Sunday 24 July 2016

FAL 2016 Third Quarter - First Finish!

2016 FAL

Well, here we first and only finish for the Finish Along Third Quarter! I have been working on this for a while during the second quarter and obviously could not make it to the Second Quarter deadline, so here is my long overdue finish of the Mandala quilt I have been working on.

You can find the list of my Third Quarter goals HERE

Our Guild is running a Mandala Challenge  for the 2016 Festival of Quilts. The quilt must be circular with a diameter of between 50 - 60cm. Any quilting technique is allowed! If you want to find out about the design process and how I used Cindy Needham's Ultimate Circular Stencil to draw this design, please go to the Mandala Challenge post.

I was a tad conflicted a couple of weeks ago, thinking that I had made the wrong thread choice as it is not contrasting enough. Was incredibly discouraged but thought that I better finish this off. Looking at it now, I quite like it...I am particularly impressed with how evenly round I ended up, given the challenge this provided with drawing up a perfect circle at this size.

Mandala Challenge finishing up at 55cm in diameter

Close up of the fantastic blue Aurifil colour (#2725)

Mandala measures 55cm in diameter
Cotton fabric (Moda Solids) and Legacy cotton batting
Stitched with Aurifil 50/2 thread (Brass, Medium Red, Light Wedgewood, #6728); all the colours are from the Shannon Brinkley Dryad Thread box
Cindy Needham's Ultimate Stencil used to draft this design; Ultimate Background stencils used to fill the outer petal as well as the outer rim of the Mandala.

Very happy with the end result. Now onto the next project!

Linking up to Eleven Garden Quilts for the Finish Along 2016 Quarter 3 Link Up


Sunday 10 July 2016

Westalee Sampler Template Set

I have bought the Westalee Ruler foot last year some time and have only dabbled with it here and there. I found it a bit fiddly at first and obviously was not used to stitching with it at all. Recently I have dug it out again as I want to use it to finish off one of my quilts. Looking around for a suitable Arc shape on the Westalee website I decided in the end to get the Sampler set. At $65 this represented good value when I was looking around. It has a 6" Spiral, Spin-e-fex No 4, Circles on Quilts Spinning Wheel No 36, 4"Arc, Clamshell and a 2" Circle.
Westalee Template Sampler Set

It comes with a few pamphlets, however I would advise  to check out the YouTube videos that are on the website. They are excellent and give you a really good idea on how to use the templates.

Today I thought that I put up some pictures of my trials with those how difficult is it to stitch with those templates?  I obviously can FMQ but stitching with rulers is a completely different ball game. The photos are from my second time using these templates, so they all look less than perfect but will give you an idea of what to expect. I was very curious about this...

For Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2 owners: I used Aurifil thread 50/2 on a 80% cotton/20%polyester batting. I used a Titanium Topstich 70/10 needle. I think the recommended needle size is 80/12, however I do stitch better with the 70/10 needle and my machine likes it. Had no problem with my tension or stitches.

I am particularly keen on the Arc as this is the shape that I will have to use to finish off one of my quilts. So I drew myself a 4.5" square and started outlining it with the Arc. As I am going to have to deal with a large quilt I did not turn my sample but tried to stitch it as I would on the real quilt which meant stitching with the Arc both in front and behind the foot. Now this was a bit of a challenge. Initially the template moved a fair bit, until I put that little tape on to keep it in place.

First attempt with lots of slippage
On the plus side, I noticed that I have conquered the straight ruler...have no problems aligning this and stitching nice straight lines that meet in a tidy fashion!
Second attempt...getting much better
Eyeballing the 1/4" space was tricky particularly stitching behind the foot. I started to examine the Arc's markings...very clever obviously got the arc lines etched on it but it also got some straight lines.
Took me a while to work out how to align my Arc using those straight lines and eyeballing it from there. This will need some more practice but if you look at the second attempt I am definitely getting the hang of that. Also useful for filling in sashings
Just arcs
Next I did the Circles on Quilts Spinning Wheel No 36...very handy, comes out at 5.5" and is a lovely simple shape that would look great both in alternate solid blocks or simple 9 patch blocks.
Circle on Quilts Spinning Wheel No 36

I loved doing that. Bit strange to stitch inside a template and be restrained by its form but easy enough to execute. Was actually very impressed with this as the template makes you stop in exactly the right place, like magic.

Then I tried the Spin-e-fex No 4...
Spin-e-fex No 4

Simple flower shape that I could use on my Meadowbloom quilt (yet to be done) in the solid alternate blocks. No problem stitching that out. Might just have to get a bit neater with this and the surround is obviously a fail...was just mucking around.

Then came the Clamshell. I like the big Clamshell but realised fairly quickly that I needed to put the tape on to keep it from moving. Now here you stitch on the outside of the arc which is a little bit more difficult...if you loose concentration, you start stitching away from the template, as I did a number of times.  Again, this needs more practice...not sure I aligned this correctly all the time. The little clamshells were a hoot to do. Initially I would slow down every time I came to the valley and make some horrendous long stitches with the ruler foot going into the valley however second time around this was better. Certainly very easy to stitch out and alignment was easier for me on the smaller ones.

Overall, I was impressed...with a bit of practice this should become easier as you go along. Particularly like the Arc...this is a shape that I use very often, so using a ruler foot instead of marking would make life a lot easier. I will have to do a few more practice samples to get my alignment right and to practice stitching behind the foot before I go on the quilt with this. But yes, definitely do-able!

Highly recommended!


Saturday 9 July 2016

2016 Finish Along - Third Quarter Goal List

Wow, time is certainly flying...

Here is my list of goals for the third quarter.
Not a lot of new projects on here as I only finished two in the last quarter. But I am least I am making progress!

#1 Mandala Quilt for SA Guild Challenge - This is still in production. Here is the drawing
...and this is how far I got during the second quarter
Still lots to do and I am actually a bit disappointed...did not exactly turn out as great as I had hoped. I think I should have used stronger colours or stuck with my original idea and quilted it with white thread.

 #2 WIP: A Field Guide - acquired the thread I was missing and also got myself some ruler templates to finish this off quicker. Really no excuse left.

 #3 WIP: Oriental Robert Kaufmann Fabric Quilt - No Name Yet!
Has additional border already attached. 'Just' needs basting and quilting.

 #4 WIP: Thousands Pyramids Quilt -  have about a hundred more units to go...

Linking up to Eleven Garden Quilts for the FAL Quarter 3 Link Up


Wednesday 6 July 2016

Finally Got It!

I cannot tell you how many times I have fumbled my way through trying to match patterns when piecing a backing piece together.

Finally read up on this on the weekend and found this 'no nonsense' youtube video 'Pattern Matching Fabric - How to join patterned fabric  by

This worked a treat for me for this rather bold and busy fabric
Finding and greasing the fabric where the pattern joins

Pinning the two pieces together and hoping for the best
and voila...a near perfect join
I must say, this worked really well and produced a great result.


Sunday 3 July 2016

Australian Machine Quilting Festival 25 - 28th August 2016

The Australian Machine Quilting Festival is coming up being held from 25 - 28th August. I know it's only the beginning of July, but I am getting very excited about this as I registered to attend some workshops for the first time.

I am enrolled in 2 drawing workshops

Claudia Pfeil - Free Motion Wholecloth
Image from Pinterest 'Claudia Pfeil'
Wholecloth Design class with Claudia Pfeil, a German quilter who runs a quilt shop and the APQS Showroom in Krefeld/Germany. Curious...4 hours of drawing, so theoretically I should come away with a new Wholecloth.


If You Can Feather You Can Freehand (Drawing) with Bethanne Nemesh, a well known US quilter (www.whitearbourquilting)

And there will be a vendor mall with lots of goodies, of course...can't wait!


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