Monday 28 April 2014

Spools Quilt (quilting on my new Juki and Swiftquilter)

Before Easter I ordered a new Juki TL98-P and Swiftquilter quilting frame from Sew Frisco.  Everything arrived in Wellington safe and sound, and with the help of friends and family, I spent Good Friday rearranging my spare room and setting up the frame and machine.

Juki and Swiftquilter

This is the machine on the frame before a quilt is loaded, and below is when I was nearly finished quilting the spools quilt.

Spools Quilt 

I am planning a proper blog post introducing the Juki and the Swiftquilter, but at the moment I am happy to say that I'm really really loving the whole set-up.  It's even better than I expected it to be, and that doesn't happen often!

Spools Quilt 

Once I had my set-up sorted, I made a practice quilt sandwich and quilted lots of designs on a plain fabric background.  That was fun, but then I needed something else to quilt.  My friend Anne came to the rescue and gave me a few things to play with, including this spools quilt.  It was a block of the month at our local guild which Anne won and then assembled into a quilt top.  She even had the back all made and ready to go!

Spools Quilt 

Anne let me have free reign on the quilting, so I decided to take the opportunity to try out lots of different designs - one for each spool, in fact.  I quilted all the spool ends the same, with a back and forth wiggle, and did a fairly large scale meander in the background.

Spools Quilt 

This quilt will be given away to charity eventually - once I get over the attachment I formed while quilting it!  A nice simple black and white check binding ties all the colours of the quilt top together nicely.

Spools Quilt

So while I'm planning my post all about the Juki and the Swiftquilter, I'd love to know what you would like to know.  Fire your questions at me - I can't promise that I'll answer every single one, but I'll try to cover the bulk of them.

Quilt Stats
Finished Size: approx 50" by 80"
Fabric: lots and lots of different fabrics
Backing: Dear Stella Paris Map fabric
Binding: unknown black and white check
Pieced by: Anne aka Elmosmate
Quilted by: me on my Juki/Swiftquilter rig

I'll be linking up with finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered the giveaway from Fabricworm!  I'm delighted to announce that comment number 9 was picked and I'll be in touch with the lucky winner very shortly!

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Saturday 26 April 2014

Caturday Wisdom #66

Like a good bra, having someone lend a helping hand can improve your general outlook instantly. Ralph

Ralph doesn't know a thing about bras except they are fine in a pile for sleeping on. We tried to put him in a harness a few times as a kitten and he did. not. enjoy.

Thursday 24 April 2014

Introducing Fabricworm (and a giveaway!)


Today I'm very pleased to introduce a new sponsor - Fabricworm!  Fabricworm is a lovely online store with a focus on modern fabrics.

As well as your favourite designer fabrics, they have a really nice selection of Japanese fabrics which you may not find elsewhere.


They also put together a big range of custom bundles which bring fabrics from a number of collections together, as well as some great stash building bundles.


Fabricworm also produce their own line - Birch Organic Fabrics. I have a number of these fabrics in my stash and they are very beautiful.


Finally, my local readers will be pleased to know that Fabricworm's location in California means that their parcels often arrive a couple of days quicker than parcels from further flung parts of the US!

Fabricworm are very generously allowing me to give away this lovely bundle of Birch fabrics in aqua and coral.

To enter, simply leave a comment.  Followers old and new can get a second entry by leaving a second comment. 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 6pm Saturday April 26 2014 (New Zealand Time), and I will use the random number generator at to pick a winner then. Good luck everyone!

By the way, I usually respond to all comments, but giveaways can be a little overwhelming, so I hope you don't mind if I don't respond to your comment on this post.


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Saturday 19 April 2014

Caturday Wisdom #65

A problem shared is a problem halved.  Ivy and Ralph

Happy long weekend! We will be eating all the Easter eggs and all the hot cross buns.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Introducing Sew Frisco

I'm very pleased to introduce Sew Frisco as a new sponsor!  Sew Frisco is run by husband and wife team Laurina and Allan and was founded in 2013 as the agent for Juki home sewing machines in New Zealand.  Laurina is a keen quilter and blogs at Chicky Quilts.

Since I've been spending a lot of time in Auckland lately I recently took the opportunity to visit and try out a Juki TL-98P and a Swiftquilter Machine Quilting Frame, which turns the Juki into a kind of mini long-arm quilting machine.  Laurina demonstrated how to set up the frame for quilting and let me have a good play on the machine/frame set-up.  It was a lot of fun and I've since purchased a Juki TL98-P and Swiftquilter combo.

I know my machine and frame has arrived in Wellington and I'm super excited to set it up and get playing over the Easter/Anzac day break.  I'll be blogging more about the machine and frame once I've had a chance to get to know them better, but in the meantime I wanted to introduce Sew Frisco.

Although they are based in Auckland, Allan and Laurina do demonstrate at craft and quilt shows so you may be able to see them in your local area.  As well as the Juki TL-98P which is a fully mechanical straight-stitch machine, they have a couple of other models with other features which would be great for more general sewing.  So far their customer service has been really outstanding so I would definitely recommend checking them out if you're in the market for a new sewing machine!

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Monday 14 April 2014

A tote bag for travelling handmade

Lately I've been looking for more ways to live a little more handmade.  I'm psyching myself up to make a "proper" bag (maybe a Super Tote) so I bought some Soft and Stable in anticipation.  It's something that I read about at Sew Sweetness, and boy does Sara know her bags, so I had to try it.

Tote bag (with cat fabric!) 

I'm a bit nervous about sewing proper fancy bags with zips and pockets and all that jazz, but I could picture how to make a simple tote bag so I thought I would experiment with the Soft and Stable to make just that.

Tote bag (with cat fabric!) 

For this tote I used a relatively subtle cat fabric (which I really really love, in case you can't tell), together with Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Black (another favourite).  I quilted the exterior fabric to the Soft and Stable with lots of vertical lines.  I then added the handles, leaving room to add the lining.  I slightly boxed the corners, then added a simple lining to match.

Tote bag (with cat fabric!) 

I was really impressed with the Soft and Stable - it was easy to work with, and it's given the bag enough body so that it can stand up by itself, without being stiff or heavy.

Tote bag (with cat fabric!)

I'm doing a lot of travel at the moment, and I'll be using this bag for my carry on luggage.  It fits my laptop nicely, with enough room for the miscellaneous junk that I need to carry on but can't fit in my handbag.  I'm kind of in love, and very relieved that my "make it up as you go along" method worked out well.

Have you tried Soft and Stable?  Do you have any specialty product recommendations?

Linking up with finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts and Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts.

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Saturday 12 April 2014

Caturday Wisdom #64

Have a break, have a Kit Kat stinky meat puff. Ivy

This face is how I feel about Cadbury marshmallow Easter eggs. GIVE THEM TO ME.

It was funny last week to read how many of you could relate to the milk bottle ring being the holy grail of cat toys. Ralph will come running if he even hears the crack of a bottle opening!

Friday 11 April 2014

Orange peels mini quilt

This mini quilt is quite a long term WIP.  I've instagrammed it quite a bit, but I don't think I've ever blogged about it before.  I had a print t-shirt from Karen Walker which I really loved, but which really never fitted me well, and I've been planning to use it in a quilt somehow for a while.  The need to make something for my blanket stitch appliqué class at Nancy's Embroidery gave me the perfect opportunity.

Blue orange rings 

This was quite a good way to use a cotton knit fabric in a quilt.  The fusible webbing stabilised the t-shirt fabric quite well, and the fact that it's not part of piecing meant that the stretch didn't really matter.  I don't know that I'd recommend using something highly stretchy for this technique, but this 100% cotton not very stretchy fabric was totally fine.

Overall, I'm happy with this mini, although it is really far from perfect.  When I made my AHM All Day Mini Quilt, I stitched the orange peels in a more traditional fashion, with the points in the centre and the corners.  If you press two diagonal lines across your fabric, you can line the petals up really neatly, so that when you stitch the different squares together, all the points meet nicely.  For this version, I stitched the petals in ring shapes, and I tried to get the positioning right by pressing my background squares into quarters.  However, things didn't line up as nicely and not all my points meet where they should - oops!  That's what happens when you experiment sometimes, and I'm happy to show my students what not to do!

Blue orange rings

I was thinking about quilting this to make the petals really pop out, but I ran out of time (and patience) in the end and simply quilted in the ditch.  I had some difficulty picking a binding for this mini, but in the end went for a white linen fabric with a subtle silver print which matched the white thread I used for the appliqué nicely.

Have you tried experimenting with your quilting lately?  How did it work out for you?

Quilt Stats
Finished Size: approx 16" by 16"
Fabric: Essex Linen in Natural, Karen Walker t-shirt
Binding: unknown white linen with silver print
Pieced and quilted by: me

Linking up with finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts and Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts.

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Monday 7 April 2014

Autumn with a Twist Quilt

I am more than happy to have this finished quilt to share with you today.  The top had been basted for a couple of weeks and this weekend I finally had time to sit down and quilt it.  After a couple of weeks with almost no sewing going on, it was lovely to be at my machine.  Absence really does make the heart grow fonder!

Autumn with a Twist Quilt

This quilt is just a simple equilateral triangle quilt.  It's the third one I've made and I'd make another tomorrow!  If you're interested in making your own, you can check out my tutorials on how to cut equilateral triangles and how to sew equilateral triangles.  Also, if you're in Wellington, I am teaching a class on how to make an equilateral triangle quilt at Nancy's Embroidery - check out the class schedule on their website for details.

Autumn with a Twist Quilt

I've been wanting to make an autumnal quilt for a while, and I started on that with my Midnight at the Oasis quilt.  However, that project is on hold for the moment, so the need to make a sample for my class presented the perfect opportunity.  I've said before that if someone said they were putting chartreuse, plum, hot pink, grey-brown and cream together, I'd think of a hot mess, but I really love this somewhat unexpected colour combination.

Autumn with a Twist Quilt

As much as I love the front, I think I like the back as much.  I used a really beautiful panel from Cori Dantini's Beauty is You line, and it ties in many of the colours from the front, in a much softer palette.  I'm really glad I managed to find this fabric, because I had in mind to use on the back once I started the front, and it's quite hard to find online.  I might have cleaned out the local quilt shop I found it at!

Autumn with a Twist Quilt

Even though cream linen binding is horribly impractical, it just seemed like the right choice for this quilt.  I used a big cheat on the binding so I could hand this quilt over to Nancy's to be displayed pending my class.  I very much prefer to hand stitch bindings, but it does take a while.  I didn't want to machine stitch the binding on this quilt, so instead I used Roxanne's basting glue to glue down the binding.  It's not a permanent solution, but it lets the quilt look finished until I have time to hand stitch the binding down later.

Autumn with a Twist Quilt 

For the quilting, I decided to go very simple so as not to compete with the quite busy quilt top (and because I loved the quilting on this equilateral triangle baby quilt that my mum made).  I simply stitched a quarter inch off each side of the seam lines.  It was much quicker and easier than I thought it would be, especially because I didn't need to mark any of the quilting lines, and just used my walking foot as a guide.  I actually used a different coloured thread on the top and in the bobbin, but the colour differences are very subtle (a very light beige on the back, and a slightly darker beige on the front).  It does make a very nice pattern on the back.

Autumn with a Twist Quilt

Of course, I added the label in my usual style.  I've found that curving the corners of my labels lets me blanket stitch around them a little bit more neatly, and they feel more secure without the points which can come loose.

Is an equilateral triangle quilt on your quilty bucket list?

Quilt Stats
Pattern: my own equilateral triangle quilt pattern
Finished Size: approx 56" by 63"
Fabric: various
Backing: panel from Beauty is You by Corin Dantini
Pieced and quilted by: me

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

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Saturday 5 April 2014

Caturday Wisdom #63

 If you want it GO GET IT AND KILL IT. Ralph

To entice this face I was holding one of those rings from the top of a milk bottle, which is clearly the best toy ever. For pets and babies you just can't go past a bit of rubbish for entertainment.