Saturday
Aug092014

A quick break!

Hi everyone!

I have been swamped - it has been unexpectedly a writerly fortnight for me! (When the muses call, etc.) I apologize for anyone hanging on the edge of their seats for my Quilter's Kit updates. I will reconfigure them to be a monthly feature and hopefully we can get back on track very soon. In the meantime, look out for my tutorials for making half-square triangles (HTSs), making and attaching binding with a sewing machine or by hand, and a few sneaky, exciting things I have been (frantically) working on... watch this space!


Oh and I know this is kind of a boring post, I do apologize. I was writing writing writing all last week and the week before - a total of 98,000 words! I finally finished a very difficult scene, and I wrote an entirely new MS. So many characters running around my head!

I did squeeze in SOME sewing... look at this beauty.

I kinda love the quilting on this one. #shatteredstar

That's the small version of my Shattered Star quilt...stay tuned...more info on that coming along!

Hope you're all well!

Penny xx

Friday
Jul252014

Rotary Cutters & Mats

Hello! Welcome to Part 2 of The Quilter's Kit!

the quilter's kit

Today we're talking about rotary cutters and mats.

Untitled

I use only one brand for mats and cutters, and that is Olfa. I've tried the cheaper brands, and I've tried the comparable brands, and I keep coming back to Olfa.

Cutting Mat

I have a ton of wrist and hand related issues, probably dating back to being a hard presser in school (you could always tell my assignments - it was the one with all the holes in it from writing too hard!). I tend to use my rotary cutter the same way, with a hard press.

Untitled

Two ways I've found to temper my hard-pressing (thus saving my poor wrists and fingertips) is to always have a sharp blade on my rotary cutter, and to use a high-quality mat. I started out using squishier mats, but they seem to catch and trap fibers much more quickly. And then I realized, the squishiness of the mats might feel like it's doing a better job, but I'm actually using it as an excuse to press harder, and that a) dulls my blade much faster, and b) cuts my mat to pieces within months.

As soon as I bit the bullet and bought an Olfa mat for my primary cutting surface, I noticed that my blades dulled much less quickly. I was going through one blade a quilt on my cheap mat...and now I'm changing blades every 3-4 months, at most. So the false economy of a cheap mat has been easily disproven - I spent $15 more for my Olfa mat and I've saved at least that on cutter blades, plus, my mat is nowhere near needing replacing (the other ones lasted 8-12 months on average and I often stretched them past good use.)

The Olfa mat is a bit harder. The rotary blade seems to bite into it just enough to ensure a smooth cut but not so much it damages the mat or dulls your blade. I confess, I also use it as a coaster (!!! so naughty), but it wipes clean beautifully.

My three sized mats are 12" x 18", 18' x 24" (my primary), and a 12" square rotating mat.

I hardly ever wash my mats, I tend to just wipe spilled tea off them (heh), but there are lots of good care tutorials out there - here is one that looks pretty good.

Rotary Cutter

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I use an ergonomic locking 45mm rotary cutter. It has to be safe as I have grabby kids, so the lock is essential. (I also have an Olfa Splash for taking with me to quilt days, and a mostly forgotten 18mm cutter for template precision.) I quite like the shape of this mat and I think it works really well. The blades are pretty affordable ($4.50 at my LQS) and I like to keep a few on hand. I recently had the chance to try another, cheaper blade, and I definitely noticed a difference. It snagged and dulled much more quickly. As I'm a fairly hard presser and a pretty active cutter (I cut out about one quilt or project a week, sometimes more than one) I like my blades to last long and my hand to show less fatigue.

Rulers

I'll probably talk about rulers later, but for now, let me say, buying Clear Grip has saved my fingers. It is completely transparent, you can cut it to the size you need, and it really grips fabric.

When you cut, you should tent your fingers and lean over the ruler. I do shoulder over wrist, with my arm bent, and I cut very carefully.

Untitled

Never ever cut toward yourself, and regularly check your rulers and mats for warping. I've been fortunate to find laser-cut rulers which are the most accurate, and my mats are generally pretty accurate. I tend to cut measuring with my ruler, not my mat, but for a long time I did it the other way around, and noticed no real change in accuracy!

Hopefully this helps - I'd love to hear what everyone else uses and why! :)

 

Monday
Jul212014

Portable Sewing Kit

A question came up on my Facebook page yesterday: "What does everyone keep in their portable sewing kit?"

I have an answer for this, and I thought it might be fun if everyone shared their sewing kits on Instagram (hashtag #showyoursewingkit). But I brought it here to talk about in a little more depth.

Here are the contents of my sewing kit.

In my portable sewing kit

 

  • Sewline Marking Pen - This comes as a duo with an eraser pen. I use this to mark hexagons mostly.
  • Seam-Fix Seamripper - The rubbery tip can be used as an eraser to nudge tiny threads out of fabric.
  • Sewline Needle Threader - Has a magnet, needle case (which I can't use with my long needles), threads the needle, and has a tiny blade on one side for cutting thread.
  • Busyfingers Patchwork Size 9 Milliners' Needles - my favorite for applique
  • Bohin Size 9 Milliners' Needles - my favorite for hexagons
  • Clover Hera Marker - I use this for most of my marking. Especially nice for tryig to press tiny applique seams - just press it along your line and it forms the crease for you! Also good for HSTs and quilting lines.
  • Burt's Bees Chapstick - Because I have thirty of these in my house and this is where one of them lives
  • Famore scissors - Very sharp and the pointed tip is perfect to snip threads mid-seam
  • Clover Wonder Clips - Great for starting hexagon basting or holding things in place
  • Matilda's Own 1" x 6" Ruler - Used for marking HSTs and other straight line work
  • Aurifil Thread (in a few different colors) - 50wt (red) is preferred over 40wt green) but I use what I have based on color of thread
  • Bostik Glue Stick - for sticking my hexagon papers to my cut fabric pieces. Just a touch to keep them together!
  • Clover Open Thimble - For hand-quilting this is a lifesaver. Goes over long fingernails and can adjust down.
  • Clover Needle Threaders - These little ones usually go in individual project bags - they have a blade so you can cut thread without scissors and they're tiny, making them great for planes
  • Needle Gripper - This is primarily for hand-quilting, as I quilt with perle cotton and sometimes I need a bit of grip
  • Roxanne's Applique Glue - used to hold my applique down without all those poky pins.

 

That's my sewing kit! I'd love to see what you use for your handsewing! :)

Friday
Jul182014

Thread & Needles.

I have promising to talk about what kind of thread I use for yonks, and what better way to kick off the inaugural post of The Quilter's Kit than with a discussion about one of few things you literally cannot sew without: thread & needles.

the quilter's kit

 

This is a quick overview of the needles and thread I use the absolute most.

Thread & Needles - A Quilter's Kit 1

Thread

I use Aurifil Cotton Mako for most of my machine and hand work. I like it because it's not linty and it doesn't break or fray. I'm a miser at heart, so I don't like it when my recommended 18" of thread frays before its time. Aurifil doesn't do the fray thing. It also cuts cleanly, like when you need to unsew. We've all been there, and it's no fun picking bits of cruddy, linty thread out of a seam. Amy Badskirt wrote more about that here. You can see many different kinds of thread under a microscope here. And another great, in-depth review can be found here. If you're worried about how it goes on a Bernina, there's a handy video here!

Aurifil Thread

Also? Let me state for the record, I do not like switching threads between piecing, quilting, or handwork. Whatever I'm piecing with needs to be good enough to quilt with. Aurifil 50wt does that for me (red spool). It's my favorite for everything. 40wt (green spool) is slightly thicker; I like it for bag making. I've sewn with 28wt but my Bernina didn't like it at all, and I haven't tried their 12wt for handwork yet. (I'll keep you posted.)

I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that Aurifil 50wt can be bought for a 1300m spool for $13 at my local quilt shop...making it the most economic thread on the market. And you get more on the bobbin, which means less stopping mid-seam!

Another thing I have on hand for handwork is this handy little Superior Threads Donut.

Superior Thread Donut

It's a great rainbow of threads and it works for applique and piecing together tiny handwork of different colors. So far I like it slightly less than Aurifil, but until they get a donut, short of winding bobbins from my exisiting spools, I will be taking the Superior donut around in a pinch.

I love to hand-quilt, but I am not a "traditional" 13 stitches to the inch hand-quilter. I'd go blind or crazy! I prefer to perle quilt, which is sometimes (derisively) called "big stitch quilting" because of the larger stitches used. I think perle quilting is absolutely beautiful, and my favorite perle cotton is Valdani 12wt. I will use 8wt but I prefer the slightly finer 12wt - I'm a touch arthritic so less thread to tug through three or more layers is better.

Perle Cotton

Machine Needles

Did you know the main culprit for your thread breaking is often your sewing machine needle? A dull needle punches the fabric (a "pop" or "thunk" sound), will break thread, and will not catch your skin when you drag it across your skin. (Obviously turn your machine off before you stick your finger under a sewing machine needle!)

A while ago I was a fierce Klassé evangelist. They are reasonably solid needles; the only problem is they break like crazy and blunt like the dickens. (So they are normal sewing maching needles, basically.) I'm religious about changing my needle (every two bobbins, or every time it starts to "punch" the fabric) so I was going through... four or five a week, sometimes. Yikes.

Then I was tipped off to the wonderful Superior Topstitch needle. I use the pink packet (90/14) for quilting on my Juki and the blue packet (80/12) for piecing on my Bernina. And apart from the fact that they needles are extremely hard to break (they bend, but no bits flying off at your eyeballs), the eye is huge, so even a blind-as-a-bat like myself can thread them. This is the worst picture in the history of the world, so please just read the infographic.

Topstitch Vs Klasse Machine Needles

For what it's worth, I've stopped changing my needles. They stay sharp and pointy for so long I'm starting to suspect witchcraft. :)

Handsewing Needles

I primarily stitch hexagons, but I do a bit of perle quilting here and there. The needles I use from left to right are:

Busyfingers Patchwork Milliners Size 9 - these are my applique and fine sewing work needles. They have a slightly longer eye but are overall slimmer, so they get a wee bend if you are a tough old crone like me. But these are my absolute FAVORITE needles to sew with. They are worth their weight in gold. (I have successfully converted a few people.)

Bohin's Milliners Size 9 - these are my crowbars. Perfect for basting hexies and handsewing seams, my only compaint is that the eye is a bit small, making it hard to thread on buses, airplanes, while Mr Poppleton is driving, etc. These I don't mind giving to starting sewists - they're strong and sturdy, but are still capable of fine work.

Clover Sashiko Needles - I use sashiko needles for perle quilting as they're long, sharp, fat in the middle (making the passage of thread easier, which places less stress on the thread causing it to fray less), and reasonably easy to thread.

My 3 Handsewing Needles

I hope you found this helpful, and of course I'd love to hear what you use!

Thursday
Jul172014

The Quilter's Kit.

We all have certain things we like, don't we?

We wear comfortable grooves in our lives with our favorite things. Favorite cafes, favorite bakers, favorite running routes, favorite worn-out old undies that are probably too feral to wear but you can't throw them out because favorite.

When you get start out quilting and crafting, it can be quite overwhelming. There's so much information out there, and sometimes, not enough. A three hundred word review that may or may not be comped usually isn't enough of a recommendation; if I hear about something, I want to dig in and ask questions. I want to try it, or see someone else use it. I want the deets.

I've been kicking around the idea of taking people through my sewing room, and it seems like a perfect opportunity to start this long-running idea: The Quilter's Kit.

the quilter's kit

It's everything I use, and why I use it, in (occasionally) exhaustive detail. Hopefully this will serve not only as a personal resource, but a useful place where people who really want a certain seam ripper can have another opinion to weigh their preferences against. We're all so different - this is some of what works (and doesn't work) for me.

These posts should fall on Friday afternoons, AEST.

  • Thread & Needles - 18 July
  • Rotary Cutters & Mats - 25 July
  • Snips & Rips - 1 August
  • Heavy Machinery - 8 August
  • Quilting Frame - 15 August
  • Marking Tools - 22 August
  • English Paper Piecing Tips - 29 August
  • General Handsewing Tips - 5 September
  • General Machine Sewing Tips - 12 September
  • General Quilting Tips - 19 September
  • Essential On the Go Kit - 26 September

If there's anything I've missed, please let me know - I'll be adding to this masterlist as I go. And of course I would LOVE to hear what you love to use and why. :)

Thursday
Jul172014

Winner!

A few weekends ago, we went to Canberra for a flying visit. We were giggly and a bit surprised at ourselves, spontaneous overnight trips with a pair of ratty toddlers not being our usual affair. On the way there, we saw a shooting star! "Quick," I told Mr Poppleton, "make a wish."

I wished for something. I just want something, I thought. I was wild to make a wish – it was 11pm and we'd been trying to get around a Kwazy Konvoy of tailgating-lane-swerving-no-limit-observing cars we'd been stuck with for around 40km – but I didn't have a specific wish. So I wished for something.

We had a great time in Canberra and saw lots of really lovely people, and we were home by 630pm. Not even a full day. That night as we were sitting on the sofa, unwinding, kids asleep, my phone buzzed. I had an email:

You've won an award for one of your quilts!

Isn't that something!

WINNER.

Second Place - Traditional Machine Quilted (Amateur) for my quilt Southwest Sunrise, designed, pieced, and quilted by me.

(Pattern forthcoming, once I get half a second to myself to sit down and finish writing it.)

I did not expect to win anything. I'm a second year entrant for heaven's sake! I had many friends win awards for their beautiful, amazing, inspired quilts...and still more who made quilts I was in absolute awe of that didn't get a ribbon. It must be impossible to choose a winner in any category, but I am grateful to have gotten recognition. And I feel so humbled, not just from winning, but because my girlfriends were there to support me, and one took off work and another came as a surprise and I just feel so blessed you know?

Anyway, winning a little pink ribbon flipped on a light bulb for me. This thing I do? It's not just a hobby. And I am not entirely crappy at it pretty great at it!

Anyway, off to bask in my cuteness (I am so cute, look at my little grinning moon face) for a little while longer. I'm already planning the next two years' show quilts. No hope of winning - just the joy of being part of something larger than myself. Contributing to the community.And having fun stitching!

Have a great day everyone!

x

 

 

Friday
Jun272014

a camille roskelley class, a trip to melbourne, and some sewing!

Oh, BUSY.

It has been a frustrating few weeks. While I love sewing, and it is defintely one of my favorite "me" things to do, lately it's been feeling like a burden. This is due to show deadlines.

I have had a few breaks, though! 19 June saw me and a group of friends descend upon Kim's to take a Camille Roskelley class. I was curious, having bought and used Thimble Blossoms patterns and Bonnie & Camille fabric, but I wouldn't have called myself a fangirl or anything. But then I met Camille and she is so sweet.

Me & Camille Roskelley. Guys, she is so adorable it's unreal. I had SO MUCH FUN today! ❤️❤️❤️ #redletteraustralia @kimbradleycreations @thimbleblossoms

It was a bit nice to talk to someone who shares so many cultural roots, not an experience I often get here. The class was also a lot of fun. I got most of the bitsy sewing done, finished four blocks, and learned a really nifty trick to finish the quilt top the next morning while the kids were eating breakfast!

These are the ones I made in class today. This quilt is going to be so soft & subtly warm. #redletteraustralia

It is a pretty quilt top, even if it IS super hard to photograph it!!  #dangoldsunshine #redletteraustralia

That was a really great day. Camille Roskelley was just a lovely human and I'm glad I have had the joy of taking her class. It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and I am so grateful!

But then it was back to show quilts. Stitching on binding and hanging sleeves are not my faves. In typical Jenn fashion, though, I have been procrasti-sewing. Finding little projects to make. Little extras to sew. And how they have come in handy!

I made some Drawstring Bags (Pattern by Jeni Baker of In Color Order) using my leftover Meadow fabric. And the pincushion is from Anna Maria Horner's Seams To Me book.

My little Meadow drawstring bags were lonely. They needed a pincushion caddy to hang out with. :)

I also made some fabric baskets, using Nova's excellent pattern. I just can't stop sewing with Meadow!

Okay. This is the last one. I swear. Then back to quilts. (Maybe.)

And finally, I made a Super Tote!

SuperTote front

I used some hoarded Melody Miller fabric, along with Echino dots, and my Spoonflower Mermaid fabric and some Alexander Henry Heath in Pink. The straps are Echino webbing.

SuperTote back & recessed zipper

I like the way this bag is big but not too big. I carried it to Melbourne and back and it fitted a LOT of stuff!

SuperTote inside

I didn't follow the pocket instructions; I made my own. But the original pattern is superb! I will definitely be making more.

So - yesterday I flew down to Melbourne for the day to spend some time with my rad friend Alys and to go to the Melbourne Craft & Quilt Fair. It was so great to meet Alys and just hang out -- she is so lovely! -- and of course it was nice to get away and see a different city for a little while.

I don't know how I took zero pictures of Alys and I together. What a grievous oversight. Especially since how cute are we? (CUTE. We are cute.)

We wandered around and this is the only quilt I am risking eternal hellfire for posting a picture of on the internet (if it must be removed, please let me know, I'll remove it!):

My favorite quilt from the Melbourne show - 22,500 1/4" hexagons! Stunning!!

So that quilt was made with 22,500 quarter-inch hexagons. Get. Out. Of. Town.

It was my absolute favorite.

I stopped by the Maze & Vale booth and bought a ton of gorgeous fabric. Leslie is just the sweetest. It was really lovely to get to say hello to someone whose artistry I admire so much!

Maze & Vale

And, honestly, who could go past Liberty fat quarters? Oh, they were good. From The Strawberry Thief.

Liberty Tana Lawn

Alys and I wrapped up with pasta on Southbank, and she dashed off to a fundraiser while I vagued in the general direction of the airport. (This little introvert was SO peopled out. I am amazed I was coherent at all. That was more energy than I'd been able to expend in a long time!)

I had a really nice time in Melbourne, and even being unable to catch an earlier flight just meant I had a solid two hours of silent, by-myself time. This busy mama can't complain about a chance to sit and sew hexagons!

I did find it really funny when a grouchy older man snidely commented to his wife, "...kids these days" while looking over my blue hair. I haven't been called a KID in a while! It was so startling I actually laughed out loud to overhear it. Ahh, well, you can't please everyone and why would anyone want to? :)

There is much more to come - I'd like to blog about THREAD soon and I'm dying to talk about my latest hexie project. And of course the show is looming!

Take care! xx

 

 

Tuesday
Jun172014

a social tote review.

So many patterns, not enough time! I have made a few things in the past couple of weeks, in an attempt to justify my rampaging craft book and pattern spending. So here's a review!

First pattern in line was the Social Tote. I have a deep, abiding love for Anna Graham's bag patterns; my go-to handbag is a 241 and I've made most of her patterns as gifts. And if you follow me on Instagram, you have seen Architextures and Botanics projects in my feed! I figured it would be a slam dunk.

Australian readers, I bought my pattern from Kate Quilts. You can also get it from Polka Dot Tea Fabrics and Kim Bradley Creations.

So this is my Social Tote.

Social Tote

I chose to use a Kei fat quarter I really loved for the inside (purchased from Polka Dot Tea Fabrics), my favorite blue Pearl Bracelets for the outside, and a skerrick of Cat Nap for the handles. The bias binding is another fabric from Polka Dot Tea called Geo Dots.

Social Tote

It does hold my handwork, but it's not my favorite handwork carrier. (These are.) The Social Tote pattern was tricky in places, so I would suggest having the website open to the support page and using that as a backup! Once you get it, you get it, and I'd like to try another one with a few adjustments.

Social Tote

I used Pellon fusible fleece (987F I believe) and Pellon Craft Fuse 808 as they are what I use for every bag, tote, basket etc. I think I should have interfaced MORE of the lining, to keep it strong and boxy.

What I like about the pattern: the pieces are all cuttable from instructions, so you don't have to trace anything or print out eleventy pages and sacrifice several forests before you even choose fabric. There are photo tutorials on the website that complement the pattern perfectly. It is fairly compact and for a confident intermediate (that's me!) it only takes an afternoon and evening to put together.

What I didn't like: there could be a LOT more to the pattern instructions; without the website, I would have been lost. I think the entire inside need more interfacing so the compartments are stiffer. And it's shallow; I'd like it to be a good five inches deep and it barely clocks in at two and a half. The tiny pockets on the front are cute, but not functional. And I'd love it a million times more if, as well as being bigger and deeper, the inside compartments were instead tiny removable baskets.

Verdict: I'd like to make another...someday. I definitely wouldn't recommend this to a beginner though, and if you're like me and you're used to carrying around big lovely fabric baskets, you may find this to be a mite too small and shallow for everyday use!

Tuesday
May132014

distractions!

I keep forgetting to blog, and then feeling guilty when I remember. It's the curse of Instagram, I suppose - everything is so instant and the connections there are so great. I really love my "Instafriends".

I cleaned out the toyboxes this week and Piper had somehow found her little mermaid crayon pouch. (Where she hides these things I will never know.) It started with this star block, so long ago...

Cutest tiny thing I've ever sewn? Yes.

And now I'm drawing it up to make a pattern. Because I don't have enough else to do! Ha. So I pulled out all my light or white background mermaids.

These are all the swimming sisters I have but I think it's enough for a quilt! GAH got to write this pattern!

The goal is to have eight patterns written and ready for sale in actual real live quilt shops (and here!) by the end of July. The good news is, I have eight quilt patterns' worth of notes in my dot paper notebooks. The bad news is, they're in Jennese. That is, my incoherent note babbling. I am terrible at taking good notes when I'm making a quilt! YIKES!!

But we're getting there. One step at a time.

The girl-child is sick; she went off to the doctor yesterday with DOG in tow. Our doctor is amazing, and clued right into my hints that maybe DOG needed a checkup too. So we listened to DOG's heart, then Piper's, then DOG's back, then Piper's...but we hit a snag with the tongue depressor. Piper bit down and would not let go! (DOG doesn't have a mouth that opens, see?) Eventually the doctor wriggled the tongue depressor in enough that it made Piper uncomfortable and she gagged but the doctor got a quick look. One tonsil has pus on it (gross!) and that's why she's refusing food. We are to keep an eye on her and if it gets worse, come back for antibiotics.

But it is scary when my little ones are sick, because it just doesn't happen that often!

Despite being sick and feverish she still has a smile for Mama. ❤️

Mr Poppleton and I celebrated five years of being married this month! We have been together for just about ten years. How crazy is that? I can't believe we have been together a third of our lives. It feels like forever and it feels like not long enough. It probably isn't fashionable to say this, but I really do feel like we are soulmates. There's no one in this world I love so much as him.

So cute it is GROSS.

Except these little same-sames. Look at their identical faces. You'd think they were related or something!

Little same sames.

And another cute picture of me and the mister, since we actually got TWO anniversary dates this year - our customary breakfast at bills in Darlinghurst, and a sneaky dinner date thanks to our excellent two babysitters Kat and Kris!

I LOVE this man. He is my favorite human and also the handsomest too. #tenyears

Since the fifth anniversary is "wood", I got my fella a woodworking/bushcraft knife, and he got me these coveted hexagon boxes from White Fox & Co.

Gasp!! What a great anniversary present! Thank you husband!!!

Back to craft. Okay, I've had this amazing handbag for about two years and the lining (purple dotty cotton) tore and ripped and was generally crap. SIGH. I unpicked it, determined to replace it, and then left it alone for a ridiculous amount of time. It's all good, I had a 241 Tote as backup. But Sunday I was determined to get this handbag back in action, so I pulled out my very special favorite Katherine Codega fabric and cut into it.

My favorite handbag is back in action with a brand new lining complete with fancy linen pockets :)

A few treasured linen scraps became the pockets and now my bag is as GOOD as NEW!

I've also been working on bee blocks for the Aussie Modern Instabee. Here is April's...

Whew. April's bee block done. Talk about the skin of one's teeth!

And here is May's. I need to get these in the post, post-haste!

And May's. PHEW. I'm exhausted, but I've got a sink full of dirty dishes and at least three floors to mop!

I really like making these blocks. I need to finish my AusModBee blocks too. It's really embarrassing how late I am.

But of course I started yet another dang project. This time I was inspired by a stack of mint and peach fabric. I did a mini-LQS-crawl and the quilt popped into my head unbidden. An Arkansas Crossroads quilt. They're dead easy to make!

I kept getting interrupted while coloring...sick babies don't sleep very well! But you get the idea. #arkansascrossroads

This is my minty peachy stack. Isn't it divine? I quickly outgrew my little bucket.

Added more peach and mint to my stack today! Hoping to cut into it Saturday. :)

So that's what I've been working on!

I finished one of the quilt tops required for the show and the second one is on my to-do list for this afternoon (after I get my Arkansas Crossroads quilt cut out). It's improv so I'm dead scared of finishing it but I'm really excited about the QUILTING. Which reminds me, I REALLY HAVE TO BLOG ABOUT MY FRAME. Especially after going to the excellent Modern Quilt Show in Berry last-last weekend and talking to another quilter friend (one I have a huge quilty crush on PS) about the untold struggles of frame and long-arm quilting. Having started FMQing on a domestic, you sort of hear people going on about how getting a long-arm is a target, like it'll be easier and you'll click (and how having a domestic set up is harder) but there are aspects of both that need examining. Time to get my critical boots on, that's for sure...but it requires more thought and time then I have today. :)

So I'm off to get some of the finer details of this pattern written...hoping to be back here soon!

Cheers!

Penny x

Sunday
Apr272014

rose gold, fabric destashing and restashing, and more!

It has been a busy weekend. But I say that every weekend. I used to take Sunday nights to plan the week, to sit and anticipate the upcoming days, but it seems like every weekend I feel frustrated by how much I haven't done and how little time I've had for myself! It's not a good feeling, but I'm trying to work around it.

I have a quilty finish!

Rose Gold Quilt

I was inspired to make this quilt one afternoon while driving home via the Cumberland Highway. We were out west running an errand (look at sheds, maybe?) and I had a FLASH of inspiration - I knew exactly what I wanted to make with a stack of fabric I'd been planning to turn into skirts! It had to be a quilt! I handed an envelope to my husband and instructed him to draw it out, and even told him the measurements! (I'm very talented but I can't draw AND drive!)

Rose Gold Quilt

The top came together so quickly. I waited until I had a few frame-quilted quilts under my belt before I undertook loading it up and quilting it. And oh. Oh man. This was a skill builder. I did feathers, guys. Now, I'm not Trudi, but I am pretty proud of my efforts.

Rose Gold Quilt

Tha fabric choices were accidentally perfect. That AMH centre print is Summer Totem from LouLouThi. The Pearl Bracelets are by Lizzy House. The meteors are fussy cut from Tula Pink's Birds and the Bees line. The sashing is Michael Miller Cotton Couture in bright white, and the final border was a much-loved piece of Social Climber from the rerelease of Anna Maria Horner's Hand Drawn Garden line. I love the binding, too - Breaking the Code from her latest, Dowry! The quilt is backed with a large piece of Heather Ross's Kelp Stripe from Mendocino.

Rose Gold Quilt

It's simply divine. I am so proud of myself.

The quilt is 78" x 90" I quilted it over about three weeks on my Juki TL98P on my Gracie Queen Frame, and yes, I will write about that soon. :)

I have another dorky little finish: I took an hour while I had some sleeping children and made a fabric basket. I know, I should have been doing bee blocks, but geez, I needed a win!

New Fabric Basket

I used Indian Summer from Art Gallery Fabrics and I love this line so much, especially these two prints, that I ached at the thought of cutting them up and sending them away! I wanted to keep them in my stash, so I did what I do with all my favorites - I made a useful thing! (See also: all my handbags!)

New Fabric Basket

Well, as for Fabriholics Anonymous... I CRACKED.

 

FabAnon

I CRACKED SO HARD.

That said: even having gone on a comparative frenzy (see below), I feel like I am making better choices with my fabric purchases. I've been discerning and not just the fabric equivalent of Smaug hoarding all the treasure.

But, yeah. I didn't even make it through April. I AM SO DISAPPOINTED IN MYSELF.

I know what did it. I had to buy a backing, and I thought, why not make it a perfect backing? For a perfect person! I'm making a quilt as a gift and I had to have a certain print...and then another backing needed to be bought...and all of a sudden I was preordering fabric on Hawthorne Threads (what! stop!) and then Far Far Away II preorders started popping up everywhere and I panicked and then I was like, well, crap, I guess I better just order some MORE fabric...

Restashing

I stocked up on the Lizzy House tone-on-tone Pearl Bracelets because OF COURSE. I also bought some of the low-volume fabric from Kate Spain's Daydreams line. I was given a candy bar and made it into 1" hexagons, and I loved those four the most. Add in some Meadow and some really killer EGG fabric (seriously!! EGG!!!!) and some pink dots that are for my daughter.

Then Easter sales went bananas and my friends Danielle and Jeannette over at Polka Dot Tea Fabrics had such a good sale I couldn't resist. So I bought a few bundles from them. Oh and some panels from Maze and Vale, because after all, I was nearly out! I love Leslie's screen prints.

Restashing.

I mentioned this before, but my daughter has never had a comfort object. She didn't suck her thumb, was never particularly attached/clingy, never had a favorite toy...until she was digging through a random toybox and found this pink DOG. DOG is a Victoria's Secret Pink toy that I got as a promotional item ten years ago. Obviously this totally irreplacable item is suddenly her ABSOLUTE FAVORITE.

So this is Dog. Dog is Piper's favorite toy. We live in constant fear of Dog getting lost, so Mama had the bright idea to get some pink spotty fabric. Another (not the right color) Dog is on its way from eBay to become the pattern, and then we will all re

We lived in terror of DOG getting lost or forgotten or mangled somehow...that is, until I ordered Riley Pink Dots and we found some similar DOG toys on eBay. (Wrong pattern, right shape.) One of the new DOG toys will make a noble sacrifice to become a pattern, and in the meantime, it is GREAT that she finally has a comfort object! DOG climbs trees and goes everywhere with her. I have to negotiate with her to leave DOG in her bed. Once she gets out into the wilds of our overgrown back garden, though, the tears disappear and she's right into it.

Kick!

Climbing the dreaming tree

My big strong girl

Finally, I destashed over this holiday weekend, and my fabric stash is now looking a little sparse. I like it.

Look at those holes!

I've got this nonsense going on over here on the design wall.

Design Wall is Bananas

And a huge disgusting mess to clean up. Phew. I can't wait to get stuck in! After we do a run to the post office, that is!!

So many mess

Well, that's it - all caught up for another week! Now it's time to sleep. I can't wait. :)