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


Sunday 7 February 2021

Block #2 of the Year of Stars Quiltalong with Natalia Bonner

Finished the Dandy Star quilting.

Look at that texture, it's really puffing out.
Loved quilting this block and learnt a few things. After many, many years I finally figured out how to echo around star points with a ruler without having to mark the exact spot you need to stop. That was a bit of an eye opener and very helpful. Usually I make a little mark on where to stop however that often is not exact and without fail my next quarter of an inch echo line is either too fat or too skinny because I did not get that exactly right. Annoyed me to no end. I was using my HQ Ditch ruler for this and started experimenting a bit and finally found that I need to stitch about 1in past the star point and then can align my ruler accurately on the next seam to continue with my echo. Worked almost each time and was a great time saver.

I stitched my pebbles in Manual and found a comfortable lower speed to do that. On the Bernina Q20 you can use the back kick function to set it for the machine to keep stitching without having to use the foot pedal. Like a Play button...find that very useful however get somewhat anxious (not sure that's the right word) by that rhythmic continuation of the stitching after a while and do need to pause every now and then. You can pause this with just one back kick and then the machine will wait for you a short moment to gather your thoughts and then you just continue. Must say that that is extremely useful. 

So here is my Dandy Star all dressed up.
Might start on the sashing and maybe the frame for the borders once we have done the next star as there is a fair amount of compaction setting in. Not actually sure yet what we are supposed to be doing with this and will have to have a look on Natalia's YouTube channel.


Wednesday 3 February 2021

Playing With Aurifil Monofilament Thread

Today I trialed Aurifil Monofilament thread. This is the first time that I have used this super fine, invisible nylon thread.

First of all, the cone is huge!

It comes with a thread 'sock' rather than a net. I was unsure whether to remove that, but here it is...a word of warning! Be extremely careful when you remove it because the thread instantly untangles from the cone and gives you a bit of a mess. There is nothing you can do other than to unwrap it to the point where you only have one thread hanging off. Of course, I did that!
I did try it initially with the thread sock but found that it was just so tight. It seemed to stitch fine, but I felt it was just too tight from above...the sound of the stitching just was not right. That's when I took the sock off and put a normal thread net on. This felt much better, the thread was looser and it sounded alright. The Aurifil Monofilament thread is a nylon thread whereas the Superior Monopoly thread that I usually use is a polyester thread. Did I notice the difference? They are both super fine threads. The only thing that I felt was that the nylon thread appeared to be more stretchy when it was coming off the tight thread sock and you could feel and see that.

In terms of settings it was not too difficult. I had my tension set really low (0.75) with an Aurifil 50/2 thread in the bobbin. I did not change my needle even though I read somewhere that this performs best with a 90/14 Topstitch or a 100/16 Universal. I had a 75/11 Quilting needle in there and had no problems.

So, I thought I do something useful and stitch out Natalia Bonner's February block as a bit of a practice exercise because I had a block left over that had gone wrong.
You can see the thread sock in the left corner...very tightly woven material. 

I had no problems stitching with the skipped stitches or broken just stitched very nicely. I later did adjust my bobbin tension a bit and made that a bit looser and also trialed the thread sock again. Definitely too tight for me with that thread sock, although I did notice that it was better when I rolled the sock down a bit. May need to ask somebody about this. It is no big deal to change over to the thread net other than - if unprepared, you are risking a thread mess and a bit of wastage of thread, but if you are careful, it is preventable.

Looking at my sample though I did notice one big difference...this is the first time that I thought that I should have chosen a thread like this for my Natalia Bonner quilt. The quilting looks lovely. I thought that the thread sinks in better than others and gives you this very refined look (which would have been ideal on the dark/light colour combo). The thread itself is shiny and you can see this under the light of the machine obviously, it was only afterwards when I looked at the completed block that I thought that this would be perfect if you wanted to do some almost invisible background quilting on a quilt where only the texture would be a feature (also really good for scrap quilts). I will keep this sample to compare next time I stitch with Monopoly thread to see whether I am not just imagining things, but I was really taken aback a bit when it was finished. It looks absolutely flawless and this would have been the first time that I thought about using invisible thread for something other than stitching-in-the-ditch.

As you can see I did all sorts of things on my block, which are not all part of Natalia's instructions for this block, but I thought I may as well give the thread a bit of a workout. I did some ruler work, pebbles, feathers swirls...I used Manual as well as Regulated mode and went pretty fast and sloppy at times. In the back of my mind I thought that the thread would get stuck on the thread net or sock, but just kept going, so overall was very reliable. 

Would be good to hear whether somebody has used this and how they managed the thread sock. 


Monday 1 February 2021

New Book

I got a new quilting book for Christmas. It is a collection of quilt patterns by Tone Finnanger, all made with the latest Tilda fabric collection.
Now, if you are like me, you got heaps of books in your shelves, however this book is different - an absolute delight for freemotion-quilting lovers. There are 14 very beautiful quilts in this book as well as various pillows all quilted with exquisite freemotion-quilting designs. An absolute delight to look at and to drool over.

Some designs are very simple like in the pillow above, but others have got the most amazing custom quilting on it. Just beautiful. While she does not illustrate her quilting designs, the abundance of photos and close ups give you enough ideas on how you might quilt these quilts. There is something for everybody...swirls, circles, simple sashing designs and more ornate flower arrangements.
There are at least two quilts in this book which have made it onto my list of 'need to do this' very simple strip quilt and one with ducks (or birds ) on it. 
Highly recommended!


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