Friday, 21 October 2016

Another win!

This has been my year for wins...cannot believe it.

I won another Aurifil thread box...YES!!!

Feeling very lucky indeed. I won this thread collection through The Ultimate Quilt Challenge run by Quiltshopgal through the summer of 2016.

Thank you so much Quiltshopgal and a big thank you also to Aurifil for their amazing generosity.

This thread collection is from April Rhodes and called Sewn Desert
For some reason I thought I was getting a box with a few Aurifloss spools in there (I think that was another prize)...I was over the moon, as this is a split box of half 50wt and half 40wt. GREAT! LOVE IT! So handy.

My love affair with Aurifil started about 4 years ago...I bought a small pack of orange colours for one of my table runners as one of the colours matched the sashing of that table runner really well. This was also the time I seriously got into FMQ and I discovered the beauty of this thread. I have not used any other threads for my FMQ since then and will not change that (apart from specific purposes obviously). I can honestly say that the thread just works for me and my machine...I never have thread breakages or any other thread related issues...its beautiful to work with (hardly any lint)  and given the size of the spools it lasts for a very long time. As the thread is harder to come by over here, I did not use it much for piecing, but mainly for FMQ. On occasions though I have used it for piecing when I needed my seam allowances to lie flatter and to be more accurate. Now that I have have more of the thread I might start using it more for piecing as well. In the early days I invested in two thread collection by Sheena Norquay and the Essential Collection by Mark Lipinsky...that has kept me going all these years. Beautiful colours.

You would think that I don't need to buy any more thread...wrong, the range of colours is amazing and without fail, I run out of a particular colour or stock up on my favourite beige colour.

If you never tried this thread, I can highly recommend it, particularly for will not want to go back to another I sound like a commercial! I was reading today somewhere people discussing different types of thread and whether one should invest in higher quality that discussion people seemed to think that less expensive options did the job just as well. This might be so, although I somewhat doubt this, and when spending some 5 months or so on a quilt, I do want to finish it off with some high quality thread...I just think the effort deserves it.  Over time I have come to see the value of good quality fabric and thread.

So, off to using some of this beautiful thread to finish some projects!


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A Day of Bits and Pieces

Today I worked on a few bits and pieces. I finished the quilting on the border of my Robert Kaufmann fabric Quilt, however had to wash some fabric to use for the binding. So I thought I make a start on preparing the applique pieces for my Drifting Leaves Quilt
As I only had strips to complete this quilt I ordered some of the Gold and Green Multicolour Print from the Dryad fabric range by Shannon Brinkley. It is absolutely beautiful
I think I said it before...the quality of this fabric is outstanding, one of those that you do not really want to cut into at all! If you have a minute head over to Shannon Brinkley's web her work! She runs workshops on the web on her Scrappy Applique of these days I would not mind signing up for that. But for now, I need to concentrate on getting some finishes happening.

I cut a 10in strip of each (that was all that I was going to give to those leaves) and traced the leaf shapes onto Applique Magic Plus (great product!). I then fused the shapes to the back of the fabric.
Next I cut out the shape on the drawn line and presto...we have a leaf on the quilt top
In between cutting my binding for the other quilt, I then trialed some of the stitches on my machine to attach the leaf shape. This is something I had wanted to do for some time as I still want to complete a little applique owl quilt using some of the cool stitches that come with the machine.

Here is my trial
I spend most of the afternoon mucking around with this, i.e trying to get the height and width of the stitches right
Love those two stitches...if you have a  Pfaff QE 4.2 or indeed any other machine where you can save stitches, are you using this feature? I keep forgetting that I have this option on the machine! Rather than remembering what setting I had for each stitch, I saved them in the setting that I liked and am now ready to go once I have cut out all 17 leaves. This is most useful as I did a lot of adjustment in terms of height, width and density to these stitches and without fail, the moment I changed one setting I had forgotten what setting I came from. Definitely need to use this more.

Felt very productive today.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social #147 over at Sew Fresh Quilts


Thursday, 13 October 2016


I am working away on my Robert Kaufmann Fabric stacks quilt...still have not come up with a sensible name for that.

Initially I was going to do some feathers in the borders, however changed my mind on that after seeing a You Tube video on using part of a pantograph...watching a lot of videos at the moment as I am researching the Sweet 16. Very conflicted about the Sweet 16 as I do love FMQ on my machine, however I am also thinking something with more height would be helpful. For the time being, I will just do my research and probably go for a bit of an extended test drive at a dealer over the next few months.

Anyway, after watching this video I remembered one of the many resources that I actually have not used yet at all..."Follow the Line, Quilting Designs by Mary Covey". Got it out and found a design I liked
Thought that a more open design would suit my quilt a bit better given that I kept the center pretty low key in terms of quilting. A more dense feather border may have been awkward (and I really felt like doing something different). So I marked my border
This time I used a slither of soap to mark the lines...I find that the Sew Line chalk pencil's white line is sometimes really hard to get out of the darker fabric. The soap worked like a dream and is a good alternative if you don't need to be overly precise.
I then used my trusted Golden Threads paper to trace the design. Once traced I took it to the machine and stitched through it without any thread to create my stencil
I always used a few sheets of Golden Threads paper to do this, so that I have extra copies in case I damage the first one...
Marked it onto the fabric with the quilt pounce...bad photo, but you get the general idea
I always mark the borders in sections, i.e. one border at the time as working with the Quilt Pounce becomes tricky in terms of wiping out your lines as you go along, particularly when you are wearing the Machinger gloves. I keep the white Sew Line marker at the machine and when I see that some lines are getting too faint, I go over them again with the pen so I don't loose them altogether. In terms of following the lines, I keep it pretty relaxed...this is more about the texture and overall consistency. Similarly, fitting the design into the border is a bit of hit and miss with me...I know there is a more structured approach to this where you can work out how to reduce the overall pattern, but I just wing it!

and here it is stitched out
Very happy with this...I am using a brown Aurifil 50/2 thread which blends right in. This is what I wanted for this quilt...a little bit of something, a bit of texture, but really, the fabric and design make this quilt for me.
And to be honest...I need to finish some stuff. I got another 2 finished quilts lying around, another one in production and I am itching to get back to FMQ  a few more Wholecloth quilts.


Sunday, 9 October 2016

Finish Along 2016 - Fourth Quarter Goal List

2016 FAL

Well, I can literally just copy my post from the third quarter goal list as I only finished one project in the third quarter.

Left to do:

 #1 WIP: A Field Guide - acquired the thread I was missing and also got myself some ruler templates to finish this off quicker. There really was not much of an excuse, other than that I really did not feel like this

 #2 WIP: Oriental Robert Kaufmann Fabric Quilt - No Name Yet!

Have made some progress on this one though

Using Cindy Needham's Ultimate Shape to just put some simple lines in the alternate shapes.

Did not feel like quilting this tightly as I like the crisp look of this. Almost finished with this and then will put maybe some feathers in the border

#3 WIP: Thousands Pyramids Quilt -  have about a gazillion more units to go...

On top of these I have three FMQ projects on the horizon however cannot include them as I have not actually started them
- Bethanne Nemesh' wall hanging: obtained this pattern from a class I did with Bethanne at the recent Machine Quilting Festival practising feathers the 'Bethanne' way. Do want to do this and have already fabric picked out, washed and ready to go.
- Silk Wholecloth: design ideas ready, stabiliser and thread purchased...just a matter to get going on that one
- Frilly Wholecloth: idea that came from doodling using Cindy Needham's Ultimate Shapes...looking forward to this.

I think I will end up doing my FMQ as I really enjoy that the most...always in conflict with the piecing side of things. Hopefully I will get at least two of the quilts on the list finished.

Linking up to Eleven Gardens Quilts for the FAL 2016 Fourt Quarter Link Up


Monday, 3 October 2016

Festival of Quilts 2016

I entered 2 quilts (my white Wholecloth and the Mandala) in the annual Festival of Quilts Show this year. The motto was "It's an Exhibition not a Competition". This year quilters were asked to opt for their quilt to be judged, rather than opt out of the judging process. Well, maybe this encouraged more people this year...there were a record of 236 quilts on exhibition! Fantastic effort. The quality of the quilts on show was just outstanding...

Could not believe it, they rang me on Thursday night to say that I won a prize, however at that point I did not know exactly what I had won, as the person who rang me did not have the detail.

Well, I heard on Saturday...1st Place in the Traditional Small Amateur Quilt Category...a Blue Ribbon!

I went to the show on Sunday and here I am...
I actually felt somewhat overwhelmed with this...did not expect this at all and kept looking at the quilt. I nearly did not put it in, thinking it was too simple, too white, too ...bla. I actually called it 'Simply Wholecloth' in the end.
I was really pleased that I did not have too many folds in it from being in the bag for some time...looked alright. Well, the Sunday became a bit of a family daughters came, as did my husband and our visitor. This was really nice.

Got a great shot with my daughters, with the youngest just goofing around
 It's a pity that one cannot put up photos of some of the quilts on the Internet...there were some absolute stunners in there. If anyone is interested, the photos of all the winners will be up on the Quilters Guild SA website later in the week. I will sneak in a photo of the Mandala display though...they had them mounted on these circular boards hanging from the ceiling and spinning around. Now that was really cool
Mine is the red blob on the bottom!

Well, the pressure is on for next year. I am planning two Wholecloth quilts. The next quilt show is a bit earlier, so let's see how far we get with this...


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Fall 2016 Edition

Can't believe's that time of year again. Amy's Creative Side is again hosting the Bloggers Quilt Festival. I missed the Spring edition for some reason so was not going to miss this event. The Bloggers Quilt Festival is always great fun and looking through the entries is very inspiring. So much talent out there, it's actually quite amazing.

I am entering a favourite of mine, loosely called the Baby Quilt, into the Mini Quilt Category

Absolutely loved the fabric and just had to do the Tumbling Block design for this. You can read a bit about the Y-Seams construction HERE, and HERE . Not the easiest to construct but so worth it in the end.

Details of the quilt:

Size: 41in x 53in
Fabric: Main fabric is an Ann Kelle design (Urban Zoologie) for Robert Kaufmann fabrics
Threads used: Gutermann for construction and straight line quilting; Clear Monofilament thread for SID; Aurifil 50/2 for other FMQ designs
Finish: straight line quilting across the cubes with loop design in the feature fabric; continuous heart design in the inner border and more loops in the outer border.
Binding: Left over strips of fabric used which gives the whole quilt a bit of a lift

Head over to Amy's Creative Side to have a bit of a look. There are 11 categories, so plenty to look at.  The linky is open for another 3 days after which voting will start.


Friday, 16 September 2016

WIP coming along

Have been stitching away on my WIP: No Name As Yet - The fabric came from a stack of Robert Kaufmann fabrics by designer Leesa Chandler in the Passage to India range. I designed this quilt a while ago and finally got around to continuing on this.
Currently stitching-in-the-ditch around all of the blocks and also around those little strips of dark colour. This is taking me for ages...not my favourite task, I must say, so I am spreading it out a bit which makes the whole process just that little bit more painful. It is actually holding me up!

I am using Invisafil from Wonderfil thread. This is a 2 ply 100wt soft polyester thread I discovered last year when participating in the FMQ Challenge run by Quiltshopgal. I was using it then to FMQ a feather design on some Dupioni Silk. That worked really well and I did try it a bit later for stitching- in-the-ditch as an alternative to the clear Monofilament thread that I often use for multi-coloured projects.

I had some tan coloured Invisafil and thought that was the perfect choice for this project as my seams alternate between dark and light, so needed a colour that blends into both.
I have never liked the clear Monofilament thread that much...I do not like its shine and also find that the machine does not like it all that much major problem but a few hiccups every now and then with the thread becoming entangled when coming off the spool, tie offs not working properly and the hassle of actually finding the thread to bury all those threads into the fabric. In addition, I do not like the feel of the thread once quilted. However it does the job and I have been using it for some years by now.
When I tried Invisafil first I used a Bottomline thread in the bobbin, but at a recent quilt show I asked someone at the Wonderfil thread stall re this and they advised that you also put the Invisafil in the bobbin for quilting-in-the-ditch, so I did. Had no issues with this and given that the thread is so fine, one bobbin lasted me for over half the quilt.
I used Needle size 60/8 with a tension of 4.0 (tension of stitch no 52 used for quilting)

I like the feel of this...the quilt feels much softer, the stitches are hardly visible, except where I stuffed up and overall, I had hassle free stitching. Also, as I am somewhat impatient I have been using the tie off stitch both at the beginning and end of the seams which is working very well. This has sped up the process immensely given that I am going around all those little dark strips. Only got a few more of those squares left and then I can switch over to FMQ which will be a welcomed relief.

If you have not tried this thread, maybe give it go. I think this is a really good alternative for the clear Monofilament thread and the thread is so fine, you really can hardly see it which makes for a very nice finish.