Saturday, 5 September 2020

New Sewing Table!!!

Oh my goodness, I thought I'd share with you my new sewing table and machine, only to find that blogger has changed!  This is my first post in the new format...

In June, I purchased the Janome Continental M7 sewing machine.  With my old table and trying to 'make it work' I quilted two quilts, but not to the standard I wanted.  I found myself sitting at the machine and to reach the foot pedal required the quilt and my arms to be at shoulder height.  It seriously didn't work.

As luck would have it, I got a new job in July, which meant that I could get a custom made sewing table.

Back view with wadding underneath.
Back view of table with wadding underneath.

Pure joy is having a sewing table made just for me and my machine can sit as a flat bed and quilt piecing and machine quilting is all on a flat bed.  My table was made by a local craftsman who came to my house, chatted with me about my needs and then proceeded to make exactly what I wanted.  At 2.4m long and 1.2m wide (the size laminate sheets are made to), I have loads, upon loads of space.

Long view from one end.

My cutting mat goes on one end and I no longer have to keep on clearing space between cutting and piecing.  

Front of table

My old Horn chest of drawers, which houses my threads and bag making supplies nicely fits into one of the gaps and I can comfortably sit in front of the drawers to write in my notebook or hook-up with quilty friends on zoom with the laptop.  The vertical spots and shelf on the end hold my rulers, graph paper and notebooks.

I am one very lucky woman!

Monday, 22 June 2020

52 Blocks in 52 Weeks

A fun, modern and funky sew-a-long by Jackie White and the Canadian Quilters Guild.  By combining each month with the colours issued from the 'rainbow scrap challenge', I  can use this very gorgeous, just had to come home with me, indulgent splurge of the Fat Quarter pack and the white tone-on-tone print.

I thought they looked very nice all stacked up, but when I opened the pack and laid them out - oh heavens above - a very pretty rainbow.  The fabric range is called "Dashwood Ditzies".  The white is a tone-on-tone from Robert Kaufman.

The blocks are very different and far more modern than I would normally make, but they were super fun to construct.

January 2109
February 2019
March 2019
April 2019
May 2019
June 2019
I had never kept up with challenges before, but this one had me eagerly awaiting the pattern downloads each week.  Such addictive blocks to make.
July 2019
August 2019

September 2019 - oops, no photo!

October 2019
November 2019
December 2019
January 2020

During December the decision was made by the Organiser to have 54 blocks for a more even quilt layout.  I added 2 extra blocks to have 56 for a 7x8 block layout.  It's truly wonderful to have been pushed into making something so modern and not at all like anything else I've ever made.  I am certain that there are more 'modern' quilts in my quilting future.

For more quilts made using these same blocks, click here, where you can see the wonderful work by other quilters as well.  So much fun and so many setting ideas.  I truly enjoyed being pushed out of my comfort zone to try something new.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

5in Squares become a Chandelier!

Starting with 2 very pretty packs of 5in Charm Squares, a pretty piece of grey fabric and a quest to try out a 'new to me' pattern, lead to this super fun quilt to make.  

The charm squares and background fabric. 
The pink fabric was later put away and not used.

The thing with Charm Square packs is that they are so pretty and gorgeous range of colours when you look at them side on.  
Such a pretty rainbow when viewed side on.

A nice, quick quilt to make, with easy cutting and chain piecing, I had the top together in no-time at all.  Since making this quilt, I have ordered 2 more charm square packs to make another one.  I just can't help myself!
A peek of the backing onto the front.

As each block only used 1.5 of each 5in square, I joined the rest of the pieces together to make a fun panel to put into the backing.  This is part of my goal to use all of the fabric in each quilt I make instead of accumulating left over scraps.
Left over pieces pieced together to make the back more interesting.

I quilted this quilt on my DSM with an all over surf-curl wave pattern, using 50wt variegated thread.  Super easy to quilt and no tension issues.  I'm pretty proud of the quilting on this one.

The finished quilt!  49in x 72in
We were having issues with the very sunny day and so the photo had to be taken under the verandah to stop it from being too blown out with the light.  An interesting quilt and a bit of break away from my 'usual' colour choices.

Chandelier Beads pattern can be found here.  I changed the pattern sizes to use 5in squares.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

African Animals at Sunset

This has been a long time coming!  I had the idea in 2014 to make my uncle an African quilt in time for his retirement and 65th birthday.  My mother's family was from Africa.  I purchased the black fabrics and a background way back then.  I did not like the original background and so the project got shelved.

During 2019, I pulled out this long neglected project because my uncle's 70th birthday was approaching in 2020 - and we all know how quickly time passes.  😉

I used  evenings to trace the shapes onto fusible webbing and cut out the fabric silhouettes.  I was still unhappy with the background and the project got put away in December.  Early in January, I spied a new range "sky" ombre of fabrics in a local shop window.  BINGO!!!  I had finally found the right background.

Background fabric.
Relief.  Suddenly I could see my way forward to getting this quilt made with the vision in my mind.
Sun is inset into background.
I used a dinner plate to trace a circle on gold lamé fabric to make the sun.  I then, very, very carefully cut around the cloud pattern on the fabric and inset the sun.  Once fused in place, I appliqued around the edge of the sun and clouds with rayon threads and machine blanket stitch.  I did not want that sun to move.

Animals and tree being placed.  Not yet sewn on.
My 15yr old son arranged the animals.  The men in this house liked the bright background and the silhouettes of the tree and animals.  I think they might want a quilt like this for us.  It turned into a family affair with Mr 18 and Hubby having a say too.

The animals and tree were stitched around with a very dark navy rayon thread and a very small machine blanket stitch.

Sun detail.
I did not quilt the sun, but I did quilt sun rays and followed the pattern in the fabric to give the illusion of clouds.

Giraffes against the sky.
The quilting in the lower half of the quilt was a wavy design to represent shifting sands.  I changed the thread colours as I moved down to the darker parts of the quilt.

I love how the backing shows up the quilting design as well.

Backing onto front.
On the Saturday before my Uncle's birthday, I got the last stitch in the label and made it to the local post office/general store right before closing. And... in  a stroke of good luck, the parcel arrived 4 days later on the actual day of his 70th birthday.  I could not have planned better.

A final photo before posting.

Uncle Ian holding up his new quilt which
arrived via post on the day of his 70th Birthday.
I am so pleased that I decided to go ahead and make this quilt.  Once I got the ball rolling, it came together easily and was a complete delight to work on.  He called me after receiving the parcel and was almost in tears with joy.  My heart is very full of love.

NB:  For the applique shapes, I used this pattern.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Charm Squares and Flowers

Preparing a new project to take away on Retreat, when you have someone special in mind is always fun.  Using gifted charm squares - 4 x 20 piece packs - plus an idea to have some appliqued flowers scattered through the quilt to add interest certainly got me eager to start.  And.. with 11 months until the intended birthday that I was making this quilt for, I thought I had plenty of time!

Fabric Selection.  In the end, the light green fabric was left out.

Before the Retreat, I fussy cut the applique flowers from the red fabric so that the little white flower in the print made a nice centre.
Fussy cut flower.

I then fused the flowers to their backgrounds and appliqued them with a very small machine blanket stitch at my local Friday Bee.  They were very happy little blocks to stitch.
Flowers fused but not yet sewn.

 All cut out and ready to go on Retreat.  The applique blocks are in the bottom of the container.  So easy to chain sew while chatting to others. 

First order of the day was to sew all of the short sashing strips to the sides of the squares before joining them into rows.  90 blocks in all.

The laying out of the blocks and getting the colour balance right took me quite a long time.  The yellow squares were quite a bit brighter than the other fabrics in the pack and they needed to be balanced throughout the quilt.  Also, while laying out a quilt on Retreat, everyone has an opinion and it made for some fun conversations.  😄  I always find it fascinating how other people perceive colour and placement.

Backing and binding onto front.

I finished this quilt off with simple in the ditch quilting so that it would stay nice and soft for snuggling under with a good book.  The binding is a teal batik which matched perfectly.

The finished product!
56in wide x 62in high (142cm x 158cm)

I completed this quilt in time for my niece for her 11th birthday.  A good size for her to grow into teenage years with.  And.... she loved it upon opening, as did my sister (her mum).   

Note:  While there is nothing new about sashing charm squares to make a quilt and I have done this many, many times before and taught others, I did use the free template from here for my flowers.  The flower template is half-way down the page. 

Monday, 27 April 2020

Working away

Alas, no photos today.  And.... no I haven't forgotten about my blog either.  I've been working away on a couple of quilts which I plan to enter into exhibitions and the exhibition rules state that no photos are to be publicly shared before the exhibitions.

It's also been a bit disheartening that the exhibitions have been moved by several months.  While it is necessary for the good of all, I did lose my sewing mojo and fell into a bit  of a slump for a couple of weeks where I really didn't do much at all. 

Straight after Easter I thought "enough!"  and I cleaned every single little millimeter of my sewing room.  I moved all projects, brought in a bookcase for my books and got everything off the floor and into the cupboards.  The cupboards look so good now, lovely and neat with all project boxes and bags so nice and neatly stacked.

With a nice tidy room, I sat down to sew with my machine.  Some simple half square triangles and four patches.  Aackkk.... what is going on?  The needle kept falling out, there were skipped stitches and the tension was really off, no matter what adjustments I made.  Off to the mechanic it went.  Two issues were found - 1 was the needle clamp screw is completely worn and I am awaiting a new one and - 2 the tension disks had a build up of lint in them. 

Now I am working on a small (45in square) quilt for a "0" birthday in May.  Still no photos!  Yesterday, I tested my newly serviced machine and it purred as I pieced together the backing, binding and hanging sleeve for this '0' birthday project.

I am also hoping to get a binding sewn in the evenings on a 'catch all caddy' that I made two weeks ago and then I should have some sort of show'n'tell next week.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog! :)

Tuesday, 17 March 2020


Some super yummy gorgeous yarn and a really terrific pattern - can you tell that I liked both, a lot? - meant that I was able to knit up a beautiful small shawl for my MIL for her 80th birthday.    Started long before I knew about the cake baking and catering that I wrote about in my previous post.

This German made yarn consisted of 50% Cotton and 50% Nylon.  It was super soft and had a lovely hand feel.  With very, very long lengths of colour before the next one, the striping effect was subtle between colour changes and gave way to stripes.

Detail while being blocked of the eyelet edging.
A simple eyelet edging finished it off with pizzazz.  I had to make the eyelet edging twice.  I was overnight at my sister's house, looking after her kids, when the dog came into the room with makeup in it's mouth.  I took the makeup from the dog and put it away.  When I came back into the room, the dog had my knitting and the ball of yarn almost completely unravelled and was spinning circles, wound up in yarn, in the lounge room and having a great time - until he saw my face.  I put him outside and shut the door.  CRASH!  BANG! I jumped up and the dog had emptied his metal water bowl and was hitting the glass door with it, wanting to come back in.  No way.  Not until I was ready and the kids were home from sports.

The completed shawl.
Second detail shot of the edging.

The day I decided to take the photo outside it was over 30deg Celcius, so it was a bit hard to imagine needing to wear it.  :)

A simple, small shawl which nicely sits over the shoulders for those cool evenings or it can be wrapped and tied around the neck for tucking into a coat. 

The free knitting pattern for this shawl can be found here.