Dear Jane

Far Flung Bee 2012


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August’s Far Flung Bee blocks



August was my month to make two blocks for Essie, and you know I think these are my favourites that I’ve made so far! That wasn’t a surprise to me as Es and I have similar tastes in colours, styles and fabrics, so I didn’t really have to stray far from my comfort zone. Although I quickly realised my stash is very short on brown!

I can’t decide which is my favourite of these two blocks (I keep changing my mind), but I do really want to make my own bear’s paw quilt one day! (If you want to make your own, there is a fantastic tutorial over on Essie’s blog.)


This month’s blocks also let me further indulge my current obsession: scrappy white-on-cream prints. I can’t get enough of this look right now, and I’m desperately scouring patchwork stores for more because I’ve gone through the tiny bit I had squirrelled away and I just want to add this look to Everything right now!


Right now it is ever-so-slowly warming up, although it is still chilly this past week, and I am trying to enjoy the mild days before the full force of summer hits and then we slide back down into a long winter again.

On the go right now:
Mini quilt for DUDQS3 (due out the 8th – oops, I thought the email said the 18th!)
September’s Far Flung Bee blocks
Designing my own cross stitch & stitching up a test version
Finishing up another sweater softie


My first quilt.

Zig Zag quilt on a clothesline


This has been a long time coming, but man it was worth the wait! I am utterly in love with my quilt, and although it’s not perfect (I made the blocks way back in 2009 when I wasn’t as much as a stickler for accuracy or even a consistent seam allowance as I am now!), it’s all mine and I made it, and I love it.


Zig Zag quilt hanging on a clothesline


My favourite part is the backing. It’s wide wale corduroy and it’s super snuggly, and really lends a nice weight. I was nervous when buying it, because I had no idea whether corduroy was something you could use as a quilt back! But the lovely Leigh reassured me (thank you Leigh, and thank you ever-helpful and friendly IG community!) and I’m glad, because I think corduroy might be backing all of my quilts from now on!

 zig zag quilt on the front porch of a two storey house

(I live on a mountain, and it gets quite cold in winter, so I can’t wait to have a quilt for every room!)


Do you have to name a quilt? Is that an actual thing? I made this quilt “design” myself (even though I know it’s not exactly unique, and chevron quilts have been done to death!) so I think I’m gonna name it. I’m longing for warmer days, and eating gelati in the sun, and the citrus pastels of this quilt reminds me of summer so I’m going to name it Citron Chevron. Yeah!


zig zag quilt lying on a double bed


So, I’m in love! I’m already planning my next quilt (pow wow by cluck cluck sew) in the same lap-size, because I’m too chicken to try and shove a full bed size quilt through my sewing machine yet! I’m going to make it with my precious scrounged Mendocino, and loopy loop quilt it (like this quilt by Amber) because I love how much it makes her quilt crinkle (look at those crinkles!) I will admit mine didn’t come out as crinkly as I would have liked, but maybe next time I wash it it will crinkle some more?

I’d love to see some of your quilts, or favourite quilt patterns! Lay ‘em on me, people!


Finally finished

I’ve had a lot of time off recently (I broke my ankle back in April), and it’s been frustrating and relaxing and boring – but most of all it’s been really productive!

I’m really enjoying working on a lot of long-overdue projects, and getting them finally finished. I know I’ve confessed about my project A. D. D. before but I’m not sure you guys really understand the depth of my short attention span! I have things I’ve been working on since 2009! (And that doesn’t include my Dear Janes, which I quite expect to take many more years still).

So it felt good to get these little mini quilts finished and finally up on my studio wall.




(Sorry for the grainy photos! It’s winter down here, so we have very poor light!)

I started this mini quilt top waaaaay back in October 2008 (!!!) and since then it’s managed to survive through 3 house moves and almost four years of languishing in the bottom of a box! I’m glad I kept it as I don’t have most of those fabrics anymore, and it’s a great reminder of the past when my entire fabric stash fit into two CD holder boxes!

My other recent find was a mostly-finished mini quilt of my very first Dear Jane blocks. I started this one in 2009, and it managed to make it all the way to the quilting stage before it was forgotten in the middle of life drama and house shifting. All it needed was some binding (right now I’m crushing so hard on grey binding on quilts! This one has it, my zig zag quilt has it, and judging by the size of my crush I’m guessing many more quilts in the future will be bound in grey!) and a label and it was finished!




Here it is up on the wall in my studio with some other minis I’ve received. I’m slowly making this space my own, and finding that perfect place between chaotic and useable, and beautiful yet realistic.


On my mind, in my heart:

  • Still sewing down the binding on my zig zag quilt.
  • Finishing up June’s blocks for the Far Flung Bee.
  • Getting into strength exercising.
  • Spending some time in the evenings with (Dear) Jane.



{how to} recycle batting scraps


Craft and sewing supplies are pretty expensive down here in Australia compared to our lucky American cousins, so consequently I’m pretty thrifty (read: stingy!) with my supplies and I like to get every bit of use out of them I can!

This is a little trick I picked up ages ago and found it invaluable when making mini quilts. It also works really well for regular quilt batting – but of course you have to have access to larger scraps (I wouldn’t recommend as many seams in a regular quilt sized pieced batting).

First, lay out your batting scraps and arrange them so that you form a big square (or rectangle, or whatever shape you need for your quilt) with no gaps.



To join your batting pieces together, you’ll need to use a zig zag stitch. Any zig zag stitch will do, but this is my favourite, my special Batting Zig Zagging Connecting Super Stitch! (This is a great one for “melding” the edges together, but be warned – it does use a lot of thread so make sure your bobbin is full before you get going!)



Pick your first two pieces of batting to join, and use a quilting ruler and rotary cutter to trim away any wonky pieces to achieve a straight line on the meeting sides of both pieces of batting. To join your batting, you need to butt the straight edges firmly together. You really need to make sure they’re firmly butted – it should create a small hill (see below). If the edges aren’t pressed closely enough together you can end up with a weak join or small gaps.



Sew the two edges together, then trim the edges to square up, and add your next piece, log-cabin block style.


Keep adding pieces in this style until you’ve used up all of your scraps and turned those little unusable pieces into a big recycled patchworked batting! (Again – for a regular lap/bed sized quilt that will be used and washed a lot I wouldn’t recommend this many seams in your batting, so please make sure you save your bigger batting pieces for big quilts, and your little batting pieces for your minis!)



I just love seeing something that would have ended up in the rubbish being saved and remade into something useful and thrifty!


Works in Progress

I find I tend to only want to blog when I have something finished to show off, which I find amusing since some of my favourite blogs are ones where I feel totally immersed in the person’s whole creative process because they share their works in progress, their inspiration, as well as their finished projects.

So with that in mind…

I have started quilting my zig zag quilt, and although my quilting is rather *ahem* “rustic”, I’m really quite enjoying the process. I’m loving seeing all the wrinkles – and I haven’t even washed it yet! I’m loving having it heaped on my lap as I sew, and gently removing each pin, and imagining what it will be like to properly snuggle under it when I’m done.

I realise I’ve not shared it up on here yet, so I thought I would post some pictures I took along the process (from my Instagram – I would love to see you over in my little IG space! You can find me there as “twocheeseplease”)


pile of half square triangle blocks

half square triangles


rainbow zig zag quilt layout in a visual diary



rainbow zig zag quilt top pinned to the wall

nearly finished


zig zag quilt being basted

press-ganged my mum into the basting crew


zig zag quilt being quilted in a pfaff sewing machine

"just ram it all in there, she'll be right..."


The back is this lovely (but hard to describe) peachy, orangey, gelati shade of orange corduroy. I’ve never seen a quilt with corduroy as the backing, so I took a bit of a gamble when I bought it but so far I love the weight and fuzzy-wuzzy-ness it’s adding to the quilt! Definitely not a summer quilt, but hey I live in the mountains and as they say in Game of Thrones – Winter is coming! A few friends recommended spray basting and I’m sooo glad I followed their advice! I’m not having any fabric slippage, and it was very nice not to have to spend hours on my hands and knees putting in all those pins! (Although as Jacqui did warn me, the very edges didn’t stick so well so I pinned those down – thank you for the advice!)

The binding is a soft grey and white polka dot (much like the kei honeycombs but more within my budget, heh) which I think will go really well with the front – not sure about the back, but we’ll see! I’m hoping to be sitting on the couch sewing on the binding this weekend, eeep!


Thank you for sharing in my progress. This one is a special journey for me, as this is the making of my very first quilt! I can’t wait to show off some more pictures when it’s done, and washed, and dried, and warm and crinkly!

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My name is Holly and I live in Australia. This is where I blog about the stuff I make (mostly quilts, stamps & plushies). Sometimes I also write about things that inspire me. Thanks for stopping by!


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I hope your visit here has been inspiring, but please respect my designs and idea as my own. You are welcome to use my patterns & tutorials for personal use (for you, for gifts, etc.), but not commercial use. Please feel free to link to my tutorials, but please do not reproduce them in full on your site. Thank you! © HOLLY McGUIRE 2008-2014

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