Category Archive: Quilting

Close up of the front heart

Time heals all heartache

So it’s been a long time since I last posted. A very long time. I don’t even dare to look back and see what the last post was, but I’m guessing it’s probably about 18 months or so.

A lot has happened to me over the last 18 months, and I’d like to say it’s all been good, but the truth is, life has not been kind, to myself or my family. There have been losses – oh so many losses, and sickness and just much, much heartache. I’ll admit, that most of the heartache has been my own, which I will get into later, but not this post. This post is about good things.

Like quilting.

I may have been having a pretty crap time of it, but I’m happy to say that I’ve still been quilting (and crocheting) up a storm. And then, I joined the Modern Quilt Guild. That was a shining moment for me, the day that I got my MQG pin. It sits proudly on my desk, next to my computer so I can see it all the time. It cheers me up. To know that I belong to a group of people around the world who all love to quilt. And create.

So I happily signed up for my first Fabric Challenge back in February – creating a quilted product out of some Michael Miller prints. It was exciting, being forced to extend my creativity and make a quilt out of fabrics not of my choosing. Exciting, but daunting.

Fabrics supplied for the challenge

Fabrics supplied for the challenge

When I received them, my first thought was, I would never in a million years pick those fabrics out in the store – just what am I going to do with them. But that thought was short lived, the fabrics just lent themselves to an idea I’d had floating around in my head for some time – creating a quilt that showed my move from the city, to the country – my home, a place I could never imagine not living in anymore. So I sat down, and started drawing up my design, and ordered more fabrics to go along with what I had already recieved. And then I started sewing – curves, lots of curves. Something I don’t really ever work with. But it was fun.

My first curve

My first curve

And then life got in the way again and things made me sad. I put the quilt away and forgot all about it. I’d lost the will to do the quilt and I didn’t love anything let alone my beautiful city I call home.

But eventually, the fog lifted and over the last week and a bit I pulled it out again and just like that, I had the perfect idea on just what I wanted to do with my quilt. I wanted to make something that was beautiful that I could hang up on my wall and remind myself that while there are always going to be black times, there will always come a time when the happiness is going to push that blackness in my heart away.

So again, I sat down, and quickly drew up my design (and I have to give a huge shout-out here to Caro Sheridan and her fantastic Craftsy course – Pictures to Pixel Quilts, for teaching me everything I ever needed to know about creating my own pixel quilt and working out how many squares I’d actually need. THANK YOU, your class was uber awesome) and got cutting and quilting.

So I ended up with a quilt that comes directly from my heart and I’ve called it “Time heals all heartache” – because I truly hope that is the truth.

The quilt measure 50″ by 73″ and is a two sided 2″ square pixel quilt. On the one side is heartache overwhelming everything. The black (sadness) in the heart is taking over the colour (happiness) and pushing it out. But when the quilt is flipped over, the happiness is fighting back and pushing that blackness out and up and away.

The quilt front - sadness overtaking the happiness and pushing it out of my heart.

The quilt front – sadness overtaking the happiness and pushing it out of my heart. (Click for a larger view)

Close up of the front heart

Close up of the front heart. (Click for a larger view)

The quilting was done by me on my Janome 2160DC and is quilted in a clock face. It is 60 lines – each representing a minute – to reflect that time heals.

I’ve made this quilt mostly to be a wall hanging – I don’t intend to use it as a lap quilt, but as an art piece. Oh. And in the end? I’m so glad that these fabrics were given to me to participate with. Because while I might never have actually chosen them, they worked so well with my idea and I actually really love them now. (Secretly, very glad that I ordered extra and have leftovers that I can make something else with).

The back of the quilt, where the happiness is taking over and pushing out the hurt and sadness

The back of the quilt, where the happiness is taking over and pushing out the hurt and sadness. (Click for a larger view)

A close up of the back, and the line quilting

A close up of the back, and the line quilting. (Click for a larger view)

I really hope you all love this quilt as much as I do, and I am really looking forward to getting back into my quilting with a vengeance and back into the blogging again. Now that I’m in here and typing away, I realise just how much I’ve missed it. I also intend on taking some better pictures tomorrow or over the weekend, but it’s late and dark and cold and raining outside, so those photos just weren’t happening tonight.

Down Under Collection

Quilting conundrum

I stopped off at my local patchwork store today and grabbed myself some luscious fabric. I grabbed four fabrics from the Mint Collection Down Under collection. I’ve had my eye on these pieces for a while now. I am having a bit of an obsession with grays and there was something about this collection that just shouted out to me with its pops of yellow and turquoise. Now I am not a yellow fan. In fact, I used to openly say that yellow was probably the one colour that I detested. But as I get older I find that I am liking it more and more, which is a little worrying to me because I have nothing in my house that will go with yellow. But, I saw this fabric and fell in love with it.

A while ago now I bought an old second hand rocking chair, with the intentions of restoring it there and then. Well, move on a few months and the rocking chair is still sitting in my study in all its ugliness, with its even uglier 70′s brown and orange cushions. I would cringe every time I saw it, except it’s piled up with so much crap that you can’t really see the cushions. Just the ugly dark wood. When I saw this Down Under collection I immediately thought of making new cushions for the rocking chair out of it. With the rocking chair stripped back and painted a nice crisp white, I think these fabrics would just look glorious. (Of course, this means I will have to eventually get off my buttski and strip and re-paint said rocking chair.)

Down Under Collection

The four corner pieces are from the Down Under Collection. The top one is a gorgeous grey chevron.

Now my dilemma. WHAT pattern am I going to use to create fantabulous cushions? I would ideally like to combine these fabrics with splashes of white and perhaps a little more yellow (omg here comes more yellow!). I have gone through Moda Bakeshop and Elizabeth Hartman’s quilt book, but I just can’t seem to find the right pattern. Any ideas? Something simple. And square. I admit, I’m truly stuck.

While I was at Patchwork Pear today though, I did pick up a few more little fat quarters in some greens. These I have plans for… But it’s all secret squirrel at the moment :)

Special Greens

The front of the "KItchen window" quilt

Kitchen window quilt

Finally I have managed to spend a crapload of time working on some of my quilting projects that I’ve had on the go for a while now. I admit that I pretty much put everything else on the backburner to get this quilt finished, but I just couldn’t stand seeing it lying around any longer. I got some design work knocked off yesterday, so today I was determined to concentrate on getting the binding sewn on. That was all it needed to be finished off. But hand sewing for me, is one very long tedious and slow task. Not to mention painful. I sat down, put on the Time Travellers Wife and was still sewing it on when the movie finished. By this time, my wrist was crying out in pain but I was so close to it being finished, that I kept going. I know that I’m going to pay for that tomorrow. But take a look at the quilty goodness that I now have – for me, that’s going to make the pain worthwhile…

The front of the "KItchen window" quilt

The back of the "Kitchen window" quilt

The needle is now blunt after I stabbed it into my fingers only about - oh 500 times or so.

So I admit (for 12WBT followers) I ignored all exercise this weekend. I ate well (except for dinner last night, but shhhh….) but I did nothing else except work and quilt. And I have to admit, I feel better for it. I feel re-energised and re-focused on getting back into the swing of things tomorrow morning with a shuffle and getting back on the JFDI thought process.

Now, to work out which quilt I’m going to finish next. The “New Beginnings” challenge quilt (which I need to post to USA on 12th March), the “Rain or Shine” quilt, the “Blissful baby” quilt or the scrappy quilt for our bed. Hmm I suppose seeing as how I have to send the new beginnings quilt in about 2 weeks time, I should probably get started on (and finish) that one.

So excuse me now. I’m off to turn the air conditioner down to about 15 so I can go and snuggle under my quilt. Just cos I can.

The quilt layed out and ready for the backing

Queensland quilt

Wow this has been a super busy week. I would love to say that I’ve been relaxing in front of the TV or reading a good book or just casually making progress on my Rain or Shine quilt, but none of that is the truth. I came home from work last Thursday night having just read that Toni from make it perfect was going to be starting an auction to raise money for the Queensland flood victims. So I quickly came up with a very simple design for a quilt (a disappearing nine patch quilt, cut up, rearranged and sewn back up to create a new pattern – very funky), hunted down some fabric fat packs that I had been saving for a quilt that I might one day make and started cutting.

Fabric selections

Fabric selections

That was mistake number one. I just totally went in gung-ho. Did I stop at any point to measure up my fabric, to perhaps work out how many squares I would need to cut to create the whole layout, to work out how big to make the original squares for the nine patch? Of course I bloody well didn’t. That would have made sense. So I cut out all my fabric, leaving one flat fat of each, for just in case, or for future use (because I really did love that fabric) and started sewing up my squares. Then I cut the squares, then I sewed them back up again. That’s when I realised that oh dear… I wasn’t going to have enough squares to make the whole quilt.

So that’s when mistake number two comes up. I cut into the last of the blue flat fats that I had. Again with the not measuring… Will I ever learn? (Well yes, I have now learnt my lesson – believe me). I align the edges of my last fat of fabric and start cutting the squares when I realise that SH*T I am ONE, yes only ONE square short. At that point, about 11.30pm on Thursday I threw all the fabric down and stormed off to bed. I was not happy with myself.

Friday rolls around, and we had a wedding to go to, but Mick – being the wonderful man that he is – spent some of our precious shopping time taking me to a couple of different fabric stores, hoping that I could still get a couple of the flat fats to match. Alas, I was out of luck. I toyed with the idea of buying new fabric for it, but there was too much to choose from and we were running very short on time before the wedding. So off we go to the wedding – absolutely gorgeous – and out went all thoughts of quilting from my head. Or so I thought, but about halfway through the ceremony, right about the time the I do’s were being said, I realised that I would have enough fabric if I pulled everything apart and cut all my squares down from 6inches to 5inches. Such a simple idea, that took so long to come up with.

Close up of the fabric and layout

Close up of the fabric and layout

Another close up of the fabric and layout

Another close up of the fabric and layout

Finally something was going right. I sat down on Saturday morning, started trimming all my squares and re-sewing them till at last the top was finished. And those one inch strips came in very handy to do a pretty detail for the back of the quilt.

I would love to say that I managed to finish the quilt and get it up online in time for the auction, but as I’m sure you can see, there are no posts below with details of a quilt for sale. No people, it’s still not finished. With all my stuffing around (my own fault, dumbarse that I am), and with the unexpected arrival of Mick’s daughter Miss Snotface (xoxo) and Mum2 (Mick’s mum) who both decided to stay for a few days I didn’t get anymore sewing done.

The quilt layed out and ready for the backing

The quilt layed out and ready for the backing

So if anyone is interested, this is the quilt that was supposed to be in the auction. I would still love to auction it off for the flood relief, but feel a bit weird selling off an unfinished quilt. Maybe I will see if I can donate it to someone up there instead once it’s finished (this weekend hopefully *touch wood*). Does anyone know of any quilt drives happening?

Max decided to test the quilt out

Max decided to test the quilt out (he approves btw)

So that is the story of my rather fuddled way of making a quilt. Note to self (and anyone else out there who would like to listen) Measure twice (or three or four times) and cut once. Yes, I should have listened to my woodwork teacher years ago. It really applies to quilting – who’d have thought.

Oh and please everyone, if you haven’t already, head over to make it perfect and bid on some fantastic items.

Close up of fabric selection

Time to quilt again

Yeehar….. I’m excited. I have a plan in motion and my next quilting project sorted.

I might have mentioned during November madness month that I had received the wonderful Elizabeth Hartman’s book – The practical guide to patchwork. Well I have finally picked the pattern I am going to do and I have (most) of the fabric to do it and a weekend at home by myself with no one to annoy me so I can cut, iron and sew to my heart’s content.

I’m excited. Did I mention my excitement at getting back to quilting again? :) So what am I making you ask? Well thank you for asking, I am making the Rain or Shine quilt. Perhaps a little ambitious for me, but I really wanted to do something that had more shape in it, not all rectangles and squares. I’m deathly afraid of circles, so the little yo-yo type circles will be a big deal for me, as will the whole kite and triangle shapes. But I’m positive I can do this. Oh yes, the excitement is still there.

Rain or Shine pattern

Rain or Shine pattern

Rain or Shine fabric selection

Rain or Shine fabric selection

Close up of fabric selection

Close up of fabric selection

And then, in case I get bored with doing the Rain or Shine quilt, then I have a gazillion little hexies to cut out for my sister and I.

Hexie's fabric

Hexie's fabric

And yes, finally I have some Christmas decorations up. Not a lot, because we are only renting the house we live in so I can’t go wild hanging things up, but it’s enough to make it happier and cheerier, which I am really needing at the moment. So here’s a few photos to get you into the Christmas cheer.

Xmas balls

Close up of Xmas balls

Xmas tree

More xmas

Still more xmas

The Practical Guide to Patchwork

Excuse me while I drool

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a copy of Elizabeth Hartman’s book The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker. Well yay for me it finally got here. If you are a quilter, or interested in quilting, or just want to have a look at a book that has some damn gorgeous quilts in it, then may I suggest that you rush out and get your own copy of it.

I’m such a newbie at quilting, and I’m learning more and more every day, but I do wish that this book had been around six months ago, it could have saved me a lot of time and heartache with some of the things I had been working on. It is full of information on choosing your fabric and how to cut your fabric correctly, even a little information on free motion quilting. Jam packed full of goodness. Seriously I could rave and rave about this book.

I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Hartman, my first major quilt was her Mixtape quilt pattern, and it was so easy to do, her instructions were so well written and in depth. I think that might be my only slight (and it really is only slight) gripe, and that would be that I don’t find the patterns in the book quite as in depth as the ones that are for sale on her site. But that’s not to say that they aren’t still easy to understand, because they certainly are.

So my only problem now? Deciding which quilt I am going to make first. Arghhh.

Selection of fabric

Craft and quilting fair

First off – argghhhhhhhhhhhh writing has taken a huge downturn. Just not happening. The only thing I seem to be writing is ideas, lots of ideas, but very little in the way of actual story words. I shall, however, keep persevering.

Today though I went to the Adelaide craft and quilt fair with my older sister. It was just great. Heaven. The quilt show was fabulous, with some truly great quilts. It was interesting to see who won, and who were runners up. It made me realise how much it really must come down to personal choice, because there were a few that I would personally not have chosen to win. But wow, did it give me some inspiration or what.

We made our way around the all the stalls and there were some good fabric stalls, some really crap ones, with horrible fabric, that looked cheap and tacky. But, on the plus side, I managed to grab some great fabric, at pretty good prices. Sadly, no one had any Riley Blake fabric, which I was really keen on getting, so I’m guessing it will have to be an online order after all.

Selection of fabric

So the fabric I did get is just gorgeous, not at all what I was looking for but I just couldn’t resist it. I have absolutely NO idea what I’m going to do with it, because it’s not what I was looking for to make the quilt that I am designing out of. So I’m looking through my stash of Elizabeth Hartman patterns that I have bought/downloaded and am thinking one of those could be just the thing. But I’m also hanging out to get her book, so I might hang on to the fabric till I have my hot little hands on her book and make one of the patterns from there. It’s a conundrum.

Oh, finally got around to taking a photo of my mug rug. Pretty crap photo, but it gives you the general idea. I loved it when I first made it, but now I’m not so sure. Not a huge fan of it anymore. Gift it to someone maybe?

First mug rug

So excuse me now, I should probably go and write some more words. Try and get myself up to at least 5,000 words.

DSCF5758

This That quilt

Well I have officially named the quilt that I am working on now. Introducing the DisDat quilt – because it’s a little bit of This and a little bit of That. I’m still working on getting all the block patterns drawn up – I’ve been quite slack lately, just chilling and trying to get back into going to the gym, and weirdly having a bit of a spring clean at home. I’ve been obsessing more about my cleaning lately than ever before. Ack!!!

In between drawing up all the patterns I’ve been making selected ones out of some nice material I found at Spotlight, and left over white cotton from Tomahawks quilt. I’ve no idea what I’m going to do with all these blocks when they’re finished, but I’m supposing I will put them all together and quilt it up, otherwise, I’m going to have 30 blocks doing nothing. So I suppose I should really look for some co-ordinating fabrics so I can make all these blocks; I’ve made 5 of them up so far, only 25 more to make to ensure I’m working my measurements out correctly.

Block one

Block seven

Block fifteen

Block eighteen

Block thirty

And on super fantastic news. Today was weigh in day and I lost 1.5kg, so I’m pretty much back to the weight I was at the wedding. Should have been about 5kg less, but at least I’m losing weight again, rather than watching the numbers on the scales go up again. Now I just need to really push myself to get back to the gym on a regular basis. But YAY ME, weight loss again.

Basic colour scheme

It’s new quilt project time

So a while back I stopped over at Mid Mod Quilt Bee and came across this post which gave me some inspiration to start a new quilt. I fell in love with the simplicity of it and really wanted to try something similar. While I love the colours that are on the drawing, they weren’t quite what I wanted.

So I set to work on a design for my quilt, and this is what I came up with:

One very rough design

Basic colour scheme

Hopefully you get the idea from that. It’s pretty rough at this stage, I’m still working out what all my measurements are going to be and I want to finish up the colouring of the whole quilt. But basically, because I want something that’s fairly neutral for both my partner and myself, that matches the lounge suite, I’m going to go with some dusky pinks, grey blues and mocha chocolates for the sashing and backgrounds.

The overall plan and my calculations

So after doing some measuring up, I thought I should test out my measurements with some scraps and see if I actually worked it out correctly – which I did, except for the long piece, which I didn’t measure correctly when cutting it out. Instead of 11.5″ I cut out 12.5″ and couldn’t for the life of me work out why it was too long. Silly me.

Trial all cut out and placed up

And voila. One test piece sewn up. I really have to work on trying to keep the material from pulling, because as you can tell, it’s now a little lopsided instead of being square. GRRR. But practice makes perfect, so I will get it right in the end. Now to find myself just the right fabric to make the quilt out of and to measure up the rest of the blocks.

The test sewn up

So on another note, today was weigh in day and I have to say that it’s been a bad couple of weeks with lots of sickness, friends visiting and staying with us and general non excitement, non motivated time. Needless to say, I put on weight *sigh* So now I have 1.8kg (OMG YES) to lose. My aim is to get to 90kg by Christmas time, so I guess I better get my (big) butt back to the gym. Tommorrow!!!

Close up of quilt top

Tomahawk’s quilt

(Image heavy post to follow)
Back in March my little baby sister called me to tell me that she was expecting her first child. I cannot tell you how excited I was. I haven’t had a baby niece or nephew for 17 years now, so another baby in the family is a fantastic thing. Straight away I thought that I would make her a quilt for the baby. Now my sister is – alternative – I always thought hippy, but that’s not what she says – she calls herself alternative. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do all flowers and pastel colours, but I also draw the line at doing a baby quilt in leopard print. So here started my first challenge of the process. What materials do I get for an alternative person for their baby? I don’t know that the material I chose was really alternative, but I did fall in love with every one that I chose, and for me, that was good enough.

Quilt material selection

Material all ironed and ready for cutting

I have my favourites, I particularly love the little birdies, and the green gingham and I love love love the green with the little flies on it. So gorgeous.

The pattern that I chose to do was the Mixtape Quilt II pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. I’m totally in love with all of the patterns that Elizabeth has and believe me I already have another couple of quilts planned – this time ones that I’m going to be keeping myself.

So I got to work, cutting out, sewing together, cutting, measuring, getting more and more excited as I saw it coming together. This is the biggest, most intricate quilt that I have done (well the second ever quilt I’ve done lol) and the closer it got to being finished, the more I wanted to keep it for myself.

All five blocks in one material selection

All blocks sewn and ready for sashing

Row of blocks sewn together with sashing

Basting the quilt turned out to be a project all of it’s own. I have never basted anything that large before and I realised just how small my living room is, when it took up all the space I had. Nearly 120 pins later, the whole thing was basted and ready to quilt. It was at the point when I picked it up to move over to the sewing machine that I realised I hadn’t quite measured correctly when sewing the backing. Turns out that the quilting was going to go horizontally over the middle of the feature row on the back. What did I learn from that? Measure twice, cut once. Hell, measure three or four times to make sure that you have got it right!!!

Quilt all basted and ready to quilt

I was going to do free motion quilting over the whole quilt, I really really wanted to. But at the last minute I chickened out. I just wasn’t brave enough to do it on such a gorgeous quilt when I haven’t done enough of it to practice and get it perfect. So in the end I went for straight stitching in the sashing. Five parallel lines both horizontally and vertically to create a grid effect. I’m really happy with how it turned out except for the fact that when I was sewing a couple of the rows together they didn’t quite line up, so there is a whole row, where the quilting actually has a bit of a curve in it, but then it almost looks like it is supposed to be that way so it’s (almost) acceptable.

Quilt top all sewn together

Close up of quilting

Next up came the binding. I dread this part, because this is truly the part that I suck at. Until I came across this post by Amanda Jean over at Crazy Mom Quilts. It saved my life, because I have never thought of actually sewing the binding on before trimming the quilt to size. And I certainly never thought about pinking the edges instead of using a rotary cutter. It made it all so much easier. Of course then there was the back to do. Was I going to do hand binding (I loathe hand sewing) or was I going to risk it and sew it on with the machine and hope that the everything got caught in it? So in the end I did the hand sewing and four and a half hours later, there was one hand bound quilt. I really hope my sister appreciates it, because let me tell you. Hand sewing did not do my wrist any favours. At all!

Binding sewn on and pinking edges

Close up of pinking edges

Step one of binding - complete

Getting ready to sit down and hand bind

So finally the quilt is finished and I got it done, the day before my sister had her little boy. I am proud to announce that I have a new nephew named Tomahawk (I did mention my sister is alternative). He was born at 2.30pm on 26 September (which also happens to be his dad’s birthday and my other sisters wedding anniversary – 23 years for her this year!!), so a great day for his birth. I haven’t met him yet, but I’ve seen photos and he is adorable and I can’t wait for a cuddle.

Completed quilt front

Completed quilt back

Close up of the back and tag

All washed and ready to go

I’m so happy with the end result – I really really want to keep it for myself. I am definitely making my next quilt for myself and not as a present for anyone. I’m also going to blog about it as I go along and not leave it till the end. If you want to see more photos of the quilt you can view them all on Flickr.

So my next project (that I’m working on right now) is a new sewing table. Expect an update on that very soon.

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