Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell 2009!

"Sewing fills my days,
not to mention the living room,
the bedroom, and every closet!"
Words more true could not be spoken!

2009 has been a wonderful and creative year and I am looking forward to 2010.  Thank you again to everyone who has stopped by to read my blog thereby encouraging and inspiring me to continue to journal and share my quilting adventures. 

Enjoy your New Year's Eve!  

Monday, December 21, 2009

Downunder Christmas 09

It is starting to feel a lot like Christmas around here, with the obligatory last minute trips to shopping centers and their overflowing car parks, postal delivery delays and also some really beautiful Christmas light displays, food preparations and gift wrapping.

It does not leave a lot of time to devote to my sewing and my blog.  I am therefore going to take a short blogging break to spend time preparing for Christmas and enjoying seeing in the New Year with family and friends.  2010 promises to be a wonderful year for Red Pepper Quilts, and cannot wait to see how it all works out.
 Hope Valley by Denyse Schmidt

I will be returning on Wednesday, 6 January 2010 with a GiveAway post!  Besides it being the start of the new year, there is much to celebrate.  Since starting blogging in April this year, I have posted more than 200 posts, received way more comments than I could have ever anticipated, and have had more than 550 followers sign up to follow my blog!  Every reason to celebrate and it is going to be worth the wait!

In the process of posting about my quilting journey I have learned so much; about computers, blogging, photographing quilts, sewing, quilting, and sharing information, but best of all I have made some amazing new friends, likeminded bloggers and quilters without whom Red Pepper Quilts would not be the same. Thank you to everyone who has supported me, or stopped by my blog just to see what I have been  up to, I look forward to seeing you all again in 2010!

Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year
from Rita at
Red Pepper Quilts

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Stash #34

The recent spate of re-organizing has also brought to my attention the rather numerous long term unfinished projects that are floating about.  Although I do not allow these projects to weigh heavily upon my mind, I am conscious of a need to finish what I have started.

Babette Blanket designed by Kathy Merrick
Published in Interweave Crochet - Spring 2006

I absolutely love this yarn!  It is Koigu Wool Designs KPM, 100% merino wool, purchased from Purlsoho,  quite some time ago.  Very well stashed but definitely in need of being used to make the Babette Blanket.  More Babette projects can be seen in the Babette Blanket Flickr Pool.

And of course, some obligatory fabric stash:

These are from Kaffe Fassett's very recent range of fabrics.  Called "Plink" in White and Magenta, these are pretty and have blended well with my stash.  I am always inspired by Kaffe's fabrics and all of his quilts/knitting, but do not always find that his fabrics work all that well with my stashed fabrics. I enjoy the challenge though and have a significant Kaffe stash.

More Sunday Stashers here.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Creative Space #2

At this time of the year I am definitely starting to slow down, organizing stash, sorting through the scrap bin, and generally re-arranging books, threads, etc so that I can start the new year fresh and rearing to go.

Christmas preparations are in full swing, and I really am too busy to accomplish much sewing.  The new Hope Valley stash, however, has been calling, and could not be resisted.   I have tentatively cut into it, and am enjoying the easy piecing and playing around with the layout.

This fabric range was much anticipated, but not an immediate favorite.  I am slowly warming to the color palette and the small scale print of many of the individual fabrics within the range, and even  starting to play favorites.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Red Patch

The Red Patch quilt is finished.  I have really enjoyed the fabric play for this quilt, combining the many different reds which all work together surprisingly well.  This quilt also includes some fabrics by talented Australian designers, including Susie from FlowerPress, Kristen Doran, and Shannon Lamden from Aunty Cookie.

The back of the quilt features an amazing fabric by Saffron Craig, another great Australian fabric designer passionate about creating unique and contemporary fabrics.  Printed in red and orange "Owls Nesting" works well on the back of this quilt, and not only makes an impressive and unique quilt back, but also makes this a truly reversible quilt.

This quilt has been quilted with simple straight vertical lines 1.5 inches apart and bound with a red and white stripe fabric.  I have again chosen to use the 100% cotton batting as it gives the quilt a lovely drape and doesn't over emphasise the quilting, thereby allowing the fabrics to shine through.
I have updated my Etsy store to include this quilt.

NOTE:  This quilt was sold and sent to Italy - unfortunately it never arrived at its destination.  Please, if you see this quilt for sale, or anywhere else, please notify me at 

After 2 1/2 months of missing in action, the parcel landed back on my veranda, undamaged and unopened.  It remained uncollected in Italy for exactly 2 months and was then returned to sender, arriving back in Oz just 6 days after being sent back.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Besides sewing I also enjoy a spot of knitting.  I caught the lace knitting bug about a year ago, and have since knitted several shawls including Laminaria by Elizabeth Freeman, Shetland Triangle and Swallowtail Shawl both by Evelyn Clark.

Ishbel by Ysolda Teague was a joy to knit, the charts were easy to read, and the knitting was rather easy.  Lace knitting looks far more complicated than what it actually is.  The same can be said for reading the lace knitting charts.  Although a level of concentration is required the process is simple if taken one step at a time.

I have used Malabrigo Sock yarn for this project in the colorway Alcaucil.  It is a soft merino yarn which has been kettle dyed to give it a deep rich color with subtle shadings.

Ishbel was a quick knit and will be found by a family member in a Christmas stocking soon!

Ishbel, the pattern, can be found here.  My finished knitting projects can be seen on Ravelry.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Tuesday is parcel day, yet again!


Very Nice!

 Nicey Jane by Heather Bailey. 

Purchased from Fabricpalooza on Etsy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Red Patch Quilt Top

Just to keep you up to date:

I have finished piecing the quilt top started last week.  I love how the reds all go together, regardless of the depth of color, design, or the style.  I love how well the Amy Butler fabrics, the fresh and modern, team up with the locally screen printed fabrics and even the Rouenneries by French General.

And for something not often seen here - borders are featured in this quilt.

It is now ready for quilting.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Stash #33

 Original Image - here.

The eagerly awaited Hope Valley by Denyse Schmidt has finally arrived, and I have my favorites already.  Here are just two Hope Valleys teamed with some of this week's stash additions:

    From left to right they are:
    1. Liberty of London - Tana Lawn - an early Christmas present from Kate at OneFlewOver.
    2. Lecien - Stripe in Citron
    3. Hope Valley -   Four Square - DS07 in New Day
    4. Hope Valley -  Thistle Leaf DS02 in Piney Woods
     Enjoy!  More Stashers can be found here.

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Snippets from my Design Wall

    It's the season for all things red, and so is my next quilt project.
    Just a glimpse to show you what I am working on this week, amongst way too many other things. This is on my design wall/floor, nothing set in concrete yet, just playing around.

    The red bird print featured in the above image is by Kristen Doran, called Mollybirds.  It has been in  my stash for some time and I am finally ready to cut into it. Hand screen printed on a natural linen/cotton basecloth in Australia, and very  suitable for use in a quilt.

    What are you hoping to finish before Christmas?

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    In the Christmas Spirit

    Even though officially we are in holiday mode at Red Pepper Quilts HQ, the end of year preparations are keeping me off my usual game, preoccupied with getting in the spirit, sourcing Christmas presents, socializing, and paid work.

    How sweet are these decorations though?  Purchased at the American Folk Art Museum - Lincoln Branch (December 2007) in NYC.  This is a small museum which can be a little hard to find, with a permanent collection of quilts, well worth the effort of seeking out if you find yourself in out on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

    These decorations are made from recycled materials including buttons, and aluminum pull tabs from cans.

    Very very clever!  Although they are Christmas decorations, they have been on display all year round as inspiration and a reminder of good times in NYC.

    The call of the yarn has also not gone unheard, and I have started a small lace knitting project.  The pattern is Ishbel by Ysolda and I am using Malabrigo Sock yarn in Alcaucil.  This is a simple shawl pattern, very well reviewed on Ravelry with over 4000 Ishbel projects to peruse made from a myriad of different yarns.  If you are not familiar yet with Ravelry and you are a knitting and yarn fiend be sure to sign up, it is without a doubt the most comprehensive and fun knitting and crochet community. 

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    My Creative Space

    A nationwide search for some sought after fabric with no avail, led to the purchase of this Kaffe Fassett fabric (Big Bloom in Pink) from Rosebud Quilter on Etsy.

    Michelle from Rosebud Quilting also sent along a whole bunch of 1 1/2 inch squares which she thought I might like playing with.

    Rightly so, it inspired some fun fabric play,  free motion quilting practice,and my next quilt?  Just one inch squares.  Maybe?  I love the idea of a quilt with tiny squares, and I am working out a plan for a more efficient strip piecing method.

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    Just Bricks Progress

    I have made a lot of progress with the Just Bricks quilt that I pieced last week.
    Just Bricks - quilt measures 51 inches x 66 inches

    I have added some quirky pieced borders on  the left and right hand side of the quilt top.  The bottom of the quilt now appears to have a broken continuation of that same border.   No border at the top of the quilt.

    The back of the quilt is also pieced using an Amy Butler print from the Love range of fabrics (Bali Gate in Grass), as well as a Lotus print (Wallflower in Cherry) as feature prints.

    This is the biggest quilt that I have quilted myself and I was pleasantly surprised at just how well it maneuvered under the arm of my sewing machine.  Quilted with straight vertical lines, and some horizontal lines to give the impression of a border along the top of the quilt and more definition to the border along the quilt bottom.

    The binding is another stripe fabric from the Rouenneries range by Moda.  It was prepared and attached to the quilt just yesterday.  

    I am really pleased with the finished look of this quilt; the fabrics all work well together and the quilting has added a further modern and finishing touch to the quilt.   A really simple quilt where the fabrics are allowed to make a subtle statement of their own.

    This quilt can now be found for sale in my Etsy Store.

    Sunday, December 6, 2009

    Sunday Stash #32

    So you've already seen the dot fabric that arrived this week from Superbuzzy. Well there was more!  More?  Yes I absolutely could not resist the new Echino Fall 2009 fabrics:

    Echino - Birdsong

    This fabric is designed by Etsuko Furuya for Kokka Fabrics.  It is 44 inches wide and 55% linen 45% cotton. This fabric is a little heavier than patchwork fabric, but still appropriate for use in a quilt.  It is a border fabric, with the pattern running along the width of the bolt, also known as railroaded.   The new collection is inspired by nature, and includes Peacocks, Elephants, Birds, Rabbits and Giraffes.

    Echino Fall 2009 - Birdsong in Green and Pink

    Birdsong is a large scale print with larger birds perching on vines above a field of leaves and below a flock of birds.  The quality of the fabric and print are exceptional, the colors really vibrant.

    It was my intention to use this fabric as backing, however, I think it would also make a great quilt top just by itself!  You can see all the fabrics in this range here on TrueUp which, in case you are not familiar with True Up, is a blog dedicated just to fabric!

    Enjoy Sunday!

    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Stashing Basics

    An early Christmas present arrived in the mail today, and you guessed it, more fabric to add to stash!

    These were purchased online from Superbuzzy -  basic Polka Dot in Sky Blue, Red, Green, Orange, Yellow, Pink, and Blue, as well as Flower Dot in Pink and Grey - a full yard of each!  These fabrics are what I call basics.  The Polka dots are fresh and vibrant in color and I use them often, even for binding.

    Sourcing and stashing fabrics plays a huge role in the joy that quilting brings me.  I love trawling the net looking for online fabric stores, anticipating the arrival of new fabrics, parcels in the mail, and adding to stash.  I purchase fabric from my local fabric stores, and also online from the US where fabrics are always on sale compared to the price we pay for fabric in Australia!  What is your favorite online store, with excellent shipping rates?

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    Almost Wordless Wednesday

    This quilt is testing my photography skills today, it is the best of many many shots!  I've spent too much time in really awkward positions today trying to get this just right!!  (See!  Even here the quilt is upside down!)

    After an early morning dash to my local fabric store for my new favorite Amy Butler Love print, I did however manage to piece together the backing.  This quilt is now ready for basting!

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Another Brick

     Machine Made Patchworks

    Japanese craft books are one of my favorite resources for quilting inspiration. Most of these Japanese craft books contain  very few English words, but I enjoy the gorgeous pictures of  cute projects, beautiful fabrics and occasionally try to work my way through the diagrams that accompany each project.

    I have started a new project that was initially inspired by the above image.  I was puzzled by the diagram/pattern for this quilt, but soon realised the numbers in the book were in centimeters rather than inches and then chose to ignore the pattern all together as it was easier to make it up as I went along than it was to figure out the details in the book.

    Not only have I changed the pattern, but also the overall color palette, preferring a softer look and making use of my new Rouenneries fabrics by Moda, in particular the red stripes.   As a result my quilt bears little resemblance to the inspiration image, but I do love how one image can lead to such creativity and a completely new quilt.

    Sourcing Japanese Craft books is not always easy and it sure helps to have the ISBN number of the book, usually found on the inside or back cover:

    ISBN:   457911020X

    I have had success finding Japanese books on Ebay, Etsy, YesAsia, Superbuzzy and have managed to stumble my way through Amazon Japan.

    More pictures of  the new quilt coming soon!