1930’s Farmer’s Wife – Blossom


Today I am sharing with you my second block, Blossom, on the 1930’s Farmer’s Wife sew-a-long hosted by the lovely Angie of GnomeAngel, the Fat Quarter Shop and Marti Mitchel.


Big thank you to the lovely Angie who edited my photo for me as my computer doesn’t want to play ball. Thanks Angie xx


Each block comes with a letter and I must tell you that today I have had an awful day. You know those days where you just feel overwhelmed by life?  To get through the day I broke it down into segments and just got on with it. Sadly sleeping in a cave was not an option… After finishing Blossom (which is actually a very quick and easy block) I read the letter and it was one of those moments. “This morning I was discouraged and blue; tonight I am happy and hopeful.” I’m sure that by the end of today I will be happy and hopeful – if all else fails hugging my lovely kiddos will help!!

Just in case you haven’t come across the book before, here are all the details. The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.


Blossom is my second block for the sew-a-long but the fourth that I’ve made. What I’ve realised is that precision is really important with the Farmer’s Wife blocks.

Blossom fina;

Remember that itty-bitty block I made because I decided to wing it first time around?  With Blossom I followed the instructions preciously, which is super important as there is a correction to this block.

You can find all of the block corrections (including Blossom) HERE.

Blossom cut

I used the wonderful Marti Mitchel templates that I had (S100 and N80), cut out one of the corrected paper templates (don’t forget to add seam allowance!!) and cut the large rectangle with my ruler. I actually found that I sped up the process by cutting 1.75″ strips which I then cut into the large triangles (piece 15A). This saved me fabric and time :)

Blossom organised

I also think that you need to be super organised for these blocks so I used my portable design board (wadding stapled-gunned to a cork board) to keep everything lined up. This way I could keep everything in the right spot whilst travelling between the ironing board and the sewing machine.

Blossom back

Whilst I found this block quite easy, it is still small and fiddly so I highly recommend that you press your seams open. I even starched my block (I NEVER starch!) which is why it is a little wrinkly but at least the seams are staying open :)  I may have drowned it with starch… I didn’t realise how much comes out in one spray – such a starch newby!

Blossom fina;

I lost one point with this block but I’m OK with that.  Considering the size of the HSTs and that you cut them into triangles first and sew on the bias…  I think I did OK.  I’ve seen a sneak peek of Angie’s versions of Blossom and I’m excited to see everyone else’s fabric choices. I am sticking to my orange and blue palette but I was sorely tempted to mix it up and go fluro with this block for some reason.

Happy sewing!

Be sure to visit all the other wonderful bloggers sharing their 1930’s Farmer’s Wife blocks this month!

The Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler Quilt Sew-along Official Bloggers will be posting their tips, tricks and tutorials for the blocks as they are released. You’ll be able to find them at the following links.

01/03/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell

02/03/2016: Anita @ Daydreams of Quilts

03/03/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell

04/03/2016: Raylee @ Sunflower Quilting

08/03/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell

09/03/2016: Rachel @ Family Ever After

10/03/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell

11/03/2016: Me! Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

15/03/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell

16/03/2016: Cassie @ Cassandra Madge & Sherri @ A Quilting Life

17/03/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell

18/03/2016: Lisa @ In The Boon Docks

22/03/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell

23/03/2016: Raylee @ Sunflower Quilting & Sedef @ Down Grapevine Lane

24/03/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell

25/03/2016: Janice @ Better Off Thread & Anita @ Daydreams of Quilts

29/03/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell

30/03/2016: Kerry @ Kid Giddy

31/03/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell

01/04/2016: Lisa @ Sweet Little Pretties

05/04/2016: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com & Marti @ Marti Michell

06/04/2016: Anita @ Daydreams of Quilts


Back to School IKEAhack


OK, so it totally isn’t quilting but I’m super excited about my back to school IKEAhack and I just need to share it!

FW Blossom 179

We have three kids who for the first time are all at the same school.  Every year we lose library books, forget to hand in readers, pay for excursions late and lose numerous hats.  That’s before I even list how many times my kiddos complete all of their weekly homework but then forget to hand it in!

FW Blossom 184

For five years now I have resisted the urge to turn the front entrance of our house into a family command station. I’m a soccer mum, a scout mum, I help at school with reading and we pick the kids up every day and drop them every morning (they actually beg to go to after school care!) but I just cannot bring myself to turn the entrance of our home into something kid focussed. That’s probably why we have been so poorly organised but I want the entrance of our house to feature my lovely 1950s telephone table, Tibetan rug and original mid-century-modern light fitting (orange glass and all!).

After succumbing to yet another urge to move furniture around I realised that we have a super wide hallway and that it was the perfect place to locate my IKEAhack. I spent a lot of time planning my school organisation IKEAhack (shopping list below), it cost just on $200 for everything but I could have pulled that back to around $150 if I didn’t get all the little bits and pieces.  There is a place to hang school hats.

Hang your hat

A spot for each child’s school bag and a pull out box for school shoes (which has about an inch of sand in the bottom of it after a month!).

FW Blossom 179

Each child has their own cubby hole – library books and school readers go in the magazine holder, homework sits flat beside it. Each child has a tray in the document holder and they place school notes there so that we can fill them out and return them on time.

book and paper organisation

If you want to make your own back to school IKEAhack like ours you will need to buy: one Kallax bookshelf 42 x 147cm ($69), one Kallax bookshelf 77 x 77cm ($49), one Drona box ($4.99), one Dokument intray ($14.99), one Vissla cushion ($19.99 – I cut the fabric off, cut it down to size and recovered it – easier than it sounds), one Svartsjon hook rack ($5.99), four Tjena magazine holders (they come in two packs $4.99), one Vikis clock ($14.99 – this cool almost invisible clock is handy when you’re running down the hallway a hundred times a morning yelling at everyone to hurry up and asking what the time is), . We then purchased a couple of brackets from our local hardware store (super cheap, around .20c each) and took the feet off a second hand stool that we bought at the tip shop ($2).

A place for everything and no more lost homework

The Kallax are actually hollow so you have to be super careful when you are screwing in your hooks, brackets and legs.


We could have made our family command center more stable by using more brackets but I was a bit unsure about screwing into the hollow Kallax shelves too many times…

short legs

Our second hand legs came pre-scuffed but no one notices. I was most focussed on getting legs that were only around 5cm high and had a nice shape. I wanted the kids to be able to easily sit on the seat area of our IKEAhack. Which they do and press the snazzy clock to make it glow blue.  I suspect we’ll be going through batteries rather fast…

Sit yourself down and press the clock

I’m super proud of my IKEAhack and best of all it is actually keeping us organised! We have only lost one library book so far this year (it was left in the playground) and forgotten to hand in homework once.  It feels great to be organised!  Big apologies about the poorly lit photos but my nearly-dead computer won’t let me use free online photo editing apps so it is what it is for now.

1930’s Farmer’s Wife – Sara


FW Sara block

Today I am sharing with you the block Sara from the 1930’s Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt book. Way back when the lovely Angie of Gnome Angel asked if I would like to participate in this quilt-along and I said yes she asked me why. If you look at my work I’m not exactly a traditional patchworker. But I love every type of quilting and I thought that this quilt-along would provide the perfect opportunity for me to dabble in some traditional patchwork. So here goes!


You can get your own copy of The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt: Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks That Honor Them by Laurie Aaron Hird for Fons & Porter/F+W; RRP $28.99 – Click here to purchase.

Sara among the strawberries

Sara isn’t my first block from the book, I started with an easy block, Becky (number 12), to try out my colour palette of orange and blue. Have you ever seen Elisabeth Woo’s orange and blue farmer’s wife sampler quilt?  I’ve never been able to get it out of my head and this is my chance to give it a whirl!

Up front I’m going to admit that I made a total rookie error. I printed the foundation paper piecing templates out too small and even though I checked the 1″ mark with my ruler I didn’t check it twice. So I made the entire block thinking the whole time, “gee these 6.5″ blocks are tricky” only to discover that I had made a 4″ block!!!

4 inch and 6.5 inch Sara

So please, check your measurements – at least twice!  In fact, you have the choice of english paper piecing, foundation paper piecing or using the conversion charts (rotary cutting and use of templates) for this block. I used the templates for the triangle pieces and am looking forward to using the templates again for future blocks as they make everything quick and easy.

Lay out of Sara

I think it’s really important in this block to take note of the original fabric selection and how that allows different parts of the block to stand out. My background fabric is a mid blue verging on teal but it still works as a background fabric in comparison to the orange and navy prints I selected for the feature prints. I always use a portable design board (just a piece of wadding stuck to a small noticeboard) and layout my fabric before I start piecing. If I’m not happy with how my fabric selection works I’d rather find out before I’ve pieced an entire block.

Sara in two halves

I followed the conversion chart which is available from Marti Mitchell’s blog for the length of the quilt-along. This involved the use of templates along with some rotary cutting that involved 9/16 measurements. You may wish to make a mark on your ruler between the 1/2 and 3/4 point on your ruler. The first time I quickly made up my own cutting instructions based on the misprinted template. You should not do that. Really. Trust me on that one 😉

press after every seam

I am slightly pedantic about my points matching so I press open after every join and I glue basted the long sections together to keep everything lined up. When I was joining my long sections together I started stitching from the middle of the block to the side and then went back and did the second half starting from the middle again. I always place the piece with the least amount of piecing on top to reduce the amount of shifting caused by the pressure foot.

piece from the centre to keep points aligned

I started sewing in the middle so that the points match up.


When you have eight points to line up across the middle of the block they will shift as you sew and the pressure foot applies pressure.  I prefer glue basting to pins but you could use pins, just don’t sew over them as you risk putting out the timing on your machine!


You can see here that I have stitched one half from the middle. I will then go back to the middle and stitch to the other end.


To be honest, I actually prefer my mini-me Sara at 4″ unfinished. I didn’t enjoy sewing it but it is so super cute that I love it to bits!

Sara and mini Sara

I hope you enjoy making Sara. I’m looking forward to seeing all of your different fabric selections! Don’t forget to link up over at Gnome Angel this Sunday. I also encourage you to visit the rest of the November bloggers. There are some BEAUTIFUL blocks popping up out there!

03/11/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com

05/11/2015: Cat @ Cat + Vee

05/11/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com

06/11/2015:  Kirsty @ Bonjour Quilts

10/11/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com

11/11/2015: Nadra @ Ellis and Higgs

12/11/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com

13/11/2015: Raylee @ Sunflower Quilting & Sherri @ A Quilting Life

17/11/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com

18/11/2015: Jemima @ Tied with a Ribbon

19/11/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com

20/11/2015: Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

24/11/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com

25/11/2015: Cassie @ Cassandra Madge

26/11/2015: Angie @ GnomeAngel.com

27/11/2015: Lisa @ In the Boon Docks & Anita @ Daydreams of Quilts



Functional Quilts


Today I am sharing a pretty dresden butterfly quilt that I made for a gorgeous new baby girl. As much as I love challenging my skills and diving into improv piecing and intense quilting, lately I have been enjoying making purely functional quilts.  I hope to share my quilts of 2015 with you over the coming weeks, but today I am sharing this pretty little thing that I made for a little girl of one of my dearest friends.

Dresden butterfly baby quilt

Dresden butterfly baby quilt

I feel like I need to blow the cobwebs and dust out of the corners of my sadly neglected blog.  A year and a half ago I returned to Australia and to part time work in an office. With three kids, health issues and a business my blog has been the lowest priority. I’m not ready to let go of it, but I also cannot put it before children, work and health.  So please join me as I try to return to some sort of regular blogging :)

I used a variety of low value background fabrics and stuck to a teal-purple palette.

I used a variety of low value background fabrics and stuck to a teal-purple palette.

My daughter won a set of dresden plate templates by Kathy Dougherty of Material Obsession earlier this year and I decided to try them out for this quilt. Previously I had made a dresden plate cushion using my own paper template which worked well. Using Kathy’s templates was so much faster! In fact I made this entire quilt from start to finish in about two days!  I pieced the plates into quarters and then stitched them onto background fabric. I cut away the excess background fabric and pieced in the quarter circle (I used a glass as a template because it was on my cutting table). I then squared up the blocks and pieced them together with the idea of butterflies.

with backing

I used my favourite wadding, 100% bamboo by Matilda’s Own and a soft lavender Aurifil thread (2510 in 50wt).  Because this is a functional baby quilt and I was making it in a hurry (I found out on the Tuesday that the baby was born a girl and Friday afternoon I was able to visit her in hospital) I used my current favourite edge to edge quilting design. I also went for a busy backing print to disguise any stains and to allow the quilt to be used as a play mat.

on the grass

Totally the wrong lighting to photograph a quilt but I finished it ten minutes before I had to leave the house!


As soon as I heard that my dear friend had delivered a baby girl I pulled out two piles of fabric. One all pinks and highly saturated and this calmer purple and teal combination. I let my children choose which fabric and they went with the teals and purples. It’s not a palette I normally work with but it came together so nicely. I used lots of old favourite prints by Tula Pink and Kate Spain. It’s always nice to use favourite fabrics for the most special of people.

A palette to match baby's big sister's room

A palette to match baby’s big sister’s room

I’m really enjoying making functional quilts at the moment. Art is where my heart lies but I love the practical quilt. And there’s not much better than gifting a quilt to a close friend and seeing that they love it.

Capital Colours – Aurifil Thread



Hola!  It’s been a while. Apologies. That seems to be the standard.  It’s a mixture of stoopid old computer that is slowwww and just not having time to blog.  But this month I just have to make it happen to share something exciting with you!  My lovely friend Midge of Ms Midge asked me to curate an Aurifil bundle for July.  I picked my favourite colours….

Aurifil colours

We named this bundle of goodness, “Capital Colours” because I live in Australia’s capital, Canberra. Kind of ironic really as this town sprouts more black suits than I can count, but I like to liven up the palette!  I know that you are now rushing to get your hands on these threads 😉  All the info is right here.

You know I love Aurifil.  I use it on my longarm (both 50 and 40 weight), I piece with it and use it for dress making and I use 12 weight for hand quilting.  It’s a love affair.  Whilst I don’t have a huge thread stash (45 colours – yes, I counted), I do believe it investing in brights.  Below is a sneak peek of a recent quilt (blog post planned…) that was quilted all in Aurifil.  Yes, I love a good colour wheel!

colour wheel

And whilst I try and quilt with as many colours as I can, you can see that my #aussieaurifilclub bundle is reflected in my recent projects.

exhibition quilts 239

Not to mention the beast that I currently have on the frame…  Deadline looming…

on the frame

Do you use Aurifil?  Have you subscribed to Midge’s #msmidgeaussieaurifilclub yet?  It’s a great way to build your thread stash and be inspired by your favourite quilters <3

Me and Pat Sloan in podcast! Eeeeek!


So one morning a few months back I woke up, grabbed my phone, opened my emails and started screaming (husband promptly woke up).  Pat Sloan had written to me asking if I would like to be on her podcast show.  Ummmmm… Once I’d stopped squealing (and explained to my husband who Pat Sloan is and how she is my new quilty BFF) I wrote back and said of course I’d love to be on the American Patchwork and Quilting Network.  Because, you know, Pat and I are like total besties now 😉

American Patchwork and Quilting Pocast guests Gemma Jackson May 2015

So, I would LOVE it if you could tune in and cheer me on while Pat and I chat this week.  For those in Australia it’s nice and early on Tuesday morning (about 6.30am Canberra time) but for those of you in the US it’s at the much more civilized time of 4pm Eastern on Monday 4 May.  We’re going to be talking about my trip to the US, free motion quilting and how I’ve found my voice through quilting. Let’s hope I make some sense as I will have downed a couple of coffees to get me started!!

1 APQPodCastBlogButtonsGuest250

You can find all the details about the American Patchwork and Quilting Show here on Pat’s site, All People Quilt and you can listen here or in your itunes podcast thingy (very technical!)

And just because I can’t post without throwing in some quilty goodness, here is a quilt that I FINALLY bound today!  I think this is my favourite ever quilt <3

Improv wall quilt by me :)

Improv wall quilt by me :)

Finding Balance


It’s my birthday!  Yay me!  I’ve had a migraine for three days and only figured out last night it was because my birthday was looming…  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not scared of aging, I just find these things a bit stressful and I’ve been wanting to hide in a cave.  So I thought I would write about some of my strategies for finding balance. Balance is my top priority for 2015!

cropped profile pic for Pat Sloan

I’ve mentioned before that I have an autoimmune disease, hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  It’s pretty blurk to be honest.  A lot of the time I am fine, but it does cause me regular bouts of fatigue and leaves me prone to illness.  For example, I’ve had a cold for five weeks. My husband had it for 2 days.  But I just can’t kick it.  And that’s fine, that’s the hand I’ve been dealt. But I find the longer I’m sick the harder it is to focus and face the world.

It means that I suffer brain fog. Which you would probably describe as vagueness and it might annoy you that I can’t answer clearly or I forget what I’m talking about.  I’ve been dazed and confused for a long time so I usually don’t worry about it, but it can be really frustrating for people trying to have a conversation with me.

The hardest part about my thyroid being uncooperative is that I often feel at the end of my tether.  For example, I’ll take the kids on an outing and I come home and need to sit quietly for up to three hours to recover.  It means that finding balance is extra hard.  I have to write up a schedule for each day and accept that I may or may not get it done.  And that schedule includes simple things like dropping the kids at school and answering phone calls.

Some key strategies that I try to stick to are not over-committing myself, listening to my instinct/body and dealing with challenges immediately.

Keeping commitments manageable means that I don’t disappoint myself or others. Once I start to fail to meet my commitments it all builds up and I get further and further behind. If I keep my commitments realistic from the beginning then I get that feeling of satisfaction and achievement which energises me. Once I start to fall behind I find it harder and harder to open my emails and interact online. Which is something I love doing. But I can’t face that feeling of failure.

It’s taken me a long time but I’ve realised that listening to my instinct is the key to me staying healthy and happy. When I have that niggling doubt about taking on a job or accepting an invitation, I listen to it. There are still lots of opportunities to say yes, but saying no at the right time means that I enjoy the activities that I do commit to.

I used to bury my head in the sand a lot. But the more you do it, the more you do it. These days if I have something that I don’t really want to do, I face it as soon as possible. If I stick my head in the sand the anticipation of the looming disaster makes it worse than it actually is.  I know that sounds really simple, but it has made a huge difference to me. I literally take a deep breath and open my email and do what I need to do rather than putting it off.  This means that I am more productive as I’m not wasting time wallowing in dread.

Accepting my health issues and letting others know about them is also really important.  My disease is an invisible one but it has a huge impact on my ability to function.  Letting other people know helps them understand why I often miss social events, why I work part-time (working from home means that I can rest regularly) and why I can appear generally vague and slightly confused.

And you know that photo of me up at the top of this page? I felt a wreck when we took it this afternoon, so incredibly tired that I was having difficulty explaining myself. Which is why I’m writing this post.  My top priority these days is finding balance so that I can continue to be a good Mum and a nice person AND have energy left over to quilt. Looks can be deceiving.

How do you achieve balance?  I’d really love to hear any tips that you have.  It’s my top priority this year and I know that it is something that most of us struggle with.  And just in case you wanted to see a little more of that quilt… :)

Me with the first quilt I really had fun with on the longarm. Still having trouble making the decision to sell it!

Me with the first quilt I really had fun with on the longarm. Still having trouble making the decision to sell it!

Quilty friends are the best friends


It’s Thursday and I’ve been sick for weeks and I’m sorry but I just haven’t had the energy to carefully craft a post and edit photos.  I Quilt will be back next week and I encourage you to link up, but this week I wanted to touch on something that I have been thinking about all day.

This morning I read a message from the Modern Quilt Guild, from the fabulous Jacquie Gerring that touched on interpersonal relationships.  Jacquie’s key message was to assume that others have good intent.  I love this.  It means that instead of jumping to conclusions, instead of thinking that someone is excluding you or is against you, you should assume that they have good intent and that there is a good reason that they are or aren’t doing something. Maybe they have a hardship in their life that they are struggling with and just can’t give you the time or friendship that you need or expect.

I completely agree with this.  However, I also fervently believe that we should surround ourselves with friends that make us feel good about ourselves.  That’s what I tell my kids, “If your friend makes you feel bad then maybe you need to find another friend.”  I think we all get to a point where we have to look after ourselves.  If you keep putting yourself out there but getting nothing in return, or worse, getting hurt, then maybe it is time to just roll around in some pretty fabric, listen to a podcast and quilt your blues away.

And I think that’s one reason why quilting is so good for the soul.  When the world gets a bit much, when your friend can’t celebrate your successes with you, then quilting is a safe and relaxing outlet. It’s a way that we can connect with others regardless of age, political sway or gender. And this is why guilds can be so great.  It is the ideal setting to leave exclusive in-groups (does it matter who is a founding member?), income (does it matter if it’s 80’s florals?) and gender (does it matter who got the deal as long as they worked hardest?).

As much as I love my stash and my studio and my longarm (how I love that machine!), it’s the genuine friendships that I’ve made through quilting that matter most. The friends that I’ve chatted with online for years and never met, the ones that I finally met after years of online chatting, the ones that I met and immediately hit it off with. It’s the friends that take you as an equal, as a fellow quilter, not as competition, not as a source of wholesale thread and wadding. They’re the ones that make quilting special and that make guilds wonderful.

The first few days wandering around QuiltCon I felt like I was part of something.  All of these people had travelled from all over the world, all passionate about the same thing, with hearts and arms open.  It was such a special thing to be part of. And it made me realise that I want to be part of that kind of guild.

So, I agree with Jacquie, definitely assume good intent.  But I would add to that; surround yourself with friends who make you feel good about yourself (and reciprocate!).

Now I’m going to roll around in some pretty fabric!

I quilt linky will be back next week when I am over this ever-lasting headcold!

I Quilt – edge to edge quilting


i quilt blog button

Welcome to I Quilt at Pretty Bobbins!  This week I thought I would talk a little about edge to edge quilting, also known as ‘panto’, pantograph, all over or E2E.  Edge to edge quilting is essentially a quilting design that is repeated all over a quilt regardless of what piecing may feature on the quilt.  It is the most affordable option of longarm quilting and therefore quite popular.  There is both machine/computer guided and hand guided edge to edge quilting.  It’s something that I do a lot of and I thought I would give you a bit of a tour of this quilting style :)

Fresh off the frame! An edge to edge quilt <3

Fresh off the frame! An edge to edge quilt <3

Edge to Edge quilting is popular not only because it is cheaper than custom quilting, but also because it is quick and you know what you’re getting.  You can find a pantograph online or see one in your longarm quilter’s studio and ask to have it done on your quilt.  When you are coming up with a custom design it is much harder to imagine what it will look like on your quilt. You’re relying on your longarmer’s talent and ability to sketch and explain the design to you.  Computer guided E2E quilting can also be scaled up or down easily which is great.  It means that your repeat quilting design can be tailored to your quilt top so that the repeat doesn’t exactly line up with your rows.  And before you ask.  Computer systems are very expensive.  I love mine and I wouldn’t run my business without it, but it did cost about the same amount of money as our seven seater family car…

Intelliquilter at work (computer guided edge to edge quilting in action)

Intelliquilter at work (computer guided edge to edge quilting in action)

Whilst I have be known to claim that even a blind monkey could be trained to quilt an edge to edge, that isn’t quite true.  Firstly, you still need to know how to load a quilt, which wadding to use, how to straighten it all and not get puckers. If you hand guide your pantos then you need to stand at the back of the machine and follow a paper pattern with a laser light. You cannot see what your quilting, you have to have a good feel for your machine and be conscious of where your stitching is in relation to the pattern (maybe you always veer to the left of a tight swirl) so that you don’t accidentally stitch over your own quilting.

Your longarm quilter will baste your quilt top on the frame.  The basting stitches (in this case brown thread) will be within the .25" seam allowance

Your longarm quilter will baste your quilt top on the frame. The basting stitches (in this case brown thread) will be within the .25″ seam allowance

In both hand guided and computer guided E2E quilting you need to realign the quilt as you advance. With computer guided quilting you also need to adjust the design so that you don’t end up quilting off into space when you reach the edge of your quilt. Most longarm quilters will ask that your quilt back is 8″ longer and 8″ wider than your quilt top. This is especially important for an edge to edge design as you need a little bit of extra backing to attach clamps to (if you use them) and to give yourself a little wriggle room to start and end the quilting.  Case in point, I nearly quilted over my clamps on this quilt!

This is why you need your quilt back to be 8" wider and 8" taller than your quilt top when sending it to your longarmer...

This is why you need your quilt back to be 8″ wider and 8″ taller than your quilt top when sending it to your longarmer…

In addition to the skill and know-how of quilting a panto, your quilter also needs to be confident with thread and quilting design selection.  Your longarm quilter will have to purchase their pantograph designs.  These aren’t cheap so they may request that you select a design from their existing catalogue, they may ask you to pay for the purchase of a new pantograph or they may only have one or two from which you can choose.  I tend to purchase my pantographs from http://www.intelligentquilting.com and I will give clients about six designs to choose from as it can be completely overwhelming to go through hundreds of designs. I incorporate the cost of pantographs into my business unless a client requests something I think I will never use again, such as puppies playing fiddles with octopus dancing on spaceships.  In that case I ask they pay for the pattern as part of the quilting service. Of course you may go to your quilter because you’ve seen them use a design that you want on your quilt so you know they already have the pattern.

Edge to edge quilting can give great texture to a quilt without overpowering the patchwork design. Here I have used a pale pink 50wt Aurifil thread to do just that.

Edge to edge quilting can give great texture to a quilt without overpowering the patchwork design. Here I have used a pale pink 50wt Aurifil thread to do just that.

Once we have selected a pantograph I then guide the client in terms of thread selection.  I currently only use two brands of thread; Aurifil and KingTut which is by Superior Threads.  I stick to these because A) they are the best quality and B) they are the best colours.  You should ask your quilter whether they use the same colour thread in the bobbin and the spool (I do). I’ve heard a nightmare story of an example where this wasn’t discussed and the quilting had to be unpicked and redone because the client assumed the quilter would use white bobbin thread because the back was white and the longarmer assumed that the client would be happy with her using the same thread in bobbin and spool. You also need to discuss thread weight (thickness of the thread) and wadding.

Some quilters will ask you to purchase the wadding from them, others will happily use your wadding as long it is clean. Clean means both free of pet hair and cotton husks, little bits of dirt or stones and preferably well enough processed that it does not smell strongly of lanolin.  There are a number of reasons for this that are important for both you and your quilter.  Any hard stones or cotton husks in the wadding risk putting out the machine’s timing.  Cotton husks or a strong lanolin smell risk oil stains on your quilt as it is washed and used over time. Pet hair in a quilting studio is never a good idea. Whilst I have two cats I keep them well away from client quilts and out of the studio – nobody wants to suffer allergies from somebody else’s pet.

Quilt back.

Quilt back.

The funny thing about edge to edge quilting is that I have a real love/hate relationship with it.  Custom quilting is what I love.  It is an art form and it keeps me sane. I could not run a quilting business without edge to edge quilting, not only is it more affordable for clients but it is where the (tiny!) profit margin is. It also makes selling quilts that I have made more feasible.  On top of those practical reasons it also gives a great finish.  I’ve never completed a panto that I wasn’t happy with.

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So there you go!  Something a little different from me for I Quilt this week, but I hope that you found it informative.

Please link up your quilty process below and don’t forget to visit the other linkers <3


The Bob Bag


Bob bag <3

Bob bag <3

Today is my day on the Bob-A-Long.  A blog hop hosted by the ever fabulous Angie of Gnome Angel featuring the Bob Bag, a cute pattern by the lovely Quilt Jane.


When Angie asked me to be part of this hop I had to weigh up my commitments.  For all of about 2 seconds.  I mean, who could resist this super cute bag!?!

Bob Pattern_ThreadBox_Cover

I’m going to warn you up front that this project does require a bit of hand stitching and because the bag is small it is a little fiddly. However, it is completely worth it.  The pattern pieces and measurements are very precise so you will end up with a snug box that has a lovely shape.  I suggest that you follow the instructions in order, usually I give instructions a quick glance and then wing it.  Not so in this case. The only alteration I made was to use a super stiff pellon rather than cardboard (to give the box structure) and I used normal wadding rather than iron on.

Cutest sewing fabric on the inside!

Cutest sewing fabric on the inside!

I love my little Bob Bag and I plan to make another.  With a four year old in the house who loves all things cute I don’t think I’ll be able to keep this one all to myself!

Bob bag made by me

Bob bag made by me

If you’d like to make your very own Bob Bag you can buy the pattern here.

Don’t forget to link up your Bob Bag over at Gnome Angel on 10 April for a chance to win prizes!  You can visit all of the other fabulous hoppers here:

Monday 23rd March — Angie @ Gnome Angel

Wed­nes­day 25th March — Jane @ Quilt Jane

Fri­day 27th March — Peta @ SheQuilt­sAlot

Monday 30th March — Anita @ Day­dreams of Quilts

Wed­nes­day 1st April  – Jess @ Elven Garden Quilts

Fri­day 3rd April — Melissa @ Ms Midge

Monday 6th April – Cat @ Cat & Vee

Wed­nes­day 8th April — Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins (that’s me!)

Fri­day 10th April — Angie @ Gnome Angel (link up and prizes!!!)

bob bag open

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