Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Not Quite Wordless Wednesday

This was going to be a Wordless Wednesday post, but I just have too much to say.


It has been both peaceful and pieceful at my house.  It is still school holidays and we have settled into our very relaxed mode without much effort.  On the other hand I have been busy piecing and have thoroughly enjoyed the process of putting together these blocks.


Nine blocks are finished and I am now playing with the layout.

Coming from a numbers backgroud and for those of readers who enjoy the stats:     9 blocks, each block has 32 Half Square Triangles and 32 squares.  A total of 288 Half Square Triangles and 288 unpieced squares make up the nine blocks.  A grand total of 864 patches of fabric.  (My education was not wasted after all!)


I also received some swap fabric in the mail last week that I absolutely adore.  Cute Japanese fabrics are still high on my stash enhancement list.  These were sent by Amy from Badskirt.

Thanks Amy for a great swap!

RELEVANT LINKS:
Galaxy of Stars Quilt in Progess

Monday, September 28, 2009

Progress Report


I have had a busy weekend putting into place some of the preparation work to make these large star blocks.  This block is pieced from just plain squares and Half  Square Triangle blocks.  Putting all these pieces together though is not as difficult or confusing as it looks.

 FOUR-PATCH BLOCKS - Measuring 4.5 inches incl. seam allowances

Ultimately each of these large star blocks is made up from just two different four-patch blocks that alternate and rotate as required.  Eight of both of these four patch blocks are needed to make up one of the large star blocks.

 Large Star Blocks
Measuring 16.5 inches square
These blocks have been fun to make and look quite a spectacle  together.  My scrap bin has been a great source for most of the printed fabrics but I can't see the bottom yet.  Four blocks are finished, five more to go!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Stash #22

This week's Sunday Stash is a cute combination of fabrics that would go nicely together to make a baby quilt.


From left to right they are:
  1. Aviary JD17 - Magenta by Joel Dewberry
  2. White Dots on Lime Green printed by Lecien
  3. Kokka - Small Horses in Pink

How cute is this horse fabric! It is Japanese linen/cotton blend fabric, slightly heavier weight than normal patchwork cotton, but still relatively easy to work with.  I often incorporate  linen blend fabrics with normal cotton patchwork fabrics without problem.

There is football fever here in Melbourne which for me means I get to sew!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, September 25, 2009

What's next?

After having finished some quilts with really simple and quick piecing, I feel the need to dive back into my scrap bin,  wave the rotary cutter about (carefully of course!), enjoy some chain piecing, pressing of the seams, trimming blocks and playing with layouts.

I have had fun!



These blocks are small, using 3 inch square scraps to make 2.5 inch Half Square Triangles, and therefore 2 inch finished squares.


I have been inspired by this Flickr picture, and have made my own blocks accordingly.  The squares in the block measure just 2 inches when finished, and I am loving the overall effect.  I am beavering away at making more half square triangles using scrap bin fabric, proudly recycling.  I have established a little Half Square Triangle production line with which I am rather familiar:  cutting, marking lines, chain piecing, pressing, trimming and again and again. Very soothing, you should try it!

It is such a great day for sewing today.  Rain rain don't go away!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

All Said and Done!

It feels good to have this one finished.  The linen was definitely not the easiest to work with, although the piecing was more difficult than the quilting.

Finished quilt measures 42.5 inches x 42.5 inches
  
The back of the quilt is also pieced making this quilt fully reversible.   I have used all cotton printed fabrics to compliment the front, and also to give the quilt top the stability it needed for ease of quilting. 


The quilt is quilted by cross-hatching.  I do still mark the quilt for this type of quilting using a Clover Chaco Marker (always in white chalk) and I have also taken to using a Hera Marker which is fantastic on linen fabric.  It marks by making a crease but leaves no residue on the fabric.


I was concerned about having such wide linen borders but did not encounter any great difficulty.  I think it helped that the backing was made from more stable fabric, and that the quilt was well basted with lots of pins for the borders.


A light green fabric with white dots has been used to bind this quilt giving the quilt just a subtle frame.  This fabric is by Joelle Hoverson from the Cake Rock Beach collection.

I really wish you could feel the soft linen and touch the lovely textures of the fabrics.  The pictures here really do not do justice to the end result.  This quilt is now in my Etsy Store, please do feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Linen Quilt Top


I have stitched together a very simple quilt top using some of the linen fabric purchased earlier this week. To help make it easier to sew with the linen fabrics, I did incorporate some cotton prints, and made sure that the cut linen pieces were handled carefully, and pieced together sooner rather than later. 


As you can see I have omitted the pink linen that I purchased together with the other linen fabrics. The pink was more of a lilac/pink than a red/pink, and I just wasn't able to make that color work in this quilt, nor did I have the correct pink color fabrics in my stash to match with it.  I will save it for another project. 


I have added a 7 inch wide border in the natural linen to this quilt to make a feature of the linen.  I hope that the quilting process will go according to plan also.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Linen

Linen - A fabric made from linen fibers obtained from inside the woody stem of the flax plant. Linen fibers are much stronger and more lustrous than cotton. Linen fabrics are very cool and absorbent, but wrinkle very easily, unless blended with manufactured fibers. Linen is one of the oldest textile fibers.
 

Countless times I have driven past The Cloth Shop, it is within a stone's throw from where the teenagers go to school, but until yesterday I had never set foot inside this gem of a fabric store.  They seem to have a something for everyone.  Including me!

I walked away with a small sampling of some of their pure linen fabrics, my current obsession.  I have been hesitant to use it because its airy weave makes it so much more difficult to sew with than cotton fabrics. But I love the look, the feel and the drape of light weight linen fabric, and therefore feel compelled to give it a try.
The linen has been gently soaked in a tub of warm water with SOAK wash, spun in the washing machine, and line dried.  The loosely woven linen and their frayed edges are my nemesis, but a worthy challenge.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Pretty in Pink

Dusty pinks, faded reds and soft browns have been the colors of choice the last few days, together with the occasional splash of blue and even yellow.

Pretty In Pink --
name taken from a comment on a previous post left by Brandy from Minivan Life

This baby quilt is made from rows of "bricks" measuring 3 inches x 9 inches including the seam allowances. It was pieced in rows, 18 rows in total, with the finished quilt measuring 38.5 inches x 44.5 inches.  Quite a large baby quilt suitable also for the "big bed" when the toddler graduates from their cot.


I have quilted this baby quilt with straight lines, outlining the horizontal seams, and also stitching through the horizontal center of each "brick".  The quilting has added a modern look, and was a breeze really.  Any quilting problems I have now seem to be due to rushing the basting process (which I still don't enjoy!), but I have definitely improved my skills.  I still use pins to baste, because if done well it does give me the best overall finish.


A few blog readers have asked about the pink bicycle fabric that I have used for this quilt.  It is a cotton print by Heather Ross called "Bicycles".  Unfortunately it is quite an old fabric, rare and much sought after.  This fabric is currently available at several Etsy stores, with the price reflecting just how much loved it is!

I am hoping to add the binding today, but have not as yet even chosen the fabric for it. School holidays have started and it is the most glorious Spring day here in Melbourne.  I am definitely going to catch some of these rays today!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Stash #21


This week's Sunday Stash is brought to you by Heather Ross and Denyse Schmidt, two of my favorite fabric designers.

From left to right the fabrics are :
  1. West Hill - Floral Stripe in White with Yellow and Orange Flowers by Heather Ross
  2. Katie Jump Rope - Basket Weave in Orange by Denyse Schmidt
  3. Katie Jump Rope - Floral Ribbon in Yellow by Denyse Schmidt

In a moment of weakness and having witnessed the high demand for the out of print Flea Market Fancy fabrics by Denyse Schmidt, I decided it was time to replenish my stash with some of my favorite Katie Jump Rope fabrics by the same fabric designer:


 Katie Jump Rope by Denyse Schmidt

All the fabrics in this week's Sunday Stash were purchased from The Fabric Bee's Shop on Etsy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

No Excuses needed

Having this week finished a quilt that was on the "work in progress" list for way too long, I now feel entitled to start a new project.  Just something to go on with...


I never got around to putting away last Sunday's "Sunday Stash" fabrics, and the prints and colors have been ticking over in my mind. The fabrics posed on the sewing table and auditioned with others for the duration of the week, and the overall result is rather sweet.

 Sunday Stash #20

No excuses needed to start a new project.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Crossed off the Unfinished Quilts List!



Well, the Fresh Cut Quilt top that has been sitting around since February has gone from being unfinished to quilted, bound, and delivered to my Etsy Store.

 Finished quilt measures:  42.5 inches x 42.5 inches

I have noticed too that I have snuck in a few fabrics that are not from the Fresh Cut range.  Included also are a few prints from Heather Bailey's Bijoux range, some Amy Butler Full Moon Polka Dots from the Lotus  and Martini from the Midwest Modern range, and a grey dot by Urban Chiks from the "1974" range.


The back of the quilt is pieced again just using fabrics from the Fresh Cut fabric range.  I love this look on the back of the quilt, allowing the fabrics to be the feature and making this quilt fully reversible.


I think I have mentioned before how much I love the fabric that I have used for the binding of this quilt.  It is Aunt Grace Polka Dots in Blue by Marcus Brothers.

And for those of you who wanted to see how I use the custom labels on my quilts: -

Just tucked inside the machine stitched binding at the back of the quilt.


Enjoy!  And please check out My Etsy Store for all the details or email me if you have any questions!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday - Parcel Day

A small and innocent package arrived in the mail yesterday.  It appears however that the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service was a little suspect of its content.

Lucky for me no items of quarantine concern were detected, and nothing had been removed from the parcel.

I hope the customs inspectors liked the labels as much as I do!  Handmade by Anna from Lilla Lotta, purchased from this Etsy Store, here.  I have previously purchased custom labels from this store, and have been very happy with how professional they make the finished quilt look.  This time I chose the slightly wider cotton tape, and I think they will look good on larger quilts.


Quilting the Fresh Cut quilt top is also coming along nicely. I am thrilled with how well the new Bernina is taking to quilting, the feed dogs are robust and together with the walking foot pull the quilt layers  through  very comfortably.  It is rather satisfying to take this quilt off the "unfinished" list!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Simple Yet Effective

I was unavoidably distanced from my sewing machine yesterday.  A three hour medical appointment for my daughter meant I was going to have plenty of time on my hands! 

Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn - 1 skein colorway S188

Just before leaving the house I grabbed a ball of Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn and a knitting pattern that had been on my Ravelry Favorites for some time!  The Simple Yet Effective Scarf pattern is a well written, easy knitting pattern that does not require a great deal of concentration.  Just endless knitting.  Just what I needed to fill in the hours.  Two more 3 hours knitting sessions to come this week!  I am trying to sneak in some sewing time...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fresh Cut Goodness


Backing for the quilt top that I promised to finish this week.  
 Click HERE to link back to Fresh Cut Quilt Top

All fabrics by Heather Bailey from the Fresh Cut range.  Even though I normally like to mix and match fabric designers and ranges, I think this collection stands well on its own.  It will complete this quilt nicely.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Stash #20

My aim for this week's Sunday Stash was to present fabrics with a muted tone.  I am usually instantly attracted to brightly colored fabrics but I also have a soft spot for muted colored fabrics.  These in particular appeal:
They are from left to right:
  1. Cosmo Animal Bubble in Cream by Cosmo Textile Co Ltd
  2. White dot on Brown - Color Basics - by Lecien
  3. Grey and White stripe - Color Basics - by Lecien 
  4. Dotted flowers from the Minnu Muu Collection by Lecien
  5. Coriander in Pink from the Belle range by Amy Butler (not so muted!)

How sweet is this Japanese animal print!  It is destined for a baby quilt that is already developing in my mind.

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Friday, September 11, 2009

100,000 Visits and a Domain Name

Wow!  Today visitor 100,000 passed through my blogspot!  I can hardly believe how much attention my little blog has drawn, and would love to thank each and every one of you who have made this journey into blogging so rewarding! I have "met" some very talented and creative people, from whom I draw inspiration everyday, and hope to have inspired others who regularly read my blog to pick up their rotary cutter and dig into their stash.

I now have my own domain name:

www.redpepperquilts.com


Please follow me there


Please could you update your bookmarks and blog links so that I will not lose you in this process!

I have noticed that I have lost the links to some of my favorite blogs in the side bar and will endeavour to fix this up as soon as possible.  Hopefully no other hiccups will occur!


Oh and whilst I am here, please oh please could you add your name to this worthy petition calling upon the manufacturers of the much loved Flea Market Fancy range of fabrics by Denyse Schmidt to be reprinted. 


Even Denyse has added her name to the petition, so there is hope!

Unfinished Quilts

Here is one I prepared earlier.  Yes, I do have plenty of unfinished quilt tops and work in progress that are demanding some attention. I do not feel burdened by unfinished quilts, but rather re-assured by that fact that there is always something that I can work on. It is better to remain positive about these things hey?  Who doesn't have unfinished quilts?


This quilt top is made using fabrics predominantly from Heather Bailey's Fresh Cut range.  The contrasting solid fabric is Kaufman Kona Cotton in White.  It was machine pieced in February this year before blogging.  It is such a pretty quilt top, and deserves to be finished.  I have pulled out my remaining stash of Fresh Cut fabrics and have started piecing the quilt backing.   Again a really simple quilt which allows the pretty fabrics to speak for themselves.

Spring has sprung in Melbourne, and we are enjoying a gorgeous Spring day with lovely sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures, but it is oh so windy!  This is great for the washing, but not ideal for taking pictures of quilts!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Daisy Chain Quilt

I have finished quilting the Daisy Chain Quilt!  Hooray!  And I feel like the Free Motion Quilting monkey has been lifted off my back somewhat.

 Finished Quilt measures 50 inches x 38.5 inches

I must say I am really pleased with the overall look of the quilt and I feel like I have overcome some of my fear of free motion quilting, although I do realize that only through more practice will I gain confidence and improve my skills.

I think that a major part of my fear stems from needing the quilting to look perfect, but that is not what quilting is all about and I am trying to let go, to go with the flow and stop being stifled by my own expectations.
The back of the quilt features a cotton printed fabric by Anna Maria Horner from the Garden Party Range, the solid fabric is a heavier weight linen/cotton blend in a natural color.  To balance out this slightly more weighty fabric I have used QuiltLite as a batting.  As a result this quilt drapes beautifully.

I have added a burnt orange binding fabric by Joelle Hoverson - Net of Jewels  -  to frame the quilt.  This almost solid colored woven fabric has a textured and somewhat heavier feel about it, but the color is iridescent and adds the finishing touch to this quilt.

 This quilt is now for sale in my Etsy Store.  Be sure to check it out!