Saturday, July 30, 2011

On the subject of forgetting.....

Here is the welcome hexie I received from Quilt Jane as part of the Inchy Hexagon Flower Swap, including the packet of papers from Possum Blossom Patchwork.

And Lyn from Bluebird Quilts sent me some hexies too.  She told me she was going to send some 'spare' ones.  I was expecting a few.  She send me a whole wad of them!!!  And some 3/4" papers.
I have no clue what I'm going to do with them, but isn't that half the fun of getting supplies?

So thanks so much Jane and Lyn.  It's lovely getting things in the mail.

Craft Fair - Day 1

So today I headed into town for the Craft and Quilt Fair with some friends.  I am going again tomorrow with another friend who couldn't make it today.  I feel like a bit of a craft addict now, this is the first time I will have been to a craft show two days in a row!

My first order of business was at The Patchwork Apple to get my copy of Cotton Floss signed by Natalie of Cinderberry Stitches.  Natalie is a lovely lady and I'm so glad I got to chat to her and was rather chuffed when she recognised my name from commenting on her blog and Facebook!

But..... on the way to visit Natalie, I went past the Cutting Art stand and picked myself up this little baby:
I've been thinking about it for the last few weeks and checking out prices online.  With their show special, they beat all the other prices I'd seen, and I got to take it home straight away!  Circles and hexagons here I come!!

I can't remember what order I did the rest of the day, but here is what I brought home.

You Sew Girl by Nicole Mallalieu Designs, and a bag pattern.  I'd decided I'd buy the book if it had a bag pattern I wanted.  Looking through the book, and the bags on display, I chose a different pattern but decided I'd still get the book, mainly because of the petal hat! (it's the third photo on this page).  I was also lucky enough to get this booked signed.

Some fat quarters from Serenity Glen Patchworx (just because)

and some spray starch so I can have a go at hand sewn applique (namely the most recent block in the Desperate Housewife's Quilt-as-you-wish-along), plus some Aurifil thread to have a play with it.

Oh, and I keep forgetting (so much that I forgot to take a photo) that I also got some indigo cloth and sashiko needles from Indigo Niche so I can make a start on the sashiko panel I bought this time last year.

That doesn't feel like a lot for a craft show, but of course I am going back tomorrow!  Although I don't think tomorrow's purchases will be quite so exciting.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Here is that post I mentioned that I found in my drafts and had forgotten to post.  It's over a month old now, but we all love looking at fabric ;)

I buy lots of fabric, but mostly I buy pre-cuts.  I'm loving charm packs for their affordability, and I always bring home a bag full of fat quarters from craft shows.

This leads to a problem when I make a quilt because I don't have any fabric for backing or bindings.  I know I can do pieced backings and scrappy bindings, but sometimes you just want one big piece of fabric.  I most recently came across this when making my Wee Folk quilt.  I had to order some yardage of the fabric line, so decided that I'd buy up on some half and full yard lengths of fabric (to make the most of my international postage charge) so I have a stash of backings and bindings.

These all came from Skye Reve Fabrics.  I just love to see the way that different people package their orders.  Some come in zip lock bags, some come in individual bags, some come in one big bag.  Natasha wraps hers in paper ribbons!  So beautiful.  Plus she included two extra charm squares.  Who doesn't love a freebie?
There are quite a few stripes in there because I'm constantly inspired by the striped bindings of Red Pepper Quilts, so I thought I'd have a go myself.

Some of the fabrics in there match up with charm packs I have waiting to be used, but others were just fabrics that I liked.  There is a mix of Moda, Michael Miller and Riley Blake (and maybe some others) and it was interesting to see the different 'feel' of all the fabrics.  Can't wait to get in and use them, of course the first will be the Wee Folks quilt, which is the bottom fabric in the first photo.

And since I'm talking fabric, here is some more fabric porn for you.
Sophie has published the fabric guidelines for the next three months of Block Lotto, so I picked some up the other day while I was at the fabric store.  The basic guidelines for the three months are brights, African Violets, and batiks, so you can see a bit of each of them in there.... can't wait to see what blocks Sophie has picked for these months.  I'm loving that block lotto challenges me with fabric choices.  Even though I sometimes/often have to buy new fabrics for them, I only have to buy a small amount and I need fabric that I wouldn't otherwise select.  Of course I don't have to make any blocks if I don't want, but sometimes it's fun to step outside your comfort zone.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

So Far Behind.... BUT!!

I've finished!!!
The kid's quilts that is.

I might be behind in my Civil War Blocks, have a tutorial to write for Jane's Desperate Housewife's Quilt, and have some patterns to write for my June Challenge, but these cuddly quilts are now in the post on the way to my niece and nephew for their birthdays.
My nephew's birthday isn't till September, but since they were both getting the same thing I decided to send them together, with a note saying he can choose to open his at the same time as his sister, or he can wait till his birthday.
I went with straight line quilting 1/4" in from the block seams to make it easy, and also quilted inside each section of the puppy, plus around the dinosaurs using my new open-toe free-motion foot.  She's a beauty and I'm glad I bought her.  Was a treat to myself the other week when I had time for browsing in the shop.
photo courtesy of here 
The labels on the back where both made in the appropriate foot print, and both quilts have flannel backings for cuddly-ness.
I machine stitched down the binding from the front so they are more durable in the wash (and in play).  I have machine sewn binding before but wasn't very impressed with the results.  These quilts though, came up really well and I think I will use this method again, not only for it's wear factor but also the speed in construction factor!  I had both bindings sewn down within an hour (they'd been attached the day before).

They did finish up very cuddly, and I wish I could be there when the presents were opened, but I guess I just have to wait to hear how they liked them.

Now I have lots more catching up to do, but I'm still doing paid work so time in the sewing room is limited.  One advantage is that I'm earning lots of spending money for the Craft and Quilt Fair this weekend.  Expect a post with lots of goodies soon after !

Oh, and whilst I was taking photos of quilts, I had a little helper:
And the sun was so nice outside I got a photo of my red hot poker plant too

Friday, July 15, 2011

Baby Hand Print Tutorial

Here is a tutorial for the baby hand print mini quilts which I made for Mother's Day this year.

What you'll need
(measurements in brackets are what I used, but it depends on what size/shape you make your design)

  • white/light background fabric [5"/12cm square]
  • water-soluble fabric marking pen (or your preferred marking method)
  • iron-on pellon [5"/12cm square]
  • stranded embroidery thread(s)
  • coloured fabric [9"x44"/23x112cm(width of fabric): 1-1/2"/3.5cm strips for border, 7"/17.5cm square backing, 2"/5cm strip for binding]
  • batting [7"/17.5cm square]
  • matching sewing thread
  • quilt basting spray
  • hanging ribbon (optional) [9"/23cm]

Trace your child's hand onto paper with pencil, go over it with black pen.  If you don't trust your hand writing, print out the name and date from your computer so you can trace that.

Decide on a layout and trace the hand print and writing onto your chosen backing fabric using your preferred marking method (I use a water soluble pen).  Ensure that you leave at least 1/2"/1.5cm around the outside edge.  I traced my design onto the fabric before cutting it out so I could work out how much space I wanted after it was all put together.

Iron the pellon onto the back of the fabric.  Embroider the design using backstitch and two strands of your chosen thread.  Use a french knot if you wish to dot any "i"s.
Once your design is complete, you can wet your embroidery with a spray bottle to remove the marking pen.

Measure your embroidered square from top to bottom through the centre (square up your block if it has distorted from the embroidery).  Cut a 1-1/2"/3.5cm strip of your coloured fabric.  Cross-cut 2 strips the height of your embroidery block.  Attach strips to sides of your block, press the seam towards the coloured strips

Measure your block from left to right (including the coloured strips) through the centre.  Cross-cut 2 strips the width of your block.  Attach strips to the top and bottom, press seams towards the border.

Cut wadding and backing roughly the same size as your finished block.  Spray baste the three layers together.  Quilt around the embroidery panel, 1/4"/6mm inside the border with matching thread.

Cut a strip of fabric 2"/5cm wide and press wrong sides together lengthwise.  Attach this binding to your mini quilt, mitring the corners as you go and leaving a gap for joining along the bottom edge.  Jenny of Elefantz does a lovely tutorial on binding a mini quilt, although she joins her ends slightly different to mine.  You can access her tutorial from this page.

Lay out the two ends of the binding and fold back so that it meets in the middle and press well.

Open out the binding and join the two ends along this fold.  Trim the seam allowance to 1/4"/6mm and then press the binding back in place.

Finish attaching the binding to the quilt, then trim the backing and batting level with the quilt top. (Make sure you don't accidentally trim the binding as well!)

Press the binding over to the back of the quilt and slip-stitch into place.
And your done!
(although if you find a fault in your fabric after you've cut your binding strip, make sure and fold it to the inside, rather than making it end up on the top right-hand corner of your work, like I did).

If you would like to hang your mini quilt, you can hand sew a hanging ribbon on the back like so:

There are many different options for layout of the hand print and words, it all depends on you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Catching up - Blocks

Starting to catch up on my blogging.. Here are some blocks I've made in the last two weeks.

First up the next two Barbara Brackman Civil War Blocks (I'm only 2 behind now)
25 Calico Puzzle
My photography on this one was a little to wonky to crop it down neatly as I normally do).  The fabrics for this one are from the June Block Lotto entry, and the tea bag wallet I made to go with my mug rug.

Another nice bright cheery one!  The fabrics are from the July Block Lotto (which I cut out with the sneak peek) and the pink is one I used on Lyn's cherry blossoms.

WOW, I've patchworked my way through half a year!

Speaking of Block Lotto, here is this month's block, a liberated checkerboard.  I think it has 'liberated' my brain, because everything has been a bit wonky lately.
I was going to make 3 pairs of blocks, but had a bit of a "oops" moment with the next two.
I still think they look rather funky, now I just have to find something to do with them....

While I'm catching up on blog posts... I had some more goodies come in the mail.  There was a bit of a mix up with hexies this month (due to an updated list being circulated).  Turns out the ones I got the other week I wasn't supposed to get till September, and today my real July ones turned up, all the way from Denmark.  The photo doesn't really do them justice, the colours are so much prettier than they appear here.

And now that I'm doing some paid work, I treated myself by signing up to Pink Chalk Fabric's Monthly Solids Club.  The first delivery arrived on Monday, which also included a May bundle I was able to order because they had some left.  I'm just disappointed that I couldn't sign up in the beginning because I'm sure I've missed some pretty bundles.  The May bundle is called "Pocket Full of Posies" (the purples/greys) and the July bundle is called "Cabana"

The purples already have a purpose.... I've volunteered to design a block for Jane's Desperate Housewife's Quilt.

My block is coming up in a few weeks, so I'd best get busy and make it!!

Phew! That ended up being a longer post that I'd planned....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Challenge Yourself - July.... sort of

I'm so out of sync with my life at the moment that I completely forgot that yesterday was challenge day.  Which actually leads me quite nicely into this months thing.

I haven't completed June's challenge yet (although I am halfway there).  I haven't done much for the last two weeks with having house guests and doing paid work.  It makes you realise how all those little bits of time you steal actually add up to lots of work!

So this month my challenge is to be realistic with my time, and with that in mind I'm extending my June Challenge to the end of this month.  That means I want to have both tutorials and the quilt pattern written up by 31st July.

This also means that I'm going to shift my challenge day to the 1st of the month.  I thought the middle of the month would be easier because there was less going on, but it just seems it's easier to forget!

So this month is a short challenge of being realistic!  That could be harder than it sounds, but we'll see where August takes us.

Join in below if you want to challenge yourself, and remember, this time it's only for two weeks!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My sewing space

Pink Chalk Studio are having a "Where I sew" month, with a linky party, so it's the perfect opportunity to show you my sewing space.  Consider these 'before' photos as the room needs a complete redesign.  Hubby and I have been throwing around ideas of how to use the space better so I can fit my computer in there too, which will become a necessity in a few years time when the study is needed as another bedroom.

This is looking into the doorway at my bookcase.  Hanging on the wall is my 'design wall'.  It's really only big enough to put mini-quilts and orphan blocks, but it does help with putting fabrics next to each other and being able to step back.  The step in the wall behind the bookcase is the wardrobe for the room, which is full of costumes.  As you can see, there is a lot of stuff on the floor.
I actually had a photo of the inside of the wardrobe once but I can't find it now.  We had to empty the wardrobes for the painter to touch up a few things, and everything in there is so well packed that I wanted to remember how it went in before I took it out.  So I just took a photo and was then able to replace everything so it fitted again!

And this is my sewing space.  It's oddments of furniture I've picked up during my life.  The white cupboard was the kitchen pantry from my first apartment.  The black shelves were for my TV in the first room I had living in Melbourne.  The box shelves (under the pink crates) were originally bought for clothes in the bedroom.
The curtains are the make-shift ones until we work out proper curtains (we have only been living here a little over 18 months).  I think actually all I need is a curtain rail, because I'll use some curtains I had from a previous rental house (actually they're the purple thing on the floor in the background of the first photo).

This is the other side of my sewing space.  The peg board is rather under-utilised at the moment, as are the shelves.  They were supposed to be shelves for me to put trinkets and decorations on but they've just become extra storage space for now.  I would like to decorate the room, but space is at a bit of a premium... even just plain wall space for art.  We're hoping to more of these shelves in later as I have lots of little things that could go up there.
Hiding behind the overlocker (if you go to the larger view of the image) you can just make out my kitty ;)  This is a favourite sleeping spot of hers because it is right under a heating vent.

I've been looking at all the other links over at Pink Chalk Studio and have definitely found some inspiration for a new sewing space, but of course it's about making them fit into my space.   I guess it's one of those things that will develop slowly.

My sewing room looks so much messier in those photos.  It always feels a lot more organised than it looks!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Missing in Action

I've been away from my blog for a while, and not spending so much time in my sewing room either.  A combination of having my parents visit for a fortnight, and doing some paid work for my employer (even though I'm still officially on maternity leave), plus being a mum to a 9 month old.  So I've got lots of catching up to do and lots of things to share.  I even found a blog post I started a few weeks ago and never finished.

I'll start with what Mr Postman has been up to around these parts.
I took part in the Mug Rug Swap Adventure II (remember the first one?) and this is what I sent to my partner

The little wallet up the back is to keep tea bags in for carrying around with you

Lyn from Blue Bird Quilts has not been feeling the best lately, so I sent her a few cherry blossoms to remind her that Spring is not far away.  Those are 1/2" hexagons.  I really like that size and think I might do more of them for myself.  There is a project brewing in the back of my mind.

On the receiving end..... my first hexies as part of the Inchy Hexagon Flower Swap arrived.  I love the colours of them, and the left hand one looks sort of like christmas holly.  I need to get busy and finish making mine to send out.

Also my mug rug from the swap arrived.  I love the colours in this too.  Very similar to my Retro Nine Patch quilt.  Plus I got a pile of charm squares with the most delightful images on them; butterflies, fish and I can't remember what else.  Unfortunately they sender send me her real name, but no indication of her blog or Flickr account if she has then, so I don't know who she is online.

That's enough catching up for one night, but I've got lots more to share soon.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

This week I'm grateful for....followers

not the kind of 'sheep' followers who don't know what to do unless you do it first, but the kind who follow blogs!

And more importantly, the commenters.  I have some lovely ladies who comment on almost all my blog posts.  I do try to reply personally to comments, but sometimes it just gets too much, and sometimes there isn't really anything more to be said than 'thanks for the comment'.

So here I am saying thank you for all the lovely comments, from the regular commenters and the sometimes commenters.  I really appreciate the words of encouragement, and it's nice to know that someone else is reading.

What's making you smile today? Go on over to Maxabella Loves and add your I'm Grateful For post to the list  then pop over to visit other bloggers who are spreading a little sunshine.


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