Wednesday 28 November 2012

Weekly Themed Quilt Contest

It's the Weekly Themed Quilt Contest over at the Quilting Gallery and this week's theme is Stars.

Weekly Themed Quilt Contests

My contribution is my 'Stars on Stripes' quilt, a simple design using a fairly bold floral print in combination with a more muted striped print.  I made this quilt in 2009 and it remains one of my favourites. The idea was to make a bed sized quilt but I ran out of steam half way through and decided to finish it off with some simple sashing in between. The colour of the sashing that I ended up choosing added a vibrant feel to this quilt and really tied it all together. The quilt measures 36"x 45". The star block is called Duck Tracks.

To have a look at all the quilts head over to the Quilting Gallery on Friday morning. Voting starts on Friday morning and will continue through to Monday morning.  


Quilt Along #41 - Practice Quilt Finish

I have finished my practice quilt...well, only the binding left to go. Can't believe it. A whole year of practice...this was so worth it.

I completed the vertical sashings with the Echo Shell design and threw in a few rows of swirls for good measure. This all took a bit longer than expected and involved heaps of stitching-in-the ditch and backtracking. Certainly was good practice....I also used Echo Shell in my Japanese Table Runner and noticed the difference. No hesitation to give this a go and less concern with getting it right. Quite liberating.

And here it is...unfortunately this is really hard to photograph and this is the best I could do (without increasing the image size to enormous proportions)...for those who have not seen the quilt as a whole. I like the border...looks all very organic.

Practice Quilt - FMQ Quilt Along with Leah Day
Close up of my handiwork. Lots of different designs in here ... all of the designs from Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays, some from the Freemotion Quilting Challenge over at SewCalGal, some from Angela Walters FMQ book and some of my own. Very eclectic.

What am I going to do now? I have been so used to just getting it out and having a bit of a play...well, might just have to do another one. This is very addictive...

Until next time


Sunday 25 November 2012

UFO Sunday #14

It's UFO Sunday on Leah Day's Freemotion Quilting Project today.
I am nowhere near as productive as some people have been, however I have been steadily working away on my projects. I am back onto my Japanese Table Runner and decided to use the Echo Shell design that I saw on Leah Day's Craftsy class. Initially I was going to quilt that design into the second border ...however, then I decided that this, while nice, would hardly be seen given the busy pattern. Decided to KISS (Keep it Simple) and placed the Echo Shell design in the inner border instead, so it can be seen.

Echo Shell Design
Do you like this? Certainly adds a whole other dimension to this table runner. 

 I placed the shells facing inwards after trialling it the other way (see below)

Shells facing outwards
 Not sure whether you can see it properly but having them face outwards created a bit of a ridge across the top edge due to the seam allowance being literally encased in the last echo...did not like this and hence had all my shells facing the other way. Stitching the shells in one direction rather than at random was certainly a challenge, but once I had started, I was determined to get it done. Consistency wise it is not too bad and I like the pattern.

I used Aurifil thread (Mako 50/2) and must say, I absolutely love this thread...I used needle size 70/10 Sharp and it went like a dream. Also noticed (as I had before) that when I quilt at a slower speed where more accuracy is needed, I have to take my Machingers gloves off because I seem to need my finger tips to gently guide the material around. I have noticed this before when I am quilting motifs. As I am usually concentrating really hard (and it is summer here) my grip on the fabric is usually enough, i.e. sticky hands. However, for added grip, Diane Gaudynsky in her post about moving the quilt in a home machine, recommends Neutrogena just leaves that little bit of sticky residue that will help with the grip.

Well, almost there with this table runner...

UFO Sunday has certainly helped me to get going on those projects that have been hanging around forever, i.e.
- the English Paper Piecing Project
- the Cat Wall hanging

In fact, I remember packing them up when we were moving house in the beginning of the year and with some guilt was reminded that they had been lying around for a very long time before that. I have almost reclaimed all of my basting pins again.


Friday 23 November 2012

Blockbase Sew Along #4

Here is my block for the Blockbase Sew Along #4 held over at the EQ blog 'Behind the Mouse'. This block is #2049 of Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns and is called Independence Square.

My version:

I foundation pieced the block and was able to use up tiny leftovers of the darker blue material. Reading some of the comments I saw that one of the quilters removed their foundation paper before she stitched it together. I saw this recently also in one of the Craftsy BOM lessons.  I thought that all the paper had to be left in until the whole block was sewn together...have I been doing this wrong all this time?

Anyway, will head over to the Blockbase Sew Along to link up and have a look at all the other blocks.


Wednesday 21 November 2012

Quilt Along #40 - Flower Power

Can't believe how quick this year has gone. This is Quilt Along #40 on Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays and this week's design is Flower Power.

Leah is using this design as a Quilt Buster, i.e. a design that is stitched on a larger scale to cover a huge amount of space on your quilt. My 'practice quilt' is pretty much used up and I had only one square left, so I watched the video on how to stitch this design on a smaller scale.

Flower Power
My flower turned out better than expected except I made some of the petals a tad larger than they should have been. However, it turned out pretty nice and I decided to disguise the unevenness of my flower with some echo quilting. I don't have a lot of experience in echo quilting, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to have a go at it. A bit wonky, but considering that this is all freehand, I am very happy with the outcome. I think, if I was to do this again, I might draw myself a square around the flower, so I don't overshoot with the larger petals. Very pretty design.

Linking up to Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays.

Until next time


Sunday 18 November 2012

UFO Sunday #13

It's UFO Sunday again on the Freemotion Quilting Project with Leah Day. I have been working on my 'practice quilt'. You might be thinking that I am swapping and changing projects, never staying on one thing at the time...and you are right. However, there is a very logical explanation for this.

I do not have two sewing machines, so when my machine is set up for FMQ I will keep on going with that set up for a while until I need it again for piecing or if I need to sew something with the walking foot. I did my 'homework' for the Wednesday Quilt Along yesterday and just kept on going with the FMQ on that quilt. I had started to watch the videos from Leah Day's Craftsy class that I recently purchased and the design 'Echo Shell' caught my attention. So, what better way then to have a go at it on the practice quilt. I know I have raved about the benefits of my practice quilt, but I cannot emphasize how useful this quilt has been. No, this will never be a show quilt, nor is it particularly pretty to look at, but it has been invaluable in just trying out things...none of the usual hesitations/fears/barriers are attached to this, as it is truly only a practice piece and I have been much more adventurous on this quilt than on any other piece I have worked on before.

Well, back to the Echo Shell design. In the video Leah stitched this both in a row and in a more random fashion. I chose the random fashion and trialled it in the sashing:

Yep, lots of stitching-in-the ditch again! I like this and will continue to put this in the remaining vertical sashings. This little exercise also served another purpose...I was thinking of putting that in the border of my Japanese Table Runner on a slightly bigger scale. I think that that would look great...

Anyway, then I continued on the border of the practice quilt...until I ran out of thread ( managed to get 3/4 of the border done). Decided after all to continue with the Flowing Lines design even though I did not incorporate going around the corners with this design. A bit more planning on my part would have been good.

I think this design suits the quilt and stitched it using my Sensormatic Echo Freemotion Quilting foot. This is so relaxing! The foot is interesting to use, as on slow speed it makes this clickety-clack noise going up and down, but when you gather speed it just starts gliding across the surface (with more of a humming noise) and you can cover a lot of ground very quickly while maintaining pretty consistent spacing.

Well, that's it for me today. Linking up to UFO Sunday a bit later on.


Wednesday 14 November 2012

Quilt Along #39- Matrix

Made some progress with my 'Practice Quilt'.

But first a bit about the design for this week's Quilt Along Wednesday with Leah Day. The design is called Matrix and is one of those designs that I have been admiring the first time I found the Freemotion Quilting Project on the web. While lines always look so easy I never tried this one because I did not think that I would be able to follow lines in a consistent manner.  I have done some grid quilting before with the walking foot but do not enjoy it...too much marking and there are just too many threads to sew in after.

I had much more success this week with my quilting...I do not think I was in the right space for quilting last week's design. This week everything worked so much better. I even managed to stitch nicely in-the-ditch along the sides of the design. Almost got a bit suspicious...what is going on?...this is not usually that easy. Then a few needles broke and that was almost reassuring (yarn got caught up). I stitched the design in one of my remaining squares. I did not use my Freemotion Echo Quilting foot as I thought it was important to practice 'eyeballing ' the spaces between the lines. I have an open square FMQ foot and the judging of distances takes some practice.

Have a look...this turned out absolutely brilliant. I really like this and from now on this will be my grid of choice. So dynamic and interesting to look at. Should have tried this ages ago.


I also liked the look of the half finished design even though it is just lines across the square...looks very effective, and yet so simple

As I was on a roll I continued on the sashings.  Used two of the designs I found in Angela Walters book 'Freemotion Quilting'.  Just some simple loops and a nice swirl scroll. They both work very well in the sashing (2 " wide).

The way I am going I should get this quilt done by Xmas (only got one square left, the vertical sashings and part of the border). This quilt is interesting to look at with all the different designs and will be great to have around when looking for designs because you cannot only see the design but feel its texture and also have a good idea about the best size for the design.  At the moment I am thinking that I might do another one, as this really has been good fun to do.

Until next time


Tuesday 13 November 2012

Tag! You're It! A fun Little Blogging Game

I've been tagged!!! Pam from PBJ Quilt Sandwiches has become my latest follower and has tagged me to participate in this little blogging game.

The rules are:

- every tagged person has to tell 11 things about themselves
- the person who tagged you asked 11 questions, answer those questions
- ask 11 questions for the 11 blogs you are going to tag (the people you tag should have less than 200 followers)
- mention the blog that tagged you, but do not tag them back.

Here it goes, 11 things about me:

  1. I have been quilting since 2006 and am mainly self-taught; it all started with a tutorial about the basics of quilting that I found on the Internet.
  2. I work almost full-time as a social worker.
  3. My goal for this year was to concentrate on FMQ and that is what I have been mostly doing all year and yes, I can confirm...practice, practice, practice!
  4. I am interested in Pinterest however have not done anything about it as yet...unsure whether I like the concept or not.
  5. I am the gadget person...if there is a new gadget on the market, I'll find it.
  6. I am slightly embarrassed to say but I love Bollywood movies.
  7. I like to read when I have the time; I do not have favourite authors however one of the more memorable authors I read is Abigail Padgett.
  8. I like travelling and am hoping to go overseas next year.
  9. I would love to buy the Handi quilter 'Sweet Sixteen Machine' but that is never going to happen.
  10. This year is the first year that I did not attend the quilt show that comes to town for fear of buying yet more gadgets, more books or even more fabric; instead I went on the Internet and ordered some stuff.
  11. I have been lucky to have some of my quilts published in some of the quilting magazines over here and am hoping to put up some of my patterns on something like Craftsy or Etsy, however have been side tracked all year with other things.
11 questions I got asked:

1) What's your favourite sewing notion?
The Supreme Slider that you put at the bottom of your machine to make sliding the quilt around when FMQ easier - it's brilliant.
2) What's your favourite quilt shop?
Any shop that stores fabric or gadgets.
3) Where did you go on your last vacation?
We went for a week to Sydney, just sightseeing.
4) What's your favourite meal to make for guests?
That depends on the the height of the summer it has to be a BBQ, however in Winter I like to make a roast
5) Do you subscribe to any quilting or sewing magazines?
Yes, I get the Australian Patchwork & Quilting and Creating Country Threads magazines
6) Have you ever been on a shop hop?
7) Toilet paper roll over or under?
Definitely over
8) How long have you been sewing/quilting?
Since 2006
9) What's your best sewing tip?
Before putting on the binding, sew around the edge of your quilt (approximately 1/8" from the edge) to secure the border , then attach the binding; I think it makes for a better finish.
10) Where is the farthest you've ever travelled?
I originate from Germany and now live in Australia
11) Do you collect anything?
Yes, fabric

11 questions for my tagged fellow bloggers:

  1. What is your favourite quilting book?
  2. What is your best sewing tip?
  3. What is your favourite quilt tutorial?
  4. How did you get into quilting?
  5. What styles of quilts do you like most?
  6. What is your favourite quilting gadget?
  7. Do you buy fabric when you need it for a project or do you buy fabric more spontaneously?
  8. Where do you get your inspiration for your quilt designs?
  9. Are you using Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook as well as running a blog?
  10. What sort of things do you enjoy when you are not quilting?
  11. Do you belong to a quilting group?
Tag! You are now it - blogs I have tagged to join in the fun:

Stitch by Stitch
Tales of Ineptitude
My Quilting Journey
The Little House on the Hill
Meine Kleine Welt
Passion Quilting
The Guilty Quilter
Fresh Off the Spool
Katie's Quilting and Sewing
The Zodiac Quilter

Hope you takes about an hour to complete this. It's all good fun and helps us to explore new blogs.


Sunday 11 November 2012

UFO Sunday #11 & 12

Spend some more time on my table runner. This is turning into one of those more agonizing projects because it has been lying around for quite some time and I think I am just a bit over it. Seriously considered not finishing it...

Anyway, I quilted some lines in the major triangles with the walking foot

...and then stopped again...I might just leave it like that, put some lines in the outer border and be done with it.

I am completely stuck on ''how do I quilt this?'. The spaces of the background fabric are relatively small, so do not lend themselves to some of the filler designs (I think). That is why I did the lines, however that just emphasizes its strong geometric shapes. I think it needs something else.

Maybe I should put some pebbles in the remaining spaces...last time I did this table runner, I microstippled in the smaller areas. Then there is the outer border...why is this so difficult ?

Any ideas would be welcome.


Friday 9 November 2012

Blockbase Sew Along #3

This is the third block in the Blockbase Sew Along run by Jenny at the EQ blog 'Behind the Mouse'.
The block is called Pyramid and is #2448 in Barbara Brackmann's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

I actually thought that I still had another week or so to sew this and only realized on my day off from work this week that link up is this Friday. So this block was a bit rushed...

Well, the block certainly used up more fabric than I thought (I am using a Jelly Roll from Moda fabric, called 30s Playtime 'Chloe's Closet').  Had a really hard time to decide what colour arrangements to go for. It ended up pretty colourful...I am not usually this daring...still deciding whether I like the blue in the corners.

Overall, the block came together easily, however quite annoyingly, the matching of my intersections left a lot to be desired. Totally missed the mark on one intersection but funny enough, the block measures exactly 8.5 inches square. Usually I fall a bit shy of my finished block sizes, and as I am consistent in this, I don't worry much about it. I might do this block again over the Xmas period, a little bit slower and hopefully with a bit more precision.

Heading over to the Blockbase Sew Along to have a look at the other blocks. Very curious about what colour combinations people have used.

BlockBase Sew Along Blog Badge

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Quilt Along #38 - Lost Data

Continuing with Leah  Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays. This design follows on from Jagged lines from last week and is called Lost Data.

Time to share some 'not so great' stitching.


Had major issues with the design...tried it twice and cannot say that I got any better at it. The first trial was on the greenish looking Batik fabric. I don't think my machine liked this. Had some issues with the actual stitching as well as the design. Particularly going backwards seemed to create some wobbly stitches. Left it for a day and came back to it, however the Jagged Lines just did not work for me. I don't think I managed once to put a gap in my design in the middle. I think I have some sort of problem with the angles of the zig-zag lines. Maybe I am doing them too tight and that then leads to some awkward idea really,  but somehow I seem to always end up with really odd, hard to manage spaces, often veering completely to the side. Thoroughly enjoyed the Zippling though...

Might have to stick with Flowing Lines for the border of my practice quilt.

Linking up to Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays on the Freemotion Quilting Project.

Until next time


Sunday 4 November 2012

More FMQ Practice

Done a bit more FMQ practice. The first design is from Angela Walter's Book 'Free- Motion Quilting' and is called Concentric Circles. My squares are 8 inches which is a bit limiting, however I decided to give it a go. The design is surprisingly easy to stitch and looks great...fairly dense but great texture. I think this is about the size of the circles that is manageable. Any bigger and I reckon one looses least that is what happened to me on the domestic machine.

 And here is Circuit Board, a design that we have been doing earlier on Leah Day's Quilt Along Wednesdays. I like the design but had not yet done it on the practice quilt. Bit of avoidance behaviour on my part, because I basically suck at it. Funny though, the design continues to look good even if you stitched it a bit wonky.


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