bit by bit

I’ve been making a little progress on this improvised quilt. I’ve written about it here and here before, and it may seem to onlookers that I’m not making much headway! Making up this quilt as I go along is harder than it seems, really hard. I think it is probably the most difficult quilt top I’ve made!
improv1
I have it up on my design wall with all the extra blocks I’ve made so far arranged around it.

The last week or two have been spent looking, re-arranging, looking, sewing bits together, changing my mind and so on. I’ve started worrying that it’s all too busy and will just look chaotic, instead of looking like its meant to be: colourful and scrappy but still just right.
I know that once I have worked out a rough arrangement of the little blocks that are going around the medallion centre, I then will be adding filler strips to make them fit together. Those filler strips will be in the light green that I used in those wide strips top and bottom of the centre, as well as red and some of the stripe. So I’m hoping they will help to pull it together and also give some places for the eye to rest.
Herre are a couple of sections I’ve put together:
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It’s been fun making all the extra blocks. Some unexpected pairings of fabrics have revealed some new favourites, like this block:
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These are some of my ‘extras’ – little parts to fill in spots where needed.
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parts2
and lastly, I can’t complain because I have had some help from Dublin the supervisor
dublin

little birdies

You might think I have a thing for birdies…. and you may be right. I like them ’cause they are cute! I recently made this little birdie as a gift:

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He was quick to make- I got the Joel Dewberry pattern from here and used some fabrics in a favourite combination of blues and browns.
He can be used as a pincushion or could even be filled with pot pourri if you wish.
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He has a cute little face!
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A new little birdie to our home is this little ceramic birdie given to me by a friend:
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I think he might fulfil a greeting role at our front door:
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He looks quite nice with the azalea, don’t you think?!
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And just to show a few other birdies around the house which have been kindly given to me:
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and of course, this blog’s mascot, which I also made:
lb_for_banner1cropped
Have a good week!

Show and tell….

My local quilt group, Gatton Quilters, had our monthly get-together this past weekend, and there was lots of show-and-tell on offer!
Even though attendance was down, a lot of members were able to show their completed works- some finished at a recent weekend retreat.
Lyn showed how to put to good use her half-square triangle blocks we did as a group swap last year:
lyn1
She also showed a lovely table runner made from a kit purchased on a trip to Canada- both sides look good!
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Quite an unusual range of fabrics and some new techniques involved.

Val had this quilt top to show:
val1
and Marilyn also had a few items, these first two with great hand-stitching:
page1
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Marilyn also completed this magnificent piece in a workshop with Jan Knight and recently had it framed: it was hard to get a good photo without a lot of reflection, so I have cropped some of the border off to try and minimise that:
marilynstitch
One good thing from these meetings is that you go home with lots of motivation for getting stuck into some sewing. No excuses….

Lollypop Trees Quilt- finished

Finishing a quilt after working on it for some time, even years, brings with it some happiness at the completion but also a little sense of loss when it goes off to its new home. I finally finished the Lollypop Trees quilt for my daughter that I have been working on for nearly four years. I was glad that I had a timeframe to work towards- in this case it was for her 21st birthday- but even though I overshot that by a year (!) if I didn’t have a specific reason for getting it finished, it may still be in the UFO pile.
lolly2
I started this quilt because I wanted to do some applique- my favourite types of quilts tend to be pieced quilts, but also because I saw this quilt online somewhere and fell in love with it. I loved all the colours and mix of patterns and textures, and it used Kaffe Fasset fabrics which I also love to use.
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So, here it is finished. I quilted it on my longarm in a simple pattern because I wanted the applique blocks to be the focus.
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I used a gold-coloured thread on most of the background and some monofilament thread on the applique trees. This was a difficult quilt for which to work out what would look best. I ideally would have liked to avoid quilting on the applique altogether but because that would have meant a large proportion of the quilt surface without any quilting on it, that wasn’t possible. So I used the monofilament thread to quilt an outline shape inside the larger leaves and circles, and just quilted around other pieces so the applique would pop.
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The backing fabric was also a Kaffe fabric.
lollyback1
This quilt measures 94″ by 94″. It was so big that even hanging it on the clothesline, wound up to the highest it would go, didn’t lift it off the ground!
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My daughter took it home with her on the weekend. It was a long haul to get it finished, and I’m a little sad to see it go, but also very happy that I got to the end!
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getting caught up..

Just a catch-up time, the last week or so here at Little Birdie. I don’t have any new projects to show, but just a few photos to show what has been occupying my time!
On my spider-web quilt which I finished a couple of months ago, I realised that I hadn’t added a hanging sleeve, so thought I better get on that:
sleeve
And also a label – I always spend too much time thinking of what to put on it!
label
Of course, then there is the lollypop quilt, which is in its final throes. The quilting is finished, so I have then tackled the trimming
trimming-lollipop
and making the binding for it. I decided to join together lots of lengths cut from the same bright fabrics used in the blocks. All joined together to make a length to fit around this huge 94″ square quilt.
binding-lollipop
The binding just has to be sewn on, and then I’ll have to put some thought into its label too!
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And another thing I’be been working on is some drawing and watercolour painting – here is a sketch of our last roses from the garden before the bushes were pruned last week.
rose-sketch
I find sketching is good practise for really looking at things- at their proportions, their colour values in different light- and mixing paints to get the right hue also makes you really think about colour!
So, what have you been working on?!

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:
medallion4
This was the first one, a traditional bowtie block:
bowtie1
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.
medallion5
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?
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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:
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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….
bowtie4
I’m linking up here to Lily’s quilts and her Small Blog Meet- hope you’ll have a look at some other blogs :)

longarm quilting

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

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In this block I added a flying geese block to the top of some randomly pieced strips:
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And some more little strip squares:
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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.
improv1
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.
blocks
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’.
cross-check
The green strips are made with a Reece Scannell shot cotton, so it photgraphs a little funny, but such a beautiful fabric.
cross-check2
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’:
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!
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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:
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aurifil-block-july-karenmundt

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:
jean
Marilyn had some small mini quilts in delicious shades of chocolate!
marilyn
Kay made this warm snuggly flannel quilt:
kay
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:
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and Meryl’s picture of a bird showing a range of different techniques- just spectacular!
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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
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and Meryl, who made her journal with an underwater theme, but maybe also a little on-top-of-the-water!?
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Just goes to show that Quilters are a versatile bunch!