Books on Patchwork, Quilting and Appliqué

Patchwork,  and quilting are all highly inter-related crafts and are a wonderful way for sewers to use up all those extra remnant fabrics from other projects, though in reality, a whole industry has developed, supplying fabulous fat quarters for these sewing techniques. I am constantly amazed that despite my huge stash of fabric, fat quarters and fabric scraps, I still need to occasionally buy that special pattern or colour combination to match up, complement or contrast the other fabrics chosen. Choosing the right fabrics for quilting projects is a real skill and is not as easy as you would think!

Patchwork, appliqué and quilting have come such a long way since their original and traditional  function of making bed covers, table runners and hanging pictorial quilts out of recycled fabrics and there are some amazingly talented artists these days. Here are some of my favourite books in my craft library, both practical and inspirational, which cover these techniques!

Patchwork Primer: Step-by-Step Techniques and Beautiful Projects by Dorothy Wood 2000

This patchwork primer covers a multitude of techniques and information, including:

Materials and equipment and quilt terminology;

Choosing fabrics, wadding or batting and colour;

Planning a quilt design: Composition; sashing and borders; quilt backing; binding; quilt sizes and a conversion chart (metric, imperial and decimal);

Calculating fabric quantities;

Making and using templates;

Marking fabric;

Using a rotary cutting set and scissors;

Hand-piecing with or without papers;

Speed-piecing;

Joining patchwork by machine;

Pressing seams;

Working with right-angled triangles

Piecing star designs;

Specialised patchwork techniques: Piecing Log Cabin blocks; English crazy patchwork; and seminole patchwork;

Joining curved seams;

Hand embroidery stitches;

Raw-edged, traditional and machine appliqué;

Special appliqué techniques: Broderie Perse; Shadow; Hawaiian; Stained Glass; and Reverse Appliqué

Joining blocks and making a quilt sandwich;

Transferring a quilt design : Prick and pounce; Dressmaker’s carbon; Quilting templates; and Quilter’s tape;

Quilting: Hand and Machine Quilting techniques: In-the-Ditch; Selective; Outline; Echo; Parallel lines; Shell-filling and Diamond-filling; Trapunto; Italian or corded; Sashiko; and Tied;

Binding a quilt;

Sewing Machines: Type; Features; Threading; Filling a bobbin; Choosing a needle; Machine feet; Stitch tension; and Maintenance and trouble shooting; and

Templates and designs.

My friend made me this beautiful patchwork cushion for my birthday!BlogBks PAQ30%IMG_5177Throughout the book are patterns and instructions for:

American Block Quilts:

Four Patch: Double Pinwheel; Windmill; Road to Heaven; Flower Basket; Flock of Geese; Crockett Cabin; Crosses and Losses;  and Spool and Bobbin;

Nine Patch: Contrary Wife; Churn Dash; Jacob’s Ladder; Puss in the Corner; Darting Birds; Steps to the Altar; Eccentric Star; Shoo Fly; and Cat’s Cradle;

as well as less common designs for Five Patch and Seven Patch (Bear’s Paw) quilts;

Star Quilts: 54/40 or Fight Star; and Le Moyne Star;

Curved Seams: Drunkard’s Path;

Log Cabin Designs: Light and Dark; Barn Raising; Straight Furrow; Pineapple Log Cabin; Courthouse Steps; and Off-Centre Log Cabin; and

Baltimore Quilts;

It is an excellent book for covering all the basics!BlogBks PAQ30%IMG_5163

Creative Patchwork with Appliqué  and Quilting The Australian Women’s Weekly Craft Library 1998

Once you have mastered the basic techniques, it is great to be able to practice them on a few projects and this book has some very attractive and well-explained patterns for:

Bedroom Quilts: Lemoyne Star*; Dresden Plate; Double Irish Chain; and Antique;

Hanging Quilts: Naïve Doll; Birds in the Fountain; Country Vase with Flowers; Cabin Flannel; and Child’s Button Quilt*;

Minis and Lap Quilts: Crazy Patchwork; Garden Sampler*; Foundation Mini Bowtie; and Cot Quilt*;

Home Decorating: Floral tablecloth; Heart table runner; and Flowerpot*; Stitcher’s and Quilted Cushions;

Quilting Accessories: Heart Sewing Box; Log Cabin Pincushions*; and Quilter’s Carry Bag*.

My favourite projects are followed by a *.

There is a short section in the back reiterating all the basic techniques already described.BlogBks PAQ30%IMG_5164

The next two books cover specific patchwork techniques: English crazy patchwork and the Seminole patchwork of North American indigenous tribes in Florida.

Crazy Patchwork by Meryl Potter 1997

Crazy patchwork was very popular at the end of the 19th Century in America, England and Australia and enjoyed a brief revival in the 1990s. Odd-shaped fabric scraps are stitched to a foundation fabric, then the seams are decorated with embroidery stitches. It is great fun as there are no rules and all sorts of fancy fabric with different textures like silks, lace and brocades, velvets and embroidered fabrics can be used, as well as ribbons and braids.

Basic techniques, colour and fabric choice and the basic toolkit, including window templates are discussed briefly in the first chapter titled ‘Getting Started’ with a more detailed examination of techniques and technicalities in the back of the book, including notes on embellishments (embroidered or appliquéd motifs; lace; ribbon embroidery; and beads and charms); threads (stranded cottons; perle threads; soft cottons like Wildflowers by Caron or Danish Flower Threads; stranded silks; perle silks; synthetic threads; fancy threads like bouclé and chenille; and metallic threads); ribbon embroidery; beads, buttons and charms; pins and needles; twisted cords and piping; and mitred corners, as well as a bibliography and list of suppliers.

Here is a photo of a UFO (unfinished object for the uninitiated!), which I WILL finish one day (!), using crazy patchwork and appliqué, to make a bag or a table runner!BlogBks PAQ25%IMG_5179However, the majority of the book is devoted to the projects, including materials; method; stitch notes; and finishing:

Peaches and Cream: Victorian Bag and a Fabric-covered Box;

Country Christmas: Decorations and Table Runner;

Victorian Tiles: Throw;

The Deep Blue Sea: Scissor case; Pincushion; Needlecase; and Bag: my favourite project in rich ocean colours of green, turquoise, blues and purples! See front cover of the book;

Out of This World: Bag; Spectacles case and Purse;

Precious Jewels: Brooches in varying shapes;

The Realms of Gold: Cushion and sachets;

Gentle Hearts: Wall Hanging.

This book fosters creativity and imagination, the projects merely a starting point for pursuing your own personal crazy journey!!!BlogBks PAQ30%IMG_5165

The Seminole Patchwork Book by Cheryl Greider Bradkin 1980

I have always been fascinated with the Seminole patchwork process! Strips of material are cut and sewn together along their long horizontal edge by machine. The strip patch is then cut vertically and the new strips are sewn together in an offset position with the long edges of the new band finished off with fabric strips.

An unlimited number of patterns, 61 of which are displayed in the Glossary of Patterns at the front and back of the book, can be created by varying the number and width of strips and the angles, widths and offsets of the pieces. The other advantage of this technique is that nothing is ever wrong or discarded as any ‘mistakes’ are not only learning experiences, but also usable in different future projects!

The book includes a discussion of the tools and materials required; step-by-step instructions for construction; notes on using the patterns, mirror image designs and graphed motifs; and suggestions for the use of Seminole to decorate clothing (ties, belts, hems, cuffs and borders, and yokes); linen (towels); and homeware (chair covers and cushions; and wall hangings; placemats and wine totes; tote bags and fabric boxes; and spectacle cases, book covers and photo frames), supported by colourful photographs.

While the format and projects look a little dated these days, it is still a really interesting technique, worthy of experimentation and exploration!BlogBks PAQ30%IMG_5166

Now for some specific books on appliqué !

The Appliqué  Book by Rose Verney 1990

A good introduction to the history of this art form and general techniques:

Choosing and preparing fabrics;

Cutting out: Enlarging pattern pieces; Positioning pieces; Cutting bias strips;

Transferring embroidery details: Fabric marking pencils and pens and Dressmaker’s carbon;

Stitching: Tacking; Slipstitching turned-under edges; Points, corners, circles and curves; and Embroidery stitches;

Pressing and Finishing: Mitred corners; and Joining bias strips; and finally,

Basic instructions for the construction of cushions and curtains.

The majority of the book is devoted to twenty projects, including: Tea, coffee and egg cosies; tablecloths; cushions and curtains; quilts; wall hangings and friezes; and bags and jackets.

I particularly liked the designs: Brilliant Blooms (cushion); Animal Parade and Fun With Numbers (nursery friezes); Fleur-de-Lys Variations (cushions); Beautiful Balloons (curtains) and Birds in the Trees (quilt).

This is a good basic guide to traditional appliqué  techniques in the pre-Vliesofix days! One of the projects in the book was a Stained Glass cushion using the reverse appliqué  technique, another fascinating and fun technique, as well as producing very attractive results!

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Reverse Appliqué with No Brakez by Jan Mullen 2003

I loved this book! It is so inspiring with great explanations and bright colourful designs!

It is based on the premise of the crayon resist, where designs are scratched through a black paint overlay to reveal the colourful crayon colours underneath. In its most basic form, reverse appliqué  involves the layering of two fabrics, then cutting through the top layer to reveal the hidden layer underneath, the cut edges held down with stitches.

Eg the Molas of the Kuna women of Panama in South America (see: http://www.molasfrompanama.com) and Hmong textiles (see: http://www.hmongembroidery.org/reverseapplique3.html and http://www.hmongembroidery.org/reverseapplique.html).

Jan has gone one step further, sewing rough-cut fabric pieces with tapered edges together for the secret under-layer, enhancing the mystery and creativity and originality of the process! She guides you through the process, examining each layer in depth and providing plenty of suggestions for variations and further exploration. Here is a photo of my efforts using this book!BlogBks PAQ30%IMG_5176Chapter One describes the toolkit, while Chapter Two examines the basic processes of:

Reversing with No Brakez;

Reverse appliqué with edges turned under: Cutting through the top layer; Corners and points; and Clipping and notching curves;

Reverse appliqué  with raw edges using vliesofix (fusible web); and

Quilting: Quilt-as-you-go; Floating borders or sashing; Machine quilting; and Binding.

Chapter Three is all about design: Project and design size; Theme; Adapting traditional appliqué  designs; Text; Drawing and transferring the design; and Border design.

The secret layer is the crux of the whole process and is described in detail in Chapter Four: the fabrics (cotton, silk, satin, synthetics, taffetas, wools, flannels and sheers); multiple layers for even greater versatility and creativity; piecing layers, varying the size and direction of the strips, and different techniques like tapering, colourwash and stack-slice-switching; and stitching directly onto batting.

The top layer is also important for contrast and is discussed in Chapter Five. Black and bold plain colours contrast well, while dots, stripes tone-on-tones, repeat patterns and different textures add visual interest and may complement the secret layer. Different fabric types and different piecing options for the top layer (distinct design areas; squares; irregular pieces; tapered layered bands; and pieced blocks) are also covered.

Having assembles the sandwich layers: the backing; batting; one or multiple secret layers made of stitched strips; and the top layer, it’s time for the fun bit! When you cut through the top layer to reveal the secret layer, it is so exciting, satisfying, surprising and exhilarating! You never know exactly what you are going to get, unless you are the world’s most expert planner!

Chapter Six examines Reversing by Hand (traditional appliqué  with turned-under edges and invisible slip-stitching; and raw edge appliqué  with fusible webbing, the cut edges secured by buttonhole stitch; stab stitch; cross stitch or feather and Cretan stitch); Threads (colour, type and thickness); Reversing by Machine (Freehand and straight; scribbly and decorative stitches); and the technique of Stitching, then cutting.

Quilting and Finishing are discussed in Chapter Seven: Thread choice; hand quilting (echo stitching, textured stitching and tying); machine quilting; adding text; embellishment (beads and buttons or appliqué  on the top layer); mock trapunto; and finishing the edge with binding.

The remainder of the book features six colourful projects, reinforcing skills and techniques learnt, as well as a gallery of inspiring ideas. I highly recommend this book, as well as visiting her website on: http://www.janmullen.com.au/!

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The remaining five books in this post, while still including practical instruction and projects, serve to inspire the reader by showcasing the work of a wide variety of appliqué  and quilting experts, as well as a few particular favourites of mine!

Appliqué  Style: The Best of Contemporary Design-Plus Stylish Projects To Make At Home by Juliet Bawden 1997

An interesting and inspiring book, which examines the origins and history of appliqué; sources of inspiration and design; the work of 21 contemporary designers, showing a wide range of styles and techniques; the techniques themselves (tools and materials; preparing fabrics and paper templates; scaling and transferring the design; cutting out appliqué pieces; using backing pieces; corners, curves and circles; making bias binding; hand-stitched appliqué basics; bonding or fused appliqué; stump work; shadow appliqué; reverse appliqué; machine appliqué; and inlay work); and includes 15 projects designed by 11 of the artists featured from clothing (vest, hat, scarf), jewellery (brooches and buttons) and bags (laundry bag and carry bags) to bedding (blankets and pillowcases) and homeware (cushions, lampshade and book cover).

While I loved all the artwork, I was particularly drawn to the work of Belinda Downes, Rachael Howard, Madelaine Millington, Nancy Nicholson and Lisa Vaughan.BlogBks PAQ30%IMG_5169

The Passionate Quilter: Ideas and Techniques From Leading Quilters by Michele Walker 1990

A similar book to the last, but specifically devoted to quilting and featuring both traditional quiltmakers (Northumbrian; traditional; and Welsh) and contemporary artists and their work (folded patterns; pieced pictures; batik texture; pattern and tone; appliqué pictures; mosaic patchwork; stencilled images; fabric collage; machine appliqué; stitched collage; reverse appliqué; painting with fabric; hand-sewn patchwork and strip piecing), as well as describing a variety of techniques (hand and machine sewn patchwork, appliqué and quilting).

My favourite artworks were the sumptuous and richly-coloured  reverse appliqué quilts of Gillian Horn; the tonal patchwork quilts of Deidre Amsden and Sashiko-stitched vintage patchwork of Setsuko Obi; and the pictorial quilts of Jean Sheers and Janet Bolton, whose books are featured later in this post.BlogBks PAQ30%IMG_5170The Quilter’s Guide To Pictorial Quilts by Maggi McCormick Gordon 2000

Given my preference for pictorial quilts, this book is an excellent addition to my craft library! It covers :

History of pictorial quilts (album or freedom quilts; story and scenic quilts; and folk art quilts) with photos of some beautiful old quilts from the 1800s;

Designing pictorial quilts: Source material; Resizing images; Composition and format; Perspective; Colour; Fabric choice; Creating texture with quilting; and Embellishments (manipulated fabric, string and cord, embroidery and beads and sequins);

Techniques: Materials and equipment; Preparation (making templates; cutting out with scissors or rotary cutter and bias strips); Piecing ( straight piecing by hand, four-piece seams by hand, English piecing, using a machine to join pieced units and stitch curved seams); Hand appliqué (cut and sew, turning edges, plain paper or freezer paper backings, reverse appliqué, shadow appliqué, stained glass, machine appliqué, points and troughs, and broderie perse) and decorative stitches and embellishments);BlogBks PAQ30%IMG_5171

And finally,

Pictorial Themes:

Land and Sea: African landscape; Lateral Links; Textured Towers; Remains of the Day; Places of Refuge; Anchors Aweigh; Down to the Sea; and Mountain Range;

Flowers and Foliage: In the Garden; a Receding View; Floral Shapes; Abundant Texture; Seasonal Colour and Garden Glory;

Animals: Simple Animal Shapes; a Colourful Menagerie; Birds of a Feather; Fish Tales; Bold Effects (the front cover of the book in the photo above); Zebra and Tiger; and Natural Representations;

Figures: Movie stars and famous figures; Faces; Symbolic Figures; and Abstract Realism;

Places: Architectural Masterpieces; Traveller’s Tales; a Celebration of Home; Interiors and Firework Celebration.

This book is full of inspiring and creative artworks, which support the text wonderfully. Some of my favourites were:

Cloudcuckooland by C. June Barnes with colourful patches of birdlife from around the world (http://www.cjunebarnes.co.uk/Textiles/5_Cloudcuckooland.html);

There’s No Place Like Home by Marta Amundson with its very clever abstract patterned patches of red and white repetitive reverse appliqué  symbols of Australian fauna (https://www.amazon.com/Quilted-Animals-Continuous-Line-Patterns/dp/1574327976); and

Going Places by Jane E Petty, based on a vintage travel poster.BlogBks PAQ25%IMG_5175

My final three books feature specific artists: Janet Bolton and Carol Armstrong, two of my favourites!

Janet Bolton has a very distinctive and attractive almost-naïve folk art style and I own two of her books. Here is her website: https://www.janetbolton.com/.

Patchwork Folk Art: Using Appliqué  and Quilting Techniques by Janet Bolton 1995

In this practical guide, she discusses her inspirations; fabric choices and sources; preparing the background foundation; design and cutting templates; cutting and arranging the compositional shapes (fabric appliqué pieces); turning under appliqué edges; decorative embroidery stitches; embellishment with found objects and framing pictures, all referenced with examples of her own work and supplemented with workshop activities in each chapter like Making a Seed Box and fabric panels: the Blue Bird In The Morning and Four Flowers, which I really enjoyed making.BlogBks PAQ30%IMG_5178 She finishes with a gallery of her work and templates for the patterns. I love her simplified and rustic depictions of childhood, domestic and farmyard scenes and her use of earthy colours and natural fabrics.BlogBks PAQ30%IMG_5172

Mrs Noah’s Patchwork Quilt: A Journal of the Voyage with a Pocketful of Patchwork Pieces by Janet Bolton 1995

Totally different presentation-wise to the previous book, but still showcasing Janet’s unique style, this delightful book resembles a children’s picture book and tells the story of Mrs Noah’s patchwork quilt and all the animals on the ark.

Illustrated throughout with Janet’s textile pictures, including reference to their position on a quilt, which progressively develops through successive pages to the completed quilt on the back of the last page.

The back envelope contains 10 pre-marked quilt foundation patches to which you stitch material scraps of your choice, decorating with neutral thread, then assembling into the featured quilt. It is such a great concept and I love her naïve folk style.BlogBks PAQ30%IMG_5173Butterflies and Blooms: Designs For Appliqué  and Quilting by Carol Armstrong 2002

Finally, my favourite book of all, as it is based on the garden – its beautiful flowers and plants and all its inhabitants: ants and bumblebees; butterflies and moths; grasshoppers and praying mantis; crickets and cicadas; dragonflies, fireflies, mayflies and lacewings; ladybirds and beetles; and snails, frogs and turtles. I love her use of colour, the patterns created by her quilting stitches on a cream muslin background and her style. Her designs are just so pretty!!!

After detailing her tools and materials and fabric choice and preparation in the introductory chapter, she describes her design process, lightbox appliqué, which eliminates the need for templates. She discusses the order of appliqué; preappliqué techniques or appliquéd appliqué to make positioning easier; the appliqué stitch and how to handle points, curves and circles; embroidery; and bias strips in Chapter Two, while the third chapter focuses on marking; borders; basting layers and quilting; and finally binding the finished quilt.

In Chapter Four, pattern design is discussed briefly before concentrating on patterns and instructions on appliqué and embroidery for each wildflower, including line drawings and colour photographs of the finished design. Wild animal friends are the subject of Chapter Five, then all these newly acquired skills can be put to use in nine different projects in Chapter Six from tiny Bug Bites panels, which could later be used singly as an oven mitt  or coaster or incorporated together in a quilt or cushion; a Wetlands Triptych, which would also look good as table mats; and a Moth Garden door or bed hanging, which I would love to make, to other larger panels titled: May Day Cricket; Bee In a Box; Vine Wreath; Butterfly Bouquet (book cover); Golden Garden and Dragonflies’ Pond. In total, there are 42 hand appliquéd designs, of which there are 24 wildflower patterns and 18 animal patterns – all delightful! Another book, which I would highly recommend to fellow garden-lovers!BlogBks PAQ30%IMG_5174

 

 

 

The January Garden

What a wonderful Summer we have been enjoying! Perfect temperatures in the late-20s with some mid-30s and the odd scorcher above 40 degrees Celsius, as well as Summer storms and beautiful rain, resulting in flooded creeks and river beds early in the new year. It is always good to see a decent amount of water in Candelo Creek and the birds love it! I couldn’t catch the fast-flying reed warblers, but I did see this gorgeous swamp hen on her grassy platform, which was at the back right of the large central island in the 2nd photo.

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Looking down Candelo Creek from the bridge
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Looking up Candelo Creek from the bridge

BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 10.02.51There has been so much growth in the garden! The stems of the climbing roses on the Main Pergola are so long and are urging its immediate construction! We ordered 4 freshly-cut, 3.2 m long stringybark posts yesterday, so the roses and I can’t wait for the building to start!BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 10.06.23Ross also wired up Lamarque, the climbing rose on the front wall of the house, to train its increasingly wayward canes, as well as making a raspberry trellis at the back of the northern vegie patch. We will transplant all the new canes to the vacant half of the trellis this Winter, so have sowed some multi-coloured sweet pea seed for a last crop in Autumn.

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Educating Lamarque!
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Ross sowing Sweet Pea seeds under the new raspberry trellis

We also planted some very special dahlia seeds given to us by a dear friend. I can’t wait to see the colour combinations in Autumn. While Ross was sowing seed, I collected the bupleurium seed.

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Planting the special Dahlia seed
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Bupleurium seedhead

When we were ordering the pergola posts, we also picked up 50 old red bricks, so we were able to complete the brick edging around the Moon Bed. It looks terrific and will make maintenance so much easier. I would really like to edge the Soho Bed in a similar fashion, though we might have to use smaller broken bricks on their ends because of the continuous curve of the circle.

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Ross laying the brick edging of the Moon Bed
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I didn’t even notice Ross’s deviation joke!!!

We have also done lots of watering, weeding and mulching throughout the month, not to mention giving that rampant pumpkin a severe haircut!!!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5799BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_6747BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5490All Ross’s hard work in the garden is now paying off! Even though the potato plants have struggled, we still had a good crop and we are harvesting red and gold heritage tomatoes every day. We made a second batch of Wild Plum Jam and more Basil Pesto.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5146BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_4529BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5131BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5733BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.13.20We feast on delicious fresh salads, divine home-made pesto and tasty pizzas for lunch! The pizzas were made with our own onion, tomatoes, capsicum, basil and pesto.

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All home-grown except for the eggs!!!

BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5406The plums have been superb! We have been eagerly awaiting the ripening of the large purple plums and after a spell of warm days, we harvested 2 buckets worth. We kept a third of the ripest to eat for breakfast, then experimented with 2 different recipes : http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/11891/dolous+dark+plum+jam and http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/backyard-plum-jam. Both have similar ingredients, but their method and timing differ. The first probably set better than the 2nd, but both are delicious and we now have 15 jars of divine Plum Jam for our pantry. And there are still more plums on the tree!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5849

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Ingredients for Plum Jam : Plums, water, sugar and lemon juice. I didn’t end up using the limes, as I had enough juice from the old lemons in the tub!

BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5794Our neighbour’s pear tree also has a bumper crop!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5782We have had plenty of avian visitors to the garden, keeping a close eye on the ripening of the fruit. We have chased off a number of raiding parties of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.

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Yum-a-Plum!!!
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This smart cookie was cleaning up the fallen plums underneath the tree
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Munching on plums
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This bird definitely needs a bib!!!

Oliver and Twist have been regular visitors to the verandah. They seem to like our company and chatter away to us, good-naturedly accepting our less-than-perfect-host behaviour by refusing to feed them! They like nibbling away at the fresh winged seeds of the nearby maple.

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I love the under-colours of the female King Parrots!
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Twist on the verandah
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Oliver is the more confident of the two!
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Oliver sheltering from the rain
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A Maple seed feast

The Crimson Rosellas are also enjoying the Duranta berries and at least one of them has been led astray by Oliver and has tried joining him on the verandah!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5316BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 14.39.03

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Crimson Rosellas also have beautiful colours underneath!

We even have a young Butcher-Bird, much to the alarm of the other bird parents.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5298The January garden is full of flowers! We have been so impressed with the pink sweet peas, which despite their late start, have positively exploded and are enjoying a long season!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5213BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5216The Burgundy sunflowers are equally impressive for their colour, boldness and vigour, producing many many flower heads.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5166

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Sunflowers after rain

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This bloom literally glows!
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Caroline’s wonderful watercolour painting also looks alive!
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The geometric form of the new blooms is stunning!

The dahlias are still brightening up the cutting garden with their generosity, as are the calendulas.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5487

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This wet dahlia bud has a metallic glow!

They have been joined by exotic scarlet, gold, orange and pink zinnias. Their colours are so intense, as is the purple of the cosmos.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_6764BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_6766BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_6741BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_6650BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5831BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 17.32.17The Tree Dahlias have surpassed the shed roof and the corner of the house is a mass of blue and mauve hydrangea mopheads. They are my monthly feature plant for February!BlogHydrangeas20%ReszdIMG_5331BlogHydrangeas20%ReszdIMG_5333The agapanthus provide a sea of blue to cool the senses on the really hot days.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5221And the roses continue to romance us! The Moon Bed looks so pretty with it soft pink, cream and gold David Austin roses.

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Golden Celebration
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Heritage
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Troilus
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Lucetta

The Soho Bed is also undergoing a fresh burst of blooms.

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Lolita
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Just Joey
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Ice Girl
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Mr. Lincoln

The climbers are also throwing out fresh blooms.

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Devoniensis
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An older bloom of Devoniensis
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Mme Alfred Carrière
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Alister Stella Gray

My rose cuttings from last Winter are thriving and their roots have reached the base of their 2nd larger pots already, so we have decided to plant them out in their final positions over the next few weeks to make the most of the growing season.

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Planting cuttings of Mme Isaac Pereire and Fantin Latour on the shed fence
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Planting the species rose : R. foetida bicolor on the bottom fence
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The Reve d’Or cutting has a flower
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The Leander cutting also has a bloom

The diversity of the insect world in the garden continues to astound us. We discovered the culprit, which defoliated our potato plants : the larvae of the 28-spotted ladybird (Epilachna vigintoctopunctata). It appears that not all ladybirds are good!!!BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 17.27.51BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.15.13BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 19.37.34These red beetles were much more attractive, but had little impact on either the pumpkins or the sunflowers!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5121BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.06.51These beetles were mating on rhubarb leaves.BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.10.56I love the jewel-like beetles on the raspberry below. One could almost forgo that berry for their beauty!But not our precious cumquats for the 2016 marmalade season!BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.18.18

Our stink bugs continue to thwart Ross’s efforts to eliminate them!  Unfortunately, their awful smell cancels out any benign thoughts or appreciation of their own unique beauty!

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The Cumquat Battle
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Post-War breeding!
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First of the Baby Boomers!
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Almost armour-plated!

This little moth is in heaven!

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Heritage Moth (as in rose!)

The handsome Orchard Butterfly is back, flitting heavily from the buddleias to the Soho Bed.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5625BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5599There are some stunning wasps and spiders.BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.28.02BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.30.32BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 15.20.28These cute little grasshoppers are hopefully behaving themselves!

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His antennae extend beyond the photo edge!
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Ready for Lift-Off!!!

Summer also means lots of beautiful bouquets for the house!

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Dahlias, Catmint and Sweet Peas
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Monbretia, Calendulas, Poppies, Feverfew, Blue Salvia and Stock
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Sweet Peas, Stock and Catmint

And it’s been so wonderful having our daughter here on holidays. Lots of exploring our beautiful local area, as well as relaxing at home. Caroline always enjoys sewing when she visits and made this beautiful cushion- the pattern sourced from : http://cluckclucksew.com/2011/03/tutorial-sprocket-pillows.html.

We actually made it a little larger, so she could use it as a floor cushion. We had a quick impromptu lesson on tassel-making from the habadashery lady, as she had no gold tassels in stock, then Caro made all 12 from gold embroidery thread within half an hour! I was very impressed!!! We had even more fun attaching the central buttons! Having pulled both buttons together tight, we were trying to hide the thread end and actually lost the entire needle inside the cushion!!! Fortunately, we were able to retrieve it and disaster was averted!!!BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-16 20.21.33BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-16 20.21.06Caro has also had a lot of fun with her watercolours. Having had a lesson from her friend on the way over, she really developed her technique over the holidays. She loves painting animals, especially in quirky or fantastical  situations. Here is some of her work!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5802BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 15.48.43BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_6652BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-11 18.47.42BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5464

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early Winter

The Winter frosts kicked in with a vengeance with the start of June, but the days were beautiful – crisp blue skies and we could still sit in the sun on the verandah. All the deciduous trees were now bare except for the maples, whose leaves were persisting in a blaze of rich warm colours.Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-04-17 09.42.06And the Winter blooms were appearing :

  • our wonderful multigraft camellia at the front door with its variety of coloured blooms from white to white laced with pink, light pink, pink striped with deeper pink and a full deep red – underplanted with white and soft pink hellebores, as well as pink and purple violets;
  • the divinely scented Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima);
  • Galanthus nivalis flowers- the true English snowdrop- I started with one bulb in a pot and now have 20 !
  • And snowflakes ( Leucojum), which replaced the nerines.
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    Galanthus nivalis
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    Species hellebores and violets under camellia

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    Our camellia sports blooms of different colours

All these flowers were such good value, as they lasted all Winter and kept our spirits up. I have also included a photo of a magnificent camellia hedge at Kalaru.Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-14 12.43.36We fed the beds with more manure, severely pruned the old lemon tree, thinned the calendula and cornflowers and put cardboard over the 2nd cutting bed.

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New cutting garden on right under cardboard and lawn clippings

We planted the old in-ground septic tank, now filled with sand, with tiny native plants from the local market:

  • a Westringia fruticosa-Wynyabbie Gem,
  • a ‘Dusky Bells’ Correa (Correa pulchella X reflexa),
  • a Crowea exalata and

Dwarf Pink Diosma (Coleonema compactum), knowing full well that even just one of these shrubs will ultimately fill the tank alone and we will probably have to transplant 3 of them later on as they grow, but for now they all fit and its lovely seeing their tiny little blooms through Winter as well. The birds should love them and we will have a wonderful view of them from the verandah!

Other new plantings included:

  • Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) in the cutting garden for its pretty frilled foliage which holds raindrops and its yellow blooms;
  • Lilacs: Mme Lemoine (white) for the white border and Katherine Havemeyer (mauve pink);
  • Flowering Quinces ( Chaenomeles) in red, white and apple blossom pink and white.The japonicas and mauve lilac replaced the sheoaks and the red japonica graces the bottom of the garden; and
  • a red camellia (Little Red Riding Hood) and red rhododendron ( Vulcans Flame) on the side border under the deciduous trees to provide an evergreen screen.

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    White japonica

We collected sand from the creek and laid the paths in the Soho Bed with rustic old bricks, which we found under the house or edging well established garden beds, where they were now superfluous. We only just had enough for 3 paths, so the last path was paved with my neighbour’s old bricks, hence christened ‘the Anne Path, ’ leading south towards her fence ! We planted 4 types of thyme around the central sundial : Ordinary/ Variegated Lemon/ Orange Peel and Creeping Bergamot thymes.Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-26 12.56.41Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-27 16.29.03

We also planted double pink and mauve Peony poppy seeds ( a bit like the old opium poppies) from Lambleys :  http://lambley.com.au/ , which were immediately picked off by some crazed drug-addled bird, rabbit or fox ! There were little pockmarks all over the Soho Bed the next day, so I don’t expect a great strike rate unfortunately !

And then the roses arrived ! My Mum gave me 3 David Austin roses from Treloars (http://www.treloarroses.com.au ) to start my David Austin bed early in June and my Misty Downs (http://mistydowns.com.au ) order arrived towards the end of June. It was so exciting planting them ! We dug holes for the David Austin roses : Windermere, Evelyn and Jude the Obscure – to be later formed into a moon shaped crescent bed with the best aspect in the garden – full Northern Winter sun all day !Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-07 12.08.54

White Hybrid musks: Autumn Delight and Kathleen joined Penelope at the back of the left hand vegie garden, the latter covering half the chook gate arch over the path. On the other side of the chook arch, we planted Cornelia, then the right hand vegetable hedge was continued with another pink Hybrid Musk Felicia, then Stanwell Perpetual, the already planted Mutabilis and at the end of the row and the start of the Rugosa hedge, running at a perpendicular direction around the corner, the exquisitely scented deep pink Roseraie de l’Hay.

The rugosa hedge also included the pale pink single Frau Dagmar Hastrup and my favourite double white rugosa : Mme Georges Bruant. I love the scent and generosity of the continuous flowering Hybrid Musks and Stanwell Perpetual is a favourite old Species rose, which is one of the first and last to flower. The rugosas, which we first saw lining the French motorways, are tough, beautifully scented and extremely prickly, so we will have to be very careful when patting our neighbour’s dogs !

We planted the Noisette roses : Alister Stella Gray over the Soho arch to be joined on the other side by a blue clematis one day,  and a creamy white lemon/apple scented Lamarque to climb the front wall of our high set wooden house. Ross is going to devise a fold-down trellis network of some sort, so he can still paint the wall in the future if he needs to, without disturbing the climbing rose too much!Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-09 08.06.25

While I was waiting for my roses to arrive, I was busy in my sewing room. I designed a new ‘vase of flowers’ embroidery, just using embroidery stitches (first photo), then when I was satisfied with it, I used it as a basis for an appliquéd felt cushion cover for myself.

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I traced glass circles on different coloured felts, embroidered each circle with a different combination of stitches and colours and then attached them to a dark navy felt front. I added green felt leaves, each one displaying a different embroidery technique to depict the veins ( that multi toned green Perle thread is fantastic for foliage !) and the mauve vase was again a sampler of different embroidery stitches in its own right.

I completed the centre of the bouquet with an  abstract flower and bud inspired by Angie Lewin ( see : http://www.angielewin.co.uk/ )  to complement the vase colour, then backed the cushion cover with a bright tartan plaid from my stash, a fabric once reserved for a girl’s skirt pattern. It has been wonderful to finally use some of my long held fabrics at long last! I love working with felt and shiny No. 5 Perle thread, though I used No. 3 Perle thread to blanket stitch the felt panel to the backing material instead of ric rac.Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-04 18.40.24Blog Early Winter20%ReszdIMG_8907

I also made 4 jewellery rolls (old Vogue Pattern 1528) out of fat quarters for my nieces’ birthdays with 3 zips, 5 pockets and a little silver charm or key ring hidden inside, as well as trying out a pattern for a petal pocket fabric knick knack holder designed by Valori Wells (http://www.valoriwells.com/ ),  a cute pattern which is very easy to make, so good for a quick emergency gift !Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-18 12.25.05

When my youngest daughter visited on her mid-semester break, I helped her to make a patchwork vintage cushion cover out of material scraps and some cosy wheatbags -with the proviso that she never sleep with them due to the risk of fire !Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-26 12.53.20