more blocks

A progress report on my blocks for the Splendid Sampler quiltalong- here are five I have made recently:
I changed this first block from the original pattern by taking out the hexagon ‘flower’ and giving the bee some wings on both sides.

Block 51  Bee Happy

Block 51 Bee Happy

Block 52 Coneflower

Block 52 Coneflower

This next block has more of the indigo and blue colours in it:
Block 53 Whirling in Circles

Block 53 Whirling in Circles

You might pick a little error in the fabric placement in this next block- I wasn’t going to unpick it once I realised the mistake at the end!
Block 54 Shell

Block 54 Shell

I have machine-sewn most of the blocks, including this next one where I used the method of raw-edge machine applique:
Block 55 Dedication Rose

Block 55 Dedication Rose

can I make you a quilt?

I started my longarm quilting business back in about 2012-2013. I was a novice and taught myself to use the machine- a Gammill Classic Plus. Quilt by quilt I slowly progressed, and I’m thankful to those who trusted their quilts to me to do my best. My longarm machine is not computerised; it has a stitch regulator but all quilting is hand-guided with free-motion quilting or sometimes following a stencil or pantograph.

Karen- My Small World quilt (Jen Kingwell pattern).

Karen- My Small World quilt (Jen Kingwell pattern).

I’m now looking to expand and extend my quilting endeavours by making quilts for sale or on commission. I have been making my own quilts for many years, and that’s my real love. I could sit and sew patchwork quilts all day! I know there are many people who love and appreciate quilts but perhaps don’t wish to make their own. If you know anyone who wants to buy a ready-made quilt or wants a quilt made with their own choice of pattern and fabric, I would love it if you suggest my name to them!
Mini quilt made for a swap in 2015

Mini quilt made for a swap in 2015

I have a number of quilts already that I plan to put up for sale, and that will happen over the next few weeks.
I also do a lot of art quilting for something a little different.
Small art quilt to my own design

Small art quilt to my own design

This is just my first step in this direction, and I’m yet to work out the specifics of prices and accepting payments etc. (maybe an Etsy store? or an online shop?) I’m not sure whether there is a big enough market out there for me to join it, or indeed whether people are willing to pay an appropriate price for a genuine, hand-made quality quilt. What do you think?

In the meantime, here are a few pictures of a recent quilt that I quilted for a customer:
It was quilted in a hand-guided custom design using an off-white thread.

Hope you are having a good week!

creating with bias strips

This mini quilt top was created by using bias strips- brightly coloured strips on texty backgrounds.

Karen Mundt- Symbols

Karen Mundt- Symbols

I used one of those little bias maker tools, where you feed in the strips of fabric cut on the bias and it turns over the edges so you can iron them down as it comes out the other end. Do you have one of those sitting in your drawer, not used for a long time, like me?!

I joined the Mighty Lucky club which is going to highlight some new methods and techniques each month. I thought it would be good to get me thinking about new things and to just have a play. The first month was about using bias strips to create a modern quilt.
For some reason these symbols popped into my head so I decided to try and make a few of them. I used a 3/4″ strip because I thought I would need it to be a bit on the thinner side to get it to curve how I needed.
However in retrospect I think wider strips might have looked a bit better- the symbols look a bit ‘spindly’ to my eyes- what do you think? I’m not over-pleased with it, but it’s okay!

It was fairly easy to do- I arranged the strips into the shapes and then used some glue to hold them in place while I sewed them down by machine. Using the Edgestitch foot (#10C on my Bernina) made that easy.
The instructions that were given included the use of iron-on adhesive which I didn’t have any of, so the Roxanne glue did a good job instead. I used a monofilament thread but of course you can use any coloured threads to make the stitching a feature.
Not sure what I will do with this now though- it may even end up being slashed and re-assembled for another modern quilt along the way!

circles and clambakes

A quilt pattern that I have seen around in recent times is using the clamshell shape. Once again, it is also a design that has a traditional background but when used with fresh new fabrics, or – my favourite- lots of scraps, it produces a lovely colourful quilt. I recently saw a quick and easy version of a clamshell quilt on the Stitched in Color blog and thought it was right up my alley!
It takes lots of circles sewn in overlapping rows, machine-sewn with raw edges. It looks quick and easy so I thought I would have a go at it. I want to use up lots of fabrics from my stash, so I have been trying to make some scrappy quilts lately to use as much as I can. You might remember my spiderweb quilt, which used strips of varying widths all sewn together:
and I have almost finished a scrappy Round-the-world quilt which I’ll show on here soon.
For this clamshell quilt I need to cut lots of circles. And it just so happens I have a new toy with which to cut them with!! This is my new Sizzix Big Shot:
I had always resisted these fabric-cutting machines in the past but had recently changed my mind when I realised they would be ideal for cutting accurate curved shapes, like circles, petals, leaves etc. When I saw this one on sale at Lincraft last month I thought why not?!
I have had to buy the cutting dies separately so have at the moment just bought circles in three sizes and a half-square triangle die. I tried to get a clamshell-shape but still trying to source that online, plus some other shapes.
It cuts circles so quickly and perfectly. You just layer the fabric, up to 6 layers at once, on the die between the cutting pads and wind it through. I wish I had it when doing the Lollipop Trees quilt last year! It can also cut paper and card and be used for embossing.
Lots of playing ahead! Have a good week :)

more lollipops

Keeping inside out of the heat has meant lots of time to do some stitching, which I am quite happy about! It’s so crazy that while we have over 40* heat here in Queensland, over in New York they are having below zero weather and snow storms. Thank goodness for air con (and solar panels!), no matter what extreme.
I’ve been able to catch up on some more little blocks for the Lollipop Trees quilt that has been my project for the last 2 years, utlising mainly Kaffe Fassett fabrics. Here is another of the large blocks that have been completed:
and here are the little blocks that form the border around those large blocks:
Some of these little blocks are only 4″ square,
some will be 4*6″,
and some will be 6*8″
The pattern gave instructions to cut these smaller squares with quite a bit of spare fabric that will end up being trimmed off; a fact I have to keep in mind when appliqueing the pieces on. I’ve already had to reverse-sew a few leaves to bring them back within the ‘invisible’ outline of the block. At least though, being small, these blocks are quick to do so I’m hoping I’ll get throght them fairly quickly!

update on the lollipop trees

An update on where I’m at with my Lollipop trees quilt. This quilt is also being progressed bit by bit- I tend to work a little on a few different projects so they all move along together. I never refer to them as a UFO- more like a Work in Progress because I don’t abandon them: I just give them all time equally, like a mother with lots of children!
I have finished all of the large blocks for the quilt- here is another couple to show you:
Now I’ve started on the little blocks that form a border around the outside of the large centre section. And I have a few of them to show as well:
I have used a machine-applique method for these, as I outlined in a previous post. I’ve varied it slightly by not using the washable fusible. I just cut the shapes out utilising freezer-paper templates, folded over the edges and pressed down with starch – much like I do when hand-appliqueing. I then used a couple of dots of glue to keep them in place and then sewed them down by machine. Really quick and easy.
So, even though it ain’t gonna happen over night, this quilt will be finished- soon.

how to do invisible machine applique

The Lollipop Trees quilt has a lot of applique to do- a LOT of applique. In the early days I thought I might give a try to machine applique, so I started one of the blocks using a method I distilled from lots of reading in books and the ‘net. I didn’t actually end up using it on many blocks- mainly because I found it more convenient to hand sew them all and be able to take them with me or do in front of the television at night etc., like this one :
However, machine applique was an effective method so I thought I would show it here and see what you think. This is a close-up:
It is just about ‘invisible’ isn’t it?!
So anyway, this is how I did it. I used a product called Floriani Stitch’n Wash Fusible. As its name suggests, it can be fused, stitched through and then will wash out later so it can be left in. You can cut it out in the shapes of the pieces that you need and then iron it to the back side of the fabric. Cut out the pieces leaving a quarter inch allowance, just like you might do using freezer paper.
You then turn over the edges to the wrong side, using little tiny dots of fabric glue to keep them in place- I used Roxanne’s Baste-It glue because it has a long thin nozzle to enable little micro-dots, but any similar glue will do. Most of themn also wash out in water. Then give a quick press to the edges.
You place the applique piece on the block background using a couple of dots of glue to keep it in place. Then go to your sewing machine.
This is where some playing and experimenting might come in, as all machines are different. I worked out the ideal settings for me (using a Bernina 440QE) as these: I used Stitch #3, but you might like one of the other stitches or a zig zag better…
and changed the stitch length to .9 and the width as .7
I used a #10 microtex needle and Wonder Invisible thread in both the top and the bottom threads. Not many of the clear threads behave when used in the bobbin but I found this one really good. I also put the tension at 3.
You sew along the edge of the piece, with the straight part of the stitch right along the edge, and the little side ‘zag’ just comes across onto the applique. You don’t have to be too fussy about that though! I went crooked many a time, but the invisible thread hides it all.
It’s a method that makes the pieces have a nice crisp edge. You may want to just go slowly to begin with, and you do have to work out how to pivot at corners or going around curves.
However, I wasn’t happy with the edges of the circles, so I used a hybrid method for them. I prepared them like I did for the hand-sewn blocks, see here, using circular shapes to cut the piece out, put a gathering thread around it and pull up tight. Using those plastic shapes meant there was something to pull the fabric against. I just pressed them with a little spray starch and the edges stayed crisp enough to then machine sew them down invisibly.
Voila: a machine-sewn applique block. :)