my fish

If you were given a bag of random assorted ‘stuff’, such as this one here, what would you make with it?
bag-of-stuff
My art quilt group recently set ourselves this challenge- we all brought in a bag of stuff, which was then passed on to another member, and we then had to create a small quilted work, using at least some of all of those things in the bag.
The bag I received had some green felt, a bag of small green triangle confetti-sized bits, some large buttons and little tiny buttons, fabric scraps, some beads, cord, and wool. It took some thinking time to come up with an idea….
But, it was the little triangle scraps that made me think of fish scales so I thought a fish would be the go.. Then I remembered a book I had by Susan Carlson where she had made a series of fish quilts using a collage-type method of applique. I used her template for the fish shape and individual pieces.
fish-pattern
I had to choose a range of fabrics for the fishy. I utilsed the paisley scrap that was in the bag and added to it a lot of batik bits which seemed to suit the colours.
fabrics2
choosing-fabrics
To make the main body piece, the green triangles were placed in between some Solvy and randomly sewn all over to connect them all up. The Solvy is then washed away to leave the green made-up fabric.
fishscales
Assembling the fish:
assembling-fish1
I had to constantly go back and check my bag of stuff, to work out where I could incorporate the various bits: the big green button could be his eye, placed on top of a circle of the green felt and a piece of the dark red fabric scrap could be his lip.
The assembled fish:
completed fish1
Now I had to work out the background, so I ‘auditioned’ a few pieces of bright fabric.
choosing-back
In the end, I went with a two-pieced background, using a bright print for the bottom on which I could build up the sea-floor.
choosing-back2
I unpicked the piece that came in the bag with a strip of red, cream and print and used the pieces individually.
using-stuff2
The cream became a rock, plus an octopus. The red was a rock, the print made a convincing coral outcrop, with the small buttons and bead. I twisted the wool and the cord together and attached it along the bottom. I added some more little fish cut from the paisley fabric, and some swaying seaweed from the green felt.
using-stuff
It was all topped off by lots of free-motion quilting.
completedfishdetail
Some rich emerald green was used for the borders, and my fishy was done!
completedfish1
I’m linking up here to Off the Wall Friday Check out some more art quilts!

my turn on the Let’s Get Acquainted blog hop…..

Hello and welcome to any new visitors that have made their way here to my blog through the ‘Let’s Get Acquainted Blog Hop’. The blog hop is being hosted by Plum and June, and it’s a great avenue for us newish bloggers to connect up with others, as well as find lots of new blogs we might otherwise not find! There is a button on my side-bar which will take you to the Let’s Get Acquainted blog posts on Plum and June‘s website, but I also have listed here at the bottom of this blog all those blogs in centre place this week!

My name is Karen and I live in a small town called Gatton in beautiful Queensland. While I have been quilting for quite a few years now, I only started this blog in 2012, to coincide with my new quilting business. I started a long-arm quilting business, using a Gammill machine, and have slowly been building that up, while also still sewing as many quilts of my own as I can, and fitting that in around a day job.
My blog is called Little Birdie Quilting Studio and I chose this name for a few reasons. My daughter’s nickname, which I think came from her two brothers, was always ‘little birdie’ and plus birds are very prominent in modern quilting today, so I thought I’d tap into that as well. And plus they just look cute!
#fmsphotoaday jul9 {3 things} 3 little birdies
On my blog I like to write and show photos of my patchwork and quilting, as well as the quilts that I long-arm quilt for others, my family,our pets and just anything that takes my fancy, really!
The quilts I like to make have mainly been those where I can use lots of colour- Kaffe Fassett fabric is a favourite- and I generally prefer pieced quilts, with as many different fabrics as I can. I love scrappy quilts!
squares-quilt
mosaiic1
Having just said that, I also have to confess to a long-term applique quilt that I have been making. It is a Kim McLean pattern called ‘Lollipop Trees’ using Kaffe fabrics, and I thought I would do it to make myself get more acquainted with applique. Well, it has certainly done that- I’ve nearly finished all of the 16 large blocks for it, but it also has lots of little blocks around the border.
lollipop3
With quilting, I have been trying to develop my own style and I like to free-motion quilt. I make up a lot of designs to suit the quilt in front of me at the time, and like to ‘free-wheel’ it, avoiding marking a design if possible.
quilting
I have a real leaning towards art quilts, and with this work I tend to go towards a look using old re-purposed fabrics, natural colours, lots of texture, fabric collage and exploring with lots of different bits and pieces.
mosaiic2
On my blog, I have occasionally given little tutorials- I call them ‘How to…’, with the most recent demonstrating my preferred version of applique.
I don’t think I’m an expert in any of these techniques, but I write about them in response to questions I get on how did I do a particular thing- so I put it on the blog.
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to take part in a the “My Favourite Block” Quiltalong. I was one of the block designers, and I found that an exciting experience to take part in. You can read about my block here, where I showed a scrappy reverse applique technique.

Blocks from the Quilt Along- still thinking about how to arrange them!

Blocks from the Quilt Along- still thinking about how to arrange them!

blocks-to-date

I hope you all enjoy looking around my blog! and don’t forget all the other great blogs being featured this week:

Karen @ Little Birdie Quilting Studio
Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures
Katie @ Snuggle Up With A Dish From Karma
Alison @ Making Happyness
Ella and Nesta @ Ella & Nesta’s Little Room
Adrienne @ Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
Nicole @ Modern Handcraft
Aylin @ AyliN-Nilya
Kelsey and Amanda @ Everyday Fray

wabi sabi simplicity

wabi sabi: beauty in imperfection. According to wikipedia, its characteristics include “asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes”.
This was the theme for this month’s art quilt challenge for our fabric journal pages. It proved a challenge in more ways than one, and seeing as it was my suggestion, you would think I should have whipped something up as quick as anything. But no, I agonised over it for ages, trying to come up with something that would encapsulate the features of imperfection and simplicity.
So in the end, I settled on a rendition of a clay pot on a plinth; a simple roughly made pot with a crack in it, sitting on display.
karen-wabi2
To try and keep it as simple and stark as possible, I had the pot sitting there by itself..
karen-wabi1
but there was too much spare space above it, so I added a layer of linen sewn with quick pintucks along its length.
karen-wabi4
karen-wabi3

Some of the other Gatton Quilters showed their interpretations of wabi sabi –
Meryl continued her under-water theme:
meryl-wabi
Shirley produced a bonsaii study:
shirley_wabi
Jan M showed her beautiful and simply elegant sand garden:
jan_m-wabi
and Helen with her take on a ‘four-patch':
helen_wabi
Just one more to show- Helen’s ‘Rust’ themed work from last month’s challenge, where she utilised some text-printed fabric:
helen_rust

photos for June

Another month already, and I haven’t showed my selection of daily photos for June!

June 2 and the theme was {a moment}: a very special moment in these little animnals’ lives- feed time, and all eyes are on the main game…
#fmsphotoaday jun2 { a moment} food time

June 4 {after dark}:
#fmsphotoaday june4 {after dark}

June 13 {kitchen}: it’s fun to play around with taking photos- this one looked good in black and white- my new coffee maker is on the left-yum!
#fmsphotoaday jun13 {kitchen}

June 20 {cute} ; this little Navy teddy is cute- he resides in a special person’s bedroom
#fmsphotoaday jun20 {cute} someone's teddy

June 28 {red}: obligatory rose photo- the rose garden has been pruned today, so no more of these for a little while!
#fmsphotoaday june28 {red}

A class with Gwen Marston

I had so much fun at the Gwen Marston workshop, held in Toowoomba last week. I think we were so fortunate to have a quilter of her calibre to visit. Gwen is a lovely person; lively and funny and generous and down-to-earth with her advice.
She brought along her own quilts to show us. Each day had adifferent focus. The first day was working on medallion quilts and before we started she would show us some of her own quilts, many of which were featured in her book. It was fantastic to see them up close!
gwen2
gwen1
These are some of her quilts which show some Amish influences and improvisational piecing and quilting.
gwen3
gwen5
The second day was based around her most recent book “37 Sketches”, in which she created lots of little quilts.
gwen6
With these she played and experimented with lots of improvisation in the shapes she used, free-hand cutting, and restricting or expanding the colour palette. She said that she used them as an artist would a sketch: perhaps dealing with a square shape and the variations she could make with it, and then the next one would have one other shape added to it, or strips inserted in; using all dark colours in one, or all light in another.
We played by creating lots of little ‘spare parts’, trying out her techniques of piecing skinny triangles together, or making little strips with just a pop of colour here and there, or wonky nine-patches, and so on. Some people got as far as joining them all together to make a little quiltlet top, while some of us made a good start on a collection of parts.
Here is how far I got with my medallion centre: I went with this print which I was initially a little undecided on. I cut out a square which I then put on-point and chopped off some corners:
medallion1
To that, I made some little hourglass blocks:
hourglass
and added them into a border with some cornerstone blocks of a fabric which looked just perfect for the job!
medallion2
Next up are my little spare parts. I tried to stick to about 5 or 6 different colours.
karen2
Here is a selection of what some of the workshop participants produced in the workshop.
wkshop-mosaiic
One lady, Jan, had this quilt top to show the class that she had made before the workshop, very much in the style of Gwen Marston and Freddie Moran’s Liberated quilting style:
jan
jan2
Beautiful colour and very clever!

some fun

It’s like I’m going on holidays. I’ve been packing my bags, working out what I have to take, getting it all ready the night before, charging the battery on the phone and the camera. Anyone would think I will be away for a week, but no, it’s only for 2 days.
I’m going to a workshop. Yay!! I have 2 days off work and I’m going to a workshop in Toowoomba with the world-famous Gwen Marston- she of the Liberated Quiltmaking fame, and those glorious colourful quilts in collaboration with Freddie Moran. It’s too good an opportunity to miss!
Even so, it was hard to decide on what fabric to take. This is my box of fabric ready to go.
workshop
The first day is on Liberated Medallions, so we need appropriate fabric to work in with that. My first love is really bright fabrics, but I thought maybe I should take the opportunity to try something different. I bought this fabric some months ago, with the intention of making it a feature fabric for a quilt but not sure how, plus it is in colours I haven’t used a lot of before.
featurefabric
I’ve gathered these pieces to perhaps put with it:
fabric1
But then, I might also take this bright poppy fabric by Laura Gunn:
fabric2
On the second day, we are following Gwen’s book ’37 Sketches’ which I haven’t seen before, but I’m taking mainly solids to work with that, but maybe also a few other bright prints.
fabric3
Choices, choices, choices!
The machine is packed up, the sewing supplies and my special notebook are ready and I can’t wait! I’ll let you know how it goes.
fabric4

bits and pieces

Today’s blog post is a mixed bag- a few little snippets here and there.
We recently went to Brisbane and had dinner with our daughter at a Mexican restaurant- Rosa Mexicana. Apart from the fantastic meal that we had, the restaurant itself was a colourful feast to the eyes.
page
Lots of reds and oranges and blues, and the lights also reflected shiny patterns on all the surfaces- inspiration everywhere!
And talking about inspiration, it is colour and pattern that always attracts my eye, whether it be a colourful rag rug for my entryway
mat
or these wares to be found in a local shop:
colour1
colour2
My local quilt group, Gatton Quilters, is in its 30th year so we recently had an anniversary dinner to celebrate. Some of the members have been in the group for that whole time, but many of us have joined at various times over the years. We are also having an ‘Airing of the Quilts’ here in Gatton in September, so if anyone is around the area at that time, stop in for a look! This photo is of one of our members, Meryl, who was presented with a life membership at the dinner: congratualtions Meryl for all your hard work and dedication to the group!
gq
(Sorry the photo isn’t the clearest.)
I also wanted to mention about the Let’s Get Acquainted Blog Hop that I am taking part in. Each week there is a new group of beginner bloggers that are being featured and that we are being encouraged to visit and support. This group is up for this week:
Green @ So Sew Green
Gwendellyn @ The Rainbow Revolts
Jessica @ Stitched In Thyme
Amira @ Little Mushroom Cap
Kathy @ Kayak Quilting
Michelle @ Factotum Of Arts
Paula @ The Sassy Quilter
Kris @ Sew Sunshine
Camilla @ Faffling
There is also a link in the button over to the right of the page, which will take you to the host of the blog hop, Plum and June.
Have a good week!