Dear Jane

Far Flung Bee 2012



So I just realised that I never showed my half of the Down Under Doll Quilt Swap (#3) that I sent out to my partner, and this swap was nearly a whole ago! Sheesh guys, talk about slacking!



This quilt was made very much at the last minute – my own fault really, I thought the mail-out date was a month later than what it actually was! Oops! So there was a few long nights work in this one, especially because I decided that of course it needed to be hand-quilted as well!

I’d had the idea of a sewing themed mini in my head for a while and I’m not sure if I’m happy with how it turned out, but I do really love the super crinkly, puffy texture of the hand quilting, and that was without a go in the washer and dryer. It (almost) makes me want to hand-quilt a whole quilt like that. Almost.



My fingers got so sore while hand-quilting that I had to resort to pliers. I’m pretty sure using pliers to pull your needle through the fabric is against some kind of quilting rule but at that point I really felt that pliers were the way to go! I know that ‘Modern’ Quilting is all about breaking the rules and reinventing traditionalism, but I’m really not sure pliers was what they had in mind! It’s a little embarassing, but I hadn’t actually heard of leather thimbles until I was posting these pictures on Instagram so now I know these magic little devices exist I might try one next time, but if I’m honest (again) the pliers actually worked really, really well.



The DUDQS is on again for another year and I’ve signed my name up again. Now that I’ve got my sewing stuff unpacked at my new house I need an excuse to dive back in, and I can do with the excuse to take pictures so I can actually update my IG and blog some more, too!

I can’t wait to find out who my partner is for this round, and do a little sneaky stalk of their Flickr page! I love the excitement of a blind swap!


DUDQS3 received

There is something exciting about participating in a swap. The nervousness of making something for someone you (usually) haven’t met before. Will they like it? Is it their taste? And then the excited wait for your own package in the mail.

Recently I participated in the Down Under Doll Quilt Swap (round 3, hosted by the ever-lovely Quilted Tortoise this year) and boy did I get spoilt!



I can’t believe this quilt is really mine! It was made just for me by Cathy of Cabbage Quilts, and I feel very very spoilt. How amazing is it! It’s all of my favourite things in one mini quilt just for me – gorgeous linen, paper piecing, stars, greys and yellows, and mustard yellow binding. Eek!

Usually I hang my minis in my craft room, but this one is going to go in the lounge room so everyone can see it! Thank you so much for this perfect mini quilt, Cathy. I still can’t believe it’s mine!

And the best thing about the DUDQS – meeting fellow crafty Aussies!


(also how amazing is this backing fabric?! yes please!)


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


Far Flung Bee – June

It’s been ages since I’ve done any kind of swap, and when a bunch of us were talking about quilting bees on Instagram I thought it was about time we had one! And so the Far Flung Bee was born (so named because we’re all from different corners of the globe).

We’ve organised our bee a little differently, and actually I really like how it’s going to turn out. Usually how quilting bees go is that everyone makes blocks for one person each month – so you only end up receiving something in the mail for one month, and all the other months you’re making and mailing out.

For our bee we decided that you know what, we really like getting surprises in the mail! So each month we make blocks for our pair (for that month) and someone else will make blocks for us. So each month we are making AND receiving, and at the end of 6 months everyone has made for everyone, and received from everyone, and we should have 10 blocks! (plus 2 from ourselves, to make a lovely 12-block-quilt!)

June was my month to make for Erika at Guild the Lilly, and she’d requested Dear Jane blocks made from vintage florals and muted stripes.


Dear Jane block made from purple vintage floral sheets and grey striped fabric


I was so excited to make more Janes – and bigger Janes! These are 8.5 inch (whereas normally they’re 5 inch), so at this size I would almost go as far as to say they were a breeze! Almost.

It was also a lovely excuse to cut into the only vintage sheets I’ve managed to op so far. Luckily we’re only making two blocks per month because I only have 2 different vintage sheets! I just don’t have very good luck at op shops, but that’s ok because most of the fun is visiting often!


Dear Jane block made from blue vintage floral fabric and yellow striped fabric


Making these blocks for Erika has really reignited my love for my own Janes, and I’ve been spending my evenings watching TV and alternating between slow stitching with Jane, and the click clack of learning to knit.



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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