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


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