Wednesday 31 October 2012

Blogtoberfest - the last day

Phew!  We have reached the end of October, and I am very happy that I managed to meet my goal of posting every day for the month of October.  In fact, this post will be #36 for October - more than double the number of posts I had done previously!

I'm glad I decided to participate in this exercise - I found having a set goal (and an end in sight) really helpful.  I don't plan to continue posting every day.  I have, however, decided to set myself a few goals for the blog for the next few months:

  • I would like to blog three times a week - I am thinking Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If I have more to say, I will certainly blog more often, but otherwise, I think three days a week is manageable.
  • I want to write a couple of tutorials.  One, a skills tutorial, for something I have done a lot of times and think maybe I have some tips that would be useful to others.  I know that seeing other bloggers' methods for doing things has helped me get started on projects I was otherwise intimidated by.  The other, a tutorial on how to make something I have designed myself, that doesn't require any special tools (other than the usual rotary cutter, mat, and straight ruler), and that uses fabric efficiently.  Yeah, gotta design that thing first...
  • I have enjoyed getting to know more people out there in the quilt blogging world.  Thanks so much to everyone who has left me a comment - some of you feel like friends already (I think you know who you are).  I want to keep up with that, so will be looking to participate in more swaps, quilt-alongs, etc.  I am currently participating in the Scrappy Swap and am enjoying how active and positive the group is.

This is my selection of fabric for the handmade item for the Scrappy Swap.  I have started sewing, but I can't show what I have made yet, as it would totally give my partner away at this point.

Does anyone else set goals for their blog?  If you are happy to share, I would love to hear them.

WIP Wednesday

From last week's list:

Granny squares quilt - still no progress.  I need to do some quilting on this this week so I can take out the basting pins because I will need them to baste the equilateral triangle quilt.

Giant star quilt - still no progress.  This one is on the back burner for now.

Equilateral triangle quilt - the top is complete and I have photos!

Dappled sunlight - here are posts on the trimming process, the trimmed half square triangleslayout options and the complete quilt top.  This quilt is now finished, and I entered it in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side.

Gingham quilt - no progress.


Dat Star - I designed a quilt block for one side of a cushion I am making for my brother.  I have since started working on the other side.  It is going to be a bit...different.

Also, I have super exciting news!  I won the Made with Oakshott contest over at Lily's Quilts.  More details on my plan here.  Technically, this is not a work in progress, because I haven't received the fabric yet, but I am raring to go.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced:

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Equilateral quilt - top completed

I've had this quilt top finished for a little while, but it took some time to press it, and then I needed some tall assistants to photograph it.

Modern sixty degree triangle quilt

It's hard to tell the dimensions from this picture, but this quilt measures 84 inches (214 cm) in length and  is 87 inches (221 cm) wide.  It doesn't sound that big, but I am 5'8" and I couldn't hold it off the ground lengthwise.

Sixty degree triangle quilt

I am very very happy with this quilt.  I plan to baste it this weekend, at my parents' house, because there isn't anywhere in my house I can lay it out (at least not without moving lots of furniture around).

Sixty degree triangle quilt

So, which tall people helped me get photos of this quilt?  My brothers, of course.  Aren't they delightful?  The one on the left is the shorter of the two, at 6'2".  The one on the right is the recipient of this quilt, and at 6'5", looms over the rest of the family.

Modern sixty degree triangle quilt

This photo session was quite a family affair - my sister took the photos.

Who helps you photograph your quilts?  Do they like to make faces as much as these two?

Monday 29 October 2012

Dat Star

This weekend, I decided to get creative and design my own block.  This is the freezer paper template that I used to foundation piece it.

If you put the corner squares together, you would get a Tippecanoe block (like this one made by Jess at The Elven Garden).  I wanted to make a nine patch block though, so I came up with an arrangement for the other squares that I thought looked nice.

And this is the final block.

This block will be one side of a cushion for my brother N.  Someone somewhere has probably come up with it before, but I haven't seen it, so until anyone tells me the official name, I am going to call it "Dat Star".

I used three dark DS Quilts prints, the dark text fabric which is from Spotlight, and the dark fabric in the centre, which is from Denyse Schmidt's Chicopee line.  The light fabrics are from Valori Wells, Denyse Schmidt, DS Quilts, and one print from Anna Maria Horner's Field Study collection.  The border is Essex Linen in Flax.

These are all my post piecing trimmings.

So, does anyone recognise this block?  Please tell me I'm not the only one who makes a giant mess when quilting...

Sunday 28 October 2012

Keep an eye out...

and in a while, you might see something that looks a little bit like this:

It will be:
Lily's Quilts

Yes, I won this contest over at Lily's Quilts!  Thanks so much for picking my idea Lynne - I am really looking forward to receiving the Oakshott Rubies Fat Eighth bundle and starting to put this quilt together.

I haven't used Oakshott fabrics before (I haven't even seen them in real life), but Anne at Surely not another project! is making this absolutely gorgeous quilt with the fat quarter bundle, and the colours are so vibrant.  
Do check out Anne's blog - she has some lovely quilts on show.  Like me, Anne has a legal background, and had the great idea of a law inspired quilt.  It had never occurred to me before, but I love the idea and it's going on the to-do list for sure.

Have you ever worked this Oakshott fabrics before?  Any tips or tricks?  And, have you ever made a quilt inspired by your occupation?

Saturday 27 October 2012


I decided to change my blog layout.  I love how clean and crisp the dynamic views layout is, but it doesn't leave a lot of room for customisation.

Let me know what you think of the new look.

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Dappled sunlight

I finished my dappled sunlight quilt just in time (I finished handstitching the binding late last night) for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  If you've found your way to my blog from there - welcome!  Please feel free to take a look around.  I have lots of projects on the go at the moment so there is plenty to see.

Along with this quilt, I wanted to share a bit of my quilting story.  I made my first quilt back in summer 2006-2007 (yes, in New Zealand, summer is over the Christmas and New Year period).  Then, I had a long hiatus while I finished university and started my career.  At the beginning of 2011, I decided to take up quilting again to make a wedding present for a very long time friend (you can see a snap here).

Well, I caught the bug.  I took a sampler class at my local quilt shop to learn more techniques, and it was great.  But, I wanted inspiration.  My aesthetic preference was to make quilts with room to breathe - not too busy, or at least plain clear space between the busy bits.  I wanted to use white, and bright clear colours.

Although these preferences came to me naturally, I was sure I wasn't the only one thinking this way.  It took me a while, but eventually I found the modern quilting community online.  I have been lurking and reading blogs for a while, and decided to start my own, to document the quilts I make and to share them with like minded people who are interested.  That said, I think my best readers are my own family, who are not necessarily interested in quilting - thanks guys.

Turns out, blogging really helps me stay motivated to actually finish some of the quilts I start.  So, I wanted to share this quilt because:

  • making this quilt, I realised that I finally got the hang of a consistent quarter inch seam;
  • the whole process from cutting to stitching on the binding took three weeks (and I spent A LOT of time on other projects over that period).  Six months ago, I would never have thought I could complete a quilt in three weeks; and
  • I just like this quilt.  It's nothing revolutionary, but I like the colours, I like the pattern, I like how soft it is with quite minimal quilting, and I even like those crazy horses on the back.
Baby quilt with half square triangles

Baby quilt with half square triangles

Baby quilt with half square triangles

Baby quilt with pink binding
Bloggers' Quilt Festival Stats

Finished quilt measures: 32″x 40″
Fabric: a charm pack of Sunkissed by Sweetwater,
Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Fog, cotton poplin horse print
and a DS Quilts print for the binding
Quilted by: Me, on my domestic machine

Best Category: Baby quilt, home machine quilted quilt

Amy's Creative Side

Friday 26 October 2012

Good service

I am not one to keep quiet about poor service.

I think a business that is providing substandard service should know about it.  I know some people don't like to complain or make a fuss - that's not me.

Part of the reason is that I don't think a business can improve its service unless it knows that it is not up to scratch, and what, specifically, went wrong.  I could just vote with my feet (and sometimes I do), but that doesn't help the business at all.

However, by the same token, I like to acknowledge instances of good service.

So... you know that fabric buying ban I mentioned all of two weeks ago?  Yeah, I kind of broke totally smashed it last week.

Pink Castle Fabrics was (and still is, until the end of October) having a massive sale with 25% off everything using the code MOVING.  I placed a fairly restrained order with Pink Castle Fabrics early last week, just a few hours before the sale was announced.

Then, I saw the sale announcement.  I wanted to add to my order, and make sure both orders were combined to maximise shipping.  A quick email to Pink Castle Fabrics and - yes, they would combine my orders, and, they would even apply the new discount to my previous order.  Very happy.

I don't have any special relationship with Pink Castle Fabrics - they're not paying me to say this (in fabric or otherwise), and I don't get any discount beyond what is available to everyone else.  I just wanted to share a story of good customer service with you.

Do you have stories of good (or bad) service to share?

PS:  Can I suggest that you follow the Pink Castle Fabrics blog - not only will you be in the know about sales, but there are interesting posts on various aspects of modern quilting, including the current Fall for Solids series.

Thursday 25 October 2012

A teeny tiny quilt

I bought a single fat quarter of an older Anna Maria Horner print a while ago.  I used quite a chunk of it to make my pincushion, and didn't really have enough left over to make a big project.  So I decided to go teeny tiny - 1 inch finished squares, mixed in with a checked linen fabric.

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed making the tiny patchwork.  I quilted it with very simple straight lines, in the ditch, and diagonally in every second square.  I used a turquoise quilting cotton left over from this quilt, to pick up on the turquoise in the fabric.

The back is the same linen from the front, but you can see the check pattern a lot better with a bigger cut.

I used a double fold binding, which is not that advisable with a little item like this.  It would probably have been neater if I had made a single fold binding, but the front still looks pretty tidy.

I used to think mug rugs were a bit lame, to be honest, but I don't think I would have the patience to make a full sized quilt with 1 inch squares, so this was a good chance to play with patchwork I might not otherwise would have done.  I think I will take it to work to add a splash of colour to my desk.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

WIP Wednesday

From last week's list:

Granny squares quilt - no progress from last week, except that I cut the binding fabric (I will spend some time making binding for several quilts on the go this week).

Giant star quilt - still no progress.  I have decided what fabric I am going to use to back it though, and I have the batting, so theoretically, I could baste it.  Hmmm, let's see if I get there by next week.  Might have to buy some more basting pins.

Equilateral triangle quilt - I spent lots of time on this quilt over the long weekend, and now the top is finished!  I haven't had a chance to take photos yet of the entire thing yet, and to be honest, I will need some assistance, because this quilt is GINORMOUS.  Good thing it is for my gigantor brother.  This is a photo of a five row section (more photos here):

Dappled sunlight - here are posts on the trimming process, the trimmed half square triangleslayout options and the complete quilt top.  I have now finished quilting the top with a rather lovely variegated thread - which shows best in this photo (more photos here):


I have started a gingham quilt inspired by this one.  I am using solid fabrics from Spotlight and plan to write up a review when the quilt is finished (hopefully quite soon).

Linking up with Freshly Pieced:

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Equilateral triangle quilt - coming together

I had a big push on this quilt over the long weekend, and got all the rows of triangles sewn together.  I have sewn 10 of the 14 rows together in two lots of five.  I will sew the other four rows, and the final three sections, together over the course of this week.

These photos are of one section of five rows, without pressing the seams between rows.

Modern sixty degree triangle quilt
Modern sixty degree triangle quilt
Modern sixty degree triangle quilt
Modern sixty degree triangle quilt
My incredibly sophisticated row marking system
It's a bit hard to tell before pressing, but I think the points on this have come out quite well given the number of bias edges.  I will do a little post about the ruler I used to cut the triangles, because I think it really helped with accuracy.

This quilt top should be finished by the weekend.  My plan is to get my brother to help choose the backing fabric (and to help me get some photos of the finished top).

Monday 22 October 2012

Family funday pizza Monday

Every weekend, we have family dinner at my parents' house.  Usually, Mum and Dad do the cooking, but they were away this weekend, so we (the kids, although we're not children any more) were in charge of making dinner.

Pizza was the order of the day.  My sister showed me this video a while ago, and now, every time I have pizza, I think of it.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...

My first swap

This weekend, I signed up for my first swap - the Scrappy Swap being run by Flutter.Kat who blogs over at Diary of a Flutter.Kat.  Part of the appeal is that it is low pressure (we are swapping a fat quarter's worth of scraps, a small scrappy handmade item and and a small local item), and that it is being run out of Australia which means that at least some of the participants will be over on my side of the world.

Below is my inspiration mosaic - I love bright colours but often don't use them in my quilts.  I hope my partner likes brights as well so I can make a bright little something.  We are being allocated our partners soon so I am looking forward to doing a bit of stalking and coming up with a plan.

1. A Light in the Dark - mini, 2. Patchwork Prism Quilt - front,, 4. New iPad case for me to #travelhandmade to @sewingsummit, 5. Butterfly Quilt, 6. 2012-06-28 Drunkards Path Wall hanging, 7.tallahasee blocks, 8. Quilted!, 9. I forged ahead
I have also joined the flickr group for the Value Added Quilt Along, and I have started working on my own value quilt - a faux gingham quilt inspired by this one.

I am strip piecing it, so it is coming together quite quickly.  However, I bought four metres of fabric and I am using it all (apparently I have some kind of sickness that means I have to make every quilt as large as possible), so it will still take a while.  But I am already planning the binding - some bright and crazy print to offset what would otherwise be a very minimalistic quilt.

Umm, and I might also make another value quilt, because I think this one is too simple.

Sunday 21 October 2012

Dappled sunlight - nearly done

I found a suitable variegated thread, and quilted my dappled sunlight quilt today.  It is quilted about an eighth of an inch on either side of each diagonal seam line - I really like the effect this gives.

You can see the colours in the thread better in real life (green, yellow and orange).

I have my binding fabric all picked out so all I need to do is take out the basting pins and bind it.

Also, I am rather fond of the backing fabric (a cotton poplin from Spotlight), but no-one else seems to like the horses.  Please tell me - am I cracked?

Saturday 20 October 2012

About me

I have been resisting adding an 'about me' section for this blog, because I hate writing profiles for myself.  However, when I come across a new blog, I always check out the 'about me' section.  So, I now have an 'about me' page (above).

And yes, in case you were wondering, after 19 consecutive days of blogging, I am casting about for blog post ideas.  If you have any topics, please let me know.

Friday 19 October 2012

Random stuff Friday

I'm really looking forward to the Value Added Quilt Along being run by Leila (Where the Orchids Grow), Amy (badskirt), Jolene (Blue Elephant Stitches) and Rachel (Stitched in Color).  

They are some of my quilting/blogging heroes, so I think it will be a good one.  I am aware of value when making quilts, but I have never done a quilt which focuses or plays on value.

I love the idea of a gingham quilt like this one from Caitlin at saltyoat (link via Stitched in Color).  I bought some solid fabrics from Spotlight today to make my own version.  I will strip piece it so I think it will come together quite quickly.

I also plan to do a bit of a review of the Spotlight fabrics, because they are very well priced at $7.99 a metre (for comparison for overseas readers (or non-quilters), designer cotton quilting fabrics in New Zealand are typically priced at between $25 and $35 a metre).  If the quality is up to scratch, these could represent excellent value for money.

Also, nothing to do with quilting, but this is a brilliant response to a fairly tongue-in-cheek comment on a feminine hygiene product company's Facebook page. 

Thursday 18 October 2012

A long long weekend

Look what arrived unexpectedly today, just in time for the long weekend! I ordered it from Whitcoulls a while ago but they told me their US supplier was having stock issues and they weren't expecting it to arrive until late October. I'm glad they were a bit off with their ETA.

It is Labour Day on Monday, and I am taking annual leave tomorrow to make it an extra long weekend. I have lots of sewing planned - I would like to cross a few WIPs off my list. I have dinner with the ladies (a group of colleagues and former colleagues) planned for tomorrow night, which will be fun as always. Downton Abbey is back on TV here and starting now - must dash.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

WIP Wednesday

From last week's list:

Granny squares quilt - no progress from last week.

Giant star quilt - still no progress. Any suggestions on how to quilt this would be gratefully received.  I still think I want to do straight line quilting in the background, and something else in the star.  I think the quilting will really show up in the solid blue and pink parts though, so it needs to be just right.

Equilateral triangle quilt - I have pieced 4 rows of a total of 14.  This is still slow going, and I just need to keep chipping away at it.  The good news is, I am (slightly surprisingly) quite enjoying putting it together.

Dappled sunlight - here are posts on the trimming process, the trimmed half square triangles and layout options.  The quilt top is now complete and awaiting basting and quilting.  I am planning to quilt straight lines approximately a quarter inch off each diagonal seam - clean and simple.  I am thinking about trying to find a variegated thread with pink, yellow, green and orange in it, because I think it would look nice against the grey.  I also need to choose a backing and a binding fabric.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced:

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Blogtoberfest - half way there

Phew, the 16th of the month, half way through Blogtoberfest.  I don't think I said so specifically on the blog, but I made a private resolution to blog once every day for the month of October.  I have managed to keep up so far, and I have learned a few things along the way:
  • blogging is a skill, in that it gets easier the more you do it.  I think posting regularly has also helped me feel more comfortable with blogging generally;
  • I work better with some type of deadline - I think I have got more sewing done this month than any previous equivalent period, spurred on by the desire to have something to blog about.  I am not suggesting that making things just for the purpose of blogging about them is a good idea, but I have felt more motivated to get on with the things I have been wanting to make anyway;
  • scheduling is my friend - my optimum strategy is to write posts on the weekend and schedule them to be published during the week.  This also gives me the best chance of getting decent photos;
  • keeping a list of potential blog post ideas is helpful;
  • Parks and Recreation is, literally, the best thing ever (oops, got distracted by the TV).  Seriously though, I really want to make a Ron Swanson quilt following the pattern created by Monica at the Happy Zombie.  I even have an idea for the back which I think would make it even more awesome. (OK, maybe this isn't something that I have learned from blogging per se, but I just wanted to share the Ron Swanson quilt in case anyone had missed its awesomeness).
Any readers participating in Blogtoberfest?  How is it going?  Click the link below to see all of the other participants:

Monday 15 October 2012

Dappled sunlight - quilt top complete

I finished up the quilt top for my dappled sunlight quilt (other process posts here, here, here and here) on Saturday night, but only got a chance to take photos this evening.  Getting good photos of my quilting efforts is a real challenge for me - I need the weather to co-operate, at a time I am available to take photos.  I was desperately trying to take these photos in the last of the daylight as the sun went down behind the hills to the west of my house.

This quilt looks a bit wrinkly, but a good starching before I baste it will sort it right out.

I am pretty happy with how this quilt is turning out.  I think it is one of my better efforts in terms of the precision of the piecing - all the points are lining up pretty nicely.  I guess I have finally got the hang of consistent quarter inch seams - yay!

Sunday 14 October 2012


Not this Heidi...

Or this Heidi (who looks eerily similar to the above Heidi)...

THIS Heidi!

Today, my boyfriend and I drove up country to collect his new puppy.  She is a red border collie, 8 weeks old, and cute as a button.  She was bred up in Katikati at tylerwild border collies.  She was very good in the car on the way home, and seems to have settled in nicely so far.  I guess I will get a report on her first night tomorrow.  We will introduce her to my little devils cats next weekend. 

Saturday 13 October 2012

Dappled sunlight - layout options

Since I got all my half-square triangles trimmed, I decided to try out some different layout options.  The photos are not the best, because the rainy weather meant I wasn't getting much light on my "design table" (a piece of batting laid on my dining room table - need to get onto making that design wall).  In reality, the colours are a bit softer and sweeter.

1. Sort of a barn raising pattern - pretty clean and classic.

sunkissed sweetwater quilt

2. Something a bit different - repeating diamonds.

sunkissed sweetwater quilt

3. Similar to the first option, but off-centered - I think it comes across as a bit more modern.

sunkissed sweetwater quilt

I have picked one, and have the rows all sewn together already - I should have a finished quilt top before I go to bed tonight.  Can you guess which one?

And to prove my point from the last post...

sunkissed sweetwater quilt
Oh, Ivy!

Dappled sunlight - all trimmed

So, I didn't finished trimming all those half-square triangles last night, but they are done now.  Its a very wet and rainy day outside, so the light is a bit tricky for taking photos.

sunkissed sweetwater moda

Also, this is what typically happens when I try to take a photo of something other than a cat.

phillips iron
Really, you don't want me in this shot?
Now to work out what pattern to make with them.