being good on Friday…

I have another quilt to show that I recently quilted on the longarm machine for a client. This is a quilt that she had made for a grandchild in lovely colours of pinks, blues and purples.

I used a light mauve thread and quilted it in a free-hand meandering leaves pattern on most of it, with some flowers and scrolls here and there. The borders had a swirly pattern along their length.

Colleen didn’t want any quilting on the applique or the flying geese blocks, and didn’t want the quilting close together.

Hopefully her grand-daughter also liked it!

what I’m working on…

I’ve been doing a little catch-up with the blocks for ‘My Favourite Block’ Quiltalong. This week I did Blocks 9 & 10. This was the strippy spool block, which I did in the bright coloured scraps and the small size:

As usual, these photos are taken with the blocks up on a wall and with threads still attached!
The block for Week 10 was the Broken Pinwheel block. I decided to do the large size with this one and in the blue/brown colour combo:

I really like this block. It was a new one to me, and I think it looks really effective. So, because I liked it so much I did another one, this time in the bright colours:

These blocks are part of the “My Favourite Block Quiltalong”- you can click on the button over to the right of this page to have a look at all the blocks, and find the links for how to make the earlier blocks. The block that I designed- the Strippy Leaf is here

I’m also linking up to Freshly Pieced’s Work in Progress Wednesday

a day at the races

We’ve just had a great weekend- not much sewing but nice never-the-less. On Saturday we went to the Brisbane Races at the Doomben racetrack with a group of people. I had never been there before so it was a real eye-opener.

We had tables booked in the East Terrace which overlooked the racetrack, so we could enjoy the event in air-conditioned comfort, on which turned out to be a really hot day.

We enjoyed a buffet lunch with a drink or two and some of us placed a bet or two. It was also an opportunity to dress up a little – some scrubbed up quite well!

fabric art journals

A new group challenge for our little art quilt group is to create fabric journal pages. Each month we make a new page, utilising whatever methods and techniques we want to and in keeping with the monthly theme. The pages will be eventually bound together to form a fabric art journal. We can make it any size we want and we will be keeping our own journal at the end of it.
This month’s theme was door, doors or entryway. This is my interpretation of that theme:

My inspiration was the the beautiful scenes we see of countries like Morocco, Italy and Greece with the sun-bleached houses on the hillsides and the sparkling blue seas in the background. I used all vintage materials- i.e. old bits and pieces of fabric, to form the house shapes and hand-stitched the red doors in a variety of stitches. Hopefully when you look at it, the first thing you notice are the red doors!
Other interpretations of the theme came from:



Trish K

Plus here are a couple of pieces completed from last month’s theme where we had to utilise orange plastic mesh in some way:

Trish K


I think what we’ve all found from these challenges is that we are all creative in some way, despite our early misgivings on just what we would be able to come up with! Sometimes most of the month is taken up with forming the idea and the actual creation may not be so arduous. To give myself some guidelines for this challenge, I have decided on the following aims for my pages:
i) to make the pages in muted colours, as a contrast from my usual brightly coloured quilts,
ii) to use recycled items wherever possible,
iii) to create a look where there are lots of little pieces on the page; like embellishing with bits of fabric and threads, and
iv) to use lots of hand-stitching- not necessarily nice and perfect but big stitches, using thick or uneven threads, showing the knots on the front etc.
Once the idea has crystallised in my mind, I then think about how to create it keeping those principles in mind. I may not always keep to them exactly, but pretty close to it.
Anyway, that’s just how I do it!
Here’s another look at my page from last month, utilising the orange mesh as an inspiration even though it wasn’t physically on the page:

fractured pictures

In past posts here I have shown photos of the ‘Fractured pictures’ project that my local art quilt group have been working on. We had a series of pictures that were split up into 6 equal slices and we all took a piece that we then re-created in fabric. You can see the progress here and here.
The pieces were then put back together with black framing, and even though it was a challenge working with pieces all made by other people with slight variations in sizes and seam allowances, I must say we were all very proud of the final effect!
The picture that I put back together was a night lights scene:

I made it into a wide wall-hanging using a black mottled fabric for the sahing and borders, to hopefully resemble a panoramic view.
This was the original photo:

and here are the two together:

We could exercise some artistic license in how the final pieces were assembled, so some were fabric-backed, some mounted on an artist’s canvas, not all used solid black fabric etc.
This next picture was put together by Jan:

This is a mountain hut, assembled by Shirley:

And this is a {European} city scape, assembled by Lyn:

practising the free-motion

You know that old saying about the only way to find out how to do something is to just do it (I think it’s a saying or did I make it up?) Anyway, it’s one I’ve come to believe in more and more over the years. It’s very true about skills like free-hand quilting or stitching- to get any good at that requires tens of minutes and hours of just sitting down and doing it. It’s also very true about the associated skills that go hand-in-hand with any sewing on a machine, like really getting to know your machine, know what threads it ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’, which thread is best handled by which needle, or what tension setting to have for a particular needle-thread combination or task that you’re doing.
Last year when I was preparing for a local craft fair, I was making a lot of fabric postcards, like these.

It was an excellent way to practise and play around with the settings on my machine, in particular really getting to understand how the tension worked. I could experiment on each little postcard: use different fabrics, different threads, and aim for different effects as it was only a small piece and not a large quilt top being adversely affected.

I changed threads as much as a dozen times a day, and I worked a lot of little foibles that my machine had. I have had my machine, a Bernina 440QE, for about 4 years and I have done a lot of sewing on it but I feel I know it a lot better now from the last 6 months than any time before that. I know when I can use the Stitch Regulator attachment, and when its better to just freehand stitch without it, and I’m more comfortable with the stitches it can do and how I can achieve certain effects.

I had great fun doing these postcards, and I often also make birthday cards the same way. Here is a card I did recently for a friend:

It didn’t take an awful lot of time but the end effect is lovely and colourful and a little bit unique!

While I’m sure that I still don’t know everything there is to know about my machine, I certainly know a lot more than I did not too long ago. I find consistent, regular practise is the key.

free-hand meanderings

I recently quilted a little quilt on my long-arm machine for Pearl, who had made the quilt for a display at the local Historial Society.

It was a little blue cot-sized quilt and I did a simple all-over meandering pattern with a few flowers and leaves sprinkled here and there.

Blue and white is a nice combination, and being only a small size, I was able to get it finished really quickly. Love that!

our workshop weekend

I have just spent a great weekend at a quilting workshop up at Maleny, on the Sunshine Coast hinterland. The workshop was given by Pam Holland- an internationally reknown quilter and teacher, who hails from Adelaide. The Workshop was on the Amazing Alphabet Adventure- a quilt and book she has produced utilising her system of drawing on fabric with pigment ink pens and free-motion quilting.
This is one of the letters that she has made into a mini-quilt:

All of the letters feature this little character with red and white stockings. We just started one letter in the workshop: here’s my attempt, not yet finished of course:

All of the coloured areas were coloured in, and then I quilted around all of the edges with black thread. This was the letter A- A for Attitude! which Pam first developed for her grandchildren. Her book which has just come out has the story she wrote about all the alphabet characters and includes patterns and drawings to follow for all of the letters. Of course you don’t have to copy hers exactly, once you know the technique its fun to add your own little touches.
Pam was an excellent tutor:

She’s very generous and friendly and nothing was too much trouble.
Here are some of her quilts that she showed us:

The workshop was sponsored by the Maleny Magic Patchwork and Quilt Shop, and the owner Bev looked after us well. She has a fantastic range of fabrics which we just had to check out!
My sister and I went up to Maleny for the weekend, so we also had Sunday to look around Maleny and Montville, browse through the markets and all the liitle shops. A really nice time!
These photos just show a little of the area:

Maleny Flower Shop

and Montville:

February photo round-up

This is from my collection of photos taken during February for the “photo-a-day challenge”:

February 7 theme was ‘my name':

#fmsphotoaday feb7 {my name}

February 16 theme = ‘perfect': frangipani back in flower

#fmsphotoaday feb16 {perfect} frangipani tree starting to flower again

February 22 ‘something that made me smile'; block of a quilt I’m working on for my daughter:

#fmsphotoaday feb22 {made me smile}

February 24 ‘cloud’- my ‘City Scapes’ wall hanging

#fmsphotoaday feb24 {cloud}

As you can see, how we interpret the theme is up to us!

catching up on my favourite blocks

I’ve been doing a little work on my blocks for the ‘My Favourite Block Quiltalong’. As you saw last week, I posted my tutorial for the strippy leaf block . I have made one large 12.5″ strippy leaf:

a couple of smaller 6.5″ leaves in the ‘scrappy’ colours:

as well as 4 in my alternate colour-way, which I then joined into the one large block:

Then on Thursday, Shanna from Fiber of all Sorts posted her Wonky Star block. I made one large block in the chocolate, blue & cream colours:

as well as a small one in my scrappy colours:

If you have made any blocks, load them onto the Flickr site, which is open to anyone to look, so we all can see! It’s great to see the variations that are being produced.