sewing or whatever it is you love to do.
It is only a quick post this week as it has been one of those weeks. Sick child, new puppies and husband away for work. No point complaining as I still managed to sew a little. Recently I got the new hunters star die by AccuQuilt and just had to try it out. I love it and can see a quilt using this pattern in my future. It was so fast and went together perfectly. Months (possibly years) ago I made a Dora the explorer quilt for the cute daughter of a friend. I kept meaning to give it to her but wanted to make something for her brother as well. As soon I found this robot fabric in my stash I knew this would be it.
The red solid fabric and the black and white chevron fabric seemed just perfect together. I quilted it using a pattern of interlocking squares. I have done this pattern before and love the texture it gives. It went well with the robot fabric as it looked a little like a circuit board. I quilted this using my walking foot, pivoting with the needle down and turning 90 degrees. I would not quilt a bigger quilt using a walking foot as it would be too hard to turn the quilt so often. I have done this pattern using a free motion foot successfully, though it was a little harder to get right angles and straight lines. I used my new love 50 wt Aurifil in silver. Love, LOVE this thread. To make it a little more special I applique Kyle's name on the back. I have heard from the children's parents that they like the gifts which makes me very happy. Incidentally printed panels (like Dora above) make great free motion practice pieces.
Hope you are all having a good week and finding time to do a little bit of
sewing or whatever it is you love to do.
The topic for this weeks blog past is another little project. It is not a cushion this time but a little table topper. I have written in the past about how much I love my Go! Baby die cutter by AccuQuilt. So when I got some new dies this week I just had to make something. You know how it is, sometimes you just need to start something new, regardless of how many other projects you already have on the go or how much housework needs doing.
I did this all by machine, hence it was quick and easy. I also got to try out some new thread. 100% cotton mako by Aurifil. I am in love! It is so smooth and has a beautiful sheen. I used it for both the piecing and quilting. It was a dream.
I also tried a new method for finishing it. Rather than bind around so many corners I decided to stitch the backing face down on the top, stitch around it, leaving a small gap and then turn inside the other way. Like a pillow case.
I marked a small flower in the centre of the hexagons and then using my new love - Aurifil, I stitched around the design. In the outside ring of half hexagons I free motion quilted a feather using the seam as a spine. I found on the first ring that when I completed the ring the last feather plume can look a little awkward where it joins with the first one. I have had this problem before when quilting feathers on borders of quilts. This time I found though that if I started with a half plume (think half heart shape) that when I complete the ring it was easier to make a smooth connection.
I am linking up with Gemma again (see her I-quilt-linky party button on side bar). Take care and try and do a little bit of what you love each day.
It is Thursday and I am linking up to Pretty Bobbins I Quilt linky party. I have just read Gemma blog post about confidence and it has got me thinking. Why are we out own worst critics?
Recently I have been working on my Midnight at the Oasis. This quilt has been a journey and I am only one border in. I managed to keep up with the QAL and finish 20 orange peel blocks by hand! I have attempted hand applique before but had never even finished one block, so I was a bit chuffed. I was even starting to enjoy handwork and was congratulating myself on a job reasonably well done. That is until....I started sewing them together. My heart sunk, I felt like crying. It just didn't look nice. My orange peels didn't meet up nicely and I felt like giving up. I probably would have done just that, if the lovely peeps of Instagram hadn't encouraged my by their kind comments and likes.
When I look at this picture I realize my aversion to this quilt it isn't as strong now. I think the problem is in my head. I have a strong idea of how I want my quilts and projects to look and when that doesn't happen, it can be disappointing. It doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't look good though. I have had projects in the past, that half way through I don't like but when I persevere I start to like them again. In fact more often than not I have a crisis of confidence mid way through a project. My hubby is very good as encouraging me to keep going, just another reason to love him. I have had a few days off from my MATO and I am almost ready to start the next border. I will link up with the QAL on Friday (button in my side bar).
When a project is a gift the confidence problem can even be worse. The sunshine cushion above was made as a gift for a friend. I personally love handmade gifts - they cost more than money in a way. They contain time, energy and emotions. But when I am the one giving the gift (Gemma mentioned this too) I worry that it isn't good enough. It helps though is I like something and I happen to like this little cushion.
This cushion is made from parallelograms (I love saying that word) cut quickly and easily using my AccuQuilt Go Baby. I quilted it at first using my walking foot. I echoed the seam lines using the edge of the foot as a guide. I then filled in the spaces between with some of my favourite fillers all inspired very much by the work of Angela Walters. It is hard to see in the pictures - I used spirals, pebbles, feathers and dense back and forth lines. I have said it before (and not doubt will say it again), cushions (pillows) are a great way to increase skill and boost confidence. I have a few others on the go. They have both been quilted using my walking foot, I just need to make the backs and finish them off.
Take care and enjoy what you do. If you have fun making something, don't criticize it - love and enjoy it.
I have really been enjoying linking up to Gemma from Pretty Bobbins weekly I-Quilt Linky party. It has helped me get out a blogging rut. I have gone from once a month to once a week and soon hopefully even more frequently. I have enjoyed very much looking at other peoples quilting and reading all the hints and tips especially those that come from Gemma. I am delighted that a few weeks ago Gemma featured my post (and pictures of my cushions) on her blog.
I have been following Gemma on Instagram and really love her work. It is funny the week she wrote about stippling I had thought about doing a post on stippling. Then this week I thought I'd write about how I have grown as a quilter. Lo and behold Gemma's post is about growth! (great minds....)
I'd though I'd share some pictures of my FMQ practice pieces. Some are very cringe worthy but I don't mind sharing. We all have to start somewhere and I am so glad I discovered my love of quilting. I honestly love it and find myself wanting to volunteer to quilt other people's quilts.
At first I used slubby old thread from my dressmaking stash and nasty unbleached calico to practice on. Then I read you should use the best materials available to practice with. It made sense - why learn to stitch with thread I'd never use on a quilt top. So here are some pictures of some of my practice pieces. Enjoy the uneven stitches and lots of very jagged curves. I have included some more recent pictures so hopefully you can the see improvement.
The following is the same motif done 3 years apart. I know which one 1 prefer.
I now tend to mark my quilts a lot less, especially for more modern quilts. I also don't so as many practice pieces and just start stitching straight on to a quilt top. Being prepared to rip out the stitches if necessary, unfortunately this is more often than I'd like to admit. I also have made some of my better practice pieces into something useful, like the mini quilt following which I use as a dust cover for my machine.
Take care and try to do a little of what you love each day
I am so excited. I have decided to participate in a 'quilt-a-long' for the beautiful Midnight at the Oasis by Jen Kingwell. The picture on the left is Jen's beautiful quilt. The pattern is available from Amitie Textiles. It is also published in Quiltmania magazine (issue 96). It is being hosted by Jess of The Elven Garden and Sharon of Fabric and Flowers.
I am loving looking at all the different versions of this quilt. All of them are gorgeous and colourful but very different. I have chosen orange as my background fabrics and a palette of greens, blues and yellows to go with it. I think this quilt would also look great in traditional, more subdued reproduction fabrics. Hmm. Maybe I will make a repro one next time but for now I will stick to my brights.
Jess from The Elven Garden has written a great post on the different ways of doing the orange peel blocks. I tried a few different ways including needle turn applique like Jess (the Sarah Fielke method) and the freezer paper method. What I found worked best for me was heat proof mylar templates and spray starch.
At first I tried using a thread to pull up the fabric up around the template but that was a bit hit and miss with the corners. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. I then simply painted some spray starch along the outside edges and pressed one side over the template and then the other. Finally I folded the corners in. I really like how they turned out and it was so easy. I would recommend a dry iron as your fingers do NOT want steam anywhere near them (ask me how I know). The biggest tip I could give, is to make sure you cut the orange peels so that the sides are on the bias, it makes it much easier to get smooth curves.
I am plodding along slowly with this. My hand stitching is slow, but it has been nice to have something portable and to be able to sit outside while my sons play or sit beside hubby in the evening. I am linking to the Midnight at the Oasis QAL. See the cute button on my side bar.
I thought I'd also link up to Gemma from Pretty Bobbins. She has some great tips on thread and tension issues. I thought I'd share somethings I have learnt. Like Gemma and Jess I use a Bernina 440QE. I don't often have tension issues but when they do happen, often all that is needed is to thread the machine again (with the foot up - thanks Gemma). Sometimes, though when using a fine thread (Bottom line by Superior threads 60W) and doing tiny filler stitches, I find I need a tighter bobbin tension. The easiest way to do this on machine is to thread the bobbin thread through the little hole in the top of the hook on the bobbin case (see pics).
I have been sewing lots lately, so should have some lovelies to share soon. Wishing Gemma all the best with her move.
Hello. Hope everyone has had a good week. I have managed to finish up a couple of quilts and excitingly will try to sell them. I thought I should also catch up on my self imposed 2013 quilt challenge. Seeing as it is October already, seriously where has this year gone.
I have thoroughly enjoyed making different quilts and sharing them on this blog, instagram and pinterest. Even more than that I have enjoyed seeing the same patterns made up by others. It is amazing how fabric and quilting design can make a quilt look completely different.
I thought I check in on my 12 quilts in 12 months challenge
January : Groove - completed finished and framed and on the wall in my family room - It is 10 months too late but I will do a post on this soon with lots of pictures. I had fun with lots of different FMQ patterns
February : Scrappy Trip Around the World - Top done!
March : Swoon - completed and on my guest bed
April : Dancing Stars - completed and gifted to my mum and currently living on her wall
May: St Louis 16 patch - completed and snuggled under on cold nights
June : Retro Rubies - err, umm IN PROGRESS
July : Scrap Vomit top done, second scrap vomit half done! I love LOVE this pattern
August : City Blocks - completed and gifted
September : On a Whim - completed - pictures in this post
October : Granny Squares - completed - sneak peak in this post with more to come soon.
November : don't know yet!
December : 'Midnight at the Oasis' by Jen Kingwell. This one is going to be a challenge to complete on time but it will be a great one to finish the year on. It has hand stitching!
September's quilt was 'On a Whim' by Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms. I didn't use Camille's measurements. I wanted to cut the pattern using my Go! Baby by AccuQuilt so my blocks were 12" instead of 15". I love how easy it was. This is such a pretty pattern. I would love to see it in reproduction fabrics as I think it would look great. I chose some on my Denyse Schmidt prints and Kona White which I bought by the bolt of from Green Tangerine Quilts.
Right from the start I thought I would quilt this using a grid of wavy lines like the border fabric. Well. I started it and didn't like it. Good lesson in being ready to change your mind. After ripping it out. I decided to stipple!!! I used lots of exclamations marks because I don't stipple. Can't stipple. It is funny, I can do feathers and all sorts of free motion designs but have never managed to stipple which for many is the first FMQ design they do. It just doesn't look right when I try it. This time, it worked and I liked it. It gives a softer texture than some other designs. Actually the quilt is rather snuggly.
The secret I discovered after 4 years of trying was to work out my scale and stick to it. I tried to keep the pattern just over 1/2" apart. I think it was a Leah Day video in which she said to use a guide to keep the scale even. I used my thumb, which very conveniently happened to be nearby. My problem with stippling though has been direction, or rather lack of it. I'd meander off in a direction and get lost. When I returned to fill in an area the stippling just looked wrong and not at all attractive.
This time I never stitched more than my thumb distance from another line of stitching. This meant I didn't get lost. Kind of like keeping your right hand on a wall when you are in a maze. Because I kept a constant distance from previous lines of stitching I didn't end up with awkward moments. I also tried to picture ginger bread men and fat alien fingers when quilting. Hmmm. Not sure that makes sense. Sorry.
October's Quilt - Granny Squares
Using the same fabrics as my 'On a Whim' quilt and my Go! Baby again to quickly cut the squares - I finally made my 'Granny Squares' quilt. This pattern has been on my challenge list since the beginning. I am not sure who originally came up with the pattern, or at least who started the on-line popularity of it. It is really quite a simple block and I have seen antique variations of it. I love how some blocks are timeless. My blocks are 12" with 2 1/2" sashing.
I have doubled up this post showing two quilts because I am.......(drum roll) putting these up for sale in Etsy store. It has been ages since I have tried to sell something. I really need to sell something to try and recoup some of the money this hobby drains. I keep telling my sweet, lovely, wonderful and generous husband that I can run a business doing something I love. So far, funds have only be going out! I am not expecting to make a fortune but I would like to fund my next project at the very least. So it you know anyone who'd like a lovely little quilt (or 2) please forward on my details. More details on my shop page.
I am linking up to Gemma at Pretty Bobbins like last week. I was going to write about threads as suggested but had to finish these up first. Sorry Gemma. I will write something for next week.
Take care and do a little of what you love each day
I have written in the past of my love of Craftsy classes. One of my favourite is 'Design it. Quilt it' by the uber talented Cindy Needham. In one of the lesson she talks about her stencil stash. Well I was jealous! I just had to have a bigger stash of stencils. Lets face quilters are just hoarders with great taste. I needed to add stencils to my magazine, gadgets, fabric and book stashes.
I discovered a few web sites (all in US) all with the most amazing stencils. I have rarely seen ones as intricate and large in Australia and and so after much wish list making put in a large order. I did share postage with my sister, who being a quilter needed some too!
First thing I had to sort out was storage. Stencils are a bit delicate and don't do well if bent or not stored flat. I used ring clips to put similar sized ones together and 'S' clips to hang them from a rod over my cutting table. I can't tell you how often in the first few days I'd just sit in my sewing room admiring them.
Now, my husband is a generous man and is happy to support my hobby (more like an addiction) but likes to see me use the things he funds. So when my sisters (well the 2 that sew) and my mum decided to do a cushion swap, I wanted to use the stencils as I knew my cushions would feature free motion quilting. I mark them using Frixion pens, I love them and have had no issues, though I would recommend everyone test them out themselves.
I made two for my mum as I couldn't decide which idea I liked best. I stitched out in red thread (Silk Finish by Mettler) a stencil of a Victorian border design. I found I had to go over the design twice as wherever there was travel stitching the pattern looked darker. I also added little swirls and embellishments to the original design. This is something I learnt from Cindy's class. You don't have to stitch out the stencil as it is - you can make it your own. After 'Mctavishing' the background in a white thread (I think it as Bottom Line by Superior thread) I added an applique of a silhouette of the Eiffel tower. I still am immensely proud of this one cushion and it is one of the favourite things I have made. The other cushion was a block from Elizabeth Hartman's metropolitan quilt pattern which I quilted in a wavy grid using a twin needle to give more texture.
For my sister Lynda I actually used a stencil designed by Cindy Needham. I quilted it using 'Silk finish' thread (Mettler) on left over raw silk from my wedding dress (made a decade earlier) The lilac border fabric is left over from my bridesmaid's dress.
I used little pearl buttons for the closure the cushion. Silk was OK to sew on, though I had to use fine needles so that I didn't leave visible holes. It has such a lovely luster that my poor photography doesn't show. This, would you believe is the only photo I could find of all the work I did on this cushion.
Last, but not least was the cushion I made for my sister Kristine. This was the one I actually did first. This was heavily inspired by Cindy Needham's class. She talks about adding dimension as a design element and combining different stencils. I stitched a stencil of basket of flowers and then colored it in with Prismacolor pencils and used a fabric medium to set the colours. Behind the basket in very fine thread I stitched out a feather heart stencil. I really like the idea of combining stencils and picking and choosing bits I like. It's funny it is like no one had told me before it was OK to break the rules. I also like how the heart disappears under the border adding interest - this too is something Cindy gave me permission to do. I used to think if a motif doesn't fit a block you had to re- size or find another, as though somehow seam lines formed some kind of barrier not to be crossed! I honestly think Cindy's class changed how I viewed the design component of quilting more than anything else has. I recommend it very much!
I love all the cushions I received. A pleated log cabin, a cathedral window and a redwork cushion. I look at them everyday. It as such a fun thing to do.
At the end of this post is a picture of everyone's cushions ready for swapping. We should do a swap again. We were so excited making them and them exchanging them. It was really good not thinking about what I like but what someone else might like - their colours and styles. This swap was done last December when all our families went away camping together.
I am linking up with Gemma from prettybobbins.com I-quilt linky party.
Take care and try and do a little of what you love each day.
I have plans to make a queen/king sized applique quilt in the near future. So I thought I'd make a little cushion as a tester. I have seen a few different ways of adding trapunto to applique but I went with what seemed easiest to me - it was a successful, though might try it on a middle sized project before wrestling a a king sized monster under my little 'Hewie'.
This isn't traditional trapunto or 'stuffed work' but I really like the effect I achieved.
I used my Go! Ring of Oak by Stacy Michelle die from AccuQuilt to cut out quickly and easily the applique shapes. I ironed fusible web to the back of scraps before I cut them and added two borders to the block.
Next I laid a scrap of wool batting under the applique shapes before stitching around the shapes using a narrow zig zag in matching thread (length and width just under 1mm). A little tip I learnt from my LQS (and Bernina dealer) is to set the needle all the way to the right so that I could use the right 'toe' of my open toe embroidery foot as a guide. I line the edge of the foot up with the applique and the zig zag nicely catches the edge of the applique fabric.
Next I cut away the the wool batting so that there was a layer only under the applique. Once that was done I layered the top as usual with a layer of cotton batting.
Using my favourite Bottom line thread in silver I outlined the applique using my BSR (free motion foot). I could already see the extra texture at this point. Dense background quilting made it even stand out more. I used my version of 'McTavishing' in the same Bottom Line thread. 'McTavishing' is fun and easy to fit around odd shapes like applique. I hope you can see the texture the 'trapunto' creates in the pictures. It feels really padded and raised. I love the effect!
I am linking up wit Gemma of prettybobbins.com I-Quilt linky party again.
Check out the button in my side bar.
Have fun! Try and do a little of what you love each day. I know it makes me happy if I sew even a little each day.
I am not sure what it is about springtime but it makes me want to sort things out. Purge my house of clutter and have the inside of my cupboards looking as tidy as the outside - you know that kind of insanity. It is a big job but with the help of my lovely hubby we are over half way through the job. This has meant we have been living in an even bigger mess than we started with. I have however managed to do a little bit of sewing. It felt great! It really seemed like it had been ages, though in reality it was probably had only been a few weeks. I also am in the mood to sort more than my house out - weight loss, healthy eating, exercise, scheduling family excursions, finally decorating our house and to blog more frequently.
Gemma from prettybobbins.com has just started hosting a I-quilt linky party. I have been following Gemma on Instagram and love her work so decided this might encourage me to blog more often. Note the cute button in my sidebar.
I have read somewhere that I love to quilt so in the spirit of 'sorting out my life' I have decided to try and write a tutorial each week or at least have a bit of a show'n'tell of my quilting.
My sister and I are making a double wedding ring quilt for our sister Kristine for her 20th wedding anniversary. Having never made one before (despite having bought the templates 4 years ago!) I decided to make a mock up using spare scrap vomit squares. It went together quickly and fairly easily so I am cautiously optimistic about making a larger one.
I decided to quilt this cushion using my walking foot as I find it fun to use on smaller projects. I started by 'ditch stitching' around the rings. My foot comes with 3 different soles - I like the open one - it has nothing to block the view between where I want to stitch and the needle.
I then echoed the rings using the 1/4" mark on the foot. I like the texture that alternating 1/4" and 1/2" echoes gives. The edge of my foot is a rough 1/2" from the needle.
Using the walking foot is a good entry into quilting your own quilts. It can be a little cumbersome using the walking foot on large quilts but is fun and not as scary as free motion quilting can seem.
On my last quilt I mentioned a faux piping technique I used on my 'city blocks' quilt. As I used it again on this cushion I thought I'd write a little tutorial on that too.
Step 1 - start by cutting strips of fabric the length to go around the quilt plus at least 10", joining strips as you need. For this cushion I used a quite narrow binding. I cut the selvage fabric 1 1/4" and the orange 1 1/2" wide. For the first time you try this you might want to try a little wider say 1 1/2" for the main fabric and 1 3/4" wide for the 'piping'.
Step 2 - with right sides together join with a 1/4" inch seam along the length and press open with the seam towards the main fabric.
Step 3 - press in half with wrong sides together
Step 4 - attach to the BACK of the quilt with the main fabric facing down
Step 5 - fold binding to front of quilt and 'stitch in the ditch' created between the binding and 'piping' to attach binding completely by machine. I love using Clovers binding clips. They are flat on the bottom so I can leave them on right up to the walking foot.
I used a dark thread in the bobbin to match the backing and a light colour in the top, making sure the binding covered the row of stitching from when it was attached to the back.
I have included some more pictures of the completed binding. I really like the finished look and it is quick and easy.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to use this as a cushion or a wall hanging so I included little triangles on the top two corners on the back so I could use some dowel to hang it up if the moods takes me.
Hope you like my first tutorial. Have fun and try and do a little of what you love each day
For my challenge quilt for August I actually made a quilt from a pattern of my own. It was inspired by a print from 'Juggling Summer' by Zen Chic for Moda which looked like a quarter of a log cabin block to me. I used my charm squares pack, some monochromatic and grey prints from my stash and a few splashes of colour. I picked my 16 favourite squares for the centre of the blocks. I used my strip cutter for my Go Baby that cut strips in 1", 1.5", 2" finished widths. I also pieced the remaining charm squares and then strip cut them - I really like how that looked and will be doing that again.
This quilt from the start was going to be a gift for a lovely couple. I think because it was for a gift I was quite insecure while I was making it. I shared process on instagram and that is how the quilt got it's name. Angie (@gnomeangel) said it reminded her of city blocks, which further inspired the city skylines in the border. It is quite appropriate as David and Jules are moving to Melbourne and I was aiming for a modern look. I could have also called it 'hook turn' after a road rule in CBD Melbourne.
As the quilt is really busy it didn't need fancy quilting so I went for interlocking boxes. It is a fast and fun quilting pattern and gives great texture. A used a fake piping binding technique I had seen on pinterest. I cut strips 1 1/2" strips of black fabric and pieced scraps together that were 1 3/4" wide. These pieces were joined along the length and then it was pressed in half and sewn on the back on the quilt. I then folded the binding to the front and stitched in the ditch and 'voila' - an effective looking binding that is entirely sewn by machine. I am afraid my explanation is not the best. I might do a tutorial on it soon.
I really hope David and Julianne like it. They are such a lovely couple, who do some much to help others. For the past two years they have been living in a caravan and sacrificed so much of what we in Australia consider the comforts of a normal life to visit congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses in the South Coast, Snowy Mountain and Canberra regions. Along with their unselfish actions they are always cheerful and friendly, I am not the only one who will miss them lots.
This quilt is so different to what I usually make but after a lot if insecurity I decided I like it a lot (it looked remarkable good on my orange sofa). If I like something I am happier to give it away - I can never buy gifts if I don't like them myself.
Have fun and try and do a little of what you love each day.