Saturday 31 December 2016

The last posting of 2016

Almost two weeks after moving in we have more or less settled here in the Northern Beaches. It such a beautiful area - the beach is only a 20-minute walk from our house, and the views from the Plateau are fabulous:

All the boxes are unpacked, the quilts have come out and it's starting to feel like home!

Len's Quilt (The Log Cabin with a Lens, original pattern here) used to hang at my husband's workplace. Since he is not starting his new job until February, we can enjoy it at home now for a while:

My middle son's Dragon quilt is up on the wall again:

Yesterday I finally got to sew at my machine again - the first time in almost three months! I whipped up a zipper pouch, using a bit of leftover Marimekko fabric from my Modern Lone Star Quilt:

Today is for blogging, and reflecting on the year that is almost over. Like many people I am happy to say goodbye to 2016 - it was a rather horrible year, not just globally but on a personal level as well. I lost the job I loved, my husband's work contract ended and his new job meant we had to move 1000 km away from our home. We had to leave our rental house six weeks before the move and spent those weeks in a one-room apartment... Not fun. In the midst of all this our youngest son fell and broke his right elbow, a horrible complicated fracture which luckily is healing well, although he still hasn't fully regained the nerve function in his (dominant) right hand.

However, as the year is ending, things are looking up again for us. We love our new surroundings and enjoy life near the beach. The boys are a bit apprehensive about starting at new schools, but they have another four weeks of summer holidays first. I started running back in October as a way of dealing with all the stress, and although I have been struggling with injuries (Achilles tendonitis, shin splint) I am enjoying it, feeling better and losing weight.

Looking at the quilty side of things, it has been a productive and quite successful year. My Calendar was juried into the travelling exhibition a matter of time and Colourful Pencils was selected for the 2016 Modern Quilt Show Australia. My quilts for the SAQA Benefit Auction and Quilt Alliance Auction both sold. Being asked to judge at the Auckland Festival of Quilts was one of the highlights of 2016.

After losing my day job in February, selling my patterns on Etsy has become an important source of income. Luckily they are doing quite well! Here are all patterns currently for sale (ranked according to popularity - click to enlarge) - I hope to add a few more in the coming year:

Last but not least, I rediscovered knitting in 2016 - to the delight of my family! Here are a few of my finished projects (you can see them all, plus my works in progress, on Ravelry):

I am definitely planning to do more knitting in 2017, and hope to publish more knitting patterns after my first one, the Wine Bottle Cover!

I would also like to make more art quilts, and add some work to my sports quilts series.

And my final goal for 2017 is to design more patchwork quilts in Adobe Illustrator - I used it first when writing up the pattern for my Lone Star Baby Quilt and quite enjoyed the process.

I hope you will continue to follow this blog and leave the occasional comment. Thank you for coming along on the ride so far!

I would like to wish all my readers a happy, healthy, and creative 2017!

Sunday 25 December 2016

Happy Holidays!

Friday 23 December 2016

Moved to Sydney

We have moved into our new house in Sydney! Our street is called Boomerang Road - how Aussie is that?

We live in the Northern Beaches, a beautiful part of Sydney with a very relaxed vibe.

We are still unpacking boxes and putting together bookcases, beds and desks, but slowly this house is becoming our home. Finally, only a few days before Christmas, we have put up our Christmas tree. And look what has resurfaced!

I haven't had time to use it yet, but I'm so happy to see it again!

Tuesday 13 December 2016


I couldn't resist the #2016bestnine thingie doing the rounds on Instagram, and here are the nine pics that had the most likes this year. I only started this account (@bluejacarandadesign) four months ago, after Instagram shut down my previous account (@lindarobertus) for reasons unknown, and didn't respond to my requests to reopen it.

If you are on Instagram, I would love it if you would follow me there - I post mainly photos of quilts (or knitting projects while sans sewing machine), but you may see the occasional flower, bird or Kombi Van.

I took this pic today at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mount Coot-tha - we are visiting all our favourite spots before we make our way to Sydney on Saturday... (More Botanic Gardens photos - non-Instagram - on my photo blog)

Monday 12 December 2016

Last week in Brisbane and a new knitting project

This is our last week in Brisbane - on Saturday we will pack our remaining things and make our way to Sydney, where we plan to arrive on Sunday night.
The boys have finished school - the photo above was made when I walked to school with my youngest son for the last time. In this suburb apartment blocks are popping up everywhere, but you still see the occasional Queenslander house. And the poincianas are flowering.
This week we try to visit our favourite spots in Brisbane one more time, such as the Streets Beach in South Bank:

I miss my sewing machine so much! Can't wait to see it again next week, but I'm afraid that it'll be a while before I can actually sit down and sew - first there will be lots of boxes to unpack...
In the meantime I have started another knitting project:

It's Physalis, a free Ravelry pattern by Anna Kuduja. It's fun to knit, but it took me a while to figure out how to make nine stitches from one!

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Wine bottle cover - knitting pattern

Last weekend I stayed two nights at a friend's place in Sydney and brought her a nice bottle of white wine as a thank-you gift. I thought about how to present it and decided to knit a jumper (sweater), using the skein of multi-coloured super-bulky yarn that I bought the other day because I couldn't resist it ;-). It's almost summer here Down Under, so yes, it's a silly present, but hey, I need a creative outlet now that my sewing machine is in storage!

I measured the circumference of the wine bottle (25 cm / 10 inch) and assuming the gauge on the label (8 stitches = 10 cm / 4 inch) to be correct, cast on 20 stitches on 10 mm (US 15) circular needles. I started knitting in stockinette stitch until the cover was 15 cm / 6 inch high:

Then decreased a few times, knitted some more rows in rib stitch and cast off tightly.

That cover looked alright, but I thought it could be improved a bit by starting in rib stitch, as the bottom edge tends to curl (although this isn't really a problem when it is stretched over the bottle):

I also decided a 'collar' on the jumper would look good. There was just enough yarn to finish the second cover!

The instructions on how to knit these covers are below, if you would like to make one yourself. My very first knitting pattern! (please let me know if you spot any mistakes or if anything isn't clear)
This is a very quick and easy project, suitable for beginning knitters.

Wine bottle cover

Yarn: Electric Beat Jambi Licorice by Passioknit, 90% acrylic, 10% wool (super bulky). One skein (100g /58m/63yd) makes two covers.
Needles: 10 mm / US 15 / UK 000 circular needles. For cover B you also need a pair of regular needles to knit the 'collar'.
Gauge: 8 stitches x 12 rows = 10 x 10 cm / 4 x 4 inch
Circumference bottle = 25 cm /10 inch

Abbreviations used:
sts = stitches
k = knit
p = purl
k2tog = knit 2 stitches together

Directions for Cover A:
Cast on 20 sts on the circular needles.
Row 1-24: Stocking stitch (stockinette - knit the odd rows, purl the even rows) in the round until you have reached 15 cm / 6 inch. Adjust the number of rows if necessary.
Row 25: Decrease as follows: *k2tog, k3* repeat until the end.
Row 26: Purl (16 sts).
Row 27: *k2tog, k2* repeat until the end.
Row 28: Purl (12 sts).
Row 29-36: Rib stitch (k1, p1)
Row 37: Bind off tightly. Weave in the loose ends.

Directions for Cover B:
Cast on 20 sts on the circular needles.
Row 1-2: Rib stitch (k1, p1).
Row 3-24: Continue in stocking stitch (stockinette - knit the odd rows, purl the even rows) in the round until you have reached 15 cm / 6 inch. Adjust the number of rows if necessary.
Row 25: Decrease as follows: *k2tog, k3* repeat until the end.
Row 26-28: Stockinette (you now have 16 sts).
Row 29-36 Rib stitch (k1, p1).
Row 37-44 Switch to regular needles and continue the rib stitch.
Row 45: Bind off.
Weave in the loose end at the bottom. Leave the loose end at the top. Attach a piece of yarn to the other side of the ‘collar’. Tie a knot in both ends to prevent fraying.

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Modern Quilt Show Australia 2016, Sydney

On Sunday I was in Sydney and made my way to the Glebe Town Hall to visit the 2016 Modern Quilt Show Australia. It was lovely to see my Colourful Pencils quilt hanging there:

The show wasn't very large but there were some gorgeous quilts. My favourite was this one - a Lone Star of course! - Deconstructed Lonestar, made by Carolyn Murfitt of Free Bird Quilting Designs.

The quilting was spectacular:

I also really liked this quilt; Levitation Fascination made by Di Jobbins. It won the Viewers' Choice!

Another one I liked a lot: Sashing Stash by Jane Frankham. It won second prize in the Small category.

I had never been in Glebe before, so took the time to wander around with my camera. Loved those colourful houses in Glebe Point Road:

And this beautiful window:

The Christmas banners put up by the City of Sydney were very appropriate with their patchwork design:

I stayed with friends in Annandale (just west of Glebe), where I also found some things of interest, such as this art deco window:

And this adorable gingerbread house!

I wasn't in Sydney just for the quilt show - the main reason for my visit was to find a rental house in the Northern Beaches. On Saturday I inspected four houses. We put in an application for one of them, in Collaroy Plateau, and yesterday were told that the owner has accepted it. Hurray, we have a place to live in Sydney!!!

We will move in on Monday the 19th of December, when the boys have finished school and hubby has finished work here in Brisbane. I am so happy and so relieved to finally know where we are going to live!

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Auckland Festival of Quilts 2016

From 2 until 6 November I was in New Zealand, as I was asked to be one of the judges at the Auckland Festival of Quilts 2016. My fellow judges were Chris Kenna and Marion Manson.

The three of us were unanimous in our decision to award Best of Show to this quilt, No Entry by Norma Slabbert:

We were very impressed by the strong, original design and the impeccable hand and machine quilting in this piece:

This is my Judge's Choice: Frida No.2 by Ngaire Fleming:

I also loved the other judges' choices. This is Chris Kenna's: Watermark by Alison Laurence:

And Marion Manson's: Blue Illusion by Cheryl Houston:

There were lots and lots of fabulous quilts, and the prize winners should be up on the website of the Auckland Quilt Guild soon. I'll just show one more - a quilt made for the Guild Challenge 'Gone to Pieces', Visa. Mastercard by Jo Hollings. It won the award for Most Quirky Quilt. I love it!

The judges were asked to bring a few small samples of their own work - here is my judge's exhibit:

I had one day to do some sightseeing in Auckland and enjoyed wandering around with my camera. Here I've caught the reflection of the Sky Tower in the windows of an office building:

I also spotted some street art - one of my favourite subjects to photograph. More pics of Auckland can be found on my photo blog.

I had a wonderful time in Auckland - it was lovely to be away from all the moving stress for a little while. Many thanks to the Auckland Quilt Guild for inviting me, and especially to my wonderful hosts Chris and Terry for providing a home away from home!

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Mondrian's Lone Star up for auction

Mondrian's Lone Star, the little (16'' x 16'') quilt I made back in April for the Quilt Alliance Contest, is now up for auction with 34 other quilts. You can view and bid for them here.

I would still like to make this Lone Star in a larger size, maybe as a baby quilt. Oh well, it will have to wait until we have moved to Sydney and my sewing machine is out of storage!