Monday, June 28, 2010

More Little Folks ...

You already know how much I love the buttery soft voile fabrics from the Little Folks range by Anna Maria Horner, and therefore need no excuse for making this adorable baby quilt.

Quilt measures 40 inches x 32.5 inches

Although I do like what it adds to the overall look and feel of the quilt, I am only just starting to enjoy the decorative hand stitching.  It seems to take quite some time for me to find my hand stitching rhythm and struggle to let go of perfect stitch length requirement (totally self imposed!).

Combining both machine and hand quilting is proving to be a colorful combination.  I have matched the machine quilting thread with the color of the fabric, and have used a contrast color thread for hand quilted stitching.

The voile fabrics drape so beautifully and creases just fall away, even after the quilt has been folded. 

Although this is a repeat design, I still loved making it.  It was a comfort project that I could start whilst my own machine was being serviced and finished with my own "brand new" humming sewing machine.  I really should try to get my sewing machine serviced more regularly.

I have updated my Etsy Store to include this quilt.  You can find the listing as well as more pictures here. SOLD

I know, picture overload!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Stash #57

A new stash addition:

The second installment of Far Far Away by Heather Ross features more princesses in a  fairly tale setting. 

Far Far Away 2 by Heather Ross is printed on a cotton/linen blend (80% cotton and 20% linen), and is therefore a heavier weight fabric.   It does feel quilt friendly and is probably less intimidating than the double gauze fabric of the first Far Far Away prints.

Dreamy colors and detailed prints, I already have a few favorites!  I am really looking forward to cutting into these.

Fabrics available from:
Hawthorne Threads
Fabric Worm
Mountain of the Dragon

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Creative Space ...

Now that the school holidays have commenced it has been a week of late nights and slow mornings.  I love having the teens at home, with leisurely late lunches (like 3 pm!) and a lack of structure and routine.  The  last few days, however, I have sorely missed my sewing machine whilst it was being serviced.

Thankfully my local sewing machine repair and service center, the Camberwell Sewing Centre were very understanding of my "plight" and again took care of my machine with expediency, and it now hums like a brand new machine. 

In the meantime though I had the use of a borrowed sewing machine ( my sister's Bernina Activa whilst she seeking out quilting inspiration and patchwork stores in Europe) and have enjoyed piecing  another simple Little Folks Baby Quilt.  This time I have made a little baby girl quilt with lots of pink and even a touch of purple.

 Little Folks Voile by Anna Maria Horner

I thought it wise to stick with something familiar and manageable with a strange sewing machine.  Although the borrowed machine is the same brand, I felt like a sewing novice using this smaller machine.  The first hiccup came when I needed to wind a bobbin -  eventually I worked out (with the help of the internet) that a simple press of the foot pedal solved the inaction of the bobbin winder!  Mmmm too simple.

Of course a pretty pink quilt does need pretty threads, which has meant a quick dash to The Lazy Daisy - Needlework Specialist, where I discovered a huge range of Perle8 thread in stock, and now more in my stash!  These will keep me entertained for what promises to be a rainy weekend.

For inspiration you will find many more Creative Spaces at Kootoyoo.  Thanks Kirsty!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Around the Block - June 2010

More block swaps for the month of June. These blocks are for Annie from Annie-Flowergarden, who requested Circles with an "arty feel and movement".

This is my first attempt at raw edge applique, and I think I did ok.  Especially considering that my own sewing machine is currently enjoying a little break with the service mechanic, and that I've not used a fusible product before.

The fusible web product that I used was called Steam-a-Seam, which came with both French and Spanish instructions(?).  It wasn't all that difficult to work out how to use it, although a new ironing board cover is now required!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Red and White Coin Quilt

I finished the Red and White Coin Quilt today.  Endurance quilting was completed last night with a sigh of relief, and binding late today after a dash to my local fabric store. 

In the end it was a race against fading light with another cool day behind us, although the late winter sunshine provided better than expected  lighting conditions for easy picture taking.  Photographing white quilts is proving to be a challenge at times!

The finished size of the quilt is 60 inches x 48 inches, and as usual the back of the quilt is also pieced, I did however choose to use green/blue fabrics for the back of the quilt in contrast to the overly red quilt top.

I am pleased with how the quilting turned out on this quilt.  Quilting straight lines close together does sound  and look easy, however things can go horribly wrong rather quickly.  The success of this quilting style depends very much upon good basting technique.  Without a well basted quilt sandwich, the lines of stitching can pull the quilt layers up or down unevenly,  either at the front or the back, and thus distort and pucker the quilt.  My quilts are all basted by taping the backing to the ground and then stabilizing the quilt sandwich using lots of pins.

I also use a walking foot for all straight line quilting and an increased stitch length.  This quilt was stitched with a 4.0 stitch length (Bernina), in comparison I use a 2.0 stitch length for patchwork piecing.

To bind the quilt I have used a Kei Honeycomb fabric in black with white polka dots.  Many red fabrics were auditioned for the binding, all failed to impress.  My final choice of black binding fabric provides a bold frame without detracting from the overall look of the quilt, and does not disappoint.

As usual, you can find this quilt for sale in my Etsy Store.   SOLD


Monday, June 21, 2010

Gone Quilting

Again  ... quilting.

More straight line quilting, this time vertical lines stitched relatively closely together, also known as endurance quilting.

No line marking, just stitching using the outer edges of the walking foot as a rough guide for distance, together with adjusting needle position to create an organic look that I am still learning to love.

I am almost there, with a determination to finish the quilting today. Today. Stitch. Stitch. Stitch. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Stash #56

Because ...
I've made a mess of my red fabric stash this week
and I still haven't tidied it up yet,
I am fussy about the kind of red fabric that I like
and therefore is the "smallest" pile of fabrics of all the colors,
and I do love red.

From left to right they are:
  • Kei Honeycomb in Red
  • Dotted Vine, Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt
  • Peony in Red by Kaffe Fassett
Both the Dotted Vine and Red Peony fabrics are now a rare find, and although I have a fairly limited stash (down to less than a fat quarter of the Kaffe Peony!) of both, I do use them rather than keep stashed.

Sure!  Fabric is for stashing, but more so for using and enjoying.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Red and White Coin Quilt

This is the quilt that nearly ended up as scrap fabric in my scrap bin.  During the cutting and design floor process, I really wasn't feeling the quilt love, and almost threw in the towel.  At that "almost" point the fabrics used were almost exclusively red, red, and red, and moreover the reds varied so much in hue (from pink to orange and blue) that it just became unpleasant to look at. 

Adding white as a neutral seemed to solve the problem.  Lots of white.  The more white fabric I added to the quilt in progress the more I started to like what I saw ( you already know just how much I like white fabric!).

You almost cannot go wrong with a mix of red and white, such a classic look that will transcend time with grace.  The design itself is very basic, strips of fabric in varying widths, and much like an unconventional Coin Quilt.

I am looking forward to quilting this quilt, but first I need to make the backing and then baste it.  It feels like a busy sewing weekend coming up; perfect for our blustery and cold Winter weather.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Well Worn Path

The postman is familiar with the path that leads to my front door.  He knows also that door knocking is unnecessary as the dog will bark outrageously at the sound of a parcel landing on the veranda.  Fabric has arrived!
 Little Folks by Anna Maria Horner

Having used most of my Little Folks stash I was keen to replenish supplies before these fabrics become "hard to get" or heaven forbid "rare".  Yikes, my heart skipped a beat just writing those words!

Whilst in shopping mode I also stocked up on the Pastry Line Solids - Dobby Dots also by Anna Maria Horner.  Isn't amazing  how much fabric can fit into one of those USPS Priority Envelopes (especially voile), and how fast they cross the Pacific Ocean!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An Organic Finished Quilt

I've updated my Etsy Store tonight with a new quilt addition - pieced using a combination of fabrics from Monaluna Circa 50 by Birch Fabrics, and Cloud9 Organics - Beyond the Sea by Michelle Engel Bencsko.

This was a fun and relatively easy sewing project after the intense piecing of the Lady of the Lake Quilt followed by the gentle voile wrangling of the Little Folks Baby Quilt.

Of course, a fun little boy's quilt is not complete without a colorful and pieced quilt back (with near perfect alignment!):

Almost entirely made from organic fabrics, complemented with some suitable Kona Cottons, bound in a rather more traditional red/white pin stripe binding fabric, and as always, with entirely machine stitched binding for durability.

The finished quilt measures 40 inches x 48 inches; a very manageable size for little boys, allowing them to adjust, carry and drag the quilt as needed, from bed, to couch, as picnic blanket, cubby house shelter or wherever else their imagination may take it.

View my Etsy Store here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Oh Boy!

The end of the long weekend is fast approaching (we celebrated the Queen's Birthday today), and it has been very relaxing without the usual weekend sporting commitments.  This has meant some extra time for sewing and I've chosen a simple squares quilt project, with fabrics that entail much detail.  Cuteness galore!

As soon as I saw the Monaluna Circa 50 fabric collection by Birch Fabrics, I knew that this fabric was just waiting for me to make a quilt for a little boy.  From experience I know that boys just love "I Spy" quilts, and the Circa 50 fabrics are teeming with all those things that little boys just love; from rockets and moons, to squirrels and mushrooms.

I've teamed up the Circa 50 fabrics with the Cloud9 - Beyond the Sea fabric collection.  Both are wonderful quality organic fabrics, and I think they really compliment each other.  After wrangling with the super lightweight voile fabrics last week, these fabrics were a breeze to sew with.

Backing, basting and quilting still to come.  Happy sewing.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Stash #55

Monaluna Circa 50 for Birch Fabrics:

These fabrics are fun, fresh, boldly colored and 100% organic.  I just couldn't resist having my own stash of these fabrics. 

I've already cut into my Circa 50 stash - a quilt top completed - and here a sneak peek:

These fabrics are so suitable for a little boy quilt, and they are a joy to piece/sew with.  There's certainly going to be plenty of "I Spy" fun with this quilt!

Monaluna Circa 50 fabrics were purchased from  FabricWorm on Etsy, you will find the full range available there.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Around the Block - June 2010

A quick block swap update:

Becky from Becky et al   asked for fun, quirky and wonky blocks either logs cabins or square in a square style.  Both blocks measure 10.5 inches.

I was happy to oblige however, as you can see, I am still having some issues with the intentional wonky aspect.  Looking at the block on the left I DO see wonky, don't you?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Burning the Midnight Oil


The Little Folks custom baby quilt is finished, and I must say that although this is a repeat version of a much larger quilt, I still thoroughly enjoyed making it.  Having previous experience in working with the voile fabrics, and knowing exactly how this would turn out, meant that I could relax and just enjoy the process.

I love how the quilting, both hand and machine quilting, has added texture to the front and back of the quilt, without spoiling the detail of the fabric prints and colors.

To machine stitch the straight quilting lines, I used a walking foot and changed the top thread regularly to match the color of the fabric in the quilt top.  The bobbin thread remained unchanged throughout - I used a neutral cream colored thread.  

For the hand quilted lines I used Perle 8 cotton embroidery thread and this time I used a contrasting color to make a feature of the hand stitching rather than blending the thread with the colors of the fabric. 

Although hand stitching (of any kind) is still not my thing I must admit that the hand quilting has added so much character to this quilt.  It was very manageable to add some hand quilting to this baby quilt and  I sure hope that it continues to get easier over time.  I haven't completely given up on that idea yet.

Oh the binding!  The binding is so pretty!  I love how it looks wrapped in blanket stitch. It is a touch of luxury, perhaps not practicality, for a sweet, yet to be born baby.

Now I have to turn my attention to the  laundry baskets of wet and dry clothes (wet/cold weather is causing a backlog!). 

What's next?