March 14, 2018

Quilt 20: Christmas Charm Squares - DONE! (FINALLY!)

"Wait!" you say, "How did we get from quilt 103 to quilt 20?"

Well - yeah.  I started this one back in 2013 - a queen-sized bedspread of Christmas charm squares. Originally I'd planned to hand-quilt it, but then the longarm came along and I was swept up by the absolute bliss of being able to complete my projects at lightning speed.  I decided I wanted to quilt this by machine, but the longarm I had then was on an 8-foot frame - not wide enough to accommodate this project.  So the top (photographed below way back then) was folded up and slipped into a pillowcase to wait for the day when I'd have a longarm with a frame wide enough to hold it.

That day came on July 21, 2017, when I happily welcomed my new longarm machine - "Bernie" - which has a 12' frame.
92" x 112" - quilted on the longarm ("Simply Stippling" groovy boards), cotton batting
 Here's a closeup of some of the squares;:
The background fabric is a soft white and gold floral/feathers print.  It's not exactly a Christmas print, but it's soft enough that you don't really notice and, well, it's the back of a bedspread, so won't be seen much anyway.
So it took me about 4 years to do this one... but it's DONE!  YAY!

March 7, 2018

Quilt 103 - Fiona's Quilt - DONE!

Fiona is a lovely woman who lives in Ireland.  She saw the quilt I made for my friend Julie-Anne (who passed away last June) and just raved about it.  She wanted something similar, but didn't want the exact same design; she wanted something slightly different.  I've made several quilts like Julie-Anne's (my best-selling design) and so unlocking myself mentally and trying to come  up with something different was a bit challenging. 

Here's a photo of Julie-Anne's quilt with my original design:

Julie-Ann's quilt

Then it finally occurred to me to just got with simple borders - nothing fancy - and instead of playing up the purple in the center panel, to pull out the turquoise instead.  I also opted not to cut off the "gold gilting" at the top and bottom of the panel

Here's the result and I have to say I really love it!

52" x 71" - quilted on the longarm (Blustery Breeze groovy boards) - cotton batting
The print border is a coordinating fabric that goes with the panel.  The other borders are solid.
(doubleclick the photo to see a larger image)
I backed it with a magenta/purple solid and used purple/blue variegated thread for the quilting, then used the coordinating print for the binding.

This design is just so much simpler - and although you don't really see it in the photos, that turquoise really makes the purples in the panel jump!  I think I like this design better than my original one!

February 28, 2018

A quilting foot - an idea whose time has come

I've been quilting for 8 years now - and you'd think I'd have thought of this before.  You see, I've made over 100 quilt tops on my little sewing machine - using a zig-zag foot.  Now, the zig-zag foot doesn't have a 1/4 inch mark on it - I've been just sort-of faking my way through.

But last month, it finally occurred to me that there probably is such a thing as a 1/4 inch quilting foot for my sewing machine.

eBay to the rescue - and here's my new quilting foot!
Why didn't I think of this sooner?  Now my seems will be exactly 1/4" - uniformly.  And whoa, I can sure sew a lot faster now - as I don't have to worry about getting uneven seams!

And it only took me 8 years....

February 21, 2018

Quilt 102: Turkish Delight - DONE!

I love it when there's a sale at the quilt shop.  In the last sale I went to, they had marked down a layer cake pack of prints I'd been eyeing long before the sale.  The prints are all jewel-tone fabrics with metallic gold embellishment.  I loved the set - the prints looked somehow exotic, in my imagination, "Turkish".

I snatched that pack up in a hurry, but then was stumped about how to use the fabric.  Not all of the prints seemed to really go well with the others.  I ended up pulling out some that looked a bit Christmas-y (red and green) and some that really clashed with the rest (white and gold).

I wanted a simple design for these squares.  I started out with a square like the one below.

Here's how I divided the block, using my 2.5" Binding Buddy ruler.

I opted for black sashing because I wanted a neutral frame for the pieces, so I opted for solid black.  The colours in the photo below really don't tell the story.
I needed a border  on the outside to bring the quilt up to an acceptable size - and opted for a very strong solid turquoise, which makes the interior blocks really pop!  The backing is the same colour.
The quilting is done with navy thread, using my "Blustery Breeze" groovy boards, and the binding is solid black.
(doubleclick the photo above to see a larger image)
The finished size is 57" x 68".

February 14, 2018

Not the best week for quilting

I can't believe how fast the last week went - and how little I got done.

I now have several projects in various stages of completion, but none have had enough progress to warrant talking about in a post.

I'll do better next week.

February 7, 2018

Quilt 101: Indigenous Zig-Zag

About 5 years ago, on one of my trips to the US, I picked up a fabulous quilt pattern at "The Quilt Place" in Rockledge, Florida.  Here's a photo of the sample quilt from the pattern:

(doubleclick the photo above to see a larger image)
The designer calls the pattern "Zigzag" - and the sample shows thee quilt made up with a variety of animal prints.  It's adorable!

Last April, at the Australasian Quilt Convention, I bought a large bundle of fat quarters with indigenous Australia-inspired prints - thinking they'd look great with this quilt design.  So I've launched into this project and very quickly had cut up about half of the fat quarters and started working in the zig-zag corners.  Here's an intermediate picture, showing some of the small blocks:
(doubleclick the photo above to see a larger image)
The quilt designer's example uses black for the zig-zag edges.  I like that a lot on the sample quilt, but my prints are already dark, so I opted for burnt orange instead.
And here is a photo showing a handful of the completed blocks lined up to show the zig-zag effect:

I don't want two of the same print too close together, so used the back tray on my longarm to lay the blocks down and begin sorting through which ones go next to what
Once I worked out my rows, I pinned them together and started stitching the blocks together.

So far so good!

February 2, 2018

Revisiting Quilt 99

In December I completed a tablerunner for a friend of mine.  Lil wanted something special, something unique for Beryl - her partner's mother.  She gave me the colour scheme and left me to my own devices to come up with something (I was very flattered that she trusts me so much).

About a week ago, Lil sent me a photo of the tablerunner on Beryl's table.  It pleases me to no end to know Beryl is happy with it and is using it - and I just can't resist showing you!

(as always, doubleclick the picture to see a larger image)

I'm so very pleased she likes it and yes, it suits the space beautifully!

January 31, 2018

Quilt 100: Rainbow Jelly Roll - DONE!

I love playing with jelly rolls - and found a really lovely one at my favorite quilt shop here in Melbourne. It was a collection of prints which were arranged like a rainbow in the package.  Wanting something simple (and quick), I just sewed all the strips together to make a single panel.  Then I cut the panel into segments:

Then I took the most narrow one (on the left in the photo above), flipped it upside down and put it in  between the other 2 segments and added plain white borders:
Now - there's one less I learned: after cutting the panel into 3 segments, there seams along the cut were far too easy to fall away.  I always do a little lock-stitch when starting and ending a seam to prevent that.  Handling the segments carefully is obviously the right thing to do - but I think also using a much tighter stitch for the seams makes sense.  I'm contemplating trying a bargello quilt in the near future, and will probably use tighter stitches for that very reason.

And here's the finished quilt!
52" x 65" - quilted on the longarm (free motion loop-d-loops) - cotton batting
 It turned out lovely - and was a total joy to make.

Here's a closeup of one of the prints in the jelly roll.  Have a close look and you'll see the print here is all names of places in Australia.  How cool is that!?!?!
(doubleclick the picture above to view a larger image)
I really loved making this quilt.  I'll have to go through my stash and see if I have other jelly rolls that would lent themselves to this design.

January 28, 2018

What Happened?

It seems like I blinked and December and January were both suddenly gone!

December I have an excuse for - I spent 3/4 of the month doing some travelling which I'd not expected - so not much got done in the way of quilting (other than the table runner I finished for my friend Lil).  

January has been a bit more productive - and I'm just about to finish my first quilt for the year...
...Quilt 100!  And there are several other projects in various stages of completion so starting this coming Wednesday, I'll be back up and running with weekly blog posts.

Stay tuned!!!