Monday, 26 January 2015

Border crossing

When I bought my Sweet 16 last year from the Adelaide Sewing Centre, I was invited to attend the monthly Handiquilter Group which they hold for the people who have purchased a Handiquilter machine from their store.  It is a demonstration based group,  Heather usually runs through basic maintenance (oiling, de-fluffing etc) for our machines and then demonstrates a quilting technique, we also have show and tell, and sometimes there is homework which is optional, but is a great way to learn a technique on a fairly small project.

Last year one of the techniques that Heather demonstrated was Borders and the homework was to make a border quilt using measurements that were supplied but the choice of fabrics was left up to the individual.  I decided that I would make a 15" X and + block as my centre, I also decided that I wouldn't buy any fabric (apart from backing fabric) and straightaway I had a problem as I didn't have quite enough fabric for the second border so I decided to put small X and + blocks in each corner, which solved my fabric problem nicely.

I had enough fabrics for the other borders but decided to put a small + block in the fourth border and a larger X and + block in the final border.  Once the quilt top was finished it was time to start quilting and I found out that fabric choice is quite important if you want your quilting to show up on the quilt.  It would have been much better to use solid coloured fabrics, live and learn I say :)   I'm still quilting this and hopefully will finish it off in a week or two.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Red and white quilt

I learned a few things in the making and quilting of my red and white quilt last year.  I've never really bothered with trimming threads from the back of the quilt but as you can see from the photos below untrimmed threads can stand out.

The threads showing through is only really a factor if you are using a light fabric.  The other niggle I noticed was that there was some shadowing of the red through the white fabric (I don't have a photo to illustrate this) this was caused by not trimming the red fabric back adequately when I paper pieced some of the blocks.

With this quilt I decided to attach the hanging sleeve using this tutorial which was quite successful although the line from the blind hem machine stitching was visible.  In the large photo you can clearly see the line across the top of the quilt. 

I wasn't going to wash the quilt as I didn't want to risk any of the reds running (even though I had washed most of them previously).  The other thing I noticed with this quilt was that in some places you could see the shadow of the backing fabric (a red and white toile).  In the scheme of things none of this really matters because I think it is still a very a nice quilt and I'm happy with how it turned out.

If I were to make another quilt like this then I would consider using two layers of batting as this would  make the quilting stand out really well and there would be no shadowing from the backing fabric.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Of bags and other things ...

Before Christmas I caught up with Amanda's Chocolate Marshmallow sampler blocks, and put the flying geese sashing on all the Threads of Memory blocks so they would be ready for a quick finish in the New Year, alas I forgot about the flying geese that I needed for two of the sides so there was no quick finish for me.

After receiving this lovely Boxy Pouch (the one on the right) from Sheila I thought I would have a go at making one too.  The tutorial is here, I also looked at this tutorial here as well.  It took me about 2 1/2 hours to make once I had decided on my fabric, I used a Parlon iron-on batting and used grosgrain ribbon for my tabs at each end as I couldn't be bothered making them the way the pattern showed, I also made mine an inch longer.  For some reason my bag ended up slightly larger than the one Sheila gave me.

While the bag making mood was in full swing I also decided to attempt the Sew Together Bag (a digital pattern available from Craftsy.  In addition to following the pattern instructions I followed the Quilt Barn sewalong and I also put tab ends on the pocket zippers as shown here.  I didn't time how long the bag took to make as I spread it out over 3 days, I cut the fabric and interfacing one day, constructed most of the bag the next day and finished it off today, probably at least 8 hours all up.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed making both bags, it was a bit of a change from machine piecing and I think another couple of bags are on the sewing horizon.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas to all

 This is a poem that was shared on a Facebook group I am a member of, it made me smile when I got to the end :)

 Twas the night before Christmas, I'm glued to the tree.
I'm wondering what Santa brought just for me.
Could it be fabric or patterns or more?
Or a new set of rulers, That I would adore!
And that's when I heard him,
"Hi Santa" I said.
"you know.... good little girls
Should be in their beds"

"I know I should Santa and now I've been caught.
But I was just so excited to see what you brought."
"Well let's take a look
in this room where you work"

He shook his head quickly and left with a jerk.
I heard him exclaim as he put it in gear.
"You've got enough crap
I'll see you next year

May Christmas be the day you need it to be, perhaps that is filled with people and festivity, but if you need a quick, quiet, or restful day I hope that is what it brings for you. May you have all good things including good health in the year to come.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Feeling good

because I finished the Frame quilt top off today, I started it end of October 2012 when I won the centre panel in a giveaway on Miriam's blog.  I did about one and half of the first borders and then it was packed away and didn't see the light of day until early this year when I had a new lease of life and decided to work on it a bit more.

I had originally decided to do an applique border and had stitched one border then decided I didn't like it so put it away until inspiration should strike, which it did (on one of those sleepless nights that seem to plague me every full moon) in the form of a chevron border which I liked much better than the original idea. After finishing the chevron border I just had to make 4 more corner applique blocks and add the borders and I had a finished top, quilting is another story.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Slow Stitching ...

Things have slowed down a lot here, I'm slowly working on the TATW quilt, round 16 is now finished, it measures about 35" across,  fabrics for rounds 17 and 18 are in the top right hand corner.  I really like how this quilt is starting to evolve, I'm still not sure how big I will make it, I think a queen size has 30 rounds plus some extra rows top and bottom and then triangles to make a straight edge.  I'm still enjoying the stitching on this one so I guess I'll just keep going for the time being.

I bought a lovely striped double gauze (Kokka Joielinne Random Stripe) from Hetties Patch a couple of weeks ago but had no idea what I would use it for, I just liked the fabric. Last weekend I made it up into a skirt, I already had my skirt pattern  drafted (although it did take me a little while to find it as I couldn't remember where I had put it). I had only bought a metre of fabric which wasn't quite enough for a skirt so a bit of a search through the stash brought up some Nani Iro double gauze which I used for a yoke on the skirt.  It was only after I had cut the fabrics that I had the bright thought that I could have gathered the striped fabric and then attached it to the yoke, it probably would have been a more effective use of the fabric, never mind.

At the quilt guild meeting in December 2013 we were all presented with a hexagon template for a Hexagon Christmas Challenge and encouraged to make a project with it, then bring the project along to the December 2014 meeting. I originally thought I would make a pincushion and then came across the bag handles stashed away so decided I would make a handbag using Kaffe Fassett fabrics, it turned out really well. There were a lot of projects made, both small and large, click here and scroll down a bit to see some of them.

Sunday, 30 November 2014


I've been busy catching up on my blocks in the Threads of Memory BOM.  I haven't been doing much piecing lately so it was a bit of a change of pace for me, it also meant I need to dip into my sewing machine manual a couple of times to refresh my memory.

 Block 9 - Lancaster Star

Back in October when Bernina had a 20% off accessories deal, the Mister bought me a couple of accessories - Patchwork foot #97D with patchwork seam guide and a straight-stitch stitch plate. I think it has made my piecing more accurate, I was having trouble keeping the foot lined up with the fabric edges and the seam guide combined with the #97D foot (which is wider than the #37D foot I was using previously) has solved that problem. (This link  explains it much better)  I think that Bernina should be including the #97D foot with the 7 series machines rather than having us buy it as an extra.

Block 10 - Britain's Star

Now that these blocks are completed I need to make more Flying Geese units so I can finish off the sashing on the blocks, then I will be all ready for when the last block comes out at the end of December and it won't take too long before the quilt top will be completed and I will be able to get stuck into quilting it.

Block 11 - St Charles Star

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Some more quilts from the show

A few more photos of quilts from our show plus some links to more photos (at the end of the blog post).  This year the Guild trialled a new technology which they are calling "Mini-Floor Talkers".  A QR code was displayed alongside selected quilts and you could use your Smartphone to scan the QR code (you need a QR reader app on your Smartphone, I used one called SCAN which was a free download) which would then take you to a website where you could listen to the quilter talking about their quilt in more detail.  The QR scan codes for some of the quilts have been uploaded to the Guild photo gallery here   
you can either scan the QR code or alternatively go to the website (scroll down a bit to where it says Play your message) and type in the letters at the bottom of the QR code. I have put a couple of links in for the quilts in this blog post further down the page.

This quilt was entered in the Challenge category, this year the theme was "Diamond" as it was celebrating our Guilds 30th anniversary.  The quilt is called "The Farm at Sunset"  and was made by Bronwyn Atkinson, I really liked the colours and fabrics in this quilt and thought it was a clever way of expressing the challenge theme.

This quilt was placed first in the Predominantly Applique Open, it was made by Julie Adamson and is based on a very old arabic design, it was hand appliqued and hand quilted.  The fabrics are batiks appliqued onto a silk background.

 some close ups of the applique and quilting

Listen to more about this quilt here  (turn the speakers up on your computer)

This quilt was made by Margaret Sampson and quilted by Helen Campbell, it was placed first in the Group quilt category, sadly I forgot to get closeups of this quilt.  There is a lovely story to this quilt which you can listen to  here

Some more quilts from our show can be seen at Legend and Lace and if you are interested in reading about the creation of the second place in the Art to Wear category go here

Monday, 17 November 2014

The guild quilt show is over for another year so maybe I can try and get back into a more regular blogging routine (although the silly season is fast approaching).  This year the judging and prize giving for the Festival of Quilts was held a week before the quilt show which meant that unlike previous years, the recipients of awards were completely in the dark about which of their quilts had placed until the awards were distributed at the guild meeting, although you did receive an advisory phone call if your quilt had been placed so you could attend the meeting if you wished.

My photos aren't the best this year as for some reason I had changed the settings on my camera and I didn't realise it until later on the last day. This year, I entered three quilts for judging and one in the other category (a non-judged category), I was lucky as one of my quilts was awarded third place in it's category, this was the quilt in the Miniature category:

 I used a combination of two blocks (Shoo Fly and Fifty-four Forty or Fight)
 and it measured 12" x 12" (30cm x 30cm)

The other quilts I entered were the hexie quilt (in the other category)

and the red and white Just Takes Too Long quilt (in the traditional category), I noticed that there is a bit of a wave along the bottom edge, something that wasn't noticeable when I had it on the design board.  I intend to post a bit more about this quilt in a week or so.

 and "A Girl's best friend?" in the Challenge category, I'm really pleased with my quilting on this piece, there was no particular plan and I just quilted different designs to see how they would quilt out, it will be a good piece to refer back to.

Hop over to the guild website here to see more of the winning quilt (just click on each category)

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Nose to the grindstone

or more precisely to the Sweet 16 and the sewing machine.  There are 18 days until it is quilt drop-off day, I'm more or less on schedule to finish my quilts.  The binding is on both the challenge and the miniature quilts, just have to handstitch the back part down which shouldn't take too long.  The hanging sleeve is on the hexie quilt, I tried out the tutorial here and it worked well, I can't see any stitches on the front side, I'll definitely do this technique again.  The red and white quilt is coming along, most of the blocks have some quilting completed, I'm planning on doing the borders soon, then the binding, and then back to finish off the quilting.

This star was really puffy before quilting, and I had no idea how to quilt it and was sitting there pondering when it came to me, it worked out really well, taming the puffiness quite nicely and best of all I only had the starting and ending threads to tie off and bury.

 This is the centre of another star, I'm still thinking about the rest of the quilting on this one.  I should get some inspiration from the AMQF this weekend as there will be plenty of quilts on show there.

 This is the compass star and I've just quilted the red points so far, still waiting for more inspiration to strike with this one as well.  This weekend will be a busy one as I am going along to the Australian Machine Quilting Festival, I'm taking a couple of classes, catching up with friends and possibly investing in a couple of rulers or fabric or thread (maybe all three).  It is also daylight saving (clocks forward one hour) and I find it hard to adjust to the change the first couple of weeks, one good thing is that there will be more daylight for quilting.