idea to decorate the hand.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Personal signature or professional error

There are many ways to sign your work -meaning quilt or piece of art- many artists sign on the back, some sign on the front. Some do secret hidden signatures under the binding as well as a big label on the back of their quilt. A painter I know paints the same house in each of her paintings as her own personal signature. A few quilters will always put a frog or other design on each piece they make. Some artists make what they call 'professional errors', by this I mean they use a traditinal design and make a consistent small error, not easily detectable, but enough that if they or someone else were to look at their work years later it would be the defining mark that is distinctly their own. Many lace makers use this technique, as of course their work has no place for a signature.

Why do I ramble on, well, I was machine quilting this lovely little Flood Relief quilt, and got a bit excited and stitched straight throuh what I had designated as my finish line, its right at the bottom in the middle, it did not need to be undone, but instead made a start place for the border quilting. This is not you would expect, and it makes this little quilt a bit different and special, nobody else would have done this, or maybe they wold have undone it to make it 'perfect'

Maybe my professional error is to quilt the unexpected!

I sometimes leave little quilted messages in quilts for specific people, it's their challenge to find them. Maybe you should try it to liven up your piece and make it a little more personal. A personal challenge to the quilter in you!

It is fun to quilt someone elses work, but a bit daunting at the same time,would they have done it like this, will they like it? More on that another day


Thursday, March 10, 2011

New beginnings

A new blog for me. I will try to keep on going this time.

The question is why can I spend lots of time on a charity quilt for the Queensland Quilters Flood appeal, and then none on my own - must be finished soon with strict deadline -quilts ?

I belong to Queensland Quilters, and make both art and traditional quilts.

I also belong to Around the World in 20 Quilts, cannot post a link as this is not in my computer skills list yet.

I have posted a picture of my last prize winning quilt, a small piece on hand dyed orange fabric, freehand machine quilt in a variety of fine and funky threads. I love thread. This quilt won 3rd prize, Professional Small Quilts at the QQ 2010 quilt show. My aim for this year is to get at least 4 quilts finished for the 2011 show, and also finish the other smaller pieces that are challenges from another 2 groups that I belong to. More on that later. My big aim is to get things finished on time and not hand in or show a half finished peice!!