Monday, September 26, 2016

Fancy Forest Finish and a Polka Dot Tea Sale




After being obsessed with this quilt over the last month, this morning I finished hand sewing down the binding after quilting it on Sunday morning.  I was so please to find that not only did I still have enough wood grain fabric (an old Joel Dewberry print I had hoarded in my stash) for the backing, but that I already had a wood grain quilting pattern in my library.  For anyone that would like to find this pattern for use on their own long arm machine (or to let their long arm quilter know) you can find the pattern here. It was quite an easy one to quilt out (at least on my machine it was quite reasonable).
I do not claim the idea for this quilt.  This quilt is exactly as the one created and made by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Franson, who I have been following for many years now.  As soon as I saw the pattern I knew it was something I would have to copy and make. My excuse is that I needed to make a "sample" for the shop. Well, it's also another one for the boys, who are my greatest fans and love everything that I make for them. They are so sweet, I hope they feel the same way about my quilts in years to come.

So, already I am plotting and planning my next quilt.  Tula Pink's Slow and Steady range arrived in the shop early this month and it has been an amazing explosion of colour starting at me in the face every day.  Here are the fabrics mixed with Michael Miller Cotton Couture that I also keep in the shop due to the amazingly vibrant colors and soft hand of the fabric--hands down my favourite solid to work with!


If you would like to stop by Polka Dot Tea use the coupon code FANCYFOREST until the end of September for 15% off of your entire order. I would love if you would stop by, I'm only advertising this sale through my blog and I will be excited to see my readers there!

So, here is a sneak peek of my next project using these yummy fabrics...

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Working on Fancy Forest and New Direction



I'm starting to get organised again gradually and all I can think of doing is making quilts.  That's good, right?  That's why I started this blog in the first place, a desire to share and journal my projects and I have missed doing that these last few years.  I also miss writing things down.  Life has gotten all a bit fast these days with all the avenues that social media has to offer, but blogging is slightly slower paced with an almost old school paper and pen feel about it.  I'm laughing to myself as I write that as maybe that is stretching it just a bit.

I've slowed down a lot with my own projects over the last years, largely due the kids being just at that age where is a lot to do with them every day, but also because I was in the middle of taking on two businesses.  I've been long arm quilting five years now and started up Polka Dot Tea three years ago with my friend Danielle.  Now that has changed since Danielle went back to work full time.  I had to decide what I wanted to do, continue quilting or take on the shop all on my own.  I did have a long hard think about it and what I wanted to do as starting an online fabric shop was not necessarily something I had planned to do, but rather it evolved.  In the end, I decided that I am just far too passionate about fabrics to not continue with it.  So, onward Polka Dot Tea!

So, slowing down the long arm quilting will enable me to focus a bit more and make some clear decisions on what I would like to do with the shop.  Also, I'm hoping to fit in some more time sewing with all the fabrics I now have access to!  It's why I'm here, I like to make quilts. I like color and design and playing with fabric.

This photo is what is currently on my design wall and I'm getting close now to putting it all together.  If you are not already familiar with it, it is a quilt designed by Elizabeth Hartman called Fancy Forest and rather deceptively is not made using the foundation paper piecing method but is all traditional cutting and sewing.  I can also add that it is rather fun to make!  Actually, extremely fun to make. I decided I liked the original quilt so much that I would just make mine as she made hers.  I had the kits in the shop, so why not?  I have the pattern in the shop here, if you are inspired to make one as well.  I hope to update soon with the finished quilt!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Cotton and Steel Scrappy Trip Quilt




Wow!  It has been a very long time since I have posted anything on this blog!  I guess with Instagram, Facebook and other forms of social media that Blogs are not as popular as they once were.  Still, I have to admit I miss posting here, so here I am.  Also, I hate to admit this but I am also posting here today to actually see if I can remember how to do it!

I thought I would show you one of my quilt finishes this year.  It's the Scrappy Trip Quilt first promoted by Bonnie K. Hunter which became a very popular Quilt Along a few years ago.  The Scrappy Trip quilt is one that looks more labour intensive than it actually is and that is what is so addictive about this quilt!  It is built by sewing strips together, not individual pieces.  Bonnie has the free pattern (just click on her name as I have linked you directly to the pattern).

I made this particular Scrappy Trip quilt using all fabrics by Cotton and Steel, one of my favourite fabric manufacturers.  I love the colours, the quality of the cottons as well as the wonderful whimsical prints that the designers create.

Ok, now that I think I have warmed myself with this blog post, I think I will be updating more often again!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Steam Punk Finish



This week I finished the very last bit of sewing down the binding on my epic Steam Punk quilt that I started early in the year last year.  It's been a long and enjoyable journey. Each block was an adventure in choosing fabric. For the sashing choice, I used a fabric from our shop, Polka Dot Tea, called Melange Yarn Dye in black, which is very much like Essex Yarn Dye in black only that it is a much finer weave and has less imperfections. It's now my go to fabric for adding a bit of a textural look in my project (sorry, it's sold out in black in the shop - we are waiting for the next shipment).

I do admit that I struggled a bit with making them look random and scrappy. I really struggled to get the look that Jen Kingwell had with hers, but by the end it was happening almost as if by accident and I was pleased with the perfectly imperfect look of the quilt.   

I quilted this on my Gammill Statler Stitcher using a pattern called "Water Drops" which I think suits this quilt very well. I had debated for a long while about whether to custom quilt this or not, but in the end I felt that custom quilting it would be too "fussy" and against what I was trying to achieve with this quilt.  The quilting provides the movement that I was hoping to achieve. All in all, I'm now very pleased with this finish and am now inspired to finish work on my Midnight at the Oasis quilt.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Red Letter Day Quilt Finish


Not very long ago I attended the Camille Roskelley workshop that was being held at Kim Bradley's in Sydney.  Our task was to make the Red Letter Day quilt that she designed based on a traditional block.  Mine is (as per usual) not exactly like the original, I made mine a bit larger in a 4 x 4 layout instead of a 3 x 3 layout.  I also did not do the reverse block, but went for a rainbow layout instead.

I have to admit, I'm quite pleased with this quilt, I used all fabrics from our shop Polka Dot Tea, in particular the Japanese Kei florals and the Cotton Couture in Bright White.  This quilt is the perfect way to welcome in Spring.  I have to admit, I am probably one of the very few that is sad when winter comes to an end. Our winters here are short and sweet and I enjoy the cosy warm fires and the short days where my husband can't work the late hours in the dark.  To be honest though, I love every season and whatever season I am in I usually think is the best.  Sort of like the best quilt is the one just finished!

In case any one was wondering, the class with Camille Roskelley was great, she taught us a few tricks to sewing more efficiently and quicker and basically was just a lot of fun to be around.  We had a good group and I would recommend a class with her. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Courthouse Blues Quilt





A few months ago Down Under Quilts asked if I would make a blue and white quilt for their Blue and White issue #164.  I thought it was a perfect chance for me to get back to a simpler colour scheme than the usual multi colour scrappy look that I tend to go for.  I decided to make something completely bold and geometrical using solids and a simple classic block, "Courthouse" to make this quilt.  By the way, I've just realized that it is very very tricky to photograph, but you get the idea.  It's now back home and is now the personal quilt of my second son who declared that this is mommy's bestest quilt because it is blue which is his favourite colour. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

DS Wonky Quilt Finish


This is a quilt that I have had nearly finished for a long time.  Like many of my quilts, I finish attaching the binding and then it sits in the corner waiting for me to get to the hand sewing part.  I like the hand sewing, but usually when I have time at night to do it I am way too tired!  This particularly quilt was hard to motivate myself to do the last bit as I had completely lost interest in the quilt.  I'm not sure why, but once I finished the binding, I started to like it again.  It has a certain freshness about it that I am liking again.  I have plans to give this one away, but it is now going to be harder than I thought!  Do you also go through a process of liking, not liking and then liking your projects again?  Heh heh, sometimes my projects stay not liked too. 

Happy Fourth of July everyone in the States!  It's also the day we were married, but here in Australia it's tomorrow, so we celebrated yesterday.  Did you follow that?  I'm having a bit of a laugh as I write this because I'm always getting my celebration wishes, birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc a day late since Australia's time zone is ahead of North America.  :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

New York Beauty Circle of Flying Geese Finish


I finished this New York Beauty Circle of Flying Geese last night.  I'm so pleased with the result.  I was determined to practice a bit of my free motion skills on the machine with this piece, which I find fun but yet still intimidating.  I think I just need to practice, which is hard to do when I'm loading quilts for clients everyday.  I've decided to reserve the machine one day a week just for working on my own quilts so that I can get a bit of time to practice.  I think the key to getting a handle on the free motion quilting is to learn a few quilting designs that are easy and that you are comfortable with and then gradually add from there.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

New York Beauty Circle of Flying Geese

I haven't stopped sewing around here, in fact I have had quite a number of finishes lately that I'm just waiting for an opportunity to take some photographs. 

In the meantime I have finished this little mini, a New York Beauty Circle of Flying Geese.  You can find the pattern by Better off Thread here.  I had a lot of fun with this pattern, I used up the tiniest bits of scraps of Liberty that I had leftover from cutting hexies for another project and combined it with the Melange Yarn Dye fabric that I got from here.  The Melange is beautiful to work with as it has the look of linen but is 100% cotton and sews beautifully without the fraying that occurs with linen.  I adapted this pattern by appliqueing the centers instead of the four separate pieces. 

Originally I had wanted to make this into a cushion cover as I've been told I make all of my projects too big and that it is ok if I do a few smaller ones once in a while.  So, what happens? I try to make a small cushion cover and even that ends up too big!  I have to laugh.  Oh well.  I hope to quilt this this afternoon once I decide how I will do it.  This could be a bit of a challenge for me.  

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. 

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