I Quilt: Getting ready for the quilt show

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

Welcome to I Quilt at Pretty Bobbins!  The last week has been a flurry of activity in the studio as I finished off a heap of quilts and have been getting ready to submit them to a quilt show :)  Entry is due by tomorrow, but if you’re interested you can check it out here.

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First up I finished binding “Dream in Colour”.  You may remember it from way back last year…  On second thought I may not have shared it before…  It is pieced using scraps from a beautiful plus quilt (still haven’t finished that one…) and is meant to hang in my studio to remind me to take my vivid, colourful dreams and make them real and tangible.

Made with scraps and quilted with dense, wonky, SLQ

Then I bound my improv, self-reflective, arty-farty piece.  I wrote about this quilt a few weeks back, it breaks all of the “rules” and I will be interested to hear feedback from the judges and people who visit the show.

Not the best photo I’m afraid..

I’m also entering the quilt that doesn’t have a name that I recently had in a local show.  It mixes hand quilting, longarm quilting, improv piecing, needle-turn applique and goodness knows what else! ;)

I’ve filled out entry forms for a couple of minis but then I remembered the Blessings Quilt and my lovely friend agreed that she was happy for me to enter it.

All in all I’ve entered seven quilts and I’ll be stitching on a heap of hanging sleeves if they’re all accepted!  Which is a nice segway to my topic of this week; hanging sleeves.  Do you have a favorite hanging sleeve method or tutorial?  I used the directions from the Canberra Quilter’s recently, but I know many shows provide specific dimensions.  If I am making a small wall quilt for my house, I generally just do a pocket in each corner and hang it with a piece of dowel.  This method has the added bonus of avoiding handstitching ;)

Next time I attach a hanging sleeve I am going to go with a D shape, similar to this tutorial by Tallgrass Prairie Studio.

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I haven’t featured a quilter this week as I haven’t had the time to seek permission and my Dad arrived today and I really need to get out of the studio and spend some time with him :)  Please add your link below and don’t forget to add the linky button or a link to my blog in your post or side bar.  To those of you celebrating, have a lovely Easter and to those of you who aren’t, have a great weekend xx



Shimmer Blog Hop and Fabric Giveaway

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

Welcome to Pretty Bobbins!  Today is my day in Jennifer Sampou’s blog hop for her new line Shimmer.  I am super excited to be involved and I have a lovely fabric giveaway for you <3

shimmer blog hop button

I was so excited when Jennifer first contacted me to be part of the Shimmer party, and had a lot of trouble deciding which prints to use, they’re all gorgeous!  The sparkle of these prints is just fantastic and I really love the wavy line prints, very dynamic and ones I know that I’ll be using again and again.


We’re heading into winter here in Australia and I couldn’t resist making a sparkly, modern lap quilt to snuggle up under and reminisce about summer time.  We have beautiful, clear skies in Autumn here in Canberra and photographing this quilt by the lake was a lot of fun.  I love how the piecing looks like part of the skyline, totally coincidental but I’ll happily claim good design ;)

shimmer on lake

I was inspired by Jennifer’s cushions (check out her lookbook!!) and backed it in a super soft, cream minky and it’s super soft and cuddly.

shimmer minky back

I really wanted to come up with a design that was modern and featured Jennifer’s gorgeous prints.  The improv curves with set in contrasting blocks nicely highlight how well this line plays together.  I must say, as a longarm quilter some metallic prints are very troublesome to work with, Jennifer’s line quilted BEAUTIFULLY without a tension issue anywhere in sight!  If you want metallic highlights and lots of shimmer AND you love to quilt, then Shimmer is a must!  As always I used my favourite thread, Aurifil 50wt in 2000, 2600 and 5004.

shimmer cropped

This lap quilt measures 38″ x 62″ and was made for cuddling <3

cuddly shimmer

I still haven’t decided which way is up and which was is down (is it stormy seas or dark skies over snow?) but I love the subtle prints and tones.

subtle shimmer

I had a heap of fun finding all the background shimmer that I could.  I can’t lie, this quilt was fun from beginning to end :)

shimmer near lake

So now that you’re dying to get your hands on some Shimmer I can happily tell you that there is lots on offer!  It will be hitting stores soon, but in the meantime you can win some right here at Pretty Bobbins and at each of the other stops on the blog hop (schedule below)!!

shimmer folded

All you have to do is leave me a comment on this post before 18 April (I’m sticking to a US timezone for this giveaway) and a charm pack of Shimmer could be heading your way!  I will use a random number generator to pick a winner, but if you like you can let me know what your favourite charm square project is :)

Shimmer CS

Bon chance!

And if a charm pack isn’t enough Shimmer for you, you can head over to Jennifer’s blog for a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of the entire Shimmer line!!  To enter the giveaway, new readers should sign up on Jennifer’s mailing list and  comment on her blog before the end of the hop.  Be sure to comment about your favorite projects and why. Existing followers are automatically eligible to win.


BLOG HOP Schedule:

April 1-21.
April 1- Robert Kaufman/Jennifer Sampou- announce blog
April 2- Janice Ryan- Better off Thread
April 3- Alissa Haight Carlton- Handmade by Alissa
April 4- Julie Herman- JayBird Quilts
April 5- Natalie Barnes- Beyond the Reef
April 6- Stash Books- C&T Publishing
April 7- Amanda Jean Nyberg- Crazy Mom Quilts
April 8- Lee Heinrich- Freshly Pieced
April 9- Cheryl Arkinson- Naptime Quilter
April 10-Christina Cameli- A Few Scraps
April 11-Elizabeth Hartman- Oh Fransson
April 12-Faith Jones-Fresh Lemon Quilts
April 13-Gemma Jackson- Pretty Bobbins
April 14- Katie Blakesley- Swim Bike Quilt
April 15-Amy Smart-Diary of a Quilter
April 16- Laura Nownes, Jennifer Rounds, Pati Fried, Darra Williamson- See How We Sew
April 17-Holly DeGroot- Bijou Lovely
April 18-Jennifer Sampou-Wrap Up
April 21-Jennifer Sampou- Announce Winner of Giveaway FQ Pack of entire ShimmerCollection.


If you need some more Shimmer in your life you can check out Shimmer on the Robert Kaufman Website


And if all of that isn’t enough, The Cotton Patch (CA, USA) is taking pre-orders of Shimmer.


I Quilt: busy quilting

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!  No time to say hello, goodbye, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!!  I’ve loved those lines from Alyce in Wonderland ever since I first read it as a child.  I’m very sorry that I’m late with I Quilt linky this week, I’ve been super busy quilting, but I do hope you link up your quilty process :)

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Over the past week I have finished a couple of quilts

Starry Skies class sample.  I love this version more than the original!!

Starry Skies class sample. I love this version more than the original!!

quilted a few others

Carpentar's Star quilt by Tracy

Carpentar’s Star quilt by Tracy

taught machine binding at Canberra Quilters Modern Interest Group and handed over a a number of class samples (come join me if you’re local!).

Sorry for the terrible iPhone photo, totally out of focus but exciting to see my work hanging in store at Hobbysew Belconnen

Sorry for the terrible iPhone photo, totally out of focus but exciting to see my work hanging in store at Hobbysew Belconnen

I have been pondering my business, how to manage competing deadlines (every second enquiry I get is from someone who needs their quilt quilted yesterday), how to best get my name out there, how to ensure that I continue to get to do fun stuff and enjoy this quilty gig and when to say no.  This whole quilty thing is a continual learning process.  I feel like I’m good at what I do but there is still so much to learn and achieve!

Improv LV cushion secret Birthday swap gift for Ms Midge

I also had two quilts on display for the first time at a local show which was super exciting.  I was lucky enough to get to help hang many of the quilts in the show and learnt so much from that experience.  Plus it was a heap of fun!

Me with my quilt hanging in the Queanbeyan Quilter’s Biennial Show

So that’s why I’m a little late with the linky party ;)

Used with permission from http://www.schnigschnag-quiltsandmore.blogspot.com.au/ Used with permission from http://www.schnigschnag-quiltsandmore.blogspot.com/caption

I did ask the lovely Nadel and Falzbein if I could feature a few of her photos but didn’t hear back.  Even without photos of her amazing work I strongly encourage you to pop over to her blog and check out her work.  Her yellow and white chevron quilt last week just made my day!  It’s beautiful!!!  It looks like she is moving her blog, so head over and visit her new site here :)  She has a google translate button on the right hand side, but the quilty candy is delightful even without the words :)

Used with permission from http://www.schnigschnag-quiltsandmore.blogspot.com.au/ Used with permission from http://www.schnigschnag-quiltsandmore.blogspot.com/caption

So that’s it folks!  Please link up your quilty process xx

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I Quilt: improv quilting

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

Welcome to I Quilt linky party!  This week I’ve been brave and got my improv quilting on :)  If you’re new, please feel free to join in the fun and link up your quilty process.  Don’t forget to visit three other linkers and add a link to my blog or button to your sidebar or post :)

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This week I am featuring the lovely Serena from Sew Giving.  I’m not sure when I first ‘met’ Serena, but I love following her quilting and sewing adventures.  She sews the cutest items for her two little girls and seriously looks like she is having fun being a crafty gal, Mummy and farmer.  Her deer cushion with the 3D pinwheel has to be about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!!

Serena deer cushion

Image used with permission from Sew Giving

Last week Serena shared her first foray into free motion quilting.  I love a quilty gal who shares!  Such an awesome effort, the flowers in the border look perfect, I’m pretty certain that my first attempts at FMQ were nowhere near that neat!!  You have to check out her post for the dancing elephants on the binding!  Seriously good planning to get those buddies to line up LOL

Image used with permission from Sew Giving

Image used with permission from Sew Giving

This week Serena has shared her experience straight line quilting on her new machine compared to her old machine.  Serena, I’m guessing that the walking foot on your old machine was not up to scratch.  I also find that I get the best results SLQ if I consistently start and stop on the same sides, rather than going in one direction and then back in the other.  If you go back and forwards it can increase the drag and give that kind of pulled/tugged look on the quilting.  Not that you need any advice now, your most recent SLQ is PERFECT!!  Well done xx

Image used with permission from Sew Giving

Image used with permission from Sew Giving

This week I have been working up a frenzy.  I have so many commitments that need to be met over the next ten days that I am really having to work super hard and yet not burn out.  I’ve been stitching til midnight most nights and this morning I woke at 5am because I realised that my domain name was set to expire and despite months of warnings I still hadn’t sorted it out!  I ran down to the studio and was super relieved to find that I had set it all to auto renew so I still own my blog LOL  *phew*  Could have done with another hour or two of sleep though…

Of course in the midst of all the deadlines I figured that I deserved a treat so I pulled out an old WIP and decided to get stuck into it.  This WIP is almost a year old.  It is a really introspective piece and kind of a self portrait in an abstract kind of way (too arty? LOL) ;)  I guess I had been thinking about it in the back of my mind but I was a little hesitant as it was half quilted and I of course wanted to finish it on the longarm.

This is where I got up to in May 2013 on the Bernina and where I started this week on the longarm.

Anyway, I decided to forget about the rules and I loaded it onto the longarm half quilted and pin basted.  I removed the pins closes to the top edge and thread basted it in place and then did the same for the sides.  I only removed the pins as I moved onto each section.  I think if I had removed the pins earlier I would have ended up with an uneven mess.  Funnily enough I backed this quilted with an unused IKEA sheet.  Man, quilting sheets is a right pain.  I’ve done it many times and I don’t recommend it.  I totally killed the needle on the longarm quilting this beast, but it was certainly much easier than I’ve found machine quilting sheets on the domestic machine.

The grey essex linen blend is quilted with 50wt Aurifil on my longarm.  The white with 40wt Aurifil on the domestic Bernina.

The grey essex linen blend is quilted with 50wt Aurifil on my longarm. The white with 40wt Aurifil on the domestic Bernina.

I felt like a total kick-butt rebel quilting this baby.  Breakin’ the rules man and going nuts!  ;)  But seriously, it was fun to quilt and it was a good experiment to see not only how to take a partially quilted piece and finish it on the longarm, but to see my growth as a quilter.  Pretty much all of the grey area was quilted on the longarm and a small section of the white area.  I’m hoping to enter this into a few shows and I really look forward to people’s reactions.  I think it’s OK to break the rules as long as you’ve mastered the techniques.  I wonder how other’s will feel about me breaking the rules…  I hope the quilt police are kind ;)

wips 008

I had so much fun creating texture and I really had no plan of what I was doing or where I was going.  I kept kind of thinking “over fertilised”, it felt like an alien jungle with too much growth and very organic and unplanned.

wips 013

I plan to bind it in the next few weeks and take proper photos, but the above picture gives you a good idea of how I have grown as a quilter in the past year.  The white was done on the Bernina after I’d been free motion quilting for about a year.  The grey is done after about two years quilting and three months on the longarm.  I must say, I’m pretty happy with how well the longarming is going :)

wips 009

So that’s it from me for this week.  Tomorrow night I will be with the Queanbeyan Quilters for the launch of their exhibition, so if you’re local and at the event, please say hi!  I hope to pop back to the exhibition again over the weekend, but it will depend on other commitments.  You can find all the details here.  There are two amazing raffle quilts, so pop in and buy some tickets if you can :)

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So that’s it quilty folks.  Be brave and break some quilty rules, you never know where you’ll end up and it might just be awesome!  Thanks for linking up and please remember to visit three of your fellow linkers, we all love comments <3


I Quilt – getting to know my modern quilt guild

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

It’s Thursday and it’s time to come link up your quilty process here at Pretty Bobbins!

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This week I’m featuring the lovely Marelize from Stitch by Stitch.  Marelize’s quilting is beautiful.  If you haven’t visited her blog then you must head over now.  I’ll wait while you do ;)  How AMAZING are her feather samples??? (below)  It is no surprise that Marelize was asked to do a demonstration.  Seriously beautiful stuff!

marelize feather samples

Marelize also wrote last week about Instagram taking over her life and her blog getting less attention.  I think most of us have been bitten by that bug!  Instagram is such a great place to be inspired, share and interact with other quilters.  I think the immediacy of instagram and the ease of interaction is a big drawcard.  If you’re on instagram, let me know your name in the comments so I can follow your creative journey :)

marelize instagram

Marelize is definitely a source of inspiration for me on instagram and as I’m writing this I’m thinking you might like to check out some of the other talented quilters on instagram.  Again, please feel free to mention people in the comments, I happily follow over 700 people LOL

@lolablueocean – amazing longarm/freemotion quilting.  AMAZING!

@leishakaye – beautiful, beautiful work!  Another talented longarm quilter <3

@IVAST82 – lots of colourful projects and lovely quilting!

@theelvengarden – Jess has a beautiful sense of style and palette and her quilting is GORGEOUS!

@sewkindofwonderful – her current project is stunning!  LOVE!

@cristycreates – not only is she a font of information, but her quilting is specatular!

The list could go on forever really ;)  One thing I would like to say is, if you’re on instagram, please use hashtags.  It increases your exposure and it helps instagram addicts like me find you.  I often scroll through the hastags of #quilting #midcenturymodern #quilt #interiors  Help a girl out and go hashtag crazy ;)

This week I wanted to talk about quilting locally.  When I was living in Nouméa all of my quilty interaction was online.  Over the course of the past three months I have joined three local quilt guilds and I’m loving it!  I find the meetings are a great way to socialise with people who share the same passion, a great place to get inspired whilst ooohing and aaaahing over quilts and, if I’m being honest, a great escape.  It’s the only “me time” I take and I really enjoy it!

photo (41)

This evening at the Canberra Modern Quilt Guild we will be swapping nametags.  It’s a secret swap so I’m going to post this when I get home with some photos.  I shared a sneak peek on instagram the other day when I was selecting binding and typically went with the unusual choice ;)  I hope my swap partner likes it!  I think the purple brings out the warmth of the orange and is a nice surprise.  The blue was the safer choice and I like to live life on the edge ;)  I did improv curves with some favourite scraps and Essex linen and hand-stitched with Aurifil 12wt.  A little FMQ on my Bernina with a lovely King Tut variegated thread.  Lots of modern techniques in there :)

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Here are all of the secret name tags from the swap at the meeting this evening.  I love the feeling of belonging in this guild and I love the different aspects and personalities of all three guilds that I attend.  One of them meets EVERY Friday night!  I only go to every second or third meeting, we’re just too busy for me to be out every Friday.

I’m much quieter at guild meetings than I am on the blog, but I’m trying my best to be more outgoing.  It’s that whole new people/situation anxiety thing, which is another reason I love instagram, I can feel confident in my studio and online at the same time :)  I’d love to hear how you build your confidence and get to know local quilters :)

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So that’s it, let’s get linky.  Please remember to visit three other linkers and add a link to my blog or the linky button to your post or sidebar :)  Thanks for linking up!


Priorities – getting it right

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

Can you believe that I’m posting more than once this week?  Gosh that hasn’t happened for awhile!  I have been wanting to, but the week passes and Thursday arrives and I’m pushing to just get my I Quilt linky post out.  But today I got a wake-up call and I’m sorting my priorities, today is all about getting it right.  Or at least trying to! ;)

I read a post last year sometime that said something along the lines of, “when you’re starting up your longarm business, think about whether you just want to be snowed under by quilts, it’s easy to burn out.  What you need to think about it what you want to do rather than just trying to take in 100 quilts a week.”

QBN Quilters ad 2 text

An ad that I put together for two upcoming quilt shows that I am sponsoring. This is where my heart is.

Last week at a local guild meeting someone asked me, “is it true that once you get a longarm you never have time to piece?”  I could only laugh and offer a bit of an explanation that I love designing, piecing and quilting and it’s a constant struggle to get the balance right.  AND you know that I’m struggling with balancing my day job (the one that pays the mortgage and I should be grateful for!), my family (who I love to pieces and require extra time and attention whilst settling into new schools and learning to read and write in English) and my business (that lights my fire, gets me out of bed in the morning and makes me happy).  It’s pretty clear what I want to be doing, but my commitments are also clear.

Today I had an email from a LQS that had signed me up to teach a few classes mid-year.  They were cancelling the classes as I hadn’t gotten samples to them in time.  Which is completely understandable, but I had April 14 in my diary and was working to that date.  A simple mis-communication, but one that left me in tears.  My daughter also had a lock-down at her school, a colleague was downright rude to me, winter weather has arrived and I’m hungry and no one is cooking dinner.  So really, it wasn’t my favourite day ever!

I like to think that I’m a pragmatic soul.  What I am taking from today is that I need to sit down with a blank piece of paper and pencil and sort out my priorities.  Accepting that I must continue my day job, feed the kids, clean the house, etc, I do have the privilege of setting my own priorities for my business.

BLOGGING is a priority.  I love my blog.  I love you folk.  I love sharing, being creative, encouraging others and being inspired.  I will make blogging a higher priority from now on.

QUILTING is a priority.  Quilting makes my heart sing.  I have the equipment, space and ability to quilt.  Making time to quilt is a priority.

PIECING is rewarding.  I love making quilts. I  LOVE playing with colour.  I MISS playing with colour!  I’m writing a timetable and I’m setting some time each week to piece something for me.  That I love.  In my colours.  Piecing is a priority, just not the highest one.  An hour a week will keep me happy and is manageable.

DESIGNING is something that I love.  I DO NOT love the time and effort it takes to take my original designs and turn them into a pattern fit to sell.  It’s hard work and it takes lots of time and it is going down the list.  I wish I could do it all, but taking my sketches and quilts and rewriting them, checking, getting them tested…  It’s not at the core of what I want to achieve.

TEACHING is something that I am super excited about.  It is VERY flattering to have people tell you that they love your work.  That they want to pay you to teach others.  Somewhat less exciting is the time it takes to prepare classes, instructions, notes and then check them all.  I can’t wait to start teaching and I hope that it’s a success, but I need to watch my commitments here.  This is not my highest priority, but this does compliment my goal of being a full-time longarm quilter, it is a high priority and it is FUN.

I would love your tips on prioritising.  I read this great post on running/starting a creative business this week. I guess I’m struggling with reality and my dreams.  I always describe myself as overly optimistic.  Today it occurred to me that maybe I just have a really poor sense of time LOL

So there you go!  Sorry for the lack of photos.  Sorry for the overly deep and meaningful post.  I’m putting this out there and holding myself accountable.  I am going to get my priorities right.  Well, righter, at least ;)  And maybe practice my English as I’m meant to be teaching two children to read LOL

I Quilt: A Worthy Cause

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

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It’s Thursday, it’s time, I Quilt and I’m guessing you do too ;)  So come link up your quilting process!  This week I’m talking about quilting for a cause which is something that I think many of us have done.  I was completely inspired by this week’s feature quilter, Kathy from Kayak Quilting.

kathy's quilt 2

Used with permission from Kayak Quilting

Kathy made a stunning grey house quilt.  I love the mix of straight wavy line quilting and swirls.  It really is a fantastic quilt, high in contrast and full of clean, sharp lines.  But what I loved most about Kathy’s post last week was this: “A few hours each week my husband and I get to tutor children who have experienced homelessness…suffice it to say it is a gift to us that we have the opportunity to play a small part in these kids’ lives.”

Used with permission from Kayak Quilting

Used with permission from Kayak Quilting

Kathy thank you for reminding us that we can use our quilting for others.  Kathy’s lovely house quilt is going to be part of a silent auction for a Housing Families’ upcoming Gala.  I don’t want to get all “holier than thou” on you, but I do want to give a virtual high five to all you special quilters out there who are using this wonderful art of ours to do good.  Giddy up to you!!  Please take a moment to go check out Kathy’s work at Kayak Quilting, thanks for sharing with us Kathy xx

Must quilt names into quilts at every opportunity!

Must quilt names into quilts at every opportunity!  Hint: do not try this at night!  Ask me how I know…

The past few days I have been quilting a lovely memory quilt (which is awfully hard to photograph without sharing all of the customer’s personal photos).  There is a definitely travel theme going on and I love all of the cute prints.

Tres cool Paris and London prints <3

Tres cool Paris and London prints <3

Last week I shared my binding tips and some of you shared your favourite tips back.  I found these methods super useful, thanks to Quilt Paradigm and Mel of We Shall Sew:

Reversible Binding tutorial

Reversible Binding tutorial #2

Susie’s Magic Binding

So that’s it from me.  Please remember to add a link back to my blog and/or the linky button to your post or sidebar.  Please visit three other linkers.  We all love visitors!

Happy quilting!!

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I Quilt: Binding

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

Welcome to I Quilt linky party at Pretty Bobbins :)  I’m claiming a win as it is still Thursday in some parts of the world….  So come link up and be merry! :)

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I haven’t gotten myself organised to feature anyone this week but I’ll get back on top of that next week :)  I myself was featured by my local modern quilt guild this week and will be sharing a post with them on what’s inspiring me soon.  Once I write it…  It’s a bit like that at present!  But there is lots of exciting stuff on!  Teaching schedules are being published by Addicted to Fabric and Hobby Sew Belconnen at the moment and I’ll add a page with info on the blog in the next week or so.  I have some BEAUTIFUL Sarah Jane and Jennifer Sampou fabric here that I’m about to get busy with for some upcoming blog hops on the 13th and 30th of April.  I also had a super exciting surprise email from Mark Lipinski and will be on his radio show on the 30th of April.  I have just finished a magical quilt for the lovely Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts.  That one sure was difficult to post…

Piecing by Alyce Blythe, machine quilting by me

Piecing by Alyce Blythe, machine quilting by me

This week I wanted to talk about binding.  Binding is definitely my LEAST favourite part of quilting and until I learnt how to machine bind I had a stack of quilts that were looking like never getting finished.  There are a few different methods out there, but my favourite is by Red Pepper Quilts.  Rita’s example is absolutely PERFECT.  You know that I NEVER aim for perfection but enjoy the process ;)  It took me a few attempts to achieve binding that was caught on the back the whole way around and now I find it quite easy.


My biggest tip for machine binding is to iron the heck out of your binding after you have sewn it to the front.  I use very small bulldog clips on each of the corners of the quilt (if it’s looking like the mitered corners are a bit tight I also use a dab of my sewline glue pen to hold them down) and no pins.  I keep a quilting glove on my left hand to support the quilt and make sure that the weight of the quilt is not pulling it out of place.  I use my (gloveless) right hand to keep the binding firmly in place as it approaches the machine needle.  I find it best to bind a quilt in a single sitting whilst the binding is nicely pressed.

folded binding

The above quilt, Colour Therapy, is only the second or third quilt that I machine bound and as you can see the binding is quite neat.  If you fear machine binding or you’ve tried Red Pepper Quilt’s method and find it a bit tricky, another popular (and slightly easier) method is by Crazy Mom Quilts.  She attaches her binding to the back, folds it over and then machine stitches it down, so you can actually see the binding and easily catch it rather than doing it by touch.  I have used this method once (below photo) and found it to be very neat and easy.

Director's mini finished

This week I actually applied binding on the longarm for the first time!  It was surprisingly easy and super fast!  I just made sure that I basted the sides of the quilt very straight and then followed the outside edge of the hopping foot (as a 1/4″ guide).  If you have a longarm and you haven’t tried applying binding on the frame I urge you to give it a go.  You will be surprised at how easy it is and its a great time saver!

photo (40)

Please let me know if you have any binding tips or favourite methods so I can share them next week.  Binding really is my least favourite yet undeniably essential part of quilting!

So that’s me for this week!  Now to collect the children from school and face the weekend.  YAY for weekends I say :)

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Please remember to visit three other linkers (we all love comments!) and add a link and/or button to your post or sidebar.  Remember that this linky is all about the quilty process be it sketching quilting designs, coming up with quilting ideas for a new quilt top, quilting techniques or any other related techniques, tips and lessons learnt.  I love learning from you all each week and I hope you’re enjoying linking up too! Mwah, mwah! (That’s two French kisses in case you were wondering.)  Happy linking xx



I Quilt: Quilting keeps me sane

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

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Happy Thursday lovely quilty peeps and welcome to the I Quilt linky party!  I’m so sorry that I didn’t post last week.  I ended up spending four hours on Wednesday evening at the Doctor with my daughter and then a number of sleepless nights listening to her wheeze.  Nothing like starting a new school to introduce you to a whole round of germs!

Image used with permission from Hilary Florence.

Image used with permission from Hilary Florence.

This week I am going to talk about my sanity which is probably a bit of a reflection of the last week or month or year or so ;)  But first up I want to feature the ever lovely Hilary from Hilary Florence Quilting Workshop.  A couple of weeks back Hilary linked up a black and white quilt she was working on.  Hilary is a kindred spirit, she doesn’t mark her quilting and she embraces the wonk :)  As much as I love my Intelliquilter (computer guided quilt thingy for the longarm) it completely removes the imperfection and personality that comes with free motion quilting.  I love the little bumps that occurred when a child called my name or I decided to try something new mid-quilting.  I think we should all embrace these little pieces of our personalities that make their way into our quilts.  Mind you, looking at Hilary’s work it’s pretty close to perfect!!!  Just beautiful stuff Hilary!  You’ve totally inspired me, I can’t wait to see where you take this quilt.  Thank you for sharing.  Quilting with black thread on a white whole cloth deserves a round of applause so pop over and check out her work :)

Image used with permission from Hilary Florence.

Image used with permission from Hilary Florence.

I often find myself telling people how I got into quilting.  I’ve always sewn but quilting is something that I’ve really only been doing for two years or so.  I now find myself at a time in my life where I’m struggling to keep up with all of the demands that come with having a young family but quilting is something that I just won’t let go of.  Can’t let go of.  Quilting takes me to another place, my happy place.  It balances me, re-energizes me and fills me with confidence.

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I quilt for my sanity.  I quilt to be happy.  Quilting is SO much more than just thread and fabric.

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This week I’ve been working on a BEAUTIFUL quilt from Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts in Japan.  It’s both a pleasure and a privilege.

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As always I just jumped in with an incomplete plan and had fun.  Moments of doubt crept in mid-quilt, but when I pushed on and enjoyed the process trusting that I KNOW how to do this.  I KNOW that I’m good at this.

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Three days a week I go to my day job, I question my productivity, I question my abilities, my confidence is lacking and I feel like I’m wasting everyone’s time.  I NEED to quilt on the other days for my sanity.  Who would have thought that a bit of thread, cloth and sewing machine could keep a girl sane?  Does quilting keep you sane?  Does it take you to a happy place?  Do you trust yourself and go with the flow?  Do you enjoy the process?  Why do YOU quilt?

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Now let’s get linking :)  Please try to visit three other linkers and share your quilting process.  Don’t forget to share the love and add a link to my blog or the I Quilt button to your post or sidebar :)



I Quilt: beating the mundane

By Gemma @ Pretty Bobbins

Welcome to I Quilt at Pretty Bobbins, your weekly quilty linky party.  I was so focused on remaining bubbly and happy and all things positive at work today, that I came home and completely forgot that it was Thursday!  So here I am, a little late in the evening, but here nonetheless!

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As always, I ask that you please visit three or so other linkers (share the love people!) and add a link and/or my button to your post/side bar.  The reason that I started the I Quilt linky was to give back to the great online community that we have.  I want to provide a place where we can get together, share our quilting process, our lessons learnt, successes and things we might do differently next time ;)  Immaculate photos of beautiful quilts are great eye candy, but the process is what gets me really excited.  Thank you for sharing your process and for spreading the quilting love :)

Image used with permission by Karen's Quilts, Crows and Cardinals.

Image used with permission by Karen’s Quilts, Crows and Cardinals.

This week I am featuring the amazingly talented Karen from Karen’s Quilts, Crows and Cardinals.  Last week Karen shared an absolutely stunning table runner.  Karen’s free motion feathers are stunning, there is no doubting that, but what I love most about this piece is that it came from a visit to a Fiber Festival.  Now this really warms my heart, because last week when I showed one of my quilts, it was a thread embroiderer that came up and was super excited.  I love that whilst we may choose one field of art or craft, we can still appreciate the work, skill and expertise that goes into another.  Karen added wool felt flowers and three dimensional cotton flowers to her table runner.  Karen, I LOVE your creativity!  Mixed mediums are so much fun and I love experimentation can take us to whole new realms of creativity.  Please pop over and visit Karen, I especially love her recent cardinal piece and all the FMQ, just beautiful!!

Image used with permission by Karen's Quilts, Crows and Cardinals.

Image used with permission by Karen’s Quilts, Crows and Cardinals.

Thank you all so much for the advice that you shared with me last week on this balancing act that I’m fumbling my way through.  I really appreciate it.  Being back in the office is a bit crazy, I’ve been gone eight years and am a bit shocked to find that NOTHING has changed.  It is a stark contrast to my life that has changed radically during those eight years.  I have had three wonderful children, found my passion in quilting, struggled through illness and stress, faced challenges bigger than I imagined possible and come out the other side as a happier, better, nicer, stronger person.

Contemplating the sunshine this afternoon after big storms yesterday <3

Contemplating the sunshine this afternoon after big storms yesterday <3

Every day I’m at work I feel like my shadow that is eight years past is one step ahead of me.  It’s a bit of a mind bend, but it reminds me how important it is to be positive, to be the best me I can be and to not take on shallow or petty mind sets.  I often find myself giggling under my breath at myself when I remember the things that used to be all consuming, having a cubicle near a window, chasing a promotion, being regarded as a go-get-er.  I am sure that I am way more productive now than I was back then.  It’s funny how motherhood has made me a more productive and confident employee.  Here I was for all those years with a sense of inadequacy that I was no longer the young professional I once was LOL  On the off chance that I ever become a manager I will value highly the skills that parents bring to the workplace! :)

Me yesterday in a local sculpture garden that we discovered.  I love this photo (I spent the day with my husband) but I also don't really recognise myself.  Aging is weird, right?!

Me yesterday in a local sculpture garden that we discovered. I love this photo (I spent the day with my husband) but I also don’t really recognise myself. Aging is weird, right?!

In terms of finding balance, quite a few people mentioned setting goals and writing ‘to-do’ lists.  I’m a bit scared of the to do list as I will then see how much I have to do LOL  But I have been setting myself daily goals and I am super happy that I have been getting a little quilting done on my office days :)  On my studio days I have been trying to get quilting and paperwork done.  It’s a struggle to get it all done, but I’m following much of the advice that I was given last week and it is definitely helping :)  Thank you for sharing!!

I'm loving my Intelliquilter (computer guided system) which allows me to quilt on the days that I don't have time to do custom/free motion work.  I love this customer quilt with it's cool tones and contemporary feel.

I’m loving my Intelliquilter (computer guided system) which allows me to quilt on the days that I don’t have time to do custom/free motion work. I love this customer quilt with it’s cool tones and contemporary feel.

Speaking of balancing and quilting, I’m really finding the Intelliquilter (computer guided system for the longarm) is a Godsend.  I had thought it would be a means to an ends, but I still find it very rewarding to load a quilt and do an edge to edge pattern after a day at the office.  I’m hoping to do more custom/free motion quilting on my studio days.  Watch this space ;)

Another computer-guided edge to edge design.  I LOVE this backing fabric!  I think it would make the perfect full skirt <3

Another computer-guided edge to edge design. I LOVE this backing fabric! I think it would make the perfect full skirt <3

So that’s me in a nutshell (OK, how many of you are picturing that scene from Austin Powers now? ;) )  I have a few secret projects on and great hope to get back to blogging more often than once a week…  But in the meantime I will be visiting your blogs, trying to gain some more balance and staring on a new version of my Starry Skies quilt, I can’t wait to share that one!

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Now it’s your turn :)  Add your link, visit three or so other linkers and share you quilty process!  Big love xxx  (Can you tell I’m feeling the love this week?  Kinda weird that being back in the office has me super happy LOL)


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