Welcome to my blog about my quilting journey! I started quilting in 2006 with a quilt of my own design which started as a cushion cover and ended up as a single bed sized quilt! Now I'm totally hooked. I'm not sure who else would be interested in reading my blog but here it is in any case!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Quilting a Monster!

What was I thinking when I put together my Mariner's Compass quilt for my brother - this quilt is enormous (its 92" square)! It's not only large in size but heavy due to the extra fabric in the folded stars.

I got it sandwiched together on Saturday afternoon and it is larger than my outdoor table and folding trestle table combined. Prior to pinning it I cut out circles of wadding to fill out the centre of each star.  Although there is a lot of fabric in the star, the centre is empty and I was given the tip by another member of our Facebook quilting group, Quilt Club Australia.  I tacked the circles into place to keep them where they needed to be but I did find it tricky to spread the quilt out as tautly as I usually would given the circular shape and multiple layers of the stars.
Plus the edges were hanging off so I had to pin them afterwards, which wasn't the best but you do what you have to.

I have already experienced some difficulties with the backing having some small folds after ditch stitching in the block joins (which sounds easy when you say it fast but was actually extremely hard work given the weight and size of this quilt and the 6.5 inch throat space of my geriatric sewing machine and limited sewing space!).
(There was also a foldup table at the end of my sewing cabinet that doesn't show in this photo.)

At least the blocks are large so there wasn't a huge amount of ditch stitching to do but now I need to go back and stitch down the stars to keep the folds in place. I think I'll start on the outside ones and work up to the one in the centre, which is the opposite to what I would normally do.

I guess my arms will get a workout heaving this one around and one thing is sure, he won't be cold under this quilt!!

Thanks for visiting my blog today,

Friday, 10 October 2014

Australian Machine Quilting Festival Wrap Up

As I mentioned in a previous post, I went to the Australian Machine Quilting Festival. As I had to attend my sister-in-law's 50th party on the Saturday night I could only attend the first couple of days. The festival is run every two years on the long weekend in October here in Adelaide, South Australia.

As you might assume from the name the focus of the festival is quilting rather than patchwork, although this time there was some of that as well but I didn't attend any of those classes.  I was limited in choice by the days I could attend but I was lucky enough to be able to attend two demo/seminar workshops and a trunk show given by Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts.  Judi was brilliant and I really learned a lot from both of the workshops.
The first was Fantabulous Fillers:

and the second was Fantabulous Feathers:

Can't wait to put what I learnt into practice!

Next up was Judi's trunk show which was amazing. The photos in Judi's book really don't do the quilts justice.

 The section below was only about 4-5 inches across so you can imagine how tiny those spirals are!
Judi was nice enough to agree to a photo with me as well.

On the Saturday morning I only had time for one class, which was a test drive with free motion quilting on the Sweet 16 machine with Helen Godden. I got a lot out of this class. Helen does the most amazing quilting so it was a privilege to learn some of her tips even though it was a very short class.  I was pretty happy with the results although I would have been happier if I had brought my quilting gloves as I'd forgotten what a difference they make!
I wanted to have a real test drive of the Sweet 16 to see if I want to wait to save up for one or go for an upgraded domestic machine. I really loved the machine and now I guess I'm going to need to get saving! My biggest problem is that at present I just don't have the space for one until one of my boys leaves home. That will give me time to find the money I guess.

Another visiting teacher was Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co who did a whole day of mystery quilt workshops. I chose not to do one of those but did see Jenny on stage when she was presenting the awards at the show opening (unfortunately the photo I took isn't good enough to share).

I loved all the goodies we received as part of the registration package. They came in this really great bag (plus an extra paper bag as there was so much!) which has a great removable waterproof lining - what a great lunch bag that will make!

Here are all the bits and pieces inside including a piece of wideback fabric (mine is black so is a little hard to see), a quilt storage bag, some magazines, a quilt pattern, USB, badge, needle case, wadding samples and business cards:

I was excited by the Tontine wadding samples and was chatting to Rachelle Denneny who has test-driven this new product. She told me she found it was really good, a little higher loft than anything else we get here in Australia, apparently is going to retail at about the same price as what is currently available and the best bit is that it is Aussie made. What's not to love? Can't wait until its out in the shops!

So while I was disappointed not to spend the whole weekend at the festival, I did enjoy my time while I was there. The next one is in September 2016 and I'll be there for the whole thing come hell or high water! I really want to do more hands on classes this time around.

Thanks for visiting my blog today,

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Busy, busy, busy!

I feel like the last week or so has just zoomed by in a blur of activity!

Last week I was racing to finish my quilt for my sister-in-law's birthday party on Saturday night before I went to the Australian Machine Quilting Festival (AMQF) in Adelaide, South Australia (where I live). More on the festival in another post though.

I managed to put in the final stitches on the label on Wednesday afternoon and got it into the wash and out on my table to dry in time for the festival which started the next day, phew!
 I alternated the quilting between the centres and the block surrounds using a looping vine design.
 That gave it a nice secondary design on the back!
As there were 49 blocks on the front, I added one more to the back and called it '49 + 1' which I though worked well seeing it was for Tracey's 50th!

The theme for her party was 'Red Carpet' and it was black tie. This is my lovely hubby with his Mum and sisters (his brother couldn't make it unfortunately) on the big night which was held at Port Elliot, a seaside country town here in South Australia. From left to right we have Gay, Brian, Tracey (the birthday girl), Betty (my mother-in-law) and Kerrie.

Tracey had a fabulous cake which was all lit up even without candles!

My mother-in-law said she thought Brian looked like Sean Connery on the night so here I am with James Bond!

I do love a man in a suit!

Thanks for visiting,

Monday, 29 September 2014

End of Month UFO Update

Eeek! Its the end of September already?! I'm really not sure where that month went, I'm sure I missed some of it. Well my UFO project this month was to finish my Mariner's Compass quilt which I started last month (and need to have finished by mid November) and while I've made quite a bit of progress its not quite a flimsy yet (although I might still just get it finished in time).
All was going well until I came to the setting triangles, which I cut to the instructions included in the ruler set. That's when I discovered that the instructions weren't quite right and I needed a second 29" square of fabric to cut into four. Needless to say I didn't have enough!  So back to Spotlight to get some more, fingers crossed it was still there. Happily they still had some so I bought the remaining 2.2 metres on the roll to allow for binding and perhaps to use on a cushion or two.
I also bought some plain navy blue wideback for backing and merrily threw both it and the other fabric into the machine to wash (I know, I know you can see what's going to happen can't you!) along with 4 colour catchers. When I went to take it out, disaster! The poor colour catchers were completely filled with navy blue and so the rest of the dye went into the sand colour fabric. Aaaagh!

I re-washed the sandy coloured fabric with colour catchers multiple times and while it improved, it really didn't come right enough to use with what I had. I also re-washed the navy trying to set the colour but after 4 rinses the colour was still coming out - not suitable for a quilt. I contacted Spotlight by email (it was a Sunday evening by this time) and had a response the next day. Irene at the Adelaide store was delightful and not only replaced the fabric with a more expensive alternative backing (this time in a light colour - I'm not being caught twice!) but also the other fabric which had been affected by the dye.

So after a wasted week I managed to get my remaining setting squares cut and got the blocks sewn into rows at least. I was not really helped by my dog being determined to plonk down on them the minute they hit the ground! The quilt is so big the lounge room floor is the only place I can put it but even then its not a great fit. I just wanted to make sure I had the blocks all pointing in the right direction as the background fabric has directional lines on it.
I'm not even thinking about how I'm going to quilt this monster. Hopefully I can get it to go through my little old Janome - I'll cross that bridge when I come to it!

I thought I would share a photo of the back of one of the blocks to show how relatively easy they are to put together compared to a more traditionally pieced mariner's star.  Its all lovely straight lines, nothing too hard in that!
Technically the Mariner's Compass was my August UFO project and September should have been to continue making some crumb blocks from my small scraps. Well thanks to not having fabric to go on with my MC quilt I did actually get a few of those done as well!

My little collection of these 8.5 inch blocks is growing slowly.

I plan to border them with another colour, probably black, before I put them together into a quilt.  I love them because they are made from all my pieces which are too small for anything else so they are free to make (other than a bit of time and thread)! I'm nothing if not frugal!

I managed to get the Mariner's Compass flimsy all together at last on the 1st of the month but I figure its probably still 30th September somewhere in world so I think it counts as a finish for September!
Here it is laid over my queen size water bed. Its a big quilt! (I'm actually standing on a cupboard to take this shot!)

My dog was somewhat frustrated that she couldn't sit on it  - see her in the top corner in this shot?! No fair Mum!

Thanks for visiting my blog today!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Update on Sewing Retreat (Better Late Than Never!)

I thought I'd better post an update on my sewing weekend away which was a couple of weekends ago. Haven't seemed to be able to find the time to sit and blog since then!

We were blessed with spectacular spring sunshine, although it was a little nippy the first night.

We stayed in the house above with the two big picture windows-  it was terrible sewing with such an awful view to look at all day!

My bestie, Kerry and I normally arrive after work on a Friday so not normally until around 7.00pm but this time we both had the day off so were able to leisurely drive up and stop for a lovely lunch at a bakery in Port Wakefield for a cornish pasty and a honey stick, yum! Then it was on the road and off to Wallaroo, arriving around 2.00pm just after the other car load of ladies. By 2.30pm we were all moved in set up and sewing - bliss!

After watching from the sidelines for a couple of years my Kerry has finally been drawn over to the dark side and wanted to try quilting (she has already conquered the tricky 'stash building' skill - so much so I nearly staged an intervention!) and so wanted to make a patchwork bag to put all her sewing tools in. So we started with some basic patchwork skills by joining the squares for the side of her bag. She's a natural, perfect joins first try!(Of course she had an awesome teacher, ahem!)

My first project was to quilt my 'freebie' quilt so I got stuck in and got cracking, only stopping for dinner on the verandah looking at this gorgeous sunset and then back to work!
I had it finished by early afternoon the next day.
 I went for one of my favourite designs, a looping leafy vine, alternating between the outer squares and inner squares.
 Here it is viewed from the back:

After an early start (6.30am - some of our girls are early risers and one up, all up!) by lunchtime I was looking forward to our home made pasties (courtesy of Doreen)and a glass of merlot, yep life is tough allright!

A bit more work and Kerry and I rewarded ourselves with a walk along the beach to get some sunshine. Unfortunately the tide was out but we saw some birdlife and lots of happy dogs going for walks.

Kerry finished her very first quilted project, ta da!

Our other sewists were all working on different projects, we had Kerrie (my sister in law) and Pauline with embroidery machines and both were working on blocks for an embroidered quilt. Isn't this a spectacular block?!
 This will be going on a block too:

Sue and Doreen were making quilt blocks; Sue was making disappearing 9 patches:
 and Doreen was making these which I think from memory were for her 'surfboard' quilt:
Gay (my other sister in law!) was performing 'surgery' on some large stuffed toys and putting in a zipper compartment to hold a blanket. She was making them for her grandkids. There was a lion, a dog and a unicorn. Here is the blanket ready to fold in:
Here it is nearly in:

and here they are in the 'recovery ward' wishing they could play outside on the beach!

Once I had my quilt quilted, I moved on to putting the frames around my mariner's compass blocks, here they are all laid out afterwards:

I even had time to whip up a quick block from my green 'crumbs' which was my fallback project if I finished everything I had with me.
Amazing how much you get done when you sew until midnight and then get up again at 6.30am both days!
Kerry was doing well and here is her first go at a 'proper' quilt block:
She's really hooked now, there is no escape!

We had a wonderful time, wonderful company and food and lots and lots of sewing and laughs. Looking forward to the next one in March 2015 now!

Thanks for visiting my blog today,