making a wonky quilt block out of a straight one

I started making some blocks back in January, as part of the Aurifil Block-along, as posted about here.
I intended making these blocks with a view to add them to my scrappy medallion quilt that I’ve been slowly working along in the background between other things. This quilt:
This was the first one, a traditional bowtie block:
Like all the blocks I’m making for this quilt, I put them up on my wall once finished so I can look at them all together. I won’t be arranging them until I have lots made so their final resting place is unkwown for the time being.
But these blocks have been sitting there all this time and each time I look at them I think, they are not right, there’s something I don’t like. I think they are too big and ‘straight’ and ordinary, when most of the other blocks are wonky or improvised, or just different in some way. So, I had to do something with them. Maybe breaking them up, so all four aren’t together in one big block?
No, still too ‘clean-cut’. There’s nothing for it- I have to chop them up.:) So, I cut them across the middle, and inserted a strip. Still not enough; cut them across the other way and inserted another. Here’s the first:
I’m still not completely enamoured of them, but they are better than they were previously. Maybe they can sit up on the wall a bit longer while I ponder….

longarm quilting

Colleen asked me to quilt this small quilt for her recently.
It might have been for one of her grandchildren, and made in blues and purples and greens and a feature fabric in the squares…
I quilted it in an all-over design, like a large stipple that meanders over all the blocks..
with an odd dragonfly here and there…

It will probably get a lot of use in this chilly cold winter we’re experiencing in Queensland – a little unusual for us and taking a bit to get used to!
Hope you are all snuggling up in those quilts to keep warm. Have a good week.

improvising with made-up fabric

Experimenting more with blocks for my medallion quilt, I’ve been sewing scraps together to make a base fabric that I can then use to make blocks out of. Using a variety of odd-shaped scraps that have resulted from the blocks already made for this quilt, I just sew them together:
Once I have a piece big enough I can then pick which block to make from it and cut the necessary components. Here is a couple of blocks where I used the saw-tooth design:
It adds that scrappy look, which I often prefer to the ‘clean-cut’ look! Then, there is also the wonky log-cabin block which has endless varieties:

In this block I added a flying geese block to the top of some randomly pieced strips:
And some more little strip squares:
I’m utilising quite a large selection of fabrics for this quilt, but stearing clear of the brights that I normally favour (except for a little bit of bright lime or fuschia here or there!). I’m taking to heart something I read, where by as long as you have a fabric appearing more than once in your quilt, it will look as if it belongs. Once I get it all together, if I don’t like some blocks, then I can just keep them out for another project along the way!
It’s all good.

work in progress….

What have I been working on, wellll….I’ve gone back to this medallion quilt, started in a Gwen Marston workshop last year, which I return to every now and then in between other projects. As I’ve mentioned here and here before, it is improvisational so the goal is to make the parts and put it together as you go along.
The latest additions include the red/cream half-square-triangle border around the centre panel, and the two wider strips top and bottom.
I want it to become a rectangle shaped quilt, which is why I didn’t add that light green border all the way around.
I’ve also been making lots of random blocks, without knowing where they will all go in the quilt just yet. Looking for some ideas and wanting to have a play, I decided to try a couple of blocks from this little booklet that came with an issue of the “Love Modern Quilting” magazine earlier this year.
Have you ever utilised these ‘free’ booklets or patterns that often accompany magazines? I just thought I might as well try a couple of them in some of the fabrics I’m using for this quilt. This first one is ‘Cross Check’.
The green strips are made with a Reece Scannell shot cotton, so it photgraphs a little funny, but such a beautiful fabric.
The patterns in the book are for 12″ blocks, but I’ve scaled them down to make 6″ blocks to fit in better with my quilt.
I also tried ‘Paving Stones’:
The quilt top is going to be a sampler of sorts, with lots of different blocks and the intention of putting it all together at the end like a puzzle. I also made these improvisational blocks – cutting odd-sized strips without a ruler and sewing them together. Hoping they will fit in there somewhere as well!
And this block is one of the Aurifil ‘Designer of the Month’ blocks, which I have been playing along with, like here, although not exactly every month :) – this is the block for July:

quilters meeting

At our recent meeting for Gatton Quilters we had a visit from the Mountain Creek Quilt Group. Just a get-together but it gave us the chance to show and tell a lot of our works, past and current. Besides meeting another group of fine quilters, it was great to talk with others with like-minded interests, to discuss the projects we have been working on, pick up a few tips here and there and of course have a cuppa and a chat!
Some of our members brought along some completed projects that none of us have seen, such as this beautifil quilt by Jean:
Marilyn had some small mini quilts in delicious shades of chocolate!
Kay made this warm snuggly flannel quilt:
and Lyn and Pearl both had bags to show:

Lyn's bag- utilising the  embellisher machine

Lyn’s bag- utilising the embellisher machine

Pearl's bag
Some of our ladies have been doing an embroidery class with Jan Knight, who we are very lucky to have as a member in our club. Lyn’s picture, with such lovely meticulous stitches:
and Meryl’s picture of a bird showing a range of different techniques- just spectacular!
Both embroideries were professionally framed which just added to their presentation.

And there were also some more of the fabric journals to show from some of the Art Quilters: Lyn’s with some more needle-felted work on the front
and Meryl, who made her journal with an underwater theme, but maybe also a little on-top-of-the-water!?
Just goes to show that Quilters are a versatile bunch!

fabric journal- a finish

The journal pages that I’ve been working on for the last year are all finished, the cover is complete and they have all been assembled together into the final product: a fabric journal.
I know I’ve shown the individual parts on here before, but I now can show its final presentation- at last! The method I used to bind the individual pages together was to use two wooden rulers, drilled with holes and then threaded through from back to front with a strong wax-coated polyester thread.
Each of the pages had extra ‘space’ at the left-hand side to give the room needed for when the book was opened up. I think I could have made that wider though, or maybe used narrower sticks than the rulers.
Each page has its own label, printed on hand-made paper then hand-sewn to the back of the previous page.
Below is the inside back cover, and the back of the last page. I used a lot of ‘old’ fabric and scraps on this journal, probably about 90% of it was re-used, including this old soft teatowel used as the backing.
These are just some of the pages: we did ten altogether, plus the covers. I also used some hand-dyed fabric for the covers, which had cardboard inserts and sewn up in a ‘pillowcase’ style.
So nice to see it all together!

printing on fabric… or not

I’m working on finishing my fabric journal and am finally getting to the final stages of putting it all together.
One of the last steps is to make the little labels that I wanted to put on each page that included a little description of what each page was about and how I made it. My intention is to attach the label for each page on the back of the previous page, so that when the pages are open you can read it right there facing it.
However, it has not gone so well! I wanted to print from the computer onto fabric, which is something I have done before. See the blue fabric in this wallhanging with the black ‘smudges’ on it: I ‘painted’ the splotches using my computer’s Paint program and printed it onto the blue fabric which had been backed with freezer paper. It fed through the printer and printed perfectly.
This time it didn’t go so well. Using Word, I typed the text for each label into a table so all labels would be the same size. I ironed the freezer paper to the back of some linen fabric, but it just didn’t feed through very well. It started to print but then it stopped and bunched up and jammed the printer.
So, I thought the linen itself wasn’t conducive to being picked up by the printer’s rollers. I then cut some plain cotton and ironed the freezer paper to it – it didn’t work either.
Maybe, I needed more freezer paper to make it firmer, so I ironed 2 more pieces onto the back ( this was a type of freezer paper that was thinner or finer than the first piece I used, so I figured two layers of it would equate to one of the other). It didn’t work either.
I’m thinking that the previous time when I had success with printing, I must have been using a different printer. We have had this current printer about 2 years, so maybe the older printer was just better at feeding through?
I decided to try and use the Transfer Artists Paper, which I have also used with success before, as shown here, but to use that I needed to reverse image the text so when it is ironed onto the fabric the words are back the right way. But when I tried to work out how to do that in my version of Word, it proved too difficult and required more patience than I had!

So now I am considering writing it by hand on the freezer paper-backed cotton with a fabric pen, which will take such a long time. Phooey! Any hints?

quilting on the longarm

This quilt top belongs to Trudy, and she recently gave it to me to quilt for her.
It is a quilt made for her son, and it has a great choice of fabrics for a masculine quilt. As I was quilting it on the longarm machine, I was admiring the patterns and colours. The bits of orange provided a lovely highlight to the greys and blues, with a stripe thrown in and some charcoal blacks. Getting to check out lots of different fabrics is one of the bonuses of quilting other people’s quilts!
The quilting design had to be one that would suit the recipient, so no flowery patterns! The design we settled on is a large silver fern leaf placed randomly over the quilt with the rest of the surface covered in parallel lines, with little ‘bubbles’ popping up along the lines.
It’s a little hard to see the design in the photos- perhaps you can just see the fern in this one?

I quilted this using my own design for the fern leaf and free-hand lines; a grey-blue thread was used for top and bottom.


We had a lovely weekend in Sydney recently, that beautiful harbour city. While the purpose for the trip was for my son and his beautiful fiancee’s engagement dinner, we also had time for a little sight seeing. Darling Harbour was sparkling…
and the weather so warm
We have some photos of the magnificent Queen Victoria building, which now houses a great selection of beautiful shops-
Look at these windows:
and the lovely world clock:
There was no time for sewing, but I’ve tried to make up for it since I got home. I’ve been doing some more work on the medallion quilt, inspired by a Gwen Marston workshop I attended last year. I’ve been making ‘spare parts’ for this improvisational quilt, and I need to get lots of them made before I can start playing with them up on the design wall.
So I have made quite a variety of different blocks, most of them with odd-sized strips and pieces
but also some a little more regular
However I wasn’t quite happy with it. I couldn’t see where to go next. I’m thinking it is still a little too regular for me and I need to liberate the blocks a bit more for my tastes. So I’ve started sewing together some curved strips which I’ll then cut up along with those regular blocks to shake them up a little!
Making it up as you go is harder than it seems at the start!

weekly update

What I’ve been sewing lately: besides some quilts I have been machine-quilting on my longarm (other people’s quilts, sadly not my own!)….

I am working on the next step for the Lollypop Trees quilt. Even though I’ve finished all the applique blocks, including the little ones for the borders, I now have to cut up hundreds of 2.5″ squares, and lots of rectangles, for the sashings!
I want to include as many of the fabrics that I used in the blocks, and in all different combinations, so as tempting as it is to cut and sew these together in strips and then cross-cut, I’m taking the longer route and actually cutting all those little puppies and sewing them separately :)
I’m even cutting what I can from all the odd little scraps that are left over just to include all the fabrics..
It can be a little tiring standing and cutting non-stop so I do a few at a time; three hundred done, another couple to go!
A couple of the finished Lollypop tree blocks:
Just keep cutting, just keep cutting…..