Saturday, 31 October 2015

Pattern Making Leaves

Nothing inspires me more than nature. Actually, most of my designs are based around a desire to showcase designs styled and interpreted on and around natural floras and the fabrics that make those designs shine throughout the year - be it frosty winters, bright springs or warm, woody autumns, 
Naturally this means I press just about any leaf I come into contact with! Whenever I go out, I scan any foliage around me for interesting shapes that I can use in the future. Sometimes I even send my DH to complete strangers' doors to ask for permission to take some leaves from their front yard trees. Up until now, they've always said yes, which is lucky for my design kit.
Mostly, I wipe the leaves down, place them between clean sheets of paper and pop them into cook books (these are always the books that I seem to open up the least and are always 'heavy' enough to do the pressing. And then, voila!

Friday, 30 October 2015

Proper Care & Storage Of Sewing Needles

When I was a girl, I used to store my favourite sewing needles on the collar of the blouse I was wearing. Now that I'm teaching a children's class in hand sewing, I decided that the perfect end of term gift would be a a sewing case for each child. They're about to progress to real sewing needles now (advancing from plastic needles) so the timing is perfect.
I purchased this fabric 15 years ago and at that stage you can see it had already been waiting around in someone elses stash. In fact, I do wonder how many stashes it's been in since 1988?! I'm quite pleased that it's being put to good use after all these years.
 I really like that it's the perfect template for my little cases, it even has a 'spine', it's stash busting serendipity :)
I've used bright fabrics for the insides and batting for the needles
I love the applique design style animals, its a little nod to my passion for quilting
Hmmmm, feels like it's missing something...
...and it was! After these photos were taken, I stitched button holes and added a button on front - and then it felt 'just right'. I hope the class likes them.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

WOW: The Green Bowl

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Since my last Pinterest fail, I decided that I would find an easy 'do-able' cake recipe that I can make up for my DH without having to pull out the cake mixer and make a big deal of it. Interestingly, I do own a cake mixer (that gets used only yearly), as well as a gorgeous set of mixing bowls that are sitting in the cupboard, nested perfectly and gathering dust. When I need to mix, I always pull out this bowl which is 35 years old. How old?! I can barely believe I just typed that.

In this bowl I have mixed cakes for all my children's birthdays (back when it was the norm to bake your children's birthday cakes yourself) and made countless Easter and Christmas mixes too. It's interesting how a plastic bowl can have so much value, but the truth is, no matter how many times I replace it, I just can't bare to let it go.

It looks like I'll be using it until it falls apart. Unless it goes on to outlive me. It's German made, so anything's possible!

What's Your WOW?


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Patricia Stephans' Love Entwined

Love Entwined 1790 Marriage Coverlet by Patricia Stephans of QLD, Australia (and her long suffering DH helping hold it in place during the photograph :) ) All hand stitched and quiltedPatricia chose the colors of purple and gold as they depict the colors of the jacaranda and silky oak trees that are out in blossom in Queensland

What can I say? It's beautiful and inspiring, Here we have yet another Love Entwined -hand sewn- that reflects the life and nature surrounding the quilter who created it. What an inspiration! Thanks for sharing your work with us Patricia, it sure is motivational for those of us stitching along on this extraordinary heirloom.

This quilt will be added to the Love Entwined Gallery so it can be enjoyed alongside other LE's as and when they're made. If you've made LE, please consider sharing it with us all via the gallery.

Details on how to do this are listed on my website, click here for the link.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

'Nelke', my new FREE Quilt Pattern

When I saw Di Ford's new fabric range 'Cloverdale House' I knew I HAD to have it. Then, when I'd purchased enough to make 'something' (I really wasn't sure what it would be quite yet), I left it in my sewing room to keep looking at and pondering over. Well, it started to remind me of 'Nelke', a sketch I'd created and hadn't turned into a pattern yet. And, the more I thought about it, the more I was decided. 
I was certain I would use the beautiful minty blue fabric as the main, but as you can see, I didn't. I think I'm saving it for I don't know what. All I know is, it will come in handy for something, I can just feel it. 

Instead, I've gone for the beautiful greens, browns and beiges which makes it a perfect blender to show off gorgeous fabrics- you can go into brights or mute it right down. This naive sketch is really versatile. Of course, I've set my heart on using the Cloverdale House range, but I do wonder what fabrics you can imagine working with?!
I can't really put my finger on what spoke to me from this range, I thought it was the minty blue, but the rest of the range slotted in so perfectly with my sketch that I didn't want to fight it. I just went with it. In case you're curious (I know I would be), I purchased Cloverdale House on my own at my local quilt shop, this isn't a sponsored post. Frankly, I wish I had been sent the range because with a little bit of forewarning, I would have had the perfect project for the minty blue which I am just itching to use. As it is, I'll have to allow my inspiration to brew a little longer...

This past week, I've been fighting my copier, scanner and PDF software (which died of course). I think I have a new pattern bug - whenever I attempt to release one, something in my house 'retires'.
Hopefully I'll be able to iron out these time zapping annoyances - I've got a line up of patterns ready for release as well as my annual Christmas Project coming soon, so I could really use a bit of technological relief!
This complete pattern is available right now for free in my Yahoo BOM Group

Patterns like this don't suit BOMs, so I'm releasing the entire pattern as a once off. The pattern will be free for a limited time, so if you're interested, the time to download it is now.

Thanks for your support everyone. This year my readership has skyrocketed and I'm humbled by the support and continued kindness that readers of this blog keep showing and sharing with me. Thank you! Sharing what I do with like minded quilters is a passion of mine and giving anyone who's interested the opportunity to take part in my patterns is my pleasure.

Yahoo Group Members: some of you have asked me to start offering A3 options for the pattern template printing and this is something I'm looking into. I know how annoying it is to paste down and construct all those A4 pages when you know you could do it faster in A3. I'm all for saving time! I'm hoping to upload A3 templates this week, so sit tight and I'll notify members over in the group when I get this done.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

WOW: Finishing the Patterns

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Where did last week go? I can hardly believe it's Wednesday again already?! I've been adjusting my 'processes' since my favorite copier broke down on me and it's taken me longer than usual to find a system I can use to release my patterns. Technology feels like such a pain sometimes.

Anyhow, it's been quiet on my blog as I've been busy creating several new patterns and will be releasing a few of them before the end of this year. The rest are lined up for 2016 - it's going to be an exciting year, so if you're thinking about starting a new quilt project, stay tuned. I've ventured through my sketchbooks and have finally added some of my more modern (and easier) designs as well as more piecing to my regular applique obsession. I can admit it - I love applique and too much is never enough.

I've already started tracing the pattern onto fusible as I hope to get the top done - this is the new aim for my designs, getting the tops done even if it looks like there's no feasible time to get the rest done!

What's Your WOW?


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Valerie Harmer's Love Entwined

Valerie Harmer saw Love Entwined on my blog and decided that she needed a challenge. Well, I think she succeeded! But let me tell you how - this stunning quilt you are looking at is hand sewn (applique), hand embroidered and hand quilted. What a feat!

And it just won:  Mixed Techniques: 1st Prize at the Queensland Quilter's Quilt and Craft Show

This incredible heirloom will be going to a grandchild. She's made all her children quilts upon their marriages and is continuing the tradition for her grandchildren in turn (she has 10!).

I'm in awe of her workmanship and just so in love with this beauty. Thank you Valerie for sharing your images with all of us. We all love seeing the work, time and passion that goes into making Love Entwined and I'm grateful to you for being generous to share it with us all to swoon over.

This quilt will be added to the Love Entwined Gallery so it can be enjoyed alongside other LE's as and when they're made. If you've made LE, please consider sharing it with us all via the gallery.

Details on how to do this are listed on my website, click here for the link.

Personally, I'm surprised that so many LE's are starting to appear all over the world - you all work so fast! I must have the most talented quilt readers on the internet.
 The joy of sharing beautiful quilts
thank you for sharing your quilt Valerie :) 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Oma's Blues: Part 10 is Launched!


I was so busy 'playing' with fabric yesterday that I simply forgot to post Part 10 of Oma's Blues! Sorry everyone. I do actually have a planner, whether I bother reading it day to day is another matter entirely!

I think one of the reasons it slipped my mind is because I have already completed these blocks. For the first time ever, I'm 'ahead' of my quilt BOM schedule. I did this so that I could have Oma quilted and finished completely before my birthday which is just round the corner. But then, unexpected machine issues with my ever troublesome Bernina 820 meant that I've been without a machine for 2 weeks and I've been all over the place, ready to quilt but unable to quilt. Distracted

To see my blog post on how I created these corner block in Part 10, please click here, or simply read through my post links in the 'Oma's Blues' quilt archive above this post under my header banner. 

This is where I am up to, my top is done, ready for quilting
I'm so in love with this quilt



Oma's Blues is my current FREE BOM


You can still join this free BOM right now - all parts are available over in my Group

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Playing with the Jinny Beyer Palette

In between drafting my patchwork star, I watched a Jinny Beyer class on Craftsy where she chatted a bit about her Palette - although I've had mine for months, I haven't really been using it as much as I thought I would. I get stuck in the 'samey' kinds of colours sometimes and I can't decide whether that's a problem or not?
On the one hand, I obviously feel drawn to the same kinds of colours and tones over and over again - which makes sense. But sometimes I think I could have used a little more zing - even when I'm not feeling it during the fabric selection. As I'm testing out my draft pattern anyhow, I decided to raid the stash and find fabrics in accordance with the palette, not my eye. This is new for me. I've followed schemes before, but I always somehow end up going off on my own path anyway...
Even though I'm trying to follow the rules, I strike out purple as an option because I don't want it in my 'autumny' star even though I know this almost defeats the purpose of the exercise.
I selected fabrics from my stash that were 'close' to the palette 
because obviously I don't have exact matches
and although I love all these fabrics on their own, I would never have paired them 
 but I can instantly see that it does work and it does, well, zing
and maybe I should have used some purple after all....? Hmmmm I don't know.

It's only a 'play quilt' but I'm really loving just taking the time to experiment with colours and prints in new ways and not have a set destination in mind (the background fabric belongs to another project I'm working on)
I'll be making up some more stars before the weekend and will post my colour options when they're done. How do you decide on a scheme? Do you follow your eyes and moods...or do you follow a formula?

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

WOW: LE gets a BEST IN SHOW!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesday
!!WE NEED A ROUND OF APPLAUSE!!

I am bursting with pride and happiness for Nancy Jones Hansen who is the talented maker of this extraordinary, beautiful and 'Best of Show' winning Love Entwined. I first saw this image over on Facebook and I asked Nancy if I could share it on my blog. She's sending through a better image (which I will update and show off here as soon as I get it).

---and it doesn't stop there---

Earlier in the week, I was sent a link showing that Valerie Harmer of QLD had also shown her own Love Entwined and it is breathtaking - and completely different colour scheme wise and oh soooo beautiful. Two different LE's showing their splendor all in one week. WOW! I haven't asked for Valerie's permission to show her quilt on my blog, so here is a link for you to see it for yourself  ---click here---

When I designed this pattern, I really had no idea that so many talented quilters would make it into their own masterpiece and I am so happy to see that each quilter brings a new, unique style to the pattern - and I'm in love with them all.

WOW! If you're making Love Entwined, please remember that we are all super keen to see the results! (and yes, I am especially). It's so wonderful to see the diversity and workmanship out there. I know uploading images is a time consuming pain, but when you do, it really makes a difference to those of us who get inspired by seeing the finished quilt. Thank you so much :) Oh! And don't forget, we have a Love Entwined Gallery (link on the sidebar) and --anyone-- who has made LE is welcome and invited to join.

Phew, what a great start to Wednesday!

What's Your WOW?


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Creative Patchwork Pattern Play

I'm making the most of my quilting 'down time' by getting some computer work done on my new designs, tidying my shelves and sorting through my titles. Look what I found! I hadn't looked at this soft cover for about 10 years before today. Boy, had I been missing out!
It has some really interesting information about creating certain quilting designs. What I really love about it is the 'realness' of the advice and sketches offered. It's been a long time since I was pulled into an instructional book like this. I was just compelled and inspired at the same time, it was such a great feeling. I wonder if titles today are 'too' polished and just so 'computer generated' that they have lost this connection? I definitely feel that sometimes, even when I can't put my finger on any particular 'faults'. Reading, I felt like I was having a conversation with the writer and I really understood what she meant - the diagrams are 'just right' in my opinion.
 and I love that they are hand drawn, not computer graphic-ed
So, inspired by the advice I decided to start a new quilt top to test it out for myself
I'm surprised at how easy and quickly it all came together. I get frustrated more often than not when I create quilts nowadays because I create them on the computer with the purpose of sharing them. I'm not a natural on the computer - in fact, I usually put the pattern drawing aside until the last moment for this reason. I don't like negotiating with software or finding ways to make it understand me. And this is no complaint against the software (which is excellent), the problem is all me! I'm a natural hand drafter and that's when I feel most comfortable - getting things done by hand.
Yesterday I watched a Jinny Beyer class on Craftsy and she was explaining her pallette tool. I purchased it a few months ago and I've looked at it a few times since then, but always ended up doing whatever I wanted fabric colour wise anyway, so I wasn't really utilizing it. So I've decided that I will do it the pallette way on this new pattern I'm playing around with and see if I learn anything new or find a new way to pick fabrics. 

I'll let you know how I get on..

Monday, 12 October 2015

12 Days of Christmas Bauble Update!

Each December 1st, I unroll my festive wall hanging '12 days of Christmas'. It has a special spot in my living room, and it really brightens up the wall. Something I really love about it is that the 'baubles' on the tree are attached by button, meaning they can be changed and updated.
Like so...
And I'm aiming to release a new set of 12 x baubles for the tree each year. This year. I've just released the latest 12 new baubles 'Festive Florals' and they look like this:



These festive florals are now available over in my BOM Group and are free to members.

If anyone missed out on making the wall hanging '12 days of Christmas' when it was released for free the first time around, the pattern is now available in my shop and it's currently 50% off!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Fixing Necklines

Although I have the skills to make my own clothes, the fact is, I'd rather be quilting. So, the only thing that gets me behind a machine clothing wise is alterations for my DH (re-attaching that irritating loop on jackets that he insists on using!) and shirts for myself. Quilting fabric is just too lovely not to turn into a shirt or 5 and of course, my collars. My favourite collar is my Kaffee Fassett collar which I added to an otherwise neglected black jumper. Now, I wear it all the time. That is the allure of wearing quilting fabric. Well, I have this top and I love the print but when I sit down or reach over, the neckline gapes and exposes me. I was considering buying a second top and cutting it up for the matching fabric, but it's been a while since I purchased it now and it's no longer available.

So, I've been hunting for the right shade of blue. Well, I found it at last and finally added a collar to this shirt. I'm in two minds whether or not this works. I think collars make everything better and they certainly do a lot for me, but I may have reached my first exception. I  hope I haven't ruined the whole thing. Right now, it feels a bit, well, ugly. I don't know. The fact is, I couldn't wear this top without some kind of add-age so I might just live with it regardless.

I had no one around to snap me in my new red shirt, but I can tell you it's finished and it looks just fine, I'm really happy with it.
With just 10 weeks to Christmas, I think it's about time to get my popular pattern 12 Days of Christmas back up in my shop. I took it down to fix a typo...and somehow forgot about it! I'll be getting my patterns Christmas ready, even if I'm not.

And I'm not.

10 weeks feels like tomorrow to me.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Lazy Pattern Making

With quilting out of the question, I'm determined to be productive. There's only so many hours a day I 'allow' myself to spend on the computer, so although I have several patterns lined up for release shortly, I decided to "do" something. My wardrobe needs an overhaul and a clear out but whenever there's domestic duties to be done, I usually find a way out of them... and today's been no different.

Whilst I was packaging a bag of clothes to drop off at my local op shop, I found this green shirt.
Does anyone else remember wearing fabrics like this in the 90's?
Anyway, I love the shirt, just not the fabric, so you know what that means: time to draft another shirt pattern. I've drafted many shirt patterns in my life and I'm totally over it, so I decided to draft the lazy way, and unpicked the shirt, ironed it onto a sheet of stabiliser and hey presto - pattern.

 Then I decided to take over my kitchen (of course my sewing room is completely chaotic with quilting patterns at the moment) and stash busted some red fabric I'd actually wear
 I love it and soon it's going to be a shirt I'll enjoy wearing
 Once you have the pattern, the making just flies by
 I'll probably pull out my over-locker for this one, 
but first I stabilised the front to make sewing even easier
Years ago I would have laboured hours over a shirt pattern, now I'm taking the path of least resistance. Hopefully I'll be able to show you tomorrow. Let's see what the final result has to say about it...