Monday, March 29, 2010

A Finished Chaos Quilt

The Chaos Quilt is finished and what follows is a picture post.

Finished Quilt measures 58 inches x 44 inches

This project was so much fun.  I started this last week whilst my family were enjoying a water skiing trip to Yarrawonga, way north of Melbourne.  With the house to myself and a night off from work, all my Kaffe Fassett shot cottons, checks and stripes gathered on my sewing table.  What followed can only be described as a rotary cutting frenzy.

My initial focus was on blue and green shot cottons, and as I ran out of those colors new were added. I also used all of my Kaffe Checks and Stripes irrespective of color. 

I initially feared that my range of checks and stripes fabrics were insufficient and after a very very late sewing evening, a quick trip was made to my local fabric store, Sunspun, which specializes in all things Westminster and more, the very next day.  It was an unsuccessful trip in terms of finding more checks and stripes, but I did enjoy a coffee with my MIL in the nearby and very trendy Mailing Room in Canterbury.

Once the quilt top was complete I started on the backing.  It is pieced quite haphazardly using more shot cottons as well as some of  Moda Cross Weave fabrics. 

The Chaos Quilt is quilted with straight lines, both horizontally and vertically. All of my straight line quilting is done using a walking foot on my sewing machine and 100 percent cotton thread.  I used a dark beige/light brown thread which blended well with most fabrics. Don't forget to increase your stitch length for a nicer quilting stitch.

The binding is also a shot cotton in aqua, possibly "Jade".

I am happy to report that the Chaos Quilt was SOLD before it was finished, and is now winging its way across the ocean to the USA.  Tanya was looking for a gender neutral quilt, and  I am delighted to tell you that this colorful quilt too will be enjoyed by an adopted baby. 

Chaos Quilt in Progress
Kaffe Fassett - Shot Cottons

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Books - 2 -

My copy of Kaffe Fassett's Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts: 23 Original Quilt Designs by Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy was highly anticipated, and having finally had some time to peruse it, I must tell you that this book does not disappoint.

I have many of Kaffe's books, both knitting and quilting, and although his books are sometimes similar to some of his prior work, I think he has an amazing eye for color and can raise projects to another level of brilliance each time a quilt is reworked. 

(cropped image from Kaffe Fassett's Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts
by Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy)

In this book Kaffe demonstrates how basic geometric shapes - squares, rectangles, triangles, diamonds, quarter circles and circles -  all found in nature as well as the man made environment, can inspire quilt designs.

(cropped image from Kaffe Fassett's Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts
by Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy)

The book features 23 quilts  ranging from the relatively simple and ideal for beginners, to more difficult designs for experienced quilters.  All of the quilts feature an amazing use of color and simple shape.  The book is divided into six sections, one for each of the shapes, with  each section containing 3 to 5 different quilts featuring that shape.  As each shape is introduced Kaffe provides many instances where and when that particular shape inspired his design work.

Belts and Braces

I was lucky enough to attend one of Kaffe Fassett's lectures in Melbourne a few years ago. During the lecture Kaffe showcased some of his quilts and provided insight in how he experiences color, and how to train your eyes to see the source of creativity that exists all around.  Similarly Kaffe Fassett's Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts is a journey in using simple shapes inspired by the environment and colorful fabrics to create dazzling quilts.

Having spent quite some time with this book, I have already picked my favorite quilts.   As well as favorite quilts these two quotes from the book in particular resonate - in  Kaffe's words:

" Don't be afraid to take the plunge and choose a fresh color palette ...".  Will do.

"  ... look more closely at the world around you for inspiration in both color and shape".  Will do.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More of Chaos

Thank you!  Thank you!  What a wonderful response to the Chaos Quilt top featured in yesterday's Wordless Wednesday post.  I think I need to add some words though.

This quilt top is made from Kaffe Fasset shot cottons, as well as Kaffe's checks and stripes.  I have tried to source more of the colorful checks and stripes without success.   It seems they have been discontinued and replaced with a new range of checks and stripes fabrics.

The pattern that I used for this quilt is from the Rowan book - A Colorful Journey (also now difficult to source!).   The quilt pattern in the book is called Co-Ordinated Chaos.  I have used my own color palette, substituting the red/orange fabrics with blues and greens, and is perhaps a little less coordinated, hence the name.   

Co-Ordinated Chaos Quilt by Sally B Davis
from A Colourful Journey by Kaffe Fassett

The quilt top that I have made measures 58 inches x 44 inches, and has been basted.  I have also started quilting it.

This quilt top is really striking and colorful, but was desperately in need of some added texture.   I am quilting it with straight lines (using a walking foot), both horizontally and vertically, clustered close together. 

Not much more to go.  Stitch, stitch, stitch ...

Chaos Quilt - A Finished Quilt
Kaffe Fassett - Shot Cottons

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sewing up a Storm

I promised to show you more of the quilt that I am making with the Kaffe Fassett Shot cottons and woven Checks and Stripes:

I have loved cutting into and sewing with these fabrics, so much so that...

Does that happen to you?  My favorite extra long tape measure.  At least it it is right towards the end of the 120 inch tape measure.


On a matter quite unrelated to this progress report,
Susie from Flower Press is featuring me (me?) on her blog. 
If you would like to read more of my Show and Tell
interview head straight over there.


Monday, March 22, 2010


Inspiration for my quilts come from far and wide.  I love scouring books, magazines, Etsy, blogs and Flickr for inspiration.  Just recently I happened to be at the right place at the right time, when Victoria from The Silly BooDilly updated her Etsy Store. 

I could not resist this gorgeous pincushion pieced with iridescent shot cottons, featuring both machine and hand quilting.  I absolutely love Victoria's unique style of patchwork and quilting inspired by Japanese Boro Textiles.

This pincushion sits alongside my sewing machine, has been admired from every angle, and has inspired me to pull out a selection of my Kaffe Shot Cottons:

And the woven checks and stripes:

Be sure to check out The Silly BooDilly blog and Etsy Store - oh I see there are some pincushions there now!  Hurry ...!  You won't be disappointed.

More on my new project soon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday Stash #44

I shouldn't have looked, but I did ...

New arrivals at Kelani Fabric.

From left to right:
Cosmo - Japanese Blue and Pink Flowers
Kiyohara - Puti De Pome Retro Dots in Blue and Red

Unique and beautiful linen blend and medium weight fabrics with a lovely drape, very suitable for quilting.

And from The Fabric Shack:

Cross-Weave Wovens by Moda

Two tone solids Red/Yellow, Red/White, Pink/Red and Green/Yellow.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Meet Oliver

Name:   Oliver
Breed:   Miniature Schnauzer
Age:      6
Loves:   (in order) food, food, going for walks, socks, shoes, and toilet paper

Just so you know - the mini quilt has been claimed by Oliver.  It is draped to cover the armrest of the couch, much like Oliver who loves to lie frog like, legs either side of the armrest, balancing precariously.  He has been known to slip off - only to get back up again and resume sleeping.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Flying Geese Quilt

After some delay in deciding and then purchasing the binding for the Flying Geese Quilt, I am now happy to say that it has become a finished quilt.

Finished Quilt measures 44 inches x 51 inches 

No surprises here!  The fabric used for the binding is the Japanese import Kei Honeycomb in Black.

I cannot go past a dot fabric, and particularly love how it looks as a binding.  I was in no doubt that this quilt needed a black binding to frame it, and trialled different striped fabrics but settled on the dotty fabric without disappointment.

The Back of the Flying Geese Quilt

You can find the listing for the Modern Flying Geese Quilt Pattern (pdf file) here:  Red Pepper Quilts Etsy Store.  The pattern is available for immediate download.

Modern Flying Geese Quilt - Version 2

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Aligning the Quilt Sandwich

I have finished the Mini Quilt and in doing so have also prepared a simple tutorial to show you how I go about aligning a pieced quilt back with the quilt top.  

The back for this quilt was pieced with a horizontal strip of small squares of fabric and was at least three inches larger than the quilt top.  To baste the quilt the backing was taped right side down on a hard surface.  This quilt was small enough to baste on my work table, which sure makes it an easier task than on the floor.  I then used a pink chalk marker to mark the center of each of the edges of the top, bottom, right side and left side of the backing fabric.

This image shows where the backing, batting and quilt top
were marked for both the top and LHS and RHS.

The next step is to place the batting on top of the backing ensuring it is centered.  To take out the guess work out of placement be sure to mark the batting the same as for the backing and match the chalk marks.

Each edge of the quilt top was then also marked with its center point using a pin.  The pin and the chalk marks were matched at each side to ensure that the quilt and the horizontal line of the backing were aligned.

 Guide lines for quilting

The plan for quilting the Mini Quilt was always going to be a squared off spiral, starting in the center of the quilt and spiraling out to the edges of the quilt. To assist in when to turn/pivot the quilt, and rather than marking the quilt top with chalk which will disappear as the quilt is maneuvered,   I used cotton thread and hand stitched diagonal lines using a measuring tape or ruler as a guide (much like an "X" from corner to corner)

I then pin basted the quilt and commenced quilting using a walking foot. The quilt was turned (with needle down) whenever the quilting line intersected with the quilting guidelines.

Remove quilting guidelines carefully so as to not to break any of the stitches, after the quilting is finished.

I really love the squared-off spiral quilting, it is easy and visually very effective on solid fabric.  However, it does involve turning the quilt often and therefore becomes cumbersome quickly with larger quilts. 

The binding fabric is Amy Butler Lotus - Polka Dot in Red.

I hope this answers the often asked question as to how to align the quilt sandwich.  This really doesn't take all that long to do and with practice will quickly become routine.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

MiniQuilt Monday on Tuesday

I started a mini quilt on the weekend with the intention of posting it on Monday, but I seem to have underestimated either how long this was going to take to piece or maybe more so the lack of sewing time available on the weekend.

 My creative inspiration came from a recent book addition: -

What caught my eye in this book was the Garden Path quilt.  It is made with a wide variety of prints in a largely pastel palette, and pieced with strips sewn together to make Strata, which is then re-cut and assembled freeform.  I really wanted to try the intuitive design and a mini quilt is a great way to try out different techniques.

 Quilt Top measures 25 inches x 25 inches

I have used both large and small scale pastel prints by Kaffe Fassett as well as a few high-contrast fabrics to add depth to this mini quilt.

In my next post I will detail the steps that I take to ensure that a quilt top and the backing are centered.  Although ensuring the quilt back is straight is easier for a mini quilt, the technique does apply to quilts of all sizes.

I am sure it is still Monday somewhere in the world.   Right?

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's a Family Thing VI

My 16 year old daughter is studying Studio Art as part of her VCE studies, something I wish I could have studied way back then.
Her instructions for this project were left to her creative imagination. The step by step documentation of the entire process is the key to success, rather than the finished product.  Thorough documentation is required for all practice runs, difficulties encountered,  testing of ideas, materials and equipment used,  whilst taking progress photos along the way.

And the final product is a Patchwork Cube, made independently after I introduced her to the very useful Half Square Triangle.

Steph enjoyed raiding the fabric stash and has learned much from her foray into the patchwork world.  Not only did she learn how to sew a quarter inch seam, but also:
  • that despite all your best efforts not all pieced blocks turn out the same size! 
  • sewing with tomato red thread it not a good idea
  • fabric is stretchy if you don't cut it straight
  • dinosaur school sewing machines are not for taking apart
  • mum's spare sewing machine is pretty cool after all
  • that you learn from your mistakes.
Steph so enjoyed her project that I have absolutely no doubt that there will be more fabric play to come.  My stash is her stash - with the odd exception of course!  I must also say that this photo shoot was hilarious with many outtakes picturing only blue sky.  In the end any portion of the cube captured in an image was considered a bonus!