Archive of ‘Curves’ category

I Quilt: Getting ready for the quilt show


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


An InLinkz Link-up


Shimmer Blog Hop and Fabric Giveaway


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: improv quilting


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

An InLinkz Link-up


I Quilt: Balance


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Can you believe it’s Thursday already?!  Welcome to your weekly quilty link-up here at Pretty Bobbins; I Quilt.  This link up is all about the quilting process, we want to learn and grow together and my goal is to give something back to the online quilting community.  Before I start to talk about my theme this week, I want to remind you to please visit a few other linkers and add the linky button and/or a link to my blog.

quilty habit improv mini in progress

Image by Quilty Habit, used with permission

This week I am featuring the very talented Jessica from Quilty Habit.  I always love visiting Jessica’s blog, it has a fun, fresh feel to it and her projects are always beautiful!  Her profile picture also features her in a scarf with one of my favourite prints, so I feel happy whenever I pop on over :)  Last week Jessica shared a beautiful improv curve mini that she was making for Valentine’s day.  If you follow me at all, you will know that I LOVE improv and I LOVE improv curves even more!

Quilty Habit improv curves heart mini

Image by Quilty Habit, used with permission

Jessica finished her Valentine’s mini (above) and it’s just gorgeous!  Seriously girl, you got everything just right!  The colours, the prints, the quilting, everything (even the photography)!  Well done, it’s beautiful!  I encourage you all to pop over and check it out.

Getting back to my theme this week of balance.  Now, this isn’t strictly quilting but it is integral to me as a quilter, if you know what I mean :)

As you know, I’ve recently been running around my new home town of Canberra asking the local quilting stores if they’d hand out my business cards for longarm quilting.  I also offered myself as a teacher.  Well, two stores, Addicted to Fabric and Hobby Sew, have signed me up for a number of classes including free motion quilting, piecing (with a focus on modern styles), foundation paper piecing, cushions, my starry skies quilt, table runners, and possibly a few other things.  (Details to follow, I’d love some local friendly faces to come along!)  At the same time I have had my first few customer quilts AND I have returned to my day job part time!

I’m super excited to be teaching, seriously, I can talk for hours and hours about quilting and I can’t wait to share my enthusiasm with students and offer some fresh, modern techniques and ideas.  My big dream is to be a full time longarmer and on my days at home I will working towards this as well as fitting in teaching and teaching preparations (samples people, I have samples coming out my ears!).  I then spend three days a week at the office (today was my first official day, I did go in about a month ago for a planning day).  Every day I drop my kids at school, and two days a week I collect them (from two different schools).

I am feeling overwhelmed, excited, overwhelmed, anxious, overwhelmed and…  Well you get the idea ;)  I feel like I’m over committed, I feel like I have too many equally important priorities pulling me in different directions.  I am living in chaos and I need to reign it all in and feel in control.  BUT, I am doing all of this so that I can live my dream of being a longarm quilter.  So I’m not complaining, I don’t resent the hard work.  I’m just sharing this journey :)  Balance is something that I am craving.  I want to quilt and piece.  I want to teach and quilt.  I want to be with my babies and have an income.  I don’t necessarily want to don a suit three days a week but I do want that income (and it’s kinda fun to dress up).

photo (39)

When I quilt I am pedantic about tension, I want that perfect balance between top and bobbin thread.  I take my time setting everything up, I test threads, I don’t let myself panic or worry.  I focus on getting the perfect balance and then I quilt knowing that my quilting will be beautiful, I will enjoy the process and I will feel relaxed and energised.  Right now there is no balance in my life.  It’s all GO GO GO!!!

How do you find balance?  Do you have any tips?  I would love to hear your advice.  This whole working mum, starting a business, teaching and quilting for others is new to me!  I feel comfortable and confident in each of these roles, but trying to do them all at once is a challenge!!  Share your wisdom lovely quilters :)  And I promise that next week there will be lots of quilty photos :)  Oh, and speaking of balance…  I’ve realised that I can no longer visit all the linkers, I just don’t have time, so I’m visiting half a dozen or so each week from now on.  Thanks so much for understanding, I just need to seek that balance :)

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An InLinkz Link-up

I Quilt Linky Party – Confidence


Welcome to I Quilt linky party at Pretty Bobbins, it’s Thursday (in Nouméa) and time to link up your quilting process.  Please link up, visit a few other linkers and grab my button (code at top right or down the bottom if you’re on a mobile device) and link back in your post.  Let’s spread the quilty love <3 :)  We had some seriously impressive linkers last week and as I was visiting all of the blogs I started thinking about quilting with confidence as quite a few people mentioned this.  Last week a Facebook friend shared a quote that said something like, “don’t compare your middle to someone else’s high point”.  It really struck a cord with me (as did the response that we should never compare our middles ;) ).

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The online quilting community is great, blogs are great, craftsy and flickr and instagram are great.  But every now and then I catch myself comparing my work rather than being inspired.  Don’t get me wrong, 95% of the time I am surfing the web I am being inspired but there is a small part of me that every now and then thinks, “I’m not that good.” rather than “I look forward to being that good” or “I’m going to try that”.  Of course there are better quilters than me, there always will be!  And that’s great, it gives me something to aspire to.  But my point is, compare yourself to yourself.  To how far you’ve come, to what you achieved during your quilting time today, to the skills that come easily now compared to that first lesson when EVERYTHING was a challenge. (I remember being totally perplexed by how to use a rotary cutter and ruler and cutting all my blocks .5″ wrong!).  I used to sometimes feel like blogland was too happy and no one ever said anything real or negative.  But I have come to understand that the encouragement that we give each other is far more important than saying, “it would have looked better if you….” or “those really aren’t my colours…”  I read every comment I get and whilst I can’t always respond, those comments all build my confidence and that makes me a braver and better quilter.  Share the love people! :)

Photo used with permission from Marelize @ Stitch by Stitch

This week I am featuring the lovely Marelize from Stitch by Stitch.  I think I originally “met” Marelize on Instagram and I just LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing her work.  She also quilts on a Bernina and is super amazing at free motion quilting.  Seriously, check her out if you love quilting candy!   Last week she linked up the most BEAUTIFUL quilt in progress and was talking about how it just wasn’t how she imagined.  Marelize, the rest of us can see how stunning that quilt is, your work is divine!  The back really shows the detail. AMAZING!

Photo used with permission by Marelize @ Stitch by Stitch

I’m actually in the same head space as Marelize at the moment.  I love the quilting I did on my “Dream” mini (below) but it isn’t quite there, it’s not how I imagined it would be.  I need to add a bit and I think by attaching the binding next I will be inspired to stitch on those words like I envisaged and decide whether or not to outline the word “dream” or leave it subtle.

As often is the case, the back is the show stealer here…

My other current quandry is the table runner I am making as a thank you/farewell gift for Mr 7′s teacher.  (Thank you for all the useful suggestions and kind thoughts yesterday.  Apparently he was improved this morning but lost focus this afternoon.  That in itself is a HUGE improvement.  Funny that my son is stubborn… ;) )  After so much dense SLQ on the Dream mini I just couldn’t do it again even though it was my first thought for the table runner (this girl needs curves!).

Triangle table runner in progress

I LOVED this baby during the piecing and felt oh so clever how I’d used all teal and placed it from dark to light with the bold pink thrown in.  I actually really thought this one needed some harsh geometric quilting but I didn’t want to quilt over the triangles.  I pondered it for a day and then decided to just jump in.

Stuck in a rut!

I kind of got stuck on the same pattern.  Does that ever happen to you?  Completely not loving it I gave up the idea of something I would love and decided to throw in some half swirls spewing out into pebbles.  I like it a lot more now, but it looks really beachy to me and that wasn’t at all what I was going for….  Ah!  I need to think less and have more confidence in giving hand made gifts!!  Do you give handmade gifts confidently?  It’s that real conundrum, do you give handmade and put in lots of effort and then maybe it ends up at goodwill or in the rubbish…  Or is it only me that is lacking in confidence on the handmade gift front?  Spill the beans people! :)

Adding swirls and pebbles for interest

Now it’s your turn.  I’d love you to link up below.  Please remember that this is a quilting process linky.  We all want to hear about your process, we want to learn and be inspired and share your quilty journey <3  Please remember to visit a few other linkers and add my button to your post or sidebar.  Happy quilting!! :)

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South Pacific Dreaming – Blogger’s Quilt Festival – Wall Hanging Entry


Once again I am participating in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival which is very generously organised and hosted by Amy’s Creative Side.  This time I am entering two quilts.  South Pacific Dreaming in the Wall Hanging category and “Celebrate” quilt #1 in the bee category.  If you’re new to Pretty Bobbins, welcome!  I am all about free motion quilting, it’s my passion and I host a weekly linky party on quilting process :)  I’m soon to become a longarm quilter, but for now I work on a Bernina 440QE.  I’m currently based in Nouméa, a French territory in the South Pacific but am about to return to live in Australia.

Set of three quilts


Back in June some very good friends of ours left Nouméa.  They had lived here on their catamaran for many years and are one of the happiest, nicest family’s that I know (can you tell that I miss them?).  They commissioned me to make a set of three wall quilts (above) for their family as a souvenir of their time in Nouméa.  Honestly, the pressure was on.  I don’t know if you know many “boaties” but they tend not to have a huge amount of belongings (because they need to fit them all onto a boat).  These three quilts were to be a key souvenir of their time not only living in Nouméa, but sailing around the world and the South Pacific.  (I’m tearing up writing this LOL).  I spent a lot of time talking to them and they gave me some special photos for inspiration.

They are kite surfers – go girl!!

I made three quilts for them but the one I’d like to enter into the festival is South Pacific Dreaming (also the title of the set).

I used a lot of techniques in this quilt that I have learnt in the last year or so.  The improv curve piecing was based on the class I did with Rachel of Stitched in Color.

The family portrait outline style thingy (very technical!) was self taught and involved merging two photos, tracing, some freezer paper and some free motion quilting.  I’m planning a tutorial at some point but I’m sure you can figure it out yourself :)  I merged two photos, in the original photo the Father and son were sitting in a hammock and I tried to keep the texture of the hammock to give the idea of my friend sitting with his baby on his knee (seriously cute baby!).  The second photo was taken years later and my friend was leaning in perfectly toward her now four year old.  Pairing the two photos to create a family portrait was a lot of fun and I love the outcome.

You can see the family silhouette better from the back.

The detail in the quilting is momentarily lost when you glance at this quilt.  I didn’t want the family portrait to be overly obvious and it took me a few days to work out how to quilt it.  Whilst I’m usually up for all sorts of fancy free motion quilting, this quilt called for lots of straight lines to really give the picture that I was after.  You can see that I went with the beach scene quilting a palm frond in the top corner.

A photo taken on a joint family vacation. See those palm fronds everywhere? :)

The white section is quilted to show the iconic shape of the Catana Catamaran windows.

My friend’s catamaran moored at The Isle of Pines. Can you believe this? Stunning!

To me this quilt really felt like a night scene in the South Pacific but I took the colour palate for all three quilts from the Mahi Mahi fish.  My friends gave me a great photo of a freshly caught (by them) Mahi Mahi and it took my breath away.

Photo courtesy of my friends


Whilst I am only entering the South Pacific Dreaming quilt in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, it is a set of three and I’d like to briefly share the other two with you because they are deep with meaning.  ”She Travels” was for my girlfriend (the wife/mom of the family) and the pink symbolizes her sailing around the world.  I included some prints with French text to represent the French culture in which we live (and remind them of me – one has a sewing machine!).

For the quilting I followed the path that my friends took from Florida, to the Caribbean onto the Galapagos, Tahiti, The Cook Islands, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Australia (with many stops in between!).  I then echoed this route in ever expanding lines to give the idea of a map of the sea bed or currents.  The three circles come from details of the catamaran and I added the phrase, ”Know your dream, find a route” just above these circles.

The third quilt is called “Elements” as to me it represents the elements of the wind, water and land as well as kiting, a clear passion of my friends.  This quilt excites me.  I really pushed myself by pairing a busy pieced section with an expanse of white which I then quilted in bold colours.  Absolutely no room for error!

I took the shape of the island from the photo below, the lighter blue of the wake behind the board shifting into the darker blue.  The colours represent the turtles that laze about in the seagrass bed and the unsuspecting kiters that have to dodge them.  The flaming C represents the kites that my friends have used during recent years.


I have no idea of winds and waters but I absolutely love these photos of my friends kiting.  I can see how much they love it and I can feel the excitement.  These things zoom and on a good day there are dozens of them weaving around each other.  Pouring over these photos I could almost imagine the wind and I did my best to capture this in my quilting.

My friends now live in Floriada and are sorely missed.  You know the kind of friends that you can pick up with at a moment’s notice?  The ones that you randomly think about and imagine what they might be doing?  We will leave Nouméa in two months and I hope to make something similar as a souvenir for my family.

South Pacific Dreaming (set of three wall quilts)

Usually when I share a quilt I talk about the materials used, these quilts used more than just materials, there were memories and emotions and dreams involved.  It was a privilege and a pleasure to work on these pieces and I miss my friends dearly.  They sent me a photo last week showing me the quilts on the walls of their new home and I want to share their words with you, “…we hung your quilts today and I am feeling so much better. I wanted to get a photo for you with/before the sunset… Anyway, they have very much lifted our spirits – thank you so much again. They have just so much meaning in every stitch and really look amazing in their spots.”


Pieced and Quilted: by me on my Bernina 440Qe

Size: approximately 30″ x 20″ (from memory!)

Thread: Aurifil threads (2000, 1135, 5005, 5006,1128, 2810 in 50 wt and 2024 in 40 wt)

Fabric: Bella solids (the white is snow) and lots of favourite prints from my stash.  If you would like the details of a specific print, please let me know and I’ll try and help you, but I suspect I used around 40 different prints so I’ll skip trying to list them all ;)

Wadding: 100% cotton

South Pacific Dreaming – my entry into the Wall Quilt Category

Thanks for stopping by and I encourage you to participate in the Blogger’s Quilt Festival by either visiting and/or entering the festival.  This is my third time entering and it’s a great quilty and bloggy event.  Thanks for all your work Amy!

August round up


Not only is August over but it’s already the 4th of September here in Nouméa!  August was a big month for me which ended with a double birthday party for two of my children.  I know I probably shouldn’t reinforce gender stereotypes but I must say that I really enjoyed making a princess cake and seeing all the little girls dressed up as princesses.  I wouldn’t be lying if I said I put my own princess dress on LOL  Of course my biggest finish for August was my daughter’s princess quilt.  You can read more about it here :)

Princess Quilt

I can’t forget the Celebration Quilt that I made with my Wombat Stew bee blocks.  LOVE!!!  And it made the perfect backdrop at the party :)

Celebrate Quilt

As always there were lots of cushions completed in August.  I seriously have a thing for quilted cushion covers.  Fun!!

Clockwise from top left: Mr 5′s birthday cushion, two quilted cushions (not blogged yet), Curvy Quilted Cushion Cover, Victoire’s birthday cushion, Gaéton’s birthday cushion, sweet pouch swap (not yet blogged).

I am linking up rather late to Fresh Sewing Day at Lily’s Quilts.  Did you have a super productive August?  I’m hoping the productivity will continue in September despite packing up the house…  Wishful thinking LOL

Princess Quilt


I have a little Miss who turned three on the weekend and is obsessed with Princesses.  We have been trying to decide on a name for her dolly and she is adamant that dolly should be called “Princess”.  Anyway, with a third birthday looming we decided it was time for Missy to move into a big girl bed and a quilt was therefore needed.

Princess Quilt in direct sunlight

As I mentioned previously, this quilt is sooooo hard to photograph.  The colours come across as washed out.  Trust me, this one is a stunner.  I love absolutely everything about it and it is not at all washed out in real life :)

This shot captures the true colours of the Princess Quilt well

I started out with some Alexandra Henry “Princess Kingdom” prints from Hawthorne Threads and then pulled themed prints from my stash (I was quite shocked when I discovered three magic toadstool prints, there’s a possibility that I’ve become a hoarder!).  I then selected high value/high volume/saturated prints from my stash, many of these have come from my stash subscription with Pink Castle Threads.  I actually meant to use a darker background as Missy is known for staining quilts with textas but I ended up using some Bella Bleached White from the Fat Quarter Shop (I use both Kona and Bella solids but have a slight preference for Bella).  (And this post isn’t sponsored, just letting you know where to source these goodies.)

Lovely Princess prints by Alexander Henry

I framed each of the feature prints in the high value prints and then added white sashing.  I love improv piecing and I’ve found that it pays to layout your pieces on the design wall, break them up into sections and then try and get these sections to either the same width or length.  To do this I generally cut sashing at two widths, a wide sashing of around 3.5″ and a narrower sashing of around 2″.  These can then be trimmed back or added to.

In this progress shot you can better see how different sized blocks were pieced together using a wide and a narrow sashing

I added some floating blocks to the top and the bottom using some super special Liberty of London scraps, some voile and some favourite quilting cottons.

The top and bottom feature floating squares of some favourite prints, Liberty scraps and voiles.

I like big quilts.  I like a quilt that covers the pillows and hangs nicely over the end as well as both sides.  This quilt ended up at 87″ x 62″ (I lost a fair amount in both trimming and washing) and I love the size.

L-R: Rainbow I Spy Quilt, Princess Quilt, Kitchen Windows Quilt

I actually didn’t realise that I had unintentionally made quite similar quilts for my children until I lay down and admired them.  How cool is this view?  If only I could snuggle here all day!

I love that they match without being too matchy-matchy

I used a super soft and snuggly Anna Maria Horner flannel (again from Hawthorne Threads) for the back.  I love how the quilting looks on the back :)

AMH flannel paired with 100% wool batting makes for a super snugly quilt!

Free motion quilting is my passion.  If I could quilt every day of my life I would be a happy woman indeed.  A little while ago I read a quote that was something like, “be so awesome that they can’t ignore you” and it has rung in my ears ever since.  I put that philosophy 100% into my quilting.  I want to be a famous quilter, not for the money or the fame (like there’s any of that in handmade LOL) but because I want enough people to want me to quilt for them and actually get paid so I can make this my job.  That’s the dream, but the reality is that I love to quilt and that I spend a lot of time coming up with designs, practicing them and making myself the best quilter I can be.  And I enjoy it! :)

Here you see a mix of feathers, dense lines and large pebbles. The quilting was designed to enhance and compliment, but not overshadow the quilt.

I quilted feathers in the negative space around the floating blocks in a soft pink (if you’re looking for a soft pink thread, try this one!) Aurifil 2410 in 50wt. I would have used it for the whole quilt except the spool was low, so I outlined the feathers in white (Aurifil 2024 in 50wt) and then densely FMQed the blank areas.

I quilted around the designs in some of the larger prints.

I quilted large pebbles between the feature blocks.  I didn’t want the quilting to distract from the prints and I think I achieved this well.

Each section of the quilt is quilted differently but all with a princess in mind. I see vines covering a tower, flowers to be used for a crown and true love aplenty :)

I saw the negative space between the curved borders on the side and the pieced center as an opportunity to have fun.  Again using the soft pink (Aurifil 2410) I did a kind of curvy pattern inspired by Angela Walters quilting of Tula Pink’s Anchor Quilt.  I would have liked to have had three of these on both sides, but I didn’t have space to do a third nicely so instead I densely FMQed swirls, butterflies, paisleys, hearts, flowers and a few words in white (Aurifil 2024 in 50wt).

The curvy lines on the left were inspired by the quilting of Angela Walters on Tula Pink’s Anchor Quilt.

The curved pieced border was a lot of fun and a key feature of this quilt.  I selected matching low value prints from my stash cut them at 7″ x 5″ and then did an improv curved piecing technique to join them to the bella bleached white.  I realised afterwards that I should have done this part slightly differently to get perfect corners but  am happy with how it turned out.

The pink quilting in the pieced border was inspired by a ribbon I bought years ago.

Coming up with a quilting design for the pieced border was difficult.  I worked hard to make sure that the borders were directional when the quilt is hanging on a bed.  I wanted to incorporate love-hearts into the design but it was difficult to come up with a repetitive, princess type design that was directional and did not overpower the prints.  Yes, I think a LOT about every aspect of the quilt LOL  I’m super pleased with the design I came up with in the end and Aurifil 2452 in 50wt was a perfect fit!

I have not always had great results using different top and bottom thread when quilting but I didn’t want to use super light threads on the back.  I paired Aurifil 2510 (a light lavender) with white and used a lot of the dusty pink (Aurifil 2452) in the bobbin.  This worked well because the colours were similar enough not to cause any tension issues and I got the look I wanted on both the front and back.

Quilting detail on back

I know I’ve already said it, but I LOVE this quilt.  It even fits on my bed, but seeing as I quilted my daughter’s name onto it I figure she should keep it ;)

Princess Quilt (very large and very hard to photograph well!)


This quilt was designed, pieced and quilted by me on my Bernina 440QE using Aurifil threads.  I used 100% wool batting, flannel back and an array of quilting cottons (including bella solids) for the top.  It measures 87″ by 62″ and was deemed fit by my little princess ;)  We’re hoping to find a pea under her mattress which we can then remove to solve all of our sleep problems ;)

Whilst I love, love, loved making this quilt (which I think took about two weeks, funny how speedy I can be with a deadline!) I am happy to be back to more saturated projects :)  Next up is a mini for Mr Husband for father’s day <3  Do you tend to work with the same palette over and over or do you mix it up?  Do you feel a bit funny when working with a palette outside of your comfort zone?  What do you do to make it work or check that you’re on the right track?  I’d love to hear about your process :)

I’m linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday at Better Off Thread and Anything Goes Mondays at Stitch by Stitch :)

Curves Cushion Cover Giveaway



Hurrah for August!  I’m celebrating one last time by giving away a quilted curvy cushion cover.  I shouldn’t really be celebrating as August is nearly over and I still need to complete my bee blocks and prepare for a double birthday party this weekend…

Improv curvey quilted cushion cover

As a final celebration of August I’m giving away this 15″ cushion/pillow cover (insert not included) that I made yesterday.  As always I used my lovely Aurifil threads (2810 and 2605 in 50wt) and had a lot of fun free motion quilting on my Bernina 440QE.  The grey is kona steel and the prints are some favourites that are fast becoming scraps!  This giveaway is to say thank you to all of you lovely readers here on the blog and the wonderful bunch over on Instagram.  Whilst Instagram is definitely dampening my blogging mojo somewhat I really encourage you to give it a try if you haven’t.  There is so much inspiration and a really nice quilty/crafty community.

I used nearly the last of a favourite print on the back

Just leave me a comment letting me know why you like to read my blog (or follow me on Facebook or Instagram).  As I’ve mentioned before I have a dream to turn Pretty Bobbins into a business quilting for other people whilst continuing to make quilts for family, friends and for sale.  Being online is a big part of what I do, I love the social interaction with other crafty types.  I love meeting like minded people all over the world.  As much as my blog is a place for me to share my makes with you, I also want to make sure that I’m actually sharing things that interest you.  There are lots of posts that I’ve hesitated about writing because they were too wordy, I was worried I’m not qualified/an expert or I just didn’t think it was a good fit.  I would love it if you could tell me what keeps you coming back.  The pretty quilts?  The visual inspiration?  The posts about colour or process?  The tutorials?  Is there something that I’m not blogging about that you would like to see or something that I could do better?

A simple zippered closure so you can feature the front or back (but I hope you like the front enough to show!) :)

I don’t talk about myself very often so I’ve decided to share a few things about myself today :)  Feel free to just scroll down and enter the giveaway ;)

I’m an only child who has three children and an incredibly patient and supportive husband.  I have crazy hair, I’m forgetful, I always try to do too many things at once and I never knew what I wanted to do until I started quilting.  Now I get anxious at the thought of not realising my dream of being a full time quilter.

It’s seriously hard to giveaway a cushion cover that looks so good on my sofa! ;)

I speak four languages (English, French, Indonesian and Mandarin) but my Mandarin is pretty basic these days.  I always wanted to live overseas but now that I’ve done it a couple of times I’ve realised that actually I love holidays overseas.  I’m a homebody who needs a haven in the suburbs and a job that gives me time with my family.

I don’t remember learning to sew, but my Mum, Grandma and Aunt all sewed and I was always around sewing growing up.  My Aunt is the only other quilter in my family but we have very different styles (her quilts are beautiful!).

Quilting detail up close

Whilst I’m not one for pigeon holes, I would put myself in the “modern quilter” camp.  I love colour, creativity and improvisation.  I LOVE to quilt.  I am much better at drawing with my sewing machine than with a pencil and paper!  I’m a perfectionist and I love the absolute perfection and micromanagement that is part of piecing.  Free motion quilting and improv curves make me happy.  I crave simplicity.  I want a vegie patch and chickens and I want to quilt day after day after day.

So there you go :)  That’s me in a nutshell (and now I have Austin Power’s nemisis in my head crying “help! I’m in a nutshell” LOL)

Improv curvey quilted 15″ pillow cover

If you’d like to be in the running please leave me a comment letting me know why you like to read my blog/instagram/facebook or what else you would like to see me post about.  If you follow me on Instagram you can have a second entry over there, just share the photo that I’ll load shortly with the hashtag #prettybobbinsgiveaway and tag me  I will combine the number of entries with blog comments first, ie. 1-50 then followed by IG comments in order ie. 51-90.  The giveaway will be open until midnight AEST (Sydney time) Saturday 31st August.  I will use to draw a winner and announce it on Monday 2nd September.  Please leave your email address (if the winner is on IG I will tag you there) so I can contact you.

This giveaway is open wordwide (it’s for the cushion/pillow cover only).

Good luck and thanks for supporting me on this creative journey xxx


French Cross Stitch Giveaway



So last week was slightly crazy.  Two of my babies had birthdays and we had the removals company come over to start the process of our return to Australia.  I have done a number of international and interstate moves but it still threw me for six.  I often feel like I live in a toy shop that exploded.  Well, it’s not really possible to move when you’re house resembles a bombsite, so I have a lot of work ahead of me.  It’ll be fine, but I did take a few days to come to terms with that.  Oh yeah, and the little fact of returning to work after eight years on leave!  Yes, it’s been eight years!  But that’s a whole different story so let’s just ignore that fact for awhile ;)

French Cross Stitch magazine cover

I mentioned that August is my bloggy celebration month.  Two family birthdays and my blogiversary.  With our time in France coming to an end I have been hitting the bookshops, so I decided to giveaway a French quilting magazine.  Except after spending a good half an hour choosing between the three available I realised that the measurements are all in centimeters!  So I spent another half an hour deciding whether or not my readers could cope with quilt patterns in centimeters (I know I couldn’t).  In the end I selected a lovely (and very French) cross stitch magazine.  Now I know that you might not be interested in cross stitch, but it is a lovely magazine and cross stitch was my first craft love.

Basket cover

As much as I hate chopping up books, you could even just use the lovely images and text for something crafty.

Wild flowers

There are some really sweet projects and the magazine provides the number of the DMC threads used, so it should be fairly straight forward to make the projects.

Drink cooler cover

My favourite project is the drink cooler cover.  I love the colours but I also can’t go past French text.  Oh la la! ;)

Don’t despair if cross stitch is the last thing that you’re interested in.  I have another giveaway ready to announce tomorrow.  It will be the last for the month and is going to be hard to part with!  In fact I’ve hidden it from my husband as he will want to keep it!  If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen a sneak peek already, but for the rest of you, here is a progress shot from earlier today :)

Cushion cover in progress

To be in the running to win the French Cross Stitch magazine you need to follow my blog.  Just leave me a comment letting me know that you follow along.  If you like you can let me know what (if anything) is your favourite French thing.  Do you love baguettes, French accents, French films or French country style?  Living in France I have found that the stereotypes are true but there is also so much that I didn’t know about :)  I hope that you will appreciate this little piece of France <3

The giveaway is closes midnight AEST (google Sydney time) Saturday 31st of August.  I will draw a winner using and announce it on the blog and contact the winner via email on Monday 2nd September.  Please leave your email address so I can contact you :)

Bon chance!


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