March 2014 archive

I Quilt – getting to know my modern quilt guild


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

– amazing longarm/freemotion quilting.  AMAZING!

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

– lots of colourful projects and lovely quilting!

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

– her current project is stunning!  LOVE!

– 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!

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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!

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Priorities – getting it right


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


i quilt blog button

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!!

i quilt blog button




I Quilt: Binding


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! :)

i quilt blog button

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!

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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 :)

i quilt blog button

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


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I Quilt: Quilting keeps me sane


i quilt blog button

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?

i quilt blog button

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 :)


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