Friday, January 30, 2015

Finish Friday: "Black Widow Wee Wander"

Okay, so this quilt name makes no sense when looking at it from the finished front:

Quilting late Jan

But it's all in the hourglass blocks, which I laid out and sewed together wrong when I first put this together:

Baby quilt

I don't remember much of the other blocks, but I remember the hourglass blocks! Ugh! And, Marvel Cinematic geek that I am, I instantly associate the hourglass blocks with the character of Black Widow, a.k.a Natasha Romanoff, played by ScarJo.


And the back has the Wee Wander night fabric on it, which is possibly the cutest fabric in the history of cute.

Quilting late Jan

Hence the name Black Widow Wee Wander. (Yes, this is how my mind works. No, it's not Earth logic. Shush. It's my brain and I have to live with it.)

The quilting is straight line and very light. I probably should have done it more detailed, but my machine was acting up and I didn't want to risk screwing the whole thing up.

It's a baby quilt comission for a lady I know from hockey, who asked me to do a commission. I don't usually do commissions because, well, they're pricey to make and not worth my time. I wouldn't do them for a living, for instance (but I sincerely admire those who do), but I'm happy to do quilt commissions for friends.

Black Widow Wee Wander
pieced, quilted, and bound on domestic machine (Brother NS-50)
size: 60" x 60"

Quilting late Jan


I'm going to try to document my finishes this year, instead of just squirrelling them off somewhere into the dark black ether of Completion.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WIP Wednesday: the one where I need a weekly to-do list

I think I need a concrete To Do list from week to week so I don't get distracted and run off to do something new.

My Brother NS50 has been running a little bit wonky for a while now: does okay on your basic straight stitch for two pieces of cloth, but isn't so good for anything bigger.

So I borrowed Penny Poppleton's Juki:

Quilting late Jan

Man can that thing go! I sewed a 2.5" HST with it, and was finished the piece almost before I realised I'd started!

I think it's going to be my next straight-line machine.

Commissioned Baby Quilt

Okay, so I fail at quilting on a domestic.

Quilting late Jan


Quilting late Jan

My machine started skipping stitches on the back, the result of which is that there are little loops here and there on the back of the quilt.

*sigh* It's decent, but it's not great. And the quilt is finished, if not as nicely as I wish I could have done it!


Salt Air Split Square

I don't know what the name for this pattern is, but I saw the quilt on Pinterest, pinned it, and worked out how to do it myself. (I do this. Patterns, to me, are mostly about yardage, and since I always end up winging the yardage anyway, I just work out how to make the block, make as many as I can, then work out if I need to add borders or make more to get it the size I want it. Worst pattern follower ever!)

Quilting late Jan

Quilting late Jan

I've had a Salt Air layer cake sitting around for forever, and just pulled it out on Friday night for sewing over the weekend. The sewing didn't really happen thanks to the heat and the #greataussiedestash.

Quilting late Jan

It'll be sewn over the next couple of weeks, I think. I may need a few more blocks to make a quilt large enough, but that's okay, I have some spare Salt Air yardage. Somewhere.

Quilting late Jan

Various Quilt Tops

I don't know what to call this quilt. Apart from "not my thing". There's supposed to be a thin, contrasting border between the big central squares and the small-square borders. But my fabric choice for the thin border is all wrong and instead of fixing it, I kept sewing bits together. So now it's bugging me.

I feel like I should pick it apart to make it better.

I don't know that it would improve the quilt any, but it might make me feel better.

Quilting late Jan

You know when you make something and you're just "UGH! TAKE IT OUT OF MY SIGHT!" Yeah, that's this one.

So, I started with a very nice fabric collection: Organic Fruit Punch from Timeless Treasures.

And I was going to cut it into 10" squares and make a baby quilt out of it. Easy, right?


Quilting late Jan

As I discovered, two years after putting it in the WIP bag, accurate cutting is an issue with me. (Accurate anything is an issue for me.) Unfortunately, I'd already started sewing things together before I discovered this. So I just kept stitching bits together until I had something approximating a rectangle, then I squared it up.

No help for this one. It's gonna be practise for some FMQ and end up as a floor covering.

Snowflake Quilt

I've pulled this out again:

Quilting late Jan

I have a plan for submitting this to a quilt show. Not the Sydney one (unless I have nothing else) but a show of some stripe or another.

In The Plans

Backings for quilts
- Darling Violetta - purple and gold
- French Farmhouse - yellow bees
- Gothic Summer Sampler - black child-drawing animals (sun, moon, and shining stars?)

Curtains for house

I realised that I have bought three different colours of RK Essex Linen:

Quilting late Jan

This is what I get for not documenting properly! But I sewed my bedroom curtains, and really need to at least start on the side windows so we can block out the street from seeing into our lounge room.


Sydney Modern Quilt Guild sew-in this Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Lots of time to get these done!

Quilting Mid-Jan

Sew Togther Bag!

I found the package of zippers from ZipIt that had 'gone astray' - in fact it had been delivered to my old house and was sitting in the mailbox!

Quilting late Jan

Lots and lots and lots of zippers!


And for the Australians reading this: Happy Australia Day!

Yes, there are issues with this country - major major issues - but frankly I'd rather be Australian than anything else on God's green earth, cross my heart and hope to die.

So here: have some "Aussie" ombre nails. :)

Quilting late Jan

I'm really into ombre nails lately. They're just so pretty and fun to do!


Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WIP Wednesday: the one with overdue projects

This week could very well be called The Race To Finish Overdue Things.


Commissioned Baby Quilt

Still doing this: should have gotten more done over the weekend and last night

Quilting Mid-Jan

I tried taping it to the wooden floor for pin basting, but I don't think I'll be doing that again - scooping up the backing leaves little scrapes on the varnish.

Quilting Mid-Jan

Quilting Mid-Jan

I'm going to quilt it tonight, probably in straight line quilting (maybe boxy squares) because that's easiest given my complete lack of FMQ voodoo on my domestic machine without a stitch regulator. I'm going to miss out on a friend's barbecue because of this! The baby's supposed to come home tomorrow!

Supernova Friendship Block

Painfully behind on these - although my partner, Sandra, sent me the last two. I think I still owe her three. *facepalm* So sorry about that, Sandra!

Quilting Mid-Jan

Finished one more, though!

Quilting Mid-Jan

I think I worked out how to mostly get the corners lined up. I'll have to make some which don't have dark blue corners so there's a bit of contrast here and there when the blocks are joined together.

Oh, Crumbs!

Starting to sew scraps together for colour blocks. I'm going to do massive big scrap blocks, then cut them down accordingly, or fill them in with white for some interesting results.

Quilting Mid-Jan

Made with the assistance of Penny Poppleton's scrap bags!

To Do

1. Curtains for house
- the linen for the curtains arrived last week!
- the pencil-pleat tape arrived last week!
- Amy Butler charm Square swap bits could do for this...

2. Backings for quilts
- Darling Violetta - purple and gold
- French Farmhouse - yellow bees
- USA Hurray -
- Gothic Summer Sampler - black child-drawing animals (sun, moon, and shining stars?)

3. Swarm
- calculations: I need at least 240 more small pieces, and 140 large ones
- conclusion: GET TO IT!

4. #igrainbowmini
- snowflake mini

5. #igminioz
- teeny-tiny interwoven?

Ugh, so much to do, so little energy with which to do it!


Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WIP Wednesday: the one where we start kicking quilt ass

Getting back into the swing of the year!


Baby Quilt

Top done.

Baby quilt

Back picked out.

WIP Wednesday

Basting and quilting on Friday night when I'm free. (Theoretically free, anyway.)

Birthday Blocks

From a birthday block swap back in...2012? 2013? I participated for two years, but didn't really enjoy it - no socialisation at all, very little squee, a most pitiful business! (Well, no, the ladies participating were lovely, just not...sociable. If I am relegated to making something for a schedule, I'd at least like it to be for someone I have the chance to like, you know? Which means interaction.)

WIP Wednesday

I have ten blocks, mostly in solids or reads-as-solids.

At this point, I'm adding six more for a four-by-four quilt, and shading it from yellow at the top left, to green at the bottom right. I don't know if it will work all that well - too much solid, perhaps?

Maybe I'll see when I get the blocks done, and lay them out - it might very well be that I'll decide I need to replace several on the front with new blocks, and shift the unused front ones to the back.


To Do

Curtains for house!

Start going through the scraps for pieces, and decide if I'm going to do a basic chequerboard, or if I wants to get trickssy. (My preciouss, oh yess!)

I was going to invite people over for an Australia Day BBQ. Right now...not looking like such a great idea. *sigh* Maybe I'll just have a birthday party next year?

Start prepping for #igrainbowmini and #igminioz


...and work out that foundation paper piecing pattern. Ugh.

(Does anyone have a rec for how they make foundation paper piecing? My current option is to draft with pencil and paper, but that seems...messy.)


Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

2015 Finish-Along: Q1

I assume this means from January through March?

So. My "Must Make" list from January through March, of things that I've already started:

1. 7 dwarves for 7 other dwarves... Er. 9 quilt backings for 9 quilt tops.

Actually, there are nine showed here, but there are two more hanging up as curtains on our still curtainless windows....

Needs moar backings!

...can I count each of the quilt backings as a single finish? Can I? Can I?

2. Baby Quilt

Have top done. Need backing.

Baby quilt

This one is a 'complete quilt finish'.

3. Swarm

Was going to be a quilt pattern. But I suck at measurementing. (Yes, that is a word. It is totally a word. It is. Honest.)


This is a 'quilt top only' finish.

4. Valley of the Kings

Very un-modern. Bad modern quilter! No bikkit!

Valley of the Kings

I don't know if I like this one anymore. I'm not sure the recip will either. *scowly face*

'Quilt top only' finish.

5. Curtains


One set made, four more to go! The linen for the curtains arrived this week, though, so now it's just a question of fabric and pattern.

6. Birthday Blocks 201...2?

WIP Wednesday

Need to make an extra 6 blocks to finish the top. Now the question: random colours, or colour shift?

'Quilt top and backing' finish.


Linking up to the party hosted by Adrienne at On The Windy Side.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

baby quilt project

In the spirit of Must Make 2015:

A commission by a friend to make a baby quilt. I know better than to do these, the outlay of time and effort isn't really worth the income. But once in a blue moon, it's good to do.


Greens and white. The baby room is cool as a cucumber green with white furniture. I'll send you a pick tomorrow. I would like the quilt to match the room but still stand out. Solid colour patches. Although a single repeated pattern patch throughout looks cool.

Fabric pull:

Fabric pull for baby quilt.

Fabric pull with cat:

Well, I sure hope the recipient isn't allergic to #cats... #catsofinstagram


Baby quilt.

Completed...oh, wait, no, oopsie!:

Baby quilt

Completed Top:

Baby quilt

Still to do: backing, batting, quilting, binding - my least-favourite parts of making a quilt! *sigh*

Quilter Blog Swap: meet Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts

I believe I first encountered Alyce on instagram, although I hardly remember how anymore! However, her work is so classy, and her adventures in Other Countries (Japan) are neat to watch and read about on her blog!



Website/Blog: Blossom Heart Quilts
Store: Blossom Heart Quilts pattern store

How did you come to be a quilter?

I had always been vaguely intrigued by quilting, knowing that it existed, but I really realized what it was when a mum in my local mums’ group showed off the quilt she had made with her own mum! It was gorgeous and I decided to make one each for my kids, maybe when they were 5 years old… They were 1 and barely born at the time! I started reading up about it, when one day in Spotlight, my husband told me to just buy a machine already while they were on sale. So I did. And Ellie the Elna 1000 and I have had such adventures since!

What is it that you love about being a quilter?

The colour play. The choosing of fabrics. The math of making the designs coming together properly. The community.

What are you most proud of from your quilting experience?

On the actual quilt side of quilting experiences, my latest quilt is definitely my proudest achievement. Eternity was not only the biggest quilt I’ve quilted myself, it’s also the most detailed that I’ve done.

In other quilting experiences, I’m definitely proud of the writing opportunities that have come out of blogging – Make Modern and Craftsy blog.

What’s the one piece of advice about quilting that all new quilters should know?

Experiment and try everything once. That way you’ll be able to find your style much more easily!

What’s your 3 favourite quilts that you’ve made that reflect who you are as a quilter?

Well, we’ve already covered Eternity, and I’d be remiss to mention the original Bright Sky quilt:

It was such a fun journey to get to the final design, and very precious to me as it was a gift for my best friend.

I think I’d have to pick Tea For Two as my third one, as it really reflects my love for quilt math and sneaky-cool repetitive patterns:

I have sketchbooks full of designs like this, that work on simple blocks repeated to make an effective, complex design. I’m excited that many will finally see the light of day next year!

If you weren’t a quilter, what other creative endeavour would you like to master?

Well, I dabble in cross-stitch and Project Life scrapbooking, but I don’t know that I’d want to master either of them… I guess potentially scrapbooking? I have always loved beautiful paper and stationery! So really, living in Japan is truly the best place for me with all the fabric and adorable stationery everywhere!

What is your favourite kind of pie?

Apple or cherry for sure. Or both. Both is good! Chapple pie, anyone?

What holidays, traditions or religious occasions do you celebrate in your family at this time of year?

We are all Christmas, all December. We put up the tree roughly December 1st (or for the past couple of years, the weekend nearest, anyway), we sing carols, we eat fruit cake, and now the kids are at last old enough to fully enjoy the Advent calendar I made a couple of years ago! This year, they will find a piece of the 24-piece Nativity scene puzzle, a Bible verse and an activity to do together. (Pic - and link: )

Do you listen to music, watch television or prefer the hum of the sewing machine when you sew?

I frequently try to watch videos/TV on the iPad while sewing, but I just get too distracted – I either sew away and suddenly realized I haven’t paid attention for 5 minutes, or I realize I’ve just spent 30 minutes to do a 5-minute task because I was watching the show instead. Ditto for podcasts! So music is definitely my best companion while sewing.

What are your favourite types of blog posts to read?

I love stories. It’s so easy to see images everywhere else – Instagram, Pinterest, etc – but this is why blogs aren’t really dying. Words. Nowhere else can you find the stories, the tips, the tutorials, the behind-the-scenes information that take us deeper than that snapshot into your sewing room.

If you had to pick any designer to sit down and chat or work with for the day who would it be and why?

Kate Spain. Anyone who knows me for even a few weeks would know this already! I just love her designs. While some other designers have the most amazing uses of colour in individual prints that might make my heart sing more, it’s her actual patterns that get me and the way her colours work across the whole range. Each line takes me to a different place! Cuzco and Terrain are definitely my favourites, and her Christmas lines are always so fun but also full of good blenders for use any time of the year.

What’s your favourite colour combination to work with and why?

It changes every few months! 2013 was the year of navy, pink, yellow and teal green. These evolved into a more saturated palette of navy, coral, rich/golden yellow, aqua and/or teal. Currently, I can’t bear to put this autumn-inspired pull away ( These aren’t usually my colours – hello, brown?! But it’s gotten under my skin and I know I need to use it somehow.

Do you have any quilting goals for 2015, what are they?

I have some big goals I’m already working towards! There will be a year-long quilting series on my blog, and several patterns to go along with it. I also want to make at least 2 full-size original quilts, plus it would be good to chip away at a few UFOs lying around before we move back to Australia in 2016.

Do you prewash your quilting fabrics?

Nope, ain’t nobody got time fo’ that! Especially all the ironing afterwards! I only prewash flannel if I don’t want it to shrink, or fabric for garments.

What’s the best quilting tip you ever got?

A quarter inch seam really does make the difference. So does pressing seams – my Clover finger presser is my best sewing friend!

Do you have any favourite tools that you love to use?

Clover finger presser is obviously at the top! I also love my little pink scissors for trimming thread tails, and my red Clover seam unpicker is one of those tools you need but hate but love. Also red and awesome are my Clover Wonder clips. I’ve got 30 of them, and I’d love another 30! They’re awesome – not just for binding or holding bulky layers together, but also long paper piecing seams:

What are you hoping the festive season will bring for you?

Well, my chances of getting that new Juki sewing machine are about as real as Santa, so I’m quite happily settling for some beautiful family times with our five guests visiting us here in Japan! My cousin/sister-from-another-mother is one of those, and oh boy, I have late night chats and sing-alongs and crazy dancing sessions already lined up!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Quilter Blog Swap: meet Kwilty Pleasures!

Meet Kathy of Kwilty Pleasures, where "traditional collides with modern and Kwilty Pleasures happen!"


Website/Blog: Kwilty Pleasures
Store: Kwilty Pleasures @ Etsy
Facebook: Kathy Gordon
Pinterest: kwiltypleasures
Flickr: Kwilty Pleasures

1. How did you come to be a quilter?

My first exposure to kwilting was thru my Mom. She hand pieced utilitarian kwilts for all her kids, grandkids and great grand kids. Blankets served as batting and sheets for the back. There was no pattern...just scrappy strips. She used clothing or whatever fabric she could find. I never knew as I watched her kwilt...that one day I would become a kwilter.

In the early 90s, at work, I found out about a quilting group who met at lunchtime. A class was offered-to make a sampler block kwilt. The teacher came in once a week and “showed us” the block, talk about how to make it, then we made the blocks at home. We cut out plastic templates (no rotary cutters) and used handwritten instructions. I bought the cheapest fabric I could find in case I messed it up. I had no clue about batting or quilting. It is kwilted with a “sad” stitch in the ditch attempt. The backing served as my binding...folding it over the front. When it was done...I thought it was I think it is gawd-awful ugly!

I will always keep this kwilt in my sewing room to remind me of how far I have come in my journey.

kwilty-First Quilt

2. What is it that you love about being a quilter?

Today the fabric speaks to my kwilty creative soul. I used to buy the pattern – then select fabric...Now I love the freedom to just buy fabric (can you say stash slut) with no pattern in mind. I never know what I will make until the fabric tells me what it wants to be.

3. What are you most proud of from your quilting experience?

After my Mom passed away in 2006, I was sorting thru her clothes and found a box of 1950s house dresses. Memories flooded my head and I could see her wearing them. I knew immediately I wanted to use them in a kwilt. The process in making this kwilt helped me grieve my loss and allowed the healing to begin.

The 2014 National Quilting Association (NQA) show in Columbus, OH had a “recycle” category. Sew..I entered “Housedressings”. Seeing my mom’s house dress kwilt, hanging in a “national quilt show” was my proudest moment. I cried like a little girl...right there in isle. I know Mom is also proud of me for making the kwilt, but I also know she is mad as hell that I cut up her clothes!

kwilty-House Dressings

4. What’s the one piece of advice about quilting that all new quilters should know

DO NOT limit the learning experience to what is “trending” at the moment. Be open to ALL styles of kwilting. Talk to all ages of kwilters...ask them questions about their journey. There is more to learn than what a class or blog tutorial will teach you. Find you own stlye and allow your style to change and grow.

5. Who’s the quilter(s) that inspire you at the moment?

This is a tough one and very hard to choose just one. I may like a pattern one kwilter has designed, a tutorial another has shared, love how another FMQs! I don’t like everything that trends in the modern world...but I find enough to keep me inspired!

6. What quilting challenges would you like to conquer in the next 12 months?

I need to work on blocks and techniques that intimidate me. I bought the Modern Building Blocks pattern to make a kwilt using fabric I love. I need to practice my FMQ on my Bernina, using more designs in negative space. I am currently watching Jackie Gehrig’s Craftsy class for inspiration.

7. What’s your 3 favourite quilts that you’ve made that reflect who you are as a quilter?

“Wonky Crosses” made with Zen Chic “COMMA
Entered in the first ever “modern category” of the 2014 NQA Show:

kwilty-Wonky Crosses

I ran a Mystery Kwilt project for a guild using a free on-line syllabus called
“Cat’s Meow”.


And I absolutely luv my GHASTLIES kwilts. Although I have made many...most have been custom orders.

Here are three that represent my works.

kwilty-Ghastlies Green Portraits< .


8. If you weren’t a quilter, what other creative endeavour would you like to master?

I would be getting my hands dirty in my gardens, creating more and more beautiful flower borders with vibrant colors. This is my second love.

9. What is your favourite kind of pie?

Dutch apple pie with ice cream

10. What holidays, traditions or religious occasions do you celebrate in your family at this time of year?

December brings lots of fun to my home. I celebrate my wedding anniversary and Christmas. Although I don’t have any “set traditions” I spend as much time as possible with family and friends.

I enjoy decorating my home. 2012 blog series called “12 Days of Decking my Halls

I enjoy baking Christmas Cookies. 2014 blog series called “Sweet Sensations” sharing my favorite recipes

11. Do you listen to music, watch television or prefer the hum of the sewing machine when you sew?

I watch TV, movies or DVDs for Criminal Minds and House!

12. What are your favourite types of blog posts to read?

Short and sweet and to the point. I love a good tutorial, great photos of projects, a good sense of humor, appreciate those who respond to comments and really enjoy blogs that make me feel like a friend. I am a sucker for swaps and for blog hops both reading and if you are having a hop and need someone to participate and make something...let me know!

13. How important to you is learning a craft? How do you think we can keep the craft alive?

If one has a passion for a craft...they will continue to learn and grow that craft. Kwilting has been alive for as long as one could hold a needle and thread. It may change thru genre, age, style, designs “and” gender..but kwilting is here to stay.

14. If you had to pick any designer to sit down and chat or work with for the day who would it be and why?

Alexander Henry. His quirky style and fabric designs speak to me. I would really like to talk about the Ghastlies he came up with the collection and why in the world he has stopped making them! Eeeekkkkkk!

15. What’s your favourite colour combination to work with and why?

I enjoy working with gray as my neutral and combining it with many colors that just work so great with it...yellow, turquoise, teal, red, white, orange...

16. Do you have any quilting goals for 2015, what are they?

2015 is my year to do some selfish sewing. I have an unbelievable amount of Ghastlies fabric and will be using as much of it as possible. I will be keeping these kwilts for my collection and perhaps offer some fun trunk shows for guilds!

17. Do you prewash your quilting fabrics?

NEVER! (in 20 + years)

18. What’s the best quilting tip you ever got?

Someone once told me to get straitghter cuts when rotary cutting...cut on the side of the mat without the lines. Use the ruler lines to line up the works. I wrote a tutorial called “Flip Side Rotary Cutting

19. Do you have any favourite tools that you love to use?

I love my Bernina Aurora 440 machine with the Stitch Regulator for FMQ. Of course who can live without rotary cutters, rulers and seam rippers.

20. What are you hoping the festive season will bring for you?

Time with family and friends and if I’m lucky a gift certificate for fabric.