Thursday, 25 December 2014

Wild Australia

My Mum Norma, recently made this beautiful cot quilt for our friends Emily and Owen who are expecting the birth of their first little one within the next couple of weeks.

Mum had this to say about the quilt;

'I found the pattern for this cot quilt in the Australian Patchwork & Quilting magazine entitled Huggles by Val Laird, and I was inspired when I found the perfect backing material Australiana by Nutex 'Australia Wild', to separate my quilt into sky, bushland, water and grassland'.

'Being a scrappy patchworker I then had fun choosing colours and then animals that would go in each area'.

'I even looked up books and made tracings of my favourite birds and animals as I live in the Blue Mountains (about 100 kilometres west of Sydney) and feed or see many beautiful birds and animals each day'.

'As my hands aren't as young as they used to be, I had to be patient and took my time appliquéing around each one- they had such small feet and claws, but my own birds sat in the backyard so would pose for me at feeding times'.

'I ask God to bless Emily and Owen's little baby when he sleeps under the quilt as it keeps him snug and warm'.


Linking up with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts and Amanda Jean at Crazy Mum Quilts for Finish it Up Friday.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


As a gift for our wonderful friends Haydn and Kylie, I couldn't imagine not making something that celebrates Australia's beautiful native plants and their unique colours and Emma Jean Jansen's terra australis range of fabrics have provided the perfect inspiration.

They can be purchased from plenty of fabric stores around Australia and internationally (find your nearest stockist here).

Haydn and Kylie love the Australian bush and environment and have a small, round dining table, so I've made them a set of four square placemats that will fit the table nicely and add some fresh, terra australis (aka, great 'south land') colour.

The waratah fabric from this line was easily my favourite from the range and I think this placemat, with it's fussy cut waratah (telopea) is my favourite (seen in this photo taken on a lichen encrusted bench seat at the Australian National Botanic Gardens).

I used my walking foot to quilt the majority of this placemat with the exception of a small amount of free-motion on the waratah flower (even after some practice, i'm still a stickler for my walking foot...i just can't seem to get the tidy finish i like with free-motion!!!....humph....more practice needed).

The inspiration for the design came from the Mondrian block designed by Jamie Moilanen (p. 116 of Modern Blocks compiled by Susanne Woods).

I also made one of my favourite blocks, based on strings and used my walking foot to quilt 1/4 inch lines that follow the strings. Of course after making the string block, i had some triangles made up of strings to also use, so these were used for the next placemat (RHS of photo below) to top and bottom my next favourite fabric from the terra australis line, the spinning gum print.

Again, i used my walking foot to quilt straight, 1/4 lines across the placemat.

For the fourth placemat in the set (RHS of photo above), i used a drunkards path template to put together a block that i've laid out to include some circles and some randomness based on Angela Pingel's layout of her Last Call block (p.100 of Modern Blocks compiled by Susanne Woods). Joined spirals are my go-to quilting for circles at the moment, which i drew onto the top before quilting using a water erasable marker pen. It does take a little messing about to get the spirals to join neatly, but i really do like the end result.

So, Haydn and Kylie, i do hope you'll like, enjoy and get plenty of use out of these placemats. It's been such a joy making something just for you! Thank you for being such great, faithful friends!

Linking up with:
- Amanda Jean for Finish it Up Friday
- Gemma for I Quilt Thursday at Pretty Bobbins and
- Lorna for Lets Bee Social

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Soul Blossoms


Marta and Orlando's Soul Blossoms quilt is complete. I'm really happy with it and i can't wait to give it to them.

I was inspired to make it after seeing a quilt made by Ann D. Hansen called 'x-tra ordinary' (p.28 of her book make it Modern Quilts (more about it here). I chose to use fabrics from Amy Butlers' Soul Blossoms range which are bright and cheery and i hope will bring a taste of spring to their bedroom no matter what season it is outside.

I can highly recommend the pattern, although i did find the corners of each block were quite difficult to match perfectly despite efforts to be accurate with my 1/4 inch seam and squaring up.

Gemma from Pretty Bobbins did a great job quilting it for me (thanks Gemma!). Because the quilt is so large and will be used as a bed quilt, we chose a lose edge to edge design of simple feathers in pale blue Aurifil thread. The Matilda's Own wadding, which is 100% wool, is lovely and soft with a great loft.....perfect for snuggling!

I pieced the back with what i had left from the Soul Blossoms fabrics together with some coordinating prints. I chose to bind the quilt with a green and yellow stripe which i reckon gives it an Aussie touch and looks pretty cute too.

We recently headed out west on an adventure in the van to the Young and Temora region, and visited our friend Rupert at the Allambie Cherry Orchard on the way. Allambie is in Wombat and at the end of September, the cherry trees were in full blossom, making it a spectacular place to take some photo's of Marta and Orlando's Soul Blossoms quilt. Our little Hurricane enjoyed helping me set up the quilt and running amongst the cherry trees. Thanks for letting us wander through the orchard Rupert, we can't wait to come back and sample some of those delicious cherries!

I'm really happy with this Soul Blossoms quilt and hope that Marta and Orlando will like it very much. Best wishes Marta and Orlando!

Soul Blossoms Quilt Specs:

Completed Size:   2.2m x 2.7m
Pattern:                  'x-tra ordinary' by Ann D. Hansen
                                 (p.28 of her book 'make it Modern Quilts')
Fabric:                    Amy Butlers Soul Blossom range (quilt top)
Quilting:                Simple Feathers (e2e)
                                (by Gemma from Pretty Bobbins)

Linking up with:
- Amanda Jean for Finish it Up Friday
- Gemma for I Quilt Thursday at Pretty Bobbins and
- Lorna for Lets Bee Social

Saturday, 27 September 2014

FolkModern Art Smock

Any toddler who is as messy as our 2yo Hurricane, is in need of an art smock. Back in my childhood, we simply used one of Dad's old long-sleeve shirts, with the sleeves rolled up. Nothing fancy, but worked a treat.
I don't know what school kids are doing these days, but i came along this great old Simplicity pattern (4286) which includes and art smock for ages 3-8.

It was super easy and quick to make and i reckon should keep the paint and whatever else the Hurricane gets his little hands into, off his good clothes! I made it using some mid-weight FolkModern by Ellen Luckett Baker for Kokka (made in Japan) that i had left from another project (My Mum reckons he can lay on the bed with Harvey and totally blend in!). I used some bias binding that was a bit bigger than what the pattern suggested, but again, i had it in my kit and didn't want to make any new binding up before using this first. I reckon the thinner bias binding will look much better.

I like that it has two simple ties on the back and a pocket on the front. I'll be able to make new ones as he outgrows them. I can recommend this's great!

Linking up with:
- Amanda Jean for Finish it Up Friday and
- Lorna for Lets Bee Social

Monday, 22 September 2014

Memory Lane: Mt Rainier, Washington

Back in 2009, i was fortunate to travel to the United States as part of a collaboration with researchers. I spent most of my time there in Seattle, Washington. I'd never travelled to the U.S. before, and i was overwhelmed with the kindness of people and the beauty of the state during summer. The highlight for me was visiting Mt Rainier National Park with my friends Roger and Barb. The mountain was like nothing i'd seen before and i just couldn't believe how big it was! The park with its spectacular wildflowers and alpine scenery was beautiful.

While visiting a quilt shop in Seattle, i came across a McKenna Ryan pattern from the Calling Me Home series called Going to the Sun. It reminded me of the flowering bear grass i'd seen at Mt Rainier and of the alpine scenery. I'd never made an art quilt using so much fusible web appliqué before and thought i'd give it a crack.

Upon returning home, i quickly got to making it, and while i was really happy with my fabric selection (i really liked the colours in the original, so tried to match them as much as i could), my enthusiasm waned over time. It felt very stiff and i wasn't sure where i would hang it once finished. Well, it sat in my cupboard while i completed my studies and worked on some other projects. To be honest, i wasn't sure i'd ever pull it out again, but i was recently looking through some photos from my travels to Washington and was reminded of the art quilt. So, i've been slowly working on it over the last month and it's finished.

It does remind me of my visit to Mt Rainier and Seattle. My favourite parts are the purple spotty binding, the maple leaf quilting in the border and the gold thread (Madeira) that i've used for the quilting in the sunset sky. I can highly recommend maple leaves like these for beginner free-motion quilters like me. I drew them onto the quilt with a home-made template before quilting, and i've found them really forgiving of my pretty messy free-motion work.

I'm still not sure where to hang it, but i do like it. I don't like the stiffness that comes with all the fusible web and i'm not sure i'll make anything using this technique again, but it has been fun trying something different.

Linking up with:
- Amanda Jean for Finish it Up Friday
- Gemma for I Quilt Thursday at Pretty Bobbins and
- Lorna for Lets Bee Social

Friday, 8 August 2014

A quilt for Harvey, and it's not even his birthday!

This week, i finally got around to making a new bed cover for our favourite, furry, friend Harvey. Harvey is a mongrel, but is mostly a big, black labrador. We rescued him, when he was just a little boy and he's now a beloved family member.

As well as being play mate and brother for our 2yo Hurricane, Harvey is a big lounge lizard, who loves nothing better than to have a snooze in the company of his family (often at my feet, next to the foot pedal while i'm sewing!). We love Harvey and after 5 years of solid use, his old quilted bed cover was worn through and he was in need of a new one.

Harvey i'm sure, would be happy with an old blankie, but given his bed is located near a frequented entry to our home, i wanted to have something nice for him to use (and me to look at). But nothing too fancy of course and very masculine for such a cool dog!

Using some mid-weight 'FolkModern' by Ellen Luckett Baker for Kokka (made in Japan), i improv-pieced together something very simple, keeping all my cuts on the straight grain to keep the end product nice and strong. I made the top to fit an existing piece of foam that we used for his old bed cover too.

Other than a small tree i free-motioned in one corner, i quilted it with a wide, straight grid. I had some corduroy left over from a craft project several years ago, so used it to make the rest of the cover with an envelope-style opening.

I reckon the fabrics are the star here, and i'm sure Harvey loves his new bed and it should do him for at least another 5 years. It will be perfect for Harvey to take to our good friends who look after him when we go away and travel too.

Linking up with:
- Lily Pad Quilting for Pets on Quilts Show 2014 (dog on quilt category)
- Amanda Jean for Finish it Up Friday
- Gemma for I Quilt Thursday at Pretty Bobbins and
- Lorna for Lets Bee Social

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Welcome delight (Michael Miller Challenge)

This last week I've focused on finishing off a cot quilt using the Michael Miller challenge fabrics. This quilt will be a gift for my good friend Sam, who is expecting her first child this summer. Sam and I spent some years studying together while we were at University on the NSW North Coast. Sam and I were often lured away from studies by a call to surf and swim on the beautiful beaches around Ballina and Byron. Aaaah..... those were the days!

I hoped to make a pretty and fun quilt to welcome Sam's new baby to the world and I like the fresh and clean look of finished quilt.

I made simple circles using drunkards path curve templates and have pieced them together with some Kona white fabric. There wasn't a lot of fabric to play with for the Michael Miller challenge but together with some green and turquoise solids, I've used every single inch (well close to it!) to make the circles and binding.

For the quilting, i drew on some outward spirals from the centre of each circle at 1/2 inch intervals (well, i drew them by eye, so as close to 1/2 inch as i could tell!) using a water erasable pen and connected them up to the neighbouring circle. This took a bit of planning so that i'd only have the one continuous quilting line and i could end off under the binding for a super secure finish. There were a few places between spirals that needed separate quilting, and in these cases i tied knots and buried the threads so it would look tidy. I was tempted to use a variety of thread colours but ended up using a blue/grey Aurifil thread to quilt all.

For the binding i used the remaining Michael Miller fabrics and have backed the quilt using a lovely Monaluna organic fabric. This is the first time i've completed a quilt where i hadn't pre-washed my fabrics, and i do like the crinkled finish that it gives after washing it. I'm not sure i'd like such a crinkly look on all quilts, but i do like it here!

So Sammy, i do hope this will keep your precious little baby cosy and that you'll thrive and enjoy all the adventures you have ahead of you as you welcome your delight to the world.

Linking up with:
- Amanda Jean for Finish it Up Friday
- Gemma for I Quilt Thursday at Pretty Bobbins and
- Lorna for Lets Bee Social

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Soul Blossoms Quilt Top

Last week, i managed to piece together all the blocks for Marta and Orlando's Quilt. The Amy Butler Soul Blossoms fabric really shines and i'm stoked with how it's turned out.

 Inspired by a quilt by Ann D. Hansen called 'x-tra ordinary'  on p.28 of her book 'make it Modern Quilts' (more info here), i think the use of Amy Butlers Soul Blossoms fabric in this quilt design really makes it sing.

Thanks to all those who have shared their advice regarding binding and quilting. I've really appreciated the diversity of suggestions which helped me a great deal when i made my final selections.

Linking up with:
- Lee for WiP Wednesday
- Amanda Jean for Finish it Up Friday
- Gemma for I Quilt Thursday at Pretty Bobbins and
- Lorna for Lets Bee Social

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Binding suggestions please??

100 blocks for Marta's quilt are well and truly ready for final piecing together. Despite my best efforts to keep accurate, they did need some squaring up in the end, but now, as 10 x 10 inch blocks they look good. There are some that are less than ideal, but i'm pretty happy with them.

It's nice to see the overall colour scheme come together and see the crosses link up the blocks.

I'm looking forward to piecing together the quilt top.

Thanks to all those that have given me some suggestions for've given me some great ideas and some i hadn't thought of. 

Binding suggestion please????

I'm still undecided what colour and/or print of fabric i should use to bind the quilt. I'm keen to avoid any more pink colours (thinking of my brother-in-law who will probably wish for something less feminine?). You all had such great quilting suggestions and i'd love for you to share with me what you think i should use for binding!

Linking up (eventually!) with Lorna for Lets Bee Social and Lee for WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Chita Pin Cushion

On our recent travels to Portugal, i purchased some local Chita de Alcobaca fabric. It's 100% cotton, and very unusual. It freys like crazy, but the patterns are really pretty. I decided to whip up a little pin cushion, to remind me of Portugal and our travels there.

I made it log cabin style using 1 inch strips except for the last outer strip which was a few inches to incorporate the pretty pattern. When filling it, i used some standard synthetic filling but added some rice to the bottom so that it feels a little heavier and sits nice and flat.

I made 2 at the same time so that i can give one to my Mum.

Linking up with AmandaJean for Finish it up Friday.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Memory Lane....New Zealand

New Zealand is gorgeous!

It's rugged beauty is breath-taking and if you haven't visited, i reckon you really should add it to your bucket list. I've especially enjoyed hiking through the mountains and the South Island is my favourite.

My first visit must have been over a decade ago and my sister and i travelled from the Bay of Plenty on the North Island (think.....dolphins, islands and lush, green vegetation), down to Kaikoura on the South Island (think.....fur seals, sperm whales and rugged, snow capped mountains by the sea). It was on this trip that i collected a handful of fabrics that reminded me of the places i'd seen.

When i got home to Australia, i designed a quilt based on blocks that reminded me of my favourite, inspiration-packed New Zealand locations and used the fabrics i'd purchased together with some from my stash to make it up.

Today, my New Zealand quilt (titled 'Adventures in Middle Earth, because of New Zealands perfect Lord of the Rings film locations), sits on our lounge ready for snuggling. The colours still remind me of New Zealand and our various travels there. It has been washed dozens of times and has faded quite a bit, but the swirls of quilting (thank to Carol Ikin :-)) have held it together well and it's in very good shape.

My thoughts now turn to our next travels to New Zealand and when we will introduce The Hurricane to one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Plum and June 2014 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

It's also week 3 of the Plum and June 2014 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop, so if you'd like to see some more, new and inspirational quilting blogs, here is just a selection...

Camelia @ Camelia Elliott
Nurdan @ Hug a Bit Quilts
Lori @ Sew Psychd
Kitty @ Night Quilter
Christina @ Wips and Tuts
Marcia @ Cozy Capatiller
Jasmine @ Quilt Kisses

Linking up with Gemma for I Quilt Thursdays at Pretty Bobbins and AmandaJean for Finish it up Friday