Monday, 29 June 2009


It's done! Well, the quilting, at least. I still have to trim, bind and label it. Here are a few photos of the quilting from the back.
The square above is just over 24in; the feathered heart is 10.5in across at its widest point. It's far from perfect, but the imperfections are less obvious from the front, where the fabric
is busier. I marked the heart's spine, and the inner and outer hit-lines in a blue clover water-soluble pen. It went on well, and after taking these photos, I pressed a wet cloth over ther heart, and it seems to have come out well - though it's still wet now. I varied a little from what I could remember we decided to do, because when I tested out some of the ideas on scraps, they looked wrong. The leaves worked well, though.

So far I've spent about 9 hours on it. I'll show the whole thing once the binding is on.

Friday, 26 June 2009


There's room to swing a cat through my new machine!
Or at least, a toy poodle, with the assistance of a treat! Thanks, Shadow.
That's the full width of a large king-size quilt slipped (yes, slipped) through there. I didn't roll or squash it, and there's still plenty of room to move. Ahhhhh.


James 'butterflying' for Nanny last night (note the 'antlers'!):
It was quite a routine, complete with singing (and a lot of giggles and shrieks!).

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


Sometime over summer, my brother-in-law's mother-in-law (who I do know quite well) asked me if I'd take on a quilting job; her neighbour (I think) had pieced a queen-size top years ago, and just wanted it finished. I agreed, and they brought it up one night to discuss options (and consume Baileys and chocolate!). She already had the backing, and I got the batting immediately.

From the start I knew to would be a while before I got around to it; I already had several looming deadlines. Then I ordered my new machine, and it seemed silly to tackle such a big quilt on my old machine when I had one with so much more space on the way. Then there were the frustrations with the machine, and some smaller projects. Now I feel I'd better get on with this.
In three hours tonight, I've pieced the back (you can see a little of it folded over at the top right) pressed the lot, and sandwiched and pinned it all. And discovered that it is really a large king-size quilt!

Monday, 22 June 2009


I finished Obsession, complete with its finnicky flange/binding combination over the weekend, and took it and another 3 quilts outside to photograph properly.
I'm still undecided about its final destination. I had thought about it being my contribution to the ALQS3 Art Quilt Swap but am not sure it's arty enough and may make something else.
Above is a close-up of the centre quilting, and below is the a corner of the binding and peeper border/flange - which worked so well I'm nearly finished adding the same to my other quilt.

And here are a couple of details of the McTavishing - click on any image for a closer look. I've just ordered a couple of Karen's books (and a few children's titles) from the Book Deposoitory.

More about Obsession here.

Friday, 19 June 2009


Here's the next McTavished applique wallhanging. I've decided an appropriate name for it is Obsession!
These photos were again taken inside, in the wee hours of the morning. I might get outside tomorrow with a stack of quilts and photograph them properly if the weather stays fine. After machine appliqueing using clear monofilament, I first quilted closely around all the applique, something I should have done on the last one. Then I got stuck into the McTavishing. Lots of good practice. I prefer the way the quliting radiates out with the design of the first quilt, but I'm happy with this, too.
And I'm happy to report almost no skipped stitches. I had stocked up on quilting needles, but am going to have to go and get the embroidery ones (with the larger eye) as that's the one that seems the most effective. There was one in the selection that came with the machine, and it's not going to last long at this rate!
I'm preparing the binding for these two. I have what would appear to be the perfect stripe (in terms of colours) for this one, but it just doesn't work, so I'm going with one of the fairy frosts. I'm also taking Simon's comments on board, and am adding a narrow flange peeper border of another fairy frost as I go - I hope I can keep it even. I'm suspicious that fairy frosts mightn't be the easiest to handsew down on the back, but I hope I don't have too much trouble, as the other is being bound in another colour of the same!

Thursday, 18 June 2009


This is what's currently under the needle; a new mini applique project to McTavish.
Margaret was spot-on with her suggestion of ivory over white for this one, but I'm still dithering between this and the black and white stripes in the post below.
Meanwhile, I have something to work on!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


I've settled on a layout (this was my favourite, and it seemed a popular choice, though they all got votes) but a comment from Margaret prompted me to audition several backgrounds other than white-on-white. I want to use white-on-white because I'm desperate to do more McTavishing...
... but this is awfully effective:
So I'm putting it aside while I consider a) how I might quilt the second option and b) another design I can McTavish! What do you think?


Ultimtely I had so much fun quilting that last project, I can't wait to get this one ready to start on it! So tonight I worked out the next quilt - or so I thought. Progress was hampered by ironing one of the vliesofix pieces the wrong way up! And it took a long time to decide on a palette. This was what I had in mind:

It'll also go on a white-on-white background.

But while laying the pieces out to photograph for this, one idea led to another... I think I have a favourite, but I'm open to suggestion, which do you like best?





Now to decide and get the applique done quickly so I can get back to that quilting...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


After my big whinge last night, and some helpful responses both here and from the SCQuilters, I'm starting to think the machine might be ok after all, and I really do need just to adjust to it better! I had only a few instances of skipped stitches tonight, and finished the quilting on this wallhanging. This photo was taken at an angle to show the quilting from the back. It's yet to be trimmmed and bound, and I'm mulling over a name.
I've decided to keep it for myself, and am only posting peeks, because I'm considering entering it in the SA quilt show this November.
My quilting still needs plenty of practice (click on a photo to scrutinise more closely!), but only a month ago, I wouldn't have imagined I could achieve this, so I'm happy again.

Sunday, 14 June 2009


Here's the next peek at my current WIP. The colour's not that good, because I took them photos under lights, without flash, to show the quilting. It's actually a pure white background!
I'm having my first serious attempt at McTavishing, and am actually pretty pleased with how it's comng along.But the frustration comes in because although this machine is much smoother to FMQ with than my old one (and I believe that, coupled with the extra space, is allowing me to quilt better), it keeps skipping stitches. After a bit of research, it seems I'm not the only one having this trouble with this machine. But the only suggested solutions I've come across relate to changing things which are working fine most of the time, and the changes I have tried have made no improvement.

I would consider myself a competent FMQer, but as I quilt, it will stitch along beautifully for a while, then seemingly randomly skip anything from one to maybe 15 stitches. I can see from the holes the needle has left that I have been moving the quilt at a consistent speed. It usually happens when I'm moving the quilt sandwich towards myself, so effectively when it's sewing 'backwards'. But I can also sew backwards without it happening, and sometimes it happens when I'm going in other directions as well. Speed appears irrelevant; it can occur anywhere from full speed to very slow stitching.

I'm using good quality thread, a new quilting needle, and have adjusted the pivot level as low as I can without hampering movement the quilt sandwich. I've tried a jeans needle with a larger eye, wiht no success. The embroidery needle (also with a larger eye) appears a little better in that there are fewer skipped stitches, but us that, the top thread has broken twice, so it's not entirely satisfactory, either. I've had the dealer look and confirmed I have it threaded correctly and am using the right settings. They also confirmed the timing is not out.

I'm really disappointed at this point; my new machine was supposed to be fun and make FMQing easier, and right now it's just a frustration. I don't want to have to go back to the old machine (though I'm more that happy I've kept it!) but I'm not happy with what I've currently got for the expense of a top-of-the-line machine, especially from a brand I (at least used to) trust.

I'd love to hear any tips from people who've overcome the problem. I'd also be interested to hear if there are any upcoming FMQ classes in Adelaide, or from a professional quilter who'd be willing to do a private lesson, in the hopes I could nut it out with some expert assistance.


Here are a couple of peek at my current quilt. T this stage last night I was only halfway through the applique. That's now finished, and I'm in negotiations over the quilting with my new machine.

Monday, 8 June 2009

The other raffle quilt design

After a lot of playing around with 'boy' designs I wasn't happy with, I've decided to go in a completely different direction and make a unisex beach theme for the second child care raffle quilt.

Below is a very rough approximation of the design in EQ5. I'm simplifying the process a little by making it a row quilt. The final size is approximately 54x60in.
Now if only I could make some fabric choices, I could get started!

Sunday, 7 June 2009


James went to a fairy birthday party yesterday. There's not much cuter than a selection of 2-3 year old girls in their fairy outfits.
Except perhaps one delighted 3 year old boy!
At last he has his own set of fairy wings, and luckily there hasn't been a murmur yet that his aren't pink or purple!

Nearly Two

Here is the gorgeous shrug that Corrie made for Eleanor. She asked for a couple of simple measurements, and it fits perfectly.
It's a while since I took more than quick photos of either her or James, so I took the opportunity to try and get a few while she was clean, dressed nicely, and had neat hair. My little girl is growing up!
She had lots of fun, but wouldn't stay in front of the nice, plain wall!
Here she is showing me her pigtails:
And just to show I like to dress her in other colurs whenever I can, here sh is at Light's Vision last Tuesday. It was actually only just getting dark, but the flash makes it look much later. She's very adventurous and loves to climb.

Sunday Stash

This week's stash enhancement brought to you by Amy, Lila, Sandi and Valori...

Stash = 1.196km

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Double vision

While my blog has been quiet this week, I have been alternating between headaches and quilting. With so many quilts on my to-do list, I decided to bend one of my 'rules' towards breaking point. I don't like to make 2 quilts the same, but decided to make 2 maverick star baby play quilts in one go, all using blues for the points and the same black on white swirls as the background.
I designed the quilts in a 4x4 layout, and made the requisite 32 blocks in a couple of evenings, using different fabrics for the star centres for each quit. It wasn't until I was laying them out that I realised I'd made 12in blocks instead of the 9in blocks I'd had in mind! The original idea has also been to add a couple of borders, but these were huge without. I tried a 3x3 layout, but it just didn't work, so I called Simon in, and actually followed his suggestion of a 3x4 layout; I'd been so stuck on square I hadn't considered it, though all my quilts were rectangular until 18 months ago, when I 'discovered' the advantages of making some square.
I put them together quickly, and quilted one through the week. Then last night I did a late-night quilt-along with a few EB friends (although those WA girls made a poor showing!) and got the other sandwiched and quilted (a different quilting design, in the vain hope it might make them less the same!), and the binding added to both, ready to be handsewn on the back later.
That left me with 3 quilts at this stage, including this mini surprise, which may look vaguely familiar as well:
Tonight I've handsewn the binding on one, but am giving my hands some variation and am having a break doing some knitting (just a quick scarf using chunky 'wool') for James, before I start the next.
Hmm, I may have broken my 'rule' twice right there!