Wednesday, 20 June 2018

WOW: My New Brother Scan N Cut CM900

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Oh boy do I have high hopes for this machine! With so many patterns on the go and only one pair of hands, I've decided that I could really use some professional help. I'm pinning all my hopes on this Brother Scan N Cut machine. Initially I was reluctant to purchase a new machine. After all, I am trying to get rid of 'stuff', not keep adding to my collection. I went back and forth for several months before realizing that I really do need help with my cutting requirements and this machine could save me a lot of time and effort. 

In Australia these units retail for $699 (which is $514 USD), even though the same unit can be snapped up for under $300 USD in the US. Like so many items in Australia, this one has been slapped with an inflated price for no discernible reason other than brand greed. You can find this item online right now for as low as $649, but I decided to pay a bit extra and purchased it from the Better Homes & Garden Shop because they were giving away this 'bonus' bag with each purchase.
Well you know I love storage bags and really love idea of having somewhere safe to tuck my machine at the end of my applique frenzy sessions! To purchase the bag separately would have cost over $100, so it seems like a good deal to me. I only wish the bag was a bit more interesting. I often wonder about the developers who sit around designing these kinds of bags. The main users of Brother Scan N Cut machines are apparently paper artists and people into scrap booking - a creative bunch of people! So why is the bag this boring two toned blue affair? Couldn't they have mustered up enough enthusiasm to spoil us with a print? Maybe it's just the grumpy quilter in me talking, but seriously - would it have killed them to make an effort?

So today I'm playing around with my new toy. Hopefully this means I'll have some new designs to show you soon because I simply don't have the hand power to get ahead of my schedule any other way. Fingers crossed it's going to live up to all the hype.

What's Your WOW?

Friday, 15 June 2018

Arranging My Stars

So I finally picked fabric for the background and here I am arranging the blocks for my quilt top (don't mind my old lady house shoes!). This blue mop thing is a swiffer. Although I vacuum each day, wooden floors somehow always create dust tumbleweeds that are irresistibly attracted to my fabric projects, so before I lay down any fabrics, the swiffer comes out!
This quilt top is made from my pattern Stash Busting Stars. Well, to be precise, the blocks are from that pattern. I'm actually changing things around and adding sashing between the blocks and an extra border to get the size I want rather than make more stars, so mine is a variation.
It's a few years old now since I created the pattern and the way I made these blocks was that I simply added a round randomly from stashed fabric over about 14 months. And as I was making the stars, I really was stash busting scraps left over from various projects and this means that I didn't pay enough attention to the fabric pairing. I really don't know why this didn't occur to me as I was making it up! I think I was just happy to be making a scrappy quilt to have about the house, but now that I'm getting them all lined up, I wish I'd coordinated them more!
Finally after endless changes, I settled on this arrangement. And I will be adding sashing between the blocks and a border. I love that this throw around quilt is made up of project scraps for the stars and the background and border are actual stash fabrics. I hate parting with fabric, so it's nice to actually use it up.
Here's a close up of the background fabric I chose, I think it grounds all the scrappy blocks perfectly. It's called Count Your Blessings by Kathy Schmitz LLC for Moda #6083 and it's a stash bundle, I have no idea how old it is, probably 10 years or so.
This gorgeous pink trumpet flower fabric is by Beth Bruske for David Textiles and it's over 10 years old, maybe even 13 or 14. I haven't met a Beth Bruske fabric I didn't like, honestly they are all so gorgeous. Nowadays, I can't find any anywhere so I assume she has stopped designing, which is a shame. I find there's something so old world and evocative about her prints that are always charming and work beautifully in piecing, fussy cutting and applique. In fact, I love this print so much, I also purchased it in a blue-ish shade which you can see below used in the border. Again, I'll be using her pink trumpet flowers in my border for the new quilt too. I think the reason I keep using her fabrics primarily in borders is because I don't like cutting them up!
This is one of the first quilts I made. It's over 15 years old. Back then I was stenciling on all my quilts, so even a pieced quilt like this got the painted block treatment!
When I look back on my quilts, I can see a progression in style and taste. But you know what? I still love them, including this one. I can't actually remember what I called this quilt (isn't that terrible?!). It has a label but I stuck it at the top (a beginner's mistake) where the hanging rod is so I can't actually read it. Whatever I called it, it's made an appearance in my house for the first time in 10 years when I did my yearly Changing of the Quilts back in February. I thought it was about time it got some love.
The domestic machine quilting is gorgeous too. I'm taken aback at home much work I put into this quilt, even the back is fully stencilled. My Stash Busting Stars quilt is decidedly more relaxed and I love that I'm going to have some of these in the house as my current quilts are much more art and hanging quilts. It's nice to have some variety.
Now I have my blocks arranged, I am putting them aside for when I feel like a day's easy sewing to get the top together. It feels so good to have a quilt nearly done. It's all thanks to my WOW routine on Wednesdays, otherwise I would never have spent time working on a stash busting top. I feel very resourceful. Now it's time to get back to my BOMs...

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

WOW: Busting Those Stars!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
I just need a minute to emphasis the fact that we are in mid June already. I mean, I know what they say about time speeding up as you get older, but this is ridiculous. 

Obviously time waits for no quilter, so I am on the move - organizing, prepping and getting all excited and pleased with myself. You see, my BOM 2018 still has 2 bonus quilts to be released very soon and I'm really happy about that, I'm really looking forward to sharing them both with you all. It's the reason I'm away from my blog so often now - I'm working around the clock!

Still, I'm committed to stash busting WOWs on Wednesdays so here I am, putting together my Stash Busting Star blocks onto the chosen background. I just selected the background fabric a few days ago and am really delighted with the effect. It's so nice to actually use my stash in order to stash bust. I can't wait to show you my plans for my Stash Busting Starts quilt top - it's a gorgeous pattern and I have loved putting these blocks together. 

Check back on Friday to see my progress..

What's Your WOW?

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

WOW: Sorting Out My Magazine Stash

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Just after I started blogging, I gave up all my magazine subscriptions. That was back when blogging was enjoying it's 'golden' phase and blogs were so up to date, informative and interesting that I had no need for magazines. I ended up with only two magazine subscriptions in my home and they were both gardening publications.

But since I started volunteer teaching young sewers to sew generally (rather than quilting specifically) two years ago, I have slowly eased back into my former magazine habit. It's been useful and interesting at times, but my interest has started to wane again. Right now I have 14 quilt related magazine subscriptions, 8 sewing subscriptions, 3 home and garden subscriptions and it's all too much. There seems to be magazines all over my house and I'm over it.

So today I'm sorting through my 'donate' stash and my 'keep' stash and well, I got a bit distracted and started flicking through them. These are the magazines for 2018 from January to May alone. It's too much and I'm running out of space. So it's time for a sort out..

Am I odd ..or do you stash magazine subscriptions too?

What's Your WOW?

Sunday, 3 June 2018

'Love Entwined' by Barbara Baker

Barbara Baker of Canada has graciously allowed me to share these images of her 'Love Entwined' quilt with you all. Be prepared to swoon, it's utterly beautiful. She has called her quilt 'Love and Friendship' and has left off the swag border (the double bows) because she doesn't like swags. Fair enough! I must say, it doesn't detract one jot from this incredible work. The colours are a dream, so gentle yet so enticing. I love it when gentleness demands attention and Barbara has managed to create just the right balance.

The workmanship is incredible too. You won't be surprised to hear that this quilt just won "Excellence in Workmanship for Applique" at the Awards Ceremony of the Canadian Quilter's Association.
 Fabulous fussy cutting on the berry stems and the borderie perse is gorgeous too
 Aren't these colours just a dream?
And it looks like Barbara sailed through the most difficult block of the quilt (above) with those tiny swirling leaves. They look perfect!
 I'm sure you're also drinking in these details just as I am..
I'm in love. Thank you Barbara for allowing me to share your incredible talent and work with everyone here on my blog. 

You know, when I design a quilt, it's always a pleasure. But when I get to see that quilt made up, the pleasure is doubled. It really makes my day when quilters all over the world take the time to send me pics of their finished works. Thank you so much for taking the time to upload your images in the Group and for letting me use them.