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.


Sunday 3 October 2021

When Your Good Idea Does Not Come To Fruition

I made a start on some Christmas table runners. Thought that I had a good idea...found this really cute panel and proceeded to cut out the snowmen to use in a table runner.
Chose a funky green sashing to surround the pictures and then added a black and white dotted border. The thinking was to make it look like applique without actually being applique. Set out to surround all the snowmen. Ended up surrounding them with an off white thread (had tried a tan colour but that looked plain awful). 
That part already did not work out as imagined. I used Warm & Natural as a batting but, must say, I am finding this too flat. It absolutely did not give me any definition of the snowmen.

Then I tackled the border...could not resist and put some stars in there...yep, looking absolutely awful. Don't like it at all...
I stitched that out in a grey colour (white was too much), but I do not like the look at all. Maybe should have stitched them in black but that would be very difficult to see. The template is small and the black colour is hard to see, even with good lighting. On top of that, the star template gave me trouble and you can see every little wobble...a fail, so much so, I have not continued on it at all. I will finish it and use it this Christmas, but am not overly impressed with it.

I have more of those snowmen and will do another one. I think I will just ditch that and outline the snowmen and then leave the rest. It's a cleaner look.  Might also use slightly loftier batting for a more defined look. Somehow I do not like the quilting on the dotted fabric, just too distracting.
Lucky I bought enough of that green sashing to make another one. Really like the look of it. 

Also working on a pieced Christmas table runner. Also did not work...used some leftover white fabric from my stash which burnt when pressed...can you believe it? Done my test block and did not see it while putting it together, only after, when I took a photo on a white background. I chucked the white fabric out now, so I am not using it accidentally for another project. Just too much hassle.

So, let's hope that next week is better...


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