Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chevron Love

Some chevron love happening here over the last few days. I've had a couple of charm packs of TulaPink's Saltwater range sitting in the stash for a few months and I wondered what I would sew with them. I love the colour range and decided it was time for some half square triangles.

Which got played with and rearranged .... and became the good old chevron.

I've got another 2 charm packs winging their way from the UK as I couldn't find an aussie online retailer with any stock left. This will be a small lap quilt 6 blocks by 8, each block is 4 HST's.

Am really enjoying the piecing- the designs are fab and interesting and it's great to play with tones within each colour way.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Brisbane Quilt Show

Another October another fabulous selection of quilts to go and swoon over. There are some seriously talented patchwork and quilters out there. There were some quilts that I had seen before at the Ekka quilt show - and a whole lot more that were new to me.

The ACQ competition had a theme of  Free and there were some amazing large art style quilts to view. The winner was this amazing horse quilt. The quilting was just sublime- lots of metallic thread in gold silver and bronze. There were bits quilted like a jigsaw - a bit different from the usual swirls and stipples.

As a scale the jigsaw bits are about the size of an Australian 5c piece so pretty small.

Some of the others that caught my eye are here.

So cute- Dr Seuss :-)

Loving these split bright Dresden plates

A 1600 quilt beautifully quilted 

This was amazing- lots of little challenge quilts which were joined with small fabric pieces (the black on black doesn't show well). Each piece was a fabulous on it's own and gorgeously quilted. 

Sadly that morning one of the art quilts had been stolen. It's creator had just won a prize and was going to add her ribbon to the quilt ... when she realised it was not there. Apparently the cameras were pointing the wrong direction. 

This was posted on Facebook:

was very upset this morning after a great start to a great Qld Quilt Show when it was discovered that "Feathers Unfolden" First prize winning quilt by Brenda Wood was stolen from the wall shortly after the prize presentations were completed. If anyone sees this quilt please please please contact Queensland Quilters and dob the offender in. It is part of a group exhibition by Reddy Arts Textile Group and I am sure everyone would like to see it restored to it's maker and owner

Here's the link to a picture of the quilt

Hopefully the thief has a conscience attack and returns the quilt. I've heard of quilts going missing at shows - thankfully never come across it till now.

So til next year. I see all the posts of people I "like" on Facebook who are preparing for quilt market. One year I'd love to make it to Houston. It might just be a bit overwhelming.

Anyhow all inspired so back to the machine.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Basting a quilt

I spent an hour or so yesterday evening basting my lap quilt that I am using in my beginners class in a couple of weeks.

People often have their preferred way to baste a quilt - and I thought that I might share how I do mine.


A quilt is made up of 3 layers : top + batting + backing

Quilt top

Prepare your quilt top by ensuring that all threads are trimmed and none are sticking through seams. check any thin seams as you don't want holes to appear when you are quilting. iron your top so the seams sit flat


make sure your batting is about 5cm bigger on all sides compared to your quilt top


make sure you backing fabric is about 5cm bigger on all sides compared to your quilt top. I find that I can be much more frugal with my backing and batting sizes when I quilt my own, having said that I don't excessively trim them prior to quilting


I use safety pins - they are curved on one side and this makes them easy to insert and remove. I have used basting spray - I have no easy space to do this at my current house- my floors are carpet and polished floor board. I've never been brave enough to put the spray near my lovely boards. If I had a big tiled area I'd happily spray baste.

I use a folding craft table which saves my back, and I don't mind getting marks in it's surface from the pins.

Good music/ your favourite TV show and a glass of wine helps the process along too.

Step one

Smooth your backing onto the table. Clip the top end to the table using large clips. Now move to the other end of the table and pull the fabric taught and clip this fabric to the table.

Repeat this process with the sides.

Go back and check for creases at the top and bottom, correct if necessary.

I use basic clips from office works

Step 2 

Smooth your wading on top and reposition your clips to clip both layers to the table. starting with top then bottom then to sides

Step 3 

Smooth your quilt top on top, again reposition all of your clips to clip all 3 layers to the table starting with top , then bottom and then to sides

Step 4 

Pin around the outside of your table- these should be close together

Using the little tool shown makes the process quicker and less painful (see end of post for a picture)

Step 5

Pin the rest of the top with pins hand width apart

Now your quilt has it's first section pinned

Step 6

Remove clips and reposition the quilt to allow pinning of another section of the quilt.
I secure the pinned edge to the table. Fold back my quilt layers and then follow steps 1-5 with my new section of quilt.

Congratulations- your top is now ready for quilting!

Useful tips


Open pins- there is a temptation (that I often sucumb to) of being tidy and closing your safety pins. whilst this prevents stabbing your fingers, I find it is much quicker to pin the next quilt if the the pins are already open.

Keep your pins in a sealed tub with a small silica sachet (from shoes/ handbag boxes) to stop them rusting

Basting tool

I use this lovely basting tool which allows me to close the pins without stabbing myself

Do you have any basting tips?

Please add a comment if you are able to share your experience

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Inspiring others

While half of the group at the quilt retreat I went to last month worked on their Medici quilts (which I wrote about a couple of days ago) the other half of the group worked on some lovely other projects.

Gail worked on learning new machine quilting techniques. She loves to hand sew and quilt and found it a challenge to use machines as they are not her first love. She is an incredibly accurate piecer, and produced beautiful panels.

Anne-Marie was new to patchwork - but not to sewing or artistic endeavours. She appliqued the most intricate of designs for her first quilt. She appliqued them with a satin stitch too - which I've never found to be very forgiving. A beautiful result.

Ep and Jenny worked on designs from British floors - inspired by Inverness cathedral floor.

This then lead Jenny to draft and start piecing a quilt top based on her old hallway floor design.

I'm delighted to have been able to spend a week learning from these lovely women. Many of the designs are very different to the styles or colours that I would usually choose myself. And seeing them come together and grow in design has helped me to expand my thinking on design and ideas. 

Are you inspired to look at your floors?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Amazing Floors

How often have you walked into a stately home or church and looked up at the ceilings?

So many times I've walked in and gone WOW!

How many times have you looked down at your feet and really taken notice of the floors?
So often in crowded touristy places it's difficult to see the floors too.

Well the quilting retreat week in Burgandy really opened my eyes. If you live in an area where it is common to have patterns in the floor tiles, have you ever considered using it as a basis for a quilt. I certainly hadn't so I have to thank Chris Porter for opening my eyes.
Here are some floors in venice. Many were taken without flash using my phone, so the quality is not great.


Tumbling blocks anyone?

Snowball blocks and tumbling blocks

Chris' inspiration came from the tiles in Venice. Happily I had 2 days there a week or so after my week of sewing. I was primed and ready to look all around me. I now think Venice has overtaken Paris as my favourite european city. Beautiful, easy to escape the crowds, good food and no cars. Bliss for a wandering tourist.

not a great photo, amazing flying geese around the outside and chevrons in the centre

Simple square in square and bigger squares
i have no idea how to piece this, mad foundations somehow?

 this is in Chris' book. I never knew marble could be so colourful

And now for some complete quilt top ideas!

I hope that I have given you some piecing inspiration.