Sunday 26 December 2021

Best of 2021 Linky Party

As the year is coming to a close, Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs is again hosting the annual 'Best of...' Linky Party.

I decided to feature my favourite finishes for the year. Just going through my blog I was quite amazed of how many finishes I had. Definitely better than the year before...hope this continues in 2022. There were lots of favourites, in fact anything I work on seems to become a favourite and it was really hard to choose.

However, starting in the beginning of 2021, here are some of my favourite finishes

I made this pattern for my Etsy shop and this was the beginning of a very intensive period of time where I worked on increasing my inventory. I loved making this contains my favourite block, the Duck Track block, and has lots of empty space to fill with quilting designs. I used a small star ruler, putting some stars just randomly onto the quilt and then going around the border making a continuous star pattern. This was lots of fun.

This was on my list to do for a very long time and I finally managed to put it together this year. Would like to make it again...comes together very quickly and looks great with an overall woodgrain design.

3. The Wooden Blocks quilt

An experiment in bold colours, also for my Etsy shop. A super easy fun quilt to make.

I did an online course with textile artist, Sofie Standing, learning about thread painting. That was an adventure and a half...sometimes I was really not sure whether I would be able to do this but in the end it all came together and the bird looks great! Lots of very anxious moments with this project.

5. A Year of Stars with Natalia Bonner

This was a year long quilt along that I finished (the quilting) some time in June/July. I put the binding on just recently to finish it off. This quiltalong was all about ruler work and was immensely enjoyable. Went a bit overboard with the background quilting in the sashings and border, but looks fantastic!

Hoping that 2022 will be as productive as this year...I think the key for me this year was that I worked to a definite plan and a structure to follow. That seems to work for me really well. If I just leave things open I tend to trail off into the sunset often starting several things at once, depending on when inspiration strikes.

Linking up to Meadow Mist Designs for the Best of 2021 Linky Party.


Sunday 19 December 2021

Last Finishes for the Year

Managed to finish off two more UFOs before the year comes to a close. Nothing too exciting but very happy to have completed this.

Natalia Bonner's 9 Patchalong quilt

This is from 2020...had finished the quilting and then just put it away. Even had the binding cut up. The binding has been sitting in my sewing room on one of the cupboards ready to go...since September 2020. Can you believe it?

Was actually really interesting to look back on this one. I had forgotten already what we did on this.
Looks great and is a really good visual of all the different designs to look back on.

Then saw the border...cannot even remember doing this. What a great idea to use the wiggly lines to split up the border width. Looks really effective, definitely something I would use again.

After this I also finished my Snowmen table runner. This was the first one I did and I completely mucked up the quilting on it. So did some unpicking and just went with some Ribbon Candy in the sashing after having soaked the entire area to get rid of the marks from the stitching. That worked really well and it turned out quite respectable in the end. Left the stars in the border, even though I did not like them, but you can hardly see them anyway. Ended up giving it to my daughter for her dining table. Have one more lot of Snowmen left to make into another table runner which will be another project for next year.
Would be great if I could say that this was it, but there is another UFO lurking in the cupboard waiting for a binding to do done. That will also be on the list for next year!

Also joined Bethanne Nemesh' Breaking Boundaries class which will begin in February. This is about improvisational piecing and background fillers and was the first class I looked at before I actually signed up for the Feather class (currently on a Christmas break to be continued in January). There is the option of piecing a number of quilts together before the classes start in February, so I made a start on this with some curved piecing. 

That was good fun. Can't wait to see what's next.


Sunday 12 December 2021

A Year of Stars with Natalia Bonner - The Wandering Star

Here is the last star for the year

...and finally, the whole quilt. Posted this already on Instagram and FB but for the sake of having the whole year on here, I am repeating it.

A photo outside to highlight the quilting...and yep, there is a lot of quilting on that one. I am not a 100% sure which sashing or border design we were supposed to be the end I just chose the ones that appealed to me from the many YouTube videos that Natalia has put up on the net. The stacked curl design and pebbles in the sashing made the quilt a bit stiff, but it goes with the density in the blocks. I am sure it will soften with time.

And another photo inside

It is an absolutely lovely quilt and while I finished this a long time ago because I could not wait month by month for the designs, I am really glad that I did participate in it. Natalia has so many ideas about block designs which was really nice to explore. I am sure you have heard by now that she will be running 'A Year of Blocks' in 2022. Highly can learn so much from her.

I still need to finish off the binding on my 9 Patchalong quilt as well. Hoping to do this in the next week or so. Will be great to have these quilts around to look at when thinking about block designs.


Wednesday 8 December 2021

Last Charity Quilt for the Year

I am in finishing mode...

Here is the last of the charity quilts for the Orange Tree Quilters Group.

Beautiful little quilt. Really like the colouring of this one. Decided to do an allover floral design by Christina Maraccini from her book 'Machine Quilting Solutions'.

Not too bad...the design was easy enough to execute, there is a lot of scope to just fill in spaces with either swirls or more leaves. Just had to watch the scale of things a bit and did go a bit more dense in one of the corners but then corrected myself again and continued pretty consistently.

Really suits it, I think.


Friday 3 December 2021

Practicing and Learning

It has been a full on few weeks. I have literally been quilting non-stop, finishing some projects, quilting some charity quilts (one more to go) and doing the online workshop with Bethanne Nemesh.

Must say that Bethanne's workshop is fantastic...very structured and organised and very intense which I love, of course.

I have been practicing on and off as time allowed. Here are some of the things that I have stitched out over the last two weeks.

More of the curls

A couple of wreaths

Love this last one (no idea why the colour is's the same fabric taken at the same moment) and planning to do it again a bit more pronounced and neater around the outside.

And then today I stitched out an Amish feather spray which looks incredibly involved but was not too bad at all. My only issue was making my feathers a bit larger than usual to fill up the enormous space I had around me. Was really pleased with it though as this is stitched freehand and on a practice piece which I am always a bit more sloppy on. Would feel very comfortable stitching this out on a quilt.
This is only a small selection of the practice that I have done. I did practice a number of other things but that is just more of the same. So happy to be back to feather quilting and being able to straighten out some bad habits and learn some of the finer points of quilting feathers.

This month will be wholecloth quilting...I think there is a wall hanging we can do and then there is my design I finally and definitely want to stitch out. Given that Christmas is around the corner this will probably take me right through to January. Very exciting and very motivating...not sure how I will fit all this in as there are a number of other little things that need finishing.


Wednesday 24 November 2021

The Heart Quilt

Finished another one of the charity quilts from the Orange Tree Quilters group. On this quilt I tried the new Amanda Murphy heart rulers. The rulers come in a pack of three, offering two size options. I went for the smaller set which has a 2.5in, 3.5in and 4.5in heart. Was determined to get all 3 sizes of hearts on the quilt.

Love the shape of these hearts and was keen to try this out.

First quilted some hearts in the middle with the 3.5in heart

Very easy to stitch out with just marking the center lines of the square. Beautifully shaped.

I then quilted a bit of a scallop around the center of the quilt and put a little heart in each corner. As I still had two borders left, I decided to quilt the biggest, 4.5in heart across the two borders placing them not in a column but next to each other. This was a bit more involved, but easy to do with these rulers...quilted one side first, then up the other side and backtracking across the top of the hearts. Like other rulers from the Amanda Murphy range, she has got lines on there where you can align your previous, just stitched shape on. This made backtracking over the lines a breeze and also ensured that you hit the right point on the bottom of the heart. This was truly an effortless stitch out and once I had worked out how many hearts I wanted in the border and looked at my available space the actual stitching of the hearts was very fast.

Design-wise one could have done much more with this of course, but I always have to be mindful not to over-quilt these charity quilts, so that they remain nice and soft. The corner did work out nicely by linking the corner heart with the heart on each side (more or less, had a bit of a gap, but on that patterned fabric that was negligible) 

Really enjoyed doing this little quilt which gave me a good workout on those heart rulers. The accuracy you can achieve with these is truly outstanding. I don't think think I once missed a backtrack or did not arrive at the point of the heart.


Tuesday 9 November 2021

Feather Online Course with Bethanne Nemesh

The online course with Bethanne Nemesh has started. Had our first session and it was fabulous...very organised, structured and very intense. My head was somewhat spinning afterwards and I was thinking ...OMG, this is just the first lesson! The level of detail was outstanding and it was helpful for the beginner and more advanced quilter alike. Absolutely loved the detailed explanations, hints and tricks to improve my feathering. I did not watch the live session as that would have meant getting up in the middle of the night and to my delight when I watched in on FB the next day, it displayed quite alright. Bethanne also puts the session on another more stable platform where you can watch it in sections at your leisure. Had a look at that today and like it, as it breaks it up into manageable chunks, just right if you want to re-look at something in more detail.

Then came practice in my own time. Did a couple of hours yesterday and today, really taking my time and preserving my shoulder which has been playing up a bit again of late. Also taking this to practice my machine speed on the Bernina Q20, as I want to do another Whole Cloth over December. With all the quilting in the last few months (and actually since I have had this machine) I have spent little time on focussing on speed, as I was doing mainly ruler work or sweeping meandering which you do with a bit more speed. Over the last 2 days I found a really comfortable speed to work with and also decided not to do the feathers in regulation, but rather stay in manual. Found the rhythm and speed where I could just concentrate on getting some of the other elements right.

This is going to be very helpful, I am so glad that I enrolled in this as I got a few things to work on.

My practice so far...rows of feathers

  ...and branching out into more elaborate arrangements
You probably wonder what on earth does she need to focus on?...I am a self taught quilter and learned feathers over time. They do look alright but doing it the one way that I know how to also means I find it incredibly hard to deviate from it. For example I have never used the bump back feather very much but learnt to backtrack over the entire length of my feather with some precision (I have almost made this a sport). This is great, but not always the best feather to use. At times then I have mixed the two, sometimes doing my way and throwing in a bump back feather...not very satisfying as you get out of rhythm really bad and I am not that good at the bump back feathers. Muscle memory is a great thing, but can also work against you as I have found out over time. It is incredibly hard to force yourself to deviate from the way you have always done it. I definitely need to loosen up and challenge my muscle memory. This is going to be so interesting! Already when I was doing the practice I noticed that I did not enjoy the bump back feathers that much...seemed like an incredibly laborious soon as I switched over to my way, I was in my element, happy to continue and enjoying the stitching. There is that real unconscious sabotage going on. Today I did mainly the bump back feather and actually started to enjoy myself a flowed all a bit easier and looked quite good.
There is already some other detail I am noticing that I need to concentrate on...this is going to be so helpful and challenging and as it runs for the next 4 months I am sure it will iron out some of those issues that I have identified for myself and other things that I do not know yet.

Also, really happy to get back to the's been too long.


Sunday 7 November 2021

A Favourite Design

Unpacking the charity quilts from the Orange Tree Quilters group, I came across one of my favouites - a string quilt.

Love the riot of colours and the different fabrics in this quilt top. The maker used a fabric based foundation which was interesting.
It made the quilt top incredibly heavy and once basted it was even heavier and I was glad about the big Koala table which supported the weight of this quilt.

The backing was also a surprise...almost psychedelic! 
It's called 'Matrix' and is produced by Studio E Fabrics.

This is going to be good fun...I am currently debating whether to use a slightly variegated dark blue thread on there or go with a more restrained lighter blue colour. I will just do a basic meander over it as I need to get ready for my online course with Bethanne Nemesh and I do want to knock this off before then.

Good fun!


Saturday 6 November 2021

A Year of Stars with Natalia Bonner

I cannot believe how fast this year has gone.

This is the 11th block in Natalia Bonner's 'Let's Stitch a Year of Stars' Quiltalong - Brian's Star

To tell you the truth, I cannot remember doing this block, but looking at it now I quite like it, although I would probably never quilt  that heavily in a pieced quilt.

Only one block left and then I really need to do the binding on this quilt. While I enjoyed doing the quiltalong, I don't think I will do another year long quiltalong. I do get impatient and as it was in this case just continue on my own to finish things off which really defeats the purpose of a quiltalong. I reckon I did finish this quilt way before we even approached the half way mark. A year is just too long for me. However, having said that, these quiltalongs are brilliant if you are a bit slower and make use of the many videos that Natalia puts up for guidance and I do appreciate the many ideas you get for quilting a block.

I need to make sure that I put up a photo of the finished does look quite spectacular. Hopefully, next month...


Thursday 4 November 2021

And Another Christmas Table Runner

Finished my second Christmas table runner displayed here as a festive wall hanging (easier to photograph that way).
Had some fun with this...tried out Aurifil Monofilament thread to do all the outlining and ditching for this one. Worked well, but I must say that I find Aurifil Monofilament thread slightly more finicky than the Superior Monopoly thread. It's just so fine and very hard to see. A couple of times I felt as if I was stitching literally completely blind.
Looks very nice though as it is literally invisible.

Also did a pieced backing for this one as I had some coordinating fabric left. That's where the fun started...I had to align it so perfectly to frame the main winter scene on both sides...I cannot believe that that actually worked. The stars must have been aligned! If I had just made the center a fraction smaller I would have had it 100% perfect, however I was just really happy that it was nice and straight.
This one is also up in my Etsy shop for sale if you want to see more detailed photos of that.

That's it for me with the Christmas table runners. Just have to finish mine now and then there are three snowmen left, but I will leave that for a bit of a side project for next year to use up all of that panel.


Monday 1 November 2021

Snowmen Table Runners

Still doing my Snowmen Table Runners.

One of them is finished and up in my Etsy shop and has to be one of my favourite finishes for this month.

I advertised this as a table runner or wall hanging. I quite like it as a wall hanging actually...the snowmen blocks are from a panel from Sharla Fults for Studio E Fabrics. The panel is particularly cute and called 'Snow Place Like Home'. I painstakingly cut those snowmen out and then just set them in a simple sashing. I kept the quilting to a minimum as I wanted that uncluttered look. Apart from outlining the snowmen, I just echoed around the sashing and inner border and putting some green lines through the dotted border to stabilise the runner.

I also did one for myself, however that one is still in production as I started to try different designs in the sashing and inner border on that one. Did not like it at all and will have to un-stitch that to finish it off.

Currently working on a second one with a red sashing. Again did not really think that through. As I have some lighter backing fabric any stitching in the sashing had to be done with a red thread on top and white in the bottom. Never a good choice and you would have thought that I learned that by now. However I approached this with some patience and was happy to manage to get the tension to a point where it was just right. Was actually surprised that this worked so well as the batting is a flat 60/40 Cotton/Poly mix, so not a lot of room to hide any tension issues.

Have a look at the back

Bit chuffed with that as it is not easily achieved normally. I decided to just go with the echoing again even though I would have liked to put some Ribbon Candy in there. However, any loopy type quilting showed the red dots a bit more and as this is also going in the Etsy shop did not really want that.

Just the binding left on this one
So darn cute!

Linking up to Favorite Finish Monthly Link Up at Meadow Mist Designs


Wednesday 27 October 2021

Excited Plus!

I am getting a bit excited over here. I have enrolled in Bethanne Nemesh' online Freehand Feather Fiesta class which will start on 6th of November.

I have done one of Bethanne's classes in person some years ago - Feather Faster and completed this wall hanging after the class. The class was a drawing class and the wall hanging was suggested as a follow up. Still hanging proudly in our family room.
Apart from this I stitched out a sample of the various feathers she talked about...

...and that was it! From then on I continued on my familiar way of doing feathers, maybe incorporating tiny elements here and there but not really applying what I had learned at all. I found it extraordinarily difficult to loosen up my more formal feathers.

The current online class will go until March 2022 and is promising to be jam-packed. There will be some repetition for me as the Feather Faster concepts are incorporated in the class but I thought that this is a bonus in terms of cementing what I am learning. I will do that Birds on the Wire wall hanging again (she posted some lovely hand-dyed fabric) and have a look how my feathering is changing (hopefully).

Very excited about this as Bethanne is an excellent teacher. I am still using one of the hints she gave me in the drawing class to prevent my feathers from 'falling over'...very simple but so effective. Also have watched several of her FB videos that you can find on her web site. Always full of very useful tips and information.

As I have been mainly writing patterns and quilting away to get some quilts done, I sat down to do a bit of a feather doodle the other day. Wanted to empty a bobbin and also resurrect my somewhat rusty feather skills.

Yep, still good and ready to go...just reading through some of the class material has given me a few new and very exciting ideas about wholecloth quilts that I would like to try. Plan is to start a wholecloth in December (one that has been sitting around for a few years as a design waiting to be stitched out) and hopefully producing another more elaborate one in the new year. Can't wait!


Friday 22 October 2021

Gingerbread House Table Runner

Finally finished my Christmas table runner listing for my Etsy shop. 

The table runner measures 16-1/2in x 34-1/2in with just three stars, but I have also given the option of making it with four stars. Was easy to make and comes together very quickly. Took me a weekend to construct and another few days to quilt in the ditch around the seams. The hold up was writing it up and deciding to include another size. It got done though and now I am back to finishing off my snowman table runners.

Also a bit of bragging which does not come naturally to me

For this month I am a star seller on Etsy. It's a new program which has received a fair amount of criticism as it is very hard to achieve for some of the shops on there, me included. If you sell mainly digital items you are missing out on the benchmark of delivering on time as you do not actually ship a physical item. In addition you have to maintain around 10 orders (around (300 USD) in sales, which of course is a bit difficult if you are selling cheaper items and don't have the numbers of people buying that larger shops have.

Also with digital products you very rarely get messages from buyers as they will receive their item immediately...all in all very difficult and the concern amongst Etsy sellers is that it will be incorporated in their search algorithm with time.

I did achieve the badge for this month as I have had  some messages and lovely reviews (which was great) and also did happen to sell a quilt. I think I will keep the badge for another few months (3 month evaluation period) but then I will probably loose it, so I thought I do need to celebrate this a bit. 

It was exactly October last year that I did look at my Etsy shop and thought...either do something with it or close it! I have done an enormous amount of work on there, some days just living and breezing Etsy, researching, learning and increasing my inventory. It has been quite work intensive and along the way I have learnt quite a bit and have been able to increase my sales to the moderate amount that I was aiming for. Really happy how it is all going and at the moment very chuffed that I got that badge even though it is controversial and probably does not mean much for the people who are looking at items on Etsy. To me it almost felt like a bit of a personal reward for all the work that I did put in over the last year.

I will not be too concerned loosing it again as it would be incredibly difficult to maintain with just digital pattern sales...I can always look back at this blog post and have a bit  of a smile on my face seeing that star badge on here.


Monday 18 October 2021

Patience Corner Quilt Finished

This quilt is from the Orange Tree Quilters group. Initially I was actually a bit shocked by the loud pink squares, but after closer inspection, I must say that whoever put this together did an amazing job. If you look closely, the colour arrangement mirrors itself on the diagonal with the darker batik fabric running through the center. That looks so effective.

For some reason I have always associated the Patience Corner block with garden beds and thought it would be fun to put something a bit flowery in the squares. I quilted this with a deep maroon Rasant (40wt) thread visualizing that the center would look somewhat unquilted as the thread just blends in and in the "garden beds" on the sides I would have some flowers in it. Well, that is exactly how this turned out. Love it!

The quilting was done with a 5in Pro Echo ruler for the bigger squares and a 3in Pro Echo ruler for the black squares. It is quilted on the diagonal, i.e. quilting half the motif, moving over the black squares doing half the curves etc. from one side of the quilt to the next and then back again to finish off the curves and motifs. This way I could move over the quilt in a continuous manner which was much quicker than doing it block by block.

Some close ups


Really glad I tried this out, worked really well and was a very efficient way of quilting this. Many of Natalia Bonner's designs for her 9 Patch Quiltalong would be suitable for this quilt, depending on what fabric is used of course and how much time you would want to spend on this (many of her designs need some backtracking in the ditch around the block).

Linking up to Freemotion Maveriks at Quilting & Learning-What a Combo


Thursday 14 October 2021


You have to laugh...I have been ditching away for the last two days on another charity quilt from the Orange Tree Quilters. I was going to try out my new Natalia Bonner Mini 4n1 ruler on an actual quilt but things never go to plan.

When I unpacked the quilts I picked up the other day, I saw that I got another Patience Corners quilt. Last time I did an overall Baptist fan which looked nice, but this time I wanted to do something different. Given I wanted to try out the ruler, I patiently ditched along all the seams...not my favourite thing, but I thought I may as well practice my stops and starts. After all these years, I am still burying my threads rather than just cutting them off like longarmers do.

The quilt is loud and very pink, but I was surprised how different it looked when I had most of it ditched. It really made those pink squares stand out. Very cool!
My practice of starting and stopping was really needed. The Bernina Q20 has a tie off function which I really like when starting off. You can set it so that the machine makes 4 - 5 stitches on the spot and then stops. It makes the most invisible and tidy tie off, however so far I have always buried the threads even with the tie off. This time I double secured my thread with some added tiny stitches and soon found that I was was able to just cut the thread off at the beginning. Stopping was a different matter...I approached this in reverse...tiny stitches, tie off and then had a look what that looked like. Somehow I could not get that right for half the quilt...when tugging on the thread, I felt that there was too much give and I often ended up burying them again. However, I finally got it and was able to just cut my threads off...looked fabulous on the back for most of it and given that I had the tiny stitches beforehand absolutely nothing became loose. This was a great help, otherwise it would have taken me double the time to complete, if not more. I really need to get used to doing this, saves so much time.

Then, finally I was ready to go on the quilt with a ruler only to realise my 4n1 Mini ruler (the smaller curve) was not big enough to get me to the center of the block. Doing my design with the bigger curve ended up too skinny. The square is over 4in...obviously did not try this out beforehand in my planning.

So back to the good old ProEcho rulers from Lisa Calle. Used the 5in Pro Echo curve ruler to give me the curve that I wanted and used a smaller one to do the curves in the black squares. I had to use the purple thread as the backing is a deep purple. Tried a hot pink thread with the purple in the bobbin but the pokies you inevitably get here and there were just annoying me. I don't usually stitch with darkish thread so this is also a bit of an experiment.
Might look a bit too floral, but will try this...could look interesting because it will go under in some of the squares and only stand out in the light ones. That could be a cool effect. Had looked at other designs but wanted something that is continuous as I don't want to backtrack or do the squares individually as that would take me too long. This way I can can travel along on the diagonal over the entire quilt.
Hmm...this could either look really good or be a bit much for the eyes. We shall see...


Thursday 7 October 2021

Natalia Bonner's 4n1 Ruler

I gave my new 4n1 Mini ruler (top ruler) another whirl the other day.
Really like this is a bit chunky but I have found this to be quite an advantage. Lies really good in your hand feeling very solid and stable. If you are still looking for a good allrounder, this is a good ruler to go for as it has curves of different sizes plus the straight edge all on the same ruler. Lots of things you can do with that.

Stitched out some of the designs from Natalia's 9 Patch Quiltalong 2.0 that I have seen popping up over the last few weeks on the internet.
Very enjoyable little exercise. Particularly like the simple star design in the second row. Definitely something I will use in a quilt. Find this ruler particularly uncomplicated, as there are a lot of lines that you can align to your seams for reference and like how you can quickly flick this from the straight edge to the curved edges doing a block in just one go. The size of this ruler is a real advantage in that it carries you easily across a 4in block in all directions. Nothing worse than when you ruler falls short of the distance and you have to slide it over...that hardly ever works out neatly for me.

I think this ruler will become a favourite in no time at all.


Monday 4 October 2021

A Year of Stars with Natalia Bonner

Here is the October 9 patch star block
Loved doing this one and was easy to fill in. My only issue was to do the swirl in the light purple triangles. It's a biggish space to fill freehand and I think I got one of my swirls the wrong way around. Natalia uses this swirl quite often to fill a space...I have to really think hard about that one...does not come naturally to me and promptly turned it in the right top corner. It's not really that obvious, so I just left it in there.

Can't believe it's already October...only two more stars to go. I better get my binding on to that quilt! I think Natalia is planning a Year of Blocks out for her announcements on FB and on her web site.


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