Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Anyone who visits my FB page will know I have been madly getting 3 new designs ready for the Craft & Sewing Show....2 bags and 1 quilt! It was their first public outing and they all were all received well. SO over the next couple of days I will be giving some patterns away to celebrate!! 

We are starting with the Maggie Satchel!

This bag is named for my sister in law Margaret because it is practical but fun!

 It is a messenger style bag that is fully lined with an internal pocket. It features some great hardware, contrast piping detail and has an adjustable strap. It also has a nifty magnetic clasp that just snaps together when the flap is in place. It is a great mid sized bag that is practical and functional!! It measures 25cm (H) x 23cm (W) and is 8cm (D). I have made this style many times over and have found the front flap a great place to personalise the bag in someway. 

The pattern is presented in booklet form and includes detailed instructions and many diagrams to help you along the way. There is also pattern sheets with full size pattern pieces. The pattern has been drafted with a computerised drafting program so you be assured of 100% accuracy.

I have 3 patterns up for grabs. I am sure by now you know the drill leave a comment under this post for your chance to win a copy. Share the post (& let me know) and I will give you a double chance....Winners will be announced on Saturday evening the 3rd of November!



Reviewing the week that was.....

I have been absent far longer than I had wanted to be...but I am BACK now and it is going to be an exciting week!!

I spent Wednesday to Sunday last week at the Craft & Sewing Show at Caulfield Racecourse. Talk about full on!! This is the 2nd event at which I have partnered with Lara from Chocolate Coated Patchwork (Soon to re branded as Batiks & Buttons, but more about that later). We consider it our most successful collaboration to date and we now have even more ideas to try out next time. Each time we refine our presence & our prociess and we are both looking forward to what we can put together next year!!

This was the first time I have taken the opportunity to conduct a daily seminar. It was a great experience and I believe, well received by those who attended. We certainly noticed that both seminars ( Lara presents a great one on Simple Spectacular Backs for your Quilts) generated a lot of activity with attendee's following us back to the stand! That kept us on our feet and busy for most of the day, which made the days go fast, but left little time for breaks. Eating & drinking on the run is rarely fun or satisfying and I have some work to do in regards to keeping myself hydrated. Thankfully it is only 5 days!!

The BEST thing about any event like this is meeting all the wonderful people who are as passionate about patchwork as I am! Some of my new friends have already been in touch and I look forward to building those relationships over time.

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NOW back to Batiks & Buttons!! Lara and I both launched new products at the Show (& I will be telling you more about mine soon) but Lara ALSO started getting the word out about the EXCITING changes that are happening in her business life. Firstly, the name change: chosen to reflect a change in focus for her business. She has a new FB page and a website on the way. I would encourage you to head over and "like" the Batiks & Buttons page for starters. That is where you will now be able to get updates regarding all the happenings. The 2nd piece of HUGE news is that Batiks & Buttons is opening a REAL shop down in Gippsland. Lara is busily setting up in the Glengarry Railway Station as we speak ready for the GRAND OPENING THIS SATURDAY the 3rd of November. The building is located at 20 Main St, Glengarry 3854 just off the Traralgon-Maffra Road.  I have been told she has marked down a LOT of fabric for the occasion. Bolts and bolts and bolts of it!! I think it is certainly worth the drive down!!

Ok time for me to cook dinner...I will be back this evening with another blog post that includes a little bit of fun.



Thursday, 18 October 2012

Hindsight is a wonderful thing......

.....or what a difference a day makes!

To say that the last couple of months has been stressful might be an understatement. Having a family, home and business to run certainly keeps one busy and at times there is stress but lately there has been EXTRA stress.  This extra stress has been business related, but it was external, unnecessary and due to the actions, or in this case the INACTION of 1 person. I only feel free to talk about it now, as it is mostly resolved but only just as of lunch time yesterday. The situation has taken a toll emotionally, physically and financially and like most situation that escalate out of control it is frustrating to acknowledge that it was completely unnecessary. I am not exaggerating when I say that it has put the future of my business at risk and I am fighting with the what is left of my confidence and pride to pick myself up and hold it all together. I am afraid that most of you are going to have be satisfied with me talking around the actual issue and maybe you may wonder why I am even bothering to post about it. Well I am for several reasons. Firstly it is hopefully a partial explanation as to why my blogging and FB activity has dropped off the last few weeks. It got hard to put on a brave face but it there was also things that became a priority. Secondly I want to draw a line in the sand: This situation, and this individual will no longer steal my energy, my focus and creativity. I am not good at moving on, I am a muller, a dweller...generally a hang on to hurt. But I KNOW that is not good for me. So this post is IT! And lastly I want to thank the few people who have been privy to the full situation. You girls know just who you are....and I doubt I would have come out the other side without your support, your wise council and your practical help. OH and hugs I have had plenty of hugs!!! I really think hugs make the world go around. I know for me they are worth 1 million words!!

So I am licking my wounds, counting my blessings and recognising what I have learnt during the drama! But most importantly I am moving on!!



Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Beginner Tutorial 1 - Cutting Tools Part C: Rulers

The Ruler! The 3rd and final part of the basic cutting tool trio!

Rulers that are created for patchwork are most often made out of a thick perspex style plastic. The ones I have used are 2.5mm - 3mm thick. The plastic is just the right thickness to keep the rotary cutter on track, but not so thick that it makes the ruler too heavy and impractical to use. They are always see through and have an imperial or metric grid marked on them. Like the mats they often have a series of angle lines on them also. Although you would assume you use the ruler for ruling or measuring your cut, I actually use a combination of the mat and the ruler to achieve a higher degree of accuracy. I keep hinting at a technique post and that is where I will cover the actual method of cutting.

There are many many brands and many MANY many types it is VERY confusing to know what you do and don't need. Although it is handy to have 1 of every size and shape, it is certainly not necessary. Having a couple of basic shapes will get you through most projects. It is also handy if you have friends that patchwork; consult when you are buying equipment like this as then you can buy different specialty rulers and lend them to each other.

Most rulers on the market have the grid printed onto the back. There is one major issue that I have found with this that is problematic. Simply, over time the printing rubs off! This has affected the usability of the ruler somewhat but not entirely. As you can see it would be tricky to measure anything that is between 10" & 12" but anything under 10" is perfectly fine. It is also perfect for squaring up a block, as long as I need that block to be 12" finished. Given that this ruler is around 10 years old I guess it is not too bad, but I did stop using it regularly around 5 years ago! You can get printed rulers in a wide range of colours, usually depending on the brand. If you buy this type of ruler think about the colour of the line in relation to the fabrics it will work on...will you be able to see the line?

My preference if for rulers that have the markings etched in. Obviously the markings will not rub off, that is a good start! They also have another quality that I love and I have tried to capture it in the photos at the right. The etched lines have a fiber optic affect, as in the etched lines seem to capture light and focus it. The picture on the left is taken in direct light. For the one on the right I stood in the path of the direct light, therefore casting a shadow. To my eye, the lines on the right are actually more readable, in low light?? Seems a bit mental really but it is true. It would be great if we were all working in wonderfully well lit area's but I we don't do we? The only thing I DON'T like about this brand is the sometimes hurts my eyes. LOL
What I DO love about these rulers are the massive range of sizes and shapes they come in...AND that some are available in left and right handed options. I also love that they are made locally just down the road from me! It is great to be able to support local business.

Rulers can also come with gadgets. Be careful is all I can say! Gadgets often add to the price but do they add to the value?? Try and see a demonstration or use a friends to see if it is really worth the hype! I have a couple of dinosaurs I regret spending money on!

Just a quick word on the units of measurement.

If you are new to patchwork you may still be puzzling over why everything is referenced in Imperial measurements. Well everything other than your requirements which are almost always given in Metric if the pattern originated here. I have asked this question myself over many years and the answer always seems to be that we had to source so much information ie patterns fabric tools etc from the USA that that is just the way it came! Remember we only switched to Metric in this country rather recently (FYI it was an 18 year process to convert every facet of Australian industry, business and education from imperial to metric. We were not completely converted until 1988!!!) So there is a whole generation of patchworkers that are comfortable working in metric, but some of the newer metric babies might find it a challenge. Trust me it is easy to get a hold especially if you make sure you tape measure has metric one side and imperial on the other. Just flip and check!!!There has been some attempts to revolutionze the Australian patchwork industry and covert on mass....but they have never really gone anywhere and I think there is good reason for that. So rather than fight it, I embrace it and see that rather than a standardised unit of measurement for a particular country, I recgonise the universal language of Patchwork. And really, what does it matter?

What sizes would I recommend for starting out?  The most useful sizes I have are:
  • Rectangle 14" x 8"
  • Square 12.5"
  • Square 5"
Or close enough to those sizes. I have many others, but these are honestly the sizes I find myself using the most. I have listed them in order, so if you can only buy 1 at a time, start at the top and work down. Once again shop carefully and compare prices and features and then buy the best you can afford.

I use and recommend  Matilda's Own Fiber Optic rulers and templates. Take the link HERE to the shop to see what I am currently holding. If you don't see the size you need I can get them very quickly. Don't forget if you are lefty there is a WHOLE wonderful range of rulers I can get for you and they don't cost one cent me to discuss a special order.

I am still collection entries for a prize draw....I have a few more posts to go in this first series and I will let you know soon when it will be drawn and exactly WHAT is up for grabs. For this post all I need to you do is comment, just simply say hi! AND share this post and the others with your friends....tell me you have and I will give you another entry!!