More quilts from that one jelly roll

27 05 2011

I’ve finally made the last two quilts from the one jelly roll of fabric I got at the Eleanor Burns Quilting Academy (here’s the first and largest quilt I made:

The last two are smaller — one is a lap quilt about 36 inches (93 cm) square, and the other is a gender-neutral cot/crib quilt. Again, I’ve quilted them densely. I was particularly pleased with the feathers I did in the border of the lap quilt –I really like the method for doing these that I’ve learned from the Diane Gaudynski book. And I love the rubber ducky backing fabric!

Both quilts (and the larger lap quilt) are now for sale in my Etsy store, where there are more pictures:

Crisp autumn mornings

27 05 2011

I try to go for a walk a few times a week, especially now that the weather has cooled down and the mornings are crisp and clear. Sometimes I only go as far as the estuary (about 1 km round trip), but last Saturday morning I did the loop to the estuary, alongside it for about 1 km, then back home — about a 3 km walk on roads and walking/bike paths.

I took my camera with me last Saturday as I needed some photos of trees for a quilt retreat I’m attending in a few weeks time. I got trees, plus lots more! Black swans (in the distance and flying overhead), blue herons, cows… even a camel!

Yes, a camel. I call him ‘Humphrey’ (if you’re old enough, you might remember the novelty song ‘Humphrey the camel’). Usually Humphrey is hard to spot as he lives in a big paddock with cattle, and I might be lucky to see him in the distance. Not so last Saturday — Humphrey was right up near the road, eating grass on the other side of the fence — where it’s always greener!

I’ve just put a couple of pictures from my walk here:

Click on a thumbnail image to open it larger, then click that image to zoom in even further.

‘Underneath the Australian Sun’ has a new home — in Utah!

23 05 2011

My ‘Under the Australian Sun’ piece of fabric art has gone to its new home in Utah. It was purchased by Dana and she has had it framed and it now hangs on a wall in her beautiful home. Dana was kind enough to share her pictures with me.

Kelli’s chickens

11 05 2011

The first piece I quilted with my new HQ Sweet Sixteen was a gift — a table runner/place mat for Kelli. Kelli has just moved from Arizona to Colorado — new home, new job, new phase of her life — and one of the things she wants when she gets settled is some chickens. She’d asked me if I could make a table runner/place mat to match the chicken coasters I have for sale in my Etsy store, and how much would it be.

Instead of charging her, I decided the table runner/place mat + a set of coasters would make a nice house moving/housewarming gift for her. I hope she likes them!

All the applique work was done on my domestic sewing machine, a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 870, and the quilting was done on my new Sweet Sixteen.

Click the image to see it at a larger size, then click it again to view it full size, where you’ll see the free motion quilting detail.

Update: Kelli must be one of the few people left in the world to handwrite thank you cards:

Practising feathers

9 05 2011

Feathers are one of the free motion quilting motifs I’ve been too scared to tackle! I’ve doodled them and that’s helped. I’ve bought some books on different techniques and tried them out. But I still wasn’t happy with my feathers. Until I got the Diane Gaudynski book on free motion quilting that was recommended to me by Joan.

I sat down at the Bee (my HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen machine) and got started. I marked sweeping curves for the spines, and side rails to contain the ends of each feather shape, put some variegated thread on the Bee and got going! I was really pleased with how my feathers turned out. I did four lines of ‘puffy’ feathers with some different effects in the spines, then a central feather that was more like real feathers or even a fern frond.

The filler in between some of the feathers is based on Karen McTavish‘s ‘McTavishing’, though I don’t think it’s true McTavishing 😉 I haven’t finished the filler spaces yet — I may do pebbles/bubbles or small scallops to the sides of the central feather/fern as there’s already a lot of tight, short curved bits in that feather. Update: Finished! I used scallops in the filler spaces next to the central feather.

I was pretty pleased with the tension, and, by using a different coloured thread on the back, I had a good indication of when the tension was ‘off’.

I was also pretty pleased with my first real attempt at feathers, using a style that I’m comfortable with — I found Diane Gaudynski’s method very easy to do. Also, other than the sweeping guides, there’s NO marking. I’m far too lazy to mark out a pattern! I just want to quilt it!

Click on a small photo to see it larger, then click on the large photo to zoom in to see the stitches (the yellow thread is my basting stitches — I take these out when I’ve finished a section; the brighter orange photo is with the flash — the rest are taken without a flash to try to get the 3D quality to stand out):

My very own ‘Bee’

5 05 2011

After playing with the HandiQuilter (HQ) Sweet Sixteen quilting machine at the Eleanor Burns Quilting Academy in March, and after really putting it through its paces when a friend lent me hers, I’ve now purchased my own machine!

I picked it up from Handcrafters House in Midland (Western Australia) last Friday, and spent about 2 hours with the lovely Michelle being trained on it. Because I had already used it extensively for about 2 weeks when I had the loan machine from Bobbie, I had lots of questions for Michelle, so instead of the standard training, she mostly dealt with my questions and assessed the samples I brought in for her. Most of my issues were to do with tension, particularly getting the bobbin (foundation) tension right. I learned a lot about tension! 😉

As an aside, just before I picked up my machine, Michelle and her team at Handcrafters House were named HandiQuilter’s International Dealer of the Year, beating some 750 dealers in 10 countries for that award, which is based partly on sales but mostly on customer support and training. Congratulations, Michelle and all your team!

I was originally going to call my machine ‘The Beast’ because it’s such a big and heavy thing, but I decided I needed something a little less horrible for such a lovely machine. After some ideas from my quilting circle of friends, and mulling over some ideas of my own, I’ve settled on ‘Bee’/’The Bee’. Why? Several reasons:

  • B for big, beautiful, brilliant, beast
  • B for my surname
  • Bee as in ‘quilting bee’ and ‘buzzing bee’ (my husband reckons it makes a noise like a bee when he hears it from another room in the house), and of course, ‘busy bee’

Here’s The Bee in its new home in my sewing room, and with the first largish piece I quilted using it (I did quilt another smaller piece before this one, but it’s a gift for someone who reads this blog, so I won’t post pictures of that until after the gift is delivered!) — click on a small image to see it full size, then, once it’s full size, click on it again to see it it even larger:

The quilting motif I’ve used on that square metre of orange batik is based on the crocus designs from Leah Day and her free motion quilting project. It’s a design I find really easy to do and is a great filler design for all sorts of large and small areas.

See also: