Category Archives: The Mad C.O.W.S. (Circle of Women Sewing)

Christmas Stocking Project


Christmas stocking after first session

Christmas stocking after first session

I know this probably feels all wrong to most of you but here in wintry Melbourne (I actually had to scrape ice of the windscreen the other morning)! It feels like just the right time of year for me to be making a Christmas project and this one is so much fun. It is a Christmas stocking called My Favorite Things and it is by Kerry Gillespie. You can order it here if you would like one too.

I got together with my Mad Cow buddies on Saturday in one of the girls’ houses and she had set it up so beautifully with two tables for us to work on and a tea and coffee-making table (I told her it looked just like a conference centre)!

Initially when we got the pattern, we were all a little daunted (well I was anyway) as it required cutting out the fabric, tracing the design on and then painting before any stitching could take place. With all of us together though, it no longer seemed as daunting and with a great flurry of activity it wasn’t long before we were painting on our fabric stockings – it was amazing how quiet we all were (obviously all too busy concentrating to talk).

Lunchtime came and we were treated to the amazing cooking abilities of our host’s hubbie with homemade gyoza (Japanese dumplings) Chinese style duck pancakes and mini chicken and leek pies – of course we all ate too much as it was far too hard to resist and it would have been rude not to!

By 4pm when it was time to pack away our paints we were all amazed at how much we had managed to accomplish and were keen to make a date for a follow-up session. So I will keep you updated on how our stockings progress and hopefully it will be done before Santa comes hurtling down our chimneys!



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I include this last photo because it was the bit that went most wrong! I am hoping to somehow rescue it as we go along. This is what comes of being impatient and trying to add paint to sections that haven’t dried properly! What do they say about learning from mistakes?!
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Life is a Garden…


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I showed you my garden blocks a few weeks ago which I made as part of our friendship group’s 20ll theme and here they are again finally made into a quilt top with a couple of additions.

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I decided to make a larger central block using my Go Baby shape cutter for the flower motifs and then machine zig-zagged around them. I was pretty happy with how they turned out and thought I would embroider the names of the group members on the central block to remind me of who contributed to the various block designs.

It meant of course that I had to do a little bit of a calculation to work out how to incorporate the the squares on either side of the middle block (math is not my strong point)! but in the end I was quite happy adding the floral strips to the two squares and putting a couple of narrow blocks that I could embroider on to.

The other pleasing thing for me was the sashing fabric which I bought about 5 years ago from a closing down sale for a bargain price. There it was just waiting for the right opportunity to present itself and now I can feel satisfied that it has been put to good use … at last! The other blocks too were all made from fabric already in my stash so no new fabric purchased – Yay!

Here is the finished quilt top, hope you like it.

If you want to see a close up of the blocks take a look here

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Garden theme friendship quilt


These blocks I’m showing you are actually from our 2010 friendship group quilt. We chose the theme of “Garden” at the beginning of the year so that it would be nice and easy for people to come up with ideas and then we each had to come up with a design for a block which we would present when it was our turn for the monthly get together. The design could be either applique or stitchery as long as it had some connection to the garden theme.

Try to ignore the loose threads hanging (some of the blocks have been hanging about for a while)!

Some of the group had a lot going on in their lives so ended up not making all the blocks; they will probably use whatever they’ve got to make cushions out of. As you can see, this is not a high pressure group (thank goodness)!

There were 10 of us in the group at the time and here are my 10 finished blocks:
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The next one was probably my favourite block as I liked the combination of stitches and buttons:

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The last block was my contribution although not my own design as I had it in an old magazine and thought it would fit perfectly with the theme:

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I hope you like them and I am now planning how I am going to put them all together in one quilt top. I have been playing around with a large centre block and will hopefully be able to show you that soon.

I love to hear how other friendship groups work and if you decide on a yearly theme or just work on individual projects. Let me know as we are always looking for ideas and I will show you some of the other things we have made in future posts.

Mad COWS day out!


Mill Rose Quilting
There’s nothing like a fun day out with the girls and that’s exactly what we did last Saturday even though it was a bit on the hot side (about 38C which is probably well up in the 90’s in Fahrenheit). There were 10 of us in two cars and we were making our way up to Ballarat which is about 2 hours north from our part of Melbourne. Our first stop was in Ballan which is a great spot and really worth a visit if you get the chance. Mill Rose Quilting and Gallery was just beautifully laid out and we really enjoyed looking at all their gorgeous fabric and patterns.
Stunning array of fabric
I hear rumour that they are starting a bed and breakfast so will definitely be keeping that one in mind for a weekend retreat!

We also dropped into the farmers market in Ballan and enjoyed looking at all the lovely produce and couldn’t resist buying some of their crusty bread, of which we were given many tastings. We were a bit tempted by the cheese too but I think we quickly realised it would be a big and smelly mistake on such a hot day!

Ballan farmers market

After Ballan, we took off up to Ballarat and visited Eureka Patchwork and Ballarat Patchwork and stopped at a wonderful place for lunch (we were ready to chew an arm off by this stage)! Its called Wen and Ware and is a fabulous gift shop and delicious lunch stop. Even managed to do a bit of Christmas shopping – for me!! All in all a very successful day and quite ready to collapse in a heap when I got home. Luckily himself had got the new pizza oven fired up and we had our very first wood-fired pizzas – YUM!
Boys keen to help with inaugural pizza

Up the garden path (with a dog)!


Well actually I don’t know whether this is a garden path quilt but I do know that I started it on a retreat about 3 years ago and I’m mighty relieved that I finished stitching on the binding last night at our monthly get together. Wow what a good feeling (must remember to do the lable though).

I started it after finishing a quilt for my mum’s 80th which was a mixture of pink, cream and green florals and thought I had better use the left-overs up, so having seen a friend make a similar pattern I made the triangle blocks up and in between placed a nine-patch and this was what I got.

I machine quilted it myself using the diagonal lines as a guide.

Finished at last – garden path quilt

I can’t say that these are my usual colours I would choose and I had some serious reservations about the dark green but still it has a bit of old fashioned charm and will still be nice to wrap around on a cool night!

Photographer’s assistant just helping out!

By the way if anyone does know the name of this pattern, feel free to let me know but I won’t be changing the title as it took me long enough to think of this one!

Back from the quilter’s


Last week our little friendship group (The Mad COWS) sent off 7 quilts with our wonderful quilter Natalie from: thequiltingbug. A very speedy 7 days later she drove accross Melbourne to deliver them to my door!! (what amazing service). We had our own mini quilt show as we oohd and ahhhd over each other’s quilts and with service like this and our backlog of quilts shrinking, its hard to find a good reason not to do all our quilts this way! Anyway here’s our mini quilt show for your enjoyment.

Flo’s double-sided quilt- side 1 (Christmas)

Flo’s quilt (side 2)

Carrie’s split nine patch quilt (Christmas)

Carol’s country scrap quilt

Carol’s ‘Under the Australian Sun’ quilt

My Drunkards Path quilt

Detail of Drunkards Path showing ‘simple swirls’ quilt pattern

My Moda fabric jelly roll quilt

Detail of my jelly roll quilt

Mainly ‘Moda French General’ fabric – stack and slash quilt

Stack and slash using (mainly) French General fabric

The Mad Cows Quilt Challenge


OK so we’ve been meeting monthly for a few years now but it was only this year that we came up with a suitable name for ourselves – The Mad Cows and thought we ought to make that the theme for this year’s project.  So each month we take it in turns to come up with a suitable cow block design – reflecting something about ourselves and then we all make our own version of it.

So far I have only completely finsihed two of the blocks (slack cow!) and here they are:-

Di – the beach cow!

Di loves nothing more than lying on the beach with a good book to read so I thought I would give her some rather sexy sun glasses and a beaded bikini – She’s not quit as buxom in real life!!

Julie – my life is a “cowtastrophe”

Julie was feeling the pressure at the time so this is a reflection of a relaxed happy cow (how she would like to be feeling)….. good luck with that Julie. I gave her some rather charming hoop earings and her very own cow bell!

Having seen some of the other girls’ versions I think it will be really fun when they are done and they will all be very different.

Keep ya posted!