the long game

piper has learned the long game.

she has learned to cosy up to you...pat your face...kiss you...wrap her arms around you and squeeze...and then reach for your coffee mug!

i don't doubt that there is genuine affection there, but it is hilarious watching her scheme. she isn't subtle!

those are the laughing moments.

then there are those moments where your breath catches. like this. two babies, freshly sleepy from car naps, deposited on the couch for a moment while we unpack groceries. and piper climbs up next to owen and wraps her arm around him. she's so tired she barely knows what she's doing. he's stretching.

but i know this love: this is big sister love. i am an expert in this. four times over.*

my beautiful children

he's a bit partial to being cuddled while he sleeps. so is piper. we have two kids who love to be held, but rarely cry when we leave. i think we're doing it right.


what am i planning this week?

it's the sydney modern quilt guild meeting on saturday. so i'm getting prepared for that. i hope to have a quilt top to hand-quilt. i hope to be binding two quilts! i hope to have cutting for kat's quilt ready to go. so i will choose on the day. this week i have to finish my name tag. that is pretty exciting.

tomorrow i have a post office run.

tuesday there will be new coffee. new coffee is good.

wednesday i hope to spend in the garden. i need to move some cow/comp, and start some beetroot, silverbeet, peas, and a few other quick lettuces, just before winter is truly over. it was warm today. i had short sleeves.

thursday will be more design work.

friday will be preparing for saturday!

and sunday - family. the best part of the week.

Today was a BIG day. So big.

hope you all have a great week. what are your plans?


penny xx



*there are a lot of us.


WIP Wednesday


Wow, it has been ages since I've remembered to do a WIP Wednesday. I've been doing lots of work, but there seems to be some sort of barrier preventing me from lifting my hands to shelf-height and taking the camera out. Funnily enough I can get fabric from those same shelves without any problems...

Anyway, WIP Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I spent the last week getting organized. I rearranged my sewing space, I folded and sorted fabric, I drank copious amounts of coffee, and I percolated. Once I was organized I could get un-behind.

I joined a bee not too long ago, run by the excellent Stephanie, called the International Quilt Block Swap. I missed July completely and panicked at the end of the month, so I spent an evening choosing, cutting, and stitching four blocks, two for July and two for August. The idea is that everyone gets sent a block from everyone else, and each month we have two "star" quilters. There are little requests allowed but otherwise it's entirely up to us!



Economy block, from Shape Workshop for Quilters. I loved making this one!



The brief on this one was red, white, and blue. I went very modern. This 12.5" block is adapted from the 6.5" block in Tula Pink's City Sampler.



This one was made in "country colors" which was actually pretty hard to find in my stash! I hope it worked okay. Another one from Shape Workshop for Quilters.



And the final one for the IQBS quilters, also from Shape Workshop for Quilters. That book is one of the best bee-friendly books in the world.


I also belong to the AusModBee group, which is local (well, Australian) modern quilters. Each month a different quilter sends out fabric and a pattern and we make blocks up for her. For July I was shockingly late...but they are done! I posted these yesterday.

July AusModBee

July AusModBee

So that is what I finished!

In Progress

  • Still only 3/9 blocks in my sister's Swoon quilt. This is getting embarrassing, you guys.
  • 3/64 stars for Kat's quilt
  • August's AusModBee blocks
  • Shattered Star - binding
  • Washi Windows (when it arrives back from Jane!) needs binding
  • Special quilt for REDACTED quilting, binding, washing, delivering!

New Projects

Well, this half yard bundle of Nordika arrived in the post this week. Mmm. It's pretty. I'm thinking something very fractured and modern. Thank you also to my cup of green tea, which held the fabric in place!


Plus I have been working on cutting into my Briar Rose. I made a single log cabin block. I winged it, it was late, and I was busy half-watching Orange is the New Black (maybe 3/4 watching, since I sewed a few seams really wrong, haha) so I have no idea if I'll keep doing them this way or switch directions. It's super soft though and is sitting at 18.5" unfinished. A nice king-sized quilt of this would be really fun, right?

briar rose in the cabin

And of course, this is the only kind of mess I'll put up with! A pretty mess. :)

briar rose stripped

As always, the fun of linking up is to see what everyone else is up to! Tell me, what are your WIPs this week? :)


Penny xx




new fabric, part three.

Briar Rose

so i know i am not the only person in the land of modern quilters who collects heather ross fabric. she's a legend. she's a myth. her first ranges are rare, out-of-print, and highly covetable. mendocino is probably the most famous, but other collectors also have lightning bugs and other mysteries and west hill. i enjoyed her linen collections, but for me, the buttery-soft poplins of her early ranges with freespirit were the draw. it's why i've already made one mendocino quilt and am planning another. it's why i hunted down every piece of west hill, even though it meant i paid way too much for way too much of the damn lavender stripe. (i shared it with another fabric curator!) i check janeymacshop and blijeolifantje weekly, sometimes daily, for those achingly soft, perfectly strong and fuzzy cottons.

mendocino scraps

so when i heard, like everyone else did, that heather was releasing a new range, through a new fabric house, my ears perked up. i didn't dare hope. when i heard she was with windham, i felt a bit deflated. windham fabric, to me, is strong and thick and durable. it's nice to work with; great to sew; colorfast; but not as soft as mendocino. so. bated breath.

i ordered a half-yard set anyway, before i'd even looked at the swatches. then i ordered another half-yard set after panicking because i'd accidentally put my address in the form slightly incorrectly. i had the second half-yard set express-shipped, because i am ridiculous.

but you guys?

it is really nice fabric.

Briar Rose

amanda (who has briar rose bundles listed in her shop as well as coordinating solids bundles!) described it as "vintage sheets". and it feels exactly like that - soft, a little thin, but still sturdy enough to sew. this fabric has a fantastic drape. it's not the same softness as the earlier poplins, but...i like it. it's gorgeous.

i cut into it today, and i immediately knew what to do with it...after i made a 40pc charm pack! (which is the prize for the sydney modern quilt guild name tag challenge.) it was surprisingly easy to cut. the grain straightens beautifully. i feel like i'm running out of adjectives here. i kind of love this fabric.

Okay this was tough. But I did it.

and i'm not denying that a big factor is sheer fabric fangirling. i will probably always buy heather ross fabric. (i feel much the same way about anna maria horner, aneela hoey, and lotta jansdotter.) but the other factor for me was that this range marries perfectly a vintage feel with her sweet, folksy illustrations. this could have been on my bed growing up, on my mom's bed growing up even!

my favorites are the florals.

These are the prints I got a full yard of. :) #briarrose

i got extra of the strawberries too. i am not stupid. everyone else loves those and it is always good to have some on hand. (a bit like my having a full cookie jar.)

so. i made my family model the fabric for me. owen did the best job. he is clearly going to be the next major thing in fabric design. or maybe just modeling. watch this space.

Last one. Owen, Fabric model and total babe.

daddy (aka mr poppleton, aka "slightly larger owen" [seriously, aren't they exactly alike?]) was not keen to have his photo taken. tough stuff, mister.

I think he's wondering why I didn't just buy a bolt of each print  #briarrose #makethewholefamilymodelfabric

and my most enthusiastic model, miss piper rose, insisted on displaying her favorites. right after this she squirmed off the couch and took them over to her little table, folding and unfolding them, flinging unwanted ones on the floor (low-volume prints seemed to be the worst offenders!) and patting the brighter, ditsy prints lovingly. help. she's already eyeing off my stash.

My final model. Couldn't talk her into sitting still, but she REALLY loves #briarrose ❤#latergram

so that is is, new fabric series concluded. i'm waiting on a half-yard bundle of nordika, some belated tula pink meteors (finally getting on the tula bandwagon!), and a pattern for the esme blouse from sew liberated. but until then, i am happy to begin my briar rose project, and work on kat's quilt, and decided on the binding for the beautiful quilt for kcb that arrived back from jeannette this morning. (thank you again jeannette! the quilting is as always perfect!)

tomorrow the mister is going on a big bushwalk with his baby brother - wish them both luck! afterward we are having lunch in the national park. i made dinosaur cupcakes. (well, they have green icing.) i still can't believe my baby is two. (and not still a baby. or yet a teenager. kids are funny.)

thanks for putting up with my fabricking - regularly scheduled sewing will soon resume!


penny xx


new fabric part two

so we're going a bit further back in time, now, to other fabric. not all of it is well-photographed. apologies! anyway, on to part two.


this is my birthday present from my brother- and sister-in-law. thank you d and b! i managed to eke quite a bit of value out of a much-loved voucher to craft depot, including the two anna maria horner prints and two basics. by the way, that green floral? that is curated bloom, from the anna maria horner range called loulouthi, and that color (patina) is one of three i love so, so much. there is a much deeper blue and a candy pink and they are some of my all-time favorite fabrics ever.

Birthday Stack

i have no plans for these except to hoard them! the spot might make a good blouse for piper, though, if i find a pattern i like enough, and the school paper is going in my low-volume stash to be used in owen's quilt.


oh hi there, melody miller fabric. with arrows.* and sparkly gold dots. yes, i was always going to need some of you in my life.

Ruby Star Pokla Dot

the plan for this was to make a skirt, but i keep giving that staple dress pattern the side-eye. maybe when i don't need to open my shirt every two hours to feed the baby, i can make this into a dress. (because, amazing.) otherwise? i ordered the esme top pattern which looks nice and roomy. perfect for a new mama who loves ice cream (aka, me.)


now, this requires an explanation. a while ago, i bought the fat quarter bundles from sarah fielke's "on the pond" range (found at spotlight stores across australia). i finally dug them out and committed them to a project, and i discovered how much i loved this pink. and then when i went back to get yardage, i found the greens, which i had somehow missed! so these are now back in my stash.

Sarah Fielke's On the Pond

i really love these and they are unique to australia so i plan to use them in a few bee blocks for the international quilt block swap (iqbs) bee i belong to.


okay. this fabric is a tie for my all time favorite. the white colorway specifically. i found a fat quarter of this two years ago - longer now, actually, since i bought it before my daughter was born - and i went back for more. the quilt shop dug in earnest but had nothing. since then i periodically googled to see if it appeared, and one day, at one lovely australian quilt shop, it did appear. in three colorways.

Lecien Minny Muu Fabric

so: buy buy buy. and revel. and eventually maybe i'll sew something with them.


these FQs were on sale at spotlight for $1 each, which is crazy cheap even if you're not in this country. (quilting fabric in australia is typically $21-$26 per meter). i bought a stack.

FQ Stack

most of these went to the sydney modern quilt guild as fun little prizes, since they were so cheap. the rest go in stash and some are going to my best friend.


periodically, i make it south of the bridge, and when i do, i like to hit up remnant warehouse. this time i bought the last sherbert pips layer cake (craft depot has yardage of some prints too by the way), a wee little tin, some low volume prints (posy, comma, posy), an oldie but goodie alexander henry (rolling hills!), lizzy house pearl bracelets in purple, and some loulouthi. boy that looks familiar, gee...

My Remnant Warehouse / Allpress haul. Plus a protesting infant. #mamaneedstoinstagram

basically i was just stash-building, but i do have secret plans for that posy text print.

all right! last photo for tonight. i went out to cottage quiltworks recently to stock up on some basics. i really wanted dots and boy did i get dots!

Today's haul: all basics but some great ones!

the red has been earmarked for kat's quilt but the rest is safely in stash. i can't wait to pull it out and use it though!

so! part three (the epic conclusion) is coming and that's the motherload of fabric purchases - the ones that trickle in afterward will just be tucked into the blog as they come. i love stash-building and i am excited for new fabric, though of course i can't always splurge. i've just been good for a long while so i get to be a bit naughty now!

stay tuned for the big reveal...probably tomorrow! good night. 


*i have a bit of a thing for arrows and archers. i blame disney's 'robin hood'. he was such a fox.


new fabric, part one.

i did think of blogging every single day in the past week - but i didn't. probably because i got to 10pm and could not muster the energy to get up and actually go to the computer. and owen is at that stage where he's still not big enough for the bumbo, despite his amazing head strength, so during daylight hours he wants to be on my lap, in my arms, eating, or asleep curled up next to my leg. it's only after 9pm or so i can escape.

he does sleep almost all night through. (he wakes up for two feeds, and usually i only wake up long enough to attach him. and that, my friends, is why i loooove cosleeping.)

but a fire has been lit under my tail feathers lately - there is so much new fabric in my life! i keep forgetting to blog about it but i did photograph a whole bunch. i've been ridiculous, actually, which is pretty uncommon for me - i go through droughts of sewing and fabric purchasing (usually when i'm writing, fancy that), and then i gorge myself on entire ranges. but this time i just haven't stopped! i've been hounding the poor postman, and find myself cross when he doesn't bring me fabric mail! disclaimer: i love to buy fabric at local quilt shops, but since i'm homebound (and the baby is much too little to leave all by himself with a sitter), i'm trying to order from instagram and twitter friends or other etsy sellers. i'll be back at my favorite brick-and-mortar shops as soon as i'm able! here is where i shop if you are interested.

anyway let's get to it!

this lotta jansdotter collection, glimma, has been peeking around corners at me for months. i kept adding it to my cart, then taking it away. i had a fat quarter set of echo, and i loved it and used almost every scrap.  having concluded a fat quarter of each would not be enough, i decided to buy a half-yard bundle from the lovely tammy at marmalade fabrics. then i noticed that the full yard bundle was only $20 more than the half-yard bundle because it's 40% off. forty percent off. needless to say, i got the lot.


since this comes with coordinating solids, it's ready to be cut and made into a quilt! i think i'll do just that. and i think i know who it'll be for. and i think i know what pattern! stay tuned. i'll cut into this soon.


anyone who's been in my sewing room (or seen pictures of my stash) knows how much i love low-volume prints. what's even better is when they are small-scale production prints run by (sort of) local printers. maze and vale are in melbourne, which is a hop, skip & a jump from sydney, and leslie produces some really beautiful fabric. i chose greys and blues.

Maze and Vale Fabric

these luscious panels will be added into my stash and used as feature background fabrics - on very special quilts, for secret tiny projects (like the inside of a pencil case), stuff like that. it's gorgeous; i want to use it in a considered manner.

ah. lila ruby king is one of my favorite independent designers. i've ordered from her before and she's so sweet! i want her clouds on a bolt of fabric, i love them so much. also in her store is some sardine fabric and that is just the bees knees.

Lila Ruby King Fabric

this pile of beautiful prints i have plans for - i'd like to put them in a special little guy's quilt. (yes, my son! who has been borrowing his older sister's quilts for weeks now.) the color of the blue ink is very close to kona water, so i'm going to build my palatte around that and incorporate greys as well. i'm excited!

my awesome friend michelle instagrammed this gorgeous little kei happy sweet print, and when i responded with my traditional emoji (it's the one with hearts for eyes), she offered to send me some!

Kei Fabric (courtesy of Michelle!)

there's a meter each of the white and slightly off-white fabric. they'll be a great addition to my low-volume shelf and i can't wait to cut into them!

as a native pacific northwesterner (who now lives in a perplexingly not-soggy city), i happen to adore rain. and as my more faithful readers know, i'm hopelessly devoted to rainbows, too. so a few weeks back i snaffled up a half-yard set of these timeless treasures rain prints from fat quarter shop.

Rain(bow) Stack

this is actually a brilliant range - there are something like forty colors and they are subtly tone-on-tone but bright! i bought this as a stash builder, making sure to get navy blue, yellow, and purple (the areas where my stash is a bit scarce).

here is another independent designer, katherine codega. her designs are quite simple but beautifully put together. i needed those swiss crosses, obviously. and while i was at it i may as well buy feathers and (more!) rain drops, right?

Katherine Codega Fabric

the two bright ones on the bottom will definitely be set aside as a focus for a quilt, and the top swiss cross fabric has been added into my stash. now i just have to get my color cards out and match them all up so i can decide on a pattern!

so that's it for this installment of new fabric in chez poppleton. how about you? have you been caught hovering around your local quilt shop or perhaps peeking around curtains waiting for the postman? what have you been buying lately?


weekend recap.

i've been working hard to finish a quilt i started only a week ago. the top is done, and i'm just now emailing my friend jeannette to work out the details. her longarm quilting is great and i confess, at 90" square, a professional quilting job would be the way to go. that, and my shoulder would probably never forgive me if i tried to quilt now!

but i'm still not going to show it to you. sorry.

well, okay, you can see a corner.

A quarter done. Will finish at 90" square.

this past weekend i was quite busy, but in the best way. on friday we managed to get piper to bed before my husband's brother came over for dinner, which meant we had actual adult conversation. i feel like a puppy in these situations. i get so excited just to talk to someone without punctuating my sentances with admonishments. it's quite tragic!

saturday was the sydney modern quilt guild - i'm so pleased with this guild, honestly. i love our venue (thank you viv!), i love the girls who attend, and even though it won't always be mine, i'm so glad i've been a part of making it a real group. we aren't all strictly modern but we accept and encourage all quilters with an interest in modern quilting to come along and visit. i haven't missed one yet!

saturday afternoon we met up with some friends who have just had their first baby, a little girl. it was a nice occasion for coffee, and to see our friends once more. it's harder to get out there with kids, that's for sure!

on sunday, we went out for coffee as a family. mr poppleton & piper pulled some faces.

puling faces

owen was beautiful

hey baby.

piper was a ham


and there was a smartie cookie involved. piper seemed intent on getting the chocolate first. her concentration is incredible!

smarty cookie

that was it for my weekend. how was yours?


nothing ventured...

secretly, i enjoy math. i'm not very clever at it -- the concepts are extra-slippery to me, and they slither away from my feeble comprehension -- but i did have a fantastic maths teacher in early high school who made geometry really great for me. triangles, man. i love triangles.

so it is any surprise that as a quilter, triangles are my favorite shape? half square triangles (or HSTs) are my number one go-to block. they are so versatile, so quick, so easy to get right.

you may recall the parterre quilt i did back in january. i promised lynne i'd write a pattern of my own, something similar, but like a medallion quilt with borders. a few days ago, i began exactly that quilt. i did my sums, drew out several designs, and began cutting. and sewing. and pressing. and trimming. and then more sewing.

this quilt is destined for a friend of ten years, a woman who has been through hell and back in her life. a woman who i have always thought deserved the world. she was a good friend to me when i was still figuring out what good friendships look like. she lets me be selfish if i need it and inspires me to be better. we sometimes go months without talking, but when we catch up again, we have lost none of the warmth or affection.

so i haven't got a photo of this quilt for you yet, dear blog readers, because i would like her to see it first. i'll just let you in on this little secret: it's going to be my first pattern. i already have one pattern tester (krissy) but i would love a few more. are you interested? please shoot me an email if you are.

this is my venture. and it seems really appropriate that this quilt, for this friend, is the quilt nudging me into writing patterns. she has been the gentle push forward for a great many things. for that i am grateful. for her i am grateful. so i do what i know how to do: i sew.


the 29th.

i feel so blessed.

recently i had a birthday, rolling over into 29, the last year of my twenties. i've spent most of my twenties in australia. i've thought about my husband (even before he was my husband) every day of my twenties, which i know because we were already firmly in love, on two different continents, our hearts stretching across the miles, when i turned 20. i've been married since my early twenties! and i've had both my babies in my twenties. so my twenties have been good.

a few bloggers have written recently about what their age meant to them. i'll give it a go.

29 means...two babies, one husband, one dog. i made a family - we made a family - and it is complete. it means both parents, one grandparent, four sisters, and one very special cousin who is my best friend and the other half of my heart. it means being responsible for people other than myself. it means being more patient than i ever thought possible. it means having more love in my jealous little heart than i ever knew it could hold.

29 means good friends and good acquaintences. it means having a group of fellow writers who are just as weird and wacky and wonderful; it means sewing friends who are just as nerdy and dorky about fabric ranges as i am; it means friends across oceans, across this wide sunburnt land, across the city. 29 means a lot of friends, not something i ever thought i'd have, as a girl.

29 means i can always buy groceries. 29 means i drive a reliable car and can always afford to put petrol in it. 29 means i'm happy with my body even though it is less society-approved than ever, with extra weight and stretch marks and imperfections (those gifts from my babies).

29 means more understanding, and knowing there is much more understanding to come.


lewix, i stole your old name for this title. but it's in tribute, not theft. thanks.

xx penny



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How to fix a quilt block in-situ


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