Monday, 28 January 2013


A long weekend with my in-laws at their holiday house makes for happy families. Lots of quality grandparent time for the kids (human and canine; Shadow in particular loves his Pop!). Hours in the spa. Playing with their puppy. Bike rides. Walks to the beach. Sleep-ins. Great food (my contribution the last 2 nights has been dessert; first a creme caramel and then a lemon meringue ice-cream log). Fresh bread for breakfast. Meals outside. Perfect weather (not guaranteed, and often hot, but this trip we're enjoying relatively cool summer days in the mid 20s). And lots of sewing time.

I'm busy quilting a large single bed quilt. I decided on informal feathers in a few places, and these have come out really well - even down to spacing perfectly (by chance) at all 4 corners on the burgundy border (above). I'm working on the swirls for now, but then I have the sand and pink sections to fill with who-knows-what. I hope to be done before we leave on Monday evening, so I'd better get back to it.

I'd be happy to receive suggestions for quilting the pink and sand areas. I want something fairly quick, not too dense, and informal - preferably no marking - and there are a range of odd shapes to fill.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

A Gaggle of Goslings

This quilt is my latest to be published in Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine (Vol 22 No 3; out now).

I had the idea in my head, but it turned out much easier to design and to piece than I'd expected. Well, apart from the fact that when you look at the quilt, you really only see the coloured triangles, and don't quite realise how quickly the background ones add up; there were exactly 1000 pieces in the quilt top!

It's made by alternating two flying geese-based blocks (hence the name) which flow into each other. Although I designed the blocks myself and named them, I expect they're not completely original - it's a simple enough variation on flying geese.

Gander block

Gosling block

I really like the way the two blocks work together to create continuous movement and new patterns.

I chose to quilt this simply with an open, freehand meandering feather. As well as being quick and fun to quilt, it's very flexible - allowing me to quilt around any intersections where there were lots of layers of seams. I also really like the way it looks.

Full instructions can be found from page 74. I'd love to see if you have a go at making your own version of this quilt!

Painting a palette

I've been doing more fabric painting this week, preparing the palette for my next quilt. The problem was, I designed the quilt, and had a very firm idea of what I wanted - then had to find it. (I have this problem often - not just with quilting, but clothes, accessories, gifts, homewares...) Ultimately, I couldn't find anything suitable for the cherry-coloured sunset print in my design.

Luckily I have been empowered by my workshop with Lisa Walton and the Mickey Lawler Skydyes book and DVD to paint and overpaint fabrics.

First up I tried overpainting a rather ugly sunset in yellows and browns. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos before overpainting the whole 2m, and can't find any images online, but the photo above is how it ended up - nice enough, but too brown for my wishes. Later on I used some extra blue paint left from painting the two skies and added to the top half of the piece above - better but still not what I needed. I'll use it for something else another time.

So I started with plain white fabric and tried to create my own. I needed about 1.8m, so cut four, 50cm lengths, which are easier to work with - and fit on my covered foam boards. Above and below are two of these; they varied quite a bit, but all are similar enough to work when cut into the pieces I need. I'm really pleased with the results.

I used a plum, mulberry, grape and grevillea Sun Paints, with a little gold shimmer or sun pearl mixed in or painted over the top in places. I also used a deep burgundy 'daquan' Opulence paint mixed in in places. The closer view below shows the shimmer and sparkle

Below is the palette for my new quilt; the top four are commercial prints, and the lower three are my own hand painted fabrics:

When I was finished painting the blue skies I still had some paint left, so as well as a second go at the originally yellow sunset, I also tried overpainting a piece of the pinky sunset fabric in the palette, which I'll probably end up using in one of my beach scene quilts:

Such possibilities!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Catching up

I originally wrote this on Saturday, but couldn't upload photos. It's no somewhat out of date, so I've had to largely re-write it. It's been another hot day (40C) so staying inside has been the only option. Our house looks quite a sight - the foam insulation sheets I bought recently for quilt purposes have been positioned covering windows from the outside, and any windows without complete blackout curtains have woollen blankets and thick towels pinned over them to minimise the amount of heat coming in. It's very effective, and helps the struggling air conditioner to manage in the extreme heat. My sewing room doesn't get the full benefit of the air conditioning, but I'm enjoying the Dyson air multiplier (i.e. fan!) which Simon bought me for Christmas.

I've been back quilting today, working on this quilt I started just before Christmas. As anticipated, it's a case of slow and steady; I picked a fairly slow design requiring marking and precision, and it's further slowed by frequently having to change the height of the foot to get over bulky seam allowances. Add in a silly wrist accident playing with the children and general holiday/heat lethargy, and there's not much new to show, although it is coming along nicely.

I've finished the pearls in the blocks and am now doing those in the background areas, but then I need to go back and finish feathering outside the pearls in 2 of the 4 blocks. The remainder of the white background will be quilted with a filler - NOT pebbles though!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Photo problems

I'm here, I'm quilting, and I'm trying to blog, but blogger won't allow me to upload photos, even though I'm nowhere near the storage capacity (oh, and BTW, that has recently been increased 5-fold to 5MB for those on the blogspot).

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2012 at Sampaguita Quilts

I'm welcoming the New Year in the way I intend to continue; quilting.

As 2012 draws to a close, here's a quick look back on the quilts I made this year.

I started the year making this starry baby quilt in the summer heat at Port Hughes:

Next up was this silver and aqua on white wholecloth wallhanging for Australian Patchwork & Quilting:

Then I got stuck into a few flannel baby quilts; first this colourful one for Simon's cousin:

And this one in shades of blue for a close friend:

Followed by these brighter owls for my cousin:

After that I finally finished this large nautical lap quilt for Simon, spurred on by a deadline for AP&Q:

Then another large quilt; this bed quilt for my second niece:

I followed that with something rather smaller; this wholecloth quilt for round 12 of the Flickr Doll Quilt Swap :

The next quilt was a commissioned piece for a baby, based on my tree quilts:

Then came a commissioned variation on my foundation-pieced Bear in the Woods which now hangs in a house in Yosemite:

After these commissions, I put many hours into heavily custom quilting my next quilt for AP&Q:

Next up was a quick baby quilt in greens for a work colleague:

Then the recently revealed Brilliance, made again for AP&Q:

The next quilt was a quick commission with a difference; this quilt is weighted with pellets to soothe a child with sensory difficulties:

Then a quilt designed to go with my cousin's baby nursery:

And a large, commissioned beach scene quilt:

Yet another commission came next; a variation of my tree quilts, but with giraffes:

The next quilt was again for AP&Q; just a peek for now as it won't be out for another month or so:

I joined an invitation-only swap and made this small wholecloth for FLiQS2:

With my new machine, I was then able to finally finish the appliqued butterfly quilt for Gran:

Next came a triangle-based quilt using Tula Pink's The Birds and the Bees fabric, destined for AP&Q and then a special birthday girl:

After that I made another quilt for AP&Q; again just a peek for now:

Next came a slightly dissatisfying and still unnamed triangle quilt, which I still need to photograph properly:

And finally, I made this large wave for Eleanor's first school teacher:

I've rounded out the year by quilting on several customer quilts.

24 Quilts, including 7 for publication and 5 commissions, plus 7 customer quilts

It's been another big year for me; more commissioned, customer and magazine work, trying some new things, finally finishing a special project, and of course getting my much-awaited sewing computer - the 820. I'm looking forward to a busy and productive 2013, and hope you'll join me!

Happy New Year - on the dot!