Monday, 3 June 2019

Purple Floral

Started in a mystery quilt workshop, run by a member of my local quilt group, we were instructed to "not purchase fabric".  The requirement was to only use what is in your stash and to make it scrappy.  Well, I had no bits of scraps of any sort at that stage, having recently used them up, but, I did have big pieces and a few of them.

Backing onto front.
The lady running the workshop was concerned that with just 3 fabrics and not much variety that it might not work.  I think, had the purple floral been a tone-on-tone, it might not have.  There is so much variety in the print of the purple fabric, that it carries the pattern well.

Centre of quilt detail
We were instructed to pre-cut our fabrics before the workshop so that we could sew like the wind when there.  Each little zip-loc baggie had to be labelled so that we didn't get mixed up when the instructions were given out during the day.

Border detail
 Finished off with a french braid border, to which I added a 9-patch blocks to the corners.

I quilted Purple Floral on my domestic machine with clamshells over the centre of the quilt in a dusky purple 50wt thread, echo straight line quilting in the first border with brick red thread and then beads in the squares of the french braid with matching thread.

Back of quilt showing detail of the quilting.
I had great joy in completing this quilt this past week because I was able to complete it for my best friend from primary school for her 50th birthday.

I love the serendipity of how project completion often has someone who will be perfect for the item just appear.

Completed quilt.
 A really terrific pattern with dramatic effect.  Rectangles and squares, all flipped and turned to provide movement in the quilt top. 
Wrapped and ready for gifting.
Finishing at 161cm x 188cm (63in x 74in), Purple Floral was a rotary cutting and machine piecing dream to make.  Each piece just fitted together.  Lots of joy in both making and giving.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Disappearing Pinwheel

So, this is my third zip loc baggie project, as part of my New Year's resolution and quest to empty the shelf of those projects.  Disappearing Pinwheel (pattern from Missouri Star).

I chose to use the fabrics I have on hand - a big piece of white and 10in squares from my dwindling collection of Kaffe Fasset fabrics.

I started this project in 2016 when my gorgeous friend R decided to show me how to make it.  She has since finished hers.

The blocks as I opened up the zip loc bag.  Some completed and some not.
I ended up with 12 blocks which measure 11.75in (11.25in finished).  A nice size of layout of 3x4 blocks.  But, when my fabrics were put close together, the result was terrible, so I added in sashing strips and cornerstones.  It took me quite a while to find something in my stash and then I spied this lovely Liberty stripe.  Perfect, or so I thought.
But, the stripe was not at all the right fabric - I swapped the Liberty stripe for a plain red.  The stripe was just too busy and there was no-where for the eye to rest.

With careful cutting and calculating, I was able to get all of the sashing strips cut from the left over white fabric - phew!  It was a very close call to get 31 of 1.5in x 11.75in sashing strips and no room at all for cutting errors.  I think the cutting gods were on my side that day!

The top half of the notebook page shows working out for the sashing strips and the bottom half of the page is working out for the backing fabrics.

Ready for basting before quilting.

A pieced backing made from leftover blocks and two odd pieces from my stash....

Finished off with a red binding, which was the only deliberate purchase for this quilt.

I quilted this quilt as a "Strippy Quilt" with a rose pattern down the blocks and in straight lines in the long sashing strips.  I have used this technique previously and I really like how it gives another dimension to the quilt top.  The quilting thread used was Wonderfil #50 weight variegated lime green Tutti Cotton on top and Gutermann #50 weight cotton in the bobbin.  This thread has turned out to be a bit of a favourite to quilt with. It is so smooth in the machine and, as luck would have it, I had just enough to complete the quilt.

My Friendship Star version of the Disappearing Pinwheel will be donated the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne via the Very Snuggly Quilts Program.

Pattern credit
** Disappearing Pinwheel Pattern can be found here on the Missouri Star website.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Road to St Louis - 16 patch aka "What was I thinking!"

At the beginning of April, I was asked to come up an idea for a Friday Night Retreat Project, using fabric pre-cuts.  There were suggestions of using Jelly Rolls, but as this is purely a volunteer task, I chose Fat Quarters because I had those and I wanted to challenge myself, plus the group members to use what they already own.

I decided to make this quit after seeing one at a Quilts in the Barn Exhibition a few years ago and liking it very much.  That quilter had used floral prints with solids and it has stuck in my mind ever since.  This block which can be very effective for little effort as it is a simple checkerboard pattern which has lots of scope for colour and pattern play.  

First set of blocks

While I haven't used or even replicated that first quilt I saw in the exhibition, I still want to make my own version of that with all new fabric one day.

Second pair of blocks
After testing what size to cut fabrics at and how much of the Fat Quarter would be used for the above two sets of blocks, I dove into the deepest darkest recesses of my stash and pulled out some very old as well as the “what was I thinking?” fabrics.  I chose my fabrics in 10 minutes by pulling them out and throwing them on the floor in pairs and checking that the all the fabrics worked together as a whole.

I then had a lovely afternoon home on my own and I sewed all day long, making blocks.  The very next day I laid the blocks on the floor, moved them around a bit, packed them up in order and sewed the top together at my local quilt group.

When I went online to do some research into the name of the block, I found quite a few free tutorials, including the references below. *^  There is nothing new about the 16 patch block or the method constructing it.  The first known publication of this block is Mosaic No. 20 Ladies Art Company 1897*  before being published again as Four Patch Variation Orlofsky, 1974 *  More recently, there have been online publications calling it 16 Patch Quilt Block ^ or St Louis 16 patch ^.

The 16 patch / Road to St Louis would have to be the quickest quilt I have ever made.  It was easy, it is effective and the size is only limited by how much fabric you have.

To quilt this quilt was super easy.  As I quilt on my domestic sewing machine, I chose to give extra life and movement by quilting an "orange peel" type of pattern.  You could just as easily cross-hatch it too, but I like the effect of  what I did.

The binding fabric is a Penny fabric which was donated by a friend.  The backing fabric and wadding have come from the donation stash at my local quilt group.

My Road to St Louis or 16 Patch will be donated after the Kilmore Quilters Retreat to the Axedale Quilters for their charity quilts which go to local people in need.

Finished Quilt Size:  150cm x 183cm  (60in x 72in).

To give credit where credit is due - these are the resources I have referenced: 
* Jinny Beyer - The Quilters Album of Patchwork Patterns, Breckling Press pub 2009

Penny fabric - Penny was a quilter who is now an angel, her children passed on her very sizable stash to a friend.  Penny now lives on in many quilts.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Jigsaw Quilt

I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with the gorgeous fabric Fat Quarter pack that I won in a Retreat raffle in May 2014.  Gorgeous Jo suggested I make a jigsaw quilt.  She had just finished one and it showcased the fabrics beautifully.  She even had some left over jigsaw fusible web pieces as well, so I promptly started the quilt.  Super easy to put together,

- just fuse on the jigsaw bits, sew the matching squares to the sides, press the seams open to reduce the bulk after the fusible is attached....

- then fuse on the bias tape, insert a twin needle into the sewing machine with matching thread and top stitch away...

A super effective pattern that sews up fast and a great way to show off those too interesting to cut prints.

The left over pieces were joined up and inserted into the backing fabric.  Plus an extra fabric to make it wide enough - I was 3 inches not quite wide enough when I first made the backing, which I only realised when I was basting it and I had to pull it apart and insert extra fabric - sheesh......

It took me an extremely long time to come up with a quilting plan for the Jigsaw (approx 4.5 years of repeatedly looking at it and putting it away).  Initially, I was going to do a large open stipple or meander over the quilt, but that looked terrible!  Blah!  So I unpicked that.

What I did end up doing was turning the quilt upside down and quilting it by following the large hexagons on the backing fabric, which meant lots of stopping and starting on my domestic machine and having to sew in ends, but I am so pleased with the final result.

Where the insert panel is, I stitched in the ditch and put a pattern down the narrow strips for a bit of added interest. The quilting thread I used was #50 weight variegated lime green cotton by Wonderfil and a #50 weight lime green Guterman cotton thread in the bobbin.

Front of Quilt.

Back of Quilt.

Finishing at 117cm x 155cm (46in x 61in)  with 60%wool / 40% cotton wadding, it is going to be a lovely warm hug for a teenager at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne via the Very Snuggly Quilts program.       

Friday, 18 January 2019

Orange and Chocolate - part 2

Hmmm, exactly 4 years after making the quilt top and backing for Orange and Chocolate, I now have a finished quilt!

During December, at my local quilt group we were chatting about how many projects people have started and what are your thoughts for finishing them.  I mentioned that I have 14 quilt tops, backings and some bindings all together in a large plastic tub.  My intention is to quilt one per month - total 12 - during 2019.  A lady across the table from me, quick as wink, said "but you'll have 2 left over" - far too quick with her math!

When I got home, I took the lid off the tub and looked for a smaller quilt that I could easily quilt before Christmas.  I first shared my ramblings about this particular quilt in 2014....
  Orange and Chocolate 

Front of quilt with the backing and binding for the full colour combo.

I completed Orange and Chocolate a few days ago.  Yes, it has a home to go to.  Sometimes I think "I'll just finish this one" and then, quite out of the blue, a recipient appears.  Orange and Chocolate will be given to a friend who is undergoing medical treatment.  While our weather is incredibly hot at the moment, she will get cold, simply because that is what chemotherapy does to you.

Here's the front of the quilt, with it's lovely big orange flowers....

One of my friends was quite surprised by how much she likes this quilt, because when I started it she was very uncertain about the colours and the plan.  I have to admit, that without the applique flowers, it did look a little bland.  (This is the same friend who found the perfect fabric for the binding.)

The back of the quilt, with even more flowers because I cut out too many for the front.....

and a close up of the quilting, stitched with a variegated lime green thread with flowers and leaves.

Chocolate and Orange has finished up at 122cm x 160cm (48in x 64in) and will provide a much needed hug to a worthy recipient.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Zip-Loc Baggies, European Chic and French Braids

Oh lord, I have quite a few zip-loc baggies hanging around.  I have them in many different sizes and hold all manner of quilting, knitting and embroidery things.  A few months ago, I decided that I would just take one off the patchwork only shelf, which has started to bulge out of the cupboard...........

Shelf of 38 Zip Loc Bags!
and just work on what was in the bag until it became a finished project.  Well, here's the update on the first one.....

A kit purchased on a Retreat some years ago because I adored the fabric.  I took it out and started working on it.  Not long after, an intended recipient appeared - love these serendipitous moments.

Easy piecing.  Borders are another story.  In the instructions, there's either a typing error or there's an issue with the math.  The side setting triangles are not big enough, so the instructions tell you trim up the sides of the quilt.  This was quite tricky to do.  At this point in time, I still need to complete the borders.  They need to be pieced and cut to the correct length.

The second zip loc baggie holds a French Braid pattern.  I began this project in 2011 when the quilt shop I was working for asked me to teach the class.  Not my pattern, so I purchased the jelly roll, pattern and ruler to make it for myself before teaching it to others (and I wanted to keep the finished quilt).
The original pattern.
I took my goodies home, cut up the jelly roll strips into braid pieces, laid out the colours and started sewing.  So far, so good.  The next morning, at 7am, I received a phone call from the shop owner advising me not to go into work because the business was closing.  48 hours later - Boom. Gone.  Needless to say, I was devastated and so was my friend who owned the shop.

Fast forward 7 years and we arrive at 2 months ago and a conversation at my local quilt group about French Braids.  A beginner quilter wanted to learn how to make them.  Serendipity strikes again!  Out came my French Braids.  Some simple instructions and a sewing demonstration later, her braids are in progress, another member also got inspired and cut up her fabrics to make braids too; and mine are made.  Nothing like someone to sew with to spur you on.

My completed braids
The original setting pattern for my braids has been scrapped and I found a new layout.  The number/length of braids I have made is the perfect amount for this pattern.  No thought required to purchase the pattern.  
Original pattern + the new pattern
After visiting a couple of quilt shops and quite a bit of time, I have found the perfect fabrics for the large squares and the sashings....

Ready for the next step - cutting large pieces and assembly.

My quest for making all of the projects in the Zip Loc Baggies will take some time, but it is good to say I actually tackled one of my New Year's Resolutions to work on what I already had started or have "ingredients" for and not started.

PS:  I hope the rest of the Zip Loc Baggie quest works out as well as these two have so far......

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Fabulous Handbag - Sydney Satchel

When planning and then going on an overseas holiday, it's the perfect excuse to make a new handbag!  And it's also the perfect reason to use some wonderful textured European house print fabric.

For the flap and sides, I used vinyl for contrast.  A bit of playing around with the pattern layout and I managed to get the houses all with their roofs up when the flap is open.  I also love that this pattern allowed for an adjustable strap so that the bag can be worn cross body or from one shoulder.

A handy zippered pocket on the outside is great for keys and train tickets.

Not to mention, lots of useful pockets on the inside.  One zippered and the others for phone, pens and tissues.
This bag was a wonderful asset while I was travelling and now that I've been back home for a few weeks, I am still using it because it is such a good size and seems to fit me well. 

Just gotta love a really good hand-bag!

Pattern used:   Sydney Satchel by Monica Poole.