Wednesday, 22 March 2023

To-Do-Tuesday 22/3/23

Another week has passed with some progress. I seem to be working in starts and stops. 

My tasks for the week were:
 pin and baste another charity quilt
- make a start on the drawing of the wholecloth quilt✅
- make a few more scrap quilt blocks.

Lots happening over at our place though which did not leave a lot of time for quilting. We have been working on getting my father-in-law's house ready for sale. Just one more clean up around the house and then it is ready to go on sale after Easter. It's been a long and arduous journey and I will be glad when it is over. On the bright side though, it was also my birthday last week and I went online shopping...always great fun! Still had a voucher from Christmas for one of the local quilt shops. Got a few odds and ends but also purchased Bethanne Nemesh' Lily Love Line ruler #1. 

Had a try in the week on some scrap material
What an amazing little thing...the heart comes out at 4- 1/4in x 5in. I like the way that this stitches out...all done in one hit...shape, feathers and all. Very easy to do as it is not a huge ruler which can be massaged to go where you need it to be. Also interesting is the way Bethanne makes her rulers multi-purpose. This little heart shape can also be used for a quick border.
The border was incredibly easy to fuss, just flipping the ruler over to get the wave going with the end feather in place and then going back to just fill that in. Really liked this for a bit more of an informal border. The curl is not that deep, hence easier to fill, particularly if you put a few curls in the mix.

But back to my's great getting older. Nobody knows what to get you and I always have quilt related ideas to fill that gap. I had my eyes on some Baptist fan rulers from Michael Quilts in Texas (?I believe) for some time, but so far had not acted on that as the postage is understandably high. Well, this is what we ordered for my birthday! Very excited about this as I think those rulers are the best thing since sliced bread. Have watched some You Tube videos, read the just waiting to try them out. I will baste one of my little charity quilts so I am ready when they arrive. Looking forward to this and will report back on this of course.

In between I did more work on my wholecloth...I said I would be drawing this out, which I did, but I did it in the new drawing program (Affinity Designer 2). This was extraordinarily difficult, but as I had already started drawing it in the program I felt compelled to finish this to see whether I could pull this off. Probably should have started with a simpler design. Most of it was manageable until I decided to put some Amish Feather Curls in the border. While I am good at drawing and designing in general I did struggle with my spatial understanding or whatever you want to call this. Got very confused with the direction of the curls a number of times. I managed to draw one quarter and then had to mirror and rotate the piece to make up the border with the curls going around the border in the right direction and that is where problems started to quarters did not line up 100% and for the life of me could not understand what was happening. This is what I mucked around with for most of the week. It finally dawned on me where I had gone wrong (likely to do with me changing my snapping option a number of times and also going in individually to clean up some feathers, thereby ensuring that they would not match when tiled). The drawing by that state had an alarming amount of layers and little sub layers and it was absolute hell to try to fix some of that. However, I finally finished it and am happy with the is almost perfect. There is a tiny mis-alignment in the feathers only which is not a big deal as I will simply correct this when I trace this onto fabric. Everything else aligns 100%.
Still got confused today when taping this together but am very happy with the result as I now have a workable copy to trace from. Mind you, this has also shown me with some certainty that I need to watch some more tutorials about this program...there is so much I do not know as evidenced when drawing this out. I did come across a few functions by accident that were extremely useful and powerful and I am certain there are lots of others that I could have employed to make the job easier. 

So, for next week I will concentrate on:

- putting my design together and starting to prepare the wholecloth; hopefully I will start with the marking, but we shall see. I am planning to stitch this out over the next two months
- baste a charity quilt ready for the Baptist Fan rulers; can't be long now...they went to Italy from the US, then to Qartar and should be on their way to Australia...

That's it...will leave it at that as I also have one more session of the Wholeloth workshop to do and realistically will not have time to do much else. Have several quilting projects though that will need to go back on the list when things quieten down a bit.

Linking up to To Do Tuesday#12 over at Quilt Schmilt


Wednesday, 8 March 2023

To Do Tuesday#10 - 7/3/23

Was quite productive over the week.

Here are my goals from last week
- continue working on the wholecloth design, i.e. starting to get the design on paper (this, no doubt, will take several attempts)
- pin and baste one of the charity quilts ready for quilting ✅
- prepare for the wholecloth workshop that is coming up in 2 weeks (where has the time gone!!) 
- sort out some 2in strips into light and dark and start the blocks. 

Did not continue on my wholecloth as this needs some peace and quiet time. Had too many other things going on. However, managed to put together one of the charity quilts
Already did a post on that (HERE). Feel very lucky to always get such interesting quilt tops from the Orange Tree Quilters group. Again, really like this quilt. Very tastefully put together and very well pieced. As described in my post earlier I decided on a swirling design that I had not done before. After some hesitation, just went for it and it turned out absolutely perfect. Definitely a design I will use again. Found it easy to execute and it just went effortlessly over the quilt top. The whole thing was finished in about 2 hours. Was able to stitch this reasonably consistent and keep it to a slightly bigger scale.
Looks great and suits this quilt top very well. The funny thing was that I remembered that I had a Kaleidoscope template which I bought many, many moons ago and never tried out. This quilt top was calling out to me to give that a try. Then yesterday I was looking for the template...for the life of me could not find it, so I started thinking that maybe I had wanted to buy it and never did! Had to laugh at quilters we accumulate so many things over the years, some useful and others not so much and then there is this thing that you cannot even remember what you bought. I nearly gave up on my search for this template...I had by then searched three different rooms for it. But finally a vague memory came into focus...I thought I had stashed it away in the packet of another hardly used template and lo and behold, I found it. So, I have the smaller Kaleidoscope ruler which will make 8in blocks. Maybe over the next few months I will tackle that. Really like the look of just using one colour in different tones. So effective!

Also started on my scrap quilt over the week, but have not taken any photos yet. Sorted my strips into light and dark and have done a few test blocks. Discovered that I have a problem with my Pfaff machine. For some reason I cannot produce an accurately sized block. Already noticed this when sewing my last pattern but then thought that this was due to me being sloppy. When sewing my test blocks though I was very careful and reasonably accurate with my sewing but my blocks were falling short by 1/8-1/4in. Now even with the occasional sloppiness, I have never had this much of a problem. Looking at my needle I suspect that it is not in the centre for some reason. No idea of how long this has been a problem or whether I got the machine back like this from one of the last repairs (feed dogs did not lower)...only just noticing it. In the end I changed my needle position by 0.3mm and have been able to achieve my 9-1/2in block, but will have this looked at when the machine goes for service at the end of the month. Too weird!

Apart from this I was preparing for my Mini Wholecloth workshop that starts this Friday. Feel prepared and am hoping to inspire a few people. Should be good fun.

Linking up to Quilt Schmilt for the To Do Tuesday Linky Party #10

Nearly forgot to set new goals for the coming week:
- pin and baste another charity quilt
- make a start on the drawing of the wholecloth quilt
- make a few more scrap quilt blocks.


Sunday, 5 March 2023

Choosing a Quilting Design

I finished one of the quilt tops from the Orange Tree Quilters group. Another beautiful little quilt!
It is a Kaleidoscope quilt...I had forgotten how effective they can look and remembered that I actually have got the template for this. Did buy the template set very early on in my quilting journey but never got around to actually make one of these, in fact forgot that I had this!

Like the colours...very tastefully put together.
Its a smallish sort of quilt...from memory about 52in square. In looking at it I was unsure how to quilt this. Did not really feel like stitching-in-the-ditch, even more so as every block had the centre seam pressed open. Don't like to stitch over open seams and so decided to do some sort of overall design. The quickest, of course, is meandering but also did not feel like that.

Consulted one of my favourite books...Machine Quilting Solutions by Christine Maraccini. Its an older book from 2007 but has a lot of easy-to-do designs for everyday quilting in there. Chose a swirling  design which I had not done before. In her introduction to the design Christine says:
'This edge to edge design is one of the quickest ways to get a quilt finished. It will add visual movement and has a texture and feel that beg the owner to cuddle up in it.' The only difficulty, as I could see it and Christine pointed out, was to get the design a bit bigger to maintain the softness of the fabric and batting when you touch it. However, the swirl design was perfect as one of the red fabrics had a dainty swirl design on there and it was unobtrusive enough for the secondary pattern to still shine through.

Did one practice run on a piece of scrap and started wondering whether I could execute this consistently over a large area. In the end I decided to just go for it...if you never try, you never know! Was a tad nervous to start off with as I can  get incredibly confused with swirls and their direction, but to my surprise this went incredibly easy. I quilt loosely in rows as a sitdown longarm quilter, just having 1/4 of the quilt under the the machine at a time. Had absolutely no problem moving along swirling my way from one end to the other. Going back then and down, I could see my empty spaces and could reach out with a swirl to fill that in. My swirls ended up maybe 1-1/2 to 2in across, sometimes smaller, but that did not feature too much. Given that the swirls are a bit more dainty it felt very open and soft.

This is why I like to quilt these quilts for the charity group. I get some pretty quilts, an overload of inspiration and I get to try different quilting designs that I may not otherwise use. This quilting design is a definite keeper...I think it took me about 2 hours to complete. I used the stitch regulator on my Bernina Q20, so did not have to worry about my stitches looking fine and went over it with a medium speed which ensured that I could get the swirls a bit bigger (think bigger, more sweeping movement). It was incredibly easy to fill and in the end I was actually quite amazed at the consistency with which I had quilted this across the quilt top. The quilt looks amazing with it and feels nice and soft. This is definitely a design that I will use again. 


Tuesday, 28 February 2023

To Do Tuesday - 28/2/23

Back again after a week of all things 'wedding'. Exciting but also very exhausting week. I did not do any quilting however managed to get in some design work in the evenings. I wrote a separate post about this as it was slightly more involved (HERE)

I did do some practice though the other day as I could not work out my drawing. Interestingly, this time I could quilt it, but not draw it properly. Normally I would say...if you cannot draw it you also cannot quilt it. 

I learned the Amish feather in Bethanne Nemesh' online Feather Fiesta workshop
This is what I stitched about a year ago. Since then I have not practiced this at all. When trying to wrap my head around it while drawing, went back to my notes and tried to figure out the sizing, particularly around the centre of the circle. Somehow I did not get this together properly when drawing, so that is when I quilted it out quickly to see how I would quilt my feathers, i.e. the size of them, the angle and the size of that little circle in the middle, so that I could get a sense on how I would place some guidelines when quilting this freehand. 
Here are my practice samples:
Noticed straight away when quilting that my inner circle needed to be smaller for me to get around in a flowing type way. Looking at the samples though I was amazed at how strong my muscle memory is. The size and the way I quilted this is very much like that sample from a year ago, albeit a bit more sloppy when I tried it quickly the other day. However, this helped in terms of working out the sizing and how to place my guidelines in order to quilt this out consistently.

Next stop...I need to put my wholecloth drawing on some paper. This will take another few weeks.

Apart from that, got side tracked again. I think I want to make this quilt
It is one of the first quilts I have ever done. I gave it to my daughter and looking after the cats in her house at the moment I was looking at this, by now, very old quilt. Definitely used up! It uses 2in strips in dark and light tones and is an excellent scrap project, so I am putting this on my list.

My list for the week is the following:

- continue working on the wholecloth design, i.e. starting to get the design on paper (this, no doubt, will take several attempts)
- pin and baste one of the charity quilts ready for quilting
- prepare for the wholecloth workshop that is coming up in 2 weeks (where has the time gone!!)
- sort out some 2in strips into light and dark and start the blocks.

Let's see how we go.

Linking up to To Do Tuesday over at Quilt Schmilt for the To Do Tuesday Linky Party #9


Monday, 27 February 2023

Putting a Quilt Design into Digital Format

Hello everybody...I have re-surfaced from the wedding week! My daughter got married last week and hence no quilting was done obviously. It's been busy but we did have a wonderful day. Everything came miraculously together, the weather was great, we had great food and everybody had a lot of fun. 
Currently looking after my daughter's cats as they have gone on a little honey moon.

While I did not quilt anything, I was not idle. In the evenings I finally spent some time fixing up my wholecloth design. This coincided with me getting a new app for the Ipad called Affinity Designer 2. If you followed my blog for a while you would know that I love to play around with designing in general. I just recently did my Mini Wholecloth design on the Ipad using 'Procreate'. 

It took me some time but I was able to work out how to get the drawing to scale so that I could print it off at the right size. This was no easy undertaking as I had to convert pixels to inches, set my grid behind it up in the proper way and be very precise in my drawing. I do like the program and feel quite comfortable with it and it has a lot of very useful features for quilters. I often do little drawings for some of my workshops on there.

The main difference between the two programs is that Procreate is not a vector program. Procreate is great for the Ipad if you want to do some basic drawing, sketching and painting. It is easy to learn and has a lot of features that I really like and find useful for designing.

However what I do miss is the ability to clean up my strokes, e.g. like in this little picture
I can draw a shape quite easily with the Apple pencil, select it, make it bigger or smaller and as I found out put this little drawing into inches. What is missing though is the adjustment nodes to clean up your strokes. While I can set my brush up to work as streamlined as possible, I do find it annoying when I do make a wobble in just the last part which means I have to do it again if I want to use it for a diagram in one of the workshops. It is possible, of course, to be super careful and deliberate but I find that a bit of a hassle. For wholecloth design there is no way I can draw all my feathers the same in terms of angle and width/length etc. While that is ok for a smaller piece like the Mini Wholecloth I did above, this would be impossible to achieve on a bigger scale consistently. For the Mini Wholecloth above, I drew sections of the design on paper, then took a photo of it and imported it into the Procreate program. Then, very carefully, I traced the drawing. This was quite work intensive and at times frustrating (particularly after several cups of coffee), however worked out well in the end for this little piece. I traced 1 heart, 1 frame and 1 feather spray, so not too much at all. Once I had all that in the program I basically used copy and paste to make up the design. What though if I wanted to do a bigger design? I certainly could not imagine tracing an entire feather border...

So, I bought the Affinity Designer 2 App for the Ipad. This is a vector based program, very much like the the way Adobe Illustrator works. So, now I have some nodes that can be adjusted
If I wobble or do not end up exactly where I want to be I can adjust the shape after I have drawn it. I used to use Ipad Graphics, an older program in the past for this but with the new updates this has stopped to work properly. So, I set out to test out the ease of the new App. Don't know about you but I am not one for reading manuals for me a program has to be intuitive and easy to learn. Affinity is definitely more complex than Procreate...there are things in there I do not even understand the English words that they are using. For a couple of days, I could not find the eraser, so in the end I did need to look at the manual. Their layer system also is somewhat way more complex and I struggled a bit with that. Still need to find something where you can name your layers as I had problems finding where I was at at times. If I could label the layers that might make that easier. Mind you, my test project was a wholecloth that I had drawn some years ago which needed sorting out in terms of size and also changes in design choices,
The settings were easy to change to inches and I was able to put a half inch grid behind it, so I could orient myself in terms of size when drawing individual shapes. I might have aimed a bit high as the wholecloth design came out to 36in. 
I went frame by frame, deciding on the space available, changed it a couple of times, added bitses I might use and worked out the middle section (minor alterations may need to be done...this is by no means finished). Found that the ability to work in inches and seeing what this looked like in terms of spacing extremely helpful. My feather arrangement in the centre was relatively easy to execute. I did one drawing, cleaned it up via the nodes until I was happy with it and then copied and pasted it around the centre motif. That worked really well. Then decided on the Amish that became a bit of a nightmare. Made several mistakes in there in terms of how to quilt's been over a year since I practiced this, however, my spacing is spot on, sort of. I should have lowered this a bit towards the frame in the middle, but lost the plot a bit in terms of sizing altogether at that stage. Funny enough with these Amish feathers, I can quilt them better than I can draw them.
The next day I practised sewing those feathers and realised that I need to follow how I normally quilt my feathers in terms of size and shape, so there would have to be an adjustment made on this image. This outer border was not easy. I drew two circles of feathers freehand, cleaned it up, then copied this to make a row. The corners were a bit of a hit and miss as they were slightly different. So, my copying and pasting created a lot of inaccuracies, however after a days of drawing, I just wanted to see what that looked like. If I wanted to produce a copy I could print from, I would have had to be more careful with every single circle using a combination of freehand drawing and copying to make this into a printable copy. However, patience had left me by then and I struggled to find the layers of individual shapes. The whole thing had just gotten too big.

All in all though, not a bad did clarify the dimensions perfectly for me, just need to do a few adjustments and get my head around the Amish feathers a bit more and we are ready to draw this out.

Incidentally today, I came across another feature...the slice
Only exported an exact quarter of the picture. If my Amish feathers were better, this would be perfect for printing. I might actually be able use the inner feathers and frames though as they were spot on. So, in summary, Procreate is great to get a draft of your design, try out different design ideas and as I found out you definitely can do some smaller, less involved drawings with some accuracy. However Affinity 2 is the program I would use if I wanted to create a precise wholecloth drawing that I could use to trace directly onto the fabric. 

Great exercise and lots to learn.


Thursday, 16 February 2023

To do Tuesday - 14/2/23

A little bit late but things have been a bit hectic around here.

My goals for this week were
- deliver the charity quilts to the quilting group and pick up some new quilts✅
- finish off the ditching of the new pattern
- start to write up the pattern, probably concentrating on the diagrams in the first place as this takes the longest
-make a bit of a plan what I want to achieve for myself over the next 6 months...I have got about five quilt tops ready to quilt and a wholecloth design. I feel I need to make some decisions around what to do next as I get frequently side tracked with other stuff and my quilt tops usually stay behind. That wholecloth design (which is almost ready), for example, has been on my to-do-list for at least a year and a half and absolutely nothing has happened. 

Well, not too bad considering that we are also preparing for a wedding next week which has necessitated several trips to the city.

My new pattern is up and running. Very happy with that as the write up was a bit more involved than usual. You would not really think so as the quilt looks very simple, but as this is a custom layout I included a lot of little diagrams on how to piece this together. I do go by what I find easiest and I must admit, if I look at a pattern, I usually go by the pictures rather than any text.

Well, here it is - the Starbright Baby Quilt

The quilt is 34-1/2in x 44-1/2in. I only used minimal quilting as I liked the clean, crisp look of it.

With that done, I am now going to concentrate on my wholecloth design for a few weeks I think. I will not put any goals down for next week as it will be just too busy.

Linking up to Quilt Schmilt for the To Do Tuesday Linky Party...see you again in two weeks!


Wednesday, 8 February 2023

To Do Tuesday - 7/2/23

My tasks for this last week were:

- pin and baste the new pattern quilt top and hopefully start at least the ditching of it.
- quilt the charity quilt with the e2e design, attach the binding and the label ready to be delivered next week.
- not hopeful, however let's put it on the list...start with the write up of the new pattern, if possible.

Finished two things which is not too bad

Did a post earlier in the week about the last little charity quilt and how I went about quilting this (HERE) if you are interested in reading about this.
The quilt turned out fabulous
Absolutely fell in love with is probably the first time I really felt that I would like to keep that quilt (which of course, I did not). Not sure what it was about this one. It is really very simple but the colours and the fabric...just really lovely. So I spent a bit longer on this one doing an edge -to-edge design over it which was the perfect choice. The design is Cloud Nine by Patricia E. Ritter available through Urban Elementz.

Then I started putting my new pattern together. Of course, it did not go as quickly as I had planned but managed to finish the quilt top, pinning and basting and currently doing the stitching-in-the-ditch. Looking very bold, just as I like it for little baby quilts
Have about half of it left to go and am undecided about further quilting. I quite like the bright uncluttered look, but I will think more on it as I am doing the ditching.

For this week I intend to
- deliver the charity quilts to the quilting group and pick up some new quilts
- finish off the ditching of the new pattern
- start to write up the pattern, probably concentrating on the diagrams in the first place as this takes the longest
-make a bit of a plan what I want to achieve for myself over the next 6 months...I have got about five quilt tops ready to quilt and a wholecloth design. I feel I need to make some decisions around what to do next as I get frequently side tracked with other stuff and my quilt tops usually stay behind. That wholecloth design (which is almost ready), for example, has been on my to-do-list for at least a year and a half and absolutely nothing has happened. 

For now, I am linking up to To-Do-Tuesday over at Quilt Schmilt for Linky Party #6


Saturday, 4 February 2023

Edge-to-Edge Design on a Sitdown Longarm

I finished my little charity quilt. Normally I would not do anything too involved on theses charity quilts...not because they are for charity but simply because I am volunteering my time and resources to quilt them. However I absolutely fell in love with the last charity quilt. Not sure what it is about this one, but I really like the very simple design and the colours of that quilt. The fabric reminds me of something but I cannot quite place it.

Such a pretty quilt and nicely straight. So I decided to do an edge to edge design over it. If you never looked into this check out the designs at Urban many choices and I am not sure whether I mentioned this before but there is also a whole section of some 50 plus designs that you can use for free. Really appreciate this.

For this design though I chose a panto that I had bought from Urban Elementz - the self print Cloud Nine Design from Patricia E. Ritter. I think that is the third design that I purchased from Patricia E. Ritter. Coincidence or maybe her design appeal to me because of their openness (for my purpose I do need the design to be a bit more open). 

I have mentioned in previous blog posts (e.g. HERE and HERE) how exactly I go about doing this on a sitdown longarm machine. I use Golden Threads paper to trace rows of the design. this time though I wanted this to go all a bit quicker and I used 8 sheets of Golden Threads paper and stitched the traced design through that rather than tracing off the design 8 times.
As you can see I trace with a blue erasable marker. This is because when you rip out the paper there are always little specks left in the stitching and I just want to be careful not to transfer any markings onto the quilt.
A brief look at what this looks like stitched through

I remove the paper as I go along, except for the last bit which I need for the alignment of the next row
I have done this design before so it went rather quickly. However, this time I did a bit of a stuff up in row was getting close to dinner time and I was hurrying along placing a row onto the quilt ready to go  for the next day. When I started it again the next day, my natural perfectionism was a life saver. I made a very sloppy petal about 2 swirls in and decided to take it out...only to realise when turning to the back that I had aligned my row on the previous already stitched one, so I had 2 swirls stitched twice! I was happy that I discovered it and proceeded to take my stitching out which is something you can absolutely do with the paper, however you have to be super careful. The paper is wafer thin and rips easily. Complicating whas the fact that I had stitched my design through the 8 layers with a very large needle which made the paper even more likely to just split. After I removed all the stiches, put my frazzled paper in place
You can see here how the paper is starting to split. I decided to ignore that bit and stitched as best as I can around those split papers. Worked fine as I was used to the movement of the design by that stage, but did make me somehow anxious, as it is very hard to see how it is turning out with all the paper on top.
In general I follow the lines as best as I can however this particular design is stitched with a little bit of speed...I can imagine that on a longarm on the frame you would really lean into that which also happens to a lesser extent on the sitdown, so lines are not always followed precisely. I have learned not to worry about that too much, however I do make sure that I hit the points correctly as when I align the next row, I can be assured that they are in the right place. In addition I check how my row aligns against the pieced seam lines...not measuring, however  having a bit of a look whether I am still straight and whether design elements hit the same spot as I go along. Works absolutely perfectly every single time.

The quilt looks just lovely

...and the back
Now I can say with some confidence that none of the swirls would be exactly the same, however it reads as consistent and looks absolutely spectacular. So happy with how this turned out.

Altogether I used 9 rows to quilt this. Had to trace one more design to finish off and must say I do prefer to stitch on the drawn line rather than those little dot lines, however it was much quicker of course, using the stitched through rows.

So satisfying. 


Wednesday, 1 February 2023

To Do Tuesday - 31/1/23

Another week has gone by. Nothing too exciting from me, however feeling a bit productive this week and have got a few things done. My tasks from last week were:

- to start working on a new pattern, i.e. get off the computer and do some sewing!✅
- to pin and baste another of those charity quilts and maybe even get it quilted. - partially done

Also finished my handout for the upcoming wholeclass workshop which was not on the list. ✅✅

The week was spent finishing the cute little giraffe charity quilt, i.e. attaching the binding and the label

So very cute!

Then I basted another charity quilt...also very nice. Feel quite lucky to get all these pretty quilt tops to quilt from the Orange Tree quilters group.
Really like the fabric and colours of this quilt. It is very well pieced and very straight and against better judgement I decided to do an allover pantograph design on it. Do not do this usually for the charity quilts as it takes me a bit longer being on a sitdown longarm, however this little quilt is just asking for it. Sometimes you just have to go with your first thought and I do feel in the mood to spent some quality time on it.
However, to make it somewhat quicker this time, I only traced out the first design and then stitched patiently through 8 sheets of Golden Threads paper to use for this quilt.
The design is Cloud Nine-Petite from Patricia E. Ritter which is available through Urban Elementz. Was not sure whether this would work, but used a 100/16 needle and went without a hitch. Will start quilting this in the next few days and am looking forward to this. Find this incredibly relaxing. Have done this design before, but felt it was the most perfect fit for this little quilt in terms of size and theme.

Also started (and finished the quilt top) on a new pattern...again, really bold and bright colours.
Will pin and baste this quilt at the end of the week hopefully. Easy design, semi-easy to do and comes together relatively quickly. The only thing I struggled with was my 1/4in seam. Had used my Accuquilt cutter to cut out the pieces and found that the cutter is just so correct which made me loose a few millimeter here and there when piecing it together. When I cut the fabric out myself this does not usually happen as the pieces are obviously cut slightly larger.

The last few days I have spent writing out a handout for my upcoming Mini Wholecloth workshop in March. Dreaded that task a bit as it involved a lot of drawings, however, it is done and I am happy with it. Had to really think about this as it has been a while since I stitched those Mini Wholecloth quilts out.

For the coming week my tasks are:
- pin and baste the new pattern quilt top and hopefully start at least the ditching of it.
- quilt the charity quilt with the e2e design, attach the binding and the label ready to be delivered next week.
- not hopeful, however let's put it on the list...start with the write up of the new pattern, if possible.

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Side Tracked Once Again - To Do Tuesday 25/1/23

I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to staying on task!

I was working through my list for the To Do Tuesday Linky Party when I got what I call the 'design bug'!

It started when I pinned and basted this cute little charity quilt from the Orange Tree Quilters Group. Absolutely fell in love with this even though it had a lot of very crooked blocks and was absolutely not straight. Loved the design and the colours they used. 

In looking at this I decided that I needed to do an allover design on this. Would have loved to do an edge to edge design but given this a charity quilt, this seemed too time consuming, so it had to be something that I could do freehand. Feeling absolutely bored with the allover meander, I thought some swirls and feathers would be nice and promptly made up a design that including both. 

So I started practicing
I am pretty good at freemotionquilting, but obviously muscle memory takes more than a few hours or even days...this was certainly a good reminder. No matter what I did, my brain would not allow me to freely travel across an area without getting lost as the swirls would constantly throw me into a direction where I did not want to be. It truly is a matter of sustained practice over time. However, as I was doing this over and over again, I noticed that I was starting to work out how to travel in one row...and that is when I truly got into it! Got my Ipad out and started drawing...

Over the next few days, yes days...I developed my own pantograph design
Why on earth did I do idea, but I got hugely excited about this and felt like sharing that little achievement. The design itself is not finished...some lines need tweaking and my overlap is somewhat dodgy, so there are changes that will have to be made for it to become usable, but wow, this was a lot of brain teasing fun. I am planning to tidy that up over the coming weeks so that I am able to use this on one of my quilts. Very curious on how this will quilt out in terms of texture.

For my little charity quilt though I decided in the end to do an allover meander as I have got more pressing items on my list that need finishing and no joke...days had passed since I basted that quilt. Looking at it again I thought that the meander would be the best design to grab some of the fullness in certain blocks and distribute that around a bit and with the frequent direction changes in the design it did just that and it turned out beautifully. I do think that the meander design is severely underrated...such a good design to use when you have a bit of a disaster of a quilt in terms of the piecing. The alarming areas of fullness I had in some areas of that quilt do not feature at all after the meander and look all part of the overall picture. Definitely was the right choice!

Well, my tasks from last week were:
- to finish the pattern write up and put it up as a new listing in my Etsy shop✅
- to cut out the material for a new pattern ready to be constructed; the pattern is ready to go in EQ8, just a matter of putting it all together - partially done
- to pin and baste another charity quilt (I think I got two more to go in the bag that I picked up last year from the Orange Tree Quilters group)✅ 

So, for the coming week I have set myself the following tasks:
- to start working on a new pattern, i.e. get off the computer and do some sewing!
- to pin and baste another of those charity quilts and maybe even get it quilted.

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Finally finished the listing of the little cute Christmas table runner pattern for my Etsy shop

It comes in two sizes measuring either 18-1/2in x 38-1/2in or 18-1/2in x 48-1/2in.

Took a bit longer to get the pattern together this time as I had to make sure that the templates printed out properly and were 100% correct. Would have been good to have had this pattern up before Christmas but so be cannot rush these things and it will be there, ready to go for next Christmas!

Should have maybe mentioned that this is also an excellent applique design for a farm animal quilt, however in the end I just had to get this done. There may be another quilt in the making at some point
Onto the next pattern!


Wednesday, 18 January 2023

To Do Tuesday - 17/1/23

My task from two weeks ago was

 - continue with the ditching and outlining of the Peter Rabbit quilt. No doubt, after I done that I will need a break! 

Done, in fact I finished it by now ✅

I ended up just putting a bit of a feather spray in the border which should have been a lot of fun, but was not. For some reason I had thread breakages and the needle did not want to go through the fabric. It shuddered at times the same way it happens when you hit a very bulky seam (and this happened just on the white fabric with nothing behind it). This perplexed me to no end. I put the quilt together, so I knew there was absolutely nothing obstructive behind the border! The fabric is off white with a bit of a swirly pattern on it. This was truly too bizarre. I tried all the normal things of changing to a brand new needle, changing the size of needles etc but it kept on happening. In the end I changed to a 100/16 needle and completed the border in stitch regulation which for me is a tad faster and has more 'stabbing power', so to speak. I reckon it was the swirly pattern on the fabric...not sure what that is made out of but it is usually a type of gluey substance printed on the fabric. I have not had this before so I think that this particular fabric was of dubious quality. Maybe the substance they used for this fabric was ever so slightly of a different idea! Or maybe it was the combination of that fabric with the backing which was not cotton but some cotton/poly blend. However, I had no such problem in the quilting of the blocks, so this does not really make any sense. Whatever it was, it was irritating to no end.

Anyway, I finished it and no, I did not relax after that, but tackled my Christmas sheep pattern. As you may know I sell patterns on Etsy which is good fun, but fairly work intensive. I was dreading this pattern a bit as I had to put the applique templates for my sheep into a digital format. And anyway, writing a pattern after you finished it a while ago is always a hassle. Thank God, I do take some notes while I construct my projects and while at times minimal, I had at least the size of my strips written down.
I do not use pattern testers but rely on myself and feedback from customers, so do the testing myself by actually going through with a fine tooth comb through every single aspect of the pattern. For this one this became quite intense due to the use of templates. Have been working on it for the last 3 days! After I managed to put the templates in digital form, I spent an extraordinary long time yesterday in making sure that they printed out accurately. In terms of writing a pattern I do use a number of programs - the sheep image is drawn into the EQ8 program which provides me with templates to construct the applique. I then converted this into a PDF document ready to print. The writing of this pattern is obviously quite easy as there is not much to this table runner in terms of quilting. I do use EQ8 to double check the yardage used for a project.  However, EQ8 gives you exact measurements which is not always practicable in terms of quilting. Like other pattern writers I do use a lot of tables and little helping apps to work out exactly how many shapes I get out of strips, how much yardage I need etc. Yesterday I was reminded of the exactness of EQ8 as it had an entirely different yardage figure for the inner border strips assuming that you only use two border strips instead of always pays to double check these things and follow how you would actually go about constructing this. 

Anyway, almost done.

My tasks for the coming week are

- to finish the pattern write up and put it up as a new listing in my Etsy shop
- to cut out the material for a new pattern ready to be constructed; the pattern is ready to go in EQ8, just a matter of putting it all together
- to pin and baste another charity quilt (I think I got two more to go in the bag that I picked up last year from the Orange Tree Quilters group)

Let's see how disciplined I can be over this next week!

the Favorite Finish Monthly Link Up over at Meadow Mist Designs for my Peter 
Rabbit Finish


Monday, 16 January 2023

Airing of the Quilts

If you are like me, quilting for a while, you have many quilts that still need to find a home. I am running out of space and have stored them all over the place, some in cupboards, some under the's quite ridiculous.

Storing quilts appropriately you should:

Wrap quilts in clean cotton sheets or pillowcases, or use acid-free boxes. Fold the quilt so the back side faces out, and use as few folds as possible. Protect the folds from becoming permanent by crumpling up some acid-free paper and tucking it into the folds as cushion. Re-fold the quilts every few months (APQS Blog)

I found a good article at Patchwork Posse about how to best store your quilts,i.e.
- roll them up, rather than folding to avoid excessive creasing
- store them in a pillow case and refold them from time to time
- never store them in an airtight container or storage bag; cutting off the air accelerates the decomposition of the cotton as does storing them in high temperatures; best way to store them is, of course, to lay them flat on a spare bed with a sheet over it. Alternatively, roll them onto a pool noodle and then a sheet and slide under the bed.
- use a wooden ladder to display them.

All of that sounds great, of course, but we live in Australia where the temperatures in summer swing widely from very, very hot to cool in a matter of hours. Plus, we use air conditioners in summer, so there would always be a high amount of moisture in the air (we have evaporative air conditioner in this house). All not very ideal.

While some of my quilts are in cupboards in pillow cases, others are stored under the bed in a plastic container. Big "no,no", I know,  but I am paranoid about insects getting to them. It is not airtight and I think I will wrap them individually in pillow cases from now on. I use mainly Wool/Poly batting and the batting does have a wool scent to to it which is noticeable even in new, unused quilts. I noticed that over time this becomes a somewhat musty smell, so I started airing my quilts periodically. Wool loves fresh air and sunshine, so our top tip for a fresh quilt is to air it outside on a warm breezy day. This will help to keep the wool filling healthy and rejuvenated (Minijumbuk Blog).

So, that's what I did yesterday...had my only little quilt show on the clothes line in the backyard. Looked spectacular!

The day was mild in terms of the heat and there was a light breeze out there. Left the quilts for most of the day and they were definitely refreshed when I took them back inside. I think I will do this more regularly now...maybe every half year of so. Better, still, I need to get rid of some of my quilts to make more room for new ones!


Friday, 13 January 2023

Progress on Peter Rabbit Quilt

Well, here we go again...missed my To Do Tuesday Link up. Not a good start to the year.

I got totally involved in the Peter Rabbit quilt. I am doing this for a friend's mum and once I started, time just got away from me. Severely underestimated the time it would take to quilt this thing. It is a rather large quilt with half the blocks applique and half of them pieced. The amount of seams and outlining required is really quite insane. The quilt is a year long subscription to a patchwork magazine by Hatchette Partworks LTD. In their suggestions on how to quilt this, was one quilt where only the pieced blocks were quilted with a 1in grid and something in the border and then they got a version that has been done with an allover grid. While I liked the allover grid I realized that I could not do that on a sitdown longarm...too cumbersome with a quilt that size, so I started outlining everything. 
I think I spent about 30 hours over the last week or so doing just that...I used the ruler for the blocks to stitch in the ditch and varied this with just freehand outlining of the applique shapes. Insane is not even a word to describe the amount of seams and little pieces to outline.

But it's done and I am very happy with the result. I used 100wt Invisafil for this task and it gave me a really great finish. While the blocks have a number of imperfections, this quilt lies incredibly flat...really nice.

I was going to do some additional ruler work in the blocks however yesterday I did about four blocks only to realize that it does not add anything to this quilt, in fact, it looked slightly odd as the patterned fabric made the quilting disappear altogether, so I only had certain sections stand out. Initially I thought I could counteract this by restraining the quilting to the more solid looking fabric pieces but realized fairly soon that that was not going to work well. So I spent the rest of the day taking this out again! Another option, of course, would be to freemotion-quilt in the Peter Rabbit blocks and stitch down the off white background, however I am not sure it really needs that, as there is enough applique in the characters, so the blocks are stitched down nicely as they are. Also thinking that background quilting would make this very stiff and compact the whole thing too much (which would be an issue as the border already has a little bit too much fabric in there). So I am just going to work on the border now, probably doing some wavy feather spray in there.

Hopefully I will complete this by next week...always takes me a long time to work out how to fit my waves neatly in a border.

Watch this space!

Wednesday, 4 January 2023

To Do Tuesday Linky Party - 3/1/23

The Linky Party's host has changed. The Linky is now being hosted by Carol from Quilt Schmilt

So, let the fun begin:

My list was small last week:
- cut out the fabric for a new pattern so that I can put this together without interruption. The fabric is washed and ready to go.❌
- have a look at and think about the Peter Rabbit Quilt that I have agreed on quilting for somebody else. Will show a photo of this next time.✔

Well, did not look at the new pattern and started the Peter Rabbit Quilt instead. I am doing this for a friend's mum who worked on this all of last year. The quilt is rather large (width alone is 64-1/2in) and I was not looking forward to pinning and basting this. Have not done a large quilt like that for a while and took my time to preserve my back.

Pinning and basting done
Struggled with the basting a bit as I did it in a grid this least that is how I started off but then I had to divert every now and then in order not to hit the embroidery. 

Look at the cute characters

It is a very pretty quilt. Not sure yet exactly how I am going to quilt it, but I have plenty of time as the ditching will take a while. Finished all of the major seams today and also managed to outline Peter Rabbit. Given the size of the quilt, it is quite cumbersome to do the ditching and I am glad that I have got the big table of the Bernina Q20. For once had to take everything of the table as the quilt kept pushing things out of the way.

Looking good...always amazes me what a difference a simple outline can make. I am stitching this down with Invisafil thread in order not to distract from the pictures but also to not draw attention to some imperfections. My friend's mum did an amazing job with the piecing...those blocks in there would not have been easy to do, so some seams do not align and I also had a fair amount of seams where the seam allowance is turned over half way through a block. Invisafil is a great thread to hide some of that. In the instructions (this was a quilt along via a magazine), all the pieced blocks were done with a 1 in grid and the applique was left alone. That, I feel, would only work if the piecing is very accurate as the grid would follow some of the seam lines, so I don't think I will follow that.  Also in two minds at the moment whether I will backfill behind the appliqued characters or whether I leave them as they are. Suggestions are most welcome!

Well, totally absorbed with this quilt at the moment...

For this week I am only setting the one task as I have got some other non-quilty things to do:
- continue with the ditching and outlining of the Peter Rabbit quilt. No doubt, after I done that I will need a break!

Linking up to Quilt Schmilt for her very first TDT Linky Party


Popular Posts