Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Stash #42

Beautiful florals today:

Graphic Back and White Floral - Japanese Import
Name unknown.
 Lightly textured and rather pricey.

Japanese Import
Kei Fabric - "daisy" in Red, Black and Grey

Liberty of London
Poplin - 100% CottonExtra Wide at 59 inches and cheaper than Tana Lawn.
Heavier in weight, but very much like standard patchwork fabric.

These fabrics were purchased at my local patchwork store, Patchwork on Central Park.

Enjoy Sunday!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Star Puzzle Block

The call of the sewing machine did not go unheeded today.

This patchwork block is called the Star Puzzle block, although I have altered the suggested fabric layout a little.  The inspiration for this block came from Quick & Easy Block Tool by  C&T Publishing.  - Block #87

This pocket-sized guide features rotary-cutting instructions for 102 traditional quilt blocks in 5 different sizes.   Although these blocks are simple, and I may not necessarily need the cutting and layout instructions, I do enjoy these kind of references, and can be found on my bedside table for late night browsing and inspiration.

Originally uploaded by Denyse Schmidt Quilts
Katie Jump Rope

The fabrics: -  lots of Katie Jump Rope and Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt.  I am ensuring that my Katie Jump Rope stash is abundant and have this week replenished it.You just can't have too much of Katie Jump.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good News Day

Thank you to all the kind readers who have left such lovely comments on my previous post - hand pieced hexagons by MIL.  Jan enjoyed the post and was thrilled to read all your comments, including that she "rocks". 

She rocks indeed, and I am privileged to have Jan, not only as a mother-in-law and a quilting buddy, but also a friend.

There are lots of wonderful things happening at the moment for Red Pepper Quilts - all requiring my time and attention and keeping me absent from my sewing machine.    

= = = = = = = = = = = = =

And, do you remember the Stashbuster quilt that I made for my pregnant neighbor? The quilt with the all that pink backing, anticipating a baby girl?

Well, it's a girl!  Amy, born February 15th, and weighing 7 lbs, and she is such a beautiful baby! 

= = = = = = = = = = = = =

And for a little relaxation I have been to my local patchwork store to enjoy the 25% off sale starting today!

GJ Discount Fabrics in Lygon Street, East Brunswick, Victoria.

Lots of good things there too, and I couldn't resist.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's a Family Thing Part 5

Do you remember the hand pieced stars my MIL started working on earlier this year?

There were many readers who were curious as to how the stars would be joined together as well as numerous requests for a progress report. 

It seems she has been very busy hand stitching!

Fussy cutting with an eye for detail and perfection.

Raiding my scrap bin at regular intervals, dropping in ...

usually on the way to or from her physiotherapist who is treating her for a sore shoulder, neck and arm.

Too much hand stitching maybe?  Regardless more hexagons are in progress, just 199 more to go.

Thanks for sharing, Jan.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Around the Block - March 2010

I am getting ahead of myself here.  These are March blocks for the "Around the Block" swap.

These blocks are for Bronwyn from Whippet Good.  Bronwyn asked for wonky star blocks made with Kaffe Fassett fabric using  Kona Cotton in Nightfall as the background.

Bronwyn's vision is for a dark night sky filled with sparkly stars; all different sizes, shapes, colors, and placed randomly on the quilt. I pieced four blocks all different sizes, piecing the smallest block (predominantly yellow  and blue star) with the leftover scraps of the solid fabric.

I used the Wonky Star Tutorial posted by The Silly BooDilly which is simple and straight forward.  Although I am not a huge fan of wonky piecing, these wonky stars were easy, and did not feel all that foreign to me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Stash #41

Kaleidoscope Fat Quarters in Navy (almost black)
Hand printed on Linen/Cotton Blend
Kaleidoscope by Australian designers Cath Derksema and Kirsten Junor (Prints Charming) is a new collection.  These original designs are bold and graphic, and are hand printed on a linen/cotton blend or on 100 percent cotton (white). 

These fabrics are available in either a single Kaleidoscope or an all-over Kaleidoscope design, and are  printed in several colors including citron and aqua.

My stash was purchased at Kelani Fabrics - Australia.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Georgia's Quilt - finished

Georgia's Quilt has returned from the quilter.  It was quilted by my sister Karen from Quilts on Bastings, who has a long arm quilting machine, and quilts professionally.  Karen and I have made this quilt together as a birthday gift to our niece who will be turning 6 in early March. 

It is quilted with a modern all over edge to edge design featuring simple daisies.  The finished quilt measures 60.5 inches x 60.5 inches.

You know I love straight line quilting, but in terms of free motion quilting, I prefer tippling or simple floral and geometric patterns as opposed to feathers and intricately detailed designs.  Although I do have an appreciation for the amount of practice needed to master such free motion designs.

For the back of Georgia's Quilt I have used Kona Cotton in Medium Pink together with a number of pastel fabrics to introduce some soft colors to the quilt.  

Adding a pieced strip to the backing fabric like this also means you only need a single drop of fabric measuring the length of the quilt (plus extra 3 inches top and bottom, to allow for shrinkage during the quilting process).  With standard cotton fabric being 44 inches wide, I needed to add at least 22 inches to the overall width of the backing fabric.  (Remove selvedges from the edge of the fabric as they are a firmer weave and may destort the backing).

For the binding I used a Japanese import fabric called Kei Honeycomb in Pink.  Machine stitched, of course.  I just about have this technique down pat, no gaps where I missed the back of the binding this time, and the mitred corners were all very obedient.  Nice.

I am quietly confident that Georgia will love this quilt.  I hope that she has many happy dreams under it, drags it down the hallway and onto the couch for many a happy ending movie, and takes it outside for picnics with her dolls and friends.

If you are interested purchasing Georgia's Quilt Pattern you'll find it listed for sale in my Etsy Store. 

Georgia's Quilt - Work in Progress

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Fairy Quilt

Thank you for all your kind comments and emails regarding my last post RPQ101 - Patchwork Piecing.  I was really pleased to hear that you do appreciate this kind "informative" posting.  Perhaps a series of RPQ101 may develop, although right now I don't feel like there is much more I have to offer.

Today just a picture post.

The Fantastic Fairies Quilt is finished:

 With a pieced backing:

Main backing fabric is Dandelions in Pink by Saffron Craig
The layout for the back is similar to this quilt by Jacquie from Tall Grass Prairie.


And with binding - machine stitched of course!

Binding:  Japanese import - Kei Honeycomb in Red

My Etsy Store has been updated, and it is there that you will find a listing for the Fantastic Fairies Quilt. SOLD

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

RPQ 101 - Patchwork Piecing

Since I started blogging I have received many emails asking a range of questions including how it is that my patchwork piecing is so accurate and why all the blocks line up so well.  Today I hope to answer some of those questions, although believe it or not, there are no big revelations here.

I don't have any formal training in sewing or patchwork, and I am largely self-taught.  I certainly don't profess to be an expert - I just do what works well for me, and have developed over time my own techniques for cutting and piecing.  I encourage you to similarly work towards easy piecing methods for yourself.

What follows here are definitely not the rules of patchwork, just snippets of information that may be of help to the beginner quilter, most of which you probably have heard before, and some of which states the obvious.

  • I always use a rotary cutter and cutting mat for cutting fabrics.  It is handy to have a range of large and small mats and rulers.  My favorite ruler is the 6.5 inch x 24 inch ruler as it is great for cutting strips across the width of the fabric.  My most often used cutting mat measures 24 inches x 36 inches.  Big.  My best cutting mat tip:  keep it out of the sun or the car in warm weather as it will buckle!
  • Press fabric before cutting.  
  • When cutting strips across the width of the fabric, align selvedges, smooth out, and straighten the raw edge.  With the use of a long ruler you will not need to fold the fabric again.  Align the trimmed end with the markings on the ruler; keeping the ruler firmly in place, push the rotary cutter away from you.  When cutting patches, first cut a strip the width of the square, then cut the strip into squares.
  • If you are left-handed, invest in a left-handed ruler.  Numbers read from left to right and  which makes cutting without mistake much easier. 
  • Cut fabric squares/rectangles on grain either lengthwise or cross wise to minimize stretching during cutting and sewing.
    • Accurate cutting is essential, and whether you use the ruler so as to cut on the line or alongside the line, be consistent.   Be as accurate as you can as tiny fractions of difference will come to haunt you when machine piecing.
    • Replace the rotary blade regularly.

    • Use a neutral color thread.  I prefer to use a light grey, beige, white, or off-white color thread.  I always use cotton thread, either Gutermann or Aurifil  Mako 40/2 thread without preference for either.
    Gutermann Cotton Thread
    • Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  This is a universal quilting standard when using cotton quilting fabrics.  It is sufficiently wide enough that your seams will not pull apart, but not so much that they will be bulky.
    • I recommend the use of a 1/4 inch presser foot.  This presser foot will allow you to run the edge of the foot along the edge of the fabric to achieve the 1/4 inch distance, or it may have a bar along the side to run along the fabric edge.  If you do not have a 1/4 inch presser foot, some sewing machines will allow you to move your needle to different positions.  Sew and then measure to get it right.  A scant seam allowance is ideal as some of the fabric is "held up" in the fold or by the thread.
    • For patchwork piecing I use a stitch length of 1.8 to 2.0 mm.
    • I don't pin.  Gasp!  I only use pins for securing quilt binding to the back of the quilt and unfortunately to block my knitting.  This means a lot of my pins are rather bent.
    • When piecing I align the patches together from edge to edge, right sides facing and sew.  No pinning.  Never have.  I guess that makes me from the "hold and sew" school - breaking all rules!
    • I press seams to one side - which side depends on what other seams are required to be matched up, and also take into consideration that I would prefer to iron to the darker side.
    Butting seams together
    •  To match seams I press opposing seam allowances in opposite directions (at times this means I press seams to the lighter side).  I then take the two pieces in hand right sides together, match or "lock" the seams by butting together.  Pinch together with index finger and thumb.  You will soon get a feel for how the seams lock together and how it feels when they are correctly abutted.  This gets easier with time and practice.  Again I don't pin.
    •  I do not back stitch at the beginning and end of each patch as the stitches will be secured by crossing seam lines when joining the pieces together.
    • Change your needle regularly - I try to do so every time I start quilting a new quilt.   Blunt or damaged needles can tear fabric, cause skipped stitches or snap! I use Universal Point needles for both piecing and quilting either an 11/75 or 12/80.
     I do at times make oversize blocks and trim them back to correct size for accuracy, particularly for Half Square Triangles, but I  enjoy that part of the process too. 

    My quilts are not perfect, and I would hope you focus on the journey rather than on the end result.  Try not to get caught up with perfection and the details, but enjoy playing with fabric and color, sewing, quilting and just being creative.  Try to find your own rhythm and sewing techniques without fear of breaking the rules.

    Monday, February 15, 2010

    Fantastic Fairies Quilt in Progress

    Not long ago a parcel of fabric arrived at my house courtesy of Australian textile designer Saffron Craig. Saffron's fabrics are fresh and contemporary and from experience I can reassure you the quality is excellent.

    Saffron's newest range of fabrics is called Fantastic Fairies and features fairies, flowers, butterflies and hearts in pink, red and brown with just a touch of green.

    This quilt top has since been on my design floor. Fairies, hearts and butterflies were fussy cut. More fabrics were pulled from stash.  Green fabrics were added as a contrast as well as lots of interesting detail fabrics featuring ladybirds, flowers, mushrooms and kerchief girls to add to a dreamy wonderland theme.

     A lot of re-arranging took place before I was happy with the final layout, and piecing commenced not long after. The pieces are all quite small, the regular blocks measuring 3 inches including the seam allowances.

     Thank you Saffron for the gorgeous fabrics!

      I have enjoyed using these fabrics, and look forward to seeing more of these fabrics transformed into cushions, bags, sweet fairy dresses and of course more quilts.

    Sunday, February 14, 2010

    Sunday Stash #40

    A new stash addition - I just could not resist:

    These fabrics are Market Fresh by Japanese manufacturer Hokkah House Designer.   The Market Fresh range of  fabrics are marketed as a canvas, for me that brings to mind quite a heavy weight fabric, which these fabrics are not.  They are only slightly heavier in weight than standard quilting cotton. These fabric have a lovely drape and texture and are definitely suitable for quilting.

    Market Fresh
    Scenes from a Market in Tomato - my favorite ...

     Purchased from Hawthorne Threads.

    Happy Valentine's Day!
    Fantastic Fairies
    Saffron Craig

    Have a great day!

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Bee Imaginative - February 2010

    It is John from Quilt Dad's turn this month to receive swap blocks.  John requested 9 1/2 inch blocks with "the sky's the limit" block design whilst still reflecting your own style.

    The fabrics sent by John were a compilation of much sought after Lush fabric by Erin Michaels, Lotus by Amy Butler, and Hope Valley by Denyse Schmidt.  I really enjoy using modern fabrics and simple piecing to make these fun blocks. 

    The design of this particular block (above) is from my new Quilter's Album book by Jinny Beyer, and is called Pudding and Pie by Alice Brooks.  It was taken from an unidentified newspaper clipping, date unknown.  I found it easy to re-size and recreate.  
    These blocks are winging their way back across the Pacific Ocean.  This fabric is certainly well traveled.

    More of John's blocks can be seen here:  Bee Imaginative Blog