Sunday 30 June 2013

Saturday Cat Words of Wisdom #25

Ooops, late again.

"You're perfect just the way you are." Ivy

Taking over Caturdays for those who are mostly here for the cats (me).

Friday 28 June 2013

Letty's Quilt

I recently finished this quilt for my maternal grandmother.  My family is not all that traditional, so my siblings and I call most of our grandparents by their first names - hence the name, Letty's Quilt.  (Incidentally, Letty is a twin, and her twin sister's name is Betty.  I'm sure that was really fun when they were growing up!).

Letty's quilt 

Letty lives in Tauranga, so I don't see her all that often.  Despite being in her mid 80's, she is still fairly independent and travels around the country visiting friends and family quite regularly.  Letty was staying with my parents a couple of months ago and I asked if she would like me to make a quilt for her.  We looked through a few of my quilting books together, and she picked the Shoeman's Puzzle pattern from Denyse Schmidt's book Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration. I've stuck to the pattern pretty faithfully, apart from making fewer blocks to end up with a single bed size quilt. 

Letty's quilt 

I even used templates (i.e., you trace a shape off a sheet and then use that to cut your pieces) as instructed by the pattern.  I have to say I was pretty nervous about using templates.  They don't seem like the most accurate way to make a quilt (for me, anyway), so I have avoided using them in the past.  However, I was inspired by what Denyse wrote in the book about using templates:

"In the end, try not to get hung up on making everything perfect. Take a good long look at those antique quilts that have so much life and warmth. You'll notice that most often they are not the most perfectly constructed quilts with tidy, matching seams and corners. What I like best about these beautiful quilts are the so-called mistakes. Accidents and imperfections never look right when you do them purposefully, so celebrate them while they're happening naturally."

It's very encouraging, right?  There are certainly plenty of imperfections to celebrate in this quilt.

Letty's quilt 

I quilted this quilt with an all-over flower design from Angela Walters' book Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters.  I really like how the quilting design mimics the bubbly look of the print in the solid sections, but seems to disappear in the print sections.  The quilting also made my piecing look much better than it did before - when people say mistakes "will quilt out", this is what they mean! 

Letty's quilt

I backed the quilt with a fabric from Bari J's new collection for Art Gallery Fabrics, Bijoux.  I love the colours in that fabric and I thought it complemented the quilt top without being matchy matchy. I hope my grandmother will like this quilt - my mum is planning a visit soon so I will send the quilt with her.

My final thoughts on templates - I could have made a much more accurately pieced quilt using paper piecing, but it would have taken longer and used more fabric.  In the end I'm happy with the piecing, even though I wasn't very pleased with it before quilting.  I'm definitely not ruling out using templates again, and my decision will probably depend on the project (do I want a high degree of precision, how much time to do I have, how much fabric am I willing to commit to the project).  What are your thoughts on using templates - do you love em or hate em?

Quilt Stats
Pattern: Shoeman's Puzzle from Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration
Finished Size: Approximately 54 inches by 75 inches.
Fabric: Moda Bella Solid in White, Kaffe Fassett Paperweight in Yellow
Backing: Divine Gypsy in Ivory from Bari J's Bijoux collection for Art Gallery Fabrics
Binding: Kaffe Fassett Paperweight in Yellow
Pieced and quilted by: me, on my domestic sewing machine.

Linking up with finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

WIP Wednesday

I am raring up to end June with a flurry of finishes.  I finished binding one quilt last night and have another to start hand stitching the binding on tonight.  I also have one quilt top to finish before the weekend, and a post about my most recent finish coming on Friday. 
Sadly, that means I don't have a whole bunch to show you right now, but I did make this bright and cheerful double-nine patch block for Jane, who is part of my group in the Simply Solids Bee.
Simple Solids June Block
I also signed up for ~ the sewing room swap ~ this weekend.  Even though I said I was taking a break from swaps for a while, I had to sign up to this one after I saw how many crazy talented people were signing up.  This is my mosaic - I think the swap is nearly full but there might be a few spaces left if you are interested - just make sure you check out the rules before signing up.

Mosaic for the ~sewing room swap~
I had a small fangirl moment when Amy aka badskirt commented on my mosaic. I think I managed to maintain my dignity, but only because it was online - if it had been real life I'm sure I would have come across as a gibbering idiot!
So, have you got a couple of finishes coming up to mark the half-way point of 2013?  Can you believe we are nearly half-way through 2013 already?!

Monday 24 June 2013

Happy (Zombie) Mail

Monica Solorio-Snow (aka the Happy Zombie) has probably the funniest quilting blog I’ve ever read.  Seriously, if you don’t believe me, read this.  She is also the genius behind the Ron Swanson Quilt (I love Parks and Recreation but we are so far behind in New Zealand, please don’t tell me anything that has happened in, oh, about the last 2 years). 
Hello Happy Zombie 
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a bright and funky Happy Zombie badge (or as Americans inexplicably like to say, button) from Monica in a giveaway. It arrived recently and is now one well travelled little badge/button.  I love it, and that business card cracks me up.
Happy Zombie badge and happy little pouch 

This badge/button is now living on my first ever zipper pouch, which hangs out in my sewing room and holds my precious Good Folks scraps.  It feels right to keep things I have received through online quilty connections together.
Precious fabrics
So, whose face would you put on a quilt?

Sunday 23 June 2013

Milestone giveaway winners

Wow, thank you so much to everyone who entered my giveaway!  I did NOT think I would get so many entries - that was amazing!

I've drawn two winners with the help of  The first is Ali - this is very cool because it's the first time a fellow New Zealander has won one of my giveaways.

Ali, I am sending you the cool fat quarter bundle:

The second winner is Teresa.  How fun to think of these fabrics heading halfway across the world to Spain!

Teresa, I am sending you the warm fat quarter bundle:

Congratulations Ali and Theresa - I've sent you both emails so I hope to hear from you soon.

I've been a bit overwhelmed with all the comments, but I am working through them because I really appreciate the time everyone took to enter and let me know that they are reading! Normal quilty transmission to resume shortly.

Saturday 22 June 2013

Friday 21 June 2013

How to stop being a no-reply blogger

I like to respond to all the comments I get on my blog.  A big part of the reason I started blogging was to make connections with like-minded people, and connecting through comments is a great way to do that.  Therefore, it makes me sad when someone comments on my blog and is a no-reply blogger - it means I can't reply by email like I usually would.  I worry that no-reply bloggers think I don't care about their comments - I do!

So - here is a step by step tutorial to stop being a no-reply blogger!  It's pretty simple, but I have to say, it took me a while to work it out when I first started blogging.

Step 1.  Go into your blogger dashboard, and click on the tiny arrow next to your display name (yup, where the big giant orange arrow is pointing).

Step 2. Click on the "Blogger profile" link in the box that appears after you click on the arrow referred to in step 1.

Step 3.  Click on the "Edit Profile" button.

Step 4.  Make sure the box next to "Show my email address" is checked.  You can set up a special email address for your blog - you don't have to share your private email address if you don't want to.

I really hope that was helpful!  Let me know if you have any questions - and if you're not sure whether or not you are a no-reply blogger, please put your email address in your comment.

Edit: if you are having trouble implementing these instructions, you might be a Google+ member, which automatically makes you a no-reply blogger.  If so, click on this link for a tutorial on how to fix the Google+ no-reply blogger problem.  Thanks to Heather for the heads up!

Wordpress and other non-Blogger users: There is actually a way that you could have a blogger account which includes a link to your blog. It's true that you can only add Blogger blogs under the heading "my blogs", but if you enter your blog URL in the box that says "homepage URL", it shows up as "My Web Page" in your blogger profile. I know this might seem like a p.i.t.a., but you only have to do it once.

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Thursday 20 June 2013

Milestone giveaway!


Hello lovely readers! I recently passed the 300 follower mark which was an exciting milestone, and I want to celebrate by giving YOU some fabric.
I have two prizes up for grabs - this bundle of Prince Charming fabric from Spotlight in cool colours...

prints charming for spotlight

...and this bundle of Prince Charming fabric from Spotlight in warm colours.
prints charming for spotlight

There are 6 metric fat quarters in each bundle - which adds up to a metre and a half of fabric - definitely enough to make a baby quilt top or be the base for a larger quilt top.  Or, you know, just add it to your stash!  A different person will win each bundle.

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment, any comment.  If you want, you can get an extra entry for each of the following (just leave an extra comment for each that applies):

- following my blog through google friend connect or a feed reader (new and existing followers both count);
- liking my facebook page; and
- sharing this giveaway via your favourite social media (you could blog about it, share it on facebook, tweet about it, whatever!).

This giveaway is open to everyone (including international participants), but if I can't contact you, you can't win. If you are a no-reply blogger, please leave your email address in the comment.

The giveaway will stay open until around 10 pm Sunday 23 June 2013 (New Zealand Time), and I will use the random number generator at to pick a winner for each bundle then.


Wednesday 19 June 2013

WIP Wednesday

I've been working away on my Sailboats quilt.  A couple of weeks ago my friend Helen (yes, the one with that cushion) gave me some pointers on machine appliqué and let me use her (rather lovely) Janome Horizon to appliqué the stars onto their background squares.

This was a deviation from the pattern - it instructed reverse needle turn appliqué, where you needle turn appliqué the lighter background pieces to the star fabric.  That method would make sense if, for example, the stars were light and the background was dark, but for this pattern it seemed like an unnecessarily large amount of work, so I went with machine appliqué instead.

Sailboats quilt in progress 

I then stitched the star borders together and added them to the central panel and the first border.  After that I created the third and fourth borders using lots of little pieces of the blue and red fabrics I used for the boats and the stars.

Sailboats quilt top finished 

Above is my finished quilt top, and below is the quilt top from the book (Le Petit Monde de Jacqueline Morel).  

You can see that I changed the colour scheme up a bit - I think mine is a bit crisper and more modern, while the original has a softer, vintage feel to it.  I also changed the placement of the boats, mainly because I liked the look of some more than others (and to be honest, I thought the little one in the centre of my quilt would be the most difficult to make and therefore I only wanted to make it once!).

Old Sailboats Quilt from Le Petit Monde de Jacqueline Morel

You might also have noticed that my boats are reversed from the ones in the original quilt.  This is because the pattern instructs you to use templates to make the boat blocks.  I'm sorry, but no way was I going to do that - it would have been a disaster for me.  Instead, I copied the boat blocks from the book, and used the copies as foundation papers to make the boat blocks.  This was far more accurate (and therefore satisfying) for me.

I now have the quilt top basted and am planning to quilt it this week or this weekend.  I have a question for my readers though - something which has been bothering me for a while.  I will be giving this quilt at a baby shower, and I would really like to put a label on it, but I don't know what to say.  My friend is having a baby boy, but he doesn't have a name yet (as far as I know - and it's not really the done thing here to name your baby before birth).  I'm sure this is something many of you have encountered before, so I would love to know - what do you do in this situation?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced, and Kirsty at Quiet Play:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced Paper Piecing Party

P.S. You might want to check back tomorrow for a giveaway I have planned.  Only if you like fabric though! Updated - giveaway here.

Monday 17 June 2013

Helen's cushion

My stitchy friend Helen celebrated her birthday this week, and as a gift I whipped up this very simple cushion using fabric she had admired in my giant star quilt.  I think the pom pom trim is what really makes this cushion!

Helen's cushion 

I made a quilt sandwich with the feature fabric, cotton batting and a backing fabric in the usual way, and free motion quilted very carefully along all the lines in the cushion front, to add some texture without distracting from the fabric design.

Helen's cushion 

The quilting was reasonably time consuming, but not as difficult as I thought it would be.  It probably helped that I have done some free motion quilting every day this week, so I am in a pretty good FMQ groove.

Helen's cushion

The back is a simple envelope closure.  After making a few cushions with an envelope back, I think the trick is to make sure the two pieces overlap more than you think they should.  This is an 18" square cushion and I cut the two backing pieces 15" by 18".

Helen's cushion

Both the front and the back fabrics are from Laura Gunn's Garden Wall collection.  The pom pom trim is from Spotlight and has been sitting in my stash waiting for just the right project for a long time.

Right, I'm off to buy more pom poms!  Linking up with:

Plum and June Better Off Thread Fresh Poppy Design

and with Finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Sunday Cat Words of Wisdom #23

Cat Words of Wisdom are coming to you a day late this week - but better late than never, right?

If you find yourself in a sticky situation..
...don't come unstuck or duct for cover.  Tape control...
...and you'll be able to patch things up in no time. Ralph

Sorry about all those terrible puns, I was on a roll! (Ok, that's the last one, I promise.)

Now, if you are so inclined, feel free to enjoy my favourite song about sticky tape.

Saturday 15 June 2013

A foxy mini quilt

Do you remember this little fox?  He was created when I decided to try something totally new for me - appliqué using a hand sewn blanket stitch.  He's been sitting on my dining sewing table for the last few weeks, waiting for me to figure out what to do with him.  I finally realised that I just wanted to do something very simple, so I free-motion quilted around the fox and added a crisp white binding.

Foxy mini quilt

My choice of binding fabric might have been influenced by this cold wintery morning - somehow this has ended up looking like a very wintery mini quilt.  This little fox is from Kajsa Wikman's book, Scandinavian Stitches.

Foxy mini quilt

This was a totally new FMQ design for me, so my free motion quilting lines aren't perfect, but I'm ok with that.

Have I ever explained my philosophy on seam ripping and unpicking?  Basically, unless something is really terrible, I don't unpick.  I like to think of my quilts recording my level of skill now, at this moment in time.  I'm hoping that in years to come I will be able to look back and see an evolution of my skills.  This philosophy also gives me permission not to be perfect, which is quite helpful for someone with perfectionist tendencies.  Of course, I do go back and fix things which are really a mistake!

Foxy mini quilt

This little guy is about 9 1/2" by 8 1/2" and will live on my wall somewhere - probably held up by this same washi tape.

I'm linking up with the Modern Mini Quilt Challenge at Ellison Lane Quilts.  There are some amazing mini quilts linked up already - go check them out!  I'm also linking up to Finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts.

Friday 14 June 2013

2013 Let's Get Acquainted New Blogger Blog Hop

Plum and June

Welcome to my stop on the 2013 Let's Get Acquainted New Blogger Blog Hop!  I'm thrilled to be participating, and I strongly encourage you to check out the other participants - Beth has put together a great group.  You can find the full schedule of participating bloggers here, or by clicking on the button above.

By way of introduction, my name is Adrianne, I'm in my late twenties, and I live in Wellington, New Zealand.  As part of the hop, I thought I would share a bit of my quilting journey with you.  I made my first quilt top over Christmas/New Year 2006/2007, just for fun, and my mum (who is also a quilter) quilted and bound it for me.  I didn't know it then, but it was the start of my quilting obsession!

I took a break from quilting for a few years while I finished studying and started my legal career (yup, when I'm not quilting, I'm a lawyer).  Then, in early 2011, I decided to make a quilt as a wedding present for one of my oldest friends.  I had that (king-sized!) quilt long-arm quilted, but bound it myself.  This quilt is made from left over blocks and fabric from that wedding quilt.

It's the first quilt I quilted myself, around the time I started this blog (nearly a year ago!).  Since then, I've been quilting up a storm!

This is a selection of my recent-ish projects.  I particularly love making quilts, and I branch out into pillows and mini-quilts sometimes.  I've tried my hand at making zipper pouches and I'm steeling my nerves to try making a bag.

My absolute favourite part of quilting is picking the design and choosing fabric (some might argue that the evidence suggests my favourite part of quilting is buying fabric - but I'm not admitting anything like that!).  I love designing my own quilts and blocks - I use Touchdraw for quilt and block designing.  I've put together a few a few tutorials, and you can check them out on my tutorials page.

I do all my piecing and quilting on my little 25-year-old Bernina - I blogged all about my sewing machine here, if you are interested.  I stand by my view that you don't need a big fancy machine to quilt (I bet it's nice though!).

My number one tip for new bloggers is to join flickr, and post your photos there as well as on your blog.  I didn't really think people used flickr anymore, until I started blogging.  But, it is alive and well, and the place where most online quilting bees and swap groups are located.  I've had some amazing opportunities through flickr - including having one of my quilts in a real life magazine!

I'd love for you to join me on my quilting journey!  You're welcome to become a follower, subscribe to my RSS feed, or follow my blog with bloglovin' or your favourite reader.
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I've just recently passed a milestone in terms of blog followers, so I'm planning a celebration for next week.  I haven't quite got all the details sorted, but the chances of it involving the chance to win fabric are very very high.  Hope to see you there!

Now off with you to check out this week's participating bloggers:

Friday, June 14th
Julie @ Jolie Maxtin
Adrianne @ On The Windy Side <--- that's me!
Valerie @ Between Quilts