Community Quilt 315

18 04 2017

How to quilt this quilt? After stitching in the ditch around ‘every stinkin’ seam’ I decided to just quilt the white space, using a free-form ‘u’ (or ‘n’) around the square blocks, and a free-form flower motif in the white squares.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)

Threads used:

  • Top: Fil-Tec Glide ‘Peacock’ (40 wt, trilobal polyester, colour 90256)
  • Bottom: Fil-Tec Magna Glide Classic pre-wound bobbin (white)

Photos of all the Community Quilts I’ve quilted are here:

Community Quilt 314

18 04 2017

Another bright, colourful, and cheerful quilt! The fabrics were so busy that I just quilted it with a simple spiral motif using a deep pink thread.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)


Threads used:

  • Top: Robison-Anton ‘Crimson’ (40 wt, rayon, colour 2416)
  • Bottom: Fil-Tec Magna Glide Classic pre-wound bobbin (white)

Photos of all the Community Quilts I’ve quilted are here:

Community Quilt 313

18 04 2017

I used a neon orange thread to quilt this bright and colourful quilt with an all-over ‘open headband’ motif’.

(Click on a photo to view it larger)

Threads used:

  • Top: Fil-tec Glide ‘Neon Orange; (40 wt, trilobal polyester, colour 90811)
  • Bottom: Fil-Tec Magna Glide Classic pre-wound bobbin (white)

Photos of all the Community Quilts I’ve quilted are here:

Day trip to Augusta

13 04 2017

We went for a drive down to Augusta and Cape Leeuwin on Monday, just ‘cos it was a GORGEOUS day and we could. Drove down Caves Rd, popping into Gracetown and stopping at Lefthanders car park (there are tiny people with surfboards on the beach in the photo, with other surfers in the Indian Ocean that you probably can’t see), then on into the magical cathedral-like Boranup Forest full of towering karri trees (note the size of the vehicle in relation to the trees). We stopped for lunch in Augusta, then went on to the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse precinct, where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet (I’m not sure if this was the setting for the novel ‘The light between two oceans’, but it’s close enough). Back home via Margaret River (the town is just a Subiaco/Claremont clone these days) and Cowaramup, where the cow sculptures have overtaken the town!

Citrus hexagon quilt

5 04 2017

This was a quilt I quilted for a friend. It is a gift for someone, so even though I quilted it in December 2016, it’s not being given to the recipient until March 2017. Hopefully, the handover has been done now (I’m writing this in December for publication in early April).

I loved this quilt — I loved the colours, the white space, and the fabrics used. It really ‘spoke’ to me. As soon as I unfolded it, I saw citrus elements in it — oranges, lemons, limes — represented by the hexagons.

My brief was to quilt it ‘modern’ style and to emphasis the white space. I hope I did it justice.

How I quilted it:

  • stitched in the ditch around all the coloured hexagons using a yellow thread
  • free motion quilted pseudo citrus segments in the white hexagonal spaces, using bright citrus, fluoro/neon colours
  • continued the coloured segments in a few of the edge hexagons, and in the half-white hexagons too
  • for the remaining white hexagon spaces, I used white thread to stitch citrus segments
  • for the border, I stitched a straight line about half an inch from the seam, then another about 2 inches away then free motioned citrus segment-style triangular shapes in the white space, all with white thread

All up, it took me 5 hours to quilt this quilt — 2 hours just for the stitch in the ditch step. I only used rulers for the stitch in the ditch process and for the straight lines in the border — everything else was free motion.

The photos vary based on how the light was catching the quilt. Click on a photo to view it larger.









Threads used:

  • Top: Fil-Tec Glide ‘Neon Green’ (40 wt, trilobal polyester, colour 90360); Fil-Tec Glide ‘Neon Orange’ (40 wt, trilobal polyester, colour 90811);  Fil-Tec Glide ‘Mango’ (40 wt, trilobal polyester, colour 80116);  Fil-Tec Glide ‘White’ (40 wt, trilobal polyester, colour 10000); Isacord (40 wt, trilobal polyester, colour FB6010); Isacord (40 wt, trilobal polyester, colour 0600); Mettler Poly Sheen (40 wt, polyester, colour 1306)
  • Bottom: Fil-Tec Magna Glide Classic pre-wound bobbin (white)

Quilting Adventures 2017: Ann Shaw’s class

1 04 2017

It’s with some sadness that I write this blog post — this was the last-ever Quilting Adventures to be held at T Bar M near New Braunfels in Hill Country, Texas, and one of the last workshops they’ll ever hold. Kim and Debby are closing their Quilting Adventures business later in 2017. I’ve been coming here since 2012, and have attended four Spring Seminars.

This one was great! We had the lovely Ann Shaw as our tutor, and as there were only 5 in the class, we got heaps of attention and help from her throughout the week. The workshop was ‘Designing from nature’, and as a group, we did some amazingly creative work.

My piece was a blue and yellow macaw; the photo was taken by Wade Courtney, a friend of mine from California.


The notes below are to remind me what we did so that I have a reference point when I use this technique again. They are NOT a substitute for doing Ann’s class, and it’s very possible I’ve missed some steps. Do not follow these instructions without first having done one of Ann’s classes, otherwise you’ll likely get confused!

Click a photo to view it larger.

Step 1 – Create the master drawing and sewing order

  1. Tape your photo to the table, and tape tracing paper over it. Study your photo for the ‘gesture’ lines.
  2. Use a straight ruler to trace the ‘gesture’ lines of your own photo — these are straight lines.
  3. Make sure there are several full-width lines to create sections, then rule straight lines between those lines, as necessary and following the colours, to create sewing lines for the piecing.
  4. Check that ALL lines go somewhere and that there are NO pieces that will have to be inset when sewing.
  5. Label each section with a unique letter and a set of numbers for each piece in that section, following the logical sewing order (e.g. A1, A2, A3, etc.).
  6. Write down the sewing order, using a notation to represent what piece gets sewn to another, which pieces have to be sewn before others can be done, and how all get sewn together to create the section. For example, A1 A2 means sew A1 to A2, and then sew A3 to either A2 or the entire piece made from A1 and A2.
  7. Make a photocopy of the traced design and use coloured pencils to colour in the pieces (not the background or borders). You’ll use this when sewing to make sure you sew the right fabrics (colours and labels) together.

Rule straight lines around the elements of the photo

Ruled lines – not yet labelled

Labelled sections, with photocopies coloured in to show main colours

Sewing guide

Step 2 – Use the full-size copy of the drawing to create the freezer paper copy

  1. Resize the tracing paper copy at a large-print copy store. I had mine resized to 250% and 260%, creating a final size of around 31 x 33 inches. Write the sizes on the printouts! My 250% image was the final size and the one I used to create the freezer paper templates; the 260% image was the one I used to pin the cut fabrics on to (the reason for increasing by 10% is to allow for the seam allowance for each piece when it’s pinned so it still matches the pattern reasonably closely).
  2. Tape the full-size copy (mine was the 250% one) to a large window, which will act as a light box. Make sure the labels are facing you.
  3. Tape pieces of freezer paper (dull side up) together with first-aid cloth tape (cloth tape doesn’t melt when ironed!) so that you have a single sheet of freezer paper big enough to cover the final size image.
  4. Tape the freezer paper to the window over the full-size copy with the shiny side facing you (dull side against the copy).
  5. Using a ruler and a permanent ultrafine Sharpie, transfer ALL lines from the copy onto the shiny side of the freezer paper. Add lines for the edge of the design. DO NOT label this shiny side. Put the Sharpie away — do not be tempted to use it for anything else!
  6. Remove the freezer paper and the copy from the window.
  7. Turn the copy over and re-tape to the window, this time with the labels facing out (i.e. away from you).
  8. Turn the freezer paper over and re-tape to the window matching the lines in the copy — the shiny side should face away from you and correspond to the lines in the copy. The dull side should now be facing you.
  9. Using a lead/graphite pencil only, label each section on the dull side of the freezer paper. Make sure you don’t miss any sections.
  10. Use various coloured pencils to make tick marks on each edge of EACH piece. Use different colours for each edge and make sure the tick marks extend across the Sharpie lines you can see through the freezer paper. These tick marks are hugely important when you come to line up your fabric pieces for stitching.
  11. Mark the full-width section lines with a single colour highlighter. Mark any large subsections crossing a major section with a different colour highlighter. Mark about a half inch inside the outside edge of the design with another highlighter colour.

Enlarged photocopy of lined and labelled pieces

Dull side of freezer paper showing major sections (pink highlighter), subsections (green highlighter), labelled pieces, and coloured pencil tick marks for each edge of each piece

As above, but more detailed view

Step 3 – Create freezer paper templates of each piece and iron on to the fabric

  1. Pin the larger-size copy to the design wall, and pin the freezer paper copy over the top. Pin a ziplock bag close to the design to hold any small pieces.
  2. Cut out the major sections from the freezer paper and pin in place back over the paper copy (approximately is fine). DO NOT cut apart all sections or pieces at once — you’ll lose them and get very confused.
  3. Pick a piece inside a section and cut it from the freezer paper — make sure you cut accurately on the Sharpie lines.
  4. Audition fabric for this piece.
  5. Once you’ve selected the fabric, iron the SHINY side of the freezer paper to the WRONG side of the fabric, using a hot iron and pressing for several seconds to adhere the freezer paper to the fabric.
  6. Cut out the fabric around the freezer paper, adding at a quarter-inch seam allowance all the way around the freezer paper template for the seam. Use a rotary cutter for a clean cut, where possible.
  7. Pin the fabric (with the freezer paper on the back of it) onto the larger size copy in the position that matches its label.
  8. Repeat steps 3 to 7 for ALL freezer paper template pieces. This may take a day or so, so be patient, be careful, and be methodical. Swap out fabrics as necessary – the freezer paper can be lifted and repositioned and ironed onto other fabric several times.

This was not from my piece, but it shows the freezer paper template ironed to the wrong side of the fabric, ready for cutting out the piece.

Placing the fabric pieces one at a time — note that very few parts of the freezer paper template have been cut yet

Step 4 – Sew the pieces together

  1. Put your sewing guide and the photocopy you coloured in Step 1 near your sewing machine — you will refer to both when sewing.
  2. Follow the sewing guide and place two pieces right sides together. Match the coloured pencil tick marks on the freezer paper to make sure you have matched them exactly. Use fine pins to hold the pieces in place.
  3. Stitch from one end of the freezer paper template to the other, using the edge of the template as your stitching line. Backtack at each end. Do not stitch into the seams. Try  not to stitch into the freezer paper.
  4. Press the sewn seam to one side.
  5. Repeat steps 2 to 4 for ALL other pieces. Again, this could take a day or more so be careful and methodical.
  6. Eventually you will have each subsection and section stitched and can then stitch the major sections together to complete your quilt top.
  7. Remove the freezer paper and discard.

Top section all sewn together

All sections sewn together

Ready to remove freezer paper

Step 5 – Finish your piece

Once you’ve completed stitching the quilt top together, use whatever methods suit you to sandwich the quilt, quilt it, thread paint it, bind it etc. I’ll do this once I get home — one of the first things I do will be to get the black lines done around its face.

So far, I’ve spent about 30 hours to get to this stage. I expect the last stages to take around 10 hours. This is why hand-crafted art costs so much!!

Left to right: Ann Shaw, Judy (Alaska; flower), Rhonda (Australia; macaw), Alice (Texas; cockatiel), Gayle (Texas; bison calf), and Beth (Texas; scrub jay)

US trip: 22 March 2017

23 03 2017

Today I checked out of the AirBNB where I’d stayed for the past 4 nights. What a lovely experience I had with the hosts and other guests, and what a lovely house! If you’re intending to visit the Tampa/St Pete area, let me know and I’ll give you their AirBNB details. You’ll need a car if you stay there, but everything in the area is within easy driving distance; some restaurants are within walking distance (2 blocks away).

I’m currently at the airport waiting for my BFF to arrive from Boston, then we’ll head to the conference hotel in St Petersburg for the next 4 nights.


After checking into the hotel, we caught the Downtown Looper trolley (50c per ride) to the Holocaust Museum stop just two blocks from the Chihuly Collection — a building housing some of Dale Chihuly’s amazing glass art (pics to come!). Wow, what a collection!!!! If you’re ever in St Pete, you have to put this on your list. Here are a couple of the photos of these magnificent glass pieces. All the photos I took are in this album:

Quilters looking at this picture might think it’s familiar — that’s because Melissa Sobotka has won many awards with an art quilt of this Chihuly work

These were in the ceiling — it was like walking underwater through a fantastic coral garden

HUGE ‘garden’ of glass. See the people at the back left for perspective

HUGE ‘garden’ of glass. See the people at the back right for perspective

Across the street in the Morean Arts Center Glass Studio and Hot Shop, where we sat in on the hourly demonstration of glass blowing and making. An even bigger ‘Wow!’ This was fascinating and is free with your attendance at the Chihuly Collection (it might be free anyway — no-one asked to see our tickets). Again, pics to come once I process them. We saw a glass maker (Tim) create an amazing fluted bowl, and watched him through all the steps. The female glass maker (Danielle) helped him at various stages and explained every step of what Tim was doing — she’s a natural teacher and was super good at explaining it all. This is a ‘must see’ as well.

Once we got back to the hotel, we registered for the conference, caught up a few of our ‘tribe’, then I went to the freelancer’s happy hour at a local tavern right near the university. Met some interesting people there.

Tomorrow the conference starts!