Monday 14 April 2014

Pomegranate at Sydney Royal Easter Show 2014

I love it when members send me pictures of quilts they've made using my patterns, its a real honour to see what's been made and how. I also love it when I stumble across quilts out there, by chance.

I really appreciate it and I have to take a moment to thank everyone who sends me quick emails to let me know where they've seen a quilt or where I've been in a magazine, many don't realise that I don't always know my quilt's been re-published or that one of my patterns have been exhibited. Honestly, I'm often the last to know!

Thank you for taking that moment to contact me!

This morning I was sent this image of my pattern 'Pomegranate' behind glass at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. I wish I could tell you who made it, but I don't have that information.

If you do make anything of mine, consider sharing it in our Group so we all ohhh and ahhhh over it! It's too good not to share.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

WOW: Free Easter Rose Table Runner

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays 

It's that time of year again and this year I'm delighted to offer Easter Rose as the 2014 free Easter Project 

Blue and gold is such a classic combination and I have some beautiful gold stash fabrics that would really pick up on the dinnerware and vases we have on the table at this time of year... but the pink patchwork style below could look so good all year round. And then there's the red and pinks option of the first image..You see my dilemma? Of course, it wouldn't really feel like a pattern of mine without some colour scheme deliberation, would it?!
Each year I offer a free Easter project to members of my Yahoo BOM Group, this year I am releasing this table runner pattern. You can find it in the Group files area. It will be available for free to members until April 30th. 
What's Your WOW ?

Tuesday 8 April 2014

LE: Your Questions Answered

How am I tracing my background? I'm tracing directly onto my background fabric for precise placement. This is especially helpful as there is so much hand sewing on this quilt and the constant gathering of material can mean small differences in applique positioning. Unfortunately, its just those little details that always catch my eye, so I'm making doubly sure  it doesn't happen to me by tracing the pattern out, accurately, onto my fabric. I'm making  a point of this because its something I routinely don't do. I usually stitch in guidelines and position by eye and then remove the guideline stitches when I'm finished. In addition to this technique, I recommend that on patterns as crowded as LE, that you do also draw down the design. If you are out just a little bit with your positioning, it will create troublesome crowding or disharmony elsewhere. You can see from the pattern that there isn't any 'extra' space to play with. I don't believe in perfection, but I do believe in precision and with preparation, you  can produce the quilt you want. And I think, considering the hours you'll spend making it, it's the least you owe yourself!

What light source am I using? Normally I recommend using a light box - they are great, especially if you are building up layers. I don't need one in this particular instance because, although you can't see it in the photo, I have strong lights above me that angle in such a way as to allow me to trace without one. That's just a matter of luck!

What pen am I using? All importantly, I trace onto my fabric using a friction pen. This 'pen' irons away and does not require washing or wetting first - this means a lot to me as I frankly don't trust some of the other pens on the market which promise to wash out. I've seen (on other quilters quilts) a few 'come back' after quilters were washed, quilted and packed away. In a project this size, stick with what you know.

Over in the comments, Patricia has mentioned that ink sometimes re-appears in freezing temperatures but that this can be solved by using a steam setting on your iron. I actually do steam press all my quilts, so this isn't a new thing for me to try, but it is an interesting one and I wonder, regarding the science of it all, if that is what makes the end difference? Whatever you do, pre-test.

The specific pen I am using (as in picture above) is PILOT Frixion ball 'remove by friction' in 0.7 black. It looks like a normal pen, slightly thicker and has a kind of tattoo scrawl on the barrel in silver.

Before using anything, especially for fabric tracing, please test and double test it yourself, on your chosen fabric!

If you do use a friction pen, don't expect to iron your work as you go. Keep the applique pieces neat and don't iron the main body of the background until the entire area is sewn down because the friction lines really do disappear once ironed!

What applique technique am I using? I am turn edge applique-ing all the applique. Well, so far I am. This quilt has a mind of it's own and I will wait for the quilt to 'tell me' what it wants me to do with the bow borders. I turn edge the applique using the freezer paper method tutorial whcih you can view on this blog. The key difference is that instead of using freezer paper, I am using fusible (details in the pattern)which means I don't have to 'remove' the freezer paper part. Otherwise, my freezer paper tutorial is a good indication of how to do this method as the actual turning is the same. I am then hand sewing the applique down for precision. On some parts, such as the compass points, I hand turned all the points with needle, on the spot. It depends on the area I am working on. 

Do you really think I could get away with raw edge applique and satin stitch? That's what I really want to do. Then please, do it and make it yours. I know that if you make it with love and dedication, it will be incredible. I don't think the original was needle turn applique, I think there are indications that the bow border certainly wasn't. Obviously I just don't know.  I think you should make it according to your own heart, I don't think any applique technique is 'better' than another - it's your workmanship and personal style that makes or breaks it. Of course, this is just my opinion- if you have ideas on creating a faster quilt, but prefer the idea a classic applique quilt, then you have a decision to make. Again it's all personal, I don't think there is a 'fast' method for this quilt. Although I say that and someone in the Group might just go ahead and prove me wrong!

What am I up to? Well, at the moment I only have 1 or 2 days a week to spend on quilting, so I am working in areas that interest me on that particular day. Right now, I've set aside my patchwork LE and I'm still needle turning my compass points on my red LE... but I am nearly there now... just a few more to go. As I keep telling my DDs, you can't rush these things. Hand turn edge applique is an art and dedication, it takes time.

It's taken days of hand needle turning these 36 points to be so close to finishing today. This is a quilt worthy of heirloom hours, that's for sure. I'm glad my DDs are keeping a keen eye on my progress, I want them both to know how valuable this quilt is - I don't think I'll ever do so much handwork again!

Wednesday 2 April 2014

WOW: Preparing my Red LE

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays 

I'm afraid that the dishwasher is going to have to wait to be unloaded, I've got things to do!
Today I've started early and I'm planning on drawing up my Red and White LE onto my background fabric so I can go ahead with the crown, if I'd known I was going to make two, I would have drawn them both up at once as it would have saved so much time and energy, I like getting parts done and moving ahead so its hard to go back to this prep stage. But it will be worth it once my compass is stitched down into the centre position.

It's hard to believe I've turned the calendar page to April yesterday, it feels like just last week that I was unpacking the Christmas decorations.  The fleeting weeks remind me that its what I do in little bits that adds up so quickly, so a few evenings here and there in addition to my Wednesday quilt days will really help me have a productive year.

How do you plan your year? Do you plan around your interests or hobbies or goals? 
Or do you enjoy them as and when you can?

Don't have a blog? No problem, add your WOW as a comment in the comments section today

Whats Your WOW? 

Monday 31 March 2014

LE: My Crown

 It's such a satisfaction to have my crown on, I love it. And the patchwork style scrappy I finally rested on, just speaks to me.  You can see my needle turned points of the compass ring are finally done on this quilt, but I am yet to do my red one. It took me 2 x days to complete those points, this is such an intense quilt, it feels like I'll never finish. That doesn't worry me though, because each precious stitch is a legacy and I am loving every minute of it. 

I simply embroidered the little flowers around a small flower print and I am thinking about embroidering my stems when I get to the vases too. I'm actually in two minds whether I will or won't. I think it would match the image in the book if I did (in the published image, its clear that the vines are very thin) - but I have seen some real beauties in fabric over in my Yahoo Bom Group... and that is how I made the pattern. Perhaps I will make one with stitch lines and the other with fabrics as the pattern indicates. Although I am not sure yet, I do know better than to plan ahead: I'm sure this quilt will let me know when I get to that point! It has with everything else!

This centre is going to be such a joy to finish, at times like this I wonder if a third LE would be so impossibly difficult to fit in? 

Just kidding. 

Wednesday 26 March 2014

WOW: Scanning In Magazines

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday

I've finally finished scanning in my magazines. I've been in a few over the years and have been a bit absentminded about them - having them throughout my house and in a box somewhere in my garage. It was time I got organised and having them all scanned in is a weight off my mind and an easy way to look things up too. 

They are now listed over on my new website:  and you can view them under the 'Media" page over on my website. 

I'm thinking about the next BOM and asked if any quilters in my Group were interested in being Early Starters on new patterns as it is not possible for me to make all the patterns I have ready for release in time for release. I just can't make them all that quickly! I was so happy to be contacted by several quilters but just after requesting, I have been so busy that I haven't had a chance to respond properly or select the next BOM . Today I am hoping to catch up on emails and make some decisions. I've got my coffee ready for a productive day ahead. It's a bit funny to be planning future quilts via my computer, but I guess that's how everything is now. 

What's Your WOW ?

Monday 24 March 2014

LE: More Compass Talk

Five compasses and now I'm ready to  move on past Part 1
I don't think I've ever spent so long focusing on the start of a quilt. In fact, I know I haven't! 

I've been thinking about stitchery to emphasis certain design elements of the compass, especially because the red and white is so repetitive. I'm adding extra stitchery around one compass set behind the front beams for some dimension.

And now it's time to get down to some applique, I feel like the exact piecing and fiddly 36 point needle turn points is an intense introduction to this quilt, but now it's out of the way (I still have 36 points to go for my red compass) I am looking forward to some larger applique pieces.

Two quilts, Two cushions and one left over...
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