May 2013 archive

When a quilt is needed


You may remember a little while back that I shared a progress pic with you.

mixing hand and machine quilting

I actually finished this quilt weeks ago but I was waiting to share it until the recipient, my Mother, had received it.  I’m going to share the story of the making of this quilt, but the story of why it came about is not mine to share, so please forgive me if this post is somewhat stilted.

mixed quilt top

This quilt was made with speed in mind.  My Mother had received some bad news and as it isn’t possible for me to be there in person the next best thing was to make a quilt and get it there as soon as possible.  I think it took a week to make from start to finish and I really enjoyed the hand quilting.

mixed hand quilting details

I used Aurifil 50wt in a soft pink (2410) for the FMQ and the luxurious Aurifil 12wt in four verigated colours (blue 3770, purple 3840, pink 4660, yellow 3920).  The combination of the hand quilting and super soft voiles and Art Gallery Fabrics in the pieced section  kept the quilt nice and light and super soft.  Thank you Pink Chalk Fabrics and Hawthorne Threads for selling such beautiful fabrics (two of my favourite online fabric stores and I’m not paid to say that, they’re just awesome)!

mixed quilt back

I have a thing about nice backs.  For this quilt it was all about speed so for the first time in a long time I just used the yardage that I had the most of for the back.  I actually would have selected warmer colours for the back, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.  Would you believe I spent no time matching up the print on the back?  I think it looks pretty good :)

mixed quilting details

The quilt was an emotional make for me.  I find quilting to be medatative and quilting this baby helped me process the news that my Mother had received   I’m not sure quilting is the cheapest therapy around, but it sure does help ;)

mixed quilt writing details

It’s a little hard to see, but I FMQed the words to a song, “The Birds and The Bees” that immediately takes me back to my childhood, in our garden, singing in loud silly voice with my Mother.

mixed quilt label

I’m not sure I got the name of the quilt right, but I named it from the song, “The Flowers and The Trees”.

mixed quilt angle

I went to town quilting this baby, I wanted the patterns to move upward with the movement of the pieced section.  Just looking at these photos I’m itching to get quilting again (I’ve been piecing all week!).

Size: aprox 60″ x 70″
Materials: Bella Steel, Art Gallery Fabrics, voiles and various stash quilting cottons
Wadding: 100% cotton
Pieced and quilted by me on my Bernina 440QE

mixed quilt folded

I’m linking up with TGIFF over at Charm About You and boy am I glad it’s Friday!!!!!!

Gyoza? Yes please! A new pattern.


Last year when Alyce was Queen Bee for Wombat Stew she selected a theme of Japanese Cuisine.  At the time I was using Quilt Assistant and drew up a paper pieced block of my favourite Japanese dish, Gyoza (dumplings).

gyoza block image
Available for purchase here on Craftsy

Alyce put her blocks together this month and produced this beautiful mini, Itadakimasu!  She has entered it into The Blogger’s Quilt Festival, you can find it here if you’re thinking of voting ;)

Itedakimasu detail
Photo with permission courtesy of Blossom Heart Quilts.

To celebrate Alyce’s awesome quilt I redrew my original block in EQ7 and have listed it for sale on Craftsy.   It looks tricky and it is a little fiddly, but it is pieced in such a way as to avoid scary Y seams :)  I’d love to hear from you if you make it!

Now I’m off to hunt down some dumplings in Nouméa :)

Works in progress


Do you remember this lovely WiP?

wonky stars pieced section wip

I had to set it aside as I ran out of Kona Steel.  After spending a day calling quilting stores in Australia I found a supplier and stalked the posty.  Yesterday my Kona arrived.  Yay!  Except it isn’t a perfect match :(  Boo!  I’m not sure exactly what has happened but I do think it is time to get myself a Kona colour card to add to my Moda Bella colour card and Aurifil colour card.

kona steel and kona what

So, what do I do now?  This quilt kind of has a timeframe on it.  I had a vision and that vision involved expanses of Kona Steel with possibly some flying geese and lots of FMQ.  Do I compromise?  I only have a smidgen of Kona Steel left.  Nothing to speak of.

last of Kona steel

I would LOVE to hear your suggestions.  At it’s current size I could finish it as is and call it a play mat, a wall hanging, a teeny lap quilt (actually, that’s pushing it).  Anyway, you get the idea.  What would you do?  I do have a Essex linen that is a very good match but as you know, linen/cotton blend and quilting cotton are noticibly different.  I have a charm pack of Cuzco that I could throw in to build a border or sorts.  But I’m not really a border girl (OK, sometimes I am, this time I’m undecided)…

kona steel and essex steel
Kona Steel left, Essex linen middle, Kona something top right.

Whilst the undecided wonky stars sat untended I started on a new and SUPER exciting project.  Seriously exciting.  I have been commission to make three wall hangings for friends as a souvinir of their time living in the South Pacific.  They have spent a lot of time on the water over the past decade and are making a big change in their life.  I feel very honoured that they have asked me to do this.

wip sneak peek
Lots of colourful curves in progress

Last night I finished piecing the final of the three tops and today I basted them.  One thing about life in Nouméa that jumped out at me on day 1 and still stops me in my tracks is the colour.  This place is seriously bursting with colour.  Clothing, housing, flora, fauna, the lagoon.  You can see a whole post I dedicated to the colours of New Caledonia here.  My friends gave me some photos and we spent some time talking and now I have three vibrant, exciting quilts ready for quilting.

three minis in progress

I will be so scared when I hand these over, I shouldn’t be because I love them and can see that I’ve done a great job, but to try and encapsulate ten years of someone’s life is rather daunting!  In a great way :)  Like a great, big scary way! ;)

In completely unrelated news, amongst all this piecing and quilting I have been dreaming of dressmaking.  It’s winter in the southern hemisphere, but for the most part I’m in summer dresses with a cardigan.  I’ve had this material and pattern forever and I’ve been thinking about making a start on it all week.  Certainly much more pleasant that crying over Kona! ;)

vogue dress

Have you been stitching this week?  Do you compromise on a quilt to get it done?  Do you know where I can buy a kona colour card?  Has anyone ever asked you to make a quilt representing their memories?  I think it’s time for me to crawl into bed – it’s only Wednesday and it feels like such a big week already!!

I’m linking up with Work In Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I like Pretty Fabric, a Kate Spain Blog Hop


 Kate Spain blog hop

I like pretty fabric.  I remember visiting fabric stores with my Mum when I was little and touching all the pretty fabrics.  I used to love diving into her stash, looking at all the pretty prints imagining what they might become (funny story, she used to make gym gear in the 90s and our cat decided her lycra stash was a good snack!).  The only bit I didn’t enjoy was the pattern selection.  I wanted a dress that was exactly the same as the one in the shop, then we finally would choose a pattern that I liked but I wanted exactly the fabric on the pattern cover.  Ah, I now get the joy of experiencing this all over again, this time I’m the parent LOL

Kate Spain yardage
Some Kate Spain yardage that I’m hoarding.

Anyway, as I was saying, I do love me some pretty prints and you may have noticed that button up there :)  I have a thing for Kate Spain.  I really do.  I love her prints in the kind of way that I wish I’d bought more of each line before it became hard to find.  I am down to my last lonely scrap of pink and orange leaves from the Terrain line (see tree below).  It’s at the point where I might cry when I use it that final time…

finished New Caledonian PP house
Paper Pieced New Caledonian house with a pretty Kate Spain tree

But getting back to the point :)  I am super excited to join Alyce and a heap of fantastic bloggers in announcing a Kate Spain blog hop!  You can find Alyce’s post with all of the details here.  The hop runs from June 3-28 with two linkys at Blossom Heart Quilts and lots of prizes up for grabs.

good fortune FQ bundle
My Good Fortune FQ bundle, I’ve only just started using it, I would take it out to photograph,
 but then it wouldn’t be so perfectly folded.  Did I mention I have a thing for Kate Spain? ;)

On the 14th of June you can link up your favourite project that you’ve made of (mostly) Kate Spain prints and on the 28th link up any finished project that you have made during the hop with Kate’s prints.

kate spain peacock
How pretty is this Peacock?!

I have a fun project that I am going to share with you on the 17th, so make sure you pop back :)  I’m using some Cuzco, Terrain and Good Fortune, I love how they mix and match so well!

I couldn’t resist a charm pack of Cuzco <3

    A massive thank you to the Blog Hop sponsors who are providing some brilliant prizes for the link ups!

    Mystery prize from Kate Spain
    Serenade layer cake
    In From The Cold fat quarter bundle
    Cuzco mini fat quarter bundle
    $20 gift voucher
    In From The Cold jelly roll

    $25 gift voucher

    Here’s the schedule, so make sure you’re following via Facebook or subscribed via the sidebar options to keep in the loop of where to go each day!

    Monday June 3rd – Interview with Kate Spain at Blossom Heart Quilts
    Tuesday June 4th – Jane at QuiltJane
    Wednesday June 5th – Christa at Christa Quilts
    Thursday June 6th – Kimberly at Fat Quarter Shop
    Friday June 7th – Laura at Quokka Quilts

    Monday June 10th – Chrissy at Sew Lux
    Tuesday June 11th – Lynne at Lily’s Quilts
    Wednesday June 12th – Julie at The Intrepid Thread
    Thursday June 13th – Kristy at Quiet Play
    Friday June 14th - Link up your favourite Kate Spain project! 

    Monday June 17th – Me!! at Pretty Bobbins
    Tuesday June 18th – Heidi at Fabric Mutt
    Wednesday June 19th – Melissa at Ms Midge
    Thursday June 20th – Jess at The Elven Garden
    Friday June 21st – Janice at Better Off Thread

    Monday June 24th – Diane at From Blank Pages…
    Tuesday June 25th – Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts
    Wednesday June 26th – Kara at Me And Elna
    Thursday June 27th – Readers’ Q&A with Kate Spain at Blossom Heart Quilts
    Friday June 28th - Link up your blog hop projects!

    Kate Spain blog hop

    Getting there…


    The last week has been a bit all over the place.  I’ll save you the details, but on top of the usual craziness, we had general strikes last week, public holidays, half day at school and then got some incredibly frustrating and disappointing news yesterday.  I’m trying to take it in my stride, but it’s certainly not smooth sailing here at the moment.  In addition to the recent ups and downs I am very much in the early stages of preparing for an international move next February.

    Twice this week I’ve had photos ready to go and been planning to blog when admin issues have gotten in the way.  Unfortunately I think this will continue and possibly increase as our move gets closer.  This will be our fourth international move and whilst we are certainly getting better at it, it is still a huge undertaking.  Quilting and blogging is my happy place, and I’m dedicated to it, the frequency may just drop a little.  I’ve totally got my head in the sand about the prospect of packing up my machines for two months when we move.  *Lalalalala hands over ears*
    That’s a very long winded way of explaining why I am doing my work in progress Wednesday post on a Thursday ;)  So, enough of the chatter, what am I working on…
    wonky stars wip
    My gorgeous helper and I have been working on a layout.
    wonky stars layout wip
    I’ve wanted to try wonky stars for awhile and I started this project as a cushion cover with all of the stars close together.  Then I pulled some additional prints and decided a quilt was in order.
    wonky stars shrinking wip
    I’m always amazed at how much a quilt shrinks as it’s sewn together!
    I’m actually thinking of putting a pattern together for this top.  I’m planning a lot of negative space and possibly a border or two (run with me here).  But I basically have had to shelve it for now as I ran out of Kona Steel!!! :(

    wonky stars pieced section wip
    I have ordered some more and am crossing my fingers that it’s a perfect match.  When I realised that I didn’t have enough grey to finish this top I sat down with some graph paper and worked out the most efficient way of piecing the stars together.  This quilt top is about as structured as I get but it still has that delightful look of improv.  I have all the cutting instructions written down and I thought this might be a fun project for those who like the look of improv but find it hard to achieve.  What do you think?  Would this appeal to you? :)  I’m really looking forward to seeing this baby finished, lots of possibilities for FMQ fun :)

    I would be linking up late with Work In Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced except she isn’t having the linky this week and it’s Thursday LOL.

    Are you struggling to keep up this week or ploughing ahead in leaps and bounds?

    Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Blessings Quilt


    Welcome if you’re visiting as part of the Blogger’s Quilt Festival!  This is only the second time I’ve participated but it’s so much fun that this time I’m entering two quilts!  You can find my Rainbow I Spy quilt here.  Make sure that you pop over to Amy’s Creative Side and check out all of the awesome quilts in the Festival :)   Be sure to nominate your choice (17-24 May) and then vote for your favourite in each category (24-30 May).  I’d love it if you would consider my quilts (I’m entering two this round, you can find my second post here), but please, vote for your favourite :)

    color wheel quilted 1

    I’m entering my Blessings Quilt in the ‘home machine quilted quilt’ category.  I made this quilt a few months ago as a late Baptism gift for a close friend’s daughter.  I was doing Rachel’s Curves Class at the time (the color wheel is pieced not appliqué) and I decided to take her color wheel pattern and add some FMQ love to it :)  I am super proud of this quilting.  Yes, this quilt is technically a color wheel but it was a milestone and turning point for me in my free motion quilting.

    color wheel quilted details 3

    I marked out the inner and outer lines of the diamonds with chalk and FMQed the rest.  I quilted each section of the color wheel with a different FMQ design inspired by one of the scrap pieces in that section.  I changed threads to match the section (luckily I have been collecting a rainbow of Aurifil in 50wt) and really had a lot of fun.

    color wheel quilted purple
    color wheel quilted grey

    color wheel quilted back details
    FMQ on back

    As much as I completely and utterly love this quilt I do wish that I had not pieced the back.  I LOVE the quilting.  I really challenged myself to be creative with my free motion quilting and a whole cloth back would have really shown just how special the quilting is.

    color wheel quilted back
    All free motion quilted with the exception of the inner and outer most lines of the diamond shapes

    I actually started quilting the grey section with grey thread and ripped it out after a few minutes and restarted with a pale pink (Aurifil 2410 50wt).  I’m so glad that I did because it complements the grey negative space but also shows the design up nicely.  I’ve since used this thread and solid combination again as I love the affect so much :)

    color wheel quilted above

    As I mentioned this quilt was a Baptism gift and I wanted it to carry a special blessing from my family to the recipient so I got out some perlé 8 and hand stitched a blessing.

    color wheel quilted centre

    For the binding I used a fun blue (Kona Lagoon I think) and matched the quilt design in the centre of the color wheel to the binding.  I packaged it up and sent it back to Australia.

    color wheel quilted folded

    I’m happy to tell you that the little Miss in question received her quilt a month or so ago and her big sister promptly stole it for a dolly’s tea party.  Yes, it is being loved in it’s new home and that is all we can ask for as quilters :)  (Just so you know, the sisters are now sharing it as best a young baby and pre-schooler can share.)

    The all important stats:

    Category: Home machine quilted quilt
    Size: a little under 40″ x 40″
    Pieced and Quilted by: Me on my Bernina 440QE
    Wadding: 100% cotton wadding
    Threads: Aurifil threads (50wt) for machine quilting and perlé 8 for some hand stitching
    Fabric: scraps (quilting cottons) and Kona solids

    Thank you so much for stopping by and considering my quilt as part of the Blogger’s Quilt Festival!

    Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Rainbow I Spy


    I love the Blogger’s Quilt Festival!  If you don’t know about it make sure you pop over to Amy’s Creative Side and check out all of the AMAZING quilts on display!  Be sure to nominate your choice (17-24 May) and then vote for your favourite in each category (24-30 May).  I’d love it if you would consider my quilts (I’m entering two this round, you can find my Blessing Quilt here), but please, vote for your favourite :)

    rainbow i spy quilt top

    This quilt was 8 months in the making and I only finished it recently.  I fussy cut 243 prints (I may be out by one or two, it’s hard to count them all!) then laid them out in rainbow order.  I initially cut sashing at 1.5″ and sashed two sides of each print.  I then spent days working out the placement.  It was worth the time to get the layout right.  I used every novelty print in my stash at that time and didn’t double up (for example, there might be two chairs but they are different prints).

    rainbow i spy quilt pebbles

    I seriously underestimated the amount of white sashing required but one of my favourite quilty friends was so encouraging of this project that she sent me some yardage so I could keep going.  (She also convinced me that this quilt was too special to sell and I’m glad she did because my son loves it.)  Because the piecing of this quilt was very much improv in method I ended up with some sections of white sashing that were quite large.  I used two of these sections to quilt my son’s name and the year.

    rainbow i spy quilt year quilted
    Can you see 2012 outlined in the gaps among the pebbles?

    I love a good back.  I love making a quilt that is double sided, a back that complements the top and gives the recipient options.  I stuck with the rainbow theme but used Kona Steel for the back with a large scrappy rainbow strip.  I LOVE the back and think I’ll do a similar design for a top one day.

    rainbow i spy quilt back

    I wanted this quilt to be truly double sided so I used a grey thread (Aurifil 2605 50wt) in the bobbin and a white (Aurifil 2024 50 and 40wt) top thread.

    rainbow i spy quilt back on bed

    I pebbled my heart out and had a lot of fun.  It was a bit of a brain teaser working out my quilting path as I only quilted the sashing, not the prints.

    rainbow i spy quilt on bed

    I really wanted to take the rainbow right to the edge of this quilt and in addition to the rainbow sashing I quilted some pebbles among wavy lines in the border.  I spent a long time considering which category to enter this quilt in and decided on ROYGBIV quilt because it was all about the rainbow; getting the perfect placement, matching the borders, the quilting and the stitching.

    rainbow i spy quilt details 3

    My lovely friend Fiona suggested that I stitch words in the border to match the prints.  At the time I didn’t feel confident writing with my machine so I used some verigated 12 wt Aurifil thread and got hand stitching, again keeping the colours in sync with the rainbow of prints.

    rainbow i spy quilt find a word

    This part of the project really slowed me down, but I’m so glad I did it. I stitched 40 words in the end but am yet to add a label!  Thank you for your great idea and encouragement Fiona!

    This quilt now lives on my six year old son’s bed.  He was previously using the sofa quilt but now all three of my precious babies have quilts made especially for them by me.

    kids quilts
    Walking into this room I always think of the ‘three little bears’ :)

    The all important stats:

    Category: ROYGBIV Quilt
    Size: 80″ x 62″
    Quilted by: Me on my Bernina 440QE
    Quilting: A mix of FMQ and SLQ
    Wadding: 100% bamboo wadding
    Threads: Aurifil threads (40 and 50wt for machine quilting, 12wt for hand embroidery)
    Fabric: quilting cottons (I fussy cut every novelty print in my stash at that time)

    Thank you so much for stopping by and considering my quilt as part of the Blogger’s Quilt Festival!



    Prepare to be inundated with posts from me today :)  I had to post a TGIFF (although it’s a small one) as one of my quilting besties is hosting today (love you Ms Midge!).  Later this afternoon I will be posting my Blogger’s Quilt Festival posts. I wrote the posts last night but am holding off posting them until the US ticks over to the 17th LOL.

    Before I go any further I just want to say that I’m so terribly sad to hear of Kathreen and her partner.  I didn’t know Kathreen but we had been emailing over the past week or so and I cannot stop thinking of her today.  When you share your life online, this whole blogging thing, social media, sharing quilts and thoughts and lives.  It’s all hit very close to home.  My thoughts are with her two children.  As we go about our usual busy days today I will be holding my babies a little tighter and appreciating every second I have with them.

    My finish this week is a simple one.  A cushion cover for a newborn.  It’s such a fun cushion I am sure he’ll love it.  I used some lovely bright boy prints for the front.

    cushion cover front

    The back features the recipient’s name and a few more fussy cut planes.  I love the bright blue kona, I think it’s called Lagoon.

    cushion cover back

    Did you squeeze in a finish this week?  Wishing you all a lovely weekend with your families and friends xxx

    I’m linking up to TGIFF at Ms Midge.

    WIP Wednesday; lonely star


    Last week I was super productive, I started and finished a quilt in a week (you can see it here in progress)!  This week… Not so much.

    A large chunk of Mother’s Day was spent searching for the back cover of a school diary, it has an envelope stuck to it and the envelope holds important papers.  In the midst of all the searching we decided to finish off the big tidy up of the basement.  I was desperate to sew  and decided to start a new project, a wonky stars cushion cover (now I’m thinking it might be a quilt).  So I selected some pretty prints and got cutting.

    stars prints
    This is only about half the prints but doesn’t my sewing space look pretty right now?
    I just added those frames but will have to move them when quilting:)

    I managed to sneak in one whole star before I had to start dinner and exhaustion set in.  Three days later and this is my design wall…

    lonely star wip
    Lonely wonky star on a very sad design wall…

    I did, however, manage to find the time to get started on an order today.  These prints will be used for a cushion cover for a gorgeous newborn baby.

    boy bundle
    Going to get my ricrac on!

    If it weren’t for school pick up, making dinner, a husband that isn’t home until after 7pm and teaching Mr 6 about the Holocaust I would have finished this cushion cover this afternoon.  Oh wait, that caught me out too, a 6.5 year old asking about gas chambers?!  Turns out last week was a public holiday to commemorate the end of the war (remember, we live in France), I think Mr 6 was having a bit of an identity crisis.  Although he appears to be completely French, he knows that he is Australian and I think he was trying to figure out where he fit in the history lesson that he got.  Luckily today was a day off school and I had the time to sit with him and talk it out. Turns out he was scared that he would turn into Hitler because he isn’t French and he is white and thinks he will have black hair when he’s older.  I’m expecting much more discussion on this one.  But rest easy, I think we got to a point where he understands a fair bit but won’t have nightmares tonight.

    But back to quilting (that’s why you’re here!) :)  I have a finished cushion front and am working on the back.

    cushion cover wip

    My other work in progress is working out which quilt to enter into the Blogger’s Quilt Festival which starts in a few days.  I really enjoyed linking up for the first time last year and am excited to do so again.  I’m thinking that I will enter Mr 6′s Rainbow I Spy quilt.

    rainbow i spy quilt top

    Although I am super proud of my quilting on the Blessing quilt.  I’d love to hear your thoughts :)

    color wheel quilted 1

    In fact, I just updated my Gallery page and added a Patterns page, so everything should be easier to access and view now :)

    I’m linking up to Work In Progress Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Have you got a major wip this week or balancing smaller projects with daily life?  (And if you have any tips on explaining the big issues to 6 year olds I’d love to hear them!!)

    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

    Sunday Stash – a beautiful bouquet


    Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there :)  It’s not an easy day for everyone, but I hope that whether you’re celebrating with your loved ones or thinking of those that you can’t be with, that you have a special day.

    The closest I got to flowers was admiring this bouquet.
    SS bouquet
    I did spend some time photographing quilts which was fun :)
    SS stack of quilts
    Top to bottom: Colour Therapy, Kitchen Windows, not yet blogged, Rainbow I Spy

    If you haven’t received anything for Mother’s Day yet Craftsy is having a sale on classes I’m thinking about Angela Walter’s FMQ class, I have her book (I reviewed it here) and love it.  I’d love to hear what you think of her class if you’ve taken it :)

    Recently I went on a bit of voile and Art Gallery Fabric bender at Hawthorne Threads and Pink Chalk Fabrics.  How can one resist?  So soft an lovely!  I’ve used both for dress making before but I decided that I NEEDED to make a voile quilt.  But before I get onto the voile, this Sunday I want to share my new stash of Art Gallery Fabrics.  How can one resist these pretties?

    SS AGF
    I love Pat Bravo’s line Indie.  I’m slowly building a collection and happily added to it.  It’s getting harder to come by though but I’m resisting that urge to buy absolutely every yard I come across ;)
    SS AGF Indie

    Art Gallery Fabrics are so rich in colour and I find them to be so versatile, I’ve already used these two.

    SS AGF more

    I’m linking up with Sunday Stash over at Finding Fifth.

    Finding Fifth

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