Sunday 25 May 2014

Thorngrove Manor quilt progress

I am very excited to share that all the machine appliqué on the Thorngrove Manor quilt is complete! I've been working most days for the past month sometimes putting in 10-12 hours a day which means there have been a couple of nights when my light has gone out way past 2am! But it has been worth it and there is nothing like a deadline to get things done! These are the designs for Border 2. I've used a teflon appliqué mat to help with the process. Once the fusible paper is peeled off the back of the appliqué pieces they are placed on the mat directly over the pattern. This way the pieces can be ironed onto the mat, allowed to cool and then peeled off ready to press onto the background. This method makes placement much easier and is a great way to hold all the bits together in the correct place…….

 Then it is time to press the sections onto the border with the assistance of a tape measure, pins and sometimes a chalk marker……..
 A few days ago I was preparing the final 28 flower motifs for Border 3 ………..
 I had quite a production line so this time I used baking paper from the kitchen cupboard. I was surprised it took two hours just to assemble the flowers but I was glad they were all attached making it easy to press onto the final borders……...
 Tweezers are an essential item to assist with the tricky little pieces…….

So here they all are….a platter of freshly picked William Morris flowers waiting to be planted!….. 
 And Ta Da… it is all appliquéd and pieced together! It is a large quilt (106 inches square before the quilting), and is already quite heavy ……….. 
 I have dreaded basting this quilt as it is so large so a very dear friend has come to the rescue! Jude is a long arm quilter and has done quilting for me before and this time she has offered to machine baste it for me on her long arm machine…….I am so blessed to have her as a friend. Tomorrow she picks it up and then in 3 days it will return home to me to complete the quilting. It is pictured here on a double bed - much smaller than the King's Chamber bed so stay tuned for more news after the quilting!

Wednesday 21 May 2014

William Morris silk scarves!

And Yes….this post is written with an exclamation mark as this is very exciting!! Dearest Helen from Whitecroft tours is forever looking at ways to reward me for my designs. As many of you know I am definitely not a business girl…..I don't think many nurses are but I am glad that she is!! So Helen decided it would be a great idea to recreate silk scarves from my designs. Jason from In the Beginning Fabrics thought so too so he did all the technical stuff……so here is the launch of my very first 'Michele Hill' designed silk scarf!!
 Now I suppose it just had to be modelled and with my beautiful girls unavailable at short notice you have to put up with yours truly!! I am not normally one to wear square scarves preferring the long rectangular ones but I have to say I am loving this one and not just because of the design!!! It drapes beautifully…….
 The silk is divine and so light…the highest quality you can buy and comes from the amazing team at Beckford Silk in the UK. They do many historical museum scarves including the V&A, the National Gallery, the Tate, Highgrove and I believe also scarves for the Queen! Maybe she might like one of mine?!! The scarf is 85 cm square (33 1/2 inches) and is hand rolled and hand hemmed along the edges. Now this is not your $2 corner store scarf as the quality is superb so it will retail for 49 pounds and 50 pence….making it about $82. (And just for interest I found Liberty Morris style silk scarves are $220-$350 here and much smaller than ours….just saying!!). Postage will be about $4 to Australia so if you are at all interested you need to email Helen in the UK via her website (or contact me and I can forward it on). I am chuffed to bits and I thank Helen from the bottom of my heart (and Jason) so stay tuned for more designs in the future.  
While this is exciting news there is always some not so exciting news in our lives. At home we have a couple of situations that are consuming our emotions one of them being the failure of settlement on our townhouse which we hope is sorted soon. Another sad 'situation' is the news of a very dear friend's son receiving the devastating news of cancer. This tall handsome man in his 20's who lives for his English footy is now facing chemo and surgery on his leg. No-one should have to endure this and to have your children face it is even worse. So hard for this friend and her husband who are here in Adelaide with their precious son still living in the UK. We are all rallying around her and I suspect she will be flying back to be by his side soon. So with that bit of sadness I will share some joy with our beautiful grandson from the weekend. The trees are all showing their Autumn beauty so just enjoy it and thanks for visiting xxx (more progress on the Thorngrove quilt next post)

Thursday 15 May 2014

A joyful tale

Now don't we all love joyful stories and this is one that I just have to share! Some time ago I met a great bunch of girls from Canberra Quilters and one of them Jakki, sent me an email to tell me about a folk festival she had just been to. It was there that she heard the Mae Trio perform and what a fabulous sound they make. Jakki just had to tell me that they sang about William Morris!!! Click on the link above to listen to these delightful girls. And below you can find the track about William Morris by clicking on the link………

Well of course I just had to have the CD and I am not disappointed…….and even more exciting is a return email I received from one of the girls! I wrote to them to thank them for their beautiful music and one of the girls, Elsie emailed me back with the most incredible story. I asked how and why William Morris had come into their lives and this was her reply…….

Hi Michele,

Thank-you for your lovely email and apologies for the delay in reply! 

It's great to hear from a fellow William Morris fan. I came by his work through my mum's family. My great great etc... grandfather built his family house in the UK and the architect was great mates with William Morris so they got Morris and co. to do all the interiors. The house is now a national trust property which has been beautifully preserved, retaining much of the original Morris work. The house is called Standen - It is a stunning place and I was lucky enough to visit there with my family a couple of years ago. I felt a strong connection to the house and the Morris designs. I wrote the song about a year later when I was doing a tapestry of a Morris design.

Please feel free to share the song and any of this on your blog. I enjoyed having a read of your blog - very cool!
So glad you've been enjoying the album,
Best wishes,

How incredible that Elsie's great, great something grandfather had Standen House built for his family…….I still cannot believe it! I had asked Helen of Whitecroft tours if we could add it to the May Morris tour and what a joy it will be having Elsie in my heart when we visit in a few months. Elsie was responsible for the gorgeous art work on the CD as well……

 So if you enjoy their sound support this young group of talented musicians by purchasing their CD here. The Morris lyrics are perfectly appropriate about William Morris's amazing talent. …...what joy! 
And joy is needed in this household at the moment as we have had a hiccough in the selling of our townhouse. The day before settlement we were informed that it might fall through….how the banks could do this to us when they had 6 weeks to prepare is beyond belief but we live in hope! So the Thorngrove Manor quilt continues with bits draped all over the house!…... 

The centre and first border are appliquéd with two more borders to go before the mammoth task of quilting this 106" monster! This is the largest quilt I have made so it will be interesting to see how I go. I am going to share how I attach borders and sashings and if you belong to the "quilt police" you had better shut your eyes because I do not follow rules!! To attach borders or sashings books will tell you to measure the centre, upper and lower edge of the quilt and take an average measurement to work out the length needing to be cut. Well if you are like me you can measure the same area three times and get a different measurement every time (I figure it is the stretch in the fabric??). Well this is how I do it. I join all my lengths into one and then place a strip of border/sashing across the centre of the quilt from one edge and pin, pin, pin……and then continue to the other side and trim flush to the quilt…..

 Then I pin into quarters both the border/sashing strip and the quilt and line up the pins to fit…….

The other tip that I always do is to press the seam closed before opening it - this "sets" the seam…...
 Thanks for dropping by and take care till next time x

Sunday 11 May 2014

A Magical Mothers day

This is a story that some might not believe but I just have to share it! As many of you know I am in the middle of making a king sized quilt for Thorngrove Manor - a magical 'fairytale' castle in the Adelaide Hills. Recently they had a Mothers Day promotion and competition with the prize winner receiving Mothers Day high tea at Thorngrove along with a $500 Alannah Hill voucher. Well you might not believe it but I am going to share it in the words of Nydia and Kenneth the owners……this is an email to my eldest daughter…..

Hi  Emily
Our mother’s day competition was drawn today. We had entered all our entrants names and dates onto individual slips of paper. So it was drawn independently we asked Ken’s tutor  to draw out the winning name.  All the finalist’s names (selected by uniqueness of entry)  were then put in a bowl-mixed up and Pat closed her eyes and drew out a name. Ken was there and was absolutely amazed, astounded, flabbergasted and pleased that it was you!

I will post the winning entry on Facebook, but only identify you as Emily.
It is so amazing and I am so pleased for you.  I have copied this email to Michele.  She will be as surprised as we were.
Please advise your address so I can post the gift voucher from Alannah Hill off to you.
Kind regards

I was so shocked and of course emailed Nydia thinking that others would think it was probably all rigged as I am making their quilt and this was her reply………….

Likewise ken was amazed as was his tutor. She did the whole eye closed-bowl up high –pull out a paper slip.  Pat loves a bit of excitement and was amazed who she drew out.
I will organise Sunday afternoon for 3.
Love N&K

So dreams can come true and they did for Emily and what an afternoon of magic and the best Mothers Day ever spending it with my two beautiful daughters……...

 This is the magical room where it all began - the King's Chamber with views to the garden and those flowers were for me to take home too…….

 It was a perfect Autumn day with an open fire……..

 Nothing but the best china, the best silver and the very best linen……..

 As for the food…..I think the photos speak for themselves!!

 To top off the afternoon Kenneth gave us a tour of some of the castle rooms…….I cannot begin to describe the impeccable detail from the stencilling to the furnishings…it is all so magical and so medieval…..

 Down one set of stairs and we were outside again and even the hens have stencilled gates…..
 A room with a view and an amazing ceiling…….

 and a bathroom and loo with that amazing view…...
Outside again……. 

 and then into another chamber…….

 And finally back to the King's Chamber and another view of that grand bed that my quilt will adorn………..
 It was a most special and memorable day and what fate that Emily won this incredible prize….thankyou Emily for entering! Thankyou also to Nydia and Kenneth for such a treat xx
So the flowers are home to remind me of an incredibly special day………….