Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Rainbow Rose Mini – A Finish!

I missed the Rainbow Rose Quilt Along held by the Irish Modern Quilt Guild in the middle of last year but I loved all the versions that I saw. When I had to make gifts as part of Pay It Forward Craft I decided to put a mini version together for my off-line local recipient, Michelle.

This quilt measures 25 inches square and is quilted using a straight stitch. I really like the way it turned out. It was a hard one to give away, but aren’t they all!

I took it out for a lunch time photo shoot in a spot with dappled shade.

The wind blew, the shade shifted

So I took it home for another go. This time it was late afternoon and the colours seem a lot duller.

In the end I stood behind a bush, took a styled shot and gave it up.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

March Block Round-up

This month’s queen in my Stash Bee hive is Ophelie (@quiltoph). She picked the Treasure Hunt block from Blossom Heart Quilts. Ophelie added colour dots to the template (her version here) and that made it extra easy to keep track of what colours went where. I’m a bit of a convert to mustard after making this block. Ophelie’s original request post with her colour choices is here. I was hoping for my prints to offer more variety in the way they matched up but it didn’t come together as I planned and I have a far less scrappy effect than I was hoping for.

Kate at Smiles from Kate is queen over in Bee Inspired for March and she’s chosen the  Gnomes and Trees block from Flying Parrots Quilts for her block. I spent a “too hot for housework” Sunday afternoon putting the trees and gnomes blocks together. It was a fun block to make, and great for a bee pick! The hot weather was followed by thunderstorms and I have learned a lesson in low light photography. This block is nowhere near as yellow as it appears.

I’m currently working on a quilt using some large scale hourglass blocks. It’s working title is “Dave, the Engineering Quilt”, a play on Dave the Quilt Engineer (husband of quilting buddy, Tish) because of the blueprint drawings on the fabric. When the idea came I thought it was hilarious. Still do.

The blocks from being queen in Bee Inspired last month continue to roll in. It’s such fun! These are from Sharon at Yellow Cat Quilt Designs, Jen at A Dream and a Quilt, Paige at Quilted Blooms, Ann at Brown Paws Quilting, Kate at Smiles from Kate,  and Karen at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Jen and Jan’s Mini QAL

Hello and welcome to my stop on Jen and Jan’s Mini hop! There’s a lot of other places to get to (links at the bottom of the post) so I’ll go photo heavy and text light for this post.

I decided to make my version as a charity quilt so went with pastel colours and added a border to make it bigger.

And I added a cute chook print on the back.

This pattern (designed by Jen and available here for FREE!!!!) was simple and easy to use – that of course didn’t stop me from making mistakes and I had an unfortunate skewing event when I quilted my mini block hanging on the line, due, I think, to having my dual feed foot on the wrong setting. Can I pretend it was supposed to be wonky?

The little bear starring in these photos was knitted by my Mum many years ago J

Here’s the links to the rest of the participants. Prizes are available for commenters on Jen and Janice’s blogs- head there to win!

March 10 Reveal Day
Kate Heads at Smiles From Kate
Jennifer Fulton at Inquiring Quilter
Karen Thurn at Tu-Na Quilts, Travels and Eats
Melva Nolan at Melva Loves Scraps
Julie Stocker at Pink Doxies
Anja Clyke at Anja Quilts
Jayne at Twiggy & Opal
Susan Arnold at Quilt Fabrication
Leanne Milsom at Lizzie the Quilter
Sandra Walker at Mmm! Quilts!

March 11 Reveal Day
Janice Holton at Color Creating & Quilting
Jennifer Strauser at Dizzy Quilter
Amy Gerlich at Amy Scrap Spot
Sharon Denney Parcel at Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Susan Gordon at Sevenoaks Street Quilts (you are here!)
Anne Boundy at Said With Love
Barbara Wootie at The Flashing Scissors
Jan Welander at Making Scraps

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

February Block Round-up

February’s queen in my Stash Bee hive was Jen (@jentexas06; Fat as Butter). She asked for a Crosses and Losses block in blue or green. The original tutorial (at Fresh Lemons Quilts) uses 8" blocks and Jen has written a tutorial for a 16" finished block. This is my version. You can see a finished quilt using this block in a rainbow of colours here.

These are my Garden Snails Quilt blocks (pattern by Pen + Paper Patterns) posted this month on Instagram. I’ve started putting them together into mini quilts now and they are looking super cute.

My current WIP is a mini quilt for Jen and Jan’s Mini Blog Hop and Quilt Along. Details are available here. This looks like it could be bigger than Ben Hur - Janice said she had 28 participants at last count. Jen has designed the pattern and it’s available FREE here. This is my mini quilt which hangs from the washing line in the design – so CUTE!!!

Now for a Not My Work segment.

I’m getting a lot of happy mail at the moment, since I was queen this month at Bee Inspired. There have been a pile of blocks posted over on the blog and I’m so thrilled with the way this is working out! These two blocks have arrived from Velda at GRANNYcanQUILT (left) and (right) Irene from Patchwork and Pastry. I can’t wait to see them all together!

And my MQG swap partner’s quilt arrived from Cathy in Melbourne (@cathtakespoland). She covered everything on my list of likes – negative space, solids and I said my favourite colour was blue (well, that day anyway). I could hardly wait to open the package when I saw it in the letterbox and did a little dance of joy with it once I had!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Half-Hearted Mini – A Finish!

Finally, I can show you the mini I made for the Modern Quilt Guild mini swap. Gorgeous isn’t it? Did I want to keep it? You bet!

This was my first ever swap and while I was expecting it to be a challenge to pick a project it was made doubly difficult by anxiety and nervousness. My partner, Deb from Brisbane (@sewologist) listed as her likes Liberty, linen and Bonnie & Camille fabrics and her favourite designers as being Sedef Imer and Amy Sinibaldi amongst others. My first thought was for Amy’s half-hearted pattern (it’s free!) but of course, I went looking for other options before finally arriving back at my original pick.

I downsized the original pattern, picked out all my best pink fabrics, and sewed it up.
The finished size of this quilt is around 23 x 25 inches (from memory) and is quilted using a serpentine stitch.

Luckily Deb says she loves it, so I’m relieved and happy to have been part of it.
This is one of my Finish-Along projects so I will be linking this post up for that.

And while I’ve got your attention and you’re thinking about how much you’d like to join in the on-line quilting community here’s a reminder that the sign up for the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers hop is now open.

I was part of this group last year and it was the best thing! I met some great ladies from all over the world who have been generous and supportive and who I now count as friends. There have been opportunities through it, the Bee Inspired group for one, and it was a real confidence builder for me.

If you meet the criteria and are still thinking about it make the move NOW! Sign-ups close on the 28th… read all about it here.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

January Block Round-up

How’s the year going for you? Flying past? For me it seems like ages since it was New Year’s eve. Maybe because in Australia it’s the lazy hazy days of summer and life seems to become super laid back and slower between Christmas and Australia Day, which more or less marks the end of summer school holidays.

Anyway, over January I’ve been making lots of blocks and before February gets too long in the tooth and slips past here’s a quick round up of what’s been happening in my sewing room.

This is my strawberry block made for The Honeypot Bee being run by Molli Sparkles. My plan is to jump into this bee whenever the block grabs my attention. There’s an impressive list of queens coming up over the year – see the list here – so I fully expect to be making quite a few. I wasn’t expecting my attention to be grabbed so early in the piece, but Angie from Gnome Angel picked a great block and I couldn’t resist. Angie’s version is an upsized variation of this tutorial by Skyberries Handmade. I went for the original size of 7 ½" x 10 ½” with the modified stem which I ended up paper piecing.

My first bee blocks were comfortingly simple. Sharon from Yellow Cat Quilt Designs was queen for January in the Bee Inspired group and she chose the 6-inch size paper-pieced Split Hatchet block from 627 Handworks in bright colours with a low volume background. I had fabric spread around trialling different combinations for days, adding and subtracting from piles any time I walked past and in the end settled on these. The block itself was simple and quick.

I’m in Hive 1 of Stash Bee and Diana From Red Delicious Life is Hive Mama, Stash Bee organiser for this year and was our queen for January. She is making a Disappearing 4 Patch quilt in purple and grey for her sister-in-law. She gave good instructions in her tutorial and I didn’t get a wobbly ruler in the crucial cutting phase, which I was really afraid of. I’ll admit here, just between us, that it was my second take on this block. Diana requested that we use a full ¼ inch seam rather than scant and I over-compensated the first time round and I made a block that was too under-sized. I’m using that on the back of a mini I’m quilting at the moment.

And these are my Garden Snails Quilt blocks (pattern by Pen + Paper Patterns). Sunday is #snailday on Instagram and we are up to week 5 in the Snail-paced Slow-Along Sew-Along. I missed the first week because I didn’t read the instructions properly (or maybe at all, now I come to think about it) so I’ve only posted 4, which is okay since I’m not making the full army of 42 anyway.

And lastly, my design challenge for the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club. I was in this club last year and I used the monthly challenges as design prompts without making the monthly quilt. This year they’ve introduced varying levels of time commitment to the challenges and this month’s was purely design based with no finished quilt project required. Do-able! January's instructor was Amy Friend of During Quiet Time and you can get some idea of the challenge here.  I went to the second level, level 1 being find inspiration in nature, architecture, signs and household items, level 2 being turn one into a quilt block. It’s amazing what you see when you start looking at things more closely.

I must have walked past these windows a million times going in and out of the library next door without ever noticing how different and amazing they were, but they grabbed my attention immediately once I started looking. I could see an improv curve slashing through the mid blocks straight away. And this is the block I designed.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

12 ½ Inch Inside Addition Block Tutorial

This post was originally written for the BeeInspired group – it’s the block I’ve requested the girls make for me this month. I thought I’d share it here as well.

The original block by Jessica (@alittlegressica) is designed at 8" unfinished. Upsizing it is fairly simple. Here’s what you will need

4 HST units with an unfinished size of 5 ½̎  using background and feature fabrics
(I’m not including cutting measurements or sewing techniques here. I know everyone has their own favourite HST method. I like to make mine oversized and trim. Links to resources are included at the bottom of the post);
4 x 3" squares background fabric
2 x 3" squares feature fabric

1 x  3" x 8" strip feature fabric

Sew 2 background squares to either end of the feature fabric strip and sew two feature fabric squares to one background fabric square each; sew the HST units to the 2 square units; then the two sewn sections to the centre strip and admire! (That’s black arrow, then green arrow, then red

As promised, here are some links:
Blossom Heart Quilts triangle tutorials (with the maths!)

See the work of others using this block:
on Instagram
No Hats in the House
Carla at Grace and Favour
Debbie at A Quilter’s Table

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Post Quilt Blocks Internationally For Less

This post was originally written for the BeeInspired group. I thought I’d share it here as well.

Before signing up for two international bees where posting quilt blocks to the rest of the world is going to be a monthly activity I did some research into postage costs. Here’s what I found:

1.     Cost variation between parcels and letters is immense!
As you can see from the image below (taken from the Australia Post website) the starting cost for sending a parcel from Australia is $15.85!

Compare that with the price of letters – much better!

2.     Weight matters
That’s the weight of the contents not your personal weight – if you’re happy and healthy then have that slice of cake! As you can see keeping the weight under 50g gives the cheapest option and then there’s a big jump to the next cost scale.

3.     Variations occur across the various countries so check on your local postal websites. StashBee had some resources for US postal services that I’ve included here.


One of the variations I found was in the size limits for envelopes. In Australia our largest size is 26 x 36cm (10" x 14") with the maximum thickness being 20mm (just over ¾ inch). In the US the maximum size is just over 6" x 11 ½" and ¼" thick (US Postal Information on Letter Sizes). That’s still plenty of room for a quilt block though!


Stash Bee has two good articles on packing blocks for posting that I highly recommend reading

I packaged my block inside a zip lock bag. In the end I didn’t close the zip because it fills up with air and I wanted it to sit as flat as possible, and I taped the zip down and added a label with the address as suggested in the second Stash Bee post above.


And here’s what I included for my test run up to the post office (I ditched the crappy homemade gift card before posting the real block and replaced it with something of similar size but way better). When I weighed this on my scales at home it came in very close to 50g and I forgot to ask how much leeway was left, but rest assured that it came in under the weight limit. When I put 50g (0.05kg) into the US Postal Price Calculator it came up with a cost of $2.10 for posting to Australia which isn’t too bad!

Hope you find this helpful!

Monday, 9 January 2017


Well we made it into 2017 – hope your NYE was suitably celebratory – and even though all is not right with the world at least we don’t live in a totalitarian police state, censoring all cultural activity where the U.S. government pacifies the populace by broadcasting game shows where convicted criminals fight for their lives, as predicted in The Running Man.
Not usually being a person who has multiple projects on the go at once I haven’t joined the FAL before, this time I do have several projects in varying stages, not many, mind, but a few.



This one is due in February, I’ve made the blocks, sashed it, quilted it, it just needs a binding, and it will be done. This should be an easy quick finish. Here’s a sneak peek.

2.     I’m joining in the GARDEN SNAILS QUILT ALONG being held jointly on Instagram by @penandpaperpatterns and @gnomeangel. I’ve already made a few blocks, here’s a sneak peek of one that I made with the tail upside down *sigh*. 

     I’m thinking that I will turn these into a couple of mini quilts. I don’t know if they will get finished this quarter but here’s hoping!

3.     I’ve made a start on my PAY IT FORWARD CRAFT gifts and I need to get these done this quarter. There’s no photo for these since it’s secret sewing…

4.     SCRAP PROJECT/S I spent New Year’s Day sorting and re-organising my stash since it had gotten out of hand and the cupboard had become like the Bermuda Triangle. There was fabric in there, that I was positively 100 per cent sure was in there, that seemed to disappear without trace. (I also discovered that I’m down to my last ½ yard of solid white – I almost went into panic mode!) Since I’m in two bees this year I really needed to get things under control so I could find things fairly quickly. In the process of doing this I realised my scrap collection had outgrown its space and needed some serious culling before it becomes too overwhelming.

I’m still sorting through ideas but at this stage I’m thinking of making one large block per month with the aim of making a quilt top by the end of the year. On my short list is either a log cabin type block or a foundation pieced quarter circle block that will check one of my goals of learning to sew circles off my list as well.
I’m leaning towards the latter since it will be a no pressure project and make a good practice piece. I’ve seen one recently that is the inspiration for this idea but can’t seem to find it now. It’s similar to the Improv Fans quilt on this post from Stitched in Colour but not monochromatic.
I’m linking up with the new FAL hosts for 2017. Happy sewing!

  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland