27/04/2013: Almost May already! This year is going so fast!
02/04/2013: Happy Easter. I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.
01/01/2013: Happy New Year!!
24/12/2012: Merry Christmas!!
13/11/2012: Getting hand-made presents ready for Christmas!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Omiyage Progress

Pine Cone Omiyage progress
Omiyage Progress

I'm running out of time for the pinecone omiyage, but it will get done before Christmas. This has definately been a hand sewing project. Hand sewing is the only way I've been able to get all those little sides joined together with precision. If I tried to machine this I think it would be a big mess by now.

Well... back to sewing!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Flat Bed Sewing is a Go!

Flat Bed Setup
Flat Bed Insert for my Janome

I picked up the new insert for my sewing cabinet yesterday but still haven't found the time to try it out yet. I'm really happy it fits the cabinet and machine considering that little piece of plastic cost $80! (almost twice as much as the second hand cabinet!)

I'm about to go and do some sewing. I've been so busy lately but I have a few things to finish before Christmas so I need to utilise my time to the max, which will probably mean less blogging. If you're wondering what else I've been doing, the drawing challenge is going well and takes up around 30 minutes a day - sometimes the bulk of my spare time before bed. Check out the daily sketches on My Sketchbook.

The new insert means that I have a spare insert for a Husqvana/Viking machine. The serial number of the insert is #180 and I can ship it to you in the sturdy carboard my replacement came in. It has a mark from masking tape on the front which will come off and a couple of scratches. They're usually AU$80 new and I'm asking for AU$20+postage. Buy the feet (below) as well and I'll ship it all together. Click for more details and photos.

Postage is:
$15 within Australia - Express Post
$22-30 international depending on your location

What machine are these for?
Husqvana/Viking sewing machine feet

Two Husqvana machine feet - These are a buttonhole sensor foot (usually $120, but I'm asking AU$60) and utility foot B (usually $25, but I'm asking AU$10). These feet are for sale in my online shop, but if you're interested and think my prices are too high on them please get in touch and tell me what you think they're worth.

Special blog offer - buy all 3 for AU$100 including shipping anywhere in the world.
All prices are AU$

Friday, November 19, 2010

30 Day Art Challenge

Video by Suzi Blu

I'm about to start another 30 day drawing challenge this Sunday in order to try and improve my confidence in sketching. I think I may be kidding myself that I have the time to do this one, but with a fresh urge to draw I'm going with the flow and drawing is a great skill for planning sewing projects.

If you'd like to follow along with me and draw as well I'd love to see your blog if you'll be posting your progress online. Any skill levels - the more the merrier! Head over to My Art Sketchbook to learn more about the challenge.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stash Building & Projects

new fabrics
More Fabric Purchases

Ok, now I really have to start using from my stash... but Most of these were $2-4/m on sale so I couldn't resist. There are also a few fat quarters and a couple of fabrics that I have an immediate idea for. We'll see if I can get some things constructed soon.

I also ordered a new insert for flat bed sewing... $82.50! I was hoping it would be a bit cheaper, but I need it. That makes my total cost for my new sewing cabinet at about $130 which is still less than they're going on ebay at the moment and it will all suit my machine - at least this is how I'm justifying paying $80 for a piece of plastic!

Woodland Owl Applique

This cute guy was completed a while ago but I've been working on preparing a pattern to share for him as well. The pattern is now available in the shop!! He is my own pattern which I appliqued, then the background was quilted and turned into a cushion cover.

Omiyage in progress
Pine Cone Omiyage in Progress

Are you making any Christmas presents this year? I've got a couple of projects to complete. This is my progress on a rather tricky pattern from the book Omiyage by Kumiko Sudo. I am hand sewing it now because the pieces became too small to get lined up on the machine. I have 6 lots of 4 squares to join together and then it is assembled into a little bag.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Cabinet

Sewing Cabinet
New Sewing Cabinet

Have a look at my little bargain! This little second-hand beauty cost me $45 and had treasures in the drawers as well!!

I'd toyed with the idea of getting a cabinet with a lift mechanism for flat bed sewing for a month or so now. I had seen a similar cabinet in the local Spotlight (sewing/fabric store in Australia) for $825. I turned to ebay and started bidding on likely suspects. Each time the cabinets I wanted were going for over $150 with the seller saying they were $399 brand new. Perseverance paid off in the end and I am still pinching myself over this bargain!

There was a little repair work to do. The wheels had started to come off the bottom so 2 washers later ($3.60) and it's all good. The lifting mechanism seems to work well, but the plastic surround doesn't fit my machine so next weekend I need to go ask questions of the local sewing stores and see if I can buy the surround separately.

All the "junk" that came with the cabinet

What about the treasures? I was asked if it was OK if some sewing things were left in the cabinet... I said it was absolutely OK. After sorting through it all I discovered a good pair of scissors, a box of buttons, several unopened packets of elastic and cotton tape, about 15-20 spools of Gutermann thread (some unopened still in plastic), 2 spools of gold thread and several packets of needles.

What machine are these for?
Husqvana/Viking sewing machine feet

There were also two Husqvana machine feet. Does anyone have a Husqvana/Viking machine? These are a buttonhole sensor foot and utility foot B. These feet are for sale in my online shop, but if you're interested and think my prices are too high on them please get in touch and tell me what you think they're worth.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Quilt Show 2010

Quilt Show Hoard
New to the Stash

Today I went to the local annual quilt fair and I want to say first that this year I had a GREAT time! Long time readers might remember that last year I had several negative experiences of people not wanting to talk to me. This year I happily avoided the stalls who didn't want to know me last year and after a happy hour looking at the stalls only ended up spending at one stall.

Once again I want to do a general gripe about prices. I saw one stall with fat 1/8ths for $10.95 each... What the? Please tell me none of you actually pay this price!? That works out to over $80/m and I'm pretty sure printed cotton is not made from spun gold! The other pricey fabric I saw was japanese imports that were $32/m... sure they were nice and I was tempted, but ebay is there for a reason! Honestly quilt stores, you have to get more competative!

The fabric that I did purchase was all from my favourite stall which I think was Patchwork with Gailb from Victoria. I imagine her store is a little like Tricia's Discount Fabrics here in South Australia - every fat 1/4 was $3.50 so I spent $50 there! That is how you turn over product. You make it affordable!

What price will you pay for fabric?

My price range is $12-16/m for printed quilters cotton. Under this is a bargain (I've got some for $2/m sometimes), but up to $20/m is acceptable if it is something special. Up to $8/m for flat colours as I can often get a reasonable range for as little as $4-5/m regularly. For fat 1/4s I calculate what I pay based on the price per metre. So that means I will generally only pay up to $4 per fat 1/4 as per my rule with printed quilters cotton.

Now on to my wonderful chats. Yes! People talked to me this year! My first win was talking to a lady who made an amazing quilt with extremely fine applique and hand quilted it as well. She had used batik which is thinner than quilters cotton and she gave me a small piece of batik fabric to take home (I didn't buy any because I need to research my prices as all the batik fat 1/4s were $8 or over that I saw)

A batik weave is tighter - more threads per square inch which means it doesn't fray as readily and you can clip it up to 1/16 from your seam when doing needle turn applique. It is also thinner than quilters cotton so it is not as bulky and can move around tighter corners easier.

She also said DONT IRON your applique! ...but my book on applique says press! Next time I won't be ironing during or post applique and see how it turns out!

My other highlight from the day was discussing a quilt with a couple of ladies while pointing out the flaws and that it didn't matter because all of us would still be more than happy to have such a beautiful quilt in our homes. Then we were talking about whether the quilting was human or computer directed and I recommended they check out the work of Leah Day because it could also be done on a domestic machine!! I hope they follow up my recommendation and check out her website.

All in all, a great 3 hours spent at the quilt fair this year!!

Friday, October 29, 2010


I've talked about Spoonflower in the past when I had a photo printed onto quilters cotton to incorporate into a quilt. At the moment with the Australian Dollar being so high compared to the US$ it is very tempting to jump in and buy a whole heap of beautiful custom printed fabric.

I've been receiving the newsletters from Spoonflower for a number of months now and they often have design competitions allowing the general public to vote for their favourites. There have been so many beautiful designs lately that I've decided to start sharing my favourites from each competition. You might like to sign up to their newsletter and do the same!

I voted for 9 fabrics this time for the theme "Woodland Creatures". I've linked my top 6 above in no particular order.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Quilting Scraps

Scrap Box
Scrap Box

I've been saving up all my scraps from recent projects as I recently bought a copy of the book Serendipity Quilts by Susan Carlson however I can't try out one of the amazing projects until I collect a pile of scraps to choose from.

Previously I would only save the scraps I deemed "worthwhile", but now I'm saving all my scraps no matter how tiny. It feels good to think I might one day have a use for all of them. Do you save your scraps?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chicken Purse

Chicken Purse

This weekend I've been thinking a lot about chickens as one of our girls has a broken wing. So its not surprising that a chicken appeared in my sewing this weekend.

This little purse has been made into a pattern and is now in my brand new shop! Head over to Happy Bobbin to check it out. I ended up making two little chicken purses as I was testing the pattern. If you'd like one they're both for sale too. I also have a blog specifically for my shop here which will be updated as I add new patterns.

If you were to purchase a quilting or quilt related pattern for anything in the world what would you want?

My style is quite ecclectic and unique. I'm currently working on turning all my steampunk blocks into patterns and have a few more ideas in my sketchbook too.

If you also like stitching why not check out another free resource I'm working on. Free Sampler Patterns is hosting a great little range of cross stitch designs perfect for small motifs or making your own custom sampler.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sewline Mechanical Pencil

Trying Sewline Pencil
Sewline pencil comparisson

The Sewline mechanical pencil is something that Leah Day from Free Motion Quilting uses and recommends and right before purchasing one from her online store I spotted them in a local shop near my workplace and grabbed one as the price was comparable.

The first thing I did is try it out on some black cotton fabric alongside my usual dress-makers pencil. As you can see from the photo (click to enlarge) the top seven lines from the Sewline pencil are sharper and darker than the dress-makers pencil which I am always sharpening. The eraser on top of the Sewline pencil is good for erasing those lines, but I have not had much need of it. The lines also erase in water. I've had some lines rub off while handling and thankfully this isn't a problem with the Sewline. The lines become a little lighter with excessive handling while hand sewing, but still hold on very well.

For AU$16.95 the Sewline mechanical pencil is not the cheapest accessory I've bought, but I don't know how I've lived without it. I usually use a lot of darker colours so the white is perfect for me, however it also comes in green and pink with refills available for all colours. I've also seen yellow and black/grey online, but not in local stores.

If you're in South Australia I've now discovered two stores who stock the Sewline range of pencils, and fabric glue. In Adelaide, the Button Bar in Adelaide Arcade, or just to the South, Tricia's Discount Fabric near Castle Plaza. If you're in America you should try Leah Day who stocks all 5 colours for US$12.95.

Looking for quilting inspiration? I'm posting some beautiful and inspiring quilts three times a week on Quiltopia. Come have a look! :-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Steampunk Butterfly

Steampunk Butterfly
Steampunk Butterfly

What makes this steampunk? For me it is the ornate look that reminds me of wrought iron and combined with my other designs I think this will look great! I think this block has taken the longest to sew out of the six I have completed so far. Do you like the look of this block and the gears from the last post? I'm hoping to have a full range of patterns ready so that you can make this too once I've completed the quilt.

I keep changing my mind now whether I will quilt as I go then join the blocks together, or make up the quilt top and then quilt. I want to keep it fairly simple so that the intricate applique can speak for this. I'm loving the colours... I just need to get the remaining designs drawn up and then stitched on.

The six completed designs include the gears and butterfly, a fleur de lis, a steampunk airship, some keys and a cameo bust. The remaining designs will include a crown, some tools and a steampunk gun with hopefully a total of either 9 or 12 applique designs overall which will be dependant on how the size of the completed quilt is looking.

I've got plans for a second steampunk quilt too. The beautiful brassy colours combines with black are just too nice not to use again.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cogs and Gears

Steampunk Quilt Teaser
Gears in Progress

This is a little bit of a teaser and reinvention of what I'm doing at the moment. I realised recently while reading all the usual blogs I visit that so many things we make are a recreation of the same straight lines and defined patterns. I'm throwing all that out the window!!

What this means is that the raid your stash quilt-a-long is probably dead and buried for a while. I have no desire to work on complex straight line piecing at the moment. I want curves, dynamic ideas, pictures, a story... perhaps this is Leah Day's fault with her phenominal quilts and inspiring free-motion quilting, but I also think I am finally on track to what attracted me to quilting in the first place.

This week I've been working on using my cog or gear design which I showed you how to make by folding paper. This is the first of a series of designs that are rattling around in my head and I plan on turning them all into printable patterns for you too!

I'm not sure whether this counts as reverse applique or not, but I have been reading through Applique in Reverse by Teri Henderson Tope and there is so much potential from this technique.

Yesterday I discovered a problem... I'd been using a black polyester thread to do my applique and while pressing under a hot iron it melted! Of course I should have known better... and I have just finished re-sewing my edges with a 100% cotton thread. It is extremely important to use a 100% cotton or silk thread which won't melt when you iron!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How to make a Symetrical Template

Steampunk Cog Template (step 6)

1. Take an A4 sheet of paper and fold it diagonally to create a triangle. Cut off the overlap so you are left with a square sheet of paper that is folded diagonally.

2. Fold your paper diagonally a second time.

3. Fold diagonally again. You might want to fold up one side then flip over and fold up the other side to reduce bulk and ensure all your folds are crisp and sharp.

4. To create a perfect circle, use a compas to carefully mark from the closest point. Put the point of the compass on the point which is the centre of your paper where all the folds come together.

(step 4)

5. Mark a design on the paper that you like. In this instance I'm making a cog, so I've used the compass to mark more circles then drawn some lines connecting them. I didn't draw the lines from the point as I want the joinin areas so be the same thickness all along, not thinner at the centre and wider at the edge.

(step 5)

6. Cut along the lines, then unfold - Just like making a paper snowflake when you were young!

7. Experiment!! Depending on how you fold will depend on your symmetry.

I used this method to create a shape and drew around it to create my cog design to follow when quilting. You could use any kind of fabric marker to transfer your design, and you know it is going to be symmetrical and look great!!

This creates a cog that is approximately 20cm wide. You could make it smaller or larger depending on the size of your paper.

Monday, August 2, 2010

What is Steampunk?

Local Steampunk Enthusiasts

What is Steampunk? That is a great question, and as I've got a few projects going at the moment inspired by Steampunk lets try and answer it.

Steampunk is a relatively new branch of science fiction and speculative fiction. It is the imagining of an alternate history where we think what would today be like, if technology had continued its focus on steam power and clockwork rather than advances into electricity. It usually borrows heavily from Victorian era clothing and aesthetics including the colours, textures (wood, brass) and technology.

You may have heard of HG Wells or Jules Verne who are seen as huge influences of the style or seen cartoons like Steamboy or Laputa Castle in the Sky. Even movies like Stardust, Van Helsing, Sherlock Holmes (2009) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen have been influenced by steampunk.

The best way to get the gist of the style is of course in pictures, so here are a few more of my favourite steampunk costumers: (all photos can be clicked to see larger!)

Steam Punk Worlds Fair Clockwork Wings

Shot and Steel Liberated Libations Steam Punk Worlds Fair Pachydermos

Friday, July 23, 2010

Steampunk Inspired

Steampunk inspired bag
Steampunk Inspired Design

I want a little bag to take a sketchbook with me and since I have been very inspired by a lot of old fashioned ideas recently I used a little of some fabrics I've been hoarding to put together a little bag. I've just started quilting it - I'm drawing out my design as I go using two paper template and a tailors chalk pencil, then stitching around the design on my machine. Perhaps I should have hand stitched it to make it look more rustic... It will be subtle, but hopefully an interesting touch to those who notice.

Would anyone be interested in some step by step's once it is done, including how to make a symetrical machine cog pattern very easily?

Has anyone got any advice to share on my reverse applique thoughts? Have you done any of these techniques?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Reverse Applique Thoughts

Quilting a Rainbow
Rainbow Quilt

I've been quiet, but sewing has been happening. The rainbow is ready for binding and I've completed another small project too. More on that another time.

I'd love to know if any of you have tried any of the stained glass techniques. I've been doing some research into these techniques and I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of Reverse Applique from Book Depository. I've also browsed the internet and youtube for tips and tricks and I've found there are three different techniques that can be used.

1. Use fusible bias tape to divide the coloured areas. This technique can leave visible stitching depending on how you sew down the bias tape.

2. Place black fabric over the coloured areas, then clip and hand sew to leave the outline you desire. This technique uses a lot of basting, but leaves no visible stitching.

3. A relatively new technique where the black fabric is covered with a fusible interfacing such as vlisoflex. Areas are then cut out and filled with colour leaving a black border which is then sewn with a narrow zigzag. (see a video tutorial)

My question is... have you completed or seen any of these techniques? Which did you prefer?

I think the pattern I am currently designing is too complex for the bias tape method as I have areas which become wider than 1/4". I am unsure whether I should spend the time and use the second technique so that the quilting will be the only visible stitching, or whether I should just go for simplicity and do point 3 which I think would be a lot quicker. What do you think?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Patchwork Baskets

Patchwork Fabric Basket
Patchwork Baskets

Another "in a day" project as I have been so uninspired and really need to get on with the quilt along. If only there were more hours for sleep this week!

With Easter coming up I made a last minute decision to whip up some gifts to go with the chocolate. I was inspired by a photo on flickr and then hunted around to find a bag tutorial. This pattern matched the idea I had in my head perfectly!

The instructions are very easy to follow and I whipped up the green bag in a couple of hours as a tester. Then I fussy cut cats from Debbi Mumm fabric I had in my stash and made up the blue cat bag which will go to my Nanna filled with easter goodies.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Small Purse

Patchwork - Green Kitchen Memories
Quilted Kitchen Memories

Remember this fabric which I bought last october? I trimmed off a crooked edge today and fussy cut some triangles to work on a small project. I'm hoping this will help bring my mojo back!!

It has been so hectic around here that I haven't been doing any sewing. I have a tonne of things I want to get to and no energy. I can now tell you all that I am starting a new job on Monday, so the last 2-3 weeks have been a whirlwind of interviews, filling out forms, meeting new people and finishing up at my last job. I had been at my previous job for 8 years, so I must say I am a little nervous about the change, but I know it is the right thing for me right now.

Little Bag/Purse
Finished Purse or Bag

I tried out several new things with this little project. First was the fussy cutting. I made a template for an equilateral triangle out of thick clear plastic - you can use the 60° line on a quilting ruler to draw your triangle! I found that if I was careful I could use my plastic template with my rotary cutter, so it didn't take too long to have quite a few triangles cut out. The clear plastic made fussy cutting a breeze. I marked my 1/4" seam allowance on the plastic and then just lined up the image and cut.

After piecing my triangles together I decided to use another new toy - Quilt Basting Spray. It is a dream to work with and held everything together without any pinning while I quilted. Next I made up my bag using instructions from Quiltsalott. My bag is a little smaller as I made my pattern just under 6" so that it fit on an A4 piece of paper. I adjusted her measurements by dividing by her width of 8" then multiplying by my width in all cases which kept the ratios the same.

I've always wanted to have a go at a bag like this, and this one is really easy. The finish is beautiful with no raw edges anywhere, although finishing the zip and the inner corners was a little fiddly. I photographed the back view as well, where you can see I reversed the direction of the triangles so that both sides would feature the kitchen fabric right way up.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Oh Dear!

Grout and 2 coats of paint
My most recent project

Firstly my sincerest apologies to those waiting patiently for the next installment of the quilt along. I just wanted to check in and say... I'm still alive and have been thinking about you all!

I've been spending daylight hours working on renovations which are taking longer than expected and between that and work I have been so very tired. I don't even know what happened to the last week. It was over far too quickly! I hope to get back on track this week, however please take this opportunity to catch up if you need to.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rotary Blades

Rotary Cutter Blade

I know when I first used my rotary cutter I fell in love with how easy they are to use and how quick they make cutting your pieces. I have a 45mm standard Olfa rotary cutter and earlier this year I realised how dull my blade had become. I don't know what it is like in other countries, but here in Australia it cost me $10 to purchase one replacement blade.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered a pack of 5 on ebay for barely more than I spent on one!! I knew I had to see if the seller was up to scratch.

Well if you use a rotary blade, Birdbrain Collectibles and Scrapbooking is a seller you should add to your bookmarks! I ended up buying a couple of things from her as she responded to my questions within the hour. Generally I am happy if I get a reply by the next day, so I was astounded by her prompt and polite service. My package of goodies arrived in a timely manner. I purchased a pack of 5 rotary blades which should last me a while yet.

She informed me she doesn't carry all stock all the time, however she does seem to have a regular supply of rotary blades in her store so I am sure she will keep getting them in if people keep buying them.

She sells in packs of 5, 10 or 15 and between her prices and her amazing service I am sure you will be pleased.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Toy - 1/4" Foot

Sewing Machine Feet
Sewing Machine Feet

I have a new toy to play with! I am saving it until after I've finished my current projects though so it can have a fresh start. The foot on the right is the one I normally use. It has a centre guide line and a line that is good enough for a 1/4" however it is not always perfect... I am getting better though.

The foot on the left is a specially designed 1/4" foot for my Janome. I bought it on ebay because (unfortunately) it was half the price of the ones I could get from my local store. The black guide bar on the right of the foot allows the fabric to be guided through easily and on my test piece I had a perfect 1/4" seam over a 5" length! I didn't even have to think about guiding the fabric accurately.

I'm sure this foot is going to make things easier. Perhaps I should just start using it straight away, although I have it in my head that if I do that now my current quilts will end up with an obvious difference in them - a perfect half and a not so perfect half. I am probably just being silly though!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Piecing Perfect Corners

Perfect Corners 1
Stitch and Press

Being self-taught, I have experimented with different pressing and joining techniques. While I prefer pressing seams open as I feel it gives a flatter result, there are times when pressing to one side helps you to obtain a perfect corner. This is one of those times and we can use this technique in this weeks blocks.

I'm joining my 1.5" squares together, so first I join a black to a colour with a 1/4" seam. You can use the chain piecing method to make this go faster if you like. Next I press the seams towards the black with my iron.

Perfect Corners 2
Line up the Seams

Now we need to line up our centre corners. When you take your two pieces and put them together you will notice that the seams are facing opposite directions. When the corner is lined up correctly you will feel that they seem like the pieces are interlocked. Initially I found it helped to pin at this point and I still do pin when sewing a larger project - for example I used this method to line up the rows from my rainbow basket weave quilt. With something as small as this I find pinning unnecessary.

Perfect Corners 3

Of course we're using a 1/4" seam to join these blocks together as well. Don't be afraid to unpick your stitching and have another go if you are not happy with the results.

Perfect Corners 4
Open up and Check

Have a look at your work! If you are happy with it, press the seams open. You can see that the corners have lined up perfectly. Enlarge the photo and have a close look if you like.

I hope this helps you with your piecing. Time for me to get on with my other blocks from this week...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Using Every Scrap

Using every scrap
Cutting Scraps

Because my fabric is very limited for the Raid Your Stash quilt along I am trying to be as frugal as possible. I want to try and have some fabric from each colour left over so I am trying not to waste any fabric at all and throwing out only the most minute scraps.

The smallest unit we've been using is a 1.5" square so any piece larger than this is saved and set aside. We've usually been using sizes in combinations from 1.5" up to 3" so as I cut my pieces I try to mix these up. For example, a 3" cut in half will give us 1.5" blocks. A 2.5" strip can be set aside to use later when more 2.5" sections are needed, etc.

Before cutting I spread out my fat quarter and think about the best way to cut the least amount of fabric to get the pieces I need for the next block. I also mix up the colours according to the amount of fabric I need. Some blocks only need a small amount of fabric from one colour and more from another, so I ration out the fabric according to how much I have left instead of choosing the colours I want to go together. This is giving my some interesting colours I may not have otherwise picked.

Are you quiltig along with me? How are you rationing your fabric?
Do you ration fabric like this with other projects and try to use every little scrap?

Oh! In the background there you can see the rainbow basket weave quilt top. It is finally together and hanging on my curtain rail ready to be quilted. I am extremely happy with it and must have learnt something lately because all my corners line up perfectly. I think it is the best quilt top I've made yet!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More Fabric!

Fabric Haul
Inspired by Tarnished Metal

I headed out to Tricia's Discount Fabrics yesterday with two aims - to show a good friend a fantastic fabric store, and to increase my stash.

I have a specific purpose in mind for this fabric, however I am still working on my patterns at the moment. It may be some time before I can show off what I will eventually make with this lot, but I am very excited about it.

The 5 fabrics on the left are a little scrunched as they were pre-cut fat quarters and need an iron. The rest I bought 1/4 metre of each. At the far right is a stunning fabric from what I believe may be a new line: "Floragraphix III Swallow Clock In The Beginning Fabric".

The discovery of that last fabric made me rethink some of my choices and add in a green. Finding "tarnished" greens is quite difficult though.

I'm excited! I hope you'll stay in touch to find out what I'll be making from this selection over the next few months or possibly over the rest of this year. As always, click on the photo for a larger view.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Patchwork Classroom #71

パッチワーク 教室 No.71

Here is a closer look at one of my Japanese Mooks*. This is Patchwork Classroom Volume 71 which contained the beautiful Tea Set which I made in December last year.

Japanese Craft/Sewing mooks all tend to follow a similar format from my experience. The front half contains beautiful photographic images of all the projects with short descriptions (in Japanese) and a page number to the back section. This makes for a beautiful contrast to Australian magazines which tend to follow each project with the instructions. The Japanese magazines are more elegantly designed for browsing and admiring the projects within.

Inside the Magazine

The second half of the magazine contains the instructions for all the projects in sepia or black and white. There is also a lift out pattern sheet. This magazine is 114 pages with approximately 70 dedicated to project photos and advertising and 45 pages of project instructions. I counted 48 different projects and there is a heavy focus on bags and purses throughout this issue (approx 2/3) with only a few wall hangings and zakka** projects included.

The reason I chose this book is primarily because of its focus on bags. There is a treasure trove of bag designs within the magazine and a few of the styles show what the same bag would look like if you complete the patchwork, or the colours, or the quilting in a different way. This really helps you see the potential for customisation of the projects.

A point to remember is that these projects are usually designed for hand piecing and hand quilting and so the instructions are based around particular hand sewing techniques, however I don't see anything stopping you from using your preferred techniques with their patterns.

Example of Instructions Provided

If you are interested in Japanese magazines, but do not understand the language then you need not fear. Page numbers and measurements are all in standard western numerals while the instructions contain much more detailed diagrams than you would find in western craft magazines. If you take some time to explore your mook you will soon learn where to find the page reference for the instructions and how to skim through the written instructions and match characters to understand your fabric requirements and notions. I would recommend these magazines to intermediate quilters or sewers to avoid frustration unless you are fluent in Japanese.

Are you interested in this exact magazine. Buy it now on ebay. (I have bought from and recommend this seller, but I am not affiliated with them in any way)

* Mook - A hybrid between magazine and book.
** Zakka - Handmade household goods such as tableware or soft furnishings usually also charming or cute. This tea set would be considered "zakka".

Monday, January 11, 2010

Basket Weave Rainbow

Basket Weave
Basket Weave Rainbow

It has taken me longer than I expected to create these blocks, though I guess it has really only been a 4 day project so far. These blocks are a little tedious to make and we are currently in the middle of a heat wave which has made some of the processes (ironing) less than appealling.

I cut 2" strips from my fat quarters and then pieced them together, which were then cut into three blocks each. I had previously cut into some of my fabric so for the purple in particular I had to be creative with my cutting to get out the maximum number of blocks.

I now have between 18 and 24 of each colour, however I need a large area to place them out. I currently have a sick hen taking up my spare corner in my sewing room. Hopefully she can go back out when the cool change hits and then I can spread out on the floor because the kitchen table isn't big enough.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bee in my Bonnet

Paper Doll Applique by Bee in my Bonnet

Isn't this a gorgeous and unique idea. This is just a small part of one of Lori's designs which I wanted to share with you. Please have patience while her site loads as it is worth it! It has so many beautiful images and step by step pictures to create all the elements in Lori's absolutely stunning paper doll blocks. There are so many details and with each of those tiny elements it looks like another great way to use up your scraps. Now no scrap of fabric will be too small to save!

Looking further through her blog I don't know if the paper dolls are available as a pattern yet though perhaps she would welcome an email enquiry if you are interested. She has all her available patterns at this link.

I think what I like about these patterns is that they remind me of the whimsical style many Japanese/Asian textile artists use in their creations and the style inspires me, just like I have found so much inspiration from Story Quilt.

Casual bag
A Patchwork Bag by Story Quilt