Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Feelin' Aussie

I follow Jenny's Elefantz blog. She often has charming pictures of her house located in her part of the world, Queensland, Australia. Her photos are beautiful and inspirational, and she's an exceptionally nice person too! Her blog, and those of several other dear Australian quilting friends perpetually keep me in mind of Australia and how I'd like to be one of them!

So one recent morning, seeking a kinship with Aussies, I ate breakfast outdoors on our back deck. The Aussie way is to have a cuppa (or tea) and mango (no fresh here, so frozen had to do) topped with yoghurt (have to spell it the Australian way). As I ate, I leafed through an issue of the Australian publication, Homespun, that I brought back from my May trip to Australia.

I even wore the slippers I made following an Aussie pattern found in the same issue of Homespun.

Turning to the magazine's page with the "Life is a Celebration" block designed by Kellie Wulfsohn, Don't Look Now, of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. I admired it for the umpteenth time, re-reading how Kellie appliques and quilts in one step.
Since first reading the article, my interest has been piqued by this method of raw edge machine applique and quilting. Yes, I'd previously heard of raw edged applique. What I hadn't heard about was fusing the applique pieces to a background, making a quilt sandwich, and then applique-ing and free-motion quilting in the same step! Is this a new concept? Or have I just had my head in the sand? (No need to answer, please!)

That morning I determined to drop everything I should be doing and begin this project. To make a quilt larger than the 13" X 17" block indicated in the instructions, I started by enlarging the pattern templates by 25 percent and taping sections together.
I traced and numbered onto paper-backed fusible web all 41 leaves, and then selected five different green-ish prints on which to press them.
I selected a very pale green tone-on-tone fabric for the background, pressing to fuse the tree trunk, bird, and leaves onto it. Then, to make the finished piece even larger, and give it some oomph, I added a pieced border. I pin-basted a quilt sandwich - I used Dream Poly batting - and headed to my new-to-me, used Pfaff Grand Quilter to try simultaneous applique/quilting. Would that be appli-quilting?
Using thread to match, I straight stitched around each leaf edge two to three times. I also stitched around the bird. And last, using brown thread, I straight stitched the tree trunk, adding straight lines of stitching for limbs and branches. Oh, and to make the bird's legs too.

Switching to light green thread, I spent about six hours free-motion quilting.
I'm not unhappy with the results, but I'm not entirely pleased either.
If I could, I'd would take one of Kellie's classes to learn the proper way to make the perfectly round quilting spirals that look so beautiful on her creations. But, I have to settle for what I was able to do after looking at close-ups of the photos on Kellie's blog, and trying to figure it out for myself. There are a few hiccups.

It's a bit off the mark, but I'm satisfied with my first attempt. And I will try again.

I don't have a name for this 22" X 28" piece, and no particular place to hang it, but I enjoyed making it. And anyway, for a little bit there, couldn't you almost see my Aussie-ness?



  1. You can hang it on my wall any time you like, Linda - I think you've done a wonderful job! I really want to try one of Kellie's projects soon, and you're inspiring me :-))

  2. Hi Linda
    Now you could have had Strawberries or blueberries instead :-) As an Aussie that would have been my choice. Love your little tree. Maybe it is just a technique that nees to grow on you :-)
    Keep having fun

  3. Oh I love it! I think you have done a fantastic job!!! I have had the privilege of doing a class with Kellie and she says one of the keys is practice! (She is a wonderful teacher. If you have any questions I would be happy to share my meager experience with you!)

    I love that you are crazy for all things Aussie, cause that means you like me! (And we've never met!)

  4. Those spirals spin round so fast I don't think anyone can see whether they are perfectly round or not. I think it's lovely!

  5. I cannot believe how FANTASTIC this looks and it's your first try. I could only wish to be that good after years of practice. It's so gorgeous! And I'm more than willing to wrestle Di for it. :)

  6. me thinks the lady doth protest too much. Very well done. And not only that...tis finished.
    Shame about the red bird..which of course looks right with those colors, but it does not quite fit the Aussie song
    Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree......LOL

  7. It is lovely to hear that you have such good memories of Australia Linda. I think your tree looks sensational and that little bird is just the cutest. Our quilt group has booked Kellie for a workshop next year and I really am looking forward to it. If you have time could you send me the issue number of that magazine? I am motivated by your enthusiasm. I liked your skirts from your previous blog post. I didn't see that one come up in my list!

  8. Oh I love your quilt Linda, the colors are wonderful together. Glad you enjoyed your Aussie morning/day.

  9. Wow, You did a fantastic job. I can't see your mistakes at all. So cute. I love those patterns too and follow several Aussie blogs, including Jenny, lovely ladies.

  10. I love her designs. I've only seen them on her blog. Your wall hanging is lovely!! I think your circles are great. It turned out very nice!!

  11. Linda, this is fantastic! Congratulations on such great job on the quilting!
    I am a real sucker for anything with birds on it too.

  12. Hi Linda, I think you did a fantastic job of the bird in the tree wallhanging. Your quilting looked wonderful. It's all just about practice. Your applique is lovely and close to the edge too. I love eating breakfast on a balcony when I'm on holidays in Queensland, you brought back lovely memories.

  13. Linda I loooove it. I think you are being a bit too hard on yourself.I think the quilting looks great-remember there are NO quilting police!!
    Oh like you I would love to do a class with Kellie-what a talented woman she is.

  14. Linda I love your little quilt...you are being too hard on yourself. I'd be ecstatic if my quilting looked this good. So now I'll just have to drag out the magazine and have a little play because it is a seriously cute quilt.

  15. Wow......I love your little quilt....I have had the pleasure of taking a class with Kellie and it was amazing..she is a dynamo! You have done a brilliant job with your free motion quilting...you are way too hard on yourself! Still too cold for outdoor breakfasts here yet...but at least the days are getting longer!

  16. Wow, you've done an amazing job all around! Hmm, just think how this would look with gum leaves... There are so many overseas instructors I'd like to take classes with; it's rather nice to see people overseas envious of what we have here in Australia!

  17. I had to type to tell you this - GAWJUS!!!! Never think it's not good enough. I am gobsmacked over your amazing talent. You go girl!!

  18. I absolutely love it!!!!! You did a beautiful job Linda. cheers, Jan

  19. It is lovely! I agree with Di, you can hang it on my wall. Maybe you should share it with us and we can enjoy it for awhile and then pass it on to the next person. LOL

  20. Looks so nice to me - I wish I could free motion as nicely as you have done. I just adore the little red bird. Maybe you can call it Aussi Tweet.

  21. Linda, it is simply lovely. If you don't know where to hang it . . . LOL. In our small group we have this saying, "If a quilt looks perfect while you are riding by it on a horse, then it is perfect!" You are too hard on yourself. Your spirals are great.

    Deb W.

  22. It's beautiful! And the quilting is stunning! Hugs Ullis in Sweden

  23. Wow, it looks fantastic and I love the colours.
    The greens remind me of gum tree leaf colours so that makes it even more Aussie. I love mango or blueberries with vanilla yoghurt! I've decided that with that swirly quilting, we all seemed to have our own version in the class I did with Kellie. I think yours looks truly wonderful.

  24. You amaze me! I think it looks wonderful.

  25. It's gorgeous, Linda! My loungeroom is green..... LOL

  26. Linda this is a wonderful blog post. I love seeing what you are up to in your part of the world, and I especially love your enthusiasm for beginning a new project. You have, once again inspired me.

  27. I think it is beautiful. I do a lot of landscapes using that method and it is
    a great way to finish a piece. Your quilting looks great!

    Shirley from Alberta Canada

  28. You should be very proud. It is fabulous. I have that magazine too. Were those slippers hard to make?
    And are they comfy? I thought about making some for gifts for the girls in my family.
    Be very proud. The quilt is just lovelyy.


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