Friday, 16 April 2021

Maple Leaf Table Runner

Did some more work on my Maple leaves...this is going to be a table runner.

I did a Maple Leaf quilt some years was published in the Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine, Vol 21, No3 and was titled Autumn Leaves.
I don't have this quilt anymore. It went with me all the way to Germany in 2013 as a gift to my sister-in-law. Had to dig around to find the magazine to have a bit of a look how I tackled this quilt because this is now quite a while back. This was really interesting because I remember the effect I wanted to achieve when putting this together...thinking about it now, I realised that I could have achieved quite a different look (and closer to what I actually wanted to achieve) if I had changed the setting of the blocks a bit by using a custom setting rather than the straight horizontal placement of the blocks in rows. No idea why I did not do that. Never mind, still a very nice quilt.

Have completed all my favourite colouring below
Also played some more with the camera and did a sort of stylised take on the blocks
Will need that for my Etsy shop as the pattern for the table runner will be added hopefully by the beginning of next month. 

Interesting also how the original ideas get changed in the quilting process. I was pretty sure that I wanted to outline the blocks, then do some gridwork in the empty spaces, but no...when I put it together it screamed woodgrain pattern! I will have to do some practice for that as I am not sure whether I can pull this off over the entire area in a consistent and well spaced manner. Will need to think about some sort of structure to guide my quilting...not entirely sure how I am going to tackle that. Last time I did a woodgrain pattern, I had a woodgrain patterned backing which I used to quilt from the back to the front, just following the lines. That, of course, was super easy and came out great.

A bit of work to do!


Monday, 12 April 2021

Quilt Photography

I have had to spent some time re-visiting my new Camera manual. I have a smallish Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ90. While you can just point and shoot, I have become increasingly confused about all the features that this camera has to offer. In addition, I have little knowledge about photography and what is involved. Reading about it is like learning a new language which is made complicated (being a migrant) as I do not have the English words for some of what they are talking about. I very rarely use the dictionary and rely on picking up the meaning of words by association.  This is a process which takes a bit of time and patience. Of late I have been watching some FB videos by a photographer who offers a video master class (Mark Hemmings - Take your Digital Camera Off Auto). Really like this guy as he speaks in plain English that I can understand. Also like it that he is posting these little videos for free on FB which has been really interesting to watch. Very generous indeed. At some point I might consider doing that master class as I am sure that you learn a lot about your camera judging from the tips and hints I already picked up from those free videos.
It also helps that my husband is a keen photographer, so I can ask lots of questions...however if you don't understand the subject matter it is very hard to work out what to ask. Embarrasingly, I only just worked out that you can adjust the viewfinder to make it more clear. When looking through the viewfinder of this little camera, I thought...gee, my eyes are getting bad...can't see properly, hence I used the screen. Then I discovered the diopter adjustment dial and I said to my husband...why did you not tell me about this?... which of course was funny as he assumed I knew this very basic thing.

Anyway, I took some pictures this weekend and want to see how they look on the blog as I adjusted some settings to pull them over as well. Hopefully this is not too boring.

My camera does nice little 'point and shoot' photos
This is outside, so lots of light...(easy to do on automatic setting). Quilt photography is different though. Often done inside with lower light, tilting the screen to get shots from above...different altogether and in my case, the room I work in is slighter darker than anywhere else in the house. 
So, now I have been bitten with the photography bug, I wanted to put my new knowledge to the test, wanting to achieve a blurred background
Fail...another discussion with my husband about the f-stop again and what this does to photos, so tried again
Nice, nailed it!

Then went inside in my sewing room and tried to shoot photos using the Manual mode and how I understood that to work

Not too bad but difficult to photograph. I am photographing this on the extension table of the Q20 which is sitting beside the window, so I am getting the light sideways.
Another blurry background
Could be sharper, but in principle not too bad..lost some quality in putting this on the blog.

More quilting shots
This is pretty much what the room looks like in the afternoon without the light switched on. Taking this picture in Manual and adjusting for the lack of light gives me a much more realistic shot. Texture is really nice to see, but the colours become very stark. As you can see I have pressed ahead with my 'Year of Stars' quilt.

With the light switched on
Got my shadow in the way now and the texture is much harder to see.

...and a shot of my sewing table in the corner where I used a filter to overcome the yellowish light (now I am just playing with the many different options of the camera).
All done in Manual...pretty impressed with myself. Also spent more time reading the Manual with the camera in my hand to work out some of the functions. Drives me crazy when I cannot work out what all those little symbols mean on the touch screen. Assigned some action to the empty function button (preview...did not even know I had this!) and worked out what some of the others mean and how I can operate this little thing quicker by using the touch screen. There is just so much in this camera and I will have to go over this a number of times to retain the information, I think.  Actually quite surprising and almost a bit too much, but we will press on with the learning.

But back to quilting now...just discovered from one of the photos that I sewed one of the leaves together wrongly.


Wednesday, 7 April 2021

New Project

I started my next quilt...the star being the humble Maple Leaf. Always loved this block.

I am using my favourite fabric - The Dryad range of leafy fabric from Shannon Brinkley. I have lots of leftovers from when I did my fox quilt and the Maple Leaf takes so little's great.

My piecing is as always a bit out of practice. Just don't piece enough to be really good at it. However, a while back I noticed an issue with one of my rulers and today set out to really explore this. I have got a stack of rulers, some of them very old (see selection below). I do try to stick to one ruler for one project as I have heard that there can be slight differences. However, to square up 2-1/2in HST for example I often will use the top square rulers which are both the same brand. In one of the more recent projects (I think it was the Star quilt) where I had painstakingly made sure my pieces were cut accurately I found that after squaring off I often was short by almost 1/8in (I had a good comparison on that project as some of my pieces were cut with the Accuquilt cutter which is dead on correct). That was when I started to get a bit suspicious of my squaring up rulers.
The offending ruler is a 6-1/2in square which I have been using for years. Today I compared this ruler to some of the other rulers in my collection and noticed that it appears a little bit 'out' in its measurement.

Here is my very scientific exploration, i.e. stacked on top of a similar ruler
Slightly out, so I tried to see whether it corresponded with my measuring tape

Almost, but not quite...
Squaring those 2-1/2in HST today for the Maple leaf definitely showed the difference. When I used my old square ruler my unit was inaccurate compared to the 2-1/2in squares that I had cut from a strip with the long ruler.

Now I am actually a bit confused as to what ruler to use as I always will need to use the longer ruler to cut strips and then crosscut pieces. However if my squaring up ruler then is slightly different, it is little wonder that my piecing comes out so inaccurate at times.

Will definitely need to pay more attention to this in the future and maybe invest in a more accurate squaring up ruler.


Saturday, 3 April 2021

A Year of Stars with Natalia Bonner

Have absolutely nothing to quilt at the moment so finished the Mosaic Star for the month of April...I have got Natalia's Companion Workbook which details one of the options for quilting out the stars. For further options you will have to join Natalia on Patreon which I did not do, but obviously there are many different ways of stitching this out.

Anyway, here is my Mosaic Star for April

Enjoyed this one but made a few mistakes, i.e. not stitching in the ditch around some shapes which you can see are puffing up a bit, but otherwise was relatively painless to stitch out...almost managed to stitch this out in one hit.

I then did the centre of next month's star
Love this! Really enjoy this motif with the added echo around it. Will keep going a bit and then continue on filling in the sashings.

Need to find something else to quilt in the meantime...maybe its time for another wholecloth! 


Thursday, 1 April 2021

New Pattern - Wooden Blocks Quilt

Finally managed to complete my little colourful quilt for the Etsy shop. Took way longer than expected.

And wow, yes, it is very me!

Might have overdone the colours a bit 😂 but I like it and have spent the last week writing up the pattern. It looks super simple however has some partial seams in there which took a moment to put into graphics. Apart from that it is just putting shapes together, so very simple to construct. What I like about this one is that it is really quite versatile, i.e. if you don't feel like half square triangles, you can just leave them out and put squares instead which makes it even quicker. A good quilt if you need to gift something in a hurry. I put the quilt top together in a weekend. 

This is the same quilt with just squares...obviously a bit more restrained in terms of colour but great way to use up some of your favourite scraps.
I used the same edge to edge design on the colourful quilt...really enjoy doing that one. Easy to do and gives such a nice texture.
The quilt measures 36.5in x 45.5in...nice size for a playmat or comforter.
So, onto the next pattern for me. While I was doing this, I already worked on another two pattern. I am on fire this year!

Given that this is my only finish for the month it is also my favourite for a little while. Linking up to the monthly 'Favourite Finish' held by Meadow Mist.


Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Natalia Bonner's 'A Year of Stars'

Finished all of the framework for the sashings and borders. I do not have a huge curve ruler (Natalia used a huge curve for her quilt), hence I used my Pro Echo #12 ruler to put the scallops into the border. That was challenging enough! In the end I just made it fit. Not ideal as the curves were slightly different all over, but in the end I doubted that this would feature much. Having done this, I  realised that my curves were too shallow for putting feathers in there, so I had to come up with something else.

Decided to put Ribbon Candy in there which looks very nice indeed. Ribbon Candy has become one of my most used designs. So very versatile.
Then I went on and filled the remainder of the border with Stacked Swirls.  Look at that texture!
This was a bit of work but I thought that this was the ideal piece to further practice the design.
Stitched this out in a day and today started to fill in the sashings of the first completed row with pebbles
That's it, will now wait to complete the next three stars on top of this row to fill in the next section (I am trying to avoid uneven compaction as I go along as that makes it harder to quilt your designs out. 


Tuesday, 16 March 2021

The Jelly Roll Rug Experiment

This is something I had wanted to do for a very long time...

So, I cut myself about half of a jelly roll. I estimated that I had about 23, 2-1/2in strips put together from leftovers out of my scrap boxes. Some of them were the WOF but others I just sewed together to make an approximate jelly roll strip. I did not go for the whole 40 strips that a jelly roll usually has as I was really unsure whether this would work for me. Had watched a few videos and also read some blog posts about it and was somewhat intimidated. The pattern for a jelly roll is by Roma Quilts and can be purchased on Etsy.

I had a roll of cotton batting (Rainbow batting from Matilda's Own) that was cut to 5cm, so a bit shy of the 2-1/2in that Roma Quilts is using. However, I did do a basket with this before and it works just as well, maybe even a bit easier as there is slightly less bulk. So, off I went to create the strips...that was actually rather difficult in terms of colour coordination and imaging what that might look like. Always looks so easy in a jelly roll!

Here is my ball of strips
Initially struggled to put the strips together but after a while you get the hang of it and with the help of those wonder clips it goes through the machine quite easily. Struggled big time with the first few strips of the rug and trying to get around a corner. Also got very confused with direction and had to re-start a couple of times. But eventually got it.
Once you get over the first few rows it becomes relatively easy to go around. I set my zigzag stitch at 6mm long and 2mm wide. Would have liked it a bit smaller but my zigzag kept skipping stitches and I figured that this was because I was hitting the sewing line of the strips, so I had to set it a bit higher to avoid this. I used a 90/14 Jeans needle...maybe I should have gone one higher, i.e. 100/16 (only found these when I had already finished this).

Here is an action shot
I had no problem with my rug in terms of waviness. I just steamed it after the first few rows as it was somewhat lifting on the curves due to the strain of going around the corner, but after that it remained flat as a pancake even without steaming. Also thought that I would have to pull my sewing table out to put the extension on the back, however given that it remained flat, I just lifted it when going around the corner. No problem at all. Was really surprised that I did not have more issues with that.

Well, here it is

Turned out fabulous! In terms of colour choices I got it almost right...I thought I would have a nice black edge around the whole thing, however obviously did not allow for the size of the thing. Would have been good if a had the black going around the edge a couple more times (something to watch out for next time). Also, the skipping of the stitches continued to be an issue, so every now and then I had to reverse stitch to cover that which looks a bit unsightly in places. I used a beige Rasant thread...again, in retrospect maybe should have gone for a tan colour.

My rug came in at about 21-1/2in x 32-1/2in, much bigger than I had anticipated actually, but wow, I am so impressed with this. Took me 2 days to do!

Definitely will do this again.

Linking up to Oh Scrap! over at Quilting is more fun than Housework.


Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Edge to Edge Design On Sit Down Longarm

Working on finishing my 'Block Quilt'.

This is a new pattern for my Etsy shop. Will have the write up done in the next couple of weeks. Basically I constructed this one to again try an edge to edge design on my sitdown longarm. So once basted and secured around the edges, I was looking for a design.

First though I did some serious thread testing. I have got this variegated Superior Fantastico (40wt) thread and for the life of me I was going to use this on this quilt. Had some problems with this thread in the past and was determined to work out what this thread needed in the bobbin.
This is what that looked like...did little samples for days!
Problem also was that I have a purple backing...duh, did not think about thread colour  when putting this together. Usually people use Bottom Line in the bobbin for Fantastico thread. I have some Bottom Line spools and one cone, but unfortunately all in white to beige tones, so this was not going to be an option. Had read somewhere that it is good to pair a more grippy thread in the bobbin with polyester on top. Tried a purple Rasant thread but somehow I had some fuzzy stitching on the back. Not necessarily bad tension but some fuzzy stitches (as if the needle was damaging the fabric). Next I fiddled with Aurifil 50/2 in a grey colour...that could work but still had some fuzzy stitching here and there. Tried So fine thread and that worked very well. The strange fuzziness on the back disappeared mostly, however only had that in a sort of tan colour. In the end, I ended up using the grey Aurifil colour and with some fine tuning, including going to a different needle,  got the tension not perfect but way better than in previous attempts.
In the end I chose the same edge to edge design that I did about two months ago...Daisy Dotz#2 from Urban Elementz. Just love that one and thought it would be a good exercise to do it again (anyway that was my excuse).
Starting off...
I am using Golden Threads paper...drew the design with a blue water erasable pen on it and attached it with sticky glue dots which you can get in a stationary shop. That works like a treat. The glue dots adhere very easily to the paper and you can just stick this on your fabric. No residue...they pull off easily as you pull off the paper. Will also try to pre-stitch this design to make multiple copies in one hit as was suggested by a reader when I did this last time, as the tracing does get tedious as you go along.

Absolutely love doing this
The design is not too arduous in terms off getting the paper bits off and looks great. Wondering whether this might be a bit much in terms of looking a tad busy as this is not exactly a calming quilt. However, now I am committed and will just run with it. Remembered that I was thinking exactly the same when I did this design on another quilt.


Sunday, 7 March 2021

New Pattern Coming Up

This is going to be my new pattern...a quilt that you can literally construct in a day! While it looks simple it does require being able to work with partial seams, so hopefully I will be able to get my diagrams right so that people can follow this. Otherwise it is obviously super simple and quick to come together. It reminds me of the colourful wooden blocks that the kids used to play with.

I do seem to like bright colours...did not think twice about putting all those bright screaming colours together. Maybe because the last quilt I made was just so pastel and while quite pretty, pastel really does not appeal to me at all.

I will quilt this with an edge to edge design, probably in variegated thread. Just noticed that I have no batting, so this will have to wait a few days to be put together. Looking forward to the quilting part.


Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Block #3 of Natalia Bonner's 'A Year of Stars' Quiltalong

This is Block #3, the Union Star, all quilted out following Natalia Bonner's instructions on YouTube.

Not much to say about this block. Took my time with it and had lots of starts and stops as I did not want to travel in my ditch excessively. Found this quite easy to do but put in a few 'helper marks' to hit the right points and to keep my lines straight. 

Also made a start on the sashing...I think there are two designs that people are using. Well, I went for this diamond shape and quite like the looks of it. Have not filled it in yet, but that can wait...just want to avoid excessive compaction of the sashing as I go along and quilt the blocks, otherwise it is going to be too difficult to put the straight lines into the sashing. Have still got a fair amount of sashing to go, but quilted something else in between, so need to get back to it.

Good fun!


Friday, 26 February 2021

New Listing In Etsy Shop

Finally finished that little pastel quilt and put it up as a new listing in my Etsy shop.

The colouring of this quilt was an absolute bugger to photograph...spent hours on that!

The quilt measures 35-3/4in x 44-1/2in and came out nice and soft. I used Minijumbuk Nu-Wool wadding which is 60%wool and 40%polyester. The overall line design was just right for it, giving it a soft, cuddly feel. 

Now it's on to the next pattern which is already waiting for me.


Thursday, 25 February 2021


It's been a while since I just doodled away on my machine.

Really felt like just quilting out some rulers and just kept going and as you can see it got very messy.
Started off very structured. The centre is done with the HQ Petal Pusher ruler which gives you that lovely floral motif. I then played with Bethanne Nemesh' Lily Line#3 ruler. Lots of nice curves and lots of possibilities to place them. I do need more practice with those rulers to be able to use them more comfortably and make the best use out of them.
Started off with an upside down heart shape which looked great, so I repeated that on each cross hair which meant that I 'lost' the shape somehow. Also became obvious that I was too sloppy, as the resulting shapes were not equal. All good practice. I knew exactly where I had gone wrong...did not mark how far I wanted my shape to extend, just winged it which obviously did not work that well. Filled all that in and then started on a border.

The feather border is part of Cindy Needham's Border Stencil pack. Am thinking of using this for an upcoming wholecloth and thought I might just stitch that out to see what that feels like. This was the middle size, I believe, and stitched out very nicely. Will just have to decide how long I want my feathers to extend to achieve a more even look. Also noticed that the corners were particularly tight...I think Cindy Needham places her feathers under each other...not sure whether I like that. The corner certainly needs more work.

After that I just doodled along as I could hear the bobbin was nearing its end, so I kept going until I ran out. Was interested to see whether my bobbin tension would hold...last week we had about 38 degrees over here and our air conditioner had broken down. It was just really hot in the house. Doing a bit of quilting I noticed that my tension was incredibly finicky and it looked like it was not holding for the entire bobbin. Thinking that it had to do with the winding of the bobbin I trialed different speeds of winding the bobbin but it remained rather fiddly. Today, no issue at all...the bobbin tension remained decent to the very last stitch. So maybe it was the heat after all, who knows...certainly did not do anything different  today. Still using the same top and bobbin thread.

Linking up to Freemotion Mavericks 'Quilting & Learning-What a Combo'

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Progress on Pastel Quilt

Made some progress on the pastel quilt. Decided to also go through the diagonal of my curves, similar to how I do my Cathedral Windows. Love it!

...and a close up

Only got the binding left to do...


Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Another Little Project

I am really into 'clean up' mode lately. Found leftovers of a pastel quilt I made the year before last out of a Fat Quarter bundle called Foxglove Gardens by Leanne Beasley for Ella Blue fabrics. I made a baby quilt out of that with pretty pink birds on top...even used some of the Fat Quarters for a pieced backing and still had heaps of fabric left. So I cut myself a Charm Square stack and just sewed them together (still got fabric left!).
Colours look a bit dodgy in this does look better in real life.

Further trialled the Aurifil Monofilament thread for the ditch work...yep, no issues, performed very well for me. Did not break or do anything else weird, just easy sewing. Had my tension very low as before and used a simple thread net. For the bobbin I used Aurifil 50/2 thread. I am using a wool/poly batting so the squares puffed up nicely.

Today I finished the ditching and started on the ruler work. I am using Lisa Calle's Pro Echo ruler #12 for a bit of practice. It is a rather large ruler and initially I struggled to hold it tight. In fact, I realised that I have to stop half way down the curve to re-position my hands otherwise I loose the grip on the ruler ever so slightly and have inaccuracies on the point. While I sort of knew this I was initially being lazy and trying to go down the curve in one go...yep, definitely needed to slow down and re-position my hands as the ruler just gently slides sideways.
Love doing curves and absolutely love Lisa Calle's rulers. Might have to invest in the #10 one...might be easier to hold on a sit down machine. I initially bought #12 and #8 and given I loved them so much then invested in the small Pro Echo set (which goes up to #7), so I am missing a few curves in between. Use these curves all the time, particularly the smaller ones.

Not sure yet exactly where this is going to go in terms of quilting. The idea originally was to just do a simple line design over it and be done with it...we'll see where this will take me.


Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Stretched Star Baby Quilt Pattern

My Stretched Star Baby Quilt pattern is finally up and running in my little Etsy shop.
Some close ups of my quilting: only did minimal quilting on this quilt. Obviously wanted it finished but also thought that it did not need that much quilting. Alternatively, I could have just meandered or looped over it but I really wanted to try out my HQ Star Flower ruler with that little star. You can read how I went with that ruler HERE.

This took a lot longer than I had anticipated, maybe because I offered two additional sizes which took a little while to work out and get down on paper. This is also the first time I included a pressing diagram...I sometimes struggle with getting muddled up in terms of pressing the seams and I thought that might be useful for people.

Happy that's done and looking forward to the next project


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