Welcome

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!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Birthday Celebrated and Quilt Delivered and Well Received

Today was my brother Kym's 60th birthday (and also my birthday but not my 60th!). He chose to have a relaxed get together at the Belair National Park and we were very lucky with the weather as it was a lovely cool 24 degrees celcius after Thursday's 39 degrees. Much better!


We had a lovely BBQ spread, played egg and spoon races and other games, chatted and generally had a great time.

All the time being watched carefully by some local kookaburras who 'laughed' at our attempts at some of the games!
There were actually three of us there having a birthday today: my brother's friend Mark (on the left), my brother (on the right) and me.
The birthday boy blowing out his candles in his frog cakes (an Adelaide icon, although best eaten only occasionally as they are quite sickly sweet!). By this time we were all clustered under the shelter as it had decided to rain, a rarity in Adelaide this year but welcome!
And of course receiving his birthday quilt. Its all bunched up as we wanted to keep it off the ground! It was much admired and he was pretty happy with it I think.

A good day was had by all! Tomorrow I'm off to the Craft & Quilt Fair with my girlfriend - its a busy weekend!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Coastal Compass - Finished (with 2 days to spare!)

I know I haven't been blogging much just lately and that's because I had a tight deadline to finish quilting my Folded Mariner's Compass quilt for my brother's 60th birthday on the 15th of November. Every chance I had I was on my trusty Janome, quilting my fingers off and now its done with two days to spare!
I must admit that when I first started I was sure I had bitten off more than I could chew this time but once I had stitched in the ditch between the blocks and could start on individual blocks it got a bit easier. The quilt ended up being 81" square and the throat on my machine is 6.5"! The centre block was a real challenge as because I had added in extra points in this block there was lots of fabric in it, as well as being the hardest part of the quilt to get to!  I had some thread breakage and bent a needle or two but managed to get it done.
I quilted each of these four blocks with a slightly different pattern around the outside of the stars. 
 These are my favourite blocks and I quilted each the same.

The quilting shows up better on the back:
I took these photos while the quilt was still wet after washing as it makes it easier to see the quilting. For the quilting between the compasses at the edge and on the corners I chose to use designs to reflect aspects of my brother's life. They included a jet flying around the world (he likes to travel):
 his name:
 him riding his bike:
 the boat our family owned when we were growing up:
a couple of spanners and some cog wheels (he used to be a diesel mechanic):
 his Lazy E sailboat he used to own:
a jetty to remind him of living near the Semaphore jetty:

 and of course he's a Scorpio!
Here it is in full in what is more like the actual colour of the quilt:
and here's the back - upside down but I wasn't about to argue with my two tall helpers who were quickly losing interest!

I'm really happy with this quilt, it was a labour of love for my brother and I'm sure he's going to love it. I've made up an I Spy list of things for him to find in the quilting! It has plenty of mistakes and stitches where they don't belong but its not a show quilt and I didn't have time to be super fussy and unpick unless I really had to.

For this quilt I used Wonderfil Konfetti 400 Gold and used two full spools. Unfortunately I needed more than that so when it became clear I didn't have enough for the whole quilt and I couldn't get any more in Adelaide I had to resort to Gutermans in a similar colour for the bobbin. I had just enough of the Wonderfil to use on the top and topstitch the binding down, phew!

Have you used Wonderfil Konfetti? I found it seemed to make a LOT of fluff in my bobbin. In fact I had to do a full clean halfway through the quilting and again when I finished.  It was really packed in there. Here's my before and after photos:


It was everywhere, even up in the top part of the machine too. Not sure I'll be using it again. Back to Aurifil I think.

I'm so glad this quilt is finished. Now I can go and catch up on all the things I didn't do while I've been quilting like a demon!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Mariner's Compass Quilting Progress

Well the 'monster' and I have become well acquainted over the last couple of weeks! So far I've grid quilted it by stitching in the ditch between the (thankfully) large blocks, quilted the centre star, the four stars surrounding that one and the four sections between those blocks.

The stitching in the ditch part was hard work as due to the extra layers of fabric in the folded stars the quilt is quite heavy and it was quite a job to move back into the centre each time to start stitching back out to the edge again. I was glad to finish that job. At this point I wasn't sure how I was going to manage the rest of the quilting!

Once I got started on the compasses though it was a bit easier as I didn't need to move the whole quilt around as much.  I outlined (a bit wobbly in places) two of the three layers of the compass points and then pebbled around the outside. This is the back, the first shot shows the fabric and thread colour better but the quilting looks better in the second shot!

The white chevron pattern on this fabric is slightly rubbery which probably wasn't the smartest choice in hindsight as it probably doesn't slide as easily as other fabrics but after my fiasco with the navy fabric I was playing it safe and neutral this time! It does tend to show up the spots where I've 'marked time' on the spot more than I'm used to seeing but I'm hoping with washing that might look less obvious.

I decided to echo about an inch away from the edge of each compass and fill in the area this enclosed with some wavy lines to look like rippled wet sand on the beach.

As the centre compass has extra layers again I struggled a little with thread breaks and needles bending. I moved up a size and that helped with the needle issue. I worked out that the thread was more likely to break when I travelled over lines of stitching or when I was moving backwards so I tried to avoid that as much as possible.

Now that the centre of the quilt is done it should be much easier to do the compasses around the edges and I think I know what I want to do around the rest of the space too so watch this space!

The deadline of 15th of November is looming quickly so I'm trying to get this one moving but time is slipping away from me!

Thanks for visiting my blog today,

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,