Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Star Quilt Finish

Not long ago I started this Star quilt as I really wanted to make something using only fabrics from our shop Polka Dot Tea.  I wanted to make something simple that would showcase the lovely Yuwa and Kei fabrics.  I couldn't help myself, I had to add in the Michael Miller Cotton Couture as well.  Have you worked with Cotton Couture yet?  It is sublime!  It isn't your ordinary solid, the base fabric has a fine weave and it silky to the touch, the colors are rich and vibrant.  Trust me, Danielle and I only sell what we think quilters like to use, in other words, we buy what we like to use! 

I'm also moving towards using a lot more modern quilting designs for my long arm quilting business, I like all over texture with lots of geometry.  I had used this Modern Waves pattern several times and decided I needed to have one of my own quilts done in this pattern as well. 

If you like the look of these fabrics, come check our shop out.  We are also having a 15% off with the coupon code HAPPYDAYS with $20 minimum purchase until Friday the 18th. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bordered Diamond Quilt Finish

I'm still here! I'm nearly caught up with my long list of things that needed to get done!  I did manage to sneak in some time to finish this quilt started at the workshop.  I didn't want to leave it too long to finish so that I would keep the momentum I had from attending the class with Kaffe Fassett. 

I have to say, that though this quilt looks so deceivingly simple in design, there is actually quite a bit involved.  I had it on the design wall for two weeks, cutting and adding to it, rearranging the layout nearly everyday before I was satisfied enough with the layout to sew it up.  Perhaps I did get to the stage where I started to over think the process, but I feel like I learned a lot from making this quilt.  I may try it again in a different colour combination to see if the process is easier the second time around. I also feel inspired to finish off some old Kaffe Fassett projects started years and years ago and possible start another one!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bordered Diamonds Workshop with Kaffe Fassett

 It's been a while since I have posted here mainly due to the fact that I've just barely been able to keep up with life in general due to sicknesses going on here with myself and the kids.  Nothing serious, just constant!  I'm still sewing though, but possibly not getting done everything that I would like to!  Nothing new, right?

I have had the opportunity to attend two workshops the last two weekends. Considering that I have only attended four workshops in my quilting career up until now, it felt like a very busy week!  Last weekend's workshop was with Chris Jurd, which I will blog about next.  This weekend's workshop was with none other than the wonderful Kaffe Fassett!  Nearly as long as I have been quilting, I have wanted to attend a Kaffe Fassett workshop.  I have spent many many hours over the years pouring over his books and dreaming of quilts to make inspired by him. 

When I heard that Addicted to Fabric in Canberra was going to host Kaffe Fassett and run a workshop for the Bordered Diamonds quilt from his book, "Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts", I jumped at the chance.  And I have no regrets!

If anyone is unfamiliar with how Kaffe runs his workshops with his partner Brandon Mably, they are all about the design process and colour placement.  There is no sewing involved, but rather a lot of cutting and placing of fabrics on a design board and then moving and arranging the fabrics around.  For me, this is the most exciting part of quilting, so a workshop dedicated to this process was extremely interesting to me.

The morning started out with a brief introduction and discussion on how it is important that we work quickly and not hesitate or over think what we put up on the design wall. Their mantra is the same as the Nike commercial, "Just Do It".  Most important was that we get something up on the design board and then stand back from quite a distance to look at our work.  They suggested using a reduction glass to look through so that we could see what was working and what wasn't working easily.

For the Bordered Diamonds quilt they suggested that large prints would be most effective and that smaller scale fabrics would be effective to use as the frames for each diamond.  We were to cut the large diamonds out first and get them on the board first and then go back and work on filling in the frames for each large diamond later.

Neither Kaffe or Brandon teach the workshop in a manner that they spend time babysitting what you are doing, but rather there is the feeling (particularly of Kaffe) of someone standing in the background parenting with a bit of gentle guidance here and there.  This method I feel allowed me to be able to work and gain confidence as the day progressed.  After I had placed about 15 diamonds up on my board, Kaffe did wander over and was quickly able to see what the color palette was that I was mainly using.  He picked out about three or four of the darkest diamonds and said that they created too much contrast--too dark against the lightest of the fabrics that I had already had on the board.  It surprised me how simply taking out those diamonds, suddenly made the start of my quilt seem clear and gave me direction as to where I wanted to go with it.

I had brought with me a range of blue/purple, red and yellow/gold fabrics with a desire to try to use yellow in my version of his quilt.  I told Kaffe that I find it tricky to use yellow in general and wanted to concentrate on this as an exploration on how to use it!  Brandon mentioned that next to black and white, yellow is the most difficult color to work with.  Kaffe's suggestion was to add in green, which I didn't bring with me, so I did get the opportunity of having him go "shopping" with me to pick out possible fabrics.  That too, was an educational experience to see how his mind works.  I suggest that if anyone ever gets an opportunity to do a workshop with them to take them up on their suggestions!  It's the easiest way to begin to see what they already know.

Close to lunch time I had already starting working on my borders for each of the diamonds.  The suggestion was not to try and match the border fabric to the large diamond, but rather use instinct and choose the fabric based on what we feel works.  Using a single or two color fabric seemed to work better than using detailed fabrics with many colours.  Here is where I was up to when we broke for lunch:

After lunch we kept working and trying to fill in as much as we could.  Kaffe would walk around the room, sit down on a chair looking very relaxed and just look.  Then he would walk up and point to an area and say, try this here, or this here.  What I got from it was that where there is high contrast next to each other creates a starkness and doesn't let the colours dance together.  Neither should the fabrics blend into each other. It was effective to choose  a different colour for the border than the centre diamond.  There is a subtle play and harmony when it works which allows the integrity of the shape of the diamond to remain clear.  Below is a photo of where I was at at the end of the day. 

He then goes around the room and talks about the process each student went through to create their own palettes.  This was an extremely interesting part of the workshop and fun to see how each person came up with really beautiful palettes of colour.  This is a quilt I would like to try again to see how I could  make it work in a different palette.  Maybe next time I will try a darker palette.  

Here are some photos of what some other ladies in my workshop made during their day at the workshop:

All in all, I was very pleased with the entire experience of the workshop.  It's an educational experience.  Be warned though, Kaffe and Brandon are very disciplined in their approach to teaching and expect you to be on your best behavior!  We had a very nice group, so everything went very smoothly.  At the end we got a chance to have our own books signed by Kaffe and then we rolled up our flannels with our quilt layout to be sewn up at home.  I hope to get mine on my design board in the next week or two so that I can still remember what I learned in the workshop as I finish it!  I want to add another row to each side so that it is the same size as the one in the book, which I believe is approximately 55" x 80".

If you ever get an opportunity to attend a workshop with Kaffe and Brandon, don't hesitate, just do it!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Fireworks Quilt

I've likely been more sick than well in 2013, including most recently dealing with pneumonia that I've decided celebrate the end of 2013 with a Fireworks finish.  I've been working on this quilt, a pattern called "Fireworks" by Camille Roskelley on and off for a while now.  I finished the last block this morning and decided to play around with the blocks making a mosaic in Picassa to test out which layout I might prefer most.  It's much easier than trying to scramble around finding free space on the floor to decide arrangement--each block is 16 inches and so it does take up quite a lot of space in the room.

The fabrics I used in this quilt are a little off my usual beat of late, they are mostly by Tilda with some Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry thrown in.  I am loving the soft feminine look of this quilt.  I hope to get the blocks sewn together soon and on the long arm as I plan to free motion quilt this one and have been looking forward to the practice.

In other news, our shop is having a 20% off of everything sale with a minimum purchase of $24.  Use the code "January" at the checkout.  We would appreciate your business and hope to continue to offer exciting new fabrics in 2014.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Bring Me Flowers BOM

A few months ago (September), I signed up for Amitie's "Bring Me Flowers" BOM a pattern by Jen Kingwell.  I've never done a Block of the Month in which everything was sent out month by month, so I thought I'd try it.  It's also supposed to be done entirely by hand, which I will admit here and now that I have not done.  I will hand piece where necessary, for example, in these blocks I did the applique by hand, but otherwise I haven't yet.  I have to admit, I appreciate the sturdiness of machine sewing, it holds up, it's neat and I enjoy it.  Why mess with that, so half the fun of making these blocks for me has been trying to figure out how I will get around having to sew by hand.  The most challenging so far was sewing the drunkard's paths (which are extremely small) by the machine.  I've used quite a bit of foundation piecing to make these as well.

As far as the fabric selection goes, I have substituted out a couple of the Jen Kingwell fabrics out for fabrics from my own stash here and there just to give it the little bit of extra pop of color that I like.  I'm caught up now and anxiously waiting for the next blocks to arrive!

In the meantime, I've been moving at a glacial pace through the easiest of the borders (the checkerboard border) of my Midnight at the Oasis quilt.  I have half of one side finished and I'm determined to make finishing this border my sewing goal for the week. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Grand Opening of Polka Dot Tea, Giveaway and Shop Discount!

Ok, I have to say first that I do not plan on inundating my blog with post after post about our fabric shop.  I started this blog years ago (nearly 7 now!) as a place to share my personal creativity and life happenings, but this is something I really needed to share.  We decided to do our grand opening sale of Polka Dot Tea -- it just so happened to coincide with the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales.  In celebration of that we are offering a Giveway of 20 fat quarters and a discount on everything in our shop with a minimum $24 purchase.  If you would like the discount code and a chance to win the giveaway, please visit Lily Quilt's blog post here.  Visit our shop here.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Polka Dot Tea

Some of you might not know, but recently my friend Danielle and I have decided to venture into the business of selling fabric here in Australia.  Together we will be Polka Dot Tea, specializing in selling some of the finest fabrics available including Yuwa, Kei and other modern Japanese fabrics.  We will slowly be adding to our shop over the coming months and hope to include fine linens, luxury solids, chambray and Liberty of London to name just a few.  You can see what we have listed in our shop, including these 5 inch charm packs of 40 different Yuwa/Kei prints for a limited period only.  You can 'like' us on Facebook for regular updates or look for us on Instagram @polkadotteafabrics   We look forward to helping you with your material needs!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Midnight at the Oasis Quilt Update

I've been reluctant to do a blog post until I made some decent progress with my latest project, "Midnight at the Oasis" by Jen Kingwell Designs.  It was quite slow going to get all of the applique border done and I did it in several stages over the last couple of weeks and really took my time as I wanted to do it right.  This has been my first real effort at doing applique by hand and I'm quite happy with the result.  I did not do needle turn applique, but instead I used freezer paper for each piece.  That meant quite a lot of tracing!  I ironed my freezer paper to the back side of the fabric and cut quarter inch beyond that and tacked it down with a glue stick.  Then I pinned with tiny applique pins and whip stitched the applique.  I also cut out a slit at the back when I was finished to pull the freezer paper out as I didn't want the bulk to be in the quilt.

I made the Churn Dash blocks at the same time as I was working on the applique.  They measure three inches finished size and took a while to get through as well.  I had a little help from my friends, Merran, Silvia and Danielle, which started out as Merran sending me a "naughty" Churn Dash block for working on this quilt when she says I need to finish my Steam Punk quilt first!  That one is so close to being done, but I'm waiting until closer to Christmas to finish it when I have some more time to spend at the quilting machine working on my own quilts instead of customer ones. 

In other news, my husband and I are just getting through the busy season--we each have spent so much time this year being sick with random colds, stomach bugs and flues that about the happiest moments we are experiencing are when our heads hit the pillow at night!  :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lots of Dots -- Month Three

I have been debating and debating how I would do the New York Beauty block in my Lots of Dots quilt by Chris Jurd.  Although I like the quirkiness of the original as it adds interest to the quilt, I decided in the end that I want to keep mine more uniform--especially if I decide to play with the placement a bit differently in the final layout.  Instead of the four different New York Beauty blocks, I decided to make one four times and sew together as one large radiating sun.  I then found that the center was far too large so I played around with the center and decided to make another of month one's blocks to fit into the center.  Heh, heh, I'm happy with the result now.

I also had forgotten to take a picture of the second block I made from month two, which is shown in the second photo.  I'm trying to keep a little bit of a travel theme with this quilt and will be fussy cutting here and there to try and reflect that.

The third photo shows all the blocks I have made so far all together so you can get an idea of the scale of the various "dots".  I still have to make the second block for month three...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Midnight at the Oasis Quilt

Not long after the needles started to cool from making the Marcelle Medallion quilt from the Liberty Love book, I received in the mail my copy of issue 96 of Quiltmania.  After my friend Danielle posted a picture of her copy of the magazine with the Midnight at the Oasis quilt by Jen Kingwell inside, I knew I would have to have another go at making a Medallion quilt.  Midnight at the Oasis looks even more challenging than Marcelle in that it requires hand applique in some of the borders, which other than appliqueing some circles on my Steam Punk quilt, I have not done before.  It is another "adventure" for me!  With some help from Danielle and a local friend I managed to work out a technique to make the Orange Peels using freezer paper and a glue stick!  It worked, but don't look too closely!  There is plenty of room for improvement with my technique, but I'm going to go easy on myself starting out as I'm sure I'll improve with practice.  Next border is all applique, so I'm looking forward to that!  

If you would like to quilt along with me, please do!  I'm using #midnightoasisqal if you want to find it on Instagram. You can also purchase the pattern from Amitie Textiles here, if you don't want to hunt down the magazine issue.

Total Pageviews