Sunday, 10 July 2016

Fast finish: Marmalade pillow

A good long while ago I won some Marmalade Mini charm packs and a FQ or Marmalade fabric from Mary on Lake Pulaski.

I sorted the charms into colour groups and made some granny squares. But when I sewed them together I didn't love it. So much so that I put it away and let it languish, unloved in my sewing room.

The offending mini - ugh

Six months or so later and needing a fast finish I decided to just get it done. I looked at it and figured out what I wasn't loving - the sashing between the blocks was too wide and it was just throwing out the balance of everything. So I unpicked and the sashing, slimmed it down (diet for quilts?), sewed it back together and was in love.

I finished it off with some serpentine quilting and ta-da!! A pillow top I loved.

Much better with the skinny sashing

The backing is a great match and I had the perfect green zipper on hand

The moral of the story - if it isn't singing to you, leave it and come back and fix it later. I am so glad I did because I am very pleased with how it turned out. 

Mini mini mini

Never one to avoid jumping on a bandwagon (the reason why my to do list is ever expanding), I was unable to resist when Make Modern Magazine launched its mini mini quilt competition.

The brief: make a mini quilt of whatever design you like but it must finish at 6" square or less. 

Now, if you haven't already, you should jump over to Instagram and check out the hashtag #mmminimini and have a look at some of the amazing and teeny entries. 

For my first attempt I made a teeny version of Susan's (@canadianabroad) quilt from issue 34 of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine. But when I miniaturised it I didn't do the math right and it finished up too big (at a whopping 7 1/4 inches it was huge)!! Still it is super cute and scratched an itch I had to make that quilt. 

My first attempt - a huge mini!

Now my intention had been to only make one mini mini (WIPs to finish and all that) and I didn't have any immediate inspiration. However the following weekend I was at the school mass and was looking up at the altar where there were statues of Mary and the Sacred Heart either side standing in front of teeny tiny mosaic tiles. Ding! You could say it was divine inspiration. I went home and made up what I am calling Petite Portholes. I am so pleased with how it came out and I am planning on making a full sized version and writing a pattern for it. 

This time I cut each of those squares at 3 1/4 inches so it would definitely be 6 inches finished

Close up: I love this sweet little deer. Each of those squares is 1/2 inch. To make up the background patchwork I ironed the squares onto lightweight fusible interfacing and then sewed the seams up guaranteeing perfect points

Now this very weekend, the winners of the competition were announced and I was surprised and honoured to be one of them. My prize (wait for it) is quilting from Carolyn of Freebird Quilting Designs. I have a major crush on Carolyn's quilting and had actually been in touch with her about quilting my Escher Quilt, so everything feels a bit pre-determined. I am so excited and grateful for such an amazing and generous prize. 

A very gigantic thank you to Make Modern Magazine for a fun competition. It is an awesome publication and I highly recommend it. 

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Here Fishy, Fishy

Let me introduce to you Here Fishy, Fishy. My entry in this year's Umbrella Prints Trimmings Challenge.

Here Fishy, Fishy

You have to get a shot of the fish near the water, right?

A while ago now I bought this print from Studio Cockatoo and as soon as I saw it I thought "That would look really cool turned into a paper pieced pattern". But then life, and other quilty projects got in the way.

My inspiration shot, and some of the lovely things people have made for me (including my unicorn from Moo)

Fast forward x number of months (years?) and I see on Instagram that the guys at Umbrella Prints have launched their Trimmings Challenge. Basically, you buy a Challenge Pack (off cuts of their fabrics), use it to make something awesome and share it with the world. Now I have had grand plans to enter the challenge before. I have even bought one of those cute little packets in the past (with names like Mountain Girl and Luxury Cherry Bubble Cake who could resist?) but stalled when it came to actually making something. This year though, when I looked at the options and saw all those lovely shades of orange, my mind went to the fish print, angels sang, the clouds parted and a beam of celestial light shone down striking me with inspiration, etc etc, and I knew what I wanted to do. Couple that with the fact that I was going on a family holiday for a couple of weeks and needed some hand sewing and I had a plan.

Basically I used a simplified version of the print as a template for EPP. Even so it was pretty challenging as some of those pieces were small! The whole exercise was made extra tricky by the fact that I didn't take any scissors away with me - I had to trim all the fabric with thread snips. Needless to say, I made more progress once I got home.

When I was taking a break from this, I did some hand sewing (sneaky holiday shot)

I used the Luxury Cherry Bubble pack in combination with the contents of my scrap bin to make the fish.

Work in Progress

For the background I used one of the print's from Jeni Baker's Color Me Retro line. I think it is the perfect print to use - it certainly made me think of splashing water. As an aside, this was the very first fabric bundles I ever bought, and Jeni's blog was one of the very first quilting blogs I started following. Awww. That fabric had been in my stash for WAY too long.

The finished top

Once it was all pieced I knew I didn't want to have a binding - the piece is quite small and delicate and I thought binding would be too chunky so I sewed the backing on right sides together and flipped it inside out. I then set to work quilting it. I used four different colours of thread on the fish and four for the water, so eight all up!! 

My thread collection... in a fish bowl

I went for jagged triangular shapes in the water and then gave the fish body some dimension by quilting in some contours. I even FMQ-ed around the fish's goggle eye. That was scary since I hadn't done FMQ before and was worried I would ruin the hours and hours of hard work. But I just dialled the speed on my machine waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down and took it really easy. It isn't perfect, but it is perfect for what I wanted. With all that quilting, at least I know my hand piecing isn't going to come apart!

Eye FMQ detail

I am super pleased with how my little fish turned out. My husband asked who it was for and made a big sad face when I said it was for me, and I am taking that as a huge compliment because he isn't a quilty kind of guy.

Head over to #umbrellaprintstrimmingschallenge to check out the other pretties that people have made (there are some AMAZING things) and be inspired for next year!

Name: Here Fishy, Fishy
Pattern: A simplified version of the Goldfish 1 from Studio Cockatoo
Method: EPP
Dimensions: Approx 7.5" x 10.5"
Fabric: Umbrella Prints 2016 Trimmings Challenge Pack (Luxury Cherry Bubble Cake), various scraps (fish) and the Dulcette print in Lobella from Color Me Retro
Quilting: Machine, Aurifil 50 wt in 2024, 2720, 5006, 4093 (water) and 2135, 2145, 1133, 2225 (fish)

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Cool Melon Mosaic Entry

I love it when Rachel @ Stitched in Color hosts her colour mosaic competitions. 


This time round the theme is Cool Melon and is sponsored by Gotham Quilts. When I think cool melon, I think ripe juicy summer fruits – watermelon, rockmelon, champagne melon, out of the fridge covered in condensation. Mmmm, my mouth is watering now, but melon season is a long way off down here in Australia. I guess this little bundle is the closest I’ll get for a while. 



I hope you like my mosaic. You can go over to Stitched in Color to check out the other ones.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

It's been a long time, baby (the #pcswapas blog post)

It has been a long time between blog posts: family, work and travel have been taking priority over blogging. 

Now, I am back from holidays and I have a finish that I want to share. 

Despite my extensive WIP list and a vow no to join and more swaps, when @imasavonasac (who I have a total quilt crush on) and @littleislandquilting put out a call for participants in the #pcswapas pillow swap on Instagram my resolve crumbled. I am weak, I know it! Still better a swap than cake. 

My partner was a match made in heaven and I got stuck in straight away playing with ideas:

The ideas I was toying around with (clockwise from top): self drafted pattern; some tiled inspiration; no hats quilts Shine Bright pattern

In the end I decided on the top one and used some delicious Alison Glass Handcrafted Indigo, with a bit of colour thrown in to make the blues pop and a lovely grey print from Modern Backgrounds.

Al fresco quilt shot

I paper pieced it and drafted up the templates in PowerPoint (you use what you know, right?). If anyone is interested and I can figure out how to upload them then I will. 

I backed it in some Alison Glass Ex Libris (I'll be honest it was hard to say goodbye to that fabric). A perfect match!

I tried a different zipper closure to usual and put my label in the centre for a change

I tried a flanged binding for the first time and LOVED the result.

The flanged binding was totally worth the effort, it looks so effective. If it wasn't so much extra work I'd do it on everything, I love it that much.
I quilted it in a variety of trusty Aurifil - such a great range of colours.

Quilting detail - I love doing lots of quilting on small makes

One last shot: 

I wouldn't mind making another one with a more pronounced ombre effect (at some stage, I need to finish some WIPs first)

Then I whipped up this neat Pin Cushion / Caddy from Anna Graham's book Handmade Style to round out the package. Yes, I am going to sew the WHOLE book eventually. I used my Lizzy House scraps from my Midnight Mystery Quilt. I didn't put the walnut shells in because I didn't know how they would go in International mail. I don't think they would get through quarantine here, so why risk Lizzy????

This proved very tricky to photograph, even with a super cute (although somewhat fidgety) helper. I had to take her scooting afterwards as payment. 
Since we've been overseas, my mail has been on hold so I can't post what I received yet. I can't wait til the mailman comes on Tuesday (it is a holiday here on Monday). Something to look forward to and take the sting off going back to work after three weeks off!!

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Jelly Roll Slice Shortcut Quilt Blog Hop

I was super excited at the start of the year when I was approached by The Fat Quarter Shop to participate in a blog hop for a new Jelly Roll pattern that they had coming out.

I am delighted with this little quilt, which was snaffled up by Bird as soon as she saw it
 I have seen various strip pieced quilts in the past, but could never really get my head around how they came together in the end. On top of that I have some jelly rolls and I really do not know what to do with them other than use them for binding, so they just sit there gathering dust. Curiosity piqued (and ego stoked, let’s be honest), I decided to jump on board. Let’s not mention all the WIPs that I posted about a few weeks ago, shhhhh, be nice!

Anyway, when the pattern came I gave it a good read and got started. This quilt came together fast! I made the crib size which only requires 17 strips plus your background fabric and the top itself got put together in two nights after work / kids in bed – so not a lot of time. The thing I loved the most about this pattern was the really clever pressing instructions. If you follow them, when it comes time to piece your quilt top all of your seams nest together nicely, which makes matching things up really easy. The pattern is also quite forgiving. For some reason I really struggle to sew long straight lines, which is what you have to do when you are strip piecing, so some of my blocks were a little wonky when it came time to put it all together, but I don’t think that is evident at all in the finished product. I really love this quilt. To me, it reminds me of stack of books. I am a bookworm and I do love a good pile of books.

Hmmm, the stack of books next to my bed isn't quite as pretty

So onto my quilt...I was lucky enough to win a custom 2.5 inch strip bundle from the lovely Jennie at Clover & Violet as part of one of the Sew Mama Sew giveaway days. But since I didn’t know what to do with them, they kind of languished. I had just enough strips for the project, and they had been expertly curated by Jennie in a lovely bundle of bluey-aqua, purple and yellow (so I can take absolutely no credit for the lovely fabric choices here). Bam! Fabric decision made. I used this beautiful grey fabric from Elizabeth Hartman’s Rhoda Ruth collection for my background. I think it makes the colours pop and is lovely and soft while still adding a bit of visual interest. I had a bit of extra background fabric left over so I used it to add 2.5” borders to my quilt, which took the finished size to around 45” square.

I backed it in the Ikea Britten print (LOVE it! I bought 6 metres from Ikea the other day) and I love that it was wide enough that I didn’t have to piece the back.

I used scraps left over from the quilt top to make the binding, combined with some delicious AMH Loominous that I had left over from binding my Sea Star quilt, I knew it would come in handy!!

Look at that texture! This may be my new favourite for fast quilting

I used an all over serpentine stitch to quilt it in Aurifil 2600. The soft grey was a perfect match for the quilt – it blended perfectly with the background and was subtle enough that it went well with all the different colours in the quilt. I had been unsure about how to quilt it, but when I saw Megan @ Canoe Ridge Creations’ True Love Mini quilt on Instagram, I thought “Jackpot!”.  Embarrassingly, I had seen quilts on Instagram quilted with a serpentine stitch before and thought that  it looked quite awesome but I didn’t think my machine had that stitch and I was annoyed about that. I thought how could my fancy pants machine not have such a simple stitch? Um, it did. Oh. On the chart it just looked a bit like a zig zag. So all this time I haven’t used it when I could have! Which is annoying because it is AWESOME for quilting. I don’t know if it was my imagination, but it seemed really fast – much faster than a straight stitch, which doesn’t really make sense, but there you go. It adds a lovely texture and again is quite forgiving.

I just wanted to show off the lovely blooms on my Mandevilla

Make sure you go and check out all the other quilts on the hop - I know I will be. 

If you want to make your own Jelly Roll Slice, here are the details on where to get the pattern or find the video or get a quilt kit or fabricTo celebrate this launch, The Fat Quarter Shopwill be having a 15% off Jelly Roll sale going through to Sunday 28th Feb, no coupon code necessary.

Quilt Stats
Pattern: Jelly Roll Slice by Fat Quarter Shop
Size: 45” x 45”
Fabric: Various strips gifted to me by Jennie @ Clover & Violet
Background: Rhoda Ruth Necklace in Grey
Backing: Ikea Britten
Binding: Scrappy
Quilting: Aurifil 2600 50wt

So there you have it, if you have someone having a baby or have stacks of jelly rolls in your life this is a good pattern for you! 

Thursday, 18 February 2016

A Handmade Style pencil case

I made something else from Anna @Noodlehead's book Handmade Style. 

This time I made this pencil case:

I pieced the exterior out of my hexie box (in colour order, of course). I still have a lot left. Perhaps I'll have to make another one! 

This one is destined to be gifted - one of Moo's carers is leaving from her after school care, so this is a little gift to thank her for taking such good care of my big little love. 

I made my own bias binding but I had trouble stitching the second side down by machine, so I hand stitched it. This case probably has more hand stitching than machine in it.