Thursday 25 December 2014

Christmas 2014

Can't believe a year has passed. This photo was taken last year in Germany, Moelln - a residence of a puppetmaker in one of those cobblestoned small side streets.
Wishing everybody a very Merry Christmas and a Quilty New Year.


Saturday 20 December 2014

Progress On New WIPs

Made some progress on my new piecing projects

After some rummaging through my stash found some additional white fabric. Not exactly sure what happened here but did some massive miscalculation when I started this off.

The baby quilt is going to look quite cute, I think. I am a bit worried about the different white fabric in between, however it will be placed consistently in each corner of each star so I can pretend it was meant to be like that.

Now the bottom design is an entirely different matter. I think I said previously that these were not my colours...and yep, it shows. My daughter and I both stood in front of this and we both said that this looked rather ...bla. Not sure this works actually. I did try different colours to partially frame the blocks on the EQ7 however using a darker colour like the brown in the middle of one block and the whole framing tended to take over the quilt. Using a green solid colour looked just plain odd, as some of the Charm squares got a blueish hue to it.

Has this ever happened to you? I think I will continue with this arrangement even though I am not a 100% and just hope that the overall vision of this quilt comes through. It might turn out a ...bla...quilt, something that is neither here nor there. Those colours are just too soft for me. I have in mind to FMQ the disconnected frame around the blocks quite heavily and that may lift this can only hope.

Have another similar design already cut out which will be better as the colours are dark and succinct. I think that will be an easier quilt to work on for me. Maybe I should start that one as well...haha!


Wednesday 17 December 2014

No Reply Bloggers

Just a quick note re No Reply bloggers. I have had a few people email me over the last few months who were No Reply Bloggers.
Please check when you email that you don't fall in this category as there is absolutely no way I can email you back. This is always such a pity and I would hate to think that people think they are just dealing with a person who does not bother to answer. I have a link in my tutorial page on how to fix this, however if you look over the Internet there is heaps of info re this.

Anyway, today Heulwen ask re the new Open Toe Freemotion Spring Foot...hoping that you read this!
The new foot (821064096 J) is in Pfaff's updated accessories catalogue. The letter J behind the number is important as this is the one for the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2.

Please email me if you have any other questions and include a return email.


Tuesday 16 December 2014

Things Are Taking Shape

Making some headway in planning out my projects for the new year.

Continued with my new design that will use up 2 packs of my Charm Squares
This block measures 10.5in and will show off those beautiful Moda  (A Field Guide) Charm squares.

Then I made a serious start on that baby quilt that has been sitting around mostly cut up and ready to go. It's really just a matter of putting this together.
Ran out of that particular white fabric and will have to substitute with some other white fabric from my stash. I am not buying new fabric.

Also, did some blissful cutting with the Accuquilt GO cutter one evening beginning to cut up some of the bigger leftovers.
This is the 4 1/4in (finished size) equilateral triangle. Purchased this at the last quilt show and only now got around to actually trying this out. I have a serious stash problem as I am somewhat a tad obsessive in keeping leftovers. Some are sorted into a shoe box full of strings (for another string quilt UFO) but there are also the bigger leftovers and it is becoming a little bit ridiculous to hold on to that. So I started cutting...this was a lot of fun and naturally goes quite quickly with the GO cutter...I have got about 100 triangles there to start off with...the die comes with these niffy little notches to line up the squares which will make it easier when sewing them together. I am planning a Thousand Pyramid quilt out of scraps...not sure about size, but I am thinking single bed size would be great although I dare say, I would have enough for a King size quilt).

Also have been Ebay shopping lately for some of the things that are not readily available around town.

Look what's arrived today

Hobbs Tuscany 100% Wool batting.
This is an end of bolt piece that I acquired at a reasonable price (even with postage) at Ozquilts in Victoria. The piece measures 66in x 48in...I have not had this batting before and I must say this is gorgeous...soft and luxurious...very excited to try this out.
Planning a Wholecloth quilt with this following Cindy Needham's Craftsy class on Wholecloth quilts. I am planning to mark the design onto the fabric over Christmas as this will be a fairly labour intensive process.

Anyway, that's all from me today.

Linking up to the last link-up of the year at Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch. Today's link-up is hosted by Allison at Babco Unlimited.
A big thank you to Marelize for holding the link up over the year. The link up will resume on Monday 5 January 2015. It has been a lot of fun to keep up with what people have been doing and to discover new blogs in the process.


Tuesday 9 December 2014

New Design

Here is what I started working on.

I bought 2 Charm packs a while ago - A Field Guide by Janet Clare for Moda. Beautiful! Played with design for a while and settled on the above. I wanted something a bit different where the beautiful squares would take center stage. This ended up with a partial seam which is easy enough to do, just requires a bit of care when putting it together. These colours are a bit out of my comfort zone...all fairly pale, sandy type colours, so it should be interesting how I go with that.

Apart from that I keep missing all my usual link-ups as the busyness of the season has taken over. I am also spending a lot of time on the computer...planning, learning, looking for stuff...

Invested in some great Craftsy classes in line with my goals for next year which again center around FMQ. Bought Cindy Needham's classes in the recent sales, Machine Quilting Wholecloth Quilts and Design It, Quilt It, another FMQ class. If you never looked at an online class, I can highly recommend them. The classes are well structured, separated into lessons which last on average about 20-30 minutes. You can stop your class, repeat sections, jump around through different lessons. This works really well for me and while I can FMQ, there are so many tips that one picks from this whether it be the materials/threads used, resources or simply a particular way of doing a design. Very informative and easy to digest and best of all you can go back any time and re-visit a particular lesson. There are many great classes on there and during the sale I had to really restrain myself from buying more...these two will keep me busy for hours.

I am planning to do another Wholecloth, probably using the example that Cindy Needham used in her lesson. Already printed the main design out, bought some inexpensive white fabric and am waiting for a bit of downtime when I can mark the design on the fabric...can't wait, this will be great!

Apart from this will have to do some planning around my projects (and UFOs), as I have about five new quilts in my head and it is starting to get somewhat crowded in there...definitely need a bit of a plan of attack. Will sit down over X-mas to tackle this...don't know about you but I have got several projects already sitting there, all cut up ready to go...and still, here I am starting a new thing.

Belated link-up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch

...and also to Fabric Tuesday over at Quilt Story

Anyway, happy quilting


Monday 1 December 2014

Pfaff Quilt expression 4.2: New Open-Toe Freemotion Spring Foot

Where have I been?

In a whole lot of pain...have been doing some re-organization of the house and spent the last three weeks cleaning. The sewing room was, is all that I can say...there was stuff everywhere!
Could not get into anything until I had cleaned up.

Anyway, Pfaff has brought out this new Open-Toe Freemotion Spring foot. Was curious about this and got one on the weekend. I spoke about the different FMQ feet and modes to use in a previous post. Find the link HERE

Curious looking thing
 Easy enough to put on after you take the shank off and the visibility was great all around.

and off I went...this foot is used with the Spring FMQ mode of the machine and an Aurifil 50/2 thread in both the top and the bobbin.

I liked it, however you would be hardpressed to find a difference in stitching. I use the Dynamic 6D foot without a problem, and also my old Springloaded foot (although that has given me some hassles on the new machine). This new foot seems to have ironed out some adjustment issues and performed fine. Now I have to say that I did learn FMQ on a Springloaded foot and I do prefer a Springloaded foot for stitching feathers. I feel that it provides more control when stitching...however this also might be my imagination or simply a comfort thing. As soon as I started off there was that familiar sound and rhythm of the machine. The Dynamic 6D foot feels slightly different and stitching a lot by listening (if that makes sense)  I feel it sounds slightly different. I prefer that foot for faster work.

So while playing around I stitched out the motif of the stencil that I recently bought as I am intending to use it for a Wholecloth quilt (only in my head at the moment). Had some issues with the stencil, i.e. could not work out the stitch path and ended up going over some lines at least three times. Tried to stitch each section following a different path, but reckon I need to study it a bit closer. In the end I thought that it had to be stitched in sections rather than as one continuous line...will need to work on this. Then I started trying different fillers and the end result is really an example of what not to do... I literally stitched my motif away. Probably should be called ...wild and wonderful!

I reckon this motif needs Trapunto and the filled-in areas should probably be in the same colour as the background. I lost the middle somewhat by microstippling it and then having the Pebbles close by

...but gee, I had some fun with this.


Thursday 20 November 2014

Craft and Quilt Fair

Who said one could not spent the whole day at the annual Craft and Quilt Show?

Fun, fun, and more fun...had a great time, however was absolutely exhausted by 5.30pm.

Here is the quilt that I entered in the show

Looked absolutely fabulous and was a buzz seeing it there. Very glad that I finally managed to follow through with my good intentions, even though this is a fairly ordinary quilt.

Won't be showing any of the quilts on the internet as this would be classed as publishing another quilter's work. The quilts this year were of a really high standard and I did a couple of hours White Glove duty and had a really good chance inspecting them very closely. Really enjoyed this...amazing talent out there.

Then I went shopping...tried restraint this year because I really do not need a lot of things.

However, found (and bought) some Full Line stencils and a blue Pounce Pad for marking designs on light fabric

One of the stencils

Should have probably taken it out of its shiny packet for photographing...anyway, gave it a really good workout. These stencils do not have a true opening so you will need to use chalk powder to use them. The chalk powder goes through the screen mesh as you wipe over them. I put this stencil over a fair amount of fabric and yes, they will get very dusty. You can then just use your iron and the chalk dust will disappear or if you are like me I just rinsed it off. Works very well. The stencil is flexible and feels a bit like can crunch it up, fold it...bit different to what I am used to.
Then got carried away and did some last attempt was a bit woeful, I must say. Have acquired a different water soluble thread since then and tried again. This time used bobbin fill in the bobbin and that worked fine. Also used 2 layers of cotton batting this time to make it worth my while. This turned out much better, almost a bit too puffed up and for me. I reckon Polyester batting would probably have been better for a softer feel. Need much more practice on this but am getting there.

Bought another two stencils, one rope/braid one and a wineglass filler. You can find these stencils at Sewing Buddies Australia. They have a fairly good range and these stencils are not too expensive. Postage should be super cheap as they are light like feathers.

All in all, a very productive day


99 Hexagon Quilt Finish

The 99 hexagon quilt is finally finished. It's getting a bit boring now as it is the same quilt over and over again, but one can't hurry these things and life has been extraordinary hectic around here lately.

Here it is

The quilt turned out approximately 41" x 45". I must say it has grown on me over time and I quite like it, even though it is a bit bright and full on. I absolutely agonized over the border quilting and in the end ended up with putting simple lines in it. I did think this through and had to concede that any other more detailed quilting would not be seen. For a moment I thought about outlining the flowers but decided against it as the scale is quite smallish and did not go with the more geometric nature of the rest of the quilting. So, lines it was...

Linking up to Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday hosted by What a Hoot Quilts for this Friday


Wednesday 12 November 2014

WIP: 99 Hexagons

Completed the main quilting and just have the outer border left

Quite like how this turned out. Initially I thought that this would look a bit bla...however I stuck with the initial decision to do some dot-to-dot quilting and as I went along it grew on me. The flower design in the black hexagons just gives it that little bit extra without being over-powering, I think (idea from Angela Walter's new book Shape by Shape). I used my favourite thread, Aurifil 50/2 in a ever so slightly variegated yellow (No 3920) from Sheena Norquay's Autumn collection. This was just the right thread, adding a bit of interest through the black hexagons and in the inner border.

Bit stuck now as I am not sure how to do the outer flower border. I could go around some of the flowers but there are too many and I can just see how confused I would be getting in selecting some of them. Just stippling maybe, given that this is very bright and colourful fabric and the quilting will not really be seen anyway. Very undecided about this one, but would like to try something a bit different to what I usually do. Will continue to look at will come to me eventually.

Linking up to Linky Tuesday with Connie at Freemotion By The River and Fabric Tuesday over at Quilt Story.


Wednesday 5 November 2014

WIP: 99 hexagons

As soon as I started it I realized that this was going to take a long time. I decided to mark the curves...while I can stitch curves down a seam I cannot keep that consistent or near enough and if you suffer my perfectionism it does matter. So, yes, I am marking them lightly, going down one side and coming back up the other side, stitching the flower as I come across the black hexagons. This is quite a bit of fun but not quite as fast I had hoped for. Well, never is a small quilt and should be done within the week.

This is quite a busy little quilt and the only thing that is really noticeable is going to be those flowers in the black hexagons.

Until next time...hopefully with the quilting of the hexagons completed.


Monday 27 October 2014

WIP: 99 Hexagons

Basted my 99 hexagon quilt.

Had some trouble finding a suitable backing. Initially I was going to match the yellow, but that turned out too hard...too many shades of yellow and the ones that are in this fabric are quite distinctive.

I found this white one with the black floral...while a bit busy when placed together like below, I thought it suited this little quilt perfectly

As you can see I pinned this very tightly, in fact I put a pin into every single hexagon. As I am not going to use the walking foot to secure any seams, I did not want to risk the layers shifting. I am thinking of simply quilting curved lines that go from point to point in each hexagon, then jazzing it up a notch and quilting a simple flower design in the black hexagons. No ideas re the outside borders as yet...really struggle with that each and every time.

Will I need to mark this?  Not sure yet, I am hoping that I can just eyeball this, but we shall see.

Linking up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch.

Until next time, hopefully with a completed quilt.


Friday 24 October 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival

It's that time of year again...the Blogger's Quilt Festival 2014 held over at Amy's Creative Side.

This seems to have come around very quickly and I am relatively unprepared, so I have decided to enter my Dresden Plate runner in the MINI Quilt category. Always wanted to do a DP and a lot of leftover strips from my Jelly Roll inspired me to construct this variation. Initially I considered making a vertical split in the individual spokes but then thought, why not go for a horizontal split...I then did a few trial spokes and really liked the look of it. Ideal project for using up leftovers.


Quilt size: 21" x 46.5"
Fabrics used: Moda Jelly Roll-Chateau Rouge/French General (for DP) and coordinating background print.
Quilting: basic outline quilting on DSM

Head over to Amy's Creative Side to look at all the other quilts. It is always a great event to participate or just to browse through the various categories for inspiration.
The linky is open from today until October 31 when voting begins. You can find the Festival Main Page HERE


Wednesday 22 October 2014

The Challenge

My friend and I have been going to our Guild meetings over the last few months. Not entirely sure why I have never gone before - laziness comes to mind. Anyway, the meetings have been a lot of fun.

At the first meeting they had a presentation about batiks which was very interesting and informative. The shop that presented was the Whyte House Gallery which is located in Victor Habor. At the end of the talk the presenter handed out some samples for people who had never worked with batik to take away...just a few slithers of fabric. Each got about 3 - 4 pieces of approximately 4" x 6" of beautiful batik.

Looking at this fabric and talking about it, we decided to set ourselves a bit of a challenge, initially to do something small but then it became using those little pieces to produce something useful. I found a pattern for a little purse in one of the library books that I had borrowed from the Guild (Susan Briscoe - 21 terrific patchwork bags). Looked easy enough and small enough to just whip up...the purse was constructed via foundation piecing which was easy enough. It was then bound (first time I actually made my own bias binding- thoroughly enjoyed that) and folded and the zipper sewn in by hand, as was the lining. I think I enjoyed it up to the zipper part. Not being that cluey about zippers and bags in general, this was a bit of a struggle, however by then fierce competition had set in and I was determined to finish it.

Here it is...the Fan Purse in glorious batiks (about 9" in diameter)

The Fan Purse - pattern found in Susan Briscoe's book - 21 terrific patchwork bags

Black lining to match the binding

Hand-sewn zipper - I am so impressed!

Simple quilting lines- this could be embellished with some decorative stitching

Used up every little bit of fabric that I had from those batik samples. Pity that I did not take a picture of those is amazing what one get get out a few pieces.

I am going to use this as a pencil holder...just the right size. Might just have to do another one. I have got some fat quarters of beautiful Japanese type print.

Linking up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch and Let's Bee Social Linky Party.


Friday 17 October 2014


Went to my first Guild meeting in September and they had a talk on about Batik fabrics. I have never worked with Batiks so found this really interesting.

As it so happened my friend and colleague went off for a holiday in Bali and checked out some fabrics. I will not tell you how much fabric she came back with ...she can report this on her blog. Needless to say we are talking meters...

She gave me a heap of strips from the pre-cuts that she bought over there:

How pretty is this?

Not sure what I am going to do with this...currently I am thinking maybe a bag...

Anyway, I think I have to go to Bali

Linking up to Fort Worth Fabric Studio for Fabric Frenzy Friday


Saturday 11 October 2014

Pfaff Expression 4.2: Freemotion Modified Ankle

I first heard about the Freemotion Ankle from Kviltstina from Sweden. She directed me to Patsy Thompsons website for this video on the Pfaff Freemotion Modified Ankle.

Since then I have searched the internet for this, however could only locate it in the US. I was going to ask my local Pfaff dealer about this, but as luck has it, when I went to the Australian Machine Quilting Festival the other day, my Pfaff dealer had a stall and they already had them in stock.

Exciting plus...put it on the same day to finish off my meander on the Plus quilt. The shank of the Pfaff Machine looks like this:

This is the shank on the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2 with the 6D Freemotion quilting foot. Visibility is greatly enhanced with the 6D foot but as you can see in the next picture there are some limitations when quilting with the shank obstructing some of the quilting behind the foot. Normally that requires you to look slightly on the side now and then to see where you have come from and need to go next.

This is the modified ankle:
Basically they cut off the bit where you would attach your normal sewing foot as this is not needed for FMQ

The visibility is greatly enhanced as you now do not have the lower piece obstructing your view while you FMQ .

The drawback is that you have to exchange the shank when you want to FMQ, of course...a bit fiddly but a small price to pay for the constant looking around your foot to see where you came from. I like it!


Wednesday 8 October 2014

Plus Quilt Finished

Decided on an overall meander

I have read some interesting points about the meander design lately. Many people find it quite boring and I have been a bit amazed to read that some people think it is difficult to achieve on a DSM. I reckon almost any design can be done on a DSM, depending how much practice and determination you want to put in. I agree that meandering or stippling is not a beginner design...far from it. You need to be able to speed up and slow down while at the same time concentrating on where you are going to produce a consistently visually pleasing design. Not a simple feat by any means, however with practice it can be done.

I like my overall meander at about 1/2" scale which requires some concentration as you have to keep your hands a little bit farther apart when quilting. As I have been FMQ for a while, I have no problems with the design...even if I loose concentration I usually can wiggle my way out of spots. Boring...yes, but I like the texture the stipple produces over an entire quilt. The quilt top, while quilted allover, still has that soft fluffy feel to it. And is a really fast design...I manage a good quarter of the quilt in one sitting, so when I just want to finish off a quilt this is my go to design.

The other point is that you have to look at the quilt top itself. I saw a Plus quilt at the Machine Quilting Festival the other day that had feathers quilted allover...while it looked nice and soft (as the feathers were big) you could not actually see the great feather work done due to the scrappy nature of the quilt. Similarly, I thought initially that I might do swirls allover, but again this would not really be seen due to the design, hence I opted for the meander which was ultimately faster to do.

Maybe if I do another one, I might try the swirl to see the difference in texture.

Anyway, here is a cute picture of the resident cat while I was trying to slip stitch the binding in place:

Fast asleep, so my binding had to wait...


Friday 3 October 2014

Australian Machine Quilting Festival 2014

The Australian Machine Quilting Festival has been in town from 1/10 - 6/10/14. Find the blog HERE.

Have been looking forward to this...spend the whole Saturday there looking at every little stall. Great fun! A lot of classes with great teachers were offered over the days that the festival was on however I decided to just enjoy the exhibit and look at the stalls.

Photographs were permitted for personal use only, so I will not be showing the photos I took of some very impressive quilts, however here are some shots of some of the quilting designs that caught my interest..

This is a filler design that I would love to be able to do

Impressive Plus!

Loved this

Great background

Very effective filler for the wreath
 Needless to say, I spend a lot of money on bits and pieces...bought some Aurifil thread, Golden Threads quilting paper, Accuquilt Go Cutter Dies (ouch!) and various other things.

They always have a very good book stall and I found Angela Walter's new book...yah!

I also have her first book 'Freemotion Quilting' and highly recommend her books. They are easy to follow and the instructions are very detailed and lend themselves to both traditional as well as modern quilts.
And as luck has it, there is a section on hexagons in the book which is handy as I still need to finish off my 99 hexagon quilt. While I had a design in mind, the book has just given me an extension of my idea...

However, the most exciting thing was that I found the Pfaff Freemotion Ankle. Now this was a surprise...I had been looking for this over the Internet for some time and was going to ask my local sewing shop about it. As it was, my sewing shop had a stall and they already had them in stock. But more on that in another post...

Until next time


Taking the plunge

Spring is in full swing
Happy to announce that I have finally taken the plunge to enter one of my quilts in the Annual Festival of Quilts Exhibition part of the Craft & Quilt Fair that runs here in November.

I have spent the last few weeks sewing up a sleeve for the quilt and going through that handbook trying to figure out all the different labels that I needed...must admit I did get very anxious looking at my quilt as I could see all those little faults but I was determined to make this happen. It's does not matter that it is a simple straightforward quilt and not one of my bestest pieces...this was one of those things that has been on my list for a very long time. The anxiety around that is really quite amazing.Have not been able to work on anything else.

Made a mental note not to use a quilt again that had a black border...spent days on going over that with a lint roller to make it as clean as possible. Did not help that I had some bearding happening as well. Anyway, handed it in yesterday at the monthly Guild meeting.

This should be interesting.

Now that this is out of the way I have several things that need finishing:
- the 99 Hexagon quilt: found a great backing piece and just need to put the three layers together

- the Plus quilt is ready for quilting: decided to do a simple meander over it. After much thought I came to the conclusion that that is the texture I want for this, even though it probably is a bit boring
- working on writing up a pattern for my Dresden table runner
- have a new design worked out but am still looking for some background fabric


Saturday 27 September 2014

New Craftsy Pattern

I finally got around to writing up the pattern for the Little Chicken Quilt

This has been one of the most enjoyable quilts to construct and started as a challenge to use up some of the ever increasing scraps that were accumulating from other projects. It can be used as a way to make room for new fabric and having some fun with creating that random scrappy look while at the same time creating a charming little quilt. The quilt top is made up of 3in squares with plain sashing strips and two borders to finish it all off and measures 38 1/2in x 44 1/2in (97.8cm x 113cm). Very simple and fast to construct.

If you are interested in making this quilt head over to my pattern store at Craftsy.


Monday 22 September 2014

WIP: Plus Quilt top

Some progress...finally got the basting done. Always a major job as I am doing it on the floor which is very uncomfortable to say the least.

Now onto the favourite part! I am thinking of an allover design, maybe something swirly or maybe an allover flower design. Not sure yet, too many choices

Linking up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch


Monday 15 September 2014

Playing with Thread

I have come to a bit of a standstill on my projects. No particular reason other that life is a bit busy at the moment. My hexagon quilt is still waiting for an appropriate backing piece and I am undecided on a quilting pattern for my Plus quilt...

Why work on my WIPs though when I can do something completely different? Have been FMQ a little bit here and there, trying new designs and in general giving my machine a bit of a workout. Fun, fun, fun...

For some years now I have been thinking about stitching up some very old designs...from 1885 to be precise. I once found this book in the bargin bin in one of the local bookshops...Decorative Flower and Leaf Designs...a republication of some 124 illustrations from Blätter und Blumen für Flächen- Decoration: Eine Vorlagensammlung für Zeichen, Webe, und gewerbliche Fortbildungsschulen, Fabrikanten und Masterzeichner, published by E. Twietmeyer, Leipzig, 1885. For a long time I struggled to work out which program to use to work with these images on the computer...finally worked it out and was able to print out one of them at 10 x 16 inches.

As you can see, still have a lot of work to do on this. I think this sample is too small which makes it somewhat too frilly. I probably need to simplify this a bit and enlarge it, maybe do some trapunto to make it pop a bit better. But can you see the potential?
I got quite excited about this...would be lovely to do a Wholecloth with just a few of these designs to showcase their beauty. But, and there always is a but...this requires a whole lot of more work.Next trial will be on black fabric, I reckon...this was a bugger to photograph!


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