Monday, 14 April 2014

Slight Overestimation Of My Capabilities

So I was going to FMQ some circles over my Dresden Plates. Sounded simple enough and given that I now have a round FMQ foot this should have been a breeze. Well, you should have seen me yesterday...tried to circle around the center circle. I normally can echo around shapes with no problems...maybe not always 100% consistently but close enough. This though drove me to distraction...could not keep up a 1/4 echo, no matter how hard I tried. Changed the foot to the Echo FMQ foot that I got which involved dismantling the shank of the machine. Also did not work for me...back to my round foot...and so it went on.

I reckon it has to do with going over multiple colours and patterns...normally I echo around a shape that is surrounded by one I can focus on my foot and the distance that I am echoing. In this piece, every time I hit a new fabric, it threw me...maybe my brain just cannot handle it. After a while I tried drawing the circles in...ha, went through half the kitchen cupboard to find suitable circles! This happens every time I need to stitch circles on something.

On Sunday I had enough and went out and bought a stack of circle templates.  Beautiful, a whole pack of 9 ready made circles...that fixed the problem (I think!)...should have done this ages ago.

I did the outer circle with the walking foot and once I got the templates drew on the center circle. Tomorrow I will FMQ this and then echo this around the outside of the center circle. I think that is all I am going to do on the plate.

Linking up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch


Saturday, 12 April 2014

New House Guest

We have a new house guest amongst our midst who belongs to my daughter. Odd cat who is quite nervous and is still feeling her way around. Yes, but cats and quilts...

Can you see that look...almost saying 'this must be for me to sit on'.

Still trying to figure out what sort of cat this is. She is strangely elongated with very long limbs and quite big and as you can see consists mainly of really thick fur. And what about the hairs in the ears...too funny. My daughter reckons she might be a Norwegian Forest cat but I think she is an American Maine Coon cat. Done some reading on the Internet and it sort of fits...I read that the American Maine Coon cats are fairly vocal and this one certainly fits the bill. Makes the weirdest noises, just about talking to you. Never have heard this before.

Finally found  'Feline Friday' Link up over at Sarah Did It and will join in to see whether someone could shed some light on this.


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Ripping off my content

Well, you might have heard by now that there was a web site out there ( that copied content and images from a large number of quilting blogs. The web site in question has since gone down...hopefully never to raise its ugly head again (but I doubt it, probably will change its name and picture and pop up again in a few months).

I had planned to do some quilting yesterday but instead was exploring this in some detail. Earlier in the day yesterday I did get an email from a very kind reader (thank you again, Nicole!) informing me that my content was on that web site. When I had a look I was absolutely stunned...not only was my current post on there, but at least 7 - 10 other posts from the last few months. I felt really defeated, I must say. While I was aware of these programs, I obviously did not realise the extent of he issue.

My blog is a fairly modest affair...I blog for fun in my spare time and enjoy interacting with other quilting bloggers out there. I have a small following which I value greatly...when a new follower comes in, I usually go and check it out and more often than not discover great new blogs and new inspiration and along the way "meet" some nice people. I have set up my blog in a way that is hopefully interesting to people and when they come in I hope that people will have a bit of a look around and find some stuff that is of interest to them and return on a regular basis.To look at my carefully constructed posts on this other web site with no link back to my original post amongst a multitude of ads was quite disappointing, to say the least and plain offensive.

So, I went to work on trying to figure out what to do about this...from what I knew by then, the choices were fairly limited. I had read previously that if you incorporate several links within the text of your blog post that this would act as a deterrent in terms of copying from your blog...well, obviously not...this website copied the whole posts with all the links in it...

I used Who is Hosting This? to get to the host of this web site and then did some further searches in the evening (with the help of my husband) to drill down to several email addresses, including the offending web site. I did not bother with them but went for the host instead. I wrote a very formal letter of my objection of having my content and images copied. I particularly liked this part of the letter:

I am the sole owner of copyright in  As the sole owner of copyright, I hold the exclusive right to reproduce, modify, post, and distribute those materials and to grant others permission to exercise one or more of those rights.  I have not authorized to reproduce, modify or distribute any of my materials in whole or in part. 

Anyway, send that of and then also contacted Google and filled out a form about having my content scraped. Will this protect not really, but it certainly felt good to respond to this. On my exploration I noticed that other bloggers had become aware of the problem. Read the approach that The Bitchy Stitcher took or head over to another blog, Molly Sparkles , who really let loose...really enjoyed reading this.

So, what can be done to prevent this from happening again:

1. When you search on the internet around having content stolen from your blog, you will find several tips and really depends how far you want to take this. At the most modest level you can put up a copyright notice. In reality that really does not do anything much other than state that you hold the copyright (which incidentally you hold whether it is written on there or not). Going a bit further you can implement the idea promoted at the Bitchy Stitcher, i.e.she talks about including a graphic at the end of each post that links back to your blog. I have seen a similar thing on the Blogologist ...he is using the RSS Feed Footer in Blogger. Basically every post that you write will have a link back to your home page. While this will not prevent copying, it is likely that the offending web site will not be sitting there editing the links out of your blog post, as I believe this is an automated thing, so readers still can link back to your original site.

2. You can go further and investigate whether to disable the option of copying either the images or the text or both on your blog. I only went over this briefly and cannot give advice on this as yet, as I myself will need to read a bit more about this...however, this involves inserting additional code into the HTML code of your blog, so that people actually cannot copy anything. Now I cannot comment as yet on whether this works or not or how hard this is...sounded very technical to me, however it seems an option.

3. Be vigilant around your own blog and the blogs of other quilters...this example yesterday was a great show of strength from the online quilting community in terms of rallying around their intellectual property. If you see a blog post that might be copied, let the owner of the blog know and spread the word! As we have seen yesterday, it works.


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

FMQ - Flower Scroll Design

Finally managed to have a closer look at Amy's FMQ Adventures Link up that she started last month with a series of tutorials on McTavishing. Unfortunately I could not participate as I was seriously piecing away on two different projects...switching my machine over to FMQ would have side tracked me again (and we know what happens then). With my baby quilt out of the way and my Dresden Plate table runner ready to baste, I feel now ready to play a bit again and that Flower Scroll design looks just lovely. I hope we can work up to the feather flower version...tried this a couple of times but something seems to be going wrong for me on that one.

Anyway, here are my practice pieces of the Flower Scroll design

First attempt
Yep, could do the shape but could not really travel all that well with it...sometimes I managed and sometimes I did not, ending up all over the place and having those unquilted pockets appear. Also lacked my particular take on traveling with this particular design. While I could see how Amy was doing it in her video, I obviously need some more practice to make this design my flower scroll.

So, next attempt I went much smaller to get a bit of a grip on the traveling

Second attempt
Some odd shapes in there, but getting a bit better...felt that I was getting a feel for how to travel from one spot to the other.

Third attempt
Yes, definitely starting to work, even though it might not be that obvious from this sample...more consistent shapes and I managed to travel a bit all over the place. Paid attention to how I did my scroll as that determined which side I ended up, so that was a bit helpful. Also swung out a bit more on the echoing which tended to fill the spaces a bit better.

This was good fun...definitely need more practice

Linking up to Amy's Freemotion Monday Quilting Adventure

Saturday, 5 April 2014

New Pattern on Craftsy

My Windmill quilt is now on Craftsy!

I am chuffed to say the least. Spend quite some time drawing little pictures on the computer and can confirm, it pays to read the 'How to' of the drawing program you are using...ha, ha something I rarely do, hence spending an extraordinary time getting angry with the computer.

Here is a little example of what this looks like:

Stitch two half square triangle units together as shown. Join a 2 1/2in x 4 1/2in white tone-on-tone rectangle along the long edge. Press the seam towards the white fabric. This completes a quarter unit.

I am a visual person and like to have lots of pictures in my patterns ...just find that it is easier to follow as I am not inclined to read pages of instructions.

You can find my pattern using the Craftsy widget on the sidebar or click HERE... but be warned, looking at Craftsy patterns is guaranteed to provide absolute inspiration overload. I had a bit of a look around this morning and found a pattern for Meercats!...too cool, absolutely loved this.

Have a great day


Monday, 31 March 2014

A Finish - Finally!

Finished my Windmills quilt...binding and all.

How hard is it to photograph quilts?...just when I pressed the button, the wind gently moved the quilt and in a minute it was down on the ground. I love the colours of this and am happy with how it turned out. Very bright and cheerful.

Below is the quilting. Overall the Jester Hats design gives it a very textured feel...maybe a bit more than I expected. However I am happy with that as I am learning to just go with it (and put it down to experience). Perfectionism, while not completely out of the window, is making room for just learning and enjoying the process. This is a good thing.

For readers interested in the pattern, this little quilt will make it into my pattern shop at Craftsy in the next few weeks.

For now, linking up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Planning around your FMQ design

So you've decided on a FMQ design to go on your freshly completed quilt sit down on your machine...and off you go!

Wouldn't that be great:)

Unfortunately, it is not quite as simple as that. I was thinking about this the other day and thought I might like to capture the steps that I go through to start FMQ on the actual quilt.
1. I start with doodling the design when I am coming to the end of construction of my quilt see whether the design will flow for me and what areas are going to give me some trouble.
2. After doodling for a few days, I start drawing a bit more purposefully - drawing the design into rows, going from left to right and returning back from right to left ( this is in preparation for the quilt which will be quilted in quarters in a clockwise direction)

This is the design I chose for my baby quilt: Jester Hats by Wendy Sheppard. Saw this on SewCalGal's FMQ Challenge in 2012.

3. As you can see lots of doodling going on I start thinking about scale.  For an overall design this step is important as I want the design to be somewhat consistent.  Would be great if one could just sit down and rattle it off, but I would not think that many people could do that. For my current quilt, I looked at the blocks which are 8" square and decided I would use them as a bit of a grid. The idea is that I would fill half of the block with the design as I travel along from the centre of the quilt to the outer border, hence my design would fit into a 3-4" space as I go along.

4. Next, trialling the design...I usually have a bit of a practice before I start on the quilt, and this involves a number of samples, as I am also trialling different threads, tension etc.

As you can see I used a fairly large sample and while this may appear quite wasteful in terms of fabric this is quite useful when aiming for a larger scale design. On my sample I started out a tad too narrow for my liking and then was able to spread it out a bit more to a nice open design only to loose the plot when I came down to the border fabric...I started to become a tad too big where my spaces in between started to be about 1" apart. Seems that my limit is somewhere around the 1/2" - 3/4 " spacing. That level allows me to stay reasonably consistent in the design. More practice is probably indicated to work a bit more on interlocking the design a bit better. Next one looked definitely better.

6. Now for the big step of actually going on the quilt. As odd as this sounds but I usually have a drawing of the design at the scale that I am aiming for close by so that I can look at it while I am sewing...this helps me to stay on track.

Incidentally I also am trying out my new Pinmoors. Only got one packet to start with, so I am using both, Pinmoors and basting pins on the quilt. 

Well, this is how far I got on the quilt...certainly gives a lot of texture to the quilt. Took me a while to get into a rhythm with this design and I struggled a bit with the scale at times, but I am glad I pushed past this and did not fall back into the familiar meandering.

Popping over to Leah Day's FMQ Project Link Up to see the progress of the Building Blocks Quilt that Leah has been working on.