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


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