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

some new things

We’ve just had a long weekend here, which is so great because I got an extra day sewing! Yay! I’m also linking up to a Blog Hop for newish Bloggers: it’s called the Let’s Get Acquainted Blog Hop. Over the next two months a number of blogs are highlighted each week, with the idea that we all visit each other, and hopefully find some new blogs, new readers to our own blogs and lots of helpful advice. It is being supported by Beth at Plum and June. I have a blog button over at the side which you can click on to go to her site. I’m listed for Friday July 19 and on that day I will be giving a general introduction to myself and the quilting I like to do.
When you have some time, visit some of the blogs listed at the bottom of this post. If you want to “follow” me, you can click on the Networked Blogs link, also over in the right sidebar.

What have I been up to this weekend- well, I have finished the last block of the “My Favourite Block” quiltalong, which was the Broken Squares block.
This one had lots of little pieces for the 6 1/2″ block, and as I decided to do it in the scrappy colourway, I had to choose quite a few fabrics.
broken_sq1
I also had to change how I made it too, as I was using separate fabrics, instead of just the one contrast fabric for the 9-patches and flying geese.But that’s okay, all worked out. Here’s the final block:
broken_sq2

So, seeing as it was the last block I put it up on the design wall with all the others just to have a look at them all together.
qal_all
They are not sewn together yet, and the arrangement will no doubt change between now and then, but it’s good just to see how they turned out. Lots of colours and text fabrics as my ‘neutrals’. Do you think they all basically will work together? I’ve had some second thoughts about the mix of the white-based text and the cream-based texts, but maybe with careful placement, and choice of sashing perhaps?, it should be alright.

And the other thing I did over the weekend is look at this completed spiderweb quilt top to work out how I might quilt it.
spiderweb1
Sorry these photos aren’t good- the light wasn’t the best. It has lots of seams in the middle of those blocks so I’ll try to avoid them if possible. I’m still looking and thinking!
spiderweb2

Let’s Get Acquainted Blog Hop
Friday, June 7th
Nancy @ Owen’s Olivia
Amy @ 13 Spools
Ashley @ Wasnt quilt in a day
Casey @ The Studiolo
Nanette @ Yeah, I Made That
Ange @ Heart Of Charnwood
Kim @ Robot Mom Sews
Erica @ Kitchen Table Quilting

Friday, June 14
Julie @ Jolie Maxtin
Melissa @ Melia Mae Quilting
Adrianne @ On The Windy Side
Molli @ Molli Sparkles
Laura @ Little And Lots
Sarah @ Duck Egg Threads
Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation
Cari @ There’s A Thread
Valerie @ Between Quilts

Friday, June 21
Leigh Anne @ Ella’s Cottage
Stacy @ The Tilted Quilt
Sarah @ Quilt Candy
Jackie @ NW Patchwork
Liz @ Beadqueene’s Bits And Baubles
Erica @ Happy Fabric
Stephanie @ Simple Sewendipity
Lauren @ Seraphym
Amy @ Cloud CouCou Crafts

Friday, June 28
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

Friday, July 5
Christa @ Christa Quilts!
Alyce @ Wonderland By Alyce
Anna @ The Crooked Banana
Rachel @ Sew Happily EverAfter
Stephanie @ Quarter Incher
Kristy & Shayla @ Sassafras Lane Designs
Caroline @ Carolines Craftiness
Lisa @ Hilltop House Creative Works

Friday, July 12
Leona @ Leona’s Quilting Adventure
Karen @ Karen, {Novice} Quilter
Anne @ PlayCrafts
Rachel @ Let’s Begin Sewing…
Jan @ Sew And Sow Farm
Anna @ Quilting Along The Grain
Cath @ Wombat Quilts
Sarah @ {No} Hats In The House

Friday, July 19
Karen @ Little Birdie Quilting Studio
Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures
Katie @ Snuggle Up With A Dish From Karma
Alison @ Making Happyness
Sarah @ Sowing Stitches
Ella and Nesta @ Ella & Nesta’s Little Room
Adrienne @ Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
Nicole @ Modern Handcraft
Aylin @ AyliN-Nilya

Friday, July 26
Vicki @ A Quilter’s Mission
RobinSue @ RobinSue Quilts
Elisa Lea @ Lovelea Designs
Elizabeth @ In The Boondocks
Jenny @ A Note To Follow Sew
Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Sonia @ Fabric & Flowers
Emily @ Sew E.T.
Em @ Sewing By Moonlight

rusty puzzles

Well, what have I been working on? A little bit here and there, trying to keep everything progressing along. The Favourite Block Quiltalong, you can click on the button in my side-bar to go to Persimmon Dreams which is hosting it, has come to a close. That is, the last block has been posted and finished quilt tops have been displayed. I haven’t got all my blocks finished yet but I am still sewing along and will be there soon!
This week I made the Yankee Puzzle Block:
puzzleblock
It was also a quickly pieced block, which I did in a scrappy colour-way.

And, I have made a start on the next fabric journal page challenge for my local quilt group. The theme this month is ‘rust’, so I have this piece of fabric gifted by Meryl,…
rust1
and these little tea-bag papers. I think they have a rusty look about them- don’t you think?
rust2
What the end-product will be is anyone’s guess at this stage!
Linking up also to the Work In progres post on Freshly Pieced.

quilting along

My next block in the “My favourite block” quiltalong is the Dancing Diamonds. I think it is Block #16, even though I think I have missed one along the way- #13, which I’ll have to do next. All of the blocks have now been published on the Persimmon Dreams website which has been hosting this quiltalong, and we are encouraged to try and join all the blocks together for a finished qilt-top by May 25. Prizes even, if you do!
If you would like to take a look at all of the blocks that participants have been making, go to the Flickr site for some eye-candy.
This is my block #16:
dancing diamonds2

This was also a quick and straight-forward block to make. It utilised 4-patch squares and flying geese..
dancingdiamonds1
I used a text print for the background print- these are my favourite to use for a ‘neutral’, and also some of the pink with white spot- I used this in the leaf block that I designed for this quiltalong back in February, and wanted to bring some more of it into a few other blocks in the quilt-top.
I think it would be a lot more effective if you made lots of these blocks and joined them together, because you could then see the weaving effect that shows from the careful placement of the colours.
I’m joining in with Freshly Pieced’s Work In Progress blog today.

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.
house1
house2a
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.
dancingspools5
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:
dancingspools2
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.
dancingspools1
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.
dancingspools3
dancingspools4
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.
dancingspools5
My pile of blocks is growing – it’ll be exciting to see what they look like all together!

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.
mfb-wk12
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:
mfb-wk11-7
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.
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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:
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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:
mfb-wk11
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:
mfb-wk11-4
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.
mfb-wk11-variations

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

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.

My Favourite Block Quiltalong- a strippy leaf block

Today is my turn to give you a block for the “My Favourite Block Quiltalong”, which is being hosted by Kim at Persimmon Dreams. Kim will have a little interview with me on her blog so hop over and have a look!
My block uses two techniques- scrappy stripping to make some fabric from your own scraps, as well as reverse applique, which I think gives a great effect with not too much effort.


This block can be made either as a 12 ½” block or at the 6 ½” size. Four of these smaller blocks look great sewn together as a four-patch and you can try a couple of different arrangements. The instructions below are for the larger block, the smaller block measurements are in (brackets).

Requirements:
Strips of colourful fabric
Pink spotted fabric for top – 12 ½” (6 ½”)square
Freezer paper
Pencil
Spray starch and paintbrush
fabric glue (optional)

To create this block you will need to first make some strip-pieced fabric (or if you rather, it can be made using one fabric piece for the bottom layer).You can use strips cut from the fabrics in your stash and your scraps- they can be any width but will need to be about 13” long (or 7”). Use any colours- the better to give that scrappy look. Just pick up any two strips, of any width, and sew together with a ¼” seam. Keep adding another strip until you have a piece approximately 12” (6”) wide. This strip-pieced fabric will be the underneath piece in our two layers so that is why it doesn’t have to be exactly 12 ½” (6 ½”)– in fact it really only needs to be as big as the leaf shape that you are going to have, plus a little extra for the seam allowance around all sides. Press this stripped fabric so the seam allowances all go to one side, ensuring that you have pressed it as flat as possible and there are no little ‘pleats’ along the seam lines.
If not using strip-pieced fabric for the bottom layer, cut a 12 ½” (6 ½”) square from your chosen fabric.


Cut a 12 ½” (6 ½”)square of fabric that you wish to use as the top fabric for your block. I’m using a pink spotted fabric for this- it will have the leaf shape cut out of it to reveal the colourful stripped piece underneath.

Prepare the leaf template
1. You will need a 12 ½” (6 ½”) square piece of freezer paper. On the dull side of the paper, use a pencil to mark a point in one corner about 2” (1”) in from the side and 2” (1”) down from the top. Draw a corresponding point in the diagonally opposite corner. Using these as the points for each end of your leaf, freehand draw a large leaf shape diagonally across the square. If you wish, you can practise drawing it on a plain sheet of paper first and then trace it onto the freezer paper. To make it easier for turning later, you might want to round off the tips of the leaf instead of leaving them pointy – you choose what leaf shape you would like.

2. Using paper scissors, cut out the freezer-paper leaf directly on the line you have drawn and discard it. If you do this as neatly as possible, you will be able to keep that piece you cut out to use in another project.

3. Take the square piece of freezer paper which now has a leaf-shaped hole in it, and place it shiny-side down onto the wrong side of the square of the ‘top’ fabric, lining up the sides. Iron with a dry iron for a few seconds to make the freezer paper adhere to the fabric.

4. Take a marking pencil and mark ¼” on the wrong side of the ‘top’ fabric, inside the cut edge of the leaf shape. This doesn’t have to be exact – you can just ‘eye-ball’ it when cutting if you like.

You now can either use a small blade cutter or scissors to cut out a leaf-shaped piece from the top fabric, leaving a ¼” seam allowance that will be used to turn under.

If you have pointy ends on your leaf make a little nick right into within a couple of millimetres of the point, still allowing enough to just turn under.


Don’t cut right to the point as this may fray.

5. Spray a little starch into the lid of the can and use a clean paintbrush to dab the starch on to the seam allowance all around the cut-out shape.
Then quickly, before the starch dries, use the iron to turn the allowance over and press down. You might also want to use a stiletto or chopstick to help turn the edges over as you move the iron along.

This will make a crisp turned edge.

6. The freezer paper can stay on until you are ready to stitch the pieces together. When ready, peel it off and the edges of the cut out shape will stay turned under.

This freezer paper template can be re-used a number of times.
Assemble the block
1. Place the top fabric square on top of the stripped piece, or whichever fabric you are using for the bottom layer, lining up the edges if they are the same size, or otherwise ensuring the cut out shape is completely filled with the stripped fabric showing through from underneath.

2. Pin both pieces together, or use a few dots of fabric glue stick to keep both pieces together. You are now ready to hand sew around the turned-in edge of the leaf cutout. Use a fine needle and thread and take small slip stitches. Start along one of the sides so you aren’t stopping and starting at the points. At the leaf points you will have to use the needle to help turn the fabric under and take little stitches to keep in place.

The stripped fabric underneath can be trimmed from the wrong side, leaving about ½” allowance all round.
You can then do any embellishing on top of the block if you like, such as hand-stitching. You can also cut out a different shape instead of a leaf – there’s lots of scope to play with in this block!
Here are some variations that I have done: 4 single 6 ½” blocks….:

which can also be arranged like this….

Or this…

Or, instead of the pink spotted fabric…….



A downloadable copy of these instructions is available here.
I hope you like this block; don’t forget there will be another block given on Thursday by Shanna of Fiber of All Sorts. You can also post photos of your blocks to the Flickr site as well as have a look at everyone elses while you are there!
Kim has all of the info about the Quiltalong here.

bits and pieces

I don’t have much in the way of finished items for show this week. I’ve been doing little bits here and there, trying to progress a few different projects.
I finally worked out what border to put on my wool applique piece, for which I finished the embellishing some weeks ago.

Following a suggestion, I am making a saw-tooth border. First I’ll put a narrow strip of purple hand-dyed fabric, then the small half-square triangle blocks made of some bright green fabrics. I think that will pick up on the touches of green in the wools and give it some lightness.

I’ve also been sewing a few more New York Beauty blocks for an on-going project which will have lots of these blocks of all varying sizes, playing on the black and white theme with bursts of colour. (Sorry about the threads in the photo!)

And.. I have been sewing the blocks of the My Favourite Block Quiltalong- here is the collection of the alternate colour-way that I’m doing alongside the bright scrappy colours shown the other day. I will be posting the block that I have designed for this Quiltalong here on the blog on Tuesday.

And.. and.. here’s what’s come out of our garden this week, including the sweet little pineapple!