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. 

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!

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