Friday, July 30, 2010

Work in Progress

Just a quick post to show you that I have started on a new project. 

The squares are small and progress is slow and steady.   This is probably my favorite kind of piecing,  and to some extent it is perseverance sewing.  However, I don't get bored piecing endless four-patch units as I enjoy the color and fabric play and  just know that the final result will be well worth the effort.

Many more four-patch units still need to be pieced.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Down Under Doll Quilt Swap #1

Swap Quilt #1 ~ hopefully of many more to come as I have really enjoyed piecing and quilting the doll quilt.

I have quilted this doll quilt with a diagonal grid intersecting in the center of each square (cross hatching).  The squares created by the diagonal stitching lines are small, measuring just 1 inch each. 

As this is a small project, 24 inches x 24 inches, basting was quick and easy, as was the quilting.  I was able to baste this mini quilt on my work table, which takes the hard work out of this task.  Furthermore, the squares of the quilt top are small, therefore no quilting lines were marked.  When stitching small distances without marking, that is, from diagonal corner to corner through a block, it helps to look at the point that you are stitching to rather than looking at the actual stitching/needle.

I cannot wait to send this off to my secret partner.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Trip Around the World

I am working on a mini-quilt made for my secret partner in my first ever Doll Quilt Swap:  The Down Under Doll Quilt Swap.

As a regular reader of my partner's blog I know she loves all things bright and colorful.  My partner's sewing skills are an inspiration, and it was not without trepidation that I set out making this doll quilt.

I was indecisive about the quilt design, changed plans several times, and then decided to stick with a striking "Trip Around the World" block pieced with 2 inch squares, using some of my favorite fabrics.

I really enjoy this kind of piecing; simple and repetitive but also effective and eye-catching, involving lots of fabric play.  Each one of the 289 pieces (cut as 2 inch squares)  were laid out on my design floor and then chain pieced in rows, carefully picking up the pieces of each row ensuring not to mess up the design.

Next up: quilting. 

A Trip Around the World Finished Doll Quilt

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Stash #61

I think I showed great restraint at the Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair.  

These were my only fabric purchases from the Craft Fair;  a cute little stack from Ballarat Patchwork, from top to bottom they are:
  • Kei Honeycomb - grey dots on white and then orange dots on white
  • Prints Charming - Rainbow Garden in Chatruese and also in orange (the bottom one)
  • an orange dot on yellow - manufacturer and other details unknown
  • Monaluna - Mingle - Squares in Steel
Admittedly there were also some fabric arrivals during the week that deserve a mention.  From Quilthome:

    These prints are from the Marylebone collection and are based on original artwork from the 1875 Liberty textile archives. Kaffe Fassett has selected the prints for this collection from the Liberty archives, and then created the scale and colors for each the design.

    I am looking forward to seeing many more such designs being reproduced.
    Enjoy Sunday!

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    The Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair 2010

    Yesterday was spent at the Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair, where I met up with family and craft friends.  I managed to stash some fabrics, play with dream sewing machines as well as be inspired by the colors and techniques of the quilts on display.  I thought I'd show you some of the highlights of my day starting with the my favorite:

    King David's Modern Crown by Karen from Quilts on Bastings

    Karen's quilt - Kind David's Modern Crown - was entered in the Long Arm section of the Exhibition and was awared a Runners Up Ribbon.  You can see  more pictures of this quilt on Karen's Blog.  I think we were both equally excited about this wonderful achievement!

    Texas Star by Sandra Boyle
    Hand pieced and hand quilted

    Twenty Ten by Susan Pepper
     This is only a snippet of the quilt - I just loved the unique technique and use of fabric

    Cells by Raelene Kwong

    The Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair is on until July 25, 2010.

    Thursday, July 22, 2010


    I have recently discovered a love for colored threads, specifically for quilting.

    Beautiful cotton sewing threads in colors other than beige, white, or grey. 

    Rowan Threads have been specifically designed to coordinate with Amy Butler's Love and Soul Blossoms (yet to be released) fabric collections, as well as Kaffe Fassett's Stones and Circus collection.

    There are nine spools (200 yards each) of premium cotton thread for each of the collections, packaged in adorable (recycled) boxes.  They looks so beautiful in their packaging,  I do however intend on using these threads soon.

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    The Purple Patch Quilt

    Yesterday was spent tidying my sewing area and organizing my stash.  I am actually a very messy sewer, and have a bad habit of not re-folding and returning fabric back to where it came from.   It is not unusual for there to be a fabric mountain on my work table. Whilst going through some of my boxed fabrics I came across the Purple Patch Quilt.  It was put aside, way back in November, to await the arrival of the binding fabric.

    So today was spent sewing on the binding with fabric that arrived quite some time ago.

    The binding fabric as well as all of the solids are Kaffe Fassett shot cottons in the colorway Lilac, Lavender, Heather, Prune and Grape.

    Shot cottons, as opposed to true solids, add so much more depth and interest to a quilt with shifts in color from tonal variations.

    Purple is still my personal challenge color, it is slowly growing on me. Slowly.  I wonder if other quilters have color issues?

    The Purple Patch Quilt is now available in my Etsy Store.  Sold

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Purple Patch Quilt - backing

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    The Strips and Bricks Quilt II

    The custom Strips and Bricks Quilt is very much finished and in between showers and windy weather I have managed to take lots of photos.  So herewith a picture post: ~

    The finished quilt measures 70 inches x 70 inches

    This quilt is based on the Strips and Bricks Quilt Pattern by Malka Dubrawsky and was featured in the Sew Hip Magazine (April 2009), although I have tweaked block size to accommodate the larger quilt size.

    As usual the back of the quilt is also pieced and incorporates more of the Strips and Bricks Pattern as well as featuring some much loved Amy Butler Lotus prints.  The solid fabric is Robert Kaufman  Kona Cotton in Ash.

    The quilt is quilted with straight lines from edge to edge of the quilt, both vertically and horizontally.  Where the quilting lines cross paths a very busy intersection of stitches is created.  Avoiding tucks and puckers at this point comes down to good basting.  I pin baste and use lots of pins; at least one pin every four inches.  I do think that basting is something you get better at over time.  You eventually get a "feel" of how to match the tension of the top and back of the quilt. (I hope to write a more thorough basting technique post soon.)

    When quilting I do increase the stitch length so that the stitch itself is a feature.  This particular quilt was quilted with a stitch length of 4.0 (Bernina 440QE) compared to a usual piecing stitch length of 2.0.  I do adjust stitch length according to quilt size; larger quilts can cope with longer stitches.  My usual choice of  quilting stitch length ranges from 3.5 to 4.0.  Larger stitches also makes stitch ripping a little easier. 

    Straight line quilting is time consuming with this particular quilt taking approximately 12 hours to quilt and 6 bobbins.  It gets boring after about 1 hour so a little patience and determination is definitely required.  The overall effect is well worth the effort though.

    This quilt is now off its new owner.  It is difficult to part with this one, although I take great comfort in knowing that this quilt will be very much loved and used.


    Relevant Links:
    Strips and Bricks Quilt I
    Strips and Bricks Quilt III

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Gone Quilting

    It has been a little quiet on the blogging front this week only because I have instead spent time behind the sewing machine.  Not only have I started and finished a quilt that I cannot as yet show you (which I am pretty excited about!)  but have also pieced a quilt backing for the Strips and Bricks Quilt II top pieced last week and basted the quilt sandwich.

    I was so nervous about basting this large quilt as it really dictates how smoothly the quilting will go.  I find it  very difficult to cope with fabric pulls and puckers particularly for custom quilts.  I need not have worried so much, and should have had more confidence in my own basting technique, as in fact I am  very pleased with how the quilting is going.

    Foundation Grid

    I started quilting by creating a foundation grid to stabilize the quilt sandwich.  Lines were quilted both horizontally and vertically by stitching a 1/4 inch inside of the strips of the quilt that will be filled with quilting lines.

    Now that the foundation grid is finished I have started filling in the strips by quilting organic lines.  I have not marked any of the lines, instead I have been using the outside edges of my walking foot as a guide for stitching the next line.

    There is still a LOT more quilting to go, and let me re-assure you that whilst I am sitting behind my sewing machine I will be getting a very physical work-out as a I wrangle with the bulk of the quilt, and  hoist it over my shoulder to ensure that the lines are continuous and straight.  Muscle building for sure.

    Stitch, stitch, stitch ...

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Lucky Me!

    A hand delivery all the way from Liberty of London in the UK; a gift from my sister (Quilts on Bastings) who has just returned from an European and UK vacation.

     Liberty of London - Tana Lawn - cotton fabric quality doesn't get any better than this, and the prints are just so gorgeous.

    Now I know that the color purple is not a favorite in my fabric stash, however I certainly will make an exception of these!

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Around the Block - July

    For the July Around the Block swap Jan from Sewjourn  sent out a bundle of fabric including pre-cut borders to make three 8.5 inch blocks.  For the center of each of the blocks Jan asked for "simple but interesting". 

    The pre-cut borders for each block were a different width, therefore each of the pieced centers varied in size accordingly.  I particularly enjoyed the challenge of fussy cutting whilst making the most of limited fabric.

    I truly love simple and interesting and look forward to seeing Jan's finished quilt.

    More inspiration in the Around the Block Flickr Group

    I also enjoy browsing the Quilting Bee Blocks Flickr Group -  loads of block ideas! 

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    Sunday Stash #59

    A new arrival that is patiently waiting to be cut into:

    Tufted Tweets by Laurie Wisbrun (Scarlet Fig)

    I love the vibrant colors of these fun fabrics and cannot wait to make a quilt - definitely one for the couch - from these quirky prints.

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    Work in Progress ~ Strips and Bricks Quilt

    It's been a little quiet on the blogging front this week, but have no fear I have indeed been busy sewing.  In fact, I have spent quite some time on my design floor and behind the sewing machine.

    If you are a long time reader of my blog you may recognize this quilt.  I have previously made a smaller version of this Strips and Bricks Quilt, way back in June last year.  The quilt design is by Malka Dubrawsky and was featured in the April 2009 issue of Sew Hip Magazine.  My original quilt was purchased by a customer who loves it so much that she has since requested a larger version of the same quilt.

    The quilt top made this week measures 70 x 70 inches, which makes photographing just that bit more tricky !  (Don't let that little bit of sunshine coming through the quilt top fool you either, it was rather cool here this morning).

     I have tweaked block measurements to suit quilt size.  437 individual fabric pieces were laid out on my design floor, and after much rearranging they were methodically pieced together.  Perseverance.

    There are lots of little detailed prints in the quilt for added interest, although I think it is the quilting itself that will give this quilt its character.   But first I am going to have to await the arrival of the backing fabric.  Patiently.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    Work in Progress

    I have commenced work on a custom quilt.

    It involves loads of rotary cutting individual pieces of fabric, some of which are from my scrap bin. 

    I really do think that some of my best and most creative quilts have come out of my much loved scrap bin.  My scraps are like a catalog of my favorite fabrics, some of which are no longer available.  The pieces vary in size, including some very small bits that I just cannot part with, yet.  Working from my scrap bin is however a messy business.

    I've got many more hours of cutting ahead of me!