Friday 29 June 2012

Quilt Along #19

Well, I was not going to make the wonky block quilt because I have too much going on, but yesterday I watched Leah Day's video  on the wonky quilt construction and ...surprise, surprise, I am sucked in. I really like the idea of the Zentangle design over the entire quilt and am itching to try that and I  have just the fabric to go with that instead of going wonky I will produce something that is irregular. I know we were supposed to use something more of a solid nature but...I think this could work. Yep, it's too late, I am fixated on the idea.

This morning I pulled out some very special fabric. How gorgeous is this?

This is 'Under the Australian Sun' by Leesa Chandler for Robert Kaufman. I got this at the Melbourne Quilt Show last year and it has been sitting on the shelf ever since. Every now and then I take it out and look at it but I have not been able to bring myself to cut into it.... the gum leave design is fairly big and cutting into it you would loose the design of it I have been waiting for that great idea to pop up.

I have about 12 fat eights (mostly tone-on-tone) and I am going to use some of the fat eights as panels (probably with a few squares of the busy design thrown in) so that I can showcase the fabric. I have enough tone-on-tone fabric in different colours of the same material which should allow me to piece something together fairly quickly. I think it should come to a crib size quilt or worst case scenario...a wall hanging. Planning a bit loose here, but that is half the fun...let's see where this takes me.

This will put a spanner in the works on finishing the current projects however I just cannot help myself...this was just the idea I needed for this fabric. Let's see whether this works.

In terms of unfinished business I currently have 'only' (ha, ha...not including the already existing UFOs) in  progress

Table runner - almost done the stitching-in-the-ditch
Practice quilt - ongoing, using this to try different FMQ designs
An arrangement of small pieces - has been on hold, as I am having too much fun with the FMQ


Monday 25 June 2012

Feather Doodling

I have been out of action since last Friday (including all of the weekend) with a mediocre migraine. Not uncommon for me so I take it in my stride. Have not progressed much with any of my projects but managed to do some doodling in some of my lighter moments.

As posted earlier I have been following the 2012 Freemotion Quilting Challenge at SewCalGal and while I am not actively participating I do try a few things here and there. Well, I obviously got the Feather bug (have a look at the great lesson on feathers by Diane Gaudynski featured in February 2012). I started practising some basic feather shapes freehand, concentrating on trying to get the shape right. This, initially did not work for feathers were fairly mis-shapen and looked somewhat like spoons attached to the spine which affected each subsequent feather and the whole thing did not seem to work at all, i.e. as I went up the spine each subsequent feather tended to become even more elongated.

Then, all of a sudden, I seemed to 'get' it. The trick for me was the curve back to the spine and the spacing. I then proceeded to feather doodle over my whole sample and did not have any problems with filling up and evenly spacing my feather shapes along the magic.

How good does this look?  I was thorougly amazed with this (if I may say so myself) is the rest of the sample I doodled on. In the end I literally ran out of space otherwise I would have just continued and this, I guess, is how an addiction starts.

The only other thing to add is: While I am a bit time challenged and hence not able to participate in the Challenge itself I really appreciate  the effort of SewCalGal for organising and hosting this and would encourage others to check it out. But also, how absolutely generous is it of those teachers at the SewCalGal's Freemotion Quilting Challenge to share their time, skills and knowledge with other people across the globe. Sometimes it is just that one little thing or tip that will resonate and have the biggest impact.

Until next time


Tuesday 19 June 2012

Quilt Along #18

This week we are doing Loopy Lines in the Quilt Along Wednesdays with Leah Day.  Fun, fun, and more fun. My brain definitely can cope much better with loops...

Here is my practice run (had to photograph the back as the front is too hard to see).

No problems at all with this...very relaxing design, so I went straight for my practice quilt of simple squares and quilted away. Could not resist with all those empty squares around me and continued to fill another square with Sharp Stippling. This looks great and I am very happy with my efforts.

Looking at the close-up you may see that I ruled 1 inch lines roughly across the square to give me some sense of direction because I discovered that the design looks way better if you spread it over two lines and loop up and down. If you look closely you can see that I reverted back to just doing one line of loops in the second row and it then does look somewhat disjointed (that is how I used to do it and always wondered why it looked somewhat strange). I like the look of this.

Apart from this I have been working on my table runner (still quilting-in-the ditch) and, I think you call this, 'lurking' around other blogs. I spend quite some time at the Free Motion Quilt Challenge at Insights from SewCalGal. This is a fantastic blog and I practiced some feathers that were presented in an informative tutorial by Diane Gaudynski in February and also had a bit of a try out of some of the ideas presented by Cindy Needham in this month's tutorial.  Would love to participate, however I am almost working full-time and there is not a lot of time left to work on the projects I have currently going let alone taking on additional ones.

There is just so much inspiration out there and great opportunities to participate and learn together. For myself, I will just have to keep it small and contained otherwise it will become a chore in itself. So, with this in mind , I just 'played' around, tried a few new designs, experimented with some thread and just doodled away on some fabric...this was really relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable. Promised myself to do this more often.

Until next time


Wednesday 13 June 2012

Quilt Along #17

Last week's design for Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays was a design called 'Circuit Board'. Looked simple enough in the video.

Here is my first attempt.

Bit hard to see...but believe me I'm a bit all over the place.

I used blue Rasant thread thinking that I would use that on my practice quilt. While this worked on the lighter material it is not going to work on the darker squares of my 'practice quilt' (bit of pre-planning would have been useful here) so I will probably switch to a cream thread. My batting is Soft and Bright, a needle punched Polyester batting made by Warm and Natural. Can't believe I am using Polyester...nice feel, clings to the fabric and is very light. No problem at all with FMQ. Stitching on it is easy with no tension issues. My first attempt was not bad except I could not get my lines straight and also found it difficult to judge the spaces in between.

Second attempt did not go much on earth do you keep those lines straight? The more I concentrated, the worst it got. There goes my new found confidence.

I then started experimenting with a small ruler, i.e. holding it against my darning foot and using it as a guide to stitch against. That works brilliantly however was not very practical with all the changes in direction. I then got distracted and tried this to stitch-in-the-ditch of the strips of that sample. Now that works a treat and gives a really straight line. Something to remember next time I struggle with stitching-in-the-ditch (I am just about over stitching-in-the-ditch with the walking foot).

Third attempt

Getting better...My changes in direction are less rounded and that looks already much better. Must admit I don't find this design easy at all. For this sample I divided my block into four sections of about 2 inches and drew horizontal lines across  to use as a guide in stitching...that definitely made it easier. Maybe I should have drawn myself little boxes to stay within...or maybe I should just keep the shapes smaller.

Anyway, next attempt will be on the practice quilt...have to remember that this quilt will be for trying out new designs and that they will all be a bit wobbly. Like the texture of this design and can see that this would be great for use in sashings. Was a bit unsure though whether to interlock the design or just stitch it row by row.

More stitching-in-the-ditch coming up for table runner is basted and ready to go...

Until next time


Friday 8 June 2012

Chicken Patch Quilt

Not much to show for this week so I thought I share my Chicken Patch Quilt with you.

I am still working on my practice quilt ready to trial next week's Circuit Board pattern from Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays. I am just about finished quilting in-the-ditch and as usual I had some issues with it. I swear I am ready to give up quilting in-the-ditch is so annoying. I usually start in an orderly fashion, anchoring the quilt, than quilting all the lines of half of the quilt. I reckon this is when it happens...I then often get into strife quilting the other half. Not sure whether I mix up the directions I am going in but without fail, I have some pulling in one direction. Drives me around the bend. Anyway, I only have two lines left and then I am ready to FMQ on it. After that I will baste my table runner ready for quilting and then continue on my other project....the list goes on.

Excitement Chicken Patch Quilt has finally been published. I sometimes contribute to the quilting magazines over here and this is one quilt I particularly like. They have had it for about 5 months and it just arrived back today. When I went to the letter box the magazine had also arrived. It is published in Creating Country Threads, Vol. 13 No 1. Here is the link to if you want to have a look at all the different magazines over here. Unfortunately there is no photo of my quilt on their preview, so I took some myself this afternoon (excuse the mediocre photographs...I do really struggle with cameras)

Chicken Patch Quilt 57.5 x 66.5 inches

This is the feather design I quilted in every alternate block. I kept it pretty low key as I was not sure whether my initial confidence would last the distance. Don't know about you, but I sometimes 'chicken out' and when it comes to the actual quilting. I go back to quilting in-the-ditch or just revert to an overall stipple. With this one, I was determined to see it through and I am glad I did. It looks great, albeit a bit basic, but I was really happy with it (I used a lightgreen Aurifil thread both in to top as well as the bobbin). In fact, I now think, I should have had some feathers in the border as well - that would have completed the traditional feel of the whole quilt. I just did some parallel lines in the border which frame the quilt. Well, next time...after the Wholecloth quilt I did earlier on Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays I feel much more confident to tackle more complex FMQ designs.

Anyway, as I do not have anything much to show for this week I thought I share this quilt with you.

Until next time


Friday 1 June 2012

WIP#4-Table Runner top completed

Steadily working away. Basted my FMQ practice quilt on the weekend ready to be quilted in-the-ditch and continued on my table runner.

I was not wrong when I said that I was a bit out of practice with the 'Claws' block. Those points were a bit tricky and the whole thing is far from perfect. However, this is not going to be a show piece and as such it was declared 'good enough'.

Japanese Table Runner 18"x36"

Love this fabric...very intense. Hopefully I will have enough to make the binding out of the burnt-orange inner border fabric. I use a free Rotary Cut Straight Binding Strips Calculator at Block Central to work out how many strips are needed. Very handy and takes care of some of the maths for you.
This little table runner lends itself to some fine FMQ in the white background spaces. Last time I quilted a feather shape in the two diamond shapes in the middle and half of the motif in the  pyramid shapes of the star. The corners were then microstippled for good measure. Still thinking about what to do this time...wouldn't mind a different motif.

I am linking up to Leah Day's Last Vacation Link Up which is part of the Quilt Along Wednesdays that is going to start up again next week.
Until next time


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