rows of colour

It seems everywhere around my part of the world is baking hot at the moment. With temperatures in the upper 30’s (C) for day after day, in fact over 40′ today, and no relief at night-time, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying it does get a little wearying! If you are lucky enough to have air conditioning or cooling of some type, then I think the best place to be is inside doing some sewing!
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Over the last month or two, in between my long-arm quilting jobs, I’ve been trying to get this quilt top together. My local quilt group has been working on a number of quilts that we plan to give away to various charity or community groups. We were fortunate to have a lot of fabric donated to us, so it was just a matter of everyone picking a pattern, choosing the fabric from the pile and start sewing. I chose to make a children’s quilt, with lots of colour. I picked this pattern from a 2015 issue of Homespun:
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The featured quilt has an applique block which I’ve replaced with more of the smaller oblong blocks, and enlarged the quilt slightly to make it single-bed-size. There was lots and lots of cutting involved to start with, but once that was done the sewing is pretty straight forward.
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Once I had the little blocks made, I laid them out to look for an arrangement. I started off thinking to make an all-over scrappy quilt, but then changed my mind and put the blocks in gradated colour change from corner to corner.
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It looks nice and bright, and hopefully will appeal to some of the younger recipients of these quilts.
Once I had the layout, I had to carefully pick the squares up in order and keep each row together. I’ve been chain-piecing the blocks into rows in between other jobs. Hope I keep them all in the chosen order!
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I’m not sure what border to add to it yet- I’ll leave that decision for later.
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I thought I would include here annual photos of my three family pets. This week is the 5th birthday of our lovely girl Hayley, she of the awesome catching skills and lightening speed:

Hayley aged 5

Hayley aged 5


Her big little sister is Chloe, who -even though she is the littlest- is the matriarch:
Chloe- aged 14

Chloe- aged 14


And Dublin, who has them all bluffed and likes you to think he is the big tough cat:
Dublin- 6 years

Dublin- 6 years

See you next week!

Christmas wrap-up

So, here we are in the New Year and Christmas is over already! It’s no secret in my family that I love Christmas, so I’m always a little sad when it’s time to pack up all the Chrissy decorations and bits and pieces. But before I do that I hope you don’t mind that I show a last couple of pictures of various Christmas bits and bobs I found still up around the area
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xmas-page
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And my Christmas quilt that I showed in the last post: I have a few more photos here. The outer star border was made with random text fabrics, with the star points cut out of my scrappy fabric that I put together on the side, as I’ve shown before. I love these blocks in particular- just something about the use of the bright scraps against the black/white text pieces makes me happy!
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I quilted it in an all-over free-hand pattern and took it with me on our little Christmas break to finish hand-sewing the binding.
I did some other Christmas sewing as well- I made this little bag (using the Sew Together pattern by ‘Sew Demented’) for my daughter. These are fun little bags and so very useful with their zippered sections which you can make in different fabrics and coloured zips:
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She could use it for make-up, or sewing or coloured pencils…..
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I have a lot of long-arm quilting waiting for me so I’ll be busy catching up on that for the next little while. Have a good week!

how to make a Christmas gift

A recipe for a handmade book-mark:

Christmas Book-mark:   Karen Mundt

Christmas Book-mark: Karen Mundt


1. Take a piece of hand-painted and stencilled cloth and some sari ribbon of contrasting colours:
2. Lay out the sari ribbon silk strips and sew them down onto the painted cloth- I used a large zig-zag stitch in black thread.
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Then cut across that piece into short strips of varying widths – no ruler needed! Rearrange those short strips- I rearranged so that there would be red pieces of the ribbon popping up in random locations, and then sew them back together.
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3. The piece of re-constructed cloth I had at this stage was about 6″ wide. I then cross-cut that (you know I like to cut things up!) into the pieces that would become the book-mark- 6″ long and about 2.5″ wide. You can make them any size you want by sewing extra strips together or cutting wider or narrower….
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4. I tore up a page from an old book and together with a scrap of fabric attached them onto the top. I used little pieces of text fabric- any words or sayings to do with books or quilts, used black thread and left the thread ends showing on top.
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5. I then ironed onto the back of each of them some thin pellon- but in retrospect it would have been easier to iron that on to the back of the larger piece before cutting them up in Step 3 above :)
6. I used a piece of my hand-dyed cloth (dyed in a workshop quite a few years ago) as the backing- layered that and the top piece, wrong sides together, and sewed around the raw edges. I inserted a piece of ribbon or string as the loop for each one- leaving the cut edges out. Use whatever you have at hand, and they don’t all have to be the same. Sew around the edges at least twice free-style so the stitching looks uneven and ‘rustic’.
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Great to use for Christmas gifts!
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a Christmas quilt

So, I’ve been working on a Christmas quilt. I’ve always wanted to make one, but this is actually the first one I’ve tried. I’m using a pattern by Wendy Williams called “Oh Christmas Tree”, with a combination of felt and cotton fabrics for the applique. I actually started it last year but left it too late to start and didn’t finish in time for Christmas, so now I’m aiming for this year!

Christmas Tree in progress- Karen Mundt

Christmas Tree in progress- Karen Mundt


It’s colourful and cute, with little birdies included!, and provides the opportunity to use colourful threads and stitches for embellishment.
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The fabric I’ve used for the background for the tree is some ‘NYC Line-by-Line Day’ that I bought in New York last year. It’s a fantastic ‘text’-type fabric and I thought this was an ideal project to use it for.
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I’ve just about finished the centre panel and sewn the red triangle border.
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The outside border is made from wonky star blocks, and I decided to make the stars from my ‘scrappy’ fabric. Scrappy fabric is what I make up from stitching together all my scrappy bits and pieces, the left-over bits from everything else. Here is a block I’ve made as a trial. I think it looks okay?
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I think I have probably shown my scrappy fabric method here on the blog before. It’s a great little ongoing process to do when you are doing some non-stop string piecing of blocks- you can just sew together a couple of scraps in between runs rather than end and cut the thread after each seam. Some people use a small piece of fabric when they start and end sewing- sometimes called leaders and enders- to stop the fabric getting sucked down into the bobbin when they start sewing, or sew off onto the end rather than waste thread by cutting it each time. Just sew some scraps together instead.
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By just sewing 2 scraps together every now and then, and then sewing that to another piece, and so on and so on, before you know it you have a large piece of scrappy fabric that can be used for another project, and you are actually working on two projects at once. Multi-tasking!
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I just keep joining scraps until I get a fairly large piece, which can also be joined together later if you need it to be bigger.
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I keep a bucket of scraps beside my machine, and occasionally swap that for a different bucket- I have a few of them in my cupboard.:)
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The uneven sides are just straightened up to add other bits to it; you can see the cuts I’ve made in this next photo. Those bits aren’t wasted- they become the start of the next piece!
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Anyway, I need to finish the centre tree panel as well as the star borders and then put it all together. I better get stuck into it or it may turn into a 3-year project!
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building scraps

I’ve been playing with scraps lately. Cutting up lots of pieces and sewing them back together, as we do. I started making these pieces of improvisation a couple of months ago, just constructing blocks of no particular size or shape and no design in mind.
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When I got them back out again this weekend I put up on a board the bits I had already made, to get some ideas on how I want them to all be joined up together.
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A very favourite theme of mine is cityscapes, so it’s not surprising that I finally decided on building a quilt around that idea- a view of a city in a sort-of deconstructed way. I have some lop-sided flying geese blocks, triangles and log cabin blocks which when put together resemble houses and buildings. I like that idea, and I’m on my way!
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I am using lots of white with pops of colour, some greens and blues, a little purple and brown spots. I want it to be a ‘modern’ style quilt, so the aim is to have lots of negative space.
I’ve also made this month’s blocks for the Cherish do.Good.Stitches charity quilt that I contribute to: these are the Delectable Mountain block, or sometimes known by a few different names like Mountain Majesties, in black, grey and white:
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I’m off to put them in the post!

bright lights, big city- a finish

You might remember me mentioning my progress on this quilt top over previous months- Bright lights, big city. I have finally finished the quilt top- not quilted yet, but I will hopefully get to that soon!
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The pattern is by Victoria Findlay-Wolfe from her book Double Wedding Ring Quilts. It is just an over-sized DWR, with big pieced points to form the large arcs or ‘rings’. It measures 90″ square, so it was a little tricky for my trusty quilt holder out in the breeze last weekend! I don’t really have a good flat photo of the whole top just yet.
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I showed some pictures of its progress back here and here. It started with foundation-piecing the arcs, all 72 of them…
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I made it in a completely scrappy-style trying to use as many fabrics from my stash as possible…
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Once the arcs were pieced, I had to then assemble them with the little melon pieces in between two arcs and the square pieces at the end. Choosing the fabrics for them took some thought, because even though I wanted scrappy, I didn’t want it to look like a big jumbled mess! I decided to use various greens for the little melon centres.
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Laying all the blocks out and playing around with what would be their final position was fun for all…
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I used all reds for the large centre pieces, to bring some order to this bright multi-coloured quilt..
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Even though I had made that decision, I still had second thoughts about it. Some of the red fabrics I initially bought to use, because of course I didn’t have enough of them in my stash!, were too busy or loud, so I used fabrics that had a small print at most.
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Now that it’s finished, I can say I am happy with it, it’s just while you are putting together a quilt with so many different fabrics while working and looking at it close up, it can seem too much. Standing back and looking at it as a whole, I think it’s okay!

it’s a small world..

I’ve been working away on the ‘My Small World’ quilt (pattern by Jen Kingwell), also following the quiltalong hosted by Very Kerry Berry, among others. In Part 5, there is a lot of work in some paper piecing and applique. One section is a half-moon, or maybe half sun?- shape made up of hexagons. There are 30 little hexagons about 1/2 inch.
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I haven’t done much with hexagons in the past, so I was eager to try them out, especially as they would all be in colourful scraps and nothing matching- my favourite! Here they are joined together, along with the smallest foundation-pieced triangle arc below it.
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I think some more hexies might be in my future! I love seeing them all pieced, especially using all different colours as I have, and they are quite quick to put together.
This pattern doesn’t give a lot of detailed instructions on the various sections, so you are open to using your own favourite methods for constructing the components. For the pieced arcs, template shapes for the triangles are given, with the intention being that you trace lots of little triangles and then piece them together. To me, these arcs looked like the arcs in a New York Beauty block, which is my most favourite block, so I decided to construct the arcs using foundation paper piecing. This is the picture from the pattern just to show what we are aiming at:

Jen Kingwell's My Small World Quilt

Jen Kingwell’s My Small World Quilt


I just had to work out the size of the arcs by looking at the pictures given on how many of the one-inch squares it covers. As you can see, the little hexie component partly covers one edge of the pieced arcs anyway, so it doesn’t matter if the final component isn’t the exact size that is in the original pattern. I drew them on graph paper first, then traced those onto paper to use for piecing.
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From there it was just piecing the fabric scraps together as I would a NY Beauty arc, sewing along the lines and getting nice sharp points.
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That’s the first arc, another few to go!