Friday 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas everyone. Today it's hot down my way, it's going to be 35c which means my usual ideas for Christmas day lunch have gone out the window and I'm just going to enjoy the day without the usual baking cycles.

If you're here, I'd like to thank you for reading my blog throughout the year. I feel so much encouragement and support from each of you and your comments mean so much to me too. When I'm working away in my studio, it feels really special to bring my work online and share what I do with you. It's a special connection and I've found some really wonderful people quilting online and for that, I'm grateful.

My personal motto has always been 'givers are receivers' and this blog has proven that to me over and over. I've been so blessed to have so many of you here encouraging me on. Over in my Yahoo BOM Group, I've been blessed with Moderators who volunteer their time to keeping all our members in a spam free zone where they can share their experiences as they make my patterns. 

This beautiful little film is a Russian production and it's one I share each Christmas on this blog on Christmas day because I think it's so charming in getting to the heart of the matter. It is such a nice change from the usual commercialism we are all bombarded with at this time of year. The detail is simply lovely, it's a pleasure to watch and a reminder to us all that Jesus is the reason for the season.

Wednesday 23 December 2015

WOW: Glad Tidings Progress

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
This year's free Christmas Project 'Glad Tidings' was released to my Yahoo BOM Group which has over 5500 members now. And, as well as our Yahoo Group I decided to release it for free on Craftsy and am happy to report that's been downloaded more than 1'900 times so far. Not bad, eh? This is really exciting for me because the more quilts being made out there, the more likely I am to get to see them, and I always love that. It was a beautiful surprise to see Gail Smith's Red December earlier in the week (it's been a while since I'd even thought about that quilt first designed in 2011) and seeing it again really made my day.

I wonder how many of you will be stopping by today? I imagine you're all getting ready for Christmas. I have the day set aside to tidy the house, make room in the fridge and put the last load of washing on before the big day. I'm looking forward to taking it easy and letting my DDs take care of all the cooking.

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Applique by Freezer Paper

The Freezer Paper Applique Method is popular, surprisingly easy and completely satisfying.

It attends to all those important details which are so important: like smooth edges, clean tucks and sharp lines. Whilst traditional needle turn applique is my favourite and most cherished technique, this is the technique I use the most. It's so practical. If you haven't tried it - I can only recommend that you do.

 Simply brush fabric edges with starch
 Turn with a hot iron, using the freezer paper insert as your edge guide
 Remove the freezer paper easily
 Inner view of turned piece
the completed applique shape

I know many of you are familiar with this technique, however from the emails I have received this week I realise that there are still some quilters who are not confident using this method.

This is the technique I will be using throughout Hearts Desire and as there is so much applique in this BOM, I have decided to show some more detail in the slides below.

Coming up in this BOM, you will be creating applique leaves I have created a leaf in the tutorial below which shows exactly how I do it.

2015 update: I'm re-posting this technique which was first posted in 2011 as I'm asked about it so often. This is the same technique I use today except that these days, I replace the freezer paper with a wash away fusible instead. The method remains the same. 

Thursday 17 December 2015

I've started Listening to Golden Ratio Music

Most of us know about Fibonacci and the Golden Ratio. It's something that's always interested me and since I purchased Jinny Beyer's Golden Rato Calipers I've been checking over many of my patterns to check they meet the ratio...just as a matter of interest...and I'm pleased to report that they mostly do. For many quilters the Golden Ratio isn't just interesting, it's instinctive to us. And we naturally create and work within it's ratios without even knowing it.
What I didn't know until last week, was that there is an equivalent 'perfect ratio' when it comes to music and these ratios are known by their frequency ranges. Last week I received an usual gift from my DD - music scaled in the Key of David, which is produced for listening at a frequency of 444 hertz. Actually there are numerous frequencies and each has it's own qualities. Just like the Golden Ratio is satisfying to the eye, these sounds are satisfying to listen to. And now that I've started listening, I find myself seeking out specific frequencies at different times of day.

Since I first time I heard music scaled in this frequency, I've had a strong emotional response to it which I can only describe as being 'in tune' to the sound. It's beautiful and has an instant positive effect on my mood. Many people believe that different frequencies have the power to heal the body or guide it into a state of self healing - a concept I find very interesting.

The music I'm referring to is called 'Whole Tones' and is composed and played by Michael Tyrrell. I'm so impressed with the music that I approached Wholetones to become affiliated with the project. That's how much I enjoy it -  the music is beautiful and refreshing to listen to. I will just mention that, importantly, this is not a 'New Age' product, the creator of this musical range has drawn his motivation from the book of Psalms and Biblical teachings to create these soundtracks. His motivations are based on his belief in the power of music to transform our moods, energy and ultimately, our lives. As for me, I just really enjoy it and am pleased to promote someone who creates his own work with integrity.

Why not have a listen and see what you think?

Wednesday 16 December 2015

WOW: Coming Full Circle

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Oma's Blues by Pat Sirni

Days like today, I really feel that I've come full circle. First I started out just sharing my patterns seven years ago...and now people are sharing the quilts they made from my patterns back with me...and it's a wonderful feeling.

Pat's quilt is really special. She's adapted Oma's Blues using the centre plate and border before finishing it off as a wall hanging. Isn't it fabulous? I just LOVE the way she used beige in with the blue and white, but most of all, I love her dutch fabrics, In my pattern, I have charm plates. Pat has fussy cut her own style of charm plates from the most gorgeous fabrics, it's really effective and I love seeing these variations. Pat is doubly generous you know, as well as sending me pics of her quilt here, she's also a Moderator over in my Yahoo BOM Group, so it's a double thank you today Pat!

Luckily for me, the Moderator's over in my group usually make my quilts before I do...that combined with you talented quilters out there who decide to share your finished pics with me, I'm satisfied that even if I don't get around to making a particular quilt as quickly as I like...I'll still get to see them....somehow. 
What's Your WOW?

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Red December by Gail Smith

'Red December' by Gail Smith
quilted by Angela McCorkle

So many people ask me what Red December looks like? Good question! Luckily it's one Gail Smith can answer - here is her gorgeous version. Isn't it just stunning?!

My blog readers are the best. Here I was sitting down to read my emails when a lovely hello came in from Gail, who duly informed me that she had finished my quilt pattern Red December, and would I like to see it? Well of course I did! 

My own Red December is on a chair waiting to be quilted. It's been there for a few years actually. In the meantime, I went ahead and made a Red December table cloth for Christmas as well as a matching cushion that was printed in a magazine. Oh I do love it and seeing it all made up here makes me love it all over again :) 
I might even take a moment now to imagine that my own is finished and is as gorgeous as Gail's...
It's easy to imagine as she followed my original scheme of (what else?) red and white.
I've always loved this pattern and must admit that I haven't done it justice because I haven't been able to show it off here on my blog. I think that sometimes, even when you design a quilt and share that design, until people can see the finished quilt, it can be hard to imagine just how beautiful it is. I always knew Red December was a beauty, and now I can prove it! Thanks so much Gail. You've really made my day. It's a real pleasure of mine to share my work and I really appreciate it when people take the time to share what they've made back with me. 

Thank you :) 

Red December was released for free in December 2011 as the yearly Christmas Project.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Oma's Blues: Quilted

Thanks so much for all your comments on my last post. I'm glad you were all as happy for me as I was! It's s good feeling to be 'finished' with a quilt. When I started Oma's Blues, I was interested in re-creating the 'Delft" inspired style that I've always loved so much. I wanted it to hang in my kitchen and be the ultimate 'fabric' wall of plates.
Here's my centre plate bird: I decided to quilt him a little plumage crown
Many of you stuck with the blue and white theme which I found really interesting. I thought there would be a lot of mixed colours out there - more than I've seen, so I suppose many of us like Delft so much that blue and white just felt right :) 
 Now that it's done, it's going up on my wall in the New Year, 
right after the Christmas decorations go down
I love these corner plates coming together
and these blocks were designed to look like fragments of plates stacked along the borders
and I can tell you now that the quilt is finished, that I really think they do!
I've enjoyed quilting all the free space
and even detailed the circles and diamonds
like so
For my binding, I opted to strip this delft fabric together rather than use a dark blue and it ties in all the blue fabrics nicely.

Are you making Oma's Blues?
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