Wednesday 31 July 2019


I finished the quilting on my Funky Bird Quilt

Very happy with the result...decided in the end to just add some lines into the narrow border.  This was a bit of a hassle...I am finding dead straight lines actually quite difficult. I was using the 2in Skinny Ruler and while it was nice and long it also kept sliding away from my alignment. So I did this very slowly and deliberate...a few wobbles here and there but acceptable.

Cut the binding, but then I got side tracked into more FMQ...wanted to use up the last of the white thread in the bobbin. The low sensor alarm had gone off so I did not think that I had a lot of thread left. Played with the Petal Pusher ruler and created a little mini dahlia
...then kept going until the thread ran out. Need to adjust my bobbin sensor as this just kept going and going.
That was it for me only need to attach the binding on that quilt and I have my first finish for the third quarter of the 2019 Finish A-Long.

Sunday 21 July 2019

Follow up on Echo Foot

I did take my echo foot set to the dealer on the weekend. When they put it on their machine, it was also not centred. In looking at it it took us a while to work out what exactly the problem was. However, on closer inspection, the problem actually was in the neck of the foot, i.e. one of the sides of the neck was thinner than the other. This is when looking from above into the neck. Here is the replacement model that has nice and even sides.

Probably a bit hard to see, but hopefully you get what I am talking about.

Also checked the clearance on the foot

You can see that I have a little bit of clearance between the needlebar and the footbar and the foot is centred. So, long story short, the foot that I had was a dud!
We did try the other echo feet and on their machine ....they were tight but it was thought that there was some clearance. When I came home I tried my other two echo feet again and, there was no clearance whatsoever, in fact I could not even pull a thread through, so it is in fact hitting the needlebar. I will ring on Monday and ask for the other two to be replaced as well as I am a tad uncomfortable to have it hitting the needlebar, even if it is only by a fraction. I think my whole set has been faulty.
By the way...that was the last circle above...all done and now I can concentrate on finishing the blocks. Certainly a bit challenging to fit the circles into those sashing!


Friday 19 July 2019


Took a break from my quilt today...

Hopefully you are all aware that Bluprint is having a few days of being able to watch their classes for free. I did watch a couple of ‘Quilt It - The Longarm Quilting Show’. Had no idea that that was on there. Very enjoyable indeed.

Also wanted to give a shout out to the Online Quilting Magazine...I have been a subscriber for years. It’s free, unless you go for the premium version, and gets delivered to your Inbox monthly. It’s full of  information, there is always a project to consider or a particular block that is showcased, handy tips, and also features a ‘sharing section’.

Ebooks...are you watching out for the half price sale on ebooks at C & T Publishing. I just picked up Amanda Murphy’s Organic Freemotion Quilting Idea her books, they are very well laid out with lots of pictures and instructions, yet easy to look at. There is a lot in this little book, too much to mention, however what I particularly like about this book is the amount of detail. Amanda introduces the design, then shows it as an overall design, in different shapes like a triangle and then also shows the design in a block, sashing or border. I find this very useful and the designs are suitable for any experience level.

And then of course there is the Quilt Show...have been watching a few of their shows of late. Have been particularly inspired by Claudia Pfeil’s Quilting Design Show- all about different fillers. Have watched this a number of times now and today had a go at trying her methods. In her show it appeared absolutely effortless, no particular plan just quilting away filling the empty spaces. Doubted that that was actually achievable...well, I am a planner, so I had to give this a try.

Here is my doodle

Don’t look at the is pretty bad in places, i am just doodling along. I followed what she was doing, i.e. hopping from one circle to the next, not necessarily completing a full design at any stage, but coming back to it later. To travel around the arrangement I used different fillers to get to the next space...this worked surprisingly well, I must say...absolutely no planning other that drawing the circles on the fabric. Discovered that I would have to make the echo in the circle smaller for myself ...that area was just too large, but that’s easily changed and can be done on a smaller scale (Claudia Pfeil was demonstrating on a longarm). My background fillers left a lot to be desired, particularly my misshapen Greek Key thingy. Saw Helen Golden do this the other day, however my brain cannot cope with that, it seems. Just lines, pebbles and maybe the old circuit breaker design would look good, I think.
Would actually also look good with hexagons as the central feature...need to try this one day.


Thursday 18 July 2019

Problem With Echo Feet

Well, it pays to pay attention...

Was looking again at the alignment issue of my circles on my little baby quilt. I am doing circles in a defined 1in space using one of my echo feet (3/8in). Was actually doing another section of the sashing and started to watch the needle very closely as it went around the circle and I finally saw what was happening...
Can you see it?....the needle is not entered at all, in fact it is decidedly off. So unscrewed it and re-screwed it, but no matter how much I tried, could not get the needle to sit in the centre. Also discovered that the foot very snugly fitted against the needle bar.
In fact it is almost hitting it. Tried the bigger echo foot
Also just about hitting the needle bar! 

Had never noticed this before and am a bit horrified....then tried my other feet
No, all good... I was relieved at that.

Will go to my HQ group on Saturday and will take the echo feet in, so that it can be tried on their machines and see what they say. I dare say that this is not alright. Bit embarrassing really as I had these feet for a while and only have noticed now! 


Wednesday 17 July 2019

Taking Shape

Definitely over-blogging on my funky Bird Quilt, however this is all I have been working on in the last week while on leave.

This is how far I got

The circles are probably the hardest part to get exactly into the two echo lines...a bit of  a headache at times as my piecing is not that great. The block should be exactly 8in, but of course, it is not, hence to fit 8 circles in an orderly way into the sashing is a bit of a challenge. I ended up not only drawing a centre line but also marked every 1in spot to get a sense of when I was out. Sometimes then I did a bit of a side step with the needle and made them slightly overlap to hit the next mark properly. Definitely some patience required!
Also did some more ditch quilting inside the 'foot' shape (the part that I missed before), so that the area was not puffing out. Stitched this with invisible thread first and then followed my stitching path diagram with the white thread. So a bit of extra work.
For the bird background I chose simple swirls...had a laugh at myself as they all look a bit different...found it hard to work out how to exactly swirl around the bird as there was not a lot of room on the sides, so a lot of improvisation going on. Never mind, looks great!
Initially I was also going to take the circles into the very small border to mirror the sashings. However, again the accuracy is slightly out and I would not be able to achieve a 1/4in echo on both sides, so I will probably just do lines in there to finish it off.

Well, I must say, this is most enjoyable...learning heaps about the rulers and also about the Sweet 16, i.e. which foot to use when, how to use the invisible thread and what speed works best for what part. Next time maybe I should go for a different colour thread. Have the hardest time seeing the white thread on the white background. Great for hiding those little glitches, but not great for the eyes.

No more photos now until it is finished!

Joining QuiltFabrication for their midweek makers linky

Also linking up to Quilting and Learning- What a Combo Linky Party

Friday 12 July 2019

Deciding On A Quilting Design

The Fancy Foot block is cute, but left me scratching my head for a suitable quilting design. I had decided to do ruler work instead of an allover design. I have a whole bag full of rulers by now and the best way to become really familiar with them is by using them on a quilt. I find that it does take a bit of practice to work out how to align them, the best way to hold them and which one you might prefer for which job. But first, I had to come up with something...

This took a lot of doodling on the Ipad...tried all sort of things and in the end decided to go for some straight lines to stitch down the elongated triangles in order to emphasize the circular nature of the 'foot', then do some simple curves in the square sections and some pebbles in the middle to make the middle section recede. Worked out a stitching path diagram which took the longest time...somehow I find that incredibly difficult to visualize, so out came the Ipad again.
Realised today that this may need to be revised as I did not stitch one seam down...not sure whether I like this or not as the 'foot' is puffing out a bit.
Happy with the arrangement though.
I used the following rulers for this first part:
- Pro Echo3 &5 (all time favourite shown above)
- Ditch ruler (shown above)
You would have seen the circles in the sashing. Thought I give that a try...used the long Skinny ruler to quilt a 1/4in echo and then used the 1/4in Swiss Cheese ruler. My sashing is 1 1/2in wide, so I used the 3/8in Echo foot to make the circle exactly 1in.
Was a bit impressed with that...have only really played around with the Swiss Cheese ruler on practice samples but was encouraged by the first lot that I did. Accuracy was a must as the circle fits exactly in that space with not a millimeter to spare. At this stage I also realised that I needed to do the sashing first before the dense quilting would compact the continued on that today...

Well, alignment  was an issue...I had drawn myself a center line in my sashing but somehow that did not work so well, possibly because I was drawing on the sandwiched piece, so my line was not necessarily exactly in the middle. Also, of course, my quilt is not sitting tightly on a frame but is scrunched up all over the place which does affect the alignment of things. After a while I started to eyeball this a bit, however the eye is trained for 1/4in, not 3/8in. To my surprise, at least in one of the long sashings I found that if I aligned the side markings of the circle exactly at the top of the sashing, I hit both echo lines spot on. I spent a lot of time looking at this as this made absolutely no sense, however it worked! I suspected that I was shifting the ruler ever so slightly as I was doing the circle because I was holding on too tight trying to concentrate on staying on the circle. Anyway, this is how far I got today...
Looks really nice, I think. Planning to do swirls around the applique but will have to finish all the sashing first.

Really enjoying this and getting a very good workout on all the different rulers.


Wednesday 10 July 2019

2019 Finish-A-Long Proposed List Q3

The Third Quarter of the 2019 Finish-A-Long is starting. At least this time I did not miss the link-up for the second quarter!
You can find the information about the Finish-A- Long on  Leanne's blog She Can Quilt. There you will find more detail on how this link up works and also find the list of bloggers who are hosting this great event.

My goal list for the third quarter will again be smallish and some projects have definitely dropped off...there is just no point in adding them when I already know that I am not going to do it.

1. Funky Bird Quilt
Have started quilting this which will take a while. I decided in the end to make use of the many rulers that I have accumulated...did not want to go over the applique (which took forever!) with an overall design.

2. Wholecloth Quilt
Embarrassed to say but that one is still on the list. Made absolutely no progress on this as I was finishing  my other wholecloth for the show.
The design just needs to be cleaned up a bit and thought through and then the marking can begin. Have the fabric sorted (even got extra fabric for binding ready!) so there is really no excuse! This wholecloth was started at a workshop with Cindy Needham using her many stencils. Really want to do this to have a memento of that workshop.

3. Fox Quilt
I love Elizabeth Hartman's patterns. I got this for Christmas, I think...this is definitely a quilt waiting to be made. Decided to use my very special, special fabric for this...The Dryad fabric range by Shannon Brinkley! Have done her Drifting Leaves quilt and just love the fabric, so much so when I saw it advertised on special overseas, I jumped at it. Had actually not considered doing the foxes with this fabric, but the other day I was ridiculous...what am I saving this fabric for?

4. Hexie Quilt
Finally bought myself a whole stack of hexagons to make a start on a hexagon quilt. I have been collecting the fabric for some years for this purpose.
Don't think I will get around to sewing this yet, but if I could at least start cutting the hexagons and prepare them for sewing, that would be a start.
This will be an on-going project for the year.

Linking up to she can quilt for the FAL Q3 List of Finishes Link-up


Tuesday 9 July 2019

Sure Foot In Action

Stitching in the ditch with the new HQ Sure Foot using the Ditch Ruler.


Handiquilter Sweet 16 - 2 Years On

I have had my machine for just about 2 years by now and I thought it might be helpful/useful for people to hear about my experience with this machine.

I think what came as a huge surprise to me was that it was not just a matter of sitting down and fmq as usual...I had not expected this and it threw me to no end. You can read about my experience HERE and HERE. Definitely was a steep learning curve for me!
After a few months with the machine at the same level as my cutting table (which gave me a huge area to shift the quilt around on) I had to put my cutting table higher as I could not cut at that height (gave me huge back issues). Finally tackled that issue when my machine went for service and I started to re-organise my sewing space. I did get the right extension flap to extend the HQ table to create more space for resting a quilt on without the cutting table (and all the bitses on there) being in the way. Also did some more research on the height of the HQ table and raised mine by one whole adjustment. It is now sitting at 74cm where most sewing tables sit.
Now have oodles of space both to the left and right. I like the extension flaps as they are big enough to support your quilt when quilting, but not big enough to start using it as a rubbish dump for all sorts of things (as often happens when you have additional surface area in your sewing space).

The other thing I did was to lower my machine a fraction into the table by using the Handiquilter replacement 'stick on' feet. This has created an absolutely flat sewing bed which of course is so much better for ruler work. Prior to that the needle plate of my machine was ever so slightly sticking out above the overlay which made the ruler wobble in certain positions.
The machine was stitching well before it went for service...I had absolutely no issues with tension or skipped stitches etc., just a lot of stitches on the clock. OMG, when it came back it sounded completely different and runs even more dreamlike. I am so impressed! When I took it in, the dealer said my foot was too high, so when it came back the foot was slightly lowered. Was a bit worried about this as I thought my height was just fine. I did have a bit of a practice run with the rulers on the normal closed foot and everything was working like it should, however I did notice that slipping above the foot was now much easier to do. As time has gone on, I have become better and faster at the ruler work and after some deliberation, I decided to buy the Sure foot for the machine. The Sure foot has a higher profile, so it is like an added insurance to prevent the ruler slipping above and hitting the needle. I thought in the end that it was better to be safer, particularly as I was now more used to rulers and quilting much faster than before. Just not worth it...if the ruler hits the needle it knocks the timing out and your machine most likely will have to go for service.
So, I bought the Sure foot

Definitely much better...the ruler sits firmly against the extended profile and I actually found it much easier to quilt with the ruler, probably because I did not have to worry about possible flipping so much. I was quilting a fairly puffy piece with lots of unruly seams where you sometimes then hold the ruler a bit awkwardly...absolutely no problem, as there is no way it could flip above.
Also wondered about the visibility around this foot. Again, no problem at all as you are looking from above into the foot, so I could see very well. Actually left it on and did all those tiny pebbles with the Sure Foot as well. Might have been my imagination, but my pebbles were much nicer and rounder quilted with this foot.
So, overall, super impressed and happy with my purchases and re-organisation. Just goes to show how important the overall set up is.


Monday 8 July 2019

Funky Bird Quilt

Finished the quilt top
This is the cutest thing. Very pleased how it turned out. Chose some hilarious backing for this
...this will be awesome!. Now onto the job of putting this together and then I will have to make some decisions about the quilting. Still unsure. Could just go over it with an allover design but somehow I have the feeling that there is too much applique to do this. This would mean that I have to ditch this first and then outline the birds...maybe do some ruler quilting in the Fancy Foot block? Just don't know at the moment. Anyway, this will go on the next list for Quarter 3 of the Finish Along 2019.


Sunday 7 July 2019

Festival of Quilts 2019

Well, it's come and almost gone. Today is the last day of the Quilt Show. I went early on Friday to the Awards Ceremony as my Wholecloth won an award!

Here it is...the finished monster. I was so happy to finish this as I had a few issues with it when quilting it. So much so, it became an UFO...however I took it out in early 2019 to finish it. Lots of cursing and tedious stitching, but it did get done.
It won third prize in the Other Category. Was really happy with that...

After the Awards Ceremony, it was off into the vendors' hall. Thought I would have a coffee, wander around a bit...did not really need anything! Well, so much for is what I purchased throughout the day...all bargains, of course!
Was particularly happy with the Pantograph packs which were on special...had been looking at them on the net for a while but had not purchased due to the additional postage costs. Bargain plus! Then I bought 5 packets of Sue Daley's 2in hexagons...yep, planning a hexagon quilt. Have collected a fair amount of reproduction fabric over time and it just needs to be made. I had bought hexagons at the last show, but from different companies and have found that they all differ ever so slightly in size, hence had not started because that would create too many headaches when hand stitching,  so was looking for the Sue Daley ones. At least now I know that they are all the more excuses to make a start! And then this nice baby panel...also on special...just needed to come with me. Then some thread and finally the Sure foot for the Sweet 16.

Haha...what a hoot! So much so for not needing anything!


Thursday 4 July 2019

Fancy Foot Block

Piecing Diagram

For an 8in block you will need:

- 4,2 1/2in white squares
- 4, 2 7/8in white triangles
- 1, 2 7/8in each of green,blue, red and yellow triangle
- 4, 5 1/4 x 2 5/8in white rectangle
- 1, 5 1/4 x 2 5/8in each of green, blue,red and yellow rectangle

This is a basic four patch and you sew the units together as indicated above. I used the following Accuquilt dies to cut out the shapes which of course made this very easy:

- 2 1/2in square multiples (2in finished)
- 2in finished triangle multiples
- traingles in square 4in finished square

Alternatively, you can cut this yourself obviously, construct your half square triangles the usual way (I cut my squares a bit larger to make the half square triangles, i.e. 3in and cut the units to 2 1/2in). For the rectangles there is a tutorial on the net for a 12in block (see ludlow quilt and sew). Personally I would cut this with a template from Marti Michell (or similar), i.e the Multi-Size Peaky and Spike Triangle Set. As you are dealing with bias edges there is a fair amount of stretch which leads to minor inaccuracies and with a template you have those nice corners that will help you to align your pieces.


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