what I’ve been up to….

So it’s July and we are half-way through the year. The stitching project I embarked on in January- ‘1 Year of Stitches’ is now also 6-months old. I stitch a little every day, sometimes only a few stitches, sometimes a little more. Looking at the latest progress photo, I’m wondering whether I’ve used up more than half of the available background?!

Karen M- Year of Stitches

Karen M- Year of Stitches

There is still a lot of filling of gaps to do yet, so I shouldn’t run out before year’s end. (I post a progress photo on Instagram every few days if you want to see more.) It’s turning into a little community. See the waves of the beach over to the right with the friendly whale! There’s also a ship with the Aussie flag- a little nod to my son in the Navy.
I’ve also completed the block for June for the do.Good. stitches charity quilt group: our instructions were to use only shades of green, yellow and white with a pink centre.
June- Cherish group- do.Good

June- Cherish group- do.Good

And apart from that, I’ve also been busy with client’s quilts on the longarm. Here’s a couple of recent finishes:
Such a gorgeous blue on this children’s quilt.
Hope you are also having a productive week!

colour, colour and more colour

Today’s post is all about colour. Just a few random shots of the colourful things I’ve got happening in my sewing room at the moment.
I was rummaging around in this jar of silk sari strips looking for something in orange and red (the colours for this month’s sinchies challenge), and in the process, tipping it all out. The bright jewel colours of the scraps contrasted so beautifully with the little pile of blue fabrics I had lying on the table.bigcity1
On my longarm machine I am currently quilting this quilt of my own- this big Bright Lights, Big City quilt top that I actually finished some months ago. It certainly has lots of colour going on, with as many different fabrics as I could fit in it! I’m only just starting it, so still working out a quilting design for it.
And I am currently working on a new quilt- another one with lots of piecing and making full advantage of colours playing with each other. The pattern is ‘Shimmer’ by Jenny Bowker. The image above shows the start of arranging the colour blocks and playing with placement. (The white spaces haven’t been filled in yet.) It has blocks of big patterns, interspersed with self-patterned blocks of colour and blocks of half-triangle squares which cause the colours to ‘shimmer’ into the surrounding blocks.
These are some of the triangle blocks I’ve been sewing- more bright colours!
And, if I’m talking about colour, it would be remiss of me not to include a shot of these beautiful perfectly-shaped roses from our garden!roses1
Hope you’re having a colourful week!

green and white

I first ‘created’ this fabric in a workshop on printing, painting, enhancing and embellishing fabric. We used leaves and sticks and various surfaces for mono-prints and transferring images and rubbings. This fabric had various green paints and leaf shapes, so I decided to use it for this month’s green and white Sinchie challenge with Gatton Quilters.
I added further rubbing using a crayon to transfer extra leaf outlines and fill in some spaces.
After cutting out a smaller-sized piece, I started hand-stitching large running stitches across its surface. I used 3 strands of DMC cotton, starting with 3 dark green colour on one side and gradually introducing varying shades of green, changing to a light green by the time I got to the other side.
I also cut out some little pieces of lace from a discarded remnant and incorporated them on the surface with the stitching.
I then added some iron-on pellon to the back, cut out a piece of another fabric and sewed them, right-sides together to make a little quilt.
We often produce lots of pieces of fabric in workshops and classes which can sit in our cupboards for ages before being put to good use. I’m working on trying to incorporate my various bits and pieces in art quilt projects- after all, we can always make more! This is a look at some of the other pieces created by members in our group:

Top row: Marilyn, Marg, Helen H, me Bottom row: Meryl, Lyn, Jan K, Shirley

Top row: Marilyn, Marg, Helen H, me
Bottom row: Meryl, Lyn, Jan K, Shirley

A quilted runner made by Marilyn:


… and a quilt I recently quilted on the long-arm for a special niece’s birthday!
Until next week…

Tula in Toowoomba

Lots of colour to show you this week! The following quilt is one that I did not make, but I did do the quilting.
Meryl made this and asked me to quilt it. It’s a bargello-style quilt that makes the most out of the multi-coloured batik fabric.
I quilted it in an overall design with long horizontal looped lines which highlighted the colour changes in the fabric, in a dark gold thread.
It’s a beautiful and brightly coloured quilt.
Last week, fabric and quilt designer Tula Pink visited Toowoomba to give a talk on how she came to do what she does so very well, and to show some of her quilts.

Tula Pink

Tula Pink

Tula is a very entertaining speaker, naturally funny and quick-witted. She spoke at the Precious Time quilt shop in Toowoomba and everyone there had a great time, both listening to her and getting a peek at some fabulous quilts. Tula said that all the quilting on her quilts is done by Angela Walters, so I was very interested to have a close-up look at the quilting- just fantastic work.
We also got a sneak peek at her newest fabric line, Slow and Steady, which is about to b ereleased. All her fabric lines feature animals, and this new one will be a play on the tortoise and the hare fable.
She made this quilt out of that new fabric:
A lot of the people there brought along the quilts they have made with her fabric, and some even got Tula to sign their quilt. This first one below is some hexie quilt!
It was a great day to get some injection of inspiration to get sewing!

long-arm quilting

By the very act of quilting other people’s quilts, I get to see a lot more quilts than I possibly would otherwise. I can look at the design they’ve used, the colour choices they’ve made and the fabrics they have chosen. This client’s quilt that I recently quilted is a beautiful big quilt, made to cover a queen-sized bed with enough to hang over and cover the edge of the bed. It was also made in one of my favourite colour combinations- blue and brown.
It had a lovely range of fabrics in it, ranging from creams to browns to blues which made the surface a fairly ‘busy’ one…
… so the quilting didn’t have to be too elaborate. I decided to use straight lines at an angle around the border area of the quilt and in between the on-point blocks. Those blocks had a curly feathery/paisley type radiating out from the centre.
This is the back:
I used a cream thread for the quilting.
And here is the quilt already bound and on its bed!
This next quilt was a completely different quilt altogether. This client made a bargello-style quilt using self-striping fabric. Completely opposite in its colours and style..
It was quilted very simply with wavy lines echoing the peaks and troughs produced by the arrangement of the coloured strips, and the borders in a free-motion loopy pattern.
It was quilted with a charcoal-coloured thread which also suited the back:
Have a good quilting week everyone!

checking in…

Holiday time – I’m spending mine like most others, I guess. Little bit of this, little bit of that. I recently visited my sister and brother-in-law and took some photos of their lovely garden. Look at the beautiful rich colour of these dahlias….
Their garden is beautiful and testament to the time Mark spends on it…
And they still have some Christmas things around too, its hard to pack it away!
Since coming back from my trip I have also been busy with longarm quilting. This quilt was completed just before Christmas for the client’s grand-daughter:
It was quilted with cream thread in an all-over design with a few butterflies and loops and flowers. There was a a lot of applique and hand-stitching, so we wanted the quilting to be a little unobtrusive.
Hope you have a good week with lots of quilting!

long-arm quilting…

I so love Christmas! I love the trees, all decorated with tinsel and lights, baubles and hand-made ornaments..
I love families coming together, sharing food and laughs and good times. And I especially love getting out all my hand-made Christmas hangings and stitcheries that have been hidden away for 12 months. So far I have the tree up, the rest will follow soon!
I have been very busy since getting back from my holiday, with lots of long-arm quilting to do. Here are a couple of quilts just recently finished. The first one is made by Lyn, using some unusual fabric that resembles the glaciers.



The quilting only had to be very simple to echo the ‘mountain-tops’ created by the piecing of the wide strips.
And this next one is similar to another that I quilted a couple of months ago. It’s an heirloom quilt, made with treasured doileys and lace handkerchiefs..


This was a tricky quilt to do, with lots of bits and bobs to maneuver around. I tried to avoid stitching on the lace and crocheted pieces but did have to put a few lines through them to avoid having large areas with no quilting. That was probably the trickiest because its hard to see what you are stitching through the crocheted doileys, and even though it doesn’t really show on the top, it still has to look good on the backing.
It was custom-quilted- each block was different so each quilted to reflect its design.. this one above is the centre block with its lace collar. There were bits of lace and braid and crocheted edges..
.. feathers and swirls..
more feathers..
I still have some more quilts to finish before Christmas, so I better get a move on!
How are your Christmas plans coming about?

longarm quilting

A quilt that I recently finished longarm quilting for a client, this one is destined to be a raffle prize.
This quilt also presented some challenges! Anne had utilised some blocks with candlewicking to a lovely effect, combining them with some beautiful Japanese-themed prints. My challenges were to stitch a cohesive pattern across the quilt without encroaching on the candlewicking.
The majority of my quilting is done free-hand and my machine is hand-guided, but I try to limit any pre-marking on the quilt. I stitched a wavy pattern just on the borders and minimal echo-quilting on the blocks, so that the emphasis rightfully stayed on the candlewick designs.
The alternating fabric blocks were quilted with the same diamond-with-swirls design in each and the centre panel gave me the chance to highlight some of the elements on the fabric design- outlining a lot but also adding to the design by echoing the bird outlines.
Here is the quilting from the back:
The backing was a light cream print, and I quilted it with a cream thread throughout.

some longarm quilting

I recently quilted this lovely quilt for some new clients. This quilt obviously exhibited lots of care and attention in its creation. A group of ladies had collaborated to make a quilt for raffling. The quilt top was made with lots of crocheted doileys and lace, which the ladies wanted the quilting to highlight and not overwhelm.
2015-07-31 08.46.09
It took quite some time thinking and time to work out what would be best in the way of a quilting design. I had to take some factors into account which I hadn’t encountered before, such as a cohesive design which could make its way around the doileys without encroaching on them but also not leaving those areas entirely stitch free…
2015-08-01 10.49.56
I also had to be mindful of what the back would look like, and stitching with cream thread on cream fabric was also a little tricky..
2015-08-01 10.51.47
I couldn’t have some areas more heavily quilted than others and there were some blocks that had more free area to stitch in than others. I quilted a free-hand feather design in and around the embellishments in the wide borders, with smaller-scale feathers in the sashing and some back-ground stippling in the centre blocks.
2015-08-01 10.51.06

Just a little postscript: I hope this blog post is readable as I’m practising writing it on my 8″ tablet in preparation for when I’m travelling next month. I can’t easily edit the photos so they may be larger in size than normal. I hope to be able to still post while I’m away, especially when I visit the Houston Quilt Festival (I can’t wait!!!)

Scrappy trip around the world

I finished this quilt a little while ago but haven’t actually shown it here on the blog in its finished state. It’s a Trip-Around-The-World quilt done in a scrappy style.

Scrappy Trip Around The World- Karen Mundt

Scrappy Trip Around The World- Karen Mundt

I actually started it about 2 years ago, and worked on it in between other quilts and projects. These quilts were all the rage on the ‘net about then, and their scrappy style really caught my eye. The traditional version of the pattern, using maybe just 2 colours, has been around for a long time but this scrappy version uses as many different fabrics as you want.
You are still able to see the pattern of the diamond shapes as the eye travels around the quilt picking up the darker fabrics and and imagining the patterns.
It’s really easy to make too; just cutting 2.5″ strips, sewing them together into a big ‘loop’, then cross-cutting that into 2.5″ loops. You then open the stitching on each of the made loops at a different spot each time and re-assemble the strips into a square block. It’s really fun to see the patterns created by the strips, and once you get a few blocks made you can start placing them together how you like.
Playing with the arrangements.
Here is an excellent website that shows you how to cut the strips and sew them back together to get the effect: the instructions are by Bonnie K. Hunter on the Quiltville website.
I ended up adding another column to the original batch that I made to make it a bigger quilt, and also because I couldn’t decide on what to use as a border. Nothing seemed to suit it, so I went without a border and just bound the edges with binding made from the same strips.
I quilted it with an all-over loopy pattern. As it is such a busy-looking quilt, there’s no need for anything more than a simple quilting pattern, because you won’t really notice it on the top anyway.
I want to try and use up a lot of my stash fabric, so this was a good project for that, but also my favourite type of quilt is a scrappy quilt. I just love using as many fabrics as possible in a quilt. I’m now on the lookout for other quilt ideas to use up some more!