I love to sew, mainly quilts and bags. I am 62, married to Fred and have one son, Matthew who is 24. I enjoy embroidery and applique and prefer to machine piece and quilt my projects. I love my vintage Singer sewing machines especially my Featherweight 222K. I've recently started collecting Miniature Sewing Machines, three Essex and one Singer 20 and a Vulcan Countess. My love of sewing I believe comes from my Grandmother - I still have the drawings she made for me to embroider on tea towels many many years ago!

Monday, 24 January 2011



This is Block 4 of the Civil War quilt.  Good grief! this one was a challenge!  My block is actually wrong, as the T has too much seam left at the centre top.  My mistake? ...  I didn't have a ruler with 16th markings, only 8th's and quarters.  So, I cut it at 1 1/2" instead of 1 7/16" but used a larger seam allowance - hence the extra bit on the top of my T.  So today, I decided to make another one, this time marking the 7/16 mark on my ruler (from a very old tape measure).   I cut it all out, pieced it together (taking photos along the way) but still my block was wrong.  Now, my first block actually came out the correct size -  8 1/2" but this next block was almost 9" and I had no seam allowance left on the outside of the block which in this case actually cut off my T.  Okay, you know the old seamstress trick..... measure twice, cut once .......  yep, you guessed it!  Perhaps I need new reading glasses, but I had marked my 1 7/16 incorrectly!!!  So the arms of my X were too wide! Oh dear, you live and learn!  and YES... I am making ANOTHER one!  Hey, I have oodles of this Civil War fabric so I might as well keep going and get it right!  I'm a stickler for figuring things out (as my friends know only too well)  .... I will get this block right!!

Does anyone have a ruler with 1/16th marks.  If so, what make is it?  I obviously need to get one!

Now onto some really exciting news:-

Many of you know we have a daily visitor ...... Spike the Kookaburra    and more recently.. Mrs. Spike.

Well today I had a lovely little visitor..... baby Spike!    If you double click on the photo you will get a closer look at him.  He is just adorable!  Today he was growling with his Mum and Dad but I haven't heard him actually laugh yet.  Kookaburras make the strangest sound (like a growl) when they want to be fed or are worried that the other bird is getting more than them.  Little Spike has the growl all figured out but has to work on his laugh.  It's so wonderful to have these little visitors.  We don't overfeed them - trust me... I know (picture bits of grasshoppers, frogs etc hanging from beaks!!) but we do give them the best cuts of meat (no minced meat as it sticks to their beaks).

Okay, back to more Texas Tears.....

Happy Sewing!


  1. My favorite kind of post - a little sewing, a little nature!! The Texas T looks difficult, esp. if you have to measure to the 1/16th of an inch! How did the pioneer women ever manage? ~karen

  2. Don't ya just LoVe kooka's... in any shape and size! I have 9 some days ... cause they come for the food .. NOT me...haha

  3. Love the birds. What a wonderful treat. Right now all I can watch are sparrows, doves, and juncos. I have 7 feeders out and love to watch the birds.
    I understand completely about the sewing and getting the right size block!!!

  4. Practice makes perfect! Love the picture of the bird too. What fun.

  5. How good are you getting your blocks done. Only you can see the mistake.
    Oh what a great joy to have the whole Kookaburra family visit.

    Helen I have entered my Bargello in Quilting Gallery's Weekly Themed Quilts. Could you please please pop over to vote. Thanks.

  6. Oh no....I haven't done my Texas Tears yet. I'll be ready.

    Awwww....what a sweet little baby!

  7. Thanks for the heads up on that Texas Tears block...my fabrics are laid out but have yet to cut. There are 4 rulers in my sewing room with 1/16th markings. 3 are Omnigrid - 2 1/2" square, 4" square & the 4" X " rectangular. Also have a C -Thru 18" ruler with 1/16" markings - a basic drafting ruler recommended by Marsha McCloskey. I got mine from her at a workshop & find it very handy. Hope that helps.
    I also wonder what the pioneer ladies did - and why do we fret so much over perfection?? Those antique quilts are so beautiful and appealing.

  8. Oops - make that a 4" X 8" rectangular ruler - left out an important figure!

  9. I haven't even started working on these blocks. I just found out about it last Thursday and I've been finishing up a UFO that's been on my mind. I hope I'll get to these this week and I hope I don't have as much trouble. I'll check my rulers and see if it has the 1/16" mark. I'm almost positive it does and they are Omnigrid rulers...I love the little kookaburo. So cute. It reminds me of a song I sang as a kid...Kookaboro sits on an old gum tree, hmm I remember the melody but don't remember all the words. Now, I've got it in my mind, it's gonna drive me crazy to remember it! Have fun with the blocks and I'll let you know for sure about the ruler. The block looks good anyway.

  10. Hello Helen, where we live I have not seen a kookaburra...normally need to go to the bush....hmmm Texas Tears seems to be aptly named...Warm Regards,Lyn with a lot of the quilts ie Farmers Wife Sampler Quilt, Dear Jane they work in 1/16ths of an inch

  11. Cute Kooka! We have 2 that visit us quite often and for inner city Melbourne that is pretty amazing. I love hearing them laugh in the morning. Hope the Texas Tears haven't caused more tears!

  12. What an adorable baby kooka. Your part of the world has such beautiful exotic birds.
    I was thinking about doing a Civil War quilt but after reading what trouble a pro has I am having second thoughts.