Sunday, 31 July 2011

Elephant Feathers

Here is the finished Elephant quilt for my sister.

It's to replace her old quilt; the first I finished (in about 1993) - a blue and green version of this one below (large single bed quilt sideways on our king bed), which I made for myself straight after hers was done. Hers is showing even more signs of love and wear than mine, after 18 years of good use!

The feature fabric is form Valori Wells' Bliss flannels (And in a recent peek Valori shared, her next range has more elephants in it!).

I mixed in a selection of tone-on-tones, including a lovely snowflake, and a wonderfully rich deep blue floral.

I'm really pleased with the effect of the central octagon - adjusting the 'corner' octagon blocks to more evenly balance the length of all 8 sides was really effective.

It's quilted in my current favourite pettern - the meandering open feather. It's left it nice and snuggly, which is exactly what this quilt is for!

I've printed out the label, along with five others (2 A4 sheets) and need to continue my label-attaching marathon (I sewed on 3 the other day!) to get this and a few other quilts out to their new owners.

Friday, 29 July 2011

More 'It's a Hoot' quilts

Here are the other two quilts I quilted for Nell, both using Moda's 'It's a Hoot' fabrics:

This large lap quilt which added red and white polkadodts and a white solid to the mix had a few technical issues, partly becuse the Kona white which Nell had even cut to size went on an unplanned 'holiday', and she needed to use a lighter weight fabric instead. I decided it needed something simple and organic which would disguise the difficulties, and went with my current favourite - a freehand meandering open feather.

The second quilt is going to Quilts for Queensland, and was nice and evenly pieced.

I decided to try a variation of the meandering open feather and came up with this rather heart-shaped version with a pointed dip in the top of each plume.

This worked out really well; it actually quilts up faster than the original version, and the dip in the middle adds a lot of flexibility into the shape of the plume (for fitting into/filling odd gaps) and I was thrilled with how it worked out - I'll definitely be using this again sometime!

I decided to quilt the centre and the border separately; the centre uses beige Bottomline thread, top adn bottom.

The border is the original open feather in a straight line, with an irregular wavy 'spine' for interest, using an aqua thread to match the border fabric - Aurifil on top and Bottomline in the bobbin. These two differences help define the areas more clearly on the back. I really like the overall effect of the different border treatment, but I actually like the centre quilting much better than the border.

The backing was a lightweight twill-type fabric, which distorted easily, so took a little longer to sandwich, but it ran through the mahcine smoothly and without problem. Because of it's tendency to distort, it did create a tiny pucker on the back, but not enough to worry about in a utilitarian quilt - it still looks lovely.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Colourque Quilting

Yesterday I had a big pile of quilts to photograph, so I took everything out to the back verandah and set up properly - I even used a spirit level to apply the carpet tape to the wall to attach the top and sides, so they'd be hung straight and square for a change!

A few weeks ago, Nell delivered three quilt tops for me to quilt for her; she collected two this morning. This first one is for her elder daughter (who has been anxiously awaiting it, and is likely to sleep under it tonight, unbound though it remains as yet!). It has a beautiful colourque centre which I believe Nell started at a workshop with local quilter Helen Stubbings, a technique where the design appears to be appliqued, but is actually just coloured inside the hand-stitched lines using special pencils - the exception is the hearts, which are true applique.

Most of the quilt has an allover freehand feathered spiral pattern, but for the centre block I quilted closely around the colourque, including the tiny circles, then filled the background with a tiny meandering feather (most of the plumes are well under an inch long).

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Dusk at Falls Creek

We spent last week at the snow; I took this photo on our first evening. We stayed in the building at the front right, but our windows are around the other side; we look out in the same direction as the photo and to the right, over one of the main access lifts. This is at the base of the resort; the entry is below the bottom right fo the image, and the bulk of the village is over and up the hill in the background.

I don't have a huge amount of photos, as the weather often wasn't condicive to having cameras out, and I used the video more than my SLR- but there are some more coming.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Henna Garden news

It's no secret that Sandi Henderson is one of my favourite designers (I'm champing at the bit for the release of Secret Garden), and her Farmer's Market is my favourite range. Well, the Henna Garden print which debuted in Farmer's Market is making a reappearance!

Towards the end of the year, Sandi is going to re-release the most popular colourways of Henna Garden, along with some new colours!

I have all the past and current colours in my stash already, but hate to run out of any - now I can use them with abandon! Consider this post to be me staking my place at the head of the queue for the re-release...

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Swirling feathers

Nell brought me a few quilt tops to quilt the other week, with the request that I start with this one for her daughter. I'm hoping to get it done in the next few days. It's sashed Robyn Pandolph squares set around a beautiful larger Colourque centre block, which I'll custom quilt. For the allover quilting I'm using baby pink BottomLine thread in the top, and a slightly darker peachy-pink in the bobbin - it matches the bakcing better, but is similar enough to the top thread that it doesn't show through.

It wanted something soft and feminine, but I thought I should do something different from the meandering open feathers I used on Nell's last quilt, and which I currently love! This design was inspired by one I saw on Jenny's blog and seemed like a good balance between free-form and feathers.

It took a while to get ready to quilt; partly because the seams were all over the place and needed careful pressing. The other reason was this:

There were loose threads all over the back, and a lot of them coming through the seams to the front (this is just a small sampling). I think both of these were partly the nature of the fabric; while lovely to touch, it appears to fray  snd distort more easily than most quilting cottons - possibly a trade-off for the softness, which I have to say is certainly lovely to quilt. Even though a quilt can get all folded up when being delivered, it's still well worth pressing your top thoroughly before it goes to your quilter. And have a check over your top for stray threads - they're much harder to remove later if they get caught in the quilting.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Eleanor is 4!

Eleanor turned four on Friday! She's had a few celebrations, starting the previous Saturday when my family came (they left very early on her actual birthday for the snow, so it had to be early) and we had cake number one.

Then on her birthday Simon's parents came up and brought another cake with them!

It's always a relief when your children open their presents and are thrilled; we got it right this year!

We bought Eleanor an easel and a selection of paints and other art supplies, a stack of puzzles, and a few jewellery trinkets.

Then on Sunday we had a party for her, which entailed a dozen fairies/butterflies flitting around our living room for several hours. They were the noisiest butterflies I've ever come across! Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of them all in their wings; it was a very busy afternoon!

I took inspiration from Corrie's blog, and gave them pre-iced cupcakes with a big selection of sweets and decorations, and they decorated their own.

Then we put them all on the tiered stand, for an instant cake without the fuss of decorating it myself - perfect. Of course, the unrehearsed effect of the sparklers triggering the smoke alarm was a bit unnecessary...

After the guets went we did a little tidying up and had a quick early dinner, popped James and Eleanor into the bath and then (unbeknownst to them) into bed over an hour early!

Happy 4th Birthday our darling girl! We hope the coming year is as much fun as the last.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


This is Whispers, a play quilt I've made for my new cousin. I took it outside for some photos last week, and now it just needs a label, then I can send it off to England.

I chose again to use colouring to create a medallion-style effect from a standard block layout.

Can you pick what blocks I used?

It takes a while looking at it to spot the layout, which I like.

Quilts should encourage you to look deeper. One of the first things I do when looking at pieced quilts is to try and work out the blocks and how it was pieced; partly it's curiosity, partly I like the challenge!

One of my favourite parts is these modified log-cabin quarters I used as the setting triangles:

The fabrics, apart from the cream background, are from Michele D'Amore's 'Habitat' line for Benartex.

It was a lovely day, though since I took these photos it's been cold and wet again (this is good news; the weather patterns move from here across to the alpine areas and Falls Creek had over 20cm of snow today and is expecting up to 50cm tomorrow and more throughout the week - just what we want in the lead up to skiing!).

I mentioned when I was quilting this that on Simon's recommendation i used a gumleaf motif to reflect the ciolours fo the quilt, so I took a few photos with eucalyptus and the pale blue sky of a really hot (or somewhat cool in this case!) day:

Simon was right; the colours are spot-on!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Quilting outside the block

Here are some images of the quiting I've been doing, from the back so the quilting shows better.

The quilting itself is far from perfect, but it creates a good pattern, and I'm really pleased with the way I designed the quilting around the spaces rather than the square blocks. The image below shows a 'unit' of quilting, which is equal in space to one block, but does not fill a square block space.

I've quilted most of the units in pairs, and am now going around the edge, quilting the individual units.

For comparison, below is the same photo, with the blocks (and narrow sashing) roughly marked in purple:

From the front, it would be ideal to ditch quilt around each palm, but I really didn't feel like it, and the quilt doesn't need it; it will be a lap quilt not a show quilt!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Building Blocks

This evening I've been reading instead of sewing, but thought I'd finally share with you a quilt I finished months ago, but just haven't got around to blogging! There seem to be a few of these piling up.

Building blocks is about 55in square and has been sitting finished on a shelf with about 20 other quilts, and come Christmas will be for one of the kindergarten staff (the batik palms I've been - and am meant to be - quiting right now is another).

Early in the year I made a stack of crazy-pieced blocks form my bright scraps.

Building Blocks is the first of two quilts from these 50 blocks - the other is not made yet, but I have come up with several designs to choose from to use them.

The quiting took ages (with lots of stops and starts) and isn't quite right (as it was pointed out to me, the design is really too formal for a very informal quilt)- if I were doing it now, I'd just do a fun allover pattern in a light thread, but I was afraid at the time that whatever colour thread I chose for an allover would detract from the white/dark contrast. Instead the quilting, while pretty from the back, is mostly wasted on the front! Oh well, I'm always learning!