Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A New Year Begins

Last Saturday we had quite a crowd for our first gathering of 2018. Carol, Elaine, Karen W, Karen G and Rosalind, Linda, Betty and Jane (from Wolverhampton UK) had a great time progressing our UFOs the next step though nothing was actually finished.

Back: Robyn's Retro waiting for sashing
Centre: Karen's Windmills waiting to be quilted
Front: Stephanie's Japanese waiting for the pieced backing to be completed.
We put up Carol's Peach blocks with lots of laughs about trimming them to size (not small enough yet) and arrangement. It is looking most effective so far though.

Of course our chats over lunch and afternoon tea provided lots of opportunity for unburdening ourselves and our concerns of the last few weeks. What a lovely support our quilting friends are.

Jane drew our next lucky dip pack and we are now working on Christine's donation. I will be sending out focus fabric and emailing instructions in the next week or so.

Happy quilting everyone.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Our Christmas Gathering

This month Karen W., Karen G., Elaine, Linda, Stephanie and I started our day with a brunch at Carss Park Cafe and Grill. A great time was had by all and this meant we did not have to provide lunch at home.

Back to mine to finalise our year...

Drawing the winner of our sampler quilt from Stephanie's donated fabrics. The winner is Stephanie and she has chosen to keep the quilt. I think we all would have loved it. Our hexagon quilt from a previous draw was still waiting to go to a charity but Karen G decided she had just the place at home to use it as a wall hanging so chose to give her money to charity and take the quilt. That means we now have one quilt and about $200 to donate to charity. Does anyone have suggestions as to which charities?

Drawing our next lucky dip fabric. Karen G drew out Helen's donation and I am in the process of writing instructions (luckily Helen supplied some with a sample of her block so that makes it easier). We decided that rather than sending back the completed quilt it might be better if we send back the four smaller units and mix them up creatively on the board. I have a photograph of the four small blocks below. Stephanie's challenge was to get all the required yellow squares from a tiny piece I had in my stash. the dotty fabric is the Focus fabric (remember any colours you use should appear in the focus fabric). We have also supplied the yellow fabric.

Sandwiching Karen's Windmill quilt. This was completed by an industrious team while others cut and arranged for other projects on the go.

I will soon be sending out fabric for our next block due in February and will organise some dates for next year before others book them up.

Merry Christmas to you all!

For those who are interested here are Karen's instructions for her delicious gluten free and egg free meringues and macaroons...

For information about aqua faba recipes, see sites such as 

As one of the sites says, the liquid from the tin of chickpeas (or other kinds of beans) shouldn't be too hot. In summer, I'd refrigerate it for a while before whipping. 
The meringues I made were from the recipe on https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/recipes/cakes-meringues-and-desserts/meringues  - see below. I don't know the Lidl brand; I assume it is one in the UK or USA.
Cooking time is much the same as for ordinary meringues so adjust the temp and time in the recipe for your own oven. Slower is usually better with meringues in any case. I cooked at about 100 deg C (fan-forced) for about 2 hours, and then left them in the oven to cool. The meringues do need to be put in a very airtight container as soon as cool if the air is humid.They can get very sticky very quickly on days like today.

I added 1 or 2 tabs of desiccated coconut to part of the batch for the macaroons. Adding the coconut makes the macaroons spread a lot more than the straight meringues do (?because of the oils in the coconut?).

*** Recipe from Vegan Society website ***
With the magical discovery of aquafaba, vegan meringues that taste just like the real thing are everywhere. Enjoy experimenting with bean-juice! 


  • One can of chickpeas (certain brands work best - try Lidl)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • Caster sugar (roughly 4floz, aka 120g)


  • Preheat your oven to 120C.
  • Put greaseproof paper onto a baking tray and wipe with a small amount of vegetable oil – this will stop the meringues sticking to the paper
  • Drain can of chickpeas, catching the bean water ('aquafaba') into a measuring jug 
  • Measure out the same volume of caster sugar to aquafaba into a separate bowl
  • Pour the aquafaba into a large, clean bowl – bigger bowls are better, you want lots of room to add volume 
  • Add 1 tsp of cream of tartar
  • Beat the mixture with an electric hand whisk until it looks white and glossy
  • Optional – you can add 1 tsp of vanilla or other flavouring at this stage
  • Add the sugar slowly whilst still mixing
  • It will start to thicken up and develop a sticky marshmallow consistency which holds stiff peaks
  • Using a tablespoon place blobs of mixture on the baking tray – leave about an inch between blobs
  • When the oven has reached temperature put the meringue in
  • Cook for an hour
  • After an hour check the meringue, they should be a little golden and *just* firm to the touch and not tacky or sticky
  • If they are still sticky, check at 10 minute intervals
  • When they are done turn the oven off and leave the meringue in to cool – preferably overnight.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Maybe this is why we quilt

Today was the first 31 days of ideas - talks from TED.

This talk about sitting still is quite inspiring.

Pico Iyer - The Art of Stillness

Enjoy the idea!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Another productive sewing day

Karen W, Karen G, Elaine, Cathy and I spent a very productive day last Friday up in the quilting studio.

We have now completed the sampler quilt. It really looks great with its pieced back and sampler front. We will do our draw for this quilt at our Christmas gathering (details coming soon). Cathy had lessons on mitred corners in binding and practised by sewing the binding onto the quilt then Cathy and Elaine spent a lot of time hemming the binding.

Karen W and Karen G spent time trimming the small 'japanese' blocks and then sewing these together. We will need a few borders to frame such a stunning top.

I attached the final borders to Karen's Windmills top so now it is ready to sandwich next time.

I think I have now received all the Robyn's Retro blocks so next time we'll be able to arrange them. Awkward because we have 14 blocks. If there is anyone out there who has not returned a block please do so soon so it can be included.

I am still waiting on some of Carol's blocks (including mine) so let's try and have those finished and returned by our Christmas gathering too.

In all we had a great time chatting and sewing and have a lot to be going on with next time. We decided to leave drawing another lucky dip block until our Christmas gathering when we will have 2 months to complete and return the new blocks.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Quite a crowd in October

Last weekend Karen, Karen, Carol, Linda and new member Cathy and I had a great day together working very hard in my very messy patchwork studio space.

Once the pieced backing for our sampler quilt top was complete we sandwiched it and tacked the sandwich together. Unfortunately the backing is about an inch short on one side so I have to extend that before quilting it.

Much time was spent pondering placement of the Japanese strip quilt top and perhaps it is ready to sew together next time.

Linda attached the label to Elaine's Hexagon quilt and that one was won by Christine who has recently moved. I have yet to hear back from her about what she would like to do with it.

We also started putting Robyn's Retro blocks on the design wall and pondered borders for Karen's Windmill blocks which have now all been sewn together.

Yesterday I spent some time up in my studio cleaning and clearing all the mess that had accumulated over time. I now have a lot of bits and pieces to go to Crowle Foundation but I also have lots of patchwork magazines that I need to bin unless anyone expresses an interest in some of them. If you would like some please let me know.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Productive Day

On Friday three of us (Karen, Elaine and I) worked well towards completion of the quilts we have underway.

Elaine's Hexagons are now joined and the quilt is completed. Thank you to Elaine and her sore fingers with a day of hand sewing. Only the label to attach now. It is small but could be a warm knee rug or a baby's play mat.

Karen spent a lot of her time sewing together the strips of Karen's Windmill quilt. We've decided that this needs a row of sashing and corner stones around the edge before we add any borders. These are already for our next quilting day.

I added corners to the quilt top of our sampler quilt then started on the backing piece. The fabric we had chosen was not large enough so we have added some large patchwork blocks to it and thus extended it enough. Next time we can tack the sandwich together and start the quilting.

We chose our next lucky dip fabric which we've called Robyn's Retro. It has been in the lucky dip basket for 2 or 3 years and Robyn was wondering when it was going to come out. The block she chose was a free one from Jinny Beyer but unfortunately it has been taken offline. Karen and I then chose another one online from Quiltville and I've saved this as a .pdf file so that if it is taken off we still have it to use. I like the Quiltville site as it has lots of ways to use scraps.

Until next time... happy quilting.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

July-August Quilting Days

Because I had to squeeze our July and August quilting weekends between holidays we had two quilting days on consecutive weekends. Although we were small in number we had Pernilla visiting from Sweden for one day and Geoff and family came home from house hunting on the Saturday.

Much activity produced near completion of two quilts. We still have a few seams on the hexagon quilt to hand sew but it is looking quite good, if a bit small. It will just be a knee rug.

Our sampler quilt is looking quit stunning and only needs some corners before it is sandwiched. So there is still plenty to do in September.

We started sewing the strips of the windmill blocks together but that still needs to be completed.

Arianne had a great time (ha ha!) sewing a traditional tutu. She ended up with aching fingers and eyes.

We did not have a fabric draw as we have quite a number of quilts on the go. We'll probably do so in September though.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

June quilting day

Last Saturday we were six quilters - Karen W, Linda, Carol, Stephanie, Elaine and Betty. We finished and raffled two quilts:

Heather's Purple Butterflies from way back in 2015 was won by Jenny. This was a disappearing nine patch block from back in 2015.

Starry Starry Night (a donated set of cut pieces) from 2016 was won by Gill. This one is backed with polar fleece.

Congratulations to our two winners.

We continued to create the quilt top for our sampler quilt and it is really looking stunning.

We have decided how we will create a quilt top from Karen's windmill blocks but are awaiting a few more blocks. Because I made a mistake with the original instructions (new instructions here) we are going to cover the corners with tiny cream triangles then add cream sashing with focus fabric cornerstones. It should work well. We just need some more blocks to come in.

The instructions for our next block, which will be similar to Linda's Rings quilts but larger blocks, are here. The fabric for these blocks has now been sent to everyone. I still have Christine and Karen G's still at my place to be collected. Gill, you have yours as you took it home when you came up last. The fabrics are from a collection Stephanie donated and you will need to add others to keep in the Japanese theme.

The hexagons will look great too but we have a few not back yet.

The two matching quilts from Linda's ring focus fabric will be donated to the Pacific Heights Nursing Home, Sylvania, where Linda's mother is now a resident.

During the last month I finished off one of my own quilts that I made the top for in Kennybunk Port, USA when I was at a workshop with Marion in 2011.

Things have changed at my place with Geoff, Jen, Ivy, Heather, Ponyo and Cat5 all staying so there are barriers everywhere and a continual collection of toys and stuff all over the place.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Three quilts finished in April

 Another great day on Saturday resulted in three quilts being completed.

Jenny's Bright Flowers was won by Elaine who has chosen
to keep her quilt and donate her money to charity

Linda's Rings #1 was won by Jeanette
Linda's Rings #2 was won by Helen
 We decided to draw another fabric and design from the lucky dip which resulted in Elaine's Japanese-style print. As there was no block design with it we had to choose one then draft the block and instructions. Luckily Elaine had some large hexagon templates which she had to drive home and get. I will email the instructions and post the fabric and cardboard template as soon as I can.

We were seven busy workers all concentrating on a different aspect of our outstanding projects. We are extremely pleased to have caught up on everything we had started up until December 2016. Some of our UFOs dated way back to 2015!!!

Our current PHDs are Stephanie's Sampler which now has half of the sashing on, Karen's Windmills (some of which I have not yet received), and Gill's Japanese Strips (no instructions done yet).

Thank you ladies for a great day and especially for our banquet at lunch and afternoon tea.