30 December 2015

Really I am sewing

Sorry it has been a month since I last wrote a blog post.  I have shared some projects on Instagram but I thought I would share with you all what I have been up to the past month.  Just in case you don't follow on Instagram.   In the last month we have moved again. Lucky only local move but still a lot to do.  The school year also came to an end (same week we moved) so having the kids home during the day really cuts into sewing time.

First up I thought I would share a little free motion quilting project.  I drew the 'A' on the fabric and then loaded it on the long arm and just played. I love how this turned out. It is 12" x 12".


At the beginning of December I went to a quilting retreat for a long weekend. Had the best time with all my sewing friends.   Since it was so close to Christmas we decided to do secret santa pouch swap.  We all used the same zipper pouch tutorial by The Sewing Chick. 



I was very productive at retreat and whipped up a couple reversible totes for the teachers end of year gifts.  


I finally got around to making a Itty Bitty Feathered Star by Cindi Edgerton.  This was a project that I had put on my goal list for The Library Project in January 2014.  It was a little paper piece pattern and the first time working with a pattern printed on tissue paper.  Very tricky as it rips very easily.  Still need to quilt and bind. Finished at 11.5" x 11.5".

We all worked on a little wristlet while on retreat. A pattern called Easy Date Night Wristlet pattern by So Sew Easy. You can buy your copy here on Craftsy.  I changed my version a bit by making a cross body strap and not putting the divider in that the pattern called for. I now use this every day. So very handy. 
I made this adorable paper piece penguin by Janeen at Quilt Art Designs.  It was a paper from her 12 days of Christmas blog post that she did this month.  He turned out really cute and is 10" square block.  I think I will add a few boarders and make him into a wall hanging. 
I made this Christmas quilt with a kit that I bought from Park Bench Quilt Shop back in Michigan before I moved.  Don't usually buy kits but I really loved the fabric Countdown to Christmas by Moda. The pattern is Patchwork PDQ by Swirly Girls Designs. Top measures     59" x 74".

My last project I will share is Itty Bitty Prim Pinwheels by Primitive Gatherings.  I won the pattern a while ago.  It was a goal on The Library Project that I was doing back in 2014.  At retreat I managed to get the 2.5" blocks all sewn together but cutting out the tiny pieces did not happen till after the move.  I used scraps of grey to make it a bit bigger then the pattern called for. This one finishes at 17" square but I might add another boarder or to not feeling like it is finished yet. 

Thank you for stopping by and visiting my blog. 

Cheers, 

Abby


19 November 2015

Modern Morocco Quilt Finished

Today I am happy to share another item off from my quilts to be quilts to be quilted list.  Sorry this quilt has been sitting on my sewing table for weeks waiting for me to photograph and wash.  Washing has not happened yet but I did take photos today.  

Modern Morocco was from a pattern test I did for Aria Lane back in March 2014.  You can see the original blog post here

You can see the stitching a bit better on the back. 
This quilt finishes in at approx. 36" x 36".  For the quilting it is a mix of free motion quilting and tracing.  I used quilters tracing paper and used stencils to make two of the designs.  I did do a bit more filling in of the stencil designs with free motion to fill the block out more. I was going to do this all free hand but I was having trouble keeping my scale the same throughout the block.  It was easier to draw on paper and stitch.  The only downside to following pencil drawing is now I have pencil on my quilt top and in the stitches but hopefully once I walk it I will be able to get those out. 

I used Essential Thread from Connecting Threads to quilt this one.  I thought that the shine from Glide Thread was to much for this quilt.  Essential worked perfectly with a bit of tension adjustment. 

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers
Abby

28 October 2015

DIY Block Design Challenge

Alyce over at Blossom Heart Quilts has been hosting a blog hop for the past month to go along with her release of her new ebook DIY Block Design.  I put my hand up to join in the fun.  I am new to quilt design and am always trying to improve my design skills.  Alyces book is full of fantastic information for both the beginner and the advanced quilter.  She goes over all the basic building blocks of a quilt block and provides easy reference charts to help the math side of quilting.  

I use graph paper like a lot of designers and it works great but you have to draw the whole block again if you make a mistake or decide to change it.  So time consuming.  I find that there is inspiration ever where but some times it is just doodling on paper while looking at a stack of fabric.  Then the challenge comes to see if I can make what I draw out.

This design came about because my friend Kelly at The Quilt Machine gave me a fat quarter stack of fabric to make a cot quilt with.  The stack of fabric that I was given was Giraffe Crossing by Riley Blake Designs.

I used this print as my starting point for my block design. I had eight fat quarters all prints to work with so I figured out what was the biggest the block could be to be able to create 4 blocks.

This is the design I came up with, it is very basic and goes together really quick. I added solid fabric to the prints to add some contrast to the design.  

Here is how it looks with fabric. The four blocks made a great little cot size quilt. 


Here is the block in another colour way. I think I will have to make a few more to put another quilt together.  I love red, white and grey together. 


I wrote up an easy tutorial if you would like to make the block or quilt for yourself. 

This tutorial makes an 17 ½” x 17 ½”  block.  Use a ¼” seam for all.

Cut Instructions - 

  • For the center cut a 9” x 9” square.
  • For the boarder cut 2 – 2” x 9” strips and 2 – 2” x 12” strips.
  • Make 4 flying geese units. I used the no waste method.
    • 1 square 7 ¼” for the geese.
    • 4 squares 3 7/8” for the sky.
      • Put 2 of the sky squares on top of the geese block.  Draw a line on the diagonal and sew a seam ¼” on each side of line.  Cut on the drawn line. Press triangles open and repeat with remaining squares. 
  • Make 4 Half Square Triangles (HST). I used the Alternative Half Square Triangle method that will give you 4 units in no time.
    • 1 square 5 1/2" (use same fabric as used for sky)
    • 1 square 5 1/2" (use same fabric as used for geese)
      • Put the right sides together and sew a ¼” seam all the way around. Then cut the unit on the diagonal twice to get the 4 units.  Press to the dark side. 
  • Cut 8 – 3 1/2” x 3 1/2” units to use on either side of the geese units.
To assemble block.  This block is really easy to piece, refer to the photo above for placement if unclear. 

Sew the boarder fabric to each side of the block and press.  Then attach the top and bottom boarder and press.

Take the 4 flying geese blocks and attach a 3 1/2” x 3 1/2” unit on each side. Press.

Take two of these geese strip units and add a half square triangle on each end. Press.

Attach the two flying geese units that do not have the half square triangle (HST) attached to the sides of the block.  Press.

Take the two units with the HST attached and attach to the top and bottom. Press.
You now have a finished block.   

I have really learned a lot from all the other designers that have shared their design process and I encourage you to go check out their blog post on designing.   Below is the list of all the other bloggers who have shared. 

October 2
Heidi @ Fabric Mutt
Christa @ ChristaQuilts
Angie @ Gnome Angel

Week 1: Inspiration
October 7Ros @ Sew Delicious
Leanne @ Sewn By LeanneAmy @ And Sew We Craft
October 9Jennie @ Clover & Violet
Jane @ QuiltJane
Melissa @ My Fabric Relish

Week 2: Sketches
October 14Jen @ Faith And Fabric
Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts
October 16Sandi @ Crafty Planner
Anne @ Play Crafts
Jess @ Elven Garden Quilts

Week 3: Making
October 21Joy @ Quilty Joy Joy
Linden @ Vine Lines Quilting
Cassie @ Cassandra Madge
October 23Keera @ Live Love Sew
Janice @ Better Off Thread
Michelle @ Factotum Of Arts

Week 4: Finishes
October 28
Kelly @ A Place Of My Own
Abby @ Color Bar Quilts

You can get your own copy of Alyces book DIY Block Design

Thank you so much for stopping and and visiting.  


Cheers, 
Abby 

#mydiyblockdesign






24 October 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Fall 2015 - Small Quilt Category

So exciting it is Blogger's Quilt Festival once again.  Amy at Amy's Creative Side does such a fantastic job putting this festival together twice a year.  It is so nice to see so much creativity in one place.  I am entering my Globetrotter Block of the Month quilt into the Small Quilt Category.  





The quilt blocks where from Pat Sloans 2014 block of the month.  I made changes to the layout to make it my own and I did all my own quilting on my long arm.  Free motion and ruler work.  The finished size is 57" square.   I originally blogged about this quilt here.

Thank you for stopping by and be sure to go check out all the other lovely entries into the Festival here. Public voting begins on 29th October through 5th November with winners of each category being announced on the 6th November. 

Cheers,
Abby

AmysCreativeSide.com

02 October 2015

Dr Sesus and Little Wishes.




In between my improv playing I have been trying to make more tops to practice quilting on.  I had this Dr. Seuss fabric set aside to do the Bouncing Boarders pattern by Lorrie Franz at Bean Counter Quilts.  This is a really easy pattern and whips up in no time.  I fussy cut a few of the characters to mix in the with the words in the corners.  This one finished up 39" x 48".  


Here is the close up of the corner. This will be backed with Thing 1 and Thing 2 fabric to keep with the whole Dr. Seuss theme. 



It has been a while since I have participated in any online challenges so I saw Pat Sloan posted her Fall Scrap Challenge called Little Wishes so I figured it would be a great way to start using up some of my scraps.  This top finished approximately 64" square.  The boarders are a mix of off white and white scraps.  The outer boarder of blocks has light grey fabric for background and the centre blocks has off white.  It is really hard to get a true picture; maybe once it is quilted it will show up better. 



I am working on the backing right now and my scrap piles are really shrinking fast. 


Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers, 
Abby

28 September 2015

Globetrotter Quilt Complete

I am slowly stitching away at my unfinished tops. My latest finish is my Globetrotter quilt.  Originally blogged about here.  I also heavily Instagramed this quilt (sorry).  This quilt is was started back in 2014.  The blocks are from Pat Sloan's block of the month called Globetrotter.  I have added some flying geese myself and changed up the boarder a bit to make it my own. 


This quilt is approximately 57" square. I quilted it on my Juki TL-2200QVP using Glide and Prema Soft thread.   This quilt has two layers of batting 100% cotton and 50/50 both from Warm and Natural.  The quilting is free motion and ruler work. 

When it comes time to quilt tops this is when the stress starts.  I put so much pressure on myself to make it shine. I think I would cry if I ruined a quilt, even if it is just mine.  I know that it is not necessary since the tops are generally only for my family.  I do dream of one day to quilt for others, not sure if it ever will happen but I think dreaming is good.   

I thought I would share a bit about my approach to quilting. I start by printing a black and white photo of my quilt top. Then I take a piece of tracing paper or parchment paper what ever I have on hand and lay over top of the quilt.  Then I start doodling the first thing that comes to mind.  I find that the tracing paper/ parchment paper is much easier to erase then just drawing on the print out.  I originally was going to do swirls and dots in the outside boarder but it really did not seem to suit this quilt.  I try to go for designs that I can repeat through out the whole quilt as it feel that it helps tie everything together.

My four corner blocks and geese blocks are the same so I only had to come up with one design for each block and repeat on the others. I used three colours of thread for this quilt; white, dark grey and red.  I did a lot of straight lines with this top but I think that is what the blocks called for.  I did throw in a few curves to living it up a bit.  I think it makes a few of the blocks look a bit more like flowers.  Which I really like. 



I also use my rough plan for writing notes, some areas I will do in chunks and want to remember what I did the first time.  

Here are closeups of the individual blocks. Get ready for photo overload. 








I also designed a back that feel goes perfectly with the front I think.  Used the left over fabric from the front to create this. 


I really love how this quilt has turned out and it makes me very excited to load the next one.  

Thank you for stopping by and visiting.  

Cheers, 
Abby 



25 September 2015

A Quilt Made by Friends (Round Robin Quilt Top)

Last week I received a wonderful package in the mail from America.

My Round Robin quilt has finally been finished being passed around America.  This was started back in April 2014.  I blogged about my starter section here. This Round Robin group was organised on Modern Quilting Facebook group page.  I was grouped with 8 lovely ladies who did such a wonderful job creating a quilt for me; it has finished in at 61" x 53". I will be making a improv back to go with the top, since I am on a bit of a improv kick at the moment.  

Thank you ladies for creating such a wonderful quilt for me.  Huge thank you for Royalee who forwarded it onto me in Australia.  

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers, 
Abby 

12 September 2015

Ikea Poang Chair Recover

I have been all over the board this week with sewing.  I have my Globetrotter quilt still on the frame not completed.  I have a couple small tops finished but I will have to save them for another post once I get some good pictures. Today I thought I would share my quick makeover for some Poang chairs from Ikea.  Yes, they are that boring. 


These chairs have gotten very dirty in the short nine months that we have been in Australia.  Boys are not the cleanest.  The product label says the covers are removable and washable. Did that and they did not wash up really that nice, not to mention it was a pain to wrestle them back onto the pads.  

Well fabric in Australia is costly so I decided to pick up a quilt cover at Ikea and went about making slip covers that are much easier to remove so they can be laundered on a more regular bases.  First I washed the quilt cover and pillow cases that comes with them.  Then I un-sewed the factory seams and then folded that fabric in half.  On the fold line I cut to get my two chair covers.  

I then folded one of the fabrics over and laid it on top of the chair pad like this. 



See there is plenty of overhang.  I made sure the fabric was touching the ground to be sure to cover with out being to snug.  The one said had about 4 inches of extra fabric and I thin the bottom had about 12 inches but can't remember for sure.  I played it on a flat surface and cut of the excess.   I sewed all the sides even the one on the fold just to make sure all my corners look the same.  I serged all the edges to give extra support to the seams and hopefully it will not unravel in the wash.  To be able to turn right side out I measured 21 inches up from the bottom and cut a slit in the fabric all the way across.  I double folded the edges of this opening and sewed to hide all the exposed seams. Turned it right side out and was able to slip my covers back on the cushions.  


This was such an easy project but I think they removed the blah factor the chairs had before. My husband said they are loud just because he just wanted a solid colour. (boring)

I also cut the pillow cases down that came with them to fit the pillows on the sofa.  This project cost $20 so I figured that is a win since new covers at Ikea cost $70 each. 


Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers, 
Abby 

05 September 2015

Some Improv Play

I checked out The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood from the library a few weeks ago and I will have to defiantly add it to my own library.  I love this book.  


It is not your normal quilting book.  It describes process not a step by step pattern to follow.  It is a great way to make it make your own unique quilt.  I love improv and feel it gives you freedom to play. 

So this month I have played.  I created this little wall hanging with some scraps with my Ruby Red Dots Quilt.  


I bordered it with Grey Essex Linen.  It measures 21" square.  

Can't wait to load it on the frame and play some more with the quilting.

I also did some improv circle blocks with some scrap squares.  I have not finished with this one yet but will share once I finish adding to it.  I stacked eight squares on each other and cut a free hand arch and then mixed them up and sewed them back together.  Then stacked them again and cut another free hand arch. 


I hope to revisit this project in the next couple weeks.  Excited to see how it all turns out.  

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers, 
Abby 

02 September 2015

Work in Progress

I thought today I would share a quilt that I have on the frame this week.  This is my quilt top from the Globetrotter Block of the Month by Pat Salon. I blogged about the completion of the top here.  


Here is the progress so far. 







Still have some threads to bury but I have reached the half way point and I hope to be finished quilting by the end of the week.  

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers, 
Abby 



29 August 2015

Ruby Red Dots Quilt Top Complete

Ruby Red Dots quilt has been a work in progress for over a year.  I joined my local quilt shop's block of the month for this quilt back in January 2014 and here we are August 2105 and I have finally completed the top.   I finished the first eight blocks before we made our move down under.  Here are the final four blocks.   This quilt is made with mostly Kaffe Fassett fabrics and I think it really makes the flower very exotic.  


The pattern is by Sheri Howard and is a very traditional pattern and layout.  I wanted to make it my own and I think that I achieved that.  I set the blocks on point in a cross pattern but still wanted to add more as it did not feel finished.  I only had a few yards of the Kona Charcoal I had to work out the best way to use what I got with little to no waste.  

I was originally going to stitch the Kona Pewter (light grey) on the corners of the blocks but felt it would waste to much fabric so appliqué became my only option for extra points.  I also was able to use scraps for the small colour points those are also appliquéd on.  


Because of the odd shape it was really hard to get it to stay straight and the wind that always seems to pop up when I want to take photos.  Hopefully that will not be an issue when it comes time to quilt it.  The points off the blocks are appliquéd on using a top stitch in matching thread.

I am still working on what I want to do for the backing and there is already a quilt on the frame so this one will go to the to be quilted pile and hopefully I will have it finished before the end of the year.  

Thank you for stopping by and visiting. 

Cheers
Abby

25 August 2015

Charity Quilts made with the help of Brisbane Modern Quilt Guild

I finished working on two quilts for the local modern quilt guild.  May was my month for the charity quilt and I chose Wonky Stars.  Members made blocks and returned them to me;  they all did such a wonderful job with there blocks.  I designed the layout and pieced the top with scraps of navy from the group scrap bins and my own scrap bins.   I ended up with enough to make a twin and a cot size quilt.  Awesome.


The small one is 37" x 43"

The large quilt is 63" x 81".

I quilted them on my Juki TL2200-QVP using rulers so make the arcs and straight lines.  I have to say these are the quickest quilts I have ever done since I left lots of space between the stitching; they came off the frame in no time.

I used scrapes from my bins to make the binding for both quilts too.  I think the scrappy binding was the perfect finishing touch for these quilts.

Now these are ready to be delivered and hopefully will make people smile when they snuggle in them.

Thank you for stopping by and visiting.

Cheers,
Abby