Thursday 31 December 2015

2015 Finish-Along - Q4 Finishes

Woohoo - it's the end of Q4 and time to link up your finishes!  I hope you've had a productive quarter and I can't wait to check out what you've been making.

Here is a quick reminder of the rules:

The Rules:

- At the start of each quarter there will be a linky party for you to link up your proposed list of finishes. You must link up in order to be able to be eligible for those prizes at the end.  Please only enter ONE blog post or flickr photo or instagram photo at this starting link-up.

- In order for your projects to be eligible, they must at least be a tangible project at the start of the quarter.  That means, at the very least, a pile of fabric pulled along with a pattern, or a quilt top needing to be quilted, or a half knit jumper. I love seeing your bee blocks, but they won't count unless you happen to be turning them all into a fully completed quilt!

- As you complete each of your projects on your list, write a post all about it, or a description of a Flickr pic.

- At the end of the quarter, link up each individual post/Flickr pic (please link back to your original list in some way). For each finish/link you complete, you get an entry into the draw, and therefore it's in your best interest to write up a separate post for each!

- A finish is defined as a completely finished project, eg a quilt, quilted and bound, a bag that's fully lined and functional, or a jumper that one could wear out in public. I'm happy for you if you get a quilt top completed in one quarter, but hold onto it for the next quarter and see if you can get it quilted and bound before entering please.

- You won't be punished if you don't finish your entire list, so feel free to make a big list and roll projects over from one quarter to the next if you need to.

- All qualifying finishes will be put into a prize draw, and the names drawn at random for each of the prizes donated by our sponsors for that quarter.

- The finish link party will be open for a week, and then the next quarter will open on the following day.

- During the week that the finish link party is open, there will be a series of tutorials appearing here on the blog. If you'd like to contribute a tutorial, please drop me an e-mail at adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com.

- The FAL is open to anyone, anywhere in the world.

I'd love if you'd spread the word about the FAL by popping my button in your post or on your blog.  You can grab the code for a large button or a small button below:

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

The awesome prizes for Q4 of the 2015 Finish-Along, provided by our wonderful sponsors:

Rachael from imagine gnats is providing a $30 gift voucher.

Sara from Sew Sweetness is providing 3 patterns of the winner's choice.

Becca from sew me a song is providing a $25 gift voucher.

Green Fairy Quilts is providing a $25 gift voucher.

Mad About Patchwork is providing a $30 gift voucher.

Juliet from Tartankiwi is providing 3 patterns of the winner's choice.

Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts is providing a copy of one of her gorgeous patterns.

The team at Make Modern are providing a copy of the current issue of their magazine for two winners.

Jennie from Porch Swing Quilts is providing three lucky winners with two patterns of their choice each.

Laurel from Laurel Bee Designs is providing two pin dot magnetic pin bowl in the winner's choice of colours.

On the Windy Side

And finally, I will be providing a copy of each of my self-published patterns to a winner (full disclosure - at the moment there is only the one!).

So, start linking up.  The linky party closes on 6 January at 11:00 p.m. PST - if you're in a different time zone, please check and make sure you know what time that is in your part of the world so you don't miss the close.  World Time Buddy is my favourite time converter.  I'll remind you closer to the closing time.

Please make sure you link up a separate post for each finish.  If you need a refresher on how to link up, Katy from The Littlest Thistle did a post which explains how to use the link-up tool really well - you can find it here.

Using instagram to link up

If you're planning to use instagram to link up, Katy from The Littlest Thistle has done another tutorial on how to link from instagram using your computer (here).  If you are working on your phone or your tablet, Rhonda's tutorial on how to link from instagram (here) is for you.

How to delete your own links

If you add a link with an error or that wasn't on your original list and you want to delete it, you can do this yourself.  Hover your mouse over the thumbnail image of the link you want to delete, and a grey bar will appear at the bottom of the image.  On the right hand side, there will be a small rubbish bin / trash can icon - click on that to delete your link.  You can only delete your own links and it generally works best if you delete a link using the same device you used to add the link.  If for some reason, this is not working for you, let me know and I will delete the link for you - but please have a try at deleting it yourself first!

Sunday 27 December 2015

Anna Maria Horner swap quilt

Many months ago, my friend Anne and I agreed to do a private swap. We had seen the Anna Maria Horner swap being organised on Instagram but wanted a longer deadline (as it happens, this was a good idea because it took us the best part of a year to get organised!).

This mini quilt is what I created for Anne. Her favourite colour is grey, and I knew I wanted to get lots of different AMH fabrics into the quilt.  About halfway through the year I learned how to make yoyos / Suffolk puffs and I wanted to incorporate them into a quilt that was modern and a bit different. Thus the idea of this round mini quilt was born.

First I made many yoyos using a wide range of different AMH fabrics collected over the years. For the detail people, I used a Clover yoyo maker in size large (45mm). I arranged them in a rainbow-ish way, in a large hexagon shape.

Then I created the background by quilting a solid grey fabric with grey thread (I used a rayon thread on the top because I wanted a bit of shine, and trusty aurifil on the back). The grid is reasonably dense, spaced about 1/2" apart, but was freehand quilted using my walking foot (no marking lines!). Once the quilted part was done, I hand stitched the yoyos to the background, just catching the top layer of fabric.

The fabric on the back of the quilt is another AMH design, which I had stashed for a while. I added a wee hanging sleeve and even got a batten cut to the right size and added a hanging loop for easy display.

Finally, my fairly tongue-in-cheek name for the quilt, and a label. This was a really fun little quilt to make and it definitely hasn't cured my yoyo addiction!

Saturday 26 December 2015

Christmas Caturday!

It was time to take another Christmas Photo and it went about as well as last year.

Didn't quite get the shot before Ivy decided to leave

Ivy was happy to have her photo taken as long as no one else was in it

Adrianne got bored

The winning shot. Merry Christmas! From Ivy, Ralph, Adrianne and Jennifer.

And after all that, when Ivy thought I wasn't paying attention, she tried to take out the angel


Wishing you and yours a happy and safe holiday season.

Saturday 19 December 2015

Caturday Wisdom #151

Falling asleep on the hand that feeds you is just as effective as biting it. Ralph

Ralph and Ivy have been enjoying the sun that we've had lately but there's still no better place for a nap than on a human.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Caturday Wisdom #150

Go in the shade, feel dismayed. Ralph
Ralph know's what he's about here, there's only one good place to walk down the stairs and that's in the sunny part only. Not sure this weekend is going to be a good one for sun but we can hope.

Saturday 5 December 2015

Caturday Wisdom #149

It's ok to look however you want. Even like a cow when you're a cat. Jackal

Continuing with the theme of "cats I'm going to visit", Jackal belongs to my friends in the Wairarapa who I'm going to see tomorrow. Here's hoping for some nice weather!

Thursday 3 December 2015

Squid Ink and Sorbet Quilt

I keep feeling like I haven't been that productive this year, until I remember that I have a backlog of quilts waiting to be blogged...

First up, this one which I'm calling my Squid Ink and Sorbet Quilt.  Back at the start of the year, we decided to do a group challenge to celebrate my local guild's 30th anniversary, using the bear paw (or hand of friendship) block.  All the lovely scrappy bear quilts on instagram might have factored into the decision as well...

Squid Ink and Sorbet 

This is my version - I wanted to work with a colour scheme I hadn't tackled before, and chose darkish grey prints for the background, to contrast against a bright selection of pink, aqua and mustard feature fabrics.  

The idea was to make one block a month for the first nine months of the year, but I have to say, it didn't work out that way for me.  I've discovered, through trial and error, that I really prefer to work quite intensely, almost in a production line way, on one quilt at a time (which is not to say that I don't have lots of quilts on the go at once, but rather than I'm usually actively working on only one of them at any given time).  It just feels more efficient to me!  In the end I made the last five blocks and assembled the top in a burst of activity at the end of September, and then sent the quilt out for long-arm quilting.

I spent a bit of time agonising over the quilting pattern for this quilt, and in the end went with Anita Shackelford's Modern Eccentric design.  As usual, Sue Burnett of Busy Bee Quilt Shop did the quilting for me, and I talked her into using a pink thread on the front of the quilt and an off-white on the back (it's generally not a great idea to use different colours in the top thread and the bobbin, but you can get away with it if they're close in colour).

Squid Ink and Sorbet

I just had to use this lovely Tula Pink Freefall fabric on the back of the quilt.  It's sateen, and has a lovely hand.  It's hard to see in the photos, but the quilt is bound in a grey and white striped fabric - gotta love those striped bindings.

Lots of people in the guild made quilts using this design - you can see a nice selection of them here.


Saturday 28 November 2015

Caturday Wisdom #148

Live in Wellington and you'll never need your hairdryer. Mila and Mojo
It seems appropriate that these two are on the blog today as later Adrianne and I will be going to visit them!
Mila (left) is bigger than Ralph or Ivy and she still looks miniature next to the enormous Mojo. I'm sure Adrianne will take a pic or two so keep an eye on her Instagram account for that.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

How to make a Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat

I just realised that I wrote this tutorial for Leanne from shecanquilt but never shared it here.  So, here you go!

I came up with this idea after I got annoyed with my sewing machine sliding around on the table, especially when I was sewing quickly or free-motion quilting.  It makes such a difference to have a sewing machine that stays where you want it to!  It also adds a lovely personalised touch to your sewing space.

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial

What you will need:

- feature fabric
- low loft cotton batting
- backing fabric
- non-slip matting
- fabric for binding
- basting pins (curved safety pins)
- sewing machine with walking foot

- usual notions like thread, rotary cutter and ruler, scissors, etc.

Tips before you start:

It's a good idea to read the full tutorial all the way through before you start.

The thing that makes this mat non-slip is this non-slip matting.  It's the type of thing you might put in a cupboard or drawer to stop things sliding around.  These pictures are intended to give you a good idea of what it's like.

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial 

I bought mine at Spotlight (essentially the equivalent to Joann's), but you can also find it at hardware stores and big box homeware stores.  You can find the exact brand I bought here, and this is a version which looks pretty much the same which I found on amazon.  The colour doesn't really matter, because you won't see it once your mat is finished.

Step 1 - Create the top of your mat

First, measure your sewing machine to work out how big your mat should be.  I would recommend measuring the base of your sewing machine and then adding at least 2" on each side.  I have a fairly small sewing machine and I made mine 12" by 18".

Choose the fabric you will use for the top of your sewing mat.  I used a single cheater print fabric, but you could definitely piece something if you prefer.  Make a quilt sandwich with your feature fabric, the low loft cotton batting, and your backing fabric, using your preferred method.  Quilt as desired.  I simply followed the lines of my cheater print fabric.

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial

Step 2 - Mark your quilting lines

You are going to baste the non-slip matting to your quilt top, and stitch through all the layers to securely  attach it.  You don't need to quilt it densely, just enough to make sure it doesn't bubble or move around too much.  Once you have decided on your quilting lines, use your favourite method to mark them on the quilt top.

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat

You can see that I used a hera marker - it's absolutely my favourite way to mark quilting lines.  This is the one I have and I love it.

Step 3 - Baste on the non-slip matting

Use the curved safety pins to base the non-slip matting to your quilt top.  Place them not more than 4" apart, and if possible, avoid placing them on your quilting lines.

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial

Step 4 - Quilting

This part is a little tricky, and you will really need a walking foot, because the non-slip matting is going to want to stick to your sewing machine.  Get your quilt set up and ready to go, and drop the needle down.  You may need to lengthen the stitch length beyond what you would normally use for straight-line quilting - I set mine at about 3.75 (the maximum stitch length on my machine is 4).

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial

I would normally use a flat hand to gently guide the fabric through the machine.  This will not work, because putting any pressure on the quilt will cause it to stick to the sewing machine.  What you need to do is lift the quilt up around the presser foot, and let the feed dogs and your walking foot do their job.  It will feel really strange, but if you go slowly and carefully, it will work.

Step 5 - Binding

This project is a great candidate for machine stitching the binding.  I learned from Rita at Red Pepper Quilts, and I still think her tutorial is the best.  If you do decide to hand stitch the binding, I would recommend attaching it to the back first and hand stitching it to the front.

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial

Ta da - you're finished!  Now you just need to test drive your new sewing machine mat - a perfect excuse to sew something new!

Non-Slip Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial

P.S. You will have a fair bit of the non-slip matting left over - try putting a piece under your sewing machine pedal.  It will stop creeping away from you as you sew!


Saturday 21 November 2015

Caturday Wisdom #147

Why play hide and seek when you could play hide and sleep?! Ralph

Ralph did not want to participate in my photoshoot this day. He had fallen asleep in the sun and couldn't be bothered moving away from me so in classic sun-drunk style, just hid behind a paw. I'm hoping for some more weather like this but it's not looking good.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Fat Quarter Shop giveaway winner

Thanks everyone for your comments on my Firecrackers Quilt blog post.  It was really interesting reading about your favourite gadgets. There were a few themes running through the comments - Bloc-Loc HST rulers and clover clips were popular (these are both on my favourite gadgets lists too), as were easy angle and companion angle rulers, which I haven't tried.

Without further ado, I'm delighted to announce that the random number generator drew commenter 21, Allison, as the winner of the Creative Grids 30 degree triangle ruler,generously provided by Fat Quarter Shop.

Congratulations Allison, and thanks to everyone else who entered.


Saturday 14 November 2015

Caturday Wisdom #146

You underestimate the power of the dark side. Mojo (Darth Vader)
The new Star Wars trailer has clearly affected me. Mojo's owner also happens to be a big Star Wars fan too so perhaps that explains the inspiration, although mostly I just think Mojo looks like he rules the world.
Happy Saturday!

Friday 13 November 2015

Firecrackers Quilt - a Fat Quarter Shop pattern


Today, I'm delighted to be sharing my version of Fat Quarter Shop's newest quilt pattern, the Firecrackers Quilt!

If you're interested in making this quilt yourself, all the resources you need are right here:

Firecrackers PDF pattern
Firecrackers video tutorial
Firecrackers quilt kit
Firecrackers backing set

Firecrackers quilt 

This quilt uses two jelly rolls, and a background fabric.  I was super lucky and managed to get my hands on not one but two fabric collections I've been jonesing for - Modern Background Paper and Modern Background Ink.  Although these fabrics have been designed as backgrounds, I wanted them to be the stars of my quilt, and chose Moda Grunge in Duchess for my background.

Firecrackers quilt 

I'm really pleased with how this quilt top has turned out.  I really liked the angles in the pattern design, and I wanted to keep the graphic nature of the quilt with my fabric choices.  I think the black, white and grey achieves that perfectly.

Firecrackers quilt 

I had a nice time making this quilt - there are a few steps to it but they are all pretty simple and perfect for doing while watching a TV show or listening to a podcast (lately I've been listening to and really enjoying Reply All).  If you're going to make this quilt, I totally recommend this rotating cutting mat for the trimming stage.  I actually bought one when I was holidaying in Auckland last year.  I was making a quilt with lots of half square triangles, and I forgot to take my other rotating cutting mat with me.  I found the Matilda's Own one in a shop up there and I haven't looked back since - it's that good.

Firecrackers quilt 

I really like the subtle texture of the Moda Grunge fabrics.  I have a few stashed but I think this is the first time I've actually used one! It has reminded me why I stashed them in the first place!

Firecrackers quilt

It was a pretty windy day when I took these photos - it always makes photographing a quilt top challenging!  Here is my tip for anyone making this quilt: once you have finished assembling the quilt top, stitch a line about 1/8" from each edge of the quilt.  This will help keep the edge stable and prevent it from stretching.

I can't wait to see the quilts made by the other bloggers who made quilts from the Firecrackers pattern!  You can find the other quilts here:

Ants to Sugar by Daisy
Silly Mama Quilts by Brooke
Happy Quilting by Melissa
627 Handworks by Julie
Must Love Quilts by Corinne
Mommy Sew by Jenn
Fly Away Quilts by Lauren

One of the things I really enjoyed about making the Firecrackers Quilt was the opportunity to use the Creative Grids 30 Degree Triangle Ruler for the first time.  I'm already a big fan of 60 degree triangles, and the 18 degree wedges that are typically used for making Dresden plates, and this ruler hits the gap in between perfectly!  I've already started a little project using some of the 30 degree triangle scraps from this quilt, which I hope to share with you soon. 

Fat Quarter Shop is very generously letting me give away a Creative Grids 30 Degree Triangle Ruler to one lucky reader.

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment letting me know about your favourite ruler or other quilting gadget - I'm just curious to know what people have found and love.

You can get an optional extra entry for each of the following (just leave an extra comment on this post for each that applies):

 - following my blog (through google friend connect or a feed reader like Bloglovin' or Feedly); and
 - following me on instagram (I'm there as @adrianneonthewindyside).

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.  If you're not sure whether you're a no-reply blogger, check out my tutorial on how to stop being a no-reply blogger by clicking on the button below.

How to stop being a no-reply blogger

The giveaway will stay open until around 6 pm Tuesday 17 November at 6pm (New Zealand Time), and I will use the random number generator at to pick a winner then.