Thursday, April 30, 2009

Baby Quilts - Today's Progress Report

Wow! I have had another great sewing day. There just weren't enough hours in the day today, but I have finished what I set out to do.
I have basted these quilts:
I have been busy quilting on my machine:
I also made the binding. After much indecision I settled with an Amy Butler fabric, Full Moon Polka dot in Lime:

And picked a favorite fabric patch:

I will post pictures of the finished quilts tomorrow, when I can take some decent photos of them in the daylight.

Hope you too have had a great day.

A Quilting Day

I managed to piece two quilt tops yesterday! What a great sewing day. I also had time to piece the back of the quilt. Here is a sneak peak at the back:

I will be spending my day quilting these two quilts. I am really enjoying the quilting process, particularly when things all go according to plan. I hope to post the final product soon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Shadow Star Quilt

This quilt pattern is called Shadow Star and is designed by Michelle Yeo who specializes in the design and creation of quilts that are inspired by quilts of the past. I attended classes with Michelle Yeo in order to make this quilt. It was made late in 2007.

Michelle uses a lot of reproduction fabrics in her quilts, however, I really love bright, fresh and cheerful fabrics and used predominantly fabrics from the Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy collection. These fabrics are probably my all time favorite fabrics. Unfortunately my stash of these fabrics now is severely diminished!

These are the templates used to cut fabric. Some of the seams are Y-seams, and setting in the octagon was no easy task, but perseverance paid off! I was really put off by the fact that octagon had to be sewn in last. This can be done by hand or machine, but I am no hand-sewer. So I was determined to do this on my sewing machine. The templates have small holes in them for marking the fabric, which is a great help for piecing together this block.

The back of the quilt is pieced also. The main fabric is a white background with a small red spot.

I love the back of this quilt, the fact that it has so little detail, but is still so striking in appearance. Often the simple things in life are the best.

The finished size of this quilt is 88 x 69 inches. It was machine quilted by Karen Terrens from Quilts on Bastings.

In case you are interested, the pattern and templates are still available directly from Michelle Yeo's website. Here you can also view what this quilt looks like in reproduction fabrics.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Binding is Done!

Today I put the finishing touches on the Spring Quilt. The binding fabric is Amy Butler's Full Moon Polka Dot in Slate.

I am very happy with the end result. I find the quilting usually the most challenging, but this time it all went relatively easily. Although, I must admit, I did bond with my quick-unpick (seam ripper) for some of the quilting lines.

I also wanted to show you the gloves that I use for quilting. I did a machine quilting class with Deborah Louie late last year, and she highly recommended these gloves. Not only are they an absolute dream to quilt with, but they are cheap and available from the local supermarket. These gloves give you a really good grip which makes it so much easier to guide the quilt as you are sewing.

They are called Ansell's HyFlex Multi-Purpose Gloves and are made from a breathable and stretchy material. The palm is coated with foamed latex for extra grip. They retail for just over $5.00AUD at the local grocery store. Bargain!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Baby Quilt - Spring into Autumn

Thank you everyone for the really lovely and encouraging comments that I have received on my Gelati Quilt Top. It was an enormous amount of work sewing all those log cabins, but the effort has been truly rewarding.

Whilst piecing the log cabins this week my next project was already in the planning stages in my head. I really wanted to sew something quick and easy, with instant results.

Here is what I started Friday afternoon: a baby quilt. I enjoy piecing with linen at the moment, and chose to use a linen/cotton blend fabric in natural color tone, together with blue/green cotton fabrics for this quilt.

It is just a simple patchwork layout made out of 3 inch squares. 14 rows in the length and 11 rows to make up the width. The finished size of the quilt is 35 x 28 inches. (The finished size of each square is 2.5 inches).

This layout allowed for some strip and chain piecing. That is, some quick piecing with instant results. (It usually takes a lot longer to choose fabrics!)

I also pieced the back of the quilt, in part because I don't generally have pieces in my fabric stash big enough for a backing, but also because I enjoy making up and designing the back. This is what I made using the leftover linen from the quilt top.

I basted the quilt Friday night. Basting is probably my least favorite part of the the process. But because it is just a small quilt I was able to baste it on the dining room table rather than the floor. That sure helps a lot.

I quilted this baby quilt again with straight lines just a quarter of an inch inside each square, running from edge to edge, both horizontally and vertically. This photo show the detail of the quilting lines.

I used 100% Cotton batting from Matilda's Own.

The finished size of the quilt is 28 x 35 inches.

Even though it is just the start of Autumn in Australia, I have decided to call this quilt Spring. The colors are so cheerful and remind me of everything Spring. Green grass, sunny days with blue sky. Lucky you!

It has been a busy week, with so much sewing going on that there has been a lot of neglect of the other things that I should have been doing! I am suffering quilter's guilt.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Gelati Log Cabin

Whohoo! Hooray! I finished piecing the log cabin quilt top and I have aptly named it Gelati. The colors remind me of the display of gelati at the ice cream store.

I am delighted with how the blocks came together and how the colors in the quilt seem to sparkle.

The white sashing has made the colors so much more vivid and has given the quilt a fresh and modern look. I really enjoy using contemporary fabrics for even the most tradtional blocks, to give them a modern make-over.

Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous Autumn day in Melbourne (maybe a little windy in the afternoon), but whilst taking some photos of the quilt on the clothesline I noticed how lovely the back of the quilt looked with the sun behind the quilt highlighting the seams and the colors of the quilt!

The finished quilt blocks each measure 4.5 inches, and the quilt top is therefore a 45 inch square. There are 100 blocks with 9 pieces of fabric in each block, that is 900 pieces plus add the sashing and there are a grand total of 999 pieces of fabric in this quilt top.

Edited to add: I am getting quite a few emails and comments asking what solid white fabric I use. My choice of solid white fabric is Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Solid in White. I usually purchase this from The Fabric Shack. I have used this for most of my quilts that have white fabric in them, and am very happy with the quality of this fabric.

Now I really have to do some serious housework! I just cannot believe how many threads there are spread right throughout the entire house. How does that happen?

Thank you for stopping by!

The finished Gelati Log Cabin Quilt

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sneak Peak at some WIP

I am so lucky to have had a lot of sewing time this week, and have frantically managed to complete a total of 102 log cabin blocks (two spare!), putting in a great effort to make the final 20 blocks in just one day! Therefore, not much housework completed this week! Oh well.
I also had a bit of a play around with the layout:
And then decided that it would look great if I added white sashing in between all the blocks.
I carefully arranged all the blocks on my design wall (the floor!), which resulted in much yelling at the dog. He so knows not to walk on a quilt, and gives that knowing look as he continues to approach to try and snaffle up a block or two!
I have tried to ensure that all the colors are well arranged, and that there is no obvious concentration of color in any particular area. The full size of the quilt will be 10 rows of 10 blocks. All the rows were then numbered and 10 separate piles made of 10 blocks.
Rows of 10 blocks were then sewn together as a strip with sashing in between. The sashing is cut at 1.25 inches wide, the same size as the strips on the log cabin blocks.
After all the effort I went to to ensure that I was happy with the overall layout of the quilt I still managed to sew the row that was designated to be row 4 to the top of the quilt. And that is how row 4 became row 1. Aaargh! Then I decided it was going to make any difference.
Here is a sneak peak at how the quilt is coming together. 
I am quite happy with how it is going. More sewing today. Hopefully I can show you the completed quilt top tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Postal Delivery

First I must say how completely overwhelmed I am at the amazing response to my posts so far. I am speechless! Thank you to all the readers of this blog and all the kind and encouraging comments that have been posted. All comments are so very much appreciated!

Just take a look what arrived in the mail today! (This was no surprise, really!)

This envelope arrived arrived from The Material Girl Shoppe. This is an on-line etsy store selling some of my favorite designer fabrics by Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner and Heather Bailey. When I heard that Amy Butler's Lotus and Belle Collections are now discontinued I knew I had to replenish my stash of these favorites:

From top to bottom:

All these fabrics are from Amy Butler's Lotus Range:

Full Moon Polka Dot in Slate, Cherry, Camel and Lime
AND French Wall Paper in Duck Egg

Naturally I had to fill my envelope to justify the International Shipping charges, luckily these two fitted into the envelope just nicely:

Both these fabrics are designed by Anna Maria Horner. The fabric on the left is from the "Garden Party" range called Polka Line in Raspberry, and the fabric on the right is from the "Good Folks" range and is called Cathedral in Peony.

Oh! It's always a great day when the delivery van stops at my house!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nine Patch Quilt - Strawberry Patches


I have made quite a few quilts that have challenged my sewing skills, but late in 2008 I really wanted to make some quilts that were made from simple and easy to piece blocks.

I have chosen nine patch blocks as they are fairly quick and easy to sew but are highly effective in showing off lovely fabrics. I also selected predominately red and pink fabrics, with just a small splash of orange. The finished size of each nine-patch block is 6 inches.

In the center of each nine-patch is a solid white fabric which gives the quilt a balanced, fresh and modern look. White fabric is also used for sashing to separate each block, with a small fussy cut corner block. The finished sashing width is 1 inch.

The small corner stone block in the sashing is a favorite Liberty Fabric which was fussy cut to so that all these little blocks are identical. I do love Liberty Fabrics, they are a dream to sew with and have the most beautiful designs, feel and drape, however, they are just so expensive in Australia, retailing at $AUD50.00 per meter! AAaaaargh!

I also pieced the back of the quilt. I generally don't have large quantities of fabric pieces in my stash, as a result I often piece the back of my quilts. I must admit that I do enjoy the process of piecing the back!

The bird fabric is from Alexander Henry called "Starling"

This quilt was basted using cotton batting, which I think results in thin quilt that has a nice drape. I then quilted it on my domestic sewing machine, again just using straight lines by cross-hatching diagonally and by quilting "in the ditch" either side of all the sashing.

I chose a red with white polka dot binding to frame this quilt. I like my binding edge to be quite small, therefore I cut binding strips at 2.25" rather than what seems to be the standard 2.5" strips.

The finished quilt measures 42" x 42".

I really enjoyed the selection process for the fabrics in this quilt, and finding a way to combine them together so that the red and pink fabrics don't clash by adding the solid white fabric. It is also a quilt made with a very traditional block and simple sewing techniques, that has been given a fresh and modern make-over by using bright and colorful fabrics.

I hope you enjoyed this quilt from my quilt stash!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday - The Week in Review

Thank you everybody for your lovely comments on my Favorite Quilt post! The response to the Bloggers' Quilt Exhibition has been overwhelming, but I have thoroughly enjoyed checking out all the other entries! There is truly some inspirational and amazing work out there.

This has been a busy week, but also rather relaxing with both teens at home from school during the school holidays. The teens have enjoyed sleeping most of the morning away, and lounging around in PJs watching DVDs. I have continued to make progress on my Log Cabin Quilt, turning this:

Into more of these:

But I have also been side-tracked by the arrival of this long awaited book:

This book is called "Sock Innovation: knitting techniques & patterns for one-of-a kind socks" and is written by Cookie A.

Cookie A is a fabulous designer of patterns for knitting socks, and her new book was released on 1 April, 2009. I purchased my copy online at The Bookdepository.

It has some really amazing sock patterns in it which, of course, has led to this:

This sock pattern is called Kai-Mei, and the yarn is Jitterbug in the colorway Wasabi Squeeze. I chose this yarn and colorway because I thought it was different, and maybe even a little ugly! My children, who don't usually take a great deal of notice of what I am making, let alone the color of the yarn, have remarked with a lot of distaste: "What color do you call THAT!"

All this whilst putting in more than 30hrs at work, most in the evening and on the weekend. Ah what I would do for some more sleep!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Favorite Quilt

I am participating in Park City Girl's Blogger's Quilt Festival, and have had great difficulty choosing my favorite quilt. In the end I decided my favorite quilt is my "Spot On" Circle quilt. I made this quilt back in 2006 when I really had very limited sewing experience. I have largely taught myself to sew and quilt, so I knew this was going to be quite a challenge!

The pattern for this quilt is from the book "Quilts with a Spin" by Becky Goldsmith & Linda Jenkins. The pattern in the book is called "Everyday Best". I love this quilt, and as soon as I saw it in the book, I knew I had to make one. The instructions are really well written and comes with patterns for the arcs, although the arcs do require to be copied onto vellum paper, a major task in itself!

It probably took 18 months to collect enough spotty fabric to start making this quilt.

It is a foundation pieced quilt, with each individual full circle made from 12 arcs, and consisting of 108 pieces of fabric. I made nine full circles, so that is a mere 972 small patches of dotty fabric!

I tackled the making of this quilt one step at a time, not really knowing if I was going to have enough sewing experience to even do the next step. Once the quarter-circle arcs were made, they were joined together - no problem. Then a suitable background fabric had to be chosen. It was at this point that I was introduced to the Color Wheel. The background fabrics are also dotty fabrics, but were chosen to flow in the order of the colors on the color wheel. Adding background fabrics was probably the hardest part and I learned a lot having to sew curves! (I excel at sewing straight lines, however, curves are not a favorite.)

The quilt was professionally machine quilted by Karen Terrens of Quilts on Bastings on a long-arm quilting machine. It is quilted in concentric circles, each arc having two circles of quilting. The background fabrics are also quilted with concentric circles, just slightlyoverlapping with the circle quilting.

This quilt now spends a lot of time in my daughter's room (generally on the floor - she is a typical teenager!). This is the same daughter who exclaimed just last week that I never make a nice quilt for her!

It is such a bright, cheerful quilt, and a tribute to all the dotty fabrics out there!

Thank you for stopping by!

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Linen Baby Quilts

I have recently been wanting to try fabrics other than cotton to make a quilt, and so I ventured out and purchased some linen/cotton blend fabrics. As I wanted to quilt this linen quilt myself on my own sewing machine, I thought I would start with just a small baby quilt (or two).

I am so pleased with how they turned out. The linen/blend fabric was so much easier to work with then I had anticipated, and the colors of the cotton fabrics really stand out against the natural linen.

I used a product called Quilt Lite as batting. I can best describe this product as a loosely woven flannel fabric, which gives the finished quilt a really lovely lightweight feeling and results in a thin and manageable quilt. I have quilted these baby quilts with straight vertical lines, and used a Kaffe Fassett Polka dot fabric for binding.

This is a picture of the front of baby quilts. I have used some of my favorite fabrics, including a few pieces of the highly sought after discontinued range Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt (sparingly!).

I so enjoyed making these baby quilts, that I plan to make more just like them. In fact, I have also just finished making a much large linen quilt for my 15 year old daughter after she exclaimed words to the effect of "what's with these baby quilts, and why do you not make me a nice quilt like this?" Pictures of this larger quilt to be revealed soon.

***Edited to Add:*** These two baby quilts are now for sale at my Etsy Store. Visit me there!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New to Blogging!

I have been contemplating starting a blog for some time now, and have finally taken the plunge.

Here is my first post on my first ever blog!

What I would like to start with is to show you some of my favorite quilts that I have made since I began quilting back in 2001.

This quilt is called Emma's Quilt and I made this quilt in 2008 for a niece. It is my own design and layout, however it features some very traditional quilting blocks. It is a log cabin quilt made with some of my favorite fabrics. The feature fabric is fussy-cut from Amy Butler's Lotus range called Wallflower in Cherry. (Is it true that the Amy Butler Lotus and Belle range has just been discontinued by the manufacturer? Oh no!! Must update my stash!)

This quilt is definitely one of my favorite quilts, with white fabric being one of my trademarks. I love white fabric in quilts, I think it gives them a fresh, modern look. This quilt was one of the first quilts that I have quilted myself on my domestic sewing machine.

Over the coming weeks I hope to post some more pictures of my quilts as well as pictures of my stash and works in progress!