On the hunt for a new sewing machine

image of sunflower willow quilt

and I’m looking at the Husqvarna 835, which has the longer arm which would be nice. Does anyone have one?  The other machine I’m considering is the Bernina 330, which also has exactly the stitch I want, an adjustable, single, vertical stitch, blanket-stitch, and both machines are around the same price.  I’d love to hear your opinions on these machines.

It’s going to be very quiet around these parts with Margaret flying out to the US this morning.  I’ve sent our very good friend Irene Blanck, a local applique superstar in these parts, with her to keep her out trouble! 🙂

The girls are off to Paducah and then the east coast so if you get the chance to catch up with them grab it, they’re lots of fun!  Both Margaret & Irene are intending to blog, and Margaret is going to use her new Facebook page to keep us updated on their shenanigans as well.

I’m fast finishing a new quilt I’ve been doing, Sunflowers & Willows, most of the applique is done, and it’s almost time to attach the borders and then the last border appliqued on.  The last applique will be on the outside edge, scalloped, similar to the frills around the flowers just a bit bigger, not so fine.

I started this as a bit of an excuse to get rid of the fabrics I’ve used in the background and went from there.  It’s got at least two, no make that three, fabrics from Margaret’s stash.

image of sunflower willow quilt
I've called it Sunflowers & Willows.

I need to get it finished as I just busting to start another new quilt I’ve designed and have chosen nearly all the fabrics.  Remember my search for some gold fabric awhile ago? well I ended up with about 3 metres and here’s me doing a little planning.

image of lincoln gold fabric
Photocopying the fabric

Yes, sometimes I photocopy the fabric if I’m not sure of a combination or want to do a quick mockup without cutting into my precious fabric.

And I took another quilt out to try and get a half decent photo of it but little joy as my camera really doesn’t want to play nice.

image of rose dance quilt
Rose Dance on the grass

Well it’s time to go, Margaret has left me some homework, ie blocks from our Red & White version of her Maltaville, I’m not complaining, it was my idea after all!



A busy start . . .

to 2012.  The unseasonably cool weather we’ve been having in Victoria has enabled me to spend some time in my studio, and so far in the first 2 weeks I’ve sent 4 quilts off to Margaret to be quilted.

Now, they’re not exciting quilts, they’re what I call Utility quilts.  Quilts to use everyday, that can be thrown into the washing machine and thrown over a clothes horse, let the cats sit on, etc…

I’ll post some photos of them when I get them back.   I’ve also organised the binding for a quilt I finished back in July and just folded up and put in the cupboard.

image of mexican rose quilt
a rather crumpled quilt from being folded up for 6 months

It’s a lovely little quilt and when I took it off to Margaret to get quilted we noticed I’d left a petal off it so rather that take it home I said ‘just quilt it’ and so Margaret quilted in the lost petal.

image of mexican rose quilt
I just love that quilted petal

The quilted-in petal is in the top left.  I need to sew on 4 little red circles as well as think of a name for this quilt.

Next is my red & white star quilt, the one in the header.  I’ve finished the centre and attached the setting squares and triangles a little while ago.

image of red & white lonestar quilt
just a border to go

Yesterday I took it out again and decided I want to add a little border made up of the left over red diamonds cut into triangles.  I’ve already got the backing so I hope to get it finished by the end of the week and drop it off to Margaret.

Just about every quilt is at the machine piecing stage except for the borders of my Sunflowers & Willows quilt.  Here’s a look at one of the borders which still needs the frill around the circle to be done as well as the appliqued edge.  I’m sort of saving the applique for sewing under the air-conditioner when we finally get really hot weather, which we will!  February & March are always hot.

image of sunflowers & willows border
I'm missing my frilly bits!

Once I’ve got all these done I can start my new basket quilt in the Kaffe Fassett fabrics I bought back in December.  I’ve already cut out 16 baskets, prepped and ready to.

Well it’s time to stock up on some essential shopping and I leave you with a piccy of my very naughty cat, Charlie.

image of charlie the cat on the bench
I couldn't find a quilt to sleep on

Too many projects on my list

My biggest problem is actually staying on one project.  In February I started designing  another quilt based on a block in an antique quilt.

While I really do love hand-sewing this particular block will have to be machine appliquéd if I ever want it made.  As I don’t have EQ or any Patchwork or Quilting software I usually design quilts either the old fashioned way, with pen & paper or I use Adobe PhotoShop or Illustrator.

Working out length of spokes & degree of end

For this new quilt the blocks will be 34 inches with approximately a 15″ border, maybe.  I had this idea on the back-burner until I saw a link to this wonderful graph paper by Incompetech.com on another blog.  It just makes evenly dividing a circle a breeze.

I printed it out at A3 size and took it off to the copy shop where they enlarged it up to A1.  This will be take two for this pattern.  Originally I printed it out at A4, drafted it up and then took it to the copy shop. Starting at A4 size was really a silly mistake so next time I would just ask the copy shop to enlarge the grid to A1 or A0 and go from there.   I’ve lengthened the spokes quite a few times to get the look I want but it still isn’t quite right.

I’ve chosen 24 spokes for this design, but perhaps I should have put in another lot of three spokes which might give me the look I’m after.

I have a second pattern in mind using four fabrics and slightly altered length of spokes for a windmill effect.

Anyway having chosen 3 fabrics I’ll get 8 repeats of each.

Two Smithsonian fabrics, a Village Charm by Pat Speth & a Grace's Dowry Shirting for the background

Two of these fabrics are from my Smithsonian stash and the medium blue is a Pat Speth Village Charm.  All together they looked very muted, rather dull really, so I asked Margaret if she could help me find the right background.  When she picked up this fabric she immediately said, there a fair chance that will be disregarded straight away, but when I put the other fabrics on it they all just popped.

Margaret is so fabulous at picking fabrics, I call her my colour consultant.  Mind you I’d only chosen the terracotta & medium blue and Rachel, picked the dark blue floral from my stash.  So Rachel and Margaret have really contributed.

Also floating in the back of my mind is the same pattern but with modern quilt fabrics.  I can imagine it in Kaffe Fassett fabrics on a dark background or some really bright fabrics on a light background.  I’ve promised myself that this year I’m going to make a modern quilt.

I’m not working or studying tomorrow so I’ll actually be able to do some sewing.  So I hope to do at least 2 points of my red & white star quilt.  With all the photos popping up in blogs of the Red & White Quilt exhibition its keeping me keen to finish the quilt as quickly as I can and after my star I’ve got on other quilt top which entails four seams and that top is done.

Red & White Star quilt update

I’ve been sewing a bit since my last post and last night was 4 til 10, or in my case 6.30 til 10.  Normally I only take hand-sewing when I go out, however I took my sewing machine along and pieced one point completely and sewed the strips for another.  Now that’s not really much of an accomplishment as piecing the stripes only takes a leisurely 15 minutes and another 10 to sew the strips together.

One of the lovely things about this group is we all jump in with suggestions when someone brings along a new project.  Rachel was in fine form and giving me heaps, in fact nearly all the girls were.  Cheeky beggars!  So I made Rachel, with Ellie’s help chose the placement of fabrics for the next point.  That point is nearly finished so that will be half the star done.

I’m teenager free this weekend so after I do a little housework its off to the sewing room and just maybe I’ll get the rest of those points finished.   As I didn’t have a camera with me Rachel took a photo with her phone so here’s a progress photo.

image of Red & White star quilt
Red & White star quilt

I’m intending this to be a very simple quilt but if you have any suggestions as to what to do with the setting squares and triangles I’d love to hear them.



Revitalised, well nearly!

In my last post I mentioned I’d started a new job which was keeping me away from stitching and as it turns out, a lot of things actually.  Well as it’s a temp job I’m looking forward to it ending in 2 weeks. This job has meant a lot of commuting, a very messy house and no sewing due to sore hands.

Anyway to quilty things, I’ve really been enjoying Taryn’s online exhibition of Red & White quilts which is particularly fabulous for those of us who have no chance whatsoever of getting to the real thing.  One of the quilts that caught my eye was 35 or 44 the quilt that both Sue and Mary Jenkins posted.  Looking carefully at the photos I’m certain its the same quilt.  It so inspired me that I decided I would pull out my assorted reds and only buying the neutral fabric would start a large red & white star quilt.

Now I’m simply not disciplined enough to use one plain red, it’s just never going to happen so I chose approximately 13 fabrics and decided to show Margaret while I was visiting and she was so enthused she generously contributed some beautiful fabrics to my quilt.

So the reds are all cut out as is most of the neutral.  I also used my new Westalee ruler I bought late last year as well as my Easy Eight ruler. I’m about to go off to do some sewing but I’ll leave you with a little taster of what I’m doing.

Here’s some of my initial fabrics

My initial fabrics
My initial red fabrics

Ages ago I pledged to mention/blog about My Process so here’s me using my Westalee ruler for the first time, and I’m really pleased I bought it as it made cutting these strips much easier, particularly as they were an odd width.

Using my Westalee ruler
Using my Westalee ruler

And here’s a step by step of the Easy Eight ruler in action, particularly if you have never used one.

Easy Eight
Preparing to cut the first angle
The first cut
The first cut
Trimming the first diamond
Trimming the first diamond
A beautiful diamond
A beautiful diamond

The first diamond requires a little more effort but after that its back to your strip of fabric and one cut after another produces a perfect diamond for your project.  And waiting to be sewn together is the first section of my star.

My red & white star
The beginnings of my red & white star quilt.

ciao for now, hopefully I’ll blog a little more regularly as soon as I finish this job in the city.