Monday 28 January 2019

2019 Finish-A-Long - First Finish

My first finish for the year - the Pastel Baby Quilt

You can find my list of proposed finishes for the 2019 Finish-A-Long in this post
Please visit Leanne's blog She Can Quilt for more information on the Finish-A-Long. You will find  detail on how this link up works and also find the list of bloggers who are hosting this great event. The Link up for the First Quarter Finishes is on April 10th.

This quilt was a surprise all around. I started this over Xmas for something 'mindless' to sew, so started to cut up the Fat Quarter bundle of Foxglove Gardens fabric by Leanne Beasley for Ella Blue fabrics. These are not my colours but I thought that they would look nice for just a quick little baby quilt. As things go, I then cut out a few birds with my Accuquilt Go cutter just for fun and appliqued them on the quilt top to jazz things up a bit.

As these pastels are very specific, I could not find a backing that I could use. The green in particular is a green-yellowish colour and it was clear that I was not going to find a good match. I finally decided to piece my backing together from the leftover fabrics...for this I watched Elizabeth Hartman's free Craftsy (now Bluprint) class 'Creative Quilt Backs' and with her fabulous guidance was able to piece all the bitses together. This was measuring, minimal cutting and just like putting a puzzle together. And bonus...I finally 'got it'!

For the quilting I selected a dainty, cute design from Christine Maraccini's book 'Machine Quilting Solutions'...also a first. Had looked at that design many times, but was never quite game enough to try this for an allover design. However, this little quilt just needed that particular design.

Finished quilt measures 36.5in x 41.5in
Binding is a bit hard to see...I was able to find a striped binding with the exact pastel pink and green in it. Funny enough it also has some blue in it which is not in the quilt top, but it weirdly matched anyway.
The quilt is stitched on my HQ Sweet 16 with dusty pink Omni thread (40wt) both in top and bottom as I wanted the quilt to be reversible and the pattern to show both front and back.

Close up of the Cotton Blossom allover design
Nice texture and easy enough to stitch out, however you do need to be able to improvise a fair bit to fill in the empty space consistently. Overall I managed this quite well, but had to concentrate, stop and start and look ahead and around me to see where I missed spots. This design was great in that you could just swirl over to the spot that needed filling and then continue on your way.

Linking up to Quilting is more fun than housework Oh Scrap!


Thursday 24 January 2019

Pastel Baby Quilt Almost Done

I finished the quilting of my little baby quilt. I chose a dainty floral design that I had found in Christine Maraccini book 'Machine Quilting Solutions'.
Close up
Hard to see because of those pastel colours...looks better in real life! Now I only have to attach the binding and the first finish for the year is ticked off!


Wednesday 23 January 2019

Floral FMQ Design

How many times do you sit starring at your quilt wondering what to quilt over it? And how many times do you think of a design, but then decide that it is too complicated, too time consuming or too risky to try?
Believe me, even if you are a more experienced freemotion quilter, that happens with every single quilt for me. 
I was looking at my pastel quilt and initially just wanted to quickly do a meander over it and be done with it. However, it did speak to me asking for something different, more dainty, floral and cutesy. Tried to ignore it, but kept coming back to it...

I have this really good book called 'Machine Quilting Solutions' by Christine Maraccini that has a number of beautiful designs in there. I like this book as Christine illustrates her designs on the one quilt in 3 different modes...the dragger (quilt that is going to get more than average use by being dragged around), the keepsake (special, but you don't want to spend too much time on it) and the showstopper (prized heirloom). Lots of leafy, floral and swirly designs...great resource with step-by-step illustrations.
Well, I ended up choosing the Cotton Blossom fill. It is absolutely perfect for this little quilt, but I was somewhat hesitant, as doing overall leafy fills are not as easy as they look. I nearly did not do it, fearing that I would stuff it up, not get it right, make it look awful know the drill!

Glad I persisted and overcame the voice of my inner quilt actually does not matter greatly whether this turns out and with some concentration there is no reason why this should not work.

So, off I went...and it looks beautiful! I am trialling a different thread also...after having stitched with my trusted Aurifil thread for the last year or so to get used to the Handiquilter Sweet 16, I am finally ready to venture out a bit. I am using Superior Omni thread in a dusty pink colour. Have a whole cone of it that was part of the package when I bought the machine. I am using it in both bobbin and top (Needle size 16) because I want the quilting to show on the back of the quilt as well. To my surprise it worked like a dream...
Done about a quarter of it and yes, it is a bit challenging to keep the area consistently covered but I like the way this design complements the quilt. Should be interesting when it is all finished. Planning also on a striped binding to jazz this up a bit. 


Monday 21 January 2019

Basting Day

I have tried spray basting, but continue to go back to pin basting. Still doing the old 'crawling' around on the floor. Thought I show you how I pin baste on the pieced backing of that very pastel quilt I am doing.

I first tape the backing to the floor keeping it taut, but not stretched. As I got tiles in the kitchen area, I align my backing with the tiles and mark the centre of the quilt top both vertically and horizontally.
Given that this is a scrappy pieced backing I used heaps of tape to keep the backing seams nice and straight. After layering the batting, I then take the folded quilt top and align it with the centre points at the top leaving an approximate 3 in space on the top and on the side. I spend a bit of time on this to get it right so that when I unfold it will sit straight and does need to be done again (as so often happens!).
At this point I also ensure that none of my seams are folded over when I smooth it all out. Then it's on to the pinning...
I start from the centre out to the sides horizontally and vertically and then diagonally across. I probably use pins excessively but I must say that I have never had a pucker yet. I would say I approximately pin every 4in.
Once that is done I also pin around the edges. This quilt has no border so it is important that the edges do not bow out.

View of the back once I take the quilt off the floor
The other thing I do is fold the edges over and loosely attach some pins...that is not really necessary but I somehow got used to this to keep the fraying of the fabric at bay due to handling when I am quilting...makes for a nice, neat package 
Now it's on to the quilting...


Friday 18 January 2019

Scrappy backing

I had a fair amount of leftovers in all shapes and sizes from my recent pastel baby quilt. Initially I was going to buy a backing fabric but had problems matching that particular pink and light green, so I decided to try my luck with a pieced backing.

I have always wanted to do this, but was not really sure how to go about it. Initially I tried to work out a really scrappy arrangement in the EQ8 program by using a custom layout and then filling it in with the pieces of fabric. Now that would have meant that I determine the sizes of leftovers for the layout and  then measure and cut all my pieces to the required sizes which I definitely did not want to do. I tried this before and had enormous difficulties working this out. You would not think that this is that hard, but it somehow was.

I remembered that I had a free Mini Class in my Craftsy library called Creative Quilt Backs with Elizabeth Hartmann, so started watching this as she had a section on scrappy quilt backings. You can find the link HERE.  Not entirely sure whether you now need to sign up with Bluprint to be able to watch this as I had this class in my library already so it has remained there in their change from Craftsy to Bluprint . Still trying to navigate this new Bluprint. So, anyway, watched this again and this time it really clicked.

Elizabeth Hartmann uses a design wall to lay out her pieces. For me it was the floor
These are all the bitses and pieces that I had to play with and really it was literally just shifting them around into an arrangement that looked somehow workable (tiled floor worked well).  In addition, I had to pay attention to the direction of my fabric so that the flowers were the right way around which limited me in the way I could place the pieces. After that I identified 'blocks' that went together and started to sew them together one by one, creating bigger 'blocks'.
In between I was looking at the arrangement and making sure that my pieces went beyond the imaginary edge of the quilt allowing for the customary overlap. I had determined that I would have an approximate 3in overlap on all sides. The above arrangement was not wide enough on top, so I found another strip and inserted it next to the yellow rectangle. There was no measuring, all I did was making sure that my pieces were cut straight on the side that I was joining to the next straight piece. In her Mini Class Elizabeth Hartmann showed how to insert pieces on an angle (also very cool), but I thought I better give that a miss for the time being. This does not really look difficult at all, but you do have to proceed fairly methodologically doing one section after the other and thinking through how this is all  going to fit together to give you the size that you need.
Discovered a 'hole' in my arrangement (centre bottom) due to having slightly changed my arrangement as I went along and had to unpick that section to add another piece. Started to look good though and it all made a bit more sense as I went along.
I also started to trim the sides which you would normally leave to the end, but I needed to square the piece off because in order to arrive at the length I wanted I needed to add another strip to  the bottom. Had I had different pieces of leftovers (mine were different sizes, however did not go beyond a Fat Quarter size) I possibly could have avoided this. Here is the finished measuring of individual pieces, no matching of seams, just simply putting a puzzle together.
This was actually a lot of fun to construct and play around with...would have been good if this was  more contrasting fabric for the photos because this pastel arrangement was difficult to photograph but this is what I needed a backing for. I think I might use this method again... you certainly use up a fair bit of leftover fabric in creating your own backing and it felt utterly satisfying to use up your leftovers.
Very happy with my efforts for the day.

Linking up to the weekly Oh Scrap! Linky Party over at Quilting is more fun than Housework...


Tuesday 15 January 2019


'Focus' is the word for this year. And with that, I got stuck into one of my projects from my goal list for the 2019 Finish-A-Long.

This is the first item on my list and will be featured for most of the year. The quilt is a challenge from our local Handiquilter group and will be used to complete FMQ tasks over the year using rulers and freemotion-quilting fillers. I was going to do this quilt top over Christmas, but hey...why press ahead when you can leave it to the last minute!

I am on my way...the quilt top is done
I must say that the points in this basic looking quilt drove me absolutely crazy and I did a somewhat mediocre job, but had I stuffed around with this any longer, I would have not finished this altogether as I have very little patience for piecing.
Curious to see what we will do with this but knowing the person who is running the group, it will be epic.
Planning to pin and baste it next week ready for the first freemotion-quilting task.


Saturday 12 January 2019

What An Annoyance

I changed my template a couple of weeks ago and left it running for a few weeks to see how I liked it.

Well, that did not work. I chose one of the newer templates for its clean look and design and started cleaning up the blog a bit.  Initially I was not getting any comments which is not unusual as I am a fairly smallish blogger and have been a bit inconsistent of late.

Yesterday though I started looking at that and realised that with the new template I also imported the problem that occurred with comment notification earlier in 2018. I did fix this then, but the new template created exactly the same problem so it needed fixing again. I did eventually get it to work somewhat, however could not test the commenting properly as it would not allow me to leave a comment on my own blog. Nor did it provide for leaving a reply to comments on the blog. Very annoying. The whole commenting only seemed to work if I put 'word verification' on but even then it did not allow me to comment myself.

So, if people did try to leave comments in between and were not able to, I apologise...I did not even realise this until yesterday.

In looking at the new template, I also had some issues with getting into my blog. Very great as it looked for the reader, for me it meant another 3 clicks to get to the settings of my blog which I started to find a bit of a hassle. I had to really think about how I use the blog and realised that I use the blog mainly as a resource to record what I am working on, keeping information in one place and socialising in cyber space. Again with the new template that was a bit clunky and I started to put all the buttons and things I needed on the side bar making it all very crowded and probably defeating the purpose of that very clean look. In the end I decided to go back to my old template of which I had kept a back-up copy as I have got all the information on one page without having to muck around looking for it.

Blogger is intensely annoying...I do not understand why they have not fixed the commenting issue. Even with the old template it will now only allow me to comment on my own blog when I use the pop up window set up with word verification. Will investigate this a bit more, but for now, I am hoping that everything is back to normal.


Thursday 10 January 2019

2019 Finish-A-Long Proposed List Q1

finishalong logo 200px

The Finish-A-Long is on can find the information about the Finish-A- Long on  Leanne's blog She Can Quilt. You will find more detail on how this link up works and also find the list of bloggers who are hosting this great event.

I participated in 2017 and partly in 2018. In 2018 I just lost the plot...the finishes were not the issue, rather a lack of focus and generally being all over the place. So the word for this year is:

My goal list for the first quarter is as follows:

1. The Challenge Quilt (this is a year long project)
This is an ongoing project that is run by our local Handiquilter group involving completing a distinct FMQ task every month. For this purpose we have been asked to construct a quilt by the 18th January when we have our first meeting. I am already running behind (how is this possible?) and am currently in the process of putting the quilt together...lots of chain piecing!
The task for this first quarter is to construct the quilt, layer and baste it and then complete the FMQ for the first month. I am including this to keep the pressure on to keep up!

2. Another Baby Quilt
Already in the making...cut out all the pieces and am basically ready to go!
Cute little cat fabric from Ann Kelle's Urban Zoologie range. The quilt will be approx. 36in x 42in and will have to be finished by the end of this quarter as the baby will not wait for me.

3. Pastel Baby Quilt
Already done, waiting to be basted and quilted.
This is not a big job as I am going to just meander over it which should not take too long. Mind you, just decided I will piece the backing together, so another hold up coming up!

4. Wholecloth quilt
Have my design ready, just needs to be tidied up...this is a design I drew in Cindy Needham's class during the Australian Machine Quilting Festival. Really would like to get that done. To be realistic though, for this quarter I will cautiously hope that I have cleaned up the design and started marking it on the fabric...that would be great!
5. The Ruler Quilt
Already in production. I made this quilt to try out the rulers that I acquired from the last Handiquilter Ruler of the Month Club(no 3). Will pick up the last 2 rulers on the 18th January and will continue on that. Again, might not finish it, but would be good to have all the squares filled in by then.
6. Scrappy Spiderweb Quilt Quilt
This has been hanging around for scraps are literally overflowing (I tend to keep anything and everything) and I would like to get this done this year. Not sure what to aim for here as my list is already very long. Let's just say...some evidence that I am actually continuing on this 😀
There is more on my list, but I will stop here because it has to be achievable and I don't want to fall behind, so let's see how we go with all of that.

Linking up to the Proposed Finishes List over at She Can Quilt for the first quarter. The link up for the the first quarter is on 1st April. So watch this space (and others) to see what we can accomplish if we put our minds to it.


Friday 4 January 2019

More patterns

Managed to put up another one of my patterns to the little Etsy shop.

The Windmill Pattern
This is one of the patterns that did not make the cut in Craftsy's revamp...have about 2 -3 more to go that were taken off, so decided to start uploading them on to Etsy. 

This quilt is 44 3/4in x 52 3/4in and is suited for the confident beginning quilter. I actually had that very bright border fabric for a while and was absolutely clueless for a while what to do with it. For some reason, windmills came to mind and this is how this quilt came about. Still one of my favourite quilts!

Tuesday 1 January 2019

Free Pattern

I am cleaning up my blog!

Started with a new template. Not sure what I think of it yet as I was very used to my other template...had that one for about 5 years.

My Dresden Plate pattern was removed from the Craftsy shop. This was also on my free patterns page, but it appears the link was non-existent.

So, I have put that up under the tab 'Free Patterns' once again. The table runner is 20.5in x 46.5in

So, please grab it if you ever wanted to make one of these two-coloured
plates. I made this a while ago but it was super fun to make and came together easily.

Still have a lot of work to do on the blog in terms of clean up...will have to go through my blog buttons, look at the fonts and also need to rethink my Pages page, but for today it is enough.


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