Monday, 31 December 2018

Fireburst – A quilt top

I’ve been friends with Tish of Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland ever since the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers hop when we were in a group that critiqued the look of each other’s blogs. This was a while back and I take no credit for the made over look it has now. So I was never not going to join her first ever Mystery Quilt Along and it turned out to be a great one.

I did several fabric pulls before deciding I should do a scrappy background so that I could use what I had on hand and still end up with the larger size of 64” square. It’s my first ever time at doing a fully scrappy quilt like this and while I think there’s room for improvement I’m really chuffed with the way it turned out.

It’s a stroke of genius to time the parade of finished quilts with New Year’s Eve when fireworks are everywhere so head over to have a look and also to wish Tish a happy 40th!
You can find the instructions to make one of your own in two sizes here

It was a great pattern, Tish! Thanks for hosting this quilt- along.

Happy sewing everyone and happy new year.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Best of 2018

Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting the annual end of year round-up of best posts again. Here’s mine from 2018

1.     TOP POST -

There was one post from this year that stood out from the crowd in terms of page views with 10 times more visits than an average one - my Hold the Pickle block tutorial. This was supposed to be my year long project for last year and I somehow fell off the wagon on it. I better get back on and get it done.


The second most popular post was as part of the blog hop for Cheryl’s and Paige’s great book Modern Plus Signs Quilts. I made a version of the Celestial Quilt for my parents and they love it!


I thought I’d diverge from the blog to that other quilt community platform, Instagram, for my next two picks. Bearing in mind that hashtags rule over there, this firefly block was my most liked post over there. This is from the pattern by Pen and Paper Patterns and there was a quilt along for this one. Second most popular was a fabric pull for a not even started Free Wheeling Single Girl Quilt as part of a quilt along hosted by Sewtopia and The Next Stitch. They are planning on hosting another one this year so I’m already past the first stage and ready to have another try at it.


Third top Instagram post was my Neighbourhood quilt top that I made for the Pantone Color of the Year Quilt challenge. Love this quilt even though purple wouldn’t be my first choice as a background colour for a quilt normally.


I made two circle of geese quilt blocks this year, one for Stash Bee and the other for Bee Inspired. They’re both great and very different from each other and I’m picking them as my favourites for this year.

Thanks Cheryl for hosting this link-up and the prompt for this. Happy sewing everyone and enjoy the holiday season.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

2019 Planning Party


It’s time to think about what we want to achieve in 2019, make plans and then change them again in February. With this in mind, even though I’ve got a mighty pile of finished quilt tops that I must quilt, and some tops that I started as part of quilt-alongs and didn’t finish I’m giving myself permission to flit about a little and join the odd quilt along that sparks my interest or drop everything to make a scathingly brilliant quilt idea. If I don’t I’m afraid I will get bogged down in the tedium of a must do list and lose my sewjo. Hopefully at the end of the year I’ll have finished a few quilts as well. This one is my Space-Time Continuum quilt top from 2017 and it must be on my couch by winter.


This year my plan is to work on making an Aerial Grove quilt. I’m using the ever popular chambray and Liberty (in my case these are Liberty look-alikes “London Calling” fabrics from Robert Kaufman) combination. I bought a charm pack and some yardage of the prints plus a collection of chambrays and linen/cotton blends. This is a photo from a few weeks back now when I was editing the prints. I’m hoping to work on a strip at a time throughout the year. I’ve made a start on the hand applique and it’s slow but I think will be worth it in the end.

3.     PHOTOS

I’m always immensely inspired by good photography and ambitious to reach those sorts of professional looking levels. I want it to come naturally like some sort of innate talent that I don’t have to work on so I don’t have any particular plans as such for this, however, in order to give myself some variation in backgrounds I spent a little time one Sunday afternoon painting up some swathes of paper. A few years back I worked near the section that printed big map sheets so I was able to collect a few, actually, quite a few, spares. They looked useful and finally they are 😊. Also, since I already had the paint in a cupboard, essentially free!


This year in Bee Inspired we’ve dumped the traditional bee format to give some new ideas a try - we’re doing charity quilt blocks, challenges and a sampler. Find our schedule and an invitation to join in here. I think it will be fun!


I’ve booked a room at Mum and Dad’s house and my flights and I’m heading to Adelaide in March for the Quilt and Craft Fair. This year they’re showing the best of Quiltcon so you know, yippee! I’m very much hoping to see some quilts from people I know.

I’m linking up to Yvonne’s Planning Party. She has organized some sponsors and prizes so here’s hoping.

Happy sewing

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Kiss-cross Quilt Top

I’m not sure why this quilt top has been hanging around finished, photographed and not blogged about for so long. I sometimes think I’ll hold a finish, or semi-finish for a slow news month and I must’ve forgotten completely about it.

Excepting for now when I’m making my goals for 2019 and it comes up on my (long) list of quilts to be finished.

This quilt is made from a pattern from an Australian Handmade magazine issue and is designed by MsMidge. Her version can be seen here.

The pattern is designed for charm squares which suited me down to the ground and I teamed them with an indigo chambray background that I found locally.

The quilt top finishes at around 42 x 48 inches.

Happy sewing

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

November 2018 Bee Block Round-up

The bees have finished up for another year and in Stash Bee our final queen is Morgan (@cedacanthus). She asked for the Not Quite a Sawtooth Star in navy and yellow from Coriander Quilts. I really enjoyed making this block and I’m looking forward to seeing how the quilt comes together. You’ll notice that I raided my late spring garden for some of these photos. I kind of like the effect it gives.

October’s queen for Stash Bee was Velda (who I’m also in Bee Inspired with) at Freckled Fox Quiltery. Velda used a tutorial she came up with as part of a blog hop to make these houses in a sort of Halloween theme. I’ve used a pumpkin fabric but my cats in the attic are more crazy cat lady than scary black cats. I saw this Modern Fans quilt made using the same pumpkin fabric so I’m inspired. Maybe a Halloween cushion wouldn’t go astray.

The background fabric is Magic Castle Plans from Michael Miller fabrics and is one of the many many fabrics I have picked up at my local quilt store sales as it prepares for closing. The chain has now announced the closing dates for all but two of its stores and one of the remaining ones is my local. I’m pretty much shopped out now though and I desperately need to just sew it all up. Live in Australia or New Zealand? You can get the same bargains (50% off already discounted-for-Australia prices till Sunday followed no doubt by their next sale) at their on-line store. They have ridiculously poor photos but if you know any of the fabrics you might be able to pick some out that you fancy. Like castle plans.

Bee Inspired finished last month with Queen Kate from Smiles from Kate. She came up with a  tutorial for these simple blocks made using two 2 ½ inch strips. I had some batik jelly roll strips in my stash and they were just right for these blocks.

Signups are open for Stash Bee 2019 at the moment. I feel extraordinarily guilty about living so far away from the majority of bee participants any time I get a block that has been posted as a parcel instead of as a letter so I’m not signing up again. I highly recommend the experience if you’re on the fence about it.

We are all staying together again for a third year in Bee Inspired but we are shaking things up in 2019 and running activities rather than bees. This will work out better for some of us who have other commitments that take priority over bee blocks. We’re going to be sewing charity quilt blocks, making a mini sampler and running a couple of challenges. If you fancy playing along we’d be glad to have you and the schedule is here if you're curious. Follow the blog for further updates.

Happy sewing

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Making Progress #4

Tish from Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland revealed the design for the Fireburst Mystery Quilt last week so the top of I’ve been working on can be put together. This is it as of the weekend when I took some photos of my progress. I put mine together in an alternative way to the instructions and I ended up with quarters that then need the central strip between them. 

There’s still plenty of time to make one before the final round-up on New Year’s Eve. A list of all the different instructions can be found from this page. Naturally Tish has made umpteen different versions of this quilt so there’s plenty of inspiration.

Earlier this year I put my hand up to become part of a team to work on a Quiltcon charity quilt. The theme this year is small piecing (less than 1”) and we need to make a twin size quilt minimum 65” by 88”. This is the colour palette everyone is using.

I’m in a group of 4 (eeeek!) and since one of our group is going to be doing the quilting that leaves 3 of us to do the piecing. We’ve had some communication problems, or lack of communication problems, that meant there was little brainstorming done at the design stage and a quick decision needed to be made so we went with doing a sampler using traditional blocks. I was able to talk the others into using very wide solid borders so that means each of us is making four 15” sections.
I’ve been putting together blocks to be made into sections later. This is what I’ve made so far (excuse all the dangling threads).

 A hovering hawk

A block that was called the Amish block on Pinterest

I’ve put together four crosses and losses blocks to make ‘one’ because by this stage I was starting to look for quicker cheats to fill the space.

I have plans to turn these small plusses and 9 patches into one large section.

And a winged square because I could use the 8 at a time HST method by making it in two colours.


Wednesday, 3 October 2018

September 2018 Bee Block Round-up

The Modern Christmas trees block has been on my bucket list must-makes for a while now and making a couple of blocks for September’s Stash Bee Queen Dawn hasn’t changed my mind. These were a fun and simple block. 

The tutorial by Amy from Diary of a Quilter is really easy to follow and the technique couldn’t be simpler and has me thinking that there must be plenty of  other shapes that could be done like this. Amy already has the Modern Basket block which I’m definitely planning on making. 

And in Bee Inspired this month we have two Queens. Irene asked for 16 inch log cabin blocks made up of 1 inch strips (tutorial here) in whites and off-whites

And Janice requested house blocks using Sandra from mmm! Quilts pattern (free!).

I made a second one on behalf of Kate from Smiles from Kate who is out of action for a while at least. We’re all hoping she makes a speedy recovery and in the meantime we’re taking it in turns to make angel blocks.

Happy sewing

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Bloggers Quilt Festival 2018 ++ Celestial ++

It’s time for the annual Bloggers Quilt Festival hosted by Amy from Amy’s Creative Side.

This quilt is Celestial that I made for the Modern Plus Signs Quilts book hop (you can find more details and photos here) and then gifted to my Dad who was thrilled with it and proudly sent me a photo of it on their bed.

I used 9 blocks to make a 72” square version and quilted it with a simple grid two inches apart. It gives great texture. I was really impressed with how it looked on my spare bed so this pattern is definitely on my to-do list for myself.


Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Happy Go Lucky Progress


The Happy Go Lucky Sew-along is winding up and I have finished the blocks set out in the pattern. I’m going to be making it wider than the original so I still need to possibly add in a few more blocks. Sharon’s been giving us alternative blocks every week as we go through so I’ll be heading back through those to pick out some extras.

To finish up we made flying geese and sawtooth stars. I’ve always dreaded making flying geese and so I lashed out and bought an EZ Flying Geese ruler. You can make geese from 2 to 6 ½ inches finished with this tool and everything is cut from a strip of fabric, cut the corners off and the pieces fit nice and snugly together for simple sewing. And they turn out perfectly.

Along with the hera marker I think this is a great little tool. Have you got a favourite?


Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Making Progress #2

I feel like I’ve joined all the sew-alongs at the moment. I’m doing three, which is more than enough of a juggle for me! First one, and the one that has really got away from me is the Firefly Quilt. The pattern is by Pen and Paper Patterns and was the Patterndrop offering for July. I was immediately and irresistibly drawn to this pattern because of the glowing effect the firefly bodies have and the way they seem to swarm on the quilt. I’ve never seen a firefly, apparently they live in some forests on the east coast of Australia but not here in the west. I’ve made one test block and the rest are sitting in a pile at cutting stage while I try and keep up with..

The Happy Go Lucky Sew-along. This sampler quilt is designed by Sharon at Yellow Cat Quilt Designs. I’ve been running one or two weeks behind all the way along with this one. I’m going with a spring green background which I bought thinking it was mint (the quilt store was a little dark and it was a rainy day). I stalked the Instagram feed of Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts for inspiration on colour schemes before I started since she seems to be a big fan of this shade of green. Other fabrics are from my stash including some charms from the Blush Metallic collection and Grandale by Australian designer, Keira Job and mini charms from the very lovely FrontPorch.

And last but not least is the far more relaxed pace of Tish’s Fireburst Mystery Quilt-along. I changed my mind about fabric selection several times before finally settling on a scrappy version. This gives me the added bonus of being able to make the larger size and I don’t need to go shopping for it.

Not that I haven’t been shopping! A local chain of fabric/craft supplies/window treatments stores decided to close its bricks and mortar stores and go on-line. This is most upsetting since they sell (a limited selection of) good quality quilting fabric at much reduced prices for Australia and they often discount beyond that. Anyway they announced they would be closing their stores back in March with the last store due to close at the end of July, and gradually their stores have been closing one at a time. Here we are in August and my local branch is still open with no closing date although the ‘for lease’ sign and the fact they’ve sold off a lot of fittings says they will. Anyway, with the idea in mind that I’ll no longer be able to just pop down there I’ve been attending every sale. They rotate stock through the remaining stores and bring in the stock from closed stores so there’s always new stuff coming in. What’s a girl to do? I’ve been buying and I need to use it! Scrappy is probably going to become my style for some time to come!

Anyway, I’m liking the way this is coming together. It’s a bit of a first for me, using a scrappy low volume background on anything bigger than a bee block. There’s still plenty of time to join this one, since the final parade is not till New Years Eve.

What’s your limit on sew-alongs?