Wednesday 26 February 2014

Quick Update On Dresden Plate

Slow progress with my Dresden Plate, but what a beauty. For readers who missed the previous post about this Dresden Plate, I am using up some leftovers from a Moda Jelly Roll (French General).

Have the other two plates finished as well, but have not got around to sew them into place or do the center. This is a bit finicky so I don't want to rush the process. So much for my idea of a 'quick fix' project!

Not sure yet how I am going to quilt it...this looks quite busy. Probably will just emphasize the circles and go around the spokes with 1/4in outline.

Linking up to Lorna's Let's Bee Social Linky Party and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


Tuesday 25 February 2014

Testing Blog Button

What do you think of my blog button? Still in its development stages ...somehow I think I am doing something wrong with the picture. I don't think it is clear enough and at the moment it seems to have a purple line around it...not sure about this either. I created the button in a drawing program, exported it as a JPEG (a bit over the recommended 125 x125pixels) and it came looking out like this.  But even more exacerbating was trying to get it on the blog with that little grab box.

You have no idea how I have struggled with this...for many, many sessions. Actually got very frustrated with this...just could not find something that came out working...

Finally found a web site that worked at Code It Pretty. So, gave that a go and it worked...

I am going to test this a bit to see whether it actually works...

Holding my breath now

Grab button for The Quilt Yarn
<div class="The-Quilt-Yarn-button" style="width: 130px; margin: 0 auto;"> <a href="" rel="nofollow"> <img src="" alt="The Quilt Yarn" width="130" height="130" /> </a> </div>
PS.  Wow, seems to work, but also just saw that it has a white surround and the purple line has disappeared...hmm, I think this is due to the JPEG export.
also, the horizontal scroll does not work when posted but is working when composing the post. No idea why that is so. And obviously this button needs a bit of work. I like the design but would prefer it to be much crisper...back to the drawing board. This is actually holding me up in my quilting, can you believe it?

PSS Even managed a second one on the side bar with a different code


Monday 24 February 2014


In production-style piecing at the moment. While also working on my Dresden Plate, I finally managed to cut out all my squares for the baby quilt that I am intending to do.

I prefer to cut out all my pieces in one hit which is quite tedious,  however seems to work better for me than doing it block by block. This way, I have to calculate and think through the quilt in some detail before I even touch the fabric. This avoids mistakes in cutting and works better for me. Once done, I can usually sit down and strip piece elements of a block all in one go, speeding the whole process up a bit. When that is done, I then piece maybe two or three blocks in one go until all done.

My block consists mainly of HST and I finished sewing 80 of those together just the other evening...I cut my squares slightly bigger and trim them to size after I cut them apart. This is a bit work intensive however I am used to doing it this way and found that it provides better accuracy overall.

Here is my first block

This is all I produced in one evening :)...Downton Abbey has started again! Yes, spend most of the time watching TV.

Was not that happy with the centre of the block...too many seams meeting and as you can see the centre is bulging out a bit. Although I pressed it correctly I am wondering whether I should iron  the seams open in the middle.

Any suggestions ?

Linking up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch


Monday 17 February 2014

Progress on Dresden Plates

Steadily working away on piecing these small wedges together started this last week... see also my previous post 'Going off on a tangent...again'!

Then of course realised I needed some background fabric...and something for the border. Wanted some dark fabric for the background but could not find anything suitable, so went for a tone-on-tone beige background. Then found the red fabric that sort of goes with the red in the wedges...

That is as close as I could come to matching the red. This Jelly Roll - French General from Moda is very tricky to match, I must say.

Did I say Quick Fix project before? Well, I then went ahead and centred the plate on my background fabric, basting the plate in the middle to the background fabric and securing the spokes with a bit of fabric glue. Initially I tried to sew it on with an invisible thread using a very small zig-zag stitch. Did not like it at all ...maybe I did something wrong but it looked very obvious and so I proceeded to stitch the plate on by hand.

This is how far I got ...2 more to go and then I need to figure out how to get the centre exactly where I want it to be...this should be interesting. Intending to also sew the centre on by hand...just looks neater, I think.

Wow, a bit very colourful...maybe a bit too much going on here. But I am happy to report I used up lots of remaining Jelly Roll strips, but still got enough variety for another small project, I think.

Linking up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch


Wednesday 12 February 2014

Going Off On A Tangent...again

Have a look what I have been up to

Yep, I still have not started on that Windmill baby quilt that I am planning as I was too curious of how this would work.

I have all those leftover fabric strip from a Moda Jelly Roll (Chateau Rouge/French General). It has been sitting in the shelf and was collecting dust. The fabric is just lovely and I do not want to let it go to waste. On the other hand I did not feel like making a quilt out of it, as I very likely would not have enough (and I am not going to buy more fabric!).

These pieces, while a bit fiddly, come together very quickly. I did all those in one evening...just need to press them now and probably make a few more.

Well, you would have guessed it by now, I am making a Dresden Plate. Always wanted to do that and so far just had not got around to it. This will be a nice little Quick fix project (here is hoping!)

I like it...just need to fix up the wedge on the right as I did not pay attention to the light/dark theme.

So, Let's Bee Social and head over to Lorna's Sew Fresh Quilt blog to have a look what other people have been up to...and also linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Until next time


Tuesday 11 February 2014

SewCal Red and White Challenge

red and white quilt show - Design ItSewCalGal is hosting A Year of Red & White Quilt Challenges . Have a look at the scheduling HERE

For February this involves designing a red & white quilt. I love designing quilts and also am fortunate enough to have EQ7.  I could have designed many spectacular quilts using a red and white theme, but when I read about it, I knew exactly what I was going to do.

My favourite block, found on one of my many explorations of the Internet, when looking around for older style, traditional quilt blocks that I could draw into the EQ7 program is "An Arrangement of Small Pieces". Once you know the grid it is drawn on, it is fairly simple to redraw any block in EQ7. I often do this and have a number of older style blocks that I place in My Library which can then be used like the blocks that already come with the EQ program.

This block goes back to the The Kansas City Star (1928-1960) and is described as one of the very few quilt blocks that describes in its name what quilting actually is all about. (you can find it at Antique Geometric Quilt Designs  and also in Maggie Malone's 5500 Quilt block Designs, p.38 (with a slight colour variation).  Apart from that I have not seen it anywhere else and have never seen a quilt made of it. Now I found this fascinating and got somewhat stuck on this block, possibly because it looks so plain and unassuming. Playing around with it in EQ7 there are some fantastic variations that one can create using this block. I already posted about this in an earlier post, but apart from a little table runner, never got around to actually making a full sized quilt using this block.

I think this block lends itself perfectly to a two coloured quilt and to emphasize the beauty of this block my virtual quilt is designed with simplicity in mind.

Here it is, my entry to the Red & White Challenge:  An Arrangement Of Small Pieces

An Arrangement Of Small Pieces
The quilt measures 56in x 65in and  I used just one main colour from the Jinny Beyer Palette (one of my favourite designers).  In terms of yardage one would need 2 3/8yd white background fabric, 2 7/8yd dark red tone-on-tone print and 1/4 yd light red small scale print. Now, I realise that not everyone will think that this is just extraordinary, but, hey, we all have our little obsessions and this block appears to be mine.

Have a look what else you can do with this block

This is just one of the many variations that I have come up with using my trusted EQ7 program. The possibilities are truly amazing and I keep coming up with new ones.

Really should knuckle down and actually piece my Arrangement Of Small Pieces together, maybe then I will get this block out of my system

Linking up to SewCalGal's A Year of Red & White Challenges The event is open until March 23rd, so there is plenty of time for you to come up with your own design to any case, make sure you head over to SewCalGal for the remainder of the time to have a look at the entries. I am so looking forward to this.


Monday 10 February 2014

Insanity Plus

YES!, I finished micro stippling the centre of my wholecloth. This took forever ... as much as I like the texture and look, this was insane. The area to stipple was huge and I nearly gave up half way through. Came up with all sorts of excuses why I had to be doing something the end, I perservered because I was also aware that if I stopped, it would be so much harder to pick it up again (and maintain the approximate size of the stipple).
Centre of Wholecloth finished
Look in the left hand corner...I bought some Pinmoors when I was ordering some supplies from the Internet the other day.  Leah Day uses them a lot so I am going to trial them a bit. Bought one packet which is not enough for a whole quilt but it is such a shift in what I am used to. Somehow they don't look secure enough, so I put the two in to see whether they fall out during the handling of the quilting. Of course, they don't, actually I was surprised how firm they are and am a bit amazed that they stay put. What I like about them is that they don't leave big holes when you pull them out and also they are of course, much easier to put in and pull out.

Anyway, for  the whole week I was going to start on a new baby quilt, washed all my fabric etc. but could not begin because I had this enormous area of the wholecloth to finish off (would be great to have two machines). Promised myself not to do this again...famous last words! In the end, I did not even like it anymore and thought it looked pretty boring. Mind you, also perfected my approach to micro stippling, i.e. be recklessly imperfect, stay in rows and vary your shape slightly for a nice interlocking design. Overall, I did a good job and any inconsistencies are really not noticeable ...the thread colour (I used Aurifil Mako 50/2) that I have chosen blends in perfectly and the 'bumps' across the quilt look quite natural.

I did this on my new Pfaff Expression 4.2 with the new Dynamic FMQ foot which is round rather than square. I had very good visibility with that foot and found that if I stayed in rows it was easy to anticipate how to interlock the stitching...problems only tended to present themselves when I got into an area where I had done some unexpected stitching, i.e. gone down too far on the previous row or left a bit of a gap in the previous row. In terms of shapes I think of Micky Mouse funny as that sounds...having that mental image helps me to stitch out a stipple. If I let go of that I find that I start losing myself in the shapes and end up just doing snake type lines.

The new machine has 3 LED light...very happy with this. This photo was taken at night while I was stitching (yep, any excuse did do to just do something different for a moment)...see the light in the right hand corner...just brilliant, made such a difference. I will have a break from this quilt now for a moment. For the borders I want to put in more feather designs both in the inner and outer border. This requires some marking and a lot of concentration.

Now I can set my machine up for piecing and finally start that baby quilt. Mind you, while I was stippling away I also had a brain wave for another design...I reckon I probably start  both because I am a bit curious as to what that would look like. Thinking about a multi coloured Dresden Plate where I could use up some leftover Jelly roll strips. Watch this space...

Linking up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch
Until next time


Sunday 9 February 2014

EPP Linky Party

Excited to find out about the EPP Linky Party at Splish Splash Stash.

I am relatively inexperienced with paper piecing and have only ever done one other project.

This table runner was completed in 2012 and came about when I saw a demonstration at the Melbourne Quilt Show some years ago...a lady was sewing these tiny elongated hexagons and squares together (into full sized quilts!)...looked all pretty simple and the fabric she had on offer was just divine. Needless to say, I bought the whole kit and caboodle.

Started very excitedly but soon realised that this was not for the faint-hearted. Initially put it away, but then in 2012 took it out again and finished it...and got hooked on it! This was by far the most relaxing thing I have ever done and while it did give me some anxious moments here and there as I had literally not got a clue on how to do any of this, the end result was so worth it.

So, this year I started another one...wisened up though and bought bigger hexagons! I described my method of doing them in an earlier post (see HERE).  As you will notice, I do not sew the fabric to the paper but just glue the fabric on with a fabric glue pen (saw this at the quilt show and thought this was ingenious). Also just recently realised that I do not need a template but can just cut around the hexagons adding the 1/4in seam allowance...was very impressed with this as it makes the process even quicker, if you can talk about quick in EPP.

Finished hexagon - edge length 2in

This is how far I got just watching TV, cutting, and making the therapeutic!

Not sure what this will become (currently is called the TV project). Not much planning going on ...I only have a limited number of squares (I think 64) and I have not really thought about it on how to arrange them or what dimensions I am going for.  Let's see where this will take us...for the moment I am really happy to just sit here and making them. Looking forward to sewing them together.

Linking up to the EPP Linky Party to see what other EPPers are up to and am hoping to pick up some ideas and tips. Click also on the beautiful button from Splish Splash Stash on the right sidebar to go to the main page to see the schedule of the link ups...and maybe also have a look at the January link up...some beautiful work going on over there.

Until next time


Wednesday 5 February 2014

New idea

Have been spending some time playing with different designs and ideas, one bigger and better than the other.  My whole EQ 7 program is littered with ideas and I am dreading to clean it all up.

I am thinking of doing another baby quilt as I have given my last two away. Any excuse will do really...I just love making them. It will be again a baby quilt with bright colours and I tried various ideas but could not get away from a very simple and basic block...a windmill.

Not that exciting, but sometimes I do just get stuck on the one idea and cannot appears that this one has to be made. I reckon it taps into some childhood memories. I used to love those little windmills made out of plastic in bright colours and used to run around with them through the garden, watching them turn in the wind.

I don't need to buy a lot of additional colour as I still got a selection of tone-on-tone prints and solids in my stash.

For the border I got this colourful fabric called Remix by Ann Kelle (for Robert Kaufman fabrics) that I won in one of the Magazine competitions ( I think it was the Brights Competition in Australian Patchwork & Stitching ) held a couple of years ago. I just hope I have got enough. Need to do a few more calculations and wash all my fabric, but apart from that I am ready to roll.

This should be fun.

Linking up to Lorna's Let's Bee Social Linky Party over at Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday 3 February 2014

Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2: Playing With Decorative Stitches

Continuing my exploration of the new Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2
Had a play on the machine trying out a variety of decorative stitches. I do not use them often but again, like every year, am thinking that I should design a project that uses some of them. Actually usually I think about it at Christmas...have seen a number of wall hangings of Christmas baubles where the decorative stitching is used to great effect. Maybe this year I will manage to do one of them.

Here is a very small selection

Like its predecessor, the Pfaff 4.0, the Pfaff 4.2 has 9mm stitches. The Pfaff 4.0 has 222 stitches plus 3 alphabets, whereas the Pfaff 4.2 has 254 stitches and 3 alphabets. In my little sample I tried some of the newer stitches (no. 2 - 6 from the left) as well as some of the ones that I already knew and liked. Some of the settings on some stitches have changed, i.e. the stitches I knew came up slightly bigger, or more stretched, but all of that can obviously be changed to whatever you require. Did some sequencing (houses and trees and the naughts and crosses stitch) and had to laugh...made the same mistake I did when I first tried it and included an additional circle in the naughts and crosses at the end.

Also played with some mirroring...not something I have done in the past as I am not very good at lining the decorative stitches up. Was quite amazed though...if you look at the stitch  no.4 from the actually looks quite good when it is slightly off. Also tried the stippling stitch again and discovered new possibilities. Given my inability to line them up properly, putting the stitch side by side produces a very nice band of stippling. This actually gave me some ideas...I am thinking of making a white Table Runner where I combine FMQ, decorative stitching and lace. This band of stippling would look great going over a block. Have a look at The Knitting Quilter's post where she is using a band with various designs on her quilt. That looks really nice.

I have another microstitch on the machine which looks a bit like zippling which would also be useful for this effect.

This is obviously a very small sample...I think I only have about 24 stitches on here and it does not include the tapering function which again opens new possibilities...

Heading over to Mamma Nene's Serger Pepper who is co-hosting Marelize's  Anything Goes Linky Party

Now back to quilting


Saturday 1 February 2014

Progress on Wholecloth

Continued on my microstippling of the centre of the wholecloth. While I was doing this I was thinking that I need to definitely branch out into other filler designs.  Microstippling is great but fairly work hands were positively cramping after doing a particularly long stretch. It's not that I do not know other designs...there are plenty around and I can do a number of them. I struggle with visualizing the outcome and keep coming back to the microstippling as this is something I know in terms of its texture and looks. Also with this piece I worried that a different filler, like swirls for example might just be too much (as I am planning more feathers in the two borders). In retrospect though, a swirl patterns or something similar would have gone quite well as the thread blends in just perfectly...

Anyway, got the centre of the piece done

Happy to report that  I was less picky on how this all turned out...finally settled into a happy medium of  yes, this will do with all its little irregularities and bumps. Very pleased with myself as I can be extraordinarily perfectionist.

The whole thing compacted considerably and I wonder whether I will have issues doing a less compact design in the first border

And last, not least...the back. As usual I like the back almost better than the front and was thinking why I did not do this quilt on black in the first place

Linking up to Leah Day's FMQ Link Up


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