Wednesday, 13 December 2017

December Block Round up

Queen Emily from The Darling Dogwood  requested a bookshelf block for our final block in the  Bee Inspired group. She asked that we decide on a theme and add something else such as text on the books or something you might find on a bookshelf. I have a fair bit of Dr Suess fabric having been a huge fan when I was a youngster so the theme part was easy and I decided a storage box would be a simple addition to my shelf.

My Wayward Transparency quilt, made for the quilt along being hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, is still in the works. It’s an easy quick make unless you decide your fabric choices weren’t right and unpick it all like I did.

This is the first incarnation. I thought it was washed out and insipid looking and lacked the transparency effect it was supposed to have. All up I was very disappointed and considered a full new start.

I auditioned a few fabric replacements and decided it was worth the time and effort of a re-do. I have a feeling it would have taken less time to start again from scratch.

The Block 2 units are the easiest ones to un-sew and remake so I’ve gotten those done and I think it’s way better. The seams don’t match up so well this time but it’s a very forgiving pattern being a monochromatic design so I’m living with that.

This is going to be my last post of this year. I’ll be spending Christmas with family in Adelaide for the first time in ages. Whatever you do (and whatever you celebrate) I hope you have a great holiday season!


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

November Block Round up

This month’s queen in Bee Inspired is Paige from Quilted BloomsHer block choice is one she designed herself and is based on the pines and colour of the clay near her house. It’s a very simple block but Paige’s planned layout looks stunning. You can find the tutorial and the story behind it here.

Paige is the star in this group with a book co-authored with Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs due out in February – Modern Plus Sign Quilts, among numerous other quilty accomplishments. 

The last block for the year for Stash Bee is this simple block for Diane. She requested a combination of bright colours and black and white prints. I think it should make a simple stunning quilt and I know the others in my hive have been seeing the potential in it. I’m not sure if the block has a tutorial elsewhere but you can find Diane’s here.

Sign-ups for next year’s Stash Bee are still open but will close soon I think so don’t think too long!

I started a new long term project this month. My plan is to make at least a couple of these blocks a month but we’ll see how that pans out. 

The block is effectively a Pickle Dish Variation variation and since I’ve modified it and lost the dish shape I’m going to call it my Hold the Pickle Quilt. At this stage I’m not sure just how many blocks I’m going to end up making, either 30 or 42. It’s a project that fascinates me since it’s a step out of my usual style and it will end up being a great scrap buster.

The decorations are all up in the shopping centres and Santa’s there for photo opportunities with the youngsters around here. Hope your Christmas sewing’s on track!


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Just a Little Improv

I’ve had a little experience in improv piecing with a couple of the bee blocks I’ve made but a full project? No. So I decided it was about time I had more of a go and what better project to take a foray into this technique with than a mug rug or two.

According to improv tutorials I read a common mistake is forgetting about the seam allowance and making the blocks smaller than you wanted. I made that one, and the whole mug rug could have been a little more generous in size if you ask me, but it still works and I’m using it *slurp* so it’s practical. They finish at around 4 inches by 6.

I’m a fan of Cindy Grisdela’s work so these pieces channel her influence and I quilted them in a fairly dense crosshatch with dark green thread.

After that experience I’m still keen to do more but it doesn’t really suit my control-freak-must-work-with-plan personality so the projects will likely stay small for a while.

What about you? Have you tried improv and what are your tips?

Till next time, enjoy your sewing


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

October Block Round up

Janice from Color Creating and Quilting was queen in Bee Inspired this month. She chose an unnamed block to be made up in colourful brights a la her bright and colourful style and asked for two. Being queen in Stash Bee this month as well means she has blocks rolling in and is making significant progress.

It turns out the block is very layer cake friendly and the back ground on my second block is from a Bonnie and Camille basics layer cake I picked up as part of a gift certificate I won for Lady Belle fabrics a little while back. It worked well in this block I think.

In Stash Bee, queen Kathy chose the Prairie Flower block from Missouri Star Quilt Co. She asked for autumn fall colours. Part of her sample fabric pull included fabrics that featured autumn prints of pumpkins and such so I thought this leaf print might be just right. I was surprised at how effective it looked once it was sewn up. This was a great block to sew.

Sign-ups for next year’s Stash Bee hives open November 1st if you’re interested. If you’re hesitant, when you sign up you can pick your skill level and style and the hives are sorted to suit. I really enjoyed my time this year. I met some new people, I learned some new skills and making blocks that are your best work makes you a better sewist all round. And I had fun!

I finished quilting the Modern Waves quilt and it’s ready to go for Christmas. I decided I would tackle making a couple of simple items for my summer wardrobe this year so that’s what I’m currently working on. I’m choosing quilting cottons for the most part and that’s working out great since any leftover pieces can be recycled back into my scrap stash. I feel just like a pioneer J!

Spring is at its floriferous *sneeze* best at the moment and this kookaburra and his mate decided to settle and hunt in my back yard for a few days. Usually they seem to sit at the top of a tree and make their signature laughing call but he was kind enough to perch in photogenic spots and I was able to get some good shots with my camera.

And this mud brick birds nest fell out of a tree at my work car park. It’s not often you see these up close and I was glad to see that it looked like it was abandoned before it fell. I think it is a magpie lark nest. Amazing!


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Space Time Continuum Top Finished!

Subtitled Whatever Happened to Dave the Engineering Quilt

Unbelievably I’ve had this quilt top sitting around for 6 months already. You might remember back in March I posted some blocks I was making for this and chuckling away to myself about the working title of Dave the Engineering Quilt. No? I won’t go into it here but refresh your memory by all means. I'll wait...

You're back! Anyway, I decided on the change of name because hourglass blocks, space ship fabric, how could I not. In my never ending series of lists I still refer to it fondly as Dave though.

The design for this may seem eerily familiar if you have seen Cheryl at Meadow Mist Design’s Chronograph block and I freely admit that it started from an idea simply to upsize that one block. Then I had to tweak it a little to make it rectangular and so we get the finished quilt top we have today.

Everything about this design seemed all good on graph paper. Construction provided a challenge when I realised I’d given myself a partial seam. I watched this video tutorial on sewing partial seams on YouTube by Donna Ward and it all turned out pretty well I think.

Still it wasn’t my only problem. I’d originally planned on making it bigger but part way through I ran out of background fabric. I should be able to get a bit more I thought so I headed up to the local fabric store and came home with what I thought was the same colour and sewed it in. It wasn’t until I took it outside in daylight to take these photos that I discovered to my horror that they weren’t a match. 

Looking at this photo that seems unlikely I know but it’s true! I think one’s white and one’s snow and different brands as well.

Anyway that meant I had to sacrifice some of my border fabric to finish the centre. I have since bought some more (and checked for a match in daylight… several times!) and I’ll be able to add extra length and width before I finish. And I’ve learned a lesson – I now label my whites so I can tell at a glance if they will match in or not. It also explains, if you look carefully, why the fabric print has changed in the block between the first progress photo and the second.

Here’s the stats so far: finished size is 56 inches by 69 and it took 1 metre of print fabric! Pretty good huh?

 ‘til next time

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

September Block Round up

Last month’s bee blocks were both nice and easy. For Bee Inspired Jen from A Dream and a Stitch chose a Le Moyne star. She asked us to use tertiary complementary colours. I know what tertiary colours are but complementary had me stumped so it was off to find a few colour theory tutorials. It turns out that complementary colours are those opposite each other on the colour wheel (there are very good colour theory tutorials here). It makes for a very vibrant colour scheme (that’s what the colour theory tutorial said, I believe them J ) so Jen should have a stunning quilt. The tutorial for the block is here.

Late addition - I have just come across the very excellent Color for Quilters series by Shannon Brinkley. Well worth reading.

The violet fabric is an old one by Perth designer Jan Mullen. She’s still around making quirky, wonky, artistic and, slightly hilarious (the one with the men’s undies) quilts and selling her Stargazey Quilt patterns on-line. Her original very bright colour palette has been replaced with the more muted colours of current trends. All this is to say that I was a big fan of her style back in the day. Obviously, then, I’ve had the fabric in my stash for a mighty long time and this block seemed the perfect occasion to bring it out. 

In Stash Bee, Alicia (@qvilt) designed a tile block for us to make up in shades of blue. She’s had some blocks arrive and the quilt is starting to take shape on the design wall (see the photo here). If you’re looking for a tile block this could be it. It’s simple to put together and very effective. Here’s the tutorial.

I am plodding my way through quilting my Modern Waves quilt, so nothing photogenic to report from my sewing room this month. Except maybe this.

This is the fabric I pulled for Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl’s Wayward Transparency quilt along. My thought was the density of the dot print would be the ‘darker’ overlay section, as in if I overlay the open daisy pattern over itself without matching I would get a denser pattern right?

In conjunction with the start of the quilt along she’s been writing lots of posts about fabric selection. When it came to her post on Evaluating Fabric Contrast she suggested turning our photos into black and white images to check. That gave me this

Now I’m doubting my artistic design choices, but I love the fabric combination and I couldn’t come up with anything I liked better so I’m running with it. It could be worth experimenting with and I don’t think I’ll hate it even if it doesn’t work.

That’s it for now. I guess the weather is turning in your neck of the woods. Spring and Autumn are my favourite seasons. I hope you’re enjoying yours.


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Half-Hearted Mini

Made for the Modern Quilt Guild mini swap earlier this year, this little quilt finishes at around 23 x 25 inches.

I downsized the original (free) pattern from around 6 ½ inch height finished to 4 ½. That makes it reduced by 69% on the photocopier. I’m a big fan of foundation paper piecing so I used the paper copies to stitch the blocks up.

This is quilted using a serpentine stitch and the texture is great although it did send the edges wavy.

The original post is here. I guarantee I’ll be making another one of these sometime for myself.

Linking up with Amy from Amy’s Creative Side for Bloggers Quilt Festival.

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Facets Plus

This is my favourite and most useful make in the past year. This quilt has been on my bed for the whole of this past winter (just past – I’m in Australia).

It was made last year as part of a quilt-along hosted by Amanda at This Mom Quilts.

The finished size is 70” by 80” and it’s quilted simply with straight lines.

The original post is here for more details and you can find the free pattern here

Linking up with Amy from Amy’s Creative Side for Bloggers Quilt Festival.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

August Block Round-up

August’s queen in Bee Inspired was Anne from Brown Paws Quilting. She asked us to make our choice of one of the blocks from Lorna's Dog Gone Cute pattern (find it here). I chose block 7 because it looked easiest. She also asked for it to be made to represent a dog that has a meaning to us. We made a poodle block a couple of months ago and that was the only dog I’ve ever had as a pet so I decided to call this one a dingo and made him up in gypsy style paisleys so you’d know he was a wild dog who roams free. Well that’s what I told myself when I bought the fabric which I’ve had my eye on for a few visits to the fabric shop. Yay, an excuse!

Last month was my turn to be queen in Stash Bee. I decided to ask for a HST block in two sizes, one with sashing, and I gave everyone a huge array of colours to choose from. These are the blocks I made up for the tutorial (find it here).

Two blocks have arrived so far from Greta, above, (@snippetycamel) and Alicia, below, (@qvilt) – lovely!

I’ve been working on two projects at once this month, which has actually worked out, surprisingly, really well. 

First up I’ve been making these kiss kross quilt blocks. The pattern was in Homespun magazine from the middle of last year and is by Melissa of Ms Midge. You can see her version here. I’m using a lightweight denim for the sashing pieces that I bought from the local fabric store and I’m liking the way it’s coming along.

My other project is a Modern Waves quilt (pattern by Initial K Studio) that I’m making as a Christmas present. I know my own time limitations so it seemed like a good idea to make an early start and knock it off the list so I can go onto other projects without deadlines stress-free. I guess there won’t be much more to show of this till the new year.

And that’s my month. Hope yours was good whatever you were doing.


Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Somewhat Positive block tutorial

This is the tutorial for this variation on the plus block. I’ve tried it in solids and prints, and now you can apply your own creative talents to it and make it your own.

Okay so I might have been promising to write this up for a year and finally I have overcome all the monsters-in-the-closet kind of fears and done it! To be honest it probably wouldn’t have happened at all except that Jen of Dizzy Quilter said she wanted to make one for her son. I would probably even have toyed with the idea editing the evidence out.

I asked Jen to test this tutorial and she’s done just that, with marvelous results. 

My biggest fear, ‘what if I get it wrong?’ has a simple answer - I’ll fix it. Just let me know as politely as you can.

As a quick stat this block finishes up at 9” square.

I’m going to assume some knowledge of the process of paper foundation piecing. If you want to give it a go and haven’t done it before just google it, there are plenty of tutorials out there.

If I have a tip it’s to mark the seam allowance in for the first section so you can line the pieces up and avoid trimming on the first seam.

The paper piecing template is available here for A4 size and here for US Letter. Print it off with page scaling set at ‘none’.

I have given a template for the simple 3 square section. It is probably overkill and you can piece it normally if you choose, just use 31/2” squares if you choose this option. I’m sure you can work it out how to put that section together for yourself and you don’t need me over-explaining.

This is what you’ll need to cut for one block (Fabric B is the background, fabric F is the focus). I’m generous with my cutting.
·       2- 4” x 4” square fabric B, 1 - 4” x 4” square fabric F (for paper piecing)
·       5 - 4” x 4” square fabric B, 1 - 4” x 7”  fabric F
·       Strips of fabric F around 1 ½” wide – 6 - 4” x 1 ½” strips and 1 - about 2” x 1 ½”

Follow the piece by number instructions on the templates.

This section, though, may have you scratching your head and wondering what’s going on.

It’s for this small scrap of detail I put in here.

To make it add a background square at 5(b) and trim ¼” away from the straight and dashed line. Use the 1 ½” x 2” strip and stitch along the seam line. You don’t need to stitch the full length since you’ll be trimming to ¼” away from the diagonal line at the next step.

Press and then trim ¼” away from diagonal line (I know I’ve just repeated myself but this is just the instruction I wouldn’t be able to find when I look for it halfway through making a block). 

Keep the paper folded while you line up the 4” x 7” focus fabric strip (I originally saw this tip on We All Sew. It changed my life!).

Then stitch it in place. Press it, trim it and we’re done with that section.

Complete the other sections and here’s the placement. As you can see the seams line up between the top section but not the bottom one. Rest assured you haven’t made it wrong, it’s supposed to be like that. There should be about 1/8” difference between the two.

Here’s my remaining tips

·       Leave the paper in until after you’ve sewn your sashing on.
·       When you go to quilt it DO stabilize by outlining the shape first.
·       I used sashing finishing at 1” wide for my grey mini quilt (I thought it was too narrow) and 3” for the quilt top I showed last week.

If you decide to use this tutorial please let me know, I would love to see it. If you’re on Instagram I’m @sevenoaksstreetquilts, and use #somewhatpositivequilt.

Hope you have fun!



PERMISSIONS: You can use the quilts you make from this tutorial for private purposes, including selling them on a small scale (please acknowledge the pattern source). If anyone is thinking about copying this tutorial and adding it to their own blog or other internet site and passing it off as their own work (people do that apparently, not you of course, but others) then don’t!