Thursday, June 26, 2014

Modern Wedges

Oh people - you have no idea how many times I have opened up this Blogger doodad to write a post about the most amazing quilt workshop I attended last weekend.  Lots and lots of times. And each time I start to write and try to work out which photos to load and I just.  Nope.  I can't.  Too much.

So the 73rd attempt. Let's give this a crack shall we?

Vintage Spin class
I went to a quilt class on the weekend with Kathy Doughty from Material Obsession. Canberra Quilters hosted it, and it was fabulous.

Vintage Spin class

What? You want more? OK then.

The class was called "Modern Wedges" and we learned all about cutting with a wedge (dresden) ruler, and how to put them together to make really interesting shapes.  I had decided early on that I was going to make the quilt "Vintage Spin" from Kathy's Book "Adding Layers". Once I saw that quilt at the trunk show that Kathy gave the night before the workshop started, I knew I had made the right choice.

Kathy Doughty trunk show

Kathy had us laying out the stash fabrics we'd bought into warm and cool fabrics. I'd never done anything like that before! But it was eye opening, and hey I love learning a new thing. And it really did help when deciding on the two colours needed for each block.

Vintage Spin class

Vintage Spin class

(My initial blocks are the 4 1/2 on the right of the design wall. You can see I had started to mix the wedges around a bit, getting away from "too safe".)

I did discover, for all my crap about breaking rules and the eye-popping colour I like to use, I do play it a bit safe in the fabric selection department. From Kathy, I learned to not trust my first instincts - to go with my gut, but then turn it up a notch.  It took me two days to turn it up a notch without my hand being held, but I did it!

Vintage Spin class

(Mine are the square ones.)

At the end of two days, we all had several blocks made, backgrounds chosen, and minds full of possibilities. We also had two large design walls absolutely chock full of blocks.  It was a marvellous sight.

Kathy Doughty class

Thanks Kathy for coming down to Canberra and showing us all about wedges. Your enthusiasm is infectious, and your company was wonderful. I had the best weekend, and I can't wait till all my deals are done and I can get cracking on finishing this quilt!

I'm linking up with my lovely friend Gemma at Pretty Bobbins for the Thursday iQuilt party!

 i quilt blog button

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Making deals with myself

It seems that every day I make deals with myself. Something good, something progressed, something finished, my physical therapy done in the pool (ha ha)... and then I can work on something. Or have some chocolate. Or both.

This is my current dealmaker.

Vintage Spin quilt

It's from a class that I did over the weekend with Kathy Doughty. And I freaking love it.  L O V E.  But as this is supposed to be the year for #finishit2014 and not #startit2014 I thought that I would reward myself with working on this one by finishing off a few other tasks.

Like sewing this together so that I might baste it this weekend (in addition to some extra physical therapy so that, you know, I can actually bend over and get on the floor and baste it!)

In progress

Finding where the heck I put this almost-sewn-together WIP so that I can measure it up and take it to the long armer sometime soon!!

Japanese scrappy tripalong WIP

And tidying up my stash (and not just because I think my Japanese scrappy tripalong is in those cubicles somewhere ...)

Fabric stash
(I've already tidied this bit up, although I'm not sure what the orange is doing in the yellow cubicle when it has it's own cubicle thankyouverymuch.)

I'm taking part in Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday.
 WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

And also Little White Dove's Aussie WIP Wednesday!
 Little White Dove

Monday, June 16, 2014

Achieving the impossible (in quilting, that is)

I am nothing if not a slap-dash quilter. I rarely abide by 1/4 inch seams, and am renowned for not only breaking all the rules, but also teaching others how to break them. I believe quilting should be about happiness and creating warmth, nothing more, nothing less. If breaking a so-called rule works for you and your quilt, then why not go for it?

That's not to say I don't appreciate a precise point when I see one. But I will not be criticising you if you haven't matched your points or trimmed your threads (because who am I to talk?).

Funnily enough, for all this talk of never abiding by 1.4 inch seams, and being a little, er, adhoc with my quilting skills, there are a couple of things to note:

  1. The Quilting Goddess must freaking love me because I've only ever had one quilt that hasn't laid flat. It was the Line Art Quilt, and I honestly couldn't do anything with it let alone quilt it, it was THAT BAD. 
  2. I am fastidiously fussy about neat needle turn applique and will unpick if I even see a stitch out of place. Go figure.

Another rainbow HST quilt

Over the weekend I was confined inside due to a head cold (must be all that swimming pool PT), so I started joining up my slow burn project - the HST quilt.  And I achieved the seemingly impossible. My points were precise.

Another rainbow HST quilt

I'm not too sure how this happened.  I expect the Bloc Loc ruler I've been using to trim all 288 blocks has contributed to this perfection. To be honest I'm both thrilled to bits, but also a little uncomfortable. This isn't me at all. Heck - I'm even trimming my threads at each end.

Another rainbow HST quilt

I am pressing my joining seams flat, but even with the one section I didn't do that the points are still perfect. Just a little bubblier.

Another rainbow HST quilt

I'm joining my quilt up in 9 patch sections. It's just easier for me to deal with than great lengths of 4 1/2 inch blocks.

Another rainbow HST quilt

Another rainbow HST quilt
I'm using my nifty little Clover pressing tool. I've owned it for ten or more years, and it continues to be my most favourite quilting tool.

Another rainbow HST quilt

I do pin my blocks before sewing. I have been so roundly criticised by other quilters before for pinning and sewing, but it works for me. Maybe they are smarter than I am, being able to join seams and joins precisely without pinning.

So that's what I've been working on. I'm finally starting a feel a little better today so I expect all my spare time from now on will be spent working in the garden and enjoying this glorious winter weather, and back at the swimming pool working on my troublesome back. I think I will miss joining this quilt together though - it's turning into a beauty!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Enough clams and cheese to sink the Titanic

The WIPs around this place have ground to a bit of a halt due to a little issue I mentioned in yesterday's post, but on Saturday I got to spend time with my beloved Spoolettes, and while they traced and cut and sewed clothes and bags, and cheered me up enormously, I worked on my Manhattan Clams and ate an enormous amount of chocolate and cheese and gluten free pizza.


My dream for this quilt has always been to make it really, really long, but I may run out of fabric by then. Or sanity. Also our walls are only 2.4 metres tall so that could actually be my saviour.

I've managed to do a teeny bit of HST sewing when I can sit at the machine comfortably. Unfortunately for this quilt, and my desire to see it in a finished state, the comfortable thing doesn't happen too often.


Soon my precious. Soon.

And here's a little something that isn't even really at WIP stage. I am showing the modern quilting group how to sew the Cheyenne block this week, but on the weekend my friend and I decided to sew this all together into a much bigger quilt for a friend's birthday coming up in a couple of months. So I put some more squares and HSTs on the design wall to see the effect we would get.  We both love it. Hope our friend does too!


I'm hooking linking up with Freshly Pieced for her WIP Wednesday.  Hooray!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Now I'm off to the swimming pool for some physical therapy. Hopefully when I get back I'll be up for some sewing mischief, so there might be more to show you next week.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


So since I semi-conquered the knit fabrics as part of my Me-Made-May challenge, I've been hankering for some more knit fabric sewing action.

I've purchased the Avocado, the Moneta, the Tiramisu, and (I can't believe my feminist self is admitting this) the Henley.  Admittedly I offered, and he reluctantly accepted. I also downloaded the Kirsten Kimono Tee, and Tessuti's Mandy Boat tee and Our Fave Top. Oh - and after realising I was using the Tonic tee with a Tonic 2 sleeve, I finally printed off the actual Tonic 2 tee with it's crew neck variation.  I'm all set to sew up a storm.

Except for one little thing.

I somehow hurt my back. My days over the last week have been filled with constant pain, a stooped-at-the-waist posture (attractive!), muscle relaxants, and gentle exercise in a heated swimming pool. But I'm seeing a bit of a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Tonight I was able to do a little cutting, compiling and taping of print-at-home patterns (not while sitting on the floor either - I'd never get back up!)


I can't wait to feel more on top of the world. This lack of sewing - of doing anything, really - is starting to bore me. I am enjoying going to the pool every day though.  Mmmmmm.  Spa jets.

So while I wait to heal, these wait for me.

knit fabric

And perhaps last night I bought a little of these online.


(Photos all from Tessuti fabrics)

Because it seems I have more patterns that I want to sew than I have fabrics.  Well, that's my story and I'm darn well sticking to it.

I'm also reading the Colette Guide to Sewing Knits. It seems a pretty perfect fit for a relative beginner like me.  Do you have it? What do you think? I probably should give a review once I finish reading it and get sewing again.

Friday, June 6, 2014


At Canberra Quilters we have a "small group" (which is actually quite large) of modern quilters that meets once a month. They are fabulous. This month I decided we might play with the Cheyenne block. It's a simple 16-patch block using squares and HSTs and you all know how much I love a HST. Heck we ALL love HSTs in this group. Check out what we made as a group recently!

This is the Cheyenne block I put together on my design wall as an example for the group.

Variations on a theme

In my email to the group I said value is important! And promptly ignored my own advice. For my next block I will have to concentrate more on the dark value bits being darker. I have a couple of mediums in there (the pink spot and the yellow pez for example) that mean the donut (as we call it around here) doesn't pop as much as it could.

While I was playing on the wall I realised that with a bit of flipping and switching, I could create a variety of different blocks.  This one is a bit of a Churndash.

Variations on a theme

This one would look good en masse - like pointy columns

Variations on a theme

And I particularly like this one - where the low-medium volume issue doesn't matter so much.

Variations on a theme

I'm enjoying playing with this so much that I'm thinking of Starting a New Thing (SNT). Heaven help me! But I do have a couple of friends who have significant birthdays coming up, and I think these fabrics would appeal to one of them in particular.

I might have to make a few more squares and HSTs and see how they look grouped. This will be a fun quilt to make.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cam's Quilt

My beautiful friend, the lovely and talented Cam, also know as Curlypops, was turning 40 and she was kind enough to invite me to her party in Melbourne last month.

The invitation said strictly no gifts. Pfft to that, I said. Cam's special. She is one of the nicest people I have ever met, and the most fabulous and tenacious friend. And she is such an inspiration to so many people, myself included. I wanted to make something, and somewhere in the crazy that is my brain, I decided to make her a replica miniature quilt using her fabric design (my favourite fabric of all time) as the basis. Her fabric is on the left. My version is on the right.

Cam's quilt

Did I mention that the design is really small?  I'm talking 1/4 inch hexagons here.

Cam's quilt

The first battle was colour matching - I found the 6 colours easily enough at my local quilt store, but really struggled to find the perfect grey. Thanks to a friend who saw me at the store one day, I eventually found it - in the prints section of the store! It just took a little bit of fussy cutting, and when the papers are that small, it's not too hard.

Cam's quilt

I started the quilt in late February. I had no plan other than to replicate Cam's fabric. In fact I only made a plan in the last two weeks before Cam's birthday party. This was my one mistake. I really was skating on thin ice time-wise, but jeebers I was loving making this quilt so much!

Cam's quilt

Cam's quilt

I finished all the piecing with a day to spare. I had made a little mini quilt for the hexagons to be appliqued to.

Cam's quilt

I started appliqueing it down in Melbourne the morning of the party. Thank heaven for Roxanne Applique Glue. An hour or so later, I was finished. A couple of hours before the party started, even.

Cam's quilt

 To be perfectly honest I thought I would be showing Cam the quilt, and then taking it home again to finish - it was that tight.

Cam's quilt

The whole quilt is about 11 inches square. Pretty small. Although I got very used to the size very quickly as I was piecing it, even with my big fingers. I'm now making a 1/2 inch hexagon quilt and it seems enormous in comparison.

Cam's quilt

Cam's quilt

The birthday girl wore the exact same pink as in the quilt. How cute does she look!

Cam's quilt

I'm not too sure I won't ever do a 1/4 hexagon project again. It definitely pushed my limits, but I learned a lot about stitching something that small, and also about planning a quilt BEFORE you just randomly start stitching. And Cam loves is, and that really is the whole point.

Cam's quilt

Happy birthday gorgeous friend. Hope I'm around to help you celebrate your 80th too.

I'm joining in with Gemma's I Quilt linky party!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Works/life in progress

I have a lot of works in progress or WIPs. Many would call them Unfinished Objects (UFOs). I just like to think of them as tributes to my love of SNT (Starting New Things).

I usually document them on the blog and get all antsy about them. Too many! Can't finish anything! What a complete failure!

But I have had a recent epiphany -one where I realised that I wasn't serving anyone, let alone myself, by making myself feel bad about anything. And neither should I allow anyone else to make me feel bad about myself! (Goodbye Instagram! Goodbye fakeness! Hello happiness and positivity and looking up and REAL LIFE!).

So from now on I will document the WIPs, embrace the SNT and get over it! Luckily there is a WIP Wednesday linky thing over at Freshly Pieced so I can keep this shiz honest. Ooh yeah!

(Cartoon from my new favourite cartoonist, Sebreg.)

This is a SNT. I purchased some gorgeous rainbow coloured solids and some black chambray from Polka Dot Tea Fabrics recently, and the moment the fabric arrived I knew what I wanted to make. Firstly I played on my design wall to make sure I wasn't totally losing my mind with my idea.

Rainbow quilt - started the design process

(Hello design wall. I've missed you while I've been busy sewing clothes and bags!)

And then I started cutting and sewing. My original plan has gone out the window but it doesn't matter. This quilt is going to be awesome.


This will be a slow burn project. It is taking up a lot of space on my design wall, so it may get shelved when I get bored and SNT again.

The other day my exhibition pack for the Canberra Quilters show arrived and OMG entries are due in a couple of weeks and OMG I should have totally known that because I was Canberra Quilters president until only last month. (OMG)

Time to get out a long-forgotten WIP, one that I had intended to put in the show but now I'm not so sure. I suspect that this year I won't be putting anything in the show, but hey one can dream and dreaming is half of what this quilting caper is anyway. (The other half is the friendships you make, but I digress.) (Not too sure where the sewing comes into it.)

Clamshell quilt

I started making this clamshell quilt after last year's exhibition. A clamshell die bought at the Sizzix stand during the exhibition started a great idea. I long-ago abandoned the  papers that I was using for the project - it just wan't working for me and I had bad tennis elbow at the time and it was just making it worse. Instead I use a bastardised version of my own Mylar template technique (I have a tutorial here if you want to check out the original) but instead of doing a gathering stitch I totally freestyle it with the iron. Yo.

Clamshell quilt

In the last couple of days, following very valuable input from a friend, I did a little unpicking and added the green solid. The quilt was looking really muddy, which is what I was after, but a little too muddy, if you know what I mean. I had included solids in the mix (the grey, red and berry) to settle the Center City by Jay McCarroll fabrics down a little, but those solids were blending in too well.  I needed a little Bryant Park and a little Highline. A little bit of Madison Square Park in the island of Manhattan that my clams seem to have become. Much happier.

Come back tomorrow and I will show you one of the maddest things I have ever made in my life. Honestly. Insane. But awesome (hooray for Positivity Panda!).

I've linked up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday. Have you?

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced