May 23, 2018

Quilt 105: Half-Square Triangles - Moda "Quilt Pink" - DONE!

It came together SO FAST!  And I love the bright cheery colours.  The charm squares were purchased for this quilt.  The rest of the fabric in the top is leftovers from other quilts.

52" x 64" - quilted on the longarm (free-motion loop-d-loops) - cotton batting
The backing fabric is a soft pink print (little flowers in 2 shades - very subtle).  I got it at the big sale I told you about a couple of weeks back.
I'm working on using up my cotton batting, and am switching now to bamboo batting.  The bamboo costs just a little bit more, but it produces so much less lint when I'm quilting that it's worth the extra money.

May 16, 2018

Quilt 105: Half-Square Triangles - Moda "Quilt Pink"

After watching some Missouri Quilts YouTube videos (starring the fabulous Jenny), I decided to grab a pack of charm squares and try my hand at half-square triangle blocks.  I used Moda's "Quilt pink" pack - and got 2 packs of this set, because the "pinwheel" blocks I want will need 2 charm squares (and this set from Moda doesn't have any repeating prints - every print in the pack is different).
And I cut out an equal number of white 5" squares from some leftover fabric I had.  Then I placed one of the prints and one solid white square together (right sides in) and drew diagonal line from one corner  to the other.  I stitched 1/4" out on either side of the pencil line.
Then cut along the line...

Flipped them open, pressed, and then assembled pinwheels:
And here's the finished block.
I've got a bright green solid fabric (leftovers from another quilt), and will frame my blocks in a 2" lattice.  I'll have that to show you next week!

May 2, 2018

Bless Me, Father, For I Have Sinned

I thought about giving this post the title of "It's Not What You Spent, It's What You Saved" - but I know I've used that before, although some years ago.

I knew about the sale at "Patchwork With Gail B" (my fav. quilting shop).  I wasn't going to go.  But On the first day of the sale, I had a dentist appointment - and it was just down the road so...

I went.  To make matters worse, I contacted Pauline, my quilting guru and she didn't exactly say "...lead me not into temptation".  No.  Pauline was all too happy to join me in a fabric frenzy.  And yes, readers, that is exactly what happened.

Here's my loot:

I broke a new record for yardage bought on a single shopping trip.  It's actually enough that I couldn't carry it all - had to make 2 trips to/from the car to get it into the house.

Now I'll partially redeem myself by saying that when I buy fabric for a new quilt, I almost never buy the backing at the same time.  So I've got several projects in the pipeline which will need backing, and I was going to have to make a special trip to get it.  But here I was - with Gail's unimaginably inexpensive 4-meters-for-$20 - AND quite a few of the packs she had are just about perfect backing for top fabric I already have.  So yes... indeed... I did save a lot.

And what can I say? Well... the American comic "Flip" Wilson would know:

Me: I'm not buying anything
Devil: Look at those 4-meter packs!   What a deal!
Me: No, I'm not buying anything.  Oh - wait!   I have a top ready to sandwich and this pack is perfect!
Devil:  See?  Would I lie to ya, baby?
Me: Right.  2 packs of backing and here's a kit marked down super low.  I made one of these a long time ago.  It was fun doing it and the results are stunning.  This would be lovely for one of the "Inspirational Quilts" kids.
Devil: Charity begins at home.
Me: Well, I'll get some thread while I'm here.
Devil: (just smiles and grins)
Me: Ah yes - a spool of this and a spool of that.
Devil: get 2 each.  That way you can use one for the machine head, one for the bobbin!
Me: There's some sense in that.
Devil: Oh look!  Charm Squares!
Me: Oh look!  Charm Squares!

(you get the idea:  The Devil Made Me Do It)

April 25, 2018

Too much on my plate at the moment.

No post this week.  You noticed, didn't you?

Just too much going on at the moment: taxes, thinking about getting a new car, other general life issues. 

And I haven't done much quilting, although I've got one mounted and ready to go on the Handi Quilter, and another top nearly ready to sandwich.  So I'll try to be a little more dilligent in the next week or so and get some things done to show you.

Stay Tuned.

April 18, 2018

Quilt 104: Red/White/Black Jelly Roll Race - DONE!

It's been almost 2 years since I made my first "jelly roll race" quilt.  Time to do another!  I think this one is my 4th.  These quilts are loads of fun to make and, boy oh boy don't they whip up in a flash!

If you'd like to see how it's done, have a look at the video tutorial on YouTube by "Jenny" of Missouri Quilts - click here.

Here's the finished quilt - it's 54" x 66":

(Doubleclick the picture above to see a larger image)
I'm really pleased with how it turned out - and also pleased to have stitched it using the "nested C" free-motion quilting design I posted about a couple of weeks ago (to see that post, click: here).

Here's a close-up of the quilting.  I was very nervous starting out with this, but quickly learned to relax, and as with all free-motion quilting, when you relax, the quality of the work gets better.

Here's tha back of the quilt.  I usually use solid fabrics, but found this "love love love" print at Spotlight when they were having a quilting fabric sale.  It's just perfect for this quilt!
Jelly Roll Race quilts are the fastest quilts I've done.  The time to piece the top is only a couple of hours (Jenny says it takes less than an hour, but I just don't sew as fast as she does), and with the super fast "nested C" free-motion design, the quilting was less than 90 minutes!

April 11, 2018

Hetty and "her" quilt

A few weeks ago, I posted about the quilt I made for a friend in Ireland.  Fiona's quilt arrived last week and she posted a photo of her dog "Hetty" with her quilt.  It's such a cute photo I had to share it (and thank you, Fiona, for permission).

What a sweet face!

April 5, 2018

AQC 2018 - in Melbourne

It opened today, and did I go?  You bet your boots I did!  This is the 4th consecutive year for me attending and, well, I just wouldn't miss it for the world.

It's held in the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.
The sign over the door promises "a one of a kind experience".  Well, let me tell you: they deliver on that promise!
There's a huge number of stalls with vendors showcasing the latest and greatest in tools.  Lots of fabric shops there, too, and many with bargains (if you have a keen eye).

And, of course, quilts.  Hundreds of them in diffent sizes and styles.  You can learn a lot (and get lots of inspiration) by looking at these masterpieces.

Like this one - a fabric painting done in applique.
(doubleclick the picture to see a larger image)
 I don't do applique, myself, but I have gotten interested in making quilts with pre-printed panels.  Quilting the panels has been challenging for me because I really want to "free motion" quilt those, and get away from using groovy boards.  But I get hung up on free-motion outlining and whatnot because I'm afraid what I'm doing won't be perfect.

But look at this one:
 It's absolutely stunning - even more so because the quilter didn't hobble herself (hiself?) with demanding perfect outlines.  The stitches are controlled, but not overly so, and the results are simply amazing.  I'm going to keep this in mind with the next panel I do.

Here's another applique quilt.  I love the simplicity of it -gum leaves cut from batik prints and arranged in regular-sized rectangles of a contrasting batik.  It's just charming.
  The artist says she based each leaf on the shape of a real leaf.  And look at the one in the center here - it's had a chunk bitten off!  I love it!
 I'm not always fond of fabric painting-style quilts, but this one is a stunner...
 ...and look at the detailed, intricate appliques.  Amazing!
 This one used a combination of  applique with thread-painting - and it just glows.
The orange and yellow "leaves" are not applique - they are stitched.  A very effective use of the technique.
 This one blew me away - twice!
 First - have a look at a closeup of the stitching.  MICROSCOPIC!
But here's what just about took my breath away: On the sheet describing the quilt, what it's made of and how it was done was this statement:
Get me some smelling salts, will you?

The piece below is small, maybe 12" x 24".  But it's really sweet.  Looks like a painting, yes?  No. It's applique and stitching.
 The one below is deceptively simple-looking...
...until you get close.  The quilt is made of a single cream panel with coloured appliques that have intricate cut-outs for the windows and doors.  It must have taken ages to do - and it's lovely.
 Here's another knockout, a prize winner and rightfully so.  Simple, yes.  Easy, NO!
 Those little squares are only a half inch!  And they are PERFECT! 
 And here's a mind-blowing bargello.
There are always a few portraits of famous people, like Malala.  This is not a large quilt, just a little more than a square meter, but it is powerful.  I stood nearby for a while and listened to the other visitors at the show as they approached it.  They all knew her name, and spoke it softly - with obvious affection and respect.
This portrait of Obama is fairly large (not sure of the dimensions, maybe 2 square meters?) and interesting because it's done on a single cream cotton panel, with the quilting giving a subtle American flag design (actually - VERY subtle, as I didn't even notice the flag design until I got home and looked at my photo of it).  The dots making up the face are made up of batik fabric which has been bonded to the quilt.
These portraits of royalty are impressive, but they have a kind of "manufactured" look, as opposed to hand crafted.  A little too industrial for my taste, but there you go.
Much more fun is the Van Gogh "challenge".  The panels are small and each one is an image inspired by the great impressionist.
 This is my personal favorite of those:
There's still 3 days left in the convention. Go and see it if you possibly can!

April 4, 2018

Quilt 101: Indigenous Zig Zag

Oh, I'm proud of this one.  I really am!

I posted about this project a few weeks ago: "Indigenous Zig Zag"

I bought the fabric at last years' Australasian Quilting Convention here in Melbourne.  It was a very large bundle of fat quarters, each piece a different design inspired by Australian aboriginal art work.  I pulled out the gold/red/brown prints and used a quilt design I'd purchased in Florida several years ago (but hadn't gotten around to making).

Well - here it is!
(doublclick to see a larger image)
It's 50" x 75" with 100% cotton batting.  There are 463 individual pieces - that may be a new record for me.

It took me a while to decide how to quilt this one.  Using brown thread was pretty much an easy decision.  I chose solid brown fabric for the backing, and dark brown thread pretty much disappears on the top.  But what stitch design should I use?

I got out my rulers!  I did a simple, straight-forward stitch-in-the-ditch around the 3 narrow outer borders, then did the same " the ditch" around the copper zig zags.  But I needed just a bit more quilting in the large center of the quilt.

Here's a closeup photo with lines drawn in yellow, showing the stitch pattern for the quilting.  It's just inter-connected triangles - simple, really.

And here's what the back looks like:
The stitching around the outer borders is easier to see on the back, as is the zig-zag and triangle shapes.
All the stitching is done with my rulers (it's just about impossible to keep the lines straight without a ruler).  This is the most work I've done with rulers to date.  At first it was really awkward working with the ruler, but as I went along, well, I found that once I relaxed it got easier.

I still have half the fat-quarters stack I bought at the convention last year. I may just make another one of these!

March 28, 2018

AQC 2018 - Don't Miss It!

Several years ago, I discovered the Australasian Quilt Convention - which is held here in Melbourne every April. It's a great show - loads of fabulous quilts, vendor stalls, lots of new products to learn about and just generally a lot of fun to walk around and enjoy the vibe.

The next convention starts a week from tomorrow!

Last year there was a vendor there selling longarm thread.  I bought a couple of cones and came home wishing I'd bought more - especially as they had some colours that I use a lot of.  I won't make the same mistake this year - if you see a woman with a forklift full of thread cones ... that'll be me.

Check it out, if you can!

Here's a link to the AQC page on this years Melbourne Exhibition.

March 21, 2018

Free-motion "Nested C" Quilting Stitch

My long-time friend and quilting buddy Jen recently sent me a link to an interesting video she saw on YouTube.  In this video, quilter Laura Ann Coia demonstrates an interesting free-motion stitch (click here to see her video).

Up to now, I've not done a lot of free-motion quilting.  I've done some "loop-d-loop" quilts, and these two quilts:

This quilt has a panel in the center with fairies and butterflies
I did free-motion outlining around the fairies, butterflies and flowers in the panel.
On this quilt I wanted quilting that would standout, but would complement the theme.
I used free-motion radio-wave stitches around the outer border - very effective.
In her video, Ms Coia is stitching on a sit-down machine.  She made the "C" pattern look pretty easy, so I decided to give it a try on the longarm using some scrap material.

Here's the result:
I'm delighted!  This was really pretty easy to do and VERY fast.  The results remind me of my "Blustery Breeze" groovy board pattern:

I love that groovy board pattern - but it is a bit "busy" for some quilts.  This new free-motion design will work well for quilts wshere I want a similar style, but less dense quilting. 

I've just finished a "jelly roll race" quilt top - and I'll try this new "nested C" stitch pattern on it.  Stay tuned!

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!