Monday 28 December 2020

Best Of 2020 Linky Party

Certainly has been a difficult year with lots of changes and challenges both personally and across the world. However, let's not dwell on this...I will focus on my favourite finishes for the year (which did not occur until the middle of the year as I was waiting for my machine to arrive...)

1. The Easy Baby Quilt
This is my own pattern (find the free pattern HERE) that I have done a number of times. Thought it would be nice to use strong primary colours this time.

2. Lana Lemur Quilt
Rather loosely followed Claudia Pfeil's method of background quilting which was a tad challenging but  fun to do.

3. Happy Scrappy House Quilt
Entirely made out of scraps following a Bonnie Hunter pattern. This was the quilt I pieced together while there were restrictions in place earlier in the year. It had been on my list for a number of years and this year it just felt right.

4. Noah's Arc Quilt
Enjoyed quilting this beauty for a friend of mine.

5. Another Scrappy Quilt
Put this quilt together from a Fat Sixteenth bundle of fabric that I had won from Hillstitches Fabric. Absolutely loved the way the colours had been put together. Used an edge to edge design from Urban Elementz to finish it off.


Saturday 26 December 2020

A Finish

Finished my little quilt with a jazzy striped binding.

Father Christmas brought me a new camera, so I am trialing taking photos at the moment. I so struggle with this, as I was used to my old camera. For the last 6 months I have been taking pictures with either my Iphone or the Ipad as my trusted Nikon gave up its ghost...I know that lots of people do this, but I struggled with that big time, so decided to go for a new camera. Was looking for something fairly basic but with the popularity of the Iphones as cameras there was a fairly limited range. Got a smallish point and shoot camera (Panasonic) and have spent the afternoon going through the manual and trying different things. Must say they packed a lot of features into this small thing and in terms of function it is definitely much more than just point and shoot! My photos are a bit rough as I was shooting in lower light and trying all sorts of weird and wonderful things. There is so much to explore and I have little knowledge of photographic concepts. Have gone straight back to my preferred Nikon setting which is taking photos in the Aperture least I am used to that!

Anyway, here is the completed quilt.

Using a different spot in the house for taking my shot (working on getting better quilt photos for my ETSY shop). The above is nice but won't do...I need it sharper and lighter than that I reckon.

Camera has a fairly wide zoom and I played around with this a fair bit

Finally worked out how to get a good representation of the colours...who knew that pressing a few buttons could do that.
Close up of the stitching looks brilliant, done on the Bernina Q20 in stitch regulation.

Also did heaps of stylized shots as I am working on making a decent banner (again for the ETSY shop). Put my trial photo as a banner for my blog for the moment...not too bad at all! Well, with that the whole afternoon is gone and all I have done is exploring this little gadget and adults kids are coming around the corner asking what is for dinner!


Wednesday 23 December 2020

Christmas 2020

What a year it has been!
Wishing all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 
I was hoping to have some quilty stuff to show today but have spent the last few days cleaning and shopping and more cleaning in preparation for Christmas. Quilting will have to wait until after Christmas. 
Until then, stay safe and enjoy the festivities.

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Working On Some UFOs

Finally finished the Happy Scrappy Houses Quilt and had a bit of fun with the photographing.

...and here is the back

All made out of fabric that I had available in my stash. Very happy with that.

Also finished of my little wall hanging that I quilted a while ago using Bethanne Nemesh' rulers

This is the problem when you leave things for a while...had no binding left, so I had to hunt around for something that fitted this little piece.

Still have a number of other projects left to complete. Maybe I can start the new year with a clean slate?


Friday 4 December 2020

Small Irregular Grid Quilt

I had fun with the little irregular grid quilt. After much deliberation I decided to do a fun edge to edge design from Urban Elementz, called Daisy Dotz #2

I had bought this a while ago from the Fat Quarter Shop to try out the printed paper sheets. There are 4 sheets at 48in wide in the packet. As I had another project in mind for this, I traced the design off onto my trusted Golden Threads paper. I have done an edge to edge design on the stationary longarm before  and spent some time working out exactly how I wanted this to be placed. With the printed sheets ready to go, that was fairly easy as there are 'helper lines' printed on and you also got the previous row as a ghost design to go by.
Here are some process shots:

Starting off...bit hard to see as I traced the design off with the blue water erasable pen (I am overly paranoid to transfer marks onto the quilt).
Stitched out the first row
I do not attach all of the paper  over the entire quilt at once. Just too awkward to hold and handle...I stitched this out row by row having studied the design and understood exactly how it aligns from row to row. In case you are wondering how I attached this...tried 'Sticky Glue Dots' for the first time! This worked an absolute treat...I attached the dots to the paper and lightly pressed onto the quilt. Had some anxiety as to whether they would be hard to remove from the quilt, but they came off incredibly easy with the paper. 
I removed some of the paper as I went along...this is really easy, all it needs is a little tuck diagonally across and the paper starts separating. The only thing you have to keep in mind when doing this on a sit down machine or DSM is to keep the designs relatively simple otherwise you are going to be there for hours plugging out the little paper bits that get stuck in the points. This design is 6 1/2in and was a delight to work with...nice sweeping lines and easy to remove the paper.

Finished this today and I must say, I love this simple design...looks great on my little quilt.
I used hot pink thread for this quilt (Aurifil 50/2), not my usual choice of colour! However I had basted this quilt before I started and used a hot pink thread for that (so I would see it easily). When I saw the thread on there, I just loved it and chose to do the design in that colour. Just had to be careful in the end taking out my basting stitches as it was basically the same colour.

Back of the quilt
How good does this look!

And my personal favourite
Could have been even better if I had used a higher weight thread. 

Very pleased with how this turned out. Linking up to Freemotion Mavericks over at Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing.


Saturday 28 November 2020

Happy Scrappy Houses And Other Projects

I finally finished the quilting of the Happy Scrappy Houses quilt. The quilting is minimalist....did not want to loose the soft, cuddly feel of this quilt. Only quilted the sashing down with a curvy design that was used in Natalia Bonner's last quiltalong. Struggled a bit with that then and thought that this was a good opportunity to practice some more (really got that down pad now!). Settled on a very simple scallop design in the border.

Had a bit of fun in the border with variegated thread to match the scrappy quilt.
To speed things up I then attached the binding with the sit down longarm...had done this before on smaller baby quilts and thought it was about time that I try this on a bigger quilt.
This worked like an absolute pinning, no wrangling of the quilt through the DSM. Found this to be so much easier and faster! You cannot see it in the photo, but I usually baste around my quilts 1/8in  from the edge, so the border is already stitched down. This makes attaching the binding very easy. I always use the Handiquilter Versa tool for this (and for the basting of the edges) as it has a somewhat wider footprint and when placed on border and binding, keeps everything nice and flat. I actually think I am somewhat more accurate with this method too as my quilt does not drag off to one side so I have a very consistent 1/4in stitching line. When I come to the end of one side of the quilt, I crease the binding where it should end, then place the notch of the ruler directly onto that line and hence stop exactly 1/4in before the corner. Too easy!

Also finished my little improvisational quilt made out of a Fat Sixteenth Bundle from Hillstitches Fabric. It came out at about 37in x 37in. This is next to be quilted. Planning an allover design to really give the stitch regulation a workout. Thinking of the 'Loose Thread' design but that might change still a number of times.

Lots to do...also need to finish Natalia Bonner's 'A Year of Stars' quilt. Bought some dusty pink sashing for this and just need to do the cutting and then finish it off. One more month to go until the quiltalong kicks off, so that should work!


Monday 23 November 2020

Finished The Piecing!

I am so glad I finished the piecing for Natalia Bonner's 'A Year of Stars' quiltalong. I had left the most challenging block to last (did not think that through). By that time, I had hardly any fabric left, so was faced with the scenario of only being able to have one go at it. Must admit, while I was putting it together I was already thinking  about what other block I could substitute this one for with the scraps I had left over. Was not at all confident that this would work out, 

but, tada... The Spider Star!
Amazement over amazement...after an excruciatingly slow cutting this to size it came out at 12 1/2in. Only problem were the corners...they were totally off. I only had one corner that resembled a HST but I fixed this since taking the photograph and it is looking good. Basically maneuvered that inaccuracy into the last flying geese unit by re-doing the corners which then makes it hardly noticeable. Very pleased. 
Now I am ready to do the sashing and get going on putting this together. Thinking of getting a dusty pink sashing as the white is always hard on the eyes if we are going to quilt in the sashing. I am really looking forward to this quiltalong...lots of ruler work coming up for the entire year!

This exercise has got me thinking that I probably should piece a bit more so as to not get so woefully out of practice. Most of the time I freemotion quilt, so I might have to work on finding a bit of a balance. So at the moment I am super motivated with at least three new patterns  in the pipeline. Even made a test block with my newly refined piecing skills.

This is the Duck Tracks block... oldie, but I like the older type quilt blocks. Planning a cute little baby quilt around this, just need to work on cutting requirements, making the quilt and putting the pattern together. This morning then I thought of another pattern that I could whip up relatively easy...that makes it three in the pipeline. I am on fire!

If you are interested in easy to construct quilt patterns, have a look at my Etsy shop (link above in tab) or on the new Madeit site

Currently running a 20% sale for this week only on the entire range. 


Thursday 19 November 2020

Still Piecing

We are in lockdown again! This time they went in hard and fast and so far we are looking at 6 days of strict lockdown and then another 8 days where hopefully restrictions are eased somewhat. Can't leave the house at all, unless you do need to go to the shops. No exercising, walking or meeting anyone. Very impressed really with the government's quick reaction to our new cluster over here. We  currently have  23 cases in Adelaide with a few more expected. Compared to other countries this does not sound too bad, but I am really glad the government is taking this that seriously. It's been such a horrific experience across the world.

I am still piecing the Natalia Bonner quilt for the 'A Year of Stars' quiltalong.

There is an end in sight...have done 10 blocks! 
Only 2 more to go and I am done. Then will have to see how the situation is going to develop over here as I was going to buy some sashing to go with this. This may not be possible to happen now and I will just have to improvise when ready to attach the sashing (or maybe go online). 

Have not been idle fact life has been incredibly busy. I finally explored other options (then just Etsy) for selling my patterns and have opened another little shop with Madeit, a uniquely Australian online buying and selling platform that supports local independent Australian talent.

You can find my little shop HERE

I am including a few quilts to sell as I am literally running out of space to keep them all. While I do give away many of my quilts as gifts, it is just getting too much and I do need to get rid of some to create room for new projects πŸ˜‚. So, we'll see how this will go. Speaking of patterns...I have at least two patterns in the pipeline and today washed the fabric for the first one. 
Cute Anne Kelle fabric with tone-on-tone colours mixed in. I am motivated to finally put this together. It will be a smallish baby quilt and I am hoping to have that done by Christmas. I love pattern writing and this one will be fun with lots of diagrams which usually means days upon days on the computer. 

Also still need to finish off my Scrappy Houses much to do!


Sunday 8 November 2020

Plugging Away

I cannot believe it, but I started a new project. Still working on my Scrappy House quilt, but got a bit bored and promptly whipped up something else in preparation to freemotion quilt an allover design.

This is my win from the 2019 Finishalong...a Fat Sixteenth Bundle of fabric from Hillstitches Fabrics. I was really curious what I could make with this. I did develop an irregular grid some time back in the EQ8 program and promptly gave that a try. The quilt will turn out at 36in x 36in using every available fabric. I got quite excited by the possibilities of the pattern. Comes together so quickly and looks great. The selection of fabrics is just beautiful. Not sure what I use it for, but it will find its place.
My brain went into overdrive as I am already thinking of extending the pattern somewhat making it into a bold toddler/baby quilt using solids or tone-on-tone fabrics, echoing the wooden blocks we used to play with when the kids were small.

But...I need to also complete what I am working on and get a move on on the Natalia Bonner Quiltalong coming in January (A Year of Stars). There are 12 blocks to make and they are killing me. I am not a strong piecer and am finding it quite difficult to put together. There is the option of a panel, but with postage that is just not feasible over here, so I must persevere. 
Does not look like much but there were so many pieces! So far I have done 5 blocks, alternating between really involved and less involved blocks. That seems to be working for me as I have given up on being super I just want to get them together !
Take my hat off to people who can just whip this up in no time at all. The way I am going, I might just make it to January. I bought the booklet, so I am committed to participate, even if I now fall behind. As the quiltalong goes for the entire year, I will be able to catch up, but wow...
Don't want to turn people off, this will be great when it is finished. Looking forward to the quilting as per usual. The blocks are quite big so lots you can do with them and no doubt Natalia will stretch our skill level just that little bit further. 


Tuesday 3 November 2020

Progress On House Quilt

Not much happening over here. I have been steadily working away on my Scrappy House quilt. The ditching took a while, but I eventually finished it.

Now I am up to the sashings. Decided to further practice Natalia Bonner's design that she used in the recent 9 patch stitchalong. Struggled a bit with it then and thought this might be a good idea to try this again. Must say this is going much better than when I first did it. Worked out that I either need to stitch away from me or towards me. While I can also stitch it sideways, I discovered that I find it much harder to hit the right spot consistently. Love the way this little design looks in a sashing. Very unassuming.
In the stitchalong we went over the sashing one more time filling in some of the diamonds. For this quilt I will not do this...I think I prefer the simple line design as there is a lot going on on this quilt. I stitched this out in a very pale green Aurifil 40/2 thread and on some of the sashings it blends in and on some it really stands out. Quite like the look of that.
Not sure what I am going to do in the border. Going through a bit of a scallop phase, so I might do that again or something else really simple. This quilt is really quite happy to just have been ditched.

I also need to get going on Natalia Bonner's 'A Year of Stars' Quiltalong. Have pieced 3 of the 12 stars! While not difficult, there is a lot of piecing to do and I do struggle with accuracy. Just not that great at piecing, but hoping that I will get this done before the new year. Might also do another impromptu lap quilt as I still want to run an overall design on the new machine. So much to do!


Friday 23 October 2020

Quilts Do Talk!

I made a start on my Scrappy Houses quilt. I pieced this during lockdown and had everything prepared, even the binding. First I needed to cut my pieced backing to size.
Pin-basted for a good half day to preserve my back taking it real easy.

Thinking I was going to do either an edge-to-edge or an overall design, I spent some time machine basting the whole thing to get rid of all the pins in preparation for this. I used a fairly thin (Warm & Natural) batting for a bit of a change and while I was machine basting  I was really quite taken with its flatness. Funny enough I machine basted it in a grid when normally I would have just noodled all over it, so I think my head was already going into a different direction.
This quilt is for us...for next winter in front of the TV. I need this to be well quilted, but pliable and soft at the same time. As I was stitching along I was actually quite taken with how marvelously straight everything was (not the usual for me) and started thinking about the quilting process. Doing an allover design would work great on a scrappy quilt however could also mean that some of my sashings would not appear as straight due to going over at different angles and through some of the pushing and shoving that occurs going through the throat space of the sit down machine. 
Also remembered that some of our well used quilts from years ago when I was just starting off and did mainly overall meanders showed some weakness around the seams in the borders as I did not ditch them. I could, of course, ditch around major seams and then do an allover design...but doubt had set in. I really quite liked the strong geometric look.
Then I looked at my houses...they just look great and I thought that they maybe should be brought out more.

Long story short...this quilt was screaming at me to be quilted in the ditch! So I am thinking that I will SID around the major seams and houses and then do some loose background fill around the houses in each block to bring them out more. Probably will leave sashings blank but put some sort of geometric design in the border. Again, it will have to be something simple, so the whole thing does not get too stiff. Or maybe a more organic border design...I have got some nice designs in the many books and resources that are floating around (which I re-discovered during my recent clean-up of the sewing room). 

So what started out as ‘let’s just quickly finish this’ will take considerably longer, however I am actually quite excited about this. Should be good fun.


Tuesday 20 October 2020

New Machine

Well, I've done it! I upgraded to the Bernina Q20. Originally I was going to look at the new Q16 but then I saw the Q20 and thought that I might regret not getting the longer machine. 20in throat space which is really quite big and very nice to work with.
And here she is
I have never owned a Bernina machine and was initially quite intimidated by the machine as I literally knew nothing about the interface ( I am a die hard Pfaff person). So, I sat down to practice...initially I did some practice samples to get used to the back kick and the steps I had to take to get it to do what I wanted it to do. After a few runs I got bored and thought it would be good to do a quilt from beginning to end.
I pulled out a baby panel that I had, pinned it and then basted over it with the machine and then set out to stitch around all the shapes. 
I did chose to do this with Inviafil thread...probably not the most clever choice as you start out! I had a bit of shredding of the thread until I figured out what needle to use. The Bernina uses domestic sewing machine needles and I must say, I am a bit rusty on my knowledge of the different size needles to be used for what. But we got there in the end. For the background quilting I chose Aurifil 50/2 Mako cotton thread and that went without a hitch. Practiced a lot with the stitch regulators at varying speeds and also did a fair amount in manual to just get a feel for it. Good fun!
Finished that little panel today. Got a bit carried away though...saw a video from Natalia Bonner the other day about a scalloped border and decided to give that a try while I was at it. 
Came out really nice and almost looks like applique. Quilting is a bit sloppy in parts as I experimented with speed and regulation, however that does not matter that much, still pretty cute.

After this, I sat down and did a thread sample, not that you can see any of the details. But I basically went along trying different threads, getting a bit of an idea how the tension behaves. That was quite valuable as I also tried a number of different colours from Aurifil. While most colours gave me a
similar tension, some of the colours gave me a completely different value, something that I had noted in the past from time to time. The reason for that I believe has to do with the dye of the thread, although today I also came across an off white colour that was completely different to any of the other spools. No idea why.

Next on the agenda is a 'real' quilt, i.e. my Scrappy House quilt that I finished during lockdown. I am thinking to do an edge-to-edge design on it, but we shall see...not sure whether that is do-able as it is not a small quilt and I remember doing this before on a baby quilt which was quite arduous. 


Saturday 10 October 2020

Re-organising Sewing Room Again!

Not a very interesting post, but it is time that I check in again. I am not quilting at all at the moment as I am planning to re-organise my sewing room. Somehow the set up that I have had for at least the last 3 years is just not working properly for me. I spent the last few days cleaning up and cleaning out. Amazing...all the little bits and pieces that I found! Not so amazing was the accumulation of dust and fluff just about everywhere.
Anyway, cleaned up my table in preparation to swap it over for a slightly smaller one...this one is  just too big for this room.
The white thing underneath is a very handy IKEA drawer unit where I keep all machine quilting related stuff. Unfortunately with it sitting under the table I frequently hit my knee on it as I am a bit boxed in through the shelf in my back. Finally had enough of that.
Then there is the sewing machine in its Horn table.
Does not look like much as it’s nicely folded up at the moment. When extended, it is quite big. Have been looking around for smaller sewing cabinets, however not really that thrilled with what I have come across. My sewing cabinet is great, so for the time being I will hold onto it and try to make it work.
Over the weekend I am going to shift everything around to see whether I can come up with a better layout. 
At the moment I am thinking to shift my sewing machine into the corner where the table is and place the blasted bookshelf on the other wall, together with a slightly smaller cutting table. 

Wish me luck...this is going to be very interesting.
On a positive note, given I am not quilting at the moment, the house has never looked cleaner...have done all the floors, the washing plus the folding, cleaned some windows...will have to stop this as it is becoming increasingly obvious where  and on what I usually spent my time on πŸ˜†πŸ˜œ


Wednesday 30 September 2020

9 Patchalong Finished

I have been largely missing in action. Had some problems with my machine which put me a bit behind.
Have not kept up with Tuesdays either for the To Do List Linky or the the Longarm Learning Linky that I usually participate in.

Anyway, got sort of back on track and just made sure that I kept up with my blocks for Natalia Bonner's 9 Patchalong. Did some more work on it on the weekend and finished off the last block today.

These designs look so easy but some of them were quite challenging as my quilt had started to compact a fair bit and trying to align the ruler got just that little bit harder. Put piano keys around the border which I usually love doing but  when it was finished I thought that this was a bit of a fail. Looks all too uniform as my loops are also about half inch apart. Would have been better to insert an additional 1/8in of a line in between but now I am just not feeling it anymore and decided that this is finished. Will be a good reminder to pay some attention to this in the future.

This stitchalong was really good fun and I did enjoy having to stain my brain to follow the stitching paths for the blocks that Natalia demonstrated in her various videos. Felt in the end that I was getting better at this but I guarantee you that next time I will equally struggle to work out a stitch path. 
I decided to participate in Natalia's next quiltalong 'Let's stitch a year of stars which begins at the beginning of the new year. Purchased her piecing workbook, selected some fabric and now need to sit down and actually construct the blocks. This will take me a while, but hopefully I can knock this off over the next few months.

Linking up to Rebecca Grace Quilting to participate in the weekly Longarm Learning Party

Rebecca Grace Quilting

Also linking up to Free Motion Mavericks (hosted by Muv of Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing and Andree of Quilting and Learning - What a Combo) who celebrate their 300th Linky Party.


Tuesday 15 September 2020

To Do Tuesday #58 & Weekly Progress Update

So, what have I achieved for the week

1. Natalia Bonner’s 9 Patchalong.✅ 
Managed to keep up and even almost finished the border
Block 3 and 4 done

2. Make another few cat blocks ✅

3. Work on a new pattern ❌
4. Prepare fabric for piecing Natalia's Bonner's Star Sampler for the Let's Stitch a Year of Stars which is starting in January 2021✅

Not too bad, considering we had some major upheaval around our place this week with the construction of a major retaining wall.

For the week 15 September to 22 September, I am planning to:

1. Continue with Natalia Bonner's 9 Patchalong, i.e. Block 4 & 5 and maybe complete the border

2. Continue with piecing the cat blocks, maybe another 2 blocks

3. Start piecing at least one block of Natalia's Bonner's Star Sampler for the Let's Stitch a Year of Stars

4. Work on the new pattern, i.e. clean up design in EQ8 program

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #58 over at Home Sewn By Us


More 9 Patch Ruler Work

Block 3 and 4 of Natalia Bonner's 9 Patchalong
This one was a beauty...continuous line design, always looks great. Of course, mine was not entirely continuous as I got confused. I am certainly learning a lot in terms of thinking through your stitching path before you actually have a go. I made myself a little folder on the Ipad with these blocks and an accompanying stitching diagram, because no doubt, next time I look at it, I will have forgotten how it goes. 
My accuracy is definitely improving and I am finding the ruler work increasingly easier. The stitch regulator on the Capri is a big help as I can focus in on the stitching without having to worry about the stitch length. 

The next block was interesting
Lots of straight lines and again some concentration was needed to follow that stitching path to make it a continuous design. Easy to execute and looks also good when only stitched in one direction.

Today then I tackled the border. Followed Natalia's suggestion of stitching a loopy design above the scallops, however then encased this with a wiggly design (Natalia cut her border off past the loopy design which I did not want to do). I used the HQ Wiggle Wave ruler for this exercise
This ruler is fast becoming my favourite wave ruler. 

The ruler makes it very easy to fit your waves into the border. All I did was measure my border and determined how many repeats I will fit into the border. On the long side I was out by half the repeat. If you look on the ruler, half of the length would have ended me up on a high point in the corner which I did not want, as I started on a low point. In order to end on a low point and make the corners look the same, I then needed to reduce my waves by 3/4in across the length of the border. I normally struggle with this when drawing out a border, but with this ruler I find it is quite easy as long as you keep track of what you are doing. So, as I am stitching along the wave and stop in the valley or a  high point, I shift the ruler by about 1/4in to elongate the curve, 3 times before the center and 3 times after the center. Without fail this works a treat and I arrived smack bang at a low point in the corner, making my corners appear identical. The only marking I did was an approximate position of the repeats so I knew I was on track as I was stitching along. I could, of course, have chosen a different starting point for the corner, however I thought it was safer to start at the beginning of the repeat as I get easily confused with these things. Maybe next time I try a differently shaped corner by starting on a high point or somewhere in between.
 Anyway, more ruler work coming up in the border. I am thinking of going around it one more time with a piano key design...not sure yet what width though or maybe a pinstripe arrangement. We'll see.

Thoroughly enjoying this quilt along.


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