Category Archives: Denyse Schmidt

Faraway Fields :: A Finished Quilt

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So I had a finish! Some of you will have seen this quilt on Instagram and Facebook – I’ve been rather slow to getting it here!

This quilt feels like one giant material representation of my online experience, a place I’ve made incredible connections to inspiring, funny, kind and generous people. I am in love with it for its symbolic nature as much as for its beauty.

So, it’s a bit of wordy story but I’ll try my best to stay on track. I began making this quilt in a Denyse Schmidt class at QuiltCon in February 2013. The same class in which I met dear Charlotte. We were volunteering and it being the last day of QuiltCon, some participants left early to catch flights home. Fortunately for us, we were able to make a few quick blocks. I left thinking I might have just enough to make a lap quilt if I was careful about how I joined them. I was clearly overly optimistic about how much I’d done that day!
Procrasticraft_Improv_DSWhen I got home and tried to piece the blocks together, I discovered a mini-quilt, maybe a baby size, was all I would get if I was to make a top from blocks alone. Given that’s all I had, I popped the blocks on the design wall and pondered the placement. For many months, I fiddled around with it almost every time I went into my sewing room but I just could not commit to stitching it up, something was missing. As we were about to move house, I posted a picture of my (lack of) progress on Instagram:

That proved to be a fortuitous move on my part. The ever inspiring Cheryl Arkison (have you seen her gorgeous book, A Month of Sundays) saw that photo. Cheryl is one of the lovely friends I have made online who I met in person at QuiltCon. She was also in the DS class and had grabbed a couple of orphan blocks at the end of the day and she was willing to share her leftovers! They arrived along with the most generous parcel and sweet words I think I’ve ever received. When I opened the box, I was super thrilled to see that Cheryl had made some of the blocks into inset circles (check out her Craftsy class to see how to do these, it’s pretty clever). So, those circle blocks up there came to me via Calgary.

As soon as I had those extra pieces, I knew exactly how to make the quilt. I pulled out my Essex linen, laid out a king size piece on the deck and literally threw the blocks and fabric scraps into the air to see where on the quilt they landed. Of course, some landed on top of each other and some were either too far apart or not far enough so I played around with placement just a little and then stitched them up.

The impetus to finish was the Modern Quilt Show held on 3 & 4 May. Thankfully, another gorgeous friend I’ve made online (who I also now see regularly in person) is an AMAZING long-armer and she agreed to getting this one done in record time for me. Heidi has done the most incredible job with the quilting on this. My photos simply can not do it justice, it is spectacular

In the end, I have a king size quilt for our bed in our new home. It is spectacularly large, the biggest quilt I’ve ever made and I’m so damn proud of it!

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The Quilt
Blocks :: Scraps provided by Denyse Schmidt and Free Spirit, made by Julie McMahon with blocks contributed by Cheryl Arkison.
Background :: Essex Linen (purchased at QuiltCon from the lovely Tammy of Marmalade Fabrics who supplied me with a whole bolt to bring back to Oz)
Quilting :: quilted by the uber talented Heidi (Jeanette)
Binding :: Shot Cotton (from Addicted to Fabric)
The Name :: Started in Austin with fabrics from a studio in Connecticut (USA) and sewing time with a friend from London (England), blocks from Calgary (Canada), made in Canberra (Australia), quilted in Bombala (Australia) :: truly an effort from Faraway Fields.

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Packing, moving, letting go…

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Tonight I’m sitting on the floor of the sewing room, eating dinner and reflecting on this space and all that has happened here.

This in progress quilt on the as yet unpacked design wall is the last project I will work on in this home. The home that had housed my husbands family for more than forty years, where his Mum crafted for all those years. Crochet, lacework, quilts, spinning, knitting, cross stitch, tatting, embroidery, dress making. There is a whole lot of creative energy here in this home and I’m finding myself wanting to hold on to it, to pack it up and take it on an adventure. Do you think I can find a way to bottle it?

The quilt :: improv blocks started in Denyse Schmidt’s improv piecing class at QuiltCon in February. I’ve finished all the blocks I had fabric for so am going to add yarn dyed Essex linen in natural (purchased from marmalade fabrics, also at QuiltCon) to make up to a queen size for our bed. I’m thinking I might spread the blocks out randomly to make them look almost like they’ve been thrown on the linen. Thoughts on layout gratefully accepted!

Weaving a basket…

…I imagine, must take a whole lot of time. And patience. Neither of which I have in great abundance. However, I recently had cause and inspiration to weave a basket of the quilty kind.

With the middle small by my side snipping the threads between the chain piecing, and by roping in anyone who happened to call by the house, this quilt came together in a flurry of activity and with very little thought or effort in a relatively short amount of time. I did modify the pattern from the book and in my typical fashion, I messed up the measurements for my version. With a little help from a maths minded friend, I was able to improvise my way out of what could have been an enormous waste of fabric!

As the quilt was destined to be a family picnic rug, I used repurposed fabrics including scraps leftover from previous projects and some pieces from my growing stash of second hand fabrics found on trips to op shops {thrift stores}. This project contains an assortment of remnants of seersucker tablecloths, silk taffeta, linen from a skirt, a bag and my maternity pants (won’t be needing those ever again!), cotton drill kitchen curtains and a wild 1970’s paisley poly/cotton blend which was used as the backing. It was great fun to throw together an odd bunch of texture, quality and colour and come out with something fun and practical.

My favourite part of making a quilt, always, is seeing it put to use. I am not precious about the quilts I make for home. We have picnicked, slept and snuggled on and under this and I love that my family can wrap themselves in Mumma love and comfort on a chilly afternoon.

NOTE: This quilt came to be as occasionally I am privileged to be able to review books for Whip up. My most recent review was of Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration. When I opened the pages and saw the Basketweave quilt, I quietly desired immediately HAD to have a version of it.