Monday, 30 May 2016

Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge 2016

Finally a finish, my entry for the Umbrella Prints 2016 Trimmings Challenge:

Kicking back - sipping sangria on the pavement 

 A quick recap on what was required - buy a Trimmings pack (like the one below) and then make something, anything, it can be whatever you like, but you must use the Trimmings pack somewhere in the finished project -   how easy is that.

I knew straightaway that I would be making an improv quilt, I started with the scrap of Stoneflowers fabric that came in my Trimmings pack, then kept adding strips of linen or shot cotton interspersed with the Umbrella Prints Trimmings, a smidgen of Kona Cotton in Sangria (read more here) and kept sewing.

Depending on how large the Trimmings scrap was I either kept it whole, split it into rectangles or made improv triangles.  I used spray starch to keep the linen and shot cotton fabrics from stretching too much while stitching.

When it came to the quilting, I ditch stitched first to stabilise the different areas, (there are a few different weights of fabric in this quilt) then continued the improv theme with machine quilting and big stitch hand quilting.  Now that I've seen the quilt hanging up I think that a bit more hand quilting is needed in a couple of areas.

prairie points

The single fold binding is a dark blue linen, the batting is wool and  the quilt measures 45" x 41" (115cm x 104cm). 

what was left

I named the quilt: Kicking back - sipping sangria on the pavement - as a bit of a nod to the hot pink Sangria Kona cotton and the Trimmings pack which is the Pavement colourway, and it was a very relaxing quilt to make.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Strange things

can happen when you change things in your blog...

I've recently been altering my blog template,  I have a test blog where I do all the alterations first so I can see how things look before I change this blog.  Somehow I changed the blog post text colour to white, which meant that the text didn't show because the background is also white.  I'm not sure how I didn't notice this "change" when I did it as it is quite obvious there is no text, only photos and post titles, it took me a little while to notice (more than a few days actually) and then figure out what happened, but its fixed now.

Amongst other things, I've been working on what I hope will be a hat which I will enter in the Art to Wear Challenge in our guild quilt show  (more to come on the show in another post).  The theme for both Art to Wear and Challenge is Mandala so there is plenty of scope for creativity.  I need to finish off the backstitch and adding thread to some machine stitching and then I can start on the quilting, then a few beads and perhaps sequins and fingers crossed I will be able to construct the hat. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Pile up

Finally finished trimming all the diamond blocks to the correct size, I didn't want to give myself RSI, so I just trimmed a few each day.  Having a new rotary cutter blade ensured that all the cuts were nice and smooth and that I didn't need to apply extra pressure when cutting.  It is so easy to forget about changing rotary cutter blades until we start getting ragged and incomplete cuts and then once the blade has been changed the difference is so noticeable, I always wonder why I didn't change the blade sooner.

My rotating cutting mat worked really well and made sure that I didn't contort my body unneccessarily while trimming the diamonds.  Now I have to sew them all together, I had originally thought that I would be able to sew them in strips and I puzzled over it for ages as when I had originally thought to make the blocks I thought piecing in strips would work.  Once I drew the pattern out on some graph paper I could see why it wasn't going to work, although it would probably work if the blade shape wasn't going to be a feature of the quilt and the blades were all different fabrics.

Now that the blocks are trimmed I will be able to start putting them together, I'm thinking that if I get my skates on I might be able to enter the quilt into our Festival of Quilts this year, although somehow I think it will require some Olympic calibre speed skating :)

and to finish off a photo of my boy Cody in what looks to be a pensive mood, although he is more likely thinking "get that camera out of my face"

Monday, 25 April 2016

Anzac Day 2016

I am not a badge of honour,
I am not a racist smear,
I am not a fashion statement,
to be worn but once a year,

I am not a glorification of conflict or of war,
I am not a paper ornament or a token, 
I am more.
I am a loving memory, of a father or a son,
A mother, a sister or daughter, each and every one

I am paper or enamel
I am old or shining new,
I am a way of saying thank you,
To every one of you.

I am a simple poppy, a reminder to you all,
That courage, faith and honour will stand where heroes fall.

Paul Hunter 2014

Monday, 18 April 2016

This was quite tidy

compared to what my workroom looked like on Saturday.  These photos were taken over a month ago and the lack of tidiness in my work room has just kept getting worse since then. Shortly after I took these photos I put the overlocker and the quilts away but everything else was relocated to the nearest clear space instead of putting it away.

 I had enough room on my work table to quilt because I started using the floor to put things on, you can fit a lot of things on the floor.  It finally came to a head last Friday when I nearly tripped over on a pile of boxes when I was attempting to wend my way through the mess.

So no quilting for the moment just channeling Marie Kondo while I get it sorted ...

Sunday, 3 April 2016

A good days work ...

I spent a fair bit of time in the sewing room today, and used up most of my Kaffe Fassett strings.  It didn't seem to take too long, I had cut the fan blades out the day before and chain pieced all the blocks.  They have had a quick haircut to make it a bit easier to place the smaller strips before stitching.  All going well I will finish these blocks off tomorrow or Tuesday.

I put a few of the finished blocks on the design wall to see how they look.  The blocks need to be handled carefully as there are some bias edges that I don't want to stretch so I have given them a good press and starch.

Now that I see these blocks on the wall, I can see that there is the possibility of making diagonal rows instead of making hexagons, which would reduce the number of Y seams.  I will have to think on this a bit, although I can't see any major problems in doing it this way other than keeping everything in order.

Friday, 1 April 2016


The quilting is proceeding slowly on the as yet unnamed Umbrella Prints Trimming Challenge quilt, (suggestions welcomed) I have done a small amount of hand quilting on a couple of areas, and will do a bit more as I progress with the machine quilting.

I generally start quilting in the middle of the quilt but this time I started on another area, not sure if this was a good idea or not, it shouldn't be too much of an issue as I have ditch stitched the quilt for stability, I guess I'll find out won't I?  I do like the way this part is evolving, I'm using a 28wt Aurifil (the colour is 2312 Ermine) and a blue G├╝termann silk thread (because I liked the colour) both of which I already had in my thread stash.

The back side is also looking quite good, some nice texture happening, I'm going to use the same bobbin thread  (Aurifil 50 wt 2600 Dove) throughout.

Some organic triangles near the quilt centre, quilted in the silk thread, I didn't measure these just eyeballed them as I quilted. 

Thursday, 31 March 2016


I had a bit of a break from quilting today and played around with some strip piecing that I started some time ago.  Back in 2012 I saw a spiderweb hexagon quilt on Barbara Brackman's blog and had the fleeting thought that I could use my Kaffe Fassett scraps to make one.  A few days later I saw this post on Sujata's blog and thought about it some more and ended up draughting a diamond shape and foundation piecing a few diamonds which didn't quite work out so I put them aside for another day.

Last year I bought a 60° diamond ruler and thought I might have another attempt at these diamonds but this time I thought instead of foundation piecing I would start with the fan blade piece, then strip piece fabrics either side, then use the 60° diamond ruler to trim the block.  The fan blade template was made by the clever husband of a quilting friend.  I used my original strip pieced diamonds for the experimental block and ended up with this:

I like how it turned out but think I need to pay a bit more attention to the colour choice that goes next to the fan blades otherwise it could end up being a bit of a mess.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Slow Stitching

I last posted about the Museum Medallion in November last year and it is still slow stitching however, the pile of unstitched quarter circles is now very small and has reduced a little more since this photo was taken.  I had not realised how many had been completed until I piled them up next to the block pieces.

 Another view of the finished v unfinished pile

A circle block like this will be the final outcome of all those quarter circle blocks, I'm sure that the straight line stitching will go a lot faster than the curved stitching.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016


While I'm in my workroom I usually like to have a bit of background noise, normally from my ipod set to shuffle so I get a wide variety of music or I listen to podcasts which are kind of like a radio show but you listen to them on your computer or through the podcast app on your iPhone or iPad.

Some of my favourite quilty podcasts are:

Sandi Sawa Hazlewood who hosts the Crafty Planner podcast
Stephanie who hosts the Modern Sewciety podcast
Charlotte hosts The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady podcast
Tsoniki Crazy Bull hosts the  Me Being Crafty podcast
Mary and Marianne Fons who host the Quilt your Heart Out podcast and
I also enjoy Molly Wizenberg  (Orangette blog) and Matthew Amster-Burton with their food related Spilled Milk podcast