Another tova tunic

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

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It’s Thursday and it’s time to link up your quilty process!  Angie of Gnome Angel will be hosting I quilt next week.  Not much quilting has happened here in the past week but I did whip up a tova tunic last night using quilting fabric!  With my Dad visiting we spent a lot of time in the garden.

My father and daughter gardening.  We have duly been watering our new plants daily.

My father and daughter gardening. We have duly been watering our new plants daily.

I have also been spending a lot of time tidying as we have rearranged almost every room in our house.  It looks like one of those films where they turned every drawer upside down looking for a USB key…  To cope I have snuck in a couple of QAYG (quilt as you go) cushions after work.  You can find my QAYG cushion tutorial here.

Our former play room and newly renamed "reading nook" with day bed. Pink cushion on right is a new QAYG cushion, middle cushion on left is also QAYG

Our former play room and newly renamed “reading nook” with day bed. Pink cushion on right is a new QAYG cushion, middle cushion on left is also QAYG

Last night I snapped and made a dress.  Another Tova Tunic.  Love this pattern, I now have five tovas (four tunics and one shirt) and they are on high rotation!  I make a few alterations, I shirr the back, replace the sleeves with cap sleeves and add darts at the breasts.  Otherwise it’s just a potato sack on me.  With the alterations it’s my favourite piece of clothing! You can see two other versions here.

Decided to make a Tova Tunic at 8pm, wore it to work the next morning - love!

Decided to make a Tova Tunic at 8pm, wore it to work the next morning – love!

I used a Valorie Wells linen print that I had been hoarding forever.  I LOVE it!  I felt good all day at work in it.  I did wear a belt as the linen tends to billow but I just felt wonderful all day :) Must learn to pose though…

Miss 4 and Zazou watering our new plants from Poppy.

Miss 4 and Zazou watering our new plants from Poppy.

Tomorrow real life starts again with quilting in earnest.  It seems to be the busiest time of year and I have a lot of quilts to get through.  In recovery mode this evening with a sinus infection and a long day behind me I enjoyed dinner in the garden followed by some watering.

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Have you been quilting this week?  I’d love you to link up below and visit a couple of fellow linkers :)  Next week my local quilty BFF Angie of Gnome Angel will be hosting I Quilt.  She recently told me that she finally feels like a quilter so I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us!



Bright Sky Star Quilt Along

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

Bright Sky QAL quilt along (1)

Today you can find me over at Blossom Heart Quilts guest posting about quilting on Alyce’s Bright Sky star quilt pattern.  Seriously love this quilt.  I was lucky enough to quilt Angie of Gnome Angel’s Bright Sky Rose Garden (below).

Did you know that I also quilted the original Bright Sky quilt?

Head over to Blossom Heart Quilts to read all about it!  You can buy the pattern here to make your own version and visit all the other hoppers on the schedule below <3

Getting ready:
Monday 29th September – Choosing Fabrics Tips here at BHQ

Week 1: Centre Star
Monday 6th October – BHQ
Wednesday 8th October – Molli Sparkles

Week 2: Piece Outer Star
Monday 13th October – BHQ
Wednesday 15th October – My Fabric Relish

Week 3: Piece Quilt Top + Backing
Monday 20th October – BHQ
Wednesday 22nd October – Ms Midge

Week 4: Quilting
Monday 27th OctoberPretty Bobbins free motion quilting guest post at BHQ
Wednesday 29th OctoberA Stitch In Between (Bright Sky mini)

Week 5: Quilting
Monday 3rd NovemberElven Garden Quilts free motion quilting guest post at BHQ

Week 6: Final Linky
Monday 10th November – Linky opens here at BHQ for a week

Monday 17th November – Linky closes and voting opens for Viewers’ Choice award
Friday 21st November – Winners announced!


Bright Sky Star Quilt Along

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

Bright Sky QAL quilt along (1)

Today I got up early to say goodbye to my Dad as he returned to Hong Kong today.  Have you ever had that feeling of someone you love travelling away from you.  Like you can actually feel them getting further away?  Yep, today was tough :(  But fear not, I cheered myself up with the IKEA catalogue, the preschool fete, quilt photography and helping my friend sort out her sewing machine.  But what you really want to hear is that I’ll be over at Blossom Heart Quilts on Monday talking about quilting the Bright Sky star quilt.  And just for jokes, this is what I look like when I’m exhausted, sad, have a headcold and Gnome Angel makes me hold up quilts for her ;)

Me working hard and Angie thinking she's funny with the outtakes!

Me working hard and Angie thinking she’s funny with the outtakes!

See you on Monday!

Straight lines and curves

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

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Yesterday the lovely Libby popped over to collect her beautiful star quilt.  It was one of those custom jobs where the client tells you to just go for it.  We had a good discussion and I wrote down, “playing on straight lines and curves” as the quilting description.

Libby's star quilt

Libby’s star quilt

My favourite quilts are when clients let me do whatever I want.  But of course they are the scariest.  If we haven’t agreed exactly what I’m going to quilt then how can it possibly meet their expectations?  These are also the quilts where I doubt myself on what I’m charging.  What if my not yet imagined quilting isn’t up to the fee that I’m charging?  Heady stuff!

Libby's quilt - texture detail

Libby’s quilt – texture detail

Luckily, once I get into the zone those doubts vanish and the confidence takes over.  Which is the reason that I like to set aside a few days and work exclusively on one quilt (these are the times that my husband checks that I’m eating – I get a little focussed!).  I find with muscle memory and quilting ideas it all works a lot better if I work on a quilt over a short period of time.  If I can’t finish a quilt in one sitting I will finish one aspect of it – all of the background or all of the feathers.  I find my quilting is much more consistent and I enjoy the ride better.

Libby quilt texture

I love Libby’s quilt.  I seem to have had a run of star quilts lately and I’m loving quilting them!  Speaking of, next week is my stop on Alyce’s Bright Sky QAL, I’ll be talking about quilting ideas, so make sure you stick around :)

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What have you been up to this week?  I’d love you to link up your quilty process and to visit another linker or two <3

And in case you were wondering, it’s blissful having my Dad here :)  He is helping me rearrange the studio, giving the garden a makeover and giving me a run for my money on caffeine consumption and conversation ;)





Busy Quilting

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

Hallo mes amis!  Did you miss me last week, I’m sorry, I was busy quilting and doing that thing called parenting…  It’s Thursday and it’s time to link up your quilty process.

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I’m so tired and it’s been a rough week or two.  Last week my 8 year old called himself a loser and just broke my heart.  How does that even happen?  So I’m trying to build his self esteem and spark his interest in activities without spending money that we don’t have.  So far he is loving watering the potted plants every afternoon and we’re going to look into hiphop dance classes at his request (he is a super funky dancer).

I am getting busier with quilting but still have a day job and a family so I’m just sleeping less.  Sound familiar anyone? ;)

My Dad is here next week from Hong Kong for a few days.  Dad, if you’re reading this (and thank  you for reading my blog, I love your support!) I have a list of jobs for you to do and I want to ask you to move here and never leave.  We love you and miss you and you’re an old fuddy-duddy who won’t be able to do long haul trips to visit us soon.  I know you won’t but we wish you would.  (Yep, I’m as good as my four year old daughter at pulling guilt trips!) ;)

starry skies class

Starry Skies class at Hobbysew Belconnen

I don’t have a lot of quilting pics to share but this is what I’ve been doing the last week and I so want you to link up :)  Big love to you lovely quilty peeps xxx  Don’t forget to visit your fellow linkers and share the love <3



Modern Medallion Quilt Bliss

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

It’s Thursday, it’s school holidays, I’m exhausted but I have managed to quilt.  If you’re as tired as me, scroll down and link up ;) Don’t scroll too fast though as you don’t want to miss the amazing modern medallion quilt that I had the pleasure of quilting this week!

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Earlier this year local gal Crystal released her Modern Medallion pattern. It is such a fun pattern and I’ve seen so many amazing versions online.  But I have to say, I was completely blown away by the version that Happy Spider Knits brought to me for quilting.  AMAZING!  Seriously, I am missing that quilt and it’s only been out of my studio for 24 hours…

mm on frame

Sometimes life presents funny coincidences or maybe it’s just that Canberra is a small town.  Crystal hosted I Quilt last week, Happy Spider gave me her Modern Medallion (pattern by Crystal) to quilt, she had bought many of the fabrics from Angie.  All three ladies are fabulous, the quilt is brilliant.  I’d like to think that the fabulousness of all these creative Canberrans (and me!) came together in one outstanding quilt.  But the fact of the matter is that Happy Spider did an AMAZING job and deserves all the credit <3

mm quilting detail

When I first met Happy Spider she told me that she was went a little fangirl on me when she saw my quilts at the Canberra Exhibition.  Seriously, if there’s a fan girl, its me.  This is one of her first quilts.  The technical side of it is spot on, but the colour play is out of this world.  I can’t wait until the full reveal!

modern medallion quilting detail blues

Quilting a quilt this special, made from so many beautiful fabrics, is terrifying.  Until you get in the zone and spend hours of bliss getting up close and personal with something so happy (I promise that I handled the quilt with professionalism and no drool touched it despite my awe) ;)

modern medallion butterfly border

Happy Spider and I spent a fair amount of time discussing quilting ideas.  We wanted to keep the movement of the piecing but not have the quilting compete at all with the riot of colours and energy that just jumps out at you.  We opted for dense, straight line quilting with lots of contrasting angles broken up with two free motion borders.  We chose threads that blended into the piecing (Aurifil #2000 is the best for this task!) with the exception of the center where we chose to go bold with a verigated pink thread on low volume prints.

modern medallion center

I think we got the quilting just right on this quilt.  I’ve encouraged Happy Spider to show it at an exhibition as I just think that it is one of those quilts that people will get joy out of seeing up close and personal.  She is very modest about her abilities, but this is one of her first few quilts that she has made and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her!  You can read about her process in piecing this beauty here.  I encourage you to pop over and check out her work.  I am in awe of the fact that she does podcasts, I mean, how do you even do that?!

If you want to make your own Modern Medallion you can find Crystal’s pattern here.  The sales help get her to QuiltCon and I’m for that ;)  And a big thank you to Crystal for hosting I Quilt last week.  I hope you enjoyed reading about her process under pressure.

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Don’t forget to visit a couple of other linkers and share the quilt love <3


Quilting under pressure

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

It’s Thursday, welcome to Pretty Bobbins but if you’re looking to link up your quilty process please head over to Two Little Aussie Birds where Crystal is hosting this week’s linky party :)  Crystal is talking about her Sewvivor experience so I’m jumping on board and talking about my experience quilting under pressure.

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Reading about Crystal’s creative process is fascinating as I’ve found out we’re so similar in the way we come up with ideas.  Whilst I don’t use a computer to design, I too have quilts bubbling away in my head and sketch them on graph paper.  I usually deliberate until just the right moment comes along and get started.  I like to work intensely on one project at a time.  Quilting as a business isn’t completely conducive to this work style.

mid section in progress

My big grey quilt (above) was an amalgamation of bee blocks and strips that I started playing with and ended up getting myself into a tight deadline.

Lots of ruler work

Lots of ruler work

I didn’t realise as I was quilting it that my machine was slowly falling apart (all fixed now) but I did spend a lot of it thinking that I was not very good at stitching in the ditch.  But being under the pump I kept pushing on.  In fact I lost enjoyment of this quilt and completely realised that I should never quilt a quilt after it has been accepted into a show, but should select quilts from what I’ve already made.

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Working to a tight deadline removes a lot of the enjoyment and spontaneity which is really what makes me love quilting.  I was in awe watching the two local Aussie girls, Crystal and Angie, competing in Sewvivor, but I’m so glad that I didn’t give into the temptation to enter.  Quilting is my meditation, pressure is not my sweet spot.  I’m so glad that Crystal (and Angie!) did enter because I got to see some amazing work!  I LOVE Crystal’s iceberg quilt.

And I would like her washi bag.  And that chair please. ;)  Maybe even that wood paneling. I have a thing for wood paneling.

Crystal also made a hexi quilt, but if you’d like to see that (and link up!)  you’ll have to head over to her blog :)  Don’t forget to visit a few other linkers and share the comment love!

Thanks so much for hosting Crystal!!


Triangle quilt in progress

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

I pieced this triangle quilt top a little while ago and folded it neatly and set it aside.  I’ve brought it out into the daylight this week, selected backing and am determined to get it finished!

triangle quilt top

triangle quilt top

The colours haven’t photographed very well.  It really needs to be seen under natural light to appreciate the soft pinks and greys competing with their bolder cousins.  I wish I had the right grey to back it.  I have a pink text print on flannel that works but I want a grey backing…  Hence my procrastination…

triangle quilt top - I promise the palette is much better in real life!

triangle quilt top – I promise the palette is much better in real life!

I had some fun today pulling novelty prints from my stash.  It turns out a girl has everything from xylophones to combi vans in her stash!  Who’d have thought it…

novelty print pull

novelty print pull

I’m linking up with Work in Progress Wednesdays over at Freshly Pieced :)  Twice in two weeks – looks like I might be back to blogging more than the essentials! :)  Speaking of blogging…

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Don’t forget to link up with I Quilt tomorrow over at Two Little Aussie Birds.  The lovely Crystal is hosting and it would be amazing if you could show her the quilty process love and head over to her space tomorrow and link up <3

Inspiring Quilters

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

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It’s Thursday and as I sat on the sofa watching a show about renovating and contemplating coming down to the freezing studio to blog I was feeling rather uninspired.  And then I Cheryl’s post from last week‘s linky party.  Talk about inspiring quilters!

Cheryl blogs at 22 Applegate Lane and was lucky enough to attend grown up summer camp with the Quilters of Gees Bend.  Do you all feel as weak at the knees as I do reading that? :)  Make sure you visit Cheryl’s blog to see all of the amazing quilts that the ladies worked on, but to give you a taste of what you’re about to be inspired by I’d like to share a paragraph from Cheryl:

“The quilters of Gee’s Bend, led by Miss China, start each day with a prayer, offering up the work of their hands to Jesus. As they work, they often sing. They unselfconsciously shared that tradition with all of us attending Fiber College. One could often hear spirituals loudly, and beautifully, emanating from the quilting tent.”

Now I’m not religious, but I do feel a strong sense of spirituality when I quilt.  To me quilting always feels like meditation.  It’s where I find my peace, where I go to collect myself when I’ve fallen into pieces and where I’ve found my voice.  Through quilting I connect with others, I give to charities and I share the love of handmade.  And I tell you what, I think I’m going to start singing while I quilt :)

I would love you to share in the comments which quilters inspire you and in what way.  I will put all of the comments into a blog post to share, there’s nothing better than losing yourself in an afternoon of learning about inspiring quilters!

Speaking of inspiring quilters…  Next week the talented Crystal of Two Little Aussie Birds is going to host I Quilt.  She has just sewn up a storm as a contestant on Sewvivor and is one of the local Canberra Modern Quilters that I will be travelling to Austin with next year for QuiltCon!  Please be sure to link up on her blog next week and check out her inspiring blog :)

On that note, link up your quilting process <3  Let’s inspire each other to keep growing our art <3  Don’t forget to visit three other linkers!

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Quick and Easy Heart Quilt

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

Last week I decided at the eleventh hour that I was going to make a quilt for a very special family friend of ours who was turning seven. I came up with a fabric pull at 8pm on Thursday night for a party at 2pm on Saturday.  Yep, I’m a crazy quilter! I wanted this quilt to be special but I needed to fine a quick and easy quilts.  So I made Miss 7 a quick and easy heart quilt.

Quick and easy heart quilt

Quick and easy heart quilt

I cut 70 3.5″ squares from 23 pink and red fabrics for my heart and used a couple of yards of an off white and red pin dot print that I had on a bolt.  I managed to get all the cutting done on Thursday night in a couple of hours.  Friday morning I was running errands but I managed to piece the entire top Friday afternoon in about four hours.

quick and easy heart quilt up close

The quilting took me a few more hours (having a longarm means I don’t have to spend all that time pin basting which makes quilting so much faster). I quilted large feathers in the negative space and a sort of swirly vine in the heart with her name in the center and pebbles around it to give it some definition.  It’s easier to see from the back.

quilting detail

quilting detail

I managed to have the top trimmed and the binding prepared before I went to bed on Friday night.  Saturday morning it was bound and I even made a label which I never do!

heart quilt

heart quilt

I have to say that while I was working on this quilt a part of me was thinking that the birthday girl would probably prefer a Monster High doll and whilst her parents would appreciate the quilt I wasn’t sure if she would love it.  Unfortunately the gifts weren’t opened at the party so I was left hanging until I got that loveliest phone call an hour after the party.

The birthday girl’s Mum rang me up and all she could say was, “I’m speechless”.  Apparently her daughter had opened the gift in the car and started screaming, they thought something was wrong, but no, she just loved the quilt so much and was screaming in that way that only 7 year old girls can :)  I’m so thrilled.  Isn’t it the best feeling when you make a gift with love and the recipient loves it too?

heart quilt folded

I used my favourite threads of course, Aurifil 2000 50wt in the negative space and King Tut 926 in the heart.  The fabrics were all from my stash and the wadding is 100% bamboo (Matilda’s Own brand).

I’m linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts

Sew Cute Tuesday

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