a house block

I have done another couple of the ‘My Favourite Block’ quilt blocks. The first one is a House Block, made with foundation paper piecing. You make each of the sections individually, then piece them together.
The next one is Bock #15-a Dancing Spools block, from Fabric Fascination. This block originally also included a pincushion block which was in the middle with 4 spool blocks placed around it, but I decided to just do the spool block in a 6 1/2″ size. I’ve only done one so far, but will make another 3 to go with it.
I actually made this with a different technique to that shown in the original instructions, mainly because I forgot to print out the instructions and didn’t feel like going back to the computer! The original instructions used pattern pieces by which you cut out the individual pieces and sewed together. But, I did mine like this:
The spool block can be thought of as 4 squares joined together. These are the pieces I worked out I would need:
First of all, to get the large triangles in each corner, I cut out two squares big enough (3 7/8″) so that you can cut them into triangles diagonally.
Sew a light and dark half-square triangle together, twice.
To the two dark triangle corners of those pieces, I sewed a smaller square (2″) of the other dark fabric, diagonally corner to corner, and folded that over to make the triangle corner. The underneath bits can be trimmed off.
I sewed the other two small (2″) squares to the corners of the other large light squares.
Then it just needs the four pieces to be joined to make the finished block.
My pile of blocks is growing – it’ll be exciting to see what they look like all together!

April’s show and tell

I have some more ‘Show and Tell’ from the recent Gatton Quilters meeting. In my last post I showed the journal page- three wise monkeys- I had made in response to the art quilters group on using a line of verse or famous saying as inspiration for this month’s journal page.
Below is a photo of Jan K’s interpretation: it has an elegant look and the writing she did with a pen is so even and neat!

Jan K- line of verse journal page

Jan K- line of verse journal page

Shirley has illustrated a line from the famous Alice in Wonderland:
Shirley-line of verse journal page

Shirley-line of verse journal page

and had last month’s completed project made to the theme of ‘doors’ – in a baobab ‘prison’ tree:
Shirley-'Doors'- journal page

Shirley-‘Doors’- journal page

..but also had this quilt to show:
Karen S had this quilt top to show, which proved popular amongst the members- its a quick and easy make utilising layer cakes:

Karen S- quilt top

Karen S- quilt top

and Jan M had this quilted table runner to show:
Jan M- table runner

Jan M- table runner

Lots of busy people!

famous saying without saying it….

For my latest art quilt group challenge, I made a fabric journal page under the theme of using a famous saying or line of verse as inspiration.
I decided I wanted to try and make a small piece that would reflect a saying that was recognisable without actually using any words on the page. So it had to be something very well known, and that could be easily be reproduced in an illustrative way. Of course, it took me a week or two mulling it over but eventually did come up with something. What message do you think these guys are trying to get across?
I used a technique of making some ‘paper fabric’ for the background- I blogged about the process here.
As part of that, I used newspaper scraps which reflected bad news that the monkeys are trying to avoid…
…and then surroundered them with ‘nice’ things, like, flowers and cupcakes, and hearts and lace.

The three wise monkeys are made out of black felt that I first placed in position on the paper fabric with a few drops of glue, and then machine-sewed on with free-motion stitches around the very edge. I sewed a strip of cupcake fabric across the bottom edge and some colourful buttons on top of that. The row of flowers were also machine-sewn with a fine black thread- you can see the holes created by the needles so it has a real ‘sketchy’ look.
I used bobbin-sewing to attach the paper fabric onto a backing of cotton wadding, using a thick, textured thread in the bobbin and sewing from the wrong side. To back all of that I used a piece of natural-coloured linen, fixed by large running stitch.
So, that’s my interpretation of the saying ” see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.

bordered diamonds quilt

I have a quilt to show- my beautiful and colourful bordered diamonds quilt:
I have shown progress photos on here from time to time, such as when I was quilting it:
or putting the rows together
or even just trying to work out the best layout:
But, in the past few weeks I have actually trimmed it all up and added the binding as well as a label on the back, so now I can finally say it is finished!
It is a quilt that I started in a workshop with Kaffe Fassett about this time 2 years ago. I used a large range of his fabrics to get maximum variety of lights and darks in the diamonds …
I used a backing fabric which is also a Kaffe print, although a very subdued one in comparison to most of his fabrics…
Because it has a very busy look to it, I took some time deciding on how to quilt it, but eventually decided to use a large swirly line in the middle of the diamonds, stitched-in-the-ditch on the inside edge of the diamonds and a row diagonally down between the diamonds..
I used a blue thread to quilt it and a fuschia-coloured binding…
I love it when I have a finished quilt!
I’m also linking up here to “Off the Wall Friday” – have a look at lots of other lovely finishes for the week.

some more favourite blocks

I have a few blocks to show you from the ‘My Favourite Block’ quiltalong that I am participating in. The link is on my sidebar -> if you want to look at all the others in this series.
I’m a little behind but getting there- some in my favourite scrappy colours and some in a blue/brown/cream colour palette.
The block for Week 11 was the Quartered Star- this was a really quick block. I made it in scrappy colours in the 12″ size.
Block Number 12 is a Pointy star, using paper foundation piecing. This required a little more work, but I love foundation piecing- all the sharp points and lots of pieces! I made this one in the 6″ size and made 4 of them so they can be joined together.
This one required more forward thinking on what fabrics to use and to plan their placement- when the four blocks are joined you create a design that is then repeated once you join lots of blocks together. These are the fabrics I chose for this block:
How do you like foundation piecing? I use the method where, after sewing a piece of fabric to another along the line, you use a card to place along the next seam line and fold the paper back over the card. The card helps to form a little ridge and you then use a 1/4″ ruler which butts up against it to easily trim the fabric. The next fabric can then be lined up with that edge to sew the next seam.
This block also required you to construct it in parts then join those together. It’s handy to keep the paper on until it is completely finished- you can use the printed lines to make sure you line the corners and therefore match the points:
This is the first of the 6″blocks- it was at this stage that I had second thoughts about my fabric choices because it doesn’t look much by itself:
Once four of them were made and I put them up on the wall, the pattern starts to emerge. Here is the final block all pieced together: the fabric choices do look good after all and I can see what a quilt top would look like made of these blocks:
See the two variations of arranging the blocks: the picture on the left shows what the secondary pattern would be in between the blocks if I had whole rows of them joined together. Very effective.

lollypop trees

There’s a quilt I’ve been working on for nearly 2 years now. Well, that is, I’ve been working on the blocks for a quilt. It’s for a quilt that I saw once on the internet and fell in love with, so of course just had to make it. It’s called “lollypop trees” and the pattern is by Kim McLean, using Kaffe Fassett fabrics.
I hummed and ha-ed over it for quite awhile,but it just wouldn’t leave my head. That’s happened to you before, right? So I searched around to see where I could find the pattern and eventually found it available from an overseas quilt store- at the time there didn’t appear to be any available in Australia except a block of the month project. It certainly has a lot of work in it, but I also wanted to make it to get some practise at hand-applique. I love quilts with lots of bright colour. Here are some of the blocks I have done so far.
I think this is my favourite:
I’ve experimented with different methods of applique, such as using freezer paper and pressing the seam allowance over with starch, or tacking the pieces down and needle-turning as I go around the shape gradually unpicking the tacking thread, tossing up between alfoil or gathering thread for the circles (there’s lots of circles!),and I’ve also tried some invisible machine applique.
This is one I’m working on at the moment:
I’m getting close to the end now. Only 3 out of the 16 blocks to go- but wait, there’s also the small border blocks to go. mmmmm…. maybe a bit longer before completion…..

dogs will be dogs

Even doggies have to have play dates. We took our dog Hayley, a kelpie x, to play with her ‘cousin’ Molly, a big black labrador belonging to my niece, on the weekend. Both dogs don’t get a chance to mix with many other dogs, so they love to play together, running and chasing around my sister’s garden.
My sister’s dog, the brown fluffy one in the photo, is the old man of the household and he had to make sure the others knew who was boss, trying to muscle in on the action. When he was trying to scold Molly, Hayley was trying to round them both up, as is her nature. So funny to watch!
Have a look also at the beautiful prize-worthy garden, all the hard work of my bother-in-law. We had a lovely day!

photos in March

Already another month has come and gone- a quarter of the way through 2013! I’m still joining in the Photoaday challenge, so here are a few that I took this month:

March 2 The theme was “I made this….” The temptation here was of course to show a quilt, but as I like to include photos that my two older children, who live away, can see to remind them of things happening around home, I instead showed this little doll I made for my daughter many years ago.
It is a little Red Riding Doll that is reversible- up the other way it’s the big bad wolf dressed up as Granny.
#fmsphotoaday mar2 {I made this...}

March 6 The theme was “fear”:
#fmsphotoaday mar6 {fear}.. That there's no Ice-cream left..
In my house fear is when there may be no icecream left….

March 9 “a faceless self portrait”- taken on a weekend away with my sister
#fmsphotoaday mar9 {faceless self portrait}

March 29 “good night”: what’s better than cuddling up under a quilt..
#fmsphotoaday mar29 {goodnight} cosy with a quilt #quilts

March 31 “stuff”: this is a bag of stuff that I have to use to make a small art quilt in a challenge with my local quilt group.
#fmsphotoaday mar31 {stuff}.. A bag of stuff from which to make an art creation..
It still is just stuff and I’m still just looking at it….

(all photos taken on iPhone via Instagram)

paper fabric

For this month’s art group challenge, we have to create a page for our fabric journal that has the theme of either a line from a poem or a common saying or verse. These challenges take a lot of thought- in fact I think I spend more time thinking and planning than actually creating it.
I had an idea that I’d like to incorporate paper onto the page this time and I had a recollection of reading somewhere about making a kind-of hybrid paper and fabric mix which can be stitched and used just like fabric. So I went hunting and found in this book…
…the instructions on how to make ‘fabric paper’. So that formed the basis of my play day on the weekend.
These are the makings: open weave muslin or cheesecloth, glue, paintbrush and a little paint, teabag paper, some tissue paper and newspaper- I wanted to have a newspaper-look to the fabric.
The process involved putting a layer of glue on to the fabric backing, then torn up bits of newspaper, more glue,
tissue paper, some teabag paper and more glue, and then sponging a little white paint here and there.
Looks lovely, no?
Leave it to dry, and the next day it looks like this:
Now I have a base, and I can start to embellish it.

a good weekend..

I hope everyone has had a good Easter weekend, and got to do whatever they best like to do- whether that was catching up with family and friends, going to church, resting and recuperating or maybe even sewing!
While we didn’t go away, we still had a great time doing lots.
We had seafood on Friday
I did some playing and experimenting on Saturday- I’ll show what this is all about another day-
the Easter Bunny came on Sunday, even though everyone in this house is much too old for such things!

And on Monday I got to have a sewing day with my sister. It’s all good…
I’m linking up to the Small Blog Meet over on Lily’s Quilts- there’s new blogs to check out there and I hope to see some new visitors to my site!