Monday 30 May 2011

Simple Design, But Oh So Effective

I have been really busy lately with quilting as well as personal and family commitments.  But I have a couple of quilts I’ve completed recently to show you once I organise the photos.

I have updated the Customer Quilts page - click the link on the navigation bar at the top of this page to have a peek.  I have also changed some of the quilt photos on the side of the page – please click them if you want to see more pictures of that quilt.

The fabrics Marion chose for her quilt are not normally fabrics that I am drawn to, but I just love this quilt.  I think it is such a simple but effective design; plus the fabrics themselves and how Marion has placed them looks stunning.

Marion wanted to keep the quilting really simple, so we chose an open loop pattern that doesn’t distract from her fabrics, and gives a lovely soft finish.

Last Friday night Paul and I went to see the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra do Symphonic Abba at the Melbourne Town Hall.  It was a great night, and the vocal ensemble – Rajaton were really good.  I love the ceiling at the Town Hall and couldn’t resist taking a photo.

Friday 20 May 2011

Sneak Peek at Ruled by Chocolate

I finished quilting my quilt, Ruled by Chocolate at the end of April.  Since then it has been sitting in a calico bag.  It needs to be blocked, but I don’t have a lot of spare time at the moment.

I was showing my sister the quilt, and had it laid out on the floor.  My nephew was there at the time, and he took a liking to it, insisting on putting his toys on it and wanting to play on it.

I snapped a photo of him with his big yellow ball.  You can get a peek at the quilting, still with the chalk and blue pen markings on it.

Once I get it blocked and bound I will post some detailed photos.

I have been working on the My Projects page (click the link on the navigation bar above).  I hope to start regularly updating this page.

Thursday 19 May 2011

Hearts for a Granddaughter

This pretty quilt is Heather’s.  She chose an allover heart and loop pattern as the quilt was made with love for her granddaughter, Adelaide, who is turning seven.

Heather asked me not to quilt on the green squares made up of the four triangles because she plans to hand quilt this area herself.  As I quilt freehand, it is easy for me to go around areas on a quilt.  But because it was not appliqué or something really obvious, the hardest part was to remember.  So I placed some templates on each of the green squares to remind me to go around those areas as I quilted.

Heather pieced the back, and the quilting shows beautifully on the cream.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Binding done on Autumn Flowers

I have shown plenty of close ups of the quilting on this quilt, when I first quilted it. (for more pictures click here).  It was a while ago, and I have finally finished the binding.

A blog that I follow regularly is Kathy’s – TamarackShack.  Kathy lives in Canada beside a lake.  One of the things I like about Kathy’s blog (besides the beautiful quilts), is that she takes stunning photos of the quilts outdoors, showcasing the quilt’s beauty along with the beauty of nature.

I live in Melbourne, and I don’t live in such beautiful surrounds.  My house is on a smallish block of land, on a quiet suburban street with lots of houses all around me.  But inspired by Kathy I decided to take a photo of Autumn Flowers a little differently than my usual “flat on the floor” pictures.

As it was raining, I couldn’t go outside.  I took this photo looking out of my front window.  You can see my elm tree, a small part of my magnolia tree, the street and the house across the road.

Melbourne weather has become very cold over the last couple of weeks even though it is still autumn.  I took this photo a couple of weeks ago walking through the Carlton gardens next to the Exhibition Building.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Blocking Stars and Diamonds

If you read about the drama I had when I blocked my quilt Cherry Chocolate, you will understand that I had some trepidation about wetting Stars and Diamonds – especially as many of the same red fabrics were in this quilt. But it had blue pen all over it, so I had to wash it to get it all out.

In the past I have blocked quilts by pinning them into the carpet, which is undoubtedly not very good for the carpet. And because I am aware of what I am doing to the carpet, I don’t stretch the quilt as much as I probably should.

I came across a post at Margaret’s blog describing how she blocked her quilt. She bought sheets of interlocking styrofoam. I asked Paul if Bunnings might sell interlocking styrofoam, and he suggested I get kids’ play mats. What a great idea I thought, and I found some on sale at Bunnings.

I dunked the quilt in the bath, watching carefully for any red dye coming out. I didn’t leave it in the water for long and I didn’t put it in the spin cycle of the washing machine as I didn’t want any of the red fabrics touching any other fabrics in case the dye ran.

I laid it our on the matting, and dried it as much as possible with towels.

Using my rulers and tape measure, I pulled and tugged to get the quilt square, ensuring the sides measured the same and it was the same measurement diagonally. I had very wet knees and a very sore back by the time it was done.

I recently re-watched Karen McTavish’s DVD that came with her book ‘Quilting for Show', which describes how she blocks her quilts. It was fairly similar to what I did, only she has someone help her. The next time I block a quilt, I might try to rope Paul into helping me (honey if you are reading this - hint hint).

To view more pictures of my quilt Stars and Diamons click here.

Monday 16 May 2011

Three Days in Perth

I have just returned to freezing cold Melbourne from beautifully warm Western Australia.  I flew back on the overnight flight, so am taking today to recover from lack of sleep and the time difference.  Then it will be back to work on the quilting machine tomorrow.

A break like this always invigorates me, and I know once I start quilting again tomorrow, it will be with renewed enthusiasm and energy.

I was very pleased to be able to catch up with Joan - Joan at Leschenault  while I was in WA.  Paul and I were staying in Rockingham, so we took the short hour’s drive to beautiful Leschenault where Joan lives.  She has an amazing studio with gorgeous views from her window.  It was great to see her beautiful work first hand. (And she makes an impressive pineapple fruit cake too).

After a delicious lunch (thanks Joan, Andrea and Emily) , we went to Gnomesville which was amazing.  Tens of thousands of gnomes from all over the world have been left at the corner of two country roads.

They just go on and on, seemingly forever down the path.

Sunday 15 May 2011

Give away winner drawn

Thank you to everyone who participated in the give away last week.  Paul being the computer wiz that he is, whipped up a couple of lines of code that would randomly select a number for me.  

So the winner of Karen McTavish’s book Quilting for Show is Jan Hutchinson.  Congratulations Jan!  Jan - please send me an e-mail with your address and I will post it to you.

Onto some other news, Linda from The Quilted Pineapple passed on a Versatile Quilter Award to me.  Thank you Linda.  Linda does beautiful long arm quilting, and like me, loves to quilt feathers - check out her blog for some lovely eye candy.

Saturday 14 May 2011

Stars and Diamonds - Bloggers Quilt Festival

Welcome to my Bloggers Quilt Festival Spring 2011 post.  I hope you enjoy - this is the first time I have participated in Amy's Bloggers Quilt Festival.

I really liked the quilting motif I did in the diamonds of Barb’s quilt (click here to see the post), but hadn’t had the opportunity to do them again since her quilt.  So I decided to make something for myself where that quilting motif would work.  

I started piecing this quilt late last year, finished the top in January and I quilted it in February this year. I have just finished the binding.

I still have the label and hanging sleave to do and then it will be finally finished.

I will be posting soon on how I blocked this quilt.

Thursday 12 May 2011

Curved Cross Hatching Border

This is another one of Janet Sansom’s beautiful embroidery quilts.  I had quilted curved cross hatching on a previous quilt for Janet, which she liked. (Click here to see it).  So for this one I wanted to continue experimenting with the curved cross hatching and do something different in the border.  I think it has come up really pretty.

This is the high tech gadget that I use to mark the centre of the feather wreath (which I do with chalk).

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Pink Hexagon Quilt

A couple of weeks ago I posted some design ideas for this quilt.  To view the post click here.  Well I ended up not using any of the options I was considering.

Most people liked the curved cross hatching in the centre of the pink, but when I actually quilted it I didn’t like it.  The shape was quite unusual and it just didn’t look right.  So I unpicked it.

However, I did like the actual shape itself, so using the curved cross hatching rulers I came up with a curved diamond spiral shape which I think worked really well.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

King David’s Crown

Sorry I haven’t posted for a little while, there has been an “issue preventing the post editor from loading for some users”.  I unfortunately was one of the 'some users'.  But it seems to be fixed now even though I have to load the photos a slightly different way.

I quilted this for Barb in 2008.  Barb is one of my favourite customers and has being bringing quilts to me for years now.  She makes beautiful quilts, often in reproduction fabrics.  But what I like best is that she likes to leave nice areas of plain fabric for the quilting.  Then she entrusts her quilt to me and lets me have fun with it.  As we both love feathers, it’s a match made in heaven.  Barb’s blog is – Love to Quilt.

This quilt is a Michelle Yeo design.  Michelle Yeo is a Melbourne based designer and teacher that makes beautiful quilts inspired by antique quilts.  To view her web site where she has her patterns click here.

I wanted to create something special for Barb in the diamonds, and was really happy with the result.  This quilt won second in the Custom Quilting category in the 2008 Vic Quilters Show.

Friday 6 May 2011

A “Thank You” Giveaway

Well I have finally finished the My Quilts page.  To view it, please click the link on the navigation bar at the top of the page. This is something I have wanted to do for a while, and it was the followers of this blog that kept me motivated enough to do it all.
Thank you for showing an interest in my blog.  I find it encouraging and motivating that other people are interested in my work. 

To show my appreciation, I’d like to give something more tangible back!

When I did a workshop with Karen McTavish I was lucky enough to win an autographed copy of her book.  Now I can’t give away my autographed one, but I do have my original copy I can gift to one of my followers. It’s a great book to have!

As the gift is a thank you to my blog followers, you will need to be or become a follower.  Then just add a comment on this post saying that you want to be in the draw.

(And if you want to make a comment about the My Quilts page, or any other of my posts, that is always appreciated).

I will pick the winning name out of a hat on the 15th of May. I’ll be happy to post it to anywhere in the world free of charge.

If you already own the book, please still enter; and if you win, you can offer it as a gift on your own blog. :)

My First Quilt

Like many quilters, my first quilt was a sampler.  The quilt is hand pieced (the only hand pieced quilt I have made).

Before discovering quilting, I was an avid cross stitcher.  I was working on a cross stitch of a quilt, and I remember thinking it would be nice to sew it into a small quilt to hang on a wall.

In 2001 I moved house, and there was a quilt shop just around the corner.  So I signed up for a beginner’s class.

Well, I was immediately hooked.  I would get up earlier in the morning so I could do some piecing before leaving for work, and I would spend all weekend sewing.  My quilt ended up being a lot larger than the class sample, and there are blocks in there that I drafted myself from pictures.

What I liked most about quilting over cross stich is that there was so much more creativity in the process.  A quilt can look completely different by adding or omitting one fabric.  Fabrics seem to change colour depending on what other fabrics they are near.  The same design can look completely different when done in different fabrics or with different fabric placement.  The design possibilities were unlimited.

It was like a light bulb had gone off in my head, and I knew that this was what I needed to do.

Because the quilt was hand pieced, I thought I should also hand quilt it.  So I signed up for a full day workshop on hand quilting.  By the end of the class I was beginning to get the hang of it but I can’t say I was enjoying it.  The other ladies in the class were exclaiming ‘isn’t this great’, and I was thinking to myself ‘when can I get out of here’.  Hand quilting and I were not a good match.  However, doing the class was a very good exercise as I now knew for sure that I didn’t enjoy hand quilting. 

I left the class, and that very afternoon booked my quilt in to be machine quilted.

I subsequently sent eleven of my quilts off to be machine quilted.  I also hired a long arm to quilt two of my earlier quilts.  I wanted my own long arm so much, but they are so expensive, and the Australian dollar was not fairing well against the US dollar at that time.

I found sending my quilts off to be machine quilted frustrating because I wanted to complete them myself.  I must have driven my quilter nuts with my detailed requests regarding the quilting (without fully understanding how a long arm worked).

Finally in 2003, I decided to bite the bullet and get my own long arm machine – and the rest is history……

Thursday 5 May 2011


As I mentioned in a previous post, I did a Zentangles workshop with Jane Monk last week.  Here is the promised picture.  The top three were done in the workshop, and the one on the bottom I did later.

They are a lot of fun.  I am going to try and do one or two a week. 

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Feathered Sashing Tutorial

I found it very intersting when Jenny kindly shared how she does her allover hook feathers at her blog – Jenny’s Doodling Needle  So I thought I would share one way I do feathers in wide sashing.

This is Janet Sansom’s quilt, and is a replica of a quilt I did for her earlier in the year.  If you want to see more pictures of this quilt click here.
To make each feather triangle first start with a circle, and then bring each feather up from the base line filling in the triangle. (You might need to click on some of the pictures to get a better view.)

Mark the half way point of the sashing.

Draw a line dividing the sashing into two squares.  For different sized sashing it could be broken down into more than just two squares.

Divide each square into quarters by drawing diagonal lines.

You can start at any point as the quilting will be done continuously.  Just be careful to make sure all the feathers go around each square in the same direction - in this case clockwise.

Start quilting the feather triangles.

Follow the path as per the arrows drawn.

When you get to the last square in the sashing row, go all the way around it and head back as shown by the arrows.

When you get back to the start, continue past it to quilt the other side of the sashing row.

Continue quilting the feather triangles following the path as shown by the arrows.

When you get to the end of the sashing row, go around the last square again and continue back to the starting point.

Roll the quilt forward to the next row of sashing, and start again.