Monday, November 30, 2009

A Princess Quilt

Another weekend has flown by, and lucky for me I was able to spend lots of time sewing!  My favorite pastime.

Finished quilt measures 34 inches x 60 inches

This is a custom quilt based on a quilt I have previously made and available in my Etsy Store.  The featuring fabrics are from the Far Far Away fabric range by Heather Ross.  These are very cute, totally  irresistible, but not necessarily all that easy to work with.  Made from a double gauze cotton, they are beautifully soft and drapey, and I love how it has turned out.

I have used a different fabric colorway for both the princess and the frogs, and have added unicorns in green.  Together with some Amy Butler favorites and some bold Prints Charming fabrics, this quilt is the complete package for a little girl.

The back of the quilt is also pieced and features fabrics by Tina Givens from the Zazu range by Freespirit combined with more Amy Butler fabrics.

The quilting is again in vertical lines, and it continues to surprise me each time how effective the vertical lines are on such simple patterns and fabrics.  Adding such a modest and modern touch to complete the quilt.  I am starting to feel so much more confident with this quilting style, even when the length of the quilt is 60 inches or more.

Machine Stitched Binding - Starburst by Prints Charming in Orange

Destination Sydney today.  A very lucky little princess indeed!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Stash #31

A surprise fabric parcel arriving in the mail on Friday was definitely a highlight.

I was delighted to receive these wonderful fabrics as a thank you from Susie from Flowerpress for some words of quilting advice and encouragement that I offered her earlier this year.

RickRack in Strawberry and Aqua by Flowerpress

This is Susie's first yardage print, and it is called RickRack.  It is screen printed on a lovely mid weight linen/cotton blend  (55%/40%) fabric. The fabric has a really lovely drape, it is not too heavy and not too light, perfect for quilting and craft projects, cushion covers and clothes.

Susie is also hosting a giveaway of these fabrics on her blog - Flowerpress.   Leave a comment on the Birthday GiveAway Post and you will be in the draw with a chance to stash some of these lovelies yourself.  A winner will be drawn tomorrow, Monday - Sydney time.

Just in case you miss out, more yardage is available in Susie's Etsy Store - Flowerpress.  Before you head over, be warned, hide your credit card!  There are some lovely gift ideas there, and you may even find yourself overcome with the need to treat yourself to some much deserved goodness.

Thanks again, Susie, needless to say, I love them!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Around the Block - December

It was Sheridan's turn to send out fabrics for the Around the Block Swap this month.  I absolutely adored Sheridan's choice of fabrics, they were all from the grey and green color palette, and although the fabric pieces were small, there were lots of them.

The overriding theme for the blocks requested by Sheridan was squares, with some symmetry, no wonkiness and a variation in block size was also encouraged.  I really enjoy piecing and therefore these blocks were a joy to make.

And now for something completely out of my comfort zone!  Last week I saw a tutorial on One Flew Over  for a gorgeous Linen Scarf.  It looked so wonderfully easy to make that I was tempted to have a go at this myself.

 Printed fabric:  Liberty of London - Tana Lawn

I don't sew clothes - I struggle (and shudder even at the thought!) to take up the hem in pants and skirts, but this was truly easy, and the end result was even better than I expected.  I love the scarf, it was intended as a Christmas gift, but I am struggling with the idea of giving it away.  I can see myself wearing this, and may just have to make some more for the Christmas stockings.

Thanks for the tutorial Kate!  This was seriously easy, and I now have a very classy scarf!  You can find the tutorial here.

Also to all the US readers of my blog I wish you all  happy and safe Thanksgiving Holidays!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Purple Patch Quilt Progress

Just a quick post to show you what I have been working on this week.  I am keen to finish the Purple Patch Quilt that I started last week, and I am nearly there.

The solid fabrics used in this quilt were all shot cottons by Kaffe Fassett including Lilac, Lavender, Heather, Prune and Grape.  Shot cottons are not true solids as they are woven using cotton thread which is dyed in small batches. Variations in color and small imperfections in the weaving are a natural part of the process. Tonal variation for warp and weft create soft and subtle shifts in color. I enjoy working with  shot cottons as they come in a range of vibrant as well as subtle colors,  and if so required, can add more interest than true solid fabrics.

I have quilted diagonal lines through all of the shot cottons, providing interest and making a grid of diagonal squares. Just the binding to go now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Binding Tutorial

I receive many queries regarding quilt binding, specifically machine stitching the binding, and would like to clarify a few technical, but not difficult, binding matters.

I almost always make continuous cross-grain binding,    There are several very informative tutorials available online which are clear and easy to follow.  I particularly like the instructions given by Amanda from Crazy Mom Quilts  in her quilt binding tutorial which can be found here.

I do have a few of my own tips, things that work well for me:

To determine the length of continuous binding needed I measure the quilt top and side, multiply by two, and add at least 25 inches.  I am always rather overly generous here.

I cut my binding strips 2.25 inches wide, quite narrow as I prefer the look of a narrow binding.  I also use cotton batting which does not have a very high loft.  Extra width would be required if you use a high loft batting.  (You may also want to stick with a more generous 2.5 inch strip if you are going try machine stitching the binding for the first time.)

I join the binding strips with a diagonal seam as follows:

Joining binding strips end to end .

By piecing strips together with a diagonal seam you avoid having too much bulk in the one spot along your binding.  Once I have the required length of binding, I fold it in half along the length, press with iron, and then zig zag the two outside edges of the binding together:

This is probably quite unnecessary but it does avoid tucks and puckering by movement of the two edges, when sewing the binding to the quilt.  It is like a security blanket for me, just part of the process.

I then sew the binding to the top of the quilt by aligning  the zig zag edge of the binding with the raw edge of the quilt top, right sides together.  I like to leave an approximate 7 inch  tail of quilt binding at the beginning, and then sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance all around. I miter the corners - this process is well documented in Amanda's binding tutorial, and also hereI use a stitch length of 3.0mm for this part of the process and a walking foot.

I join the ends together with a diagonal seam:

I like to leave quite a large gap between the start and the end of the stitching, say 12 inches.
You will have two lengthy tails leftover.

Overlap the two tail ends smoothly along the quilt edge.

Trim back the binding tails so that they overlap 
by the width of the original binding strip plus 1/4 inch.

In this case the tails overlap by 2.25 inches plus .25 - a total of 2.5 inches.

Be sure to use a ruler and mark the binding for the correct measurement.

To join the two ends with a diagonal seam unfold the binding.
Place the two ends right sides together, perpendicular to each other.
Allow the ends to overlap by a generous 1/8th of an inch as pictured . Secure strips with a pin.
Mark a diagonal line as shown.
Stitch along the marked line (which can be cumbersome with the entire quilt in tow)
You can now test to see if the binding fits along the quilt edge.

Trim back the excess fabric, leaving a quarter inch seam allowance.
Press open the seam.
Stitch the remaining binding onto the quilt as before.

This method of joining the binding ends works for me each and every time.  It leaves a much less bulky seam, and is just like all the other joins in the binding.

It is no secret that I don't enjoy hand stitching the binding.  I machine it!  There are several ways of machine stitching the binding, this is what works well for me:


  Pin the binding to the back of the quilt so as to just overlap the stitching line made when sewing the binding to the front of the quilt.
As you can see I use LOTS of pins, although I know of quilters who can do this without pinning!
Pin one side.

Increase stitch length to 3mm - 3.5 mm
With bobbin thread to match the binding fabric and a top thread which blends well with the quilt top, stitch in the ditch along the binding seam line on the quilt TOP. By stitching over this seam line you are effectively hiding the top stitches.

As you stitch the aim is to catch the outer edge of the binding at the back of the quilt.
Remove pins as you approach them.
Stitch from corner to corner.
Once one side is finished, pin the next side, going around until all the sides are finished.

At first you may find that you have left small unstitched gaps,
which you can either run through the machine again or hand stitch.
Your technique will improve over time as you become familiar with the width of your binding and the pinning of your binding.

Hopefully you will find this information useful.  Feel free to ask any questions regarding binding and I will answer them in the comments section so as to make this information available to everyone.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

A Finished Quilt

Thank you everyone who commented or emailed me regarding yesterday's search for Amy Butler's Coriander fabric in Pink (Sunday Stash #30).  I now have several swaps happening and was also able to make some online purchases which will keep me well stocked of this fabric for some time to come!  Thanks again!

I will be doing a post office run today to send off this baby quilt to its new owners!

The quilt measures 35 inches x 65 inches, and has been quilted with straight vertical lines.  The back of the quilt also features some piecing.

This quilt is off to Wes and Layla who are in the process of adopting a baby boy from Ethiopia.   Which makes this quilt rather special, and I know it will be much loved. You can read more of Wes and Layla's adoption journey here.


I receive many queries regarding binding, and especially machine stitching the binding, and have therefore prepared a tutorial or at least some tips on how to I like to attach the binding by machine for all of my quilts.  It will be posted tomorrow.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Stash #30

Those of you who regularly read my blog will already know that I like using  small amounts grey  fabric in my quilts, accordingly my grey fabric stash is continuing to expand.

These are from left to right:
  1. Kaffe Fassett for Westminster Fibers GP-17Peony in grey
  2. Pat Yamin for Marcus Brothers from the Come Play with Me collection
  3. Sweetwater for Moda - Authentic Pattern # 5411 Word Play in Black purchased from The Sproutz Store on Etsy.
Also, I am hoping that someone might be able to help in my search for Amy Butler's Coriander in Pink from the Belle collection.

Desperately Seeking ....! - pink only

I would love to swap or buy any quantity of this fabric that you may have in your stash, or if you have found this available online, could you please let me know?  The above piece is ALL I have left of this fabric, and I would love to re-stock. Please email me at if you are able to swap, sell some or know of an online store that sells this item. 

Thanks!  Have a great Sunday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pedal to the Metal

The Purple Patches Quilt (I really am not very good at naming quilts) started earlier this week has been momentarily put aside to make time for a custom quilt.

I am really enjoying this quilt and have loved playing with the combination of color and fabric as requested. 

As you can see I have had the pedal to the metal, there has been no stopping me!  The batting has been prepared, and I have even gratuitously prepared some piecing to add interest to the quilt back.  All, except the weather, is going according to plan.  Another hot day, with a promise of rain later today.  We'll see.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stash Enhancement

Despite the relentless heat the postman delivered a fabric parcel today. Yes! Taking pictures of fabric is productive -  ahh yes?

 Rouenneries by French General for Moda

Inspired by old French reds and naturals, this  fabric collection for Moda by designer French General is a peek into the rural life the mid 18th century France.  The word Rouenneries has it origins from the woven cotton fabrics made in 18th century Rouen France.

My favorite!

Some of these were purchased online at Rossville Quilts and more at my local fabric store GJ's Discount Fabrics in Brunswick. These fabrics are way outside of comfort zone, but I was drawn to them, especially the turkey reds, and will challenge myself to hopefully do something interesting with them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A new Project

My next project is inspired by a picture of a bag project in Down Under Quilts Issue 129.   This is a great Australian Patchwork and Quilting publication of which a digital publication is available and a six months digital subscription is free of charge simply by subscribing to their newsletter!

Cropped image from Yo-Yo Go-Go Tote by Kirsten Duncan
Down Under Quilts Issue 129, 2009
Kirsten Duncan

Although I am not a yo-yo person, nor a great fan of purple, I could see great potential in turning the foundation of this bag into a quilt.  Things are well on the way:

A flurry of fabric gathering, including adding more variation to the solid fabrics.

Chain piecing - and the usual trimming which I still cannot give up!

125+  Four-Patch Blocks finished and ready for the design floor.

I can't wait to see how this quilt looks on the design floor, hopefully it will look just like I have had it pictured in my head. What's on your design wall/floor?

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Stashbuster

As promised, a picture post featuring the Stashbuster Quilt that I finished late Friday night.

by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke 

I received my copy of Material Obsession Two in June this year, and even back then the Stashbuster Quilt was the one quilt I most wanted to make.  This particular quilt is given two stars for its degree of difficulty by the authors; largely due to the intermediate piecing skills required for bias edges.

It is not a particularly difficult quilt to piece, but it does involve piecing together stretchy bias edges. Careful fabric handling and perhaps some spray starch to stabilize the fabric would definitely help to reduce the unwanted stretch.  The pattern is well written and easy to follow.
The backing fabric is from the Lille Collection by Rowan  and Westminster (LC05 Arbour) in pink.  The binding is a Kaffe Fassett Spot in purple.

The finished quilt measures 48 inches x 48 inches. 

This quilt is a gift for my new neighbors who are expecting a baby early February.  (Although my neighbors are witness to many of my quilt photography antics outside, I am sure they are not familiar with my blogging  persona).   I am now quietly hoping it is a baby girl; perhaps I should have given the backing fabric more careful thought.