Wednesday, November 30, 2011

[workinprogress]

A new week, and another quilt is already well under way.


Fabrics have been selected and most of the pieces have been cut, although arranging, re-arranging and editing is yet to be undertaken.   I know you will again recognize many of these prints.


Blue and green  ...  and they say blue and green should never be seen?


It so also happens that I've cast on a new knitting project this week with the same great colors, and also with a Christmas deadline. (I finished the Buttonwillow Shawl earlier in the week and it is now blocking! Pictures soon).


Yes, I am pushed for time in a big way, but I'm enjoying every single moment.

Have a wonderful week,
Rita

Monday, November 28, 2011

Summer Daze ~ A Finished Quilt

I have numerous projects to complete prior to Christmas, and so without too much procrastination, the machine has been whirring away at constant speed, and I have a finished quilt to show for it.


This is a custom quilt; one of two quilts ordered by a customer as a Christmas present for her teenage daughters.  I think I have fulfilled my customer's vision of a happy and colorful quilt; one certainly suitable for many more years to come.


An overload of favorite fabrics, many of which you probably recognize at an instant.  I really do enjoy mixing fabrics together from numerous fabric collections and different designers (as well as working from stash fabric).


And ...  I've used a striped fabric for binding - no surprises here! - this print by Australian fabric company A Day in the Country.


And ... for the back of the quilt an injection of color by adding two rows of pieced squares all of which compliment the front of the quilt.  You can also see the quilting grid that has emerged; edge to edge stitching, outlining all seam lines, this time a little further apart than my standard 1/2 inch.


The fabrics were cut as 5.5 inch squares, a total of 180 squares.  The finished quilt measures 60.5 inches x 75.5 inches.

One quilt finished, one to go.

Have a wonderful week,
Rita



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Stash #121

The Woodland by Natalie Lymer for Lecien.


Woodland is a fun collection with six different designs in up to seven different colorways; an adorable collection depicting a tiny toadstool village, curious fairies, little girls and birds.


With thanks to my sister, Karen, who gave this FQ bundle of Woodland to me after her recent trip to Quilt Market in Houston.  Yardage of this range is expected to hit the stores in December 2011.


Sign up to receive notification of arrival of Woodland by Natalie Lymer here:

Enjoy Sunday!
Rita

Friday, November 25, 2011

BTN 1

Behind The News (BTN) at RPQ ~ Snippets of my everday ...


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Happy Thanksgiving to all of my US blog readers! 

Rita

Thursday, November 24, 2011

[workinprogress]

The time has come to start a new project, this one a custom quilt with a Christmas deadline.  Fabrics have been sorted, colors and prints auditioned all whilst in my mind I echoed my customer brief for "something bright and happy, ... and colorful".


The rotary cutter had a workout like it hasn't seen for a little while, even requiring a brand new blade (of course this matter is unrelated to the chunk of plastic missing from my ruler - at least it wasn't my finger!).


Today the quilt top started coming together.  First the squares were arranged on my design floor (after the furniture was arranged to accommodate the layout).  Then much editing, arranging and re-arranging took place to ensure a balance of colors,  and scale/design of prints.


The sewing machine was at the ready, and I steadfastly stitched away until all of the 180 squares of fabric became a single quilt top.  And yes, it does get boring to stitch together row after row, it requires a little perseverance to complete in one session, but it is actually quite rewarding to see the colors jumble together just as I had imagined.


I look at this quilt top and see so many of my all time favorite prints; there are numerous original Flea Market Fancy and Katie Jump Rope by Denyse Schmidt prints, as well as several Amy Butler Prints, all mixed together with many fabrics from variations other collections (generally those prints that I adore for their bold design - such as dots and stripes).


Bright, happy and colorful ...

More soon.

Rita

Monday, November 21, 2011

Strings Attached

I had a nagging feeling that if I were to put last week's Malka Dubrawsky inspired String Blocks aside until the joy of wonky piecing returned, they may well disappear into the RPQ world of UFO's and never be seen again.


And so, I have instead turned my free form string blocks into three sets of potholders; the instructions of which are found in Malka Dubrawsky's book  Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration. 


Malka's book has step by step instructions for piecing, layering the batting (including a layer of Insul-Bright insulating material), basting, and binding. 


The free-motion spiral quilting was a challenge and a defining moment, forcing myself to at last embrace the wonk.  Free motion quilting requires practise, there is no quick tutorial, or magic sewing notion. With each of the pot holders the motion required felt less forced, the stitching line smoother, rounder ... until the next bump... and wobble (every time I took a breath!).

Although there were lots of doubts along the way I am very happy with the finished pot holders; I think they'll make great handmade Christmas presents.
I have three sisters,
not all are crafty, but they all do cook/bake.  Just sayin'.

Thank you for stopping by,
Rita

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Stash #120

A surprise parcel arrived in the mail this week from Sarah Fielke!




St Ives by Sarah Fielke for Lecien is Sarah's most recent fabric collection.  The colors and prints are inspired by Sarah's childhood memories of growing up in the colorful 80's in the Sydney suburb of St Ives.


The spirit of the 80's is captured by the whimsical designs and shapes in four color palettes:  Watermelon, Cherry, Blue Vanilla and Polar Purple Shiver.


As always, I have fallen hard for the stripes and spots; part of the St Ives range they are aptly named Legwarmer Stripe and Gobstopper Spot.

So many ideas whirring around in my mind ... 

Enjoy Sunday!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Stitch in Color - String Blocks

I am a huge fan of Malka Dubrawsky's (A Stitch in Dye) work!  Malka is a talented artist renowned for her distinctive style, and boldly colorful block hand-dyed/bleached fabrics.  When it came to my attention that Malka has designed her own fabric collection for Moda, called A Stitch in Color, I absolutely had to get my hands on it ASAP!


A Stitch in Color was show cased at Quilt Market in Houston earlier this month, and is due for release in January 2012.  Truly, I am so impatient ... January?  I scoured the internet and found myself some pre-cuts - Jelly Rolls.


With Jelly Roll in one hand and Malka's Book  Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration in the other I went in search for inspiration.  It didn't take long to  come across a project suitable for Jelly Roll strips.  The Jelly Roll was unwound, and the rotary cutter made an appearance sans ruler!


The project is called Strings Attached and both Pot Holders and a Trivet are featured in Malka's book using this design. Twenty-four string blocks later and I am in love the fabrics, the colors, the bold prints,  the overall effect.  LOVE! 


I wonder if over time the natural inclination
to cut and piece everything dead   s t r a i g h t   will wane?

More soon.
Rita

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Stash #119


The ever so popular Pez are back, although they are now known as Magic Beans!   Magic Beans are part of the Fairytale Friends collection by Sandy Klop (American Jane) for Moda.

Magic Beans inYellow, Aqua, Black, Orange, Blue, and Red.

And if I had to choose a favorite colorway it would be either the print with the Black background or Aqua background; I am a little partial to the aqua blue, it's rather gorgeous!

Magic Beans by Moda available from:

Enjoy Sunday!
Rita

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It was a Dark and Stormy Night ...

After several warm and humid days in Melbourne, the black storm clouds rolled in yesterday evening.  On the edge of the storm front, we consider ourselves lucky to have escaped unscathed for the storm's fury.  However, I blame the unsettled weather for my next project.  As the rain came down, a sewing frenzy was unleashed.

It started with cutting strips of fabric without a ruler.  Wonkiness was the aim!  All a little on the wild side for my conservative self.  But I allowed myself to work uninhibited and without plan, using techniques that I've not previously tried.


There was a small light bulb moment when I realized that piecing a wonky patch was easy when working with wonky strips of fabric!  There is no other outcome.  It worked, I can sew wonky!


As you can see I have used a combination of orange/white striped fabric and black/white striped fabrics, alternated with a white solid fabric.  A splash of red has been added at random for interest, as well as a patch of solid orange fabric where the strips of fabric were cut too short.


I also had fun quilting this mini quilt.  Lines were stitched either vertically or horizontally in various section of the mini quilt.  I also tried my hand at some curved quilting lines (with walking foot).  Curved quilting lines require steady stitching together with a steady movement which was not difficult to achieve on a small quilt.


It's been a while since I've sat and sewn with such intensity and stayed up way too late.  Today, I have added the binding, and have come down from my sewing high.  

No storms are forecast for tonight.

Rita

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Finished Scrappy Log Cabin Quilt

After a week of having the contents of my overflowing scrap bin scattered on the floor my family is relieved to see the end of this quilt.  And although my scrap bin should be a whole lot lighter, it doesn't seem to have made much of a difference.


36 blocks (+ 1 block used for the back of the quilt)
333 pieces of scrap fabric!
Finished Quilt measures 56.5 inches x 56.5 inches.


I have many favorite pieces of fabric, and in this case also many snippets of favorite log cabin blocks. All log cabin fabrics were from my scrap bin, but I was selective about color, print and scale whilst piecing the blocks.  


Log Cabin Block cutting and piecing instructions can be found here: Log Cabin Progress and Tutorial.


The back of the quilt features a single (left over) log cabin block whimsically set on a solid Kona Cotton (Ash) background.  As always I love the grid created by the quilting lines, and find it is more obvious on a solid fabric background where it is not competing with any print/design.


For binding fabric I was a little indecisive in choosing between a black/white pin stripe or a classic red/white pin stripe.  Both would have suited this quilt but in the end I went for a touch of simple sophistication


This quilt is a Christmas present for a dear friend;  a non quilting friend who doesn't understand my fabric obsession, nor my passion for making quilts.  However, she regularly stops by here and has more than once remarked how much she likes my blankets ....  I know she will ADORE this quilt!

My plan for a Handmade Christmas is slowly unfolding.  Are you creating for Christmas?
Rita

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Stash #118



Pearl Bracelet by Lizzy House!

More favorite prints today, this time by the clever fabric designer Lizzy House.   Lizzy has designed numerous fabric ranges, and Pearl Bracelet is one print that has been repeated in several of Lizzy's collections.

I really like the idea of repeating a design or color palette in  several fabric collections, especially a popular print such as this.

I have been stashing and using Pearl Bracelet by Lizzy House since the Red Letter Day Collection, which included Feather, Pond and Galosh colorways (bottom three fabrics).


Since then Lizzy House has released the 1001 Peeps fabric collection which included Basra Blue, Jinnee Orange and Persian Purple as well as ...



... more recently Outfoxed which includes Pearl Bracelet in Orange (pink), red and yellow.


Enjoy Sunday!
Rita