Friday 27 January 2012

Lotus Garden Baby Quilt Tutorial

This quilt pattern/tutorial is available as a word document here.

Lotus Garden Baby Quilt Pattern

This quilt is really quick and easy and brilliant for a beginner quilter (or for the more experienced) as it has no seams to match up, and it comes together really quickly. It could easily be made larger (or smaller) by adding (or subtracting) rows of squares.
Finished Quilt size 40” x 59” (102cm x 150cm) - see below for photo.

Materials and Tools:

Each of the print I have used is from Amy Butler’s Lotus collection – but could easily be substituted for other prints. This pattern works especially well for large prints as the squares are quite large.
The following quantities are based on standard 44” (112cm) wide fabric. Fat quarters are considered to be 18” x 21”.
One fat quarter (or quarter yard) of Lime Full Moon Polka Dot
One Fat quarter (or quarter yard) of Temple Garland in Pink
One Fat quarter (or quarter yard) of Lace Work Floral in brown
One Fat quarter of Wall Flower in green
½ yard of Lotus Pond in yellow.
2/3 yard  of Temple Garland in Green.  I used this in the quilt top as well as for binding fabric – if you prefer you could make a scrappy border using left over pieces from the quilt top (you will have remnants of each of the prints used).
1 1/4 yards of neutral fabric for sashing (I used Moda Bella Snow)
Two yards of backing fabric (I used Moda Bella Snow)

48” x 68”  Batting/wadding of choice (I used 100% organic bamboo batting)
Cotton thread for quilting and piecing
Rotary cutter, ruler and mat


From each of the fat quarters, cut five 6” squares. From the Lotus pond in yellow, cut five 6” squares. The fabric quantities given are sufficient to fussy cut your squares if desired. You should have a total of twenty five 6” squares.
From the Lotus Pond in yellow, cut two 4” strips across the WOF.
From the Temple Garland in green, cut two 3” strips across the WOF. For the binding cut six 2 1/2” strips across the WOF (this leaves you with extra binding length).
From the neutral fabric, cut fifteen 2 ½” strips across the WOF; sub-cut five of these into thirty 6” x 2 ½” rectangles.

Making the Rows of Squares:

All seam allowances are 1/4 “ throughout this pattern.

Sew a 6” x 2 ½” rectangle to one side of each 6” square (chain-piecing if preferred).  Press seams toward the print fabric.

At this stage, lay out your squares (with sashing strip on one side) five across and five down in an arrangement pleasing to the eye. Based on the layout you decided upon, sew the first two squares in each row together - you should now have five pairs of squares with sashing strips between them. Again, press seams toward the print fabric.
Continue in this manner, until you have five rows of 5 squares with sashing strips between each [diagram 3]. Finally , sew a sashing strip to the end of each row, and press toward the print fabric.

Making the Long Strips

This quilt has four sets of width of fabric strips of print fabric, with a neutral sashing strip on either side.

Sew  each of the 4” wide lotus pond strips to a 2 ½” WOF sashing strip, and press toward the printed fabric. Repeat this process on the other side of the lotus pond strip – you should end up with three strips joined as in Diagram 4. Sew each of the 3” wide temple garland fabric strips to sashing strips in the same manner. You should end up with four WOF sets of strips.
At this stage, lay out your rows of squares and strip sets and decide on a layout that you like (refer to the photo for layout plan).

Once you have chosen your layout, sew a WOF sashing strip to the bottom of your uppermost block row, and press toward the blocks. You will have some of the sashing strip overhanging on either side of the block strip – trim this so it is square with the sides of your block row.
Next, sew the next block row to the other side of the sashing strip (matching up the sides of the block strips), and press toward the block strip. You should end up with two block rows with a sashing strip between. Repeat this process for the bottom two block rows (so they have a sashing strip between them).

Now it’s time to join all your block rows and strip sets together. The strip sets are wider than the block rows so first of all, measure the width of your block rows and cut the strip sets to this width. Assemble the rows according to the photo on the last page.
When its done, quilt and bind as desired!

This pattern is intended for personal use only. Please do not distribute or copy it. I worked hard to write this up :)

Wednesday 25 January 2012

WIP Wednesday: Stars in my eyes

After last week's stuck-in-bed sickness I am really, really glad to have my sewing mojo back. I tried on Sunday but still felt really flat, so it's been nice over the last couple of days to feel well enough to get some things done.

I finished my third Swoon block. This is all three of what I have so far:

I'm pretty happy with how they're going, although there have been a couple of great threads on working with large-scale prints which would have been brilliant to have read before making the centre block... I might possibly redo the big points, but I'll wait and see. I don't hate it, but it bugs me that the stripes don't align in all of them...

I've also started working on my partner's item for For the Love of Solids swap. I'm hoping she'll like it - she's a bit of a silent partner, so I'm working with what's in her mosaic and form. Here's what I have so far:

She asked for stars and her mosaic had similar colours to these (teals and purples, and wine-reds) so hopefully she'll like it. I'm (obviously) using the Sparkle Punch quilt along as inspiration - but I've made my squares 2.5" instead of 3.5" so I can fit more into the space I need to fill. At this stage I'm thinking a sewing machine cover, and I think I'll hand-quilt around the stars... It's a bit over half-way there size-wise.

WIP stats:

* New projects: 1
* Finished: 0
* In progress: 8 (I think...)

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday and Fabric Tuesday

Fresh Poppy Design

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

xx Jess

Sunday 22 January 2012

What a week.

Last week is a week I hope I'll never have to repeat. Ever. Everything was going swimmingly on Monday - I even managed to sneakily cut two more Swoon blocks while my kids were happily playing. We have school holidays happening in our neck of the woods for another 5 weeks or so, so my daytime sewing time is rare, and this does NOT happen very often - the kids-happily-playing-and-me-quilting thing. Anyhoo, I managed to get both the blocks cut, and then sewed all my HSTs and flying geese together that night.

Tuesday started out okay. Until lunchtime when I started to feel pretty dodgy. By that night I knew I wasn't well when I hit my bed at 9pm without even touching my sewing machine. Then Wednesday things went downhill fast. I could barely talk, I couldn't swallow anything (even saliva) without feeling like I was swallowing razor blades, and I definitely couldn't eat. My throat and neck swelled up massively and I slept all day (thanks to my wonderful parents who looked after my boys for the day). Thursday was the same, but I still thought I'd give my body a chance to fight whatever it was.

Friday I asked my lovely man to take the day off work (he's never been able to before, either being too flat out or interstate) and he did. Can I just say (and other stay at home mums have most likely experienced this very thing quite a lot) it is the most amazing thing to be sick and just be able to sleep, and not have to look after other small people? I felt so relieved that I could just be sick and not have to be responsible, and actually have someone doting on me (like when I was small, and my mum would look after me :) ) He took me to the doctor who took one brief look at my throat and declared 'that's one awful throat infection' and started I (painfully) taking massive antibiotics. They kicked in by Saturday night, and I'm feeling pretty good now. Still sore throat, but I can actually eat again and have a bit of energy.

I still have a pile of HSTs and flying geese that need to be put together, but that'll happen this week. As well as all my other WIPs which will hopefully get some work done on them.

Hope every one is well

xx Jess

Monday 16 January 2012

Fabric stashing - Lizzy House

Ok firstly I apologise for the self-indulgent post. I just love these fabrics SO much I wanted to share their awesomeness.

I admittedly have a serious addiction when it comes to fabric. One of my favorite designers is Lizzy House, and I've recently stocked up on a good chunk of her prints. I received these packages today and had to take some photos of their absolute gloriousness before I cut them (although I really will be finishing some WIPs first... really!)

In my fabric stalking last week, I noticed Julie at The Intrepid Thread had (and still has!) 30% off Outfoxed in her shop. What could I do but grab a FQ bundle? It got here super-quick too :-)

Just before Christmas Peg and Becca at Sew Fresh Fabrics had a great postage deal ($7 for an unlimited amount - being in Australia means postage is usually the real catch when ordering fabric. $7 is cheaper than it is to get fabric from within Australia - booyah!) So I managed to convince my other half (and supplier of fabric buying cash ;) ) that I really needed some more Lizzy House. Cue a half-yard bundle of 1001 peeps (and a few larger pieces) - the intention being to make Diamond Mountain - Lizzy did a quilt along with video posts for it, which makes the whole thing seem far less scary.

Last but not least, a FQ bundle of most of the Castle Peeps range (also from Sew Fresh Fabrics). This will probably become a quilt for one of my boys...

And finally all my Lizzy House together. Sigh. So lovely.

I'm just going to go and stare at these a while longer now. And then keep sewing my Swoon blocks. And then maybe look at them some more...


Sunday 15 January 2012

Outfoxed on the High Seas

I finished putting all the blocks for my High Seas quilt together yesterday/last night. I'm pretty happy with how they line up - not perfect, but you only notice if you look closely!!

I'm trying to decide whether to put a border around it (thinking not at this stage) and considering how to quilt it. I'm thinking of quilting the lighter swirls quilt densely so they sit quite flat (either echo-wavey type design, or even spirals), and not doing much to the darker ones... but any ideas would be appreciated :)

To get this quilt top finished was my 'one thing, one week challenge' aim (I was hoping to get it pin basted as well, but the main aim is achieved, so YAY!!)

Amy's Creative Side

I'm also linking up to {sew} modern Monday
{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

and Fabric Tuesday at Quiltstory. 
Glad I've finished the top - it can languish in my WIP pile until I decide what to do, while I get on with my swoon blocks!

xx Jess

Saturday 14 January 2012

My first Swoon block

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last week, you're probably aware that Katy is holding a Swoon QAL over at her blog I'm a Ginger Monkey. I tried to resist. I really did. I lasted all of three days infact, before I caved and bought the pattern. 

So yesterday I spent a ridiculous amount of time sorting through my stash trying to come up with 18 fabrics that worked well together. I failed miserably - mainly because I was just choosing fabrics that I love, but that really didn't work well together. So I packed them all away, and then for some reason thought 'perhaps my tufted tweets would work?'. 

Cue manic pulling out of fabric again, finding a few coordinating other prints and laying them out on my bed. I came up with a plan I was happy with very quickly (forgetting how much time I had wasted with my previous stash fondling) and cut and started sewing my first block last night. Forgive the terrible photo - there's a lot of tufted tweets (I managed to get a piece of all except for couches in purple, and seats in sorbet), some Mingle by Monaluna, squiggly flowers by Saffron Craig, eggs by Momo, and lots of Kona solids in coordinating colours (not sure which ones exactly and I'm too lazy to get out my colour card :) )

Here is block one in all its glory (night time photo so not the greatest sorry!):

This one took me hours (like about 6 with cutting time). I'm hoping I get a bit faster at them, but it was so rewarding to have it work pretty much perfectly (not all the points line up but they're close enough!) I'm not sure how square it is either - but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. 

I'm trying to decide whether to make a couple more this weekend (my other half has kindly donated sewing time tomorrow - yay!) or whether to finish the High Seas quilt top.... or maybe both if I don't sleep?

xx Jess

Wednesday 11 January 2012

WIP Wednesday - High Seas blocks done :)

After a veritable sewing frenzy over the last two nights, I finished off the last two rows of blocks (apart from the first three which I still intend on re-doing!)

So there it is in all its glory (?). I think I like it, but I'm still not sure about a few of my fabric choices... I think I'm going to leave this one for a while and work on some other projects (of which I have many lined up - more about that in a moment!) I've also just noticed that the first block in the third row should be rotated 90 degrees to look like it actually will...

So other projects? Well after much (well a small amount of) resistance, I've decided to join in the Swoon QAL. I've signed up for the 4 x 5 bee (yay! my first bee!) and the for the love of solids swap (also yay!).  I'm also participating in the Name Game Swap. Plus the Sew. Happy. Quilt QAL. And possibly get something on the go for the Tango challenge. Overcommitted you might ask? I think if I prioritise and keep up the ridiculous amount of time I spend sewing each night it will be fine :) I just might not be all that sane by the end of it all...

So my WIP list just got massive-er. But I'm really excited about all of them, so that must count for something, right? Right!

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday and Fabric Tuesday
xxx Jess

Monday 9 January 2012

A completely awesome quilty day!

I really, really wish every day could be as pants-wettingly exciting as today. I really do.

First, when I went out to the letter box this morning I found a super exciting package waiting for me:

I have been hardcore lusting after these fabrics since they were released, so when I found some of them on sale on Etsy I couldn't resist. Now however, I am seriously going to have to get my hands on some more. The linen/cotton blend is just SO lovely and soft and the colours are just superb. I just need to think up what will do them justice...

Second (well it didn't really happen today - it was on Saturday) the lovely ladies over at Quiltstory contacted me to ask if I'd mind having this quilt featured on their blog. Well. After jumping around the room more than once, I promptly replied 'yes, of course?' and so now I can put this lovely button on my sidebar!

Woohoo! I'm still excited (and kind of in shock to be honest!)

Third, when I was doing a bit of blog reading this evening, I discovered that the lovely Kate Conklin had also put a picture of my 1001 peeps quilt on her blog. Again, shock and excitement. 

Still a bit jumpy and can't stop smiling :)

xx Jess

Sunday 8 January 2012

High Seas progress

I have had such a brilliant sewing weekend! My partner went camping with our big boys and Zoe and I stayed home. Thankfully, with such a peaceful house, she decided that daytime sleeps were still a good thing (YAY!!) so I managed to get a couple of hours each day, on top of my normal night time quilting obsession. So I've actually managed to get 5 rows done. I finished the fifth tonight so haven't photographed yet, but here's a mosaic of the first four rows:

The blocks are all square - I'm just really terrible at taking straight photos with my camera. I still need to pull apart the top three (or maybe just recut the fabrics... haven't decided yet) and redo them without the light green (I'll be replacing with Kona Snow). I accidentally 'enhanced' the really bright one in the bottom row which is why its so much brighter than the rest... although that's probably more the true colours (its been really overcast and grey, so the light for photography has been terrible!) I'm pretty happy with how it's all coming together, although I'm now questioning the green DSQ check fabric as well. I'm not sure I'll have the patience to pull them apart and use anything different though! I'll cross that bridge once I've finished them all, and can see the entire quilt together I think.

I'm linking up to Manic Monday over at Sew Happy Geek

Sew Happy Geek

Happy stitching,

Thursday 5 January 2012

WIP Wednesday: more new projects?

I have had a few finishes since last WIP Wednesday

My daughter Zoe's 1001 Peeps quilt (her Christmas present)

My Charmed Prints QAL quilt for my nephew's Christmas present (note - will NOT be pebble quilting again for a looooong time)

And a non-quilty finish (my sister's Christmas present):

And two start to finishes as well:

Willow Wren quilt:

Boys at play quilt:

New Projects:
I really should be getting some things finished rather than start new projects, but I just can't help myself. Hence my WIP pile is getting out of control (not to mention my piles of fabrics heaped up all over my sewing room, ready to finish said WIPs). I hereby vow NOT to start anything new until these projects are finished.

High Seas quilt (from Lizzy House's Five Magical Projects book). I've made five blocks so far:

The first two will probably have to be redone - the light green is Kona Green Tea, and I've actually decided to replace it with more Kona Snow because its actually a fair bit darker than I first imagined. Also it took me a few blocks to get the size right and get my points lined up right. After the first few blocks I had an 'ah-ha' moment, and I'm now squaring up and trimming them down between each addition of sets of triangles.

I've also started my Sew Happy Quilt QAL blocks.
My fabric choices:

My woven block:

No Progress:

Modern BOM quilt
Japanese sampler quilt
Pop garden quilt
Fandango quilt

Started (and finished!) since last WIP wednesday - 2 

Completed projects: 2

New projects: 2

Happy stitching, 

Monday 2 January 2012

My first snail trail block!

Over the last two or three nights, I put together my four-patches for my High Seas quilt - so now its 'just' a matter of putting them all together. Phew. This one just took me nearly 1 1/2 hours to finish (and I think I'll need to redo it anyway...) - and there are 42 blocks all together, so its going to be a fairly labour intensive exercise. I hope its worth it - its still a little hard to work out if its going to look ok or not.

Only problem is they are meant to finish at 9" (so 9 1/2" unfinished) - and this one is very close to 10". I'm really not used to this - usually my 'tricky' blocks finish small, so I'll need to work out what's going on. You can probably see the points don't all quite match up - so obviously I've gone wrong somewhere in my piecing. Not sure where - I used really accurate 1/4" seams. I did press my seams open though (which caused a lot of bulk in some places) so the next one I'm going to press them toward the triangles, and see if that makes a difference with matching the points, and getting the size right.

If anyone has experience making these blocks, some tips on how you pressed them would be appreciated. I have become used to pressing seams open (I really like the sharper seams I get doing it that way) - but I am thinking it might be better to press to one side for these blocks, to reduce bulk where the points meet...

Off to try another one and see if I can get it to work!

I'm linking up to Manic Monday at Sew Happy Geek (also go check out her QAL starting very, very soon! It's going to be fun!)

Sew Happy Geek

happy stitching,

Sunday 1 January 2012

Goodbye 2011 (and a new WIP)

I really can't believe how fast this year has gone. We moved house in April, and with a whole sewing room (slash study - not much studying going on here though!) I caught the quilting bug. Hard. So from July onward, I have become progressively more and more obsessed with quilting. Since it seems to be obligatory in blogland, I've made a mosaic with (some of) my finishes from 2011.

1. Charmed prints QAL, 2. 1001 peeps quilt, 3. Willow Wren Baby Quilt, 4. Children at play doll quilt, 5. Boys at play front, 6. Children at Play Quilt, 7. Autumn forest quilt front, 8. Central Park Quilt, 9. It's a girl thing..., 10. 1001 Peeps Doll Quilt, 11. Owls and Spots Baby Quilt, 12. Silent Cinema baby quilt, 13. Lotus Garden Quilt, 14. Bird Tree Indigo Baby Quilt, 15. Beetle Bugs Quilt, 16. Urban Zoologie Quilt, 17. Love Quilt, 18. Magenta bird tree quilt

There are a couple missing from here - but still I think I've finished around 23 since July when I really started quilting. Which is kind of scary. And kind of says a lot about how obsessed I am...

I have a lot of plans for 2012 -
* Participate in some QALs - I've already signed up for two QALs, and will probably do more.
* Participate in a bee
* Finish writing up some of my designs into tutorial/patterns to put on my blog (I have one nearly finished).
* Learn some more difficult techniques (paper piecing and needle-turn applique in particular).
And some things I'd like to do but don't expect will actually happen this year:
* Be a guest blogger on some other blogs
* Get one of my designs in Moda Bakeshop
* Get published somehow

I know a lot of people have been madly trying to finish long term WIPs before the new year. I on the other hand have started another project, which I'm madly excited about. I really need to stick with quilts and finish them, rather than getting all excited about new projects and letting my WIP pile get even bigger (maybe that should go onto my plans for 2012 list?).

I received (read: bought myself) Lizzy House's Five Magical Projects book for Christmas, and have cut and started piecing High Seas. When I first started looking at quilty books, the block that most appealed to me was Snail Trail (or Monkey Wrench - it can be called either I've found) - and this quilt is made up of 42 of the buggers. By 'cut' I mean about 5 hours of cutting. Thankfully my lovely other half has (grudgingly) bought some huge pieces of MDF board to cover his 8-ball table, so I can use it as a cutting table (and its perfect for pin basting my quilts as well - yay!!) - which meant all the cutting was quite bearable. It was much better than using the dining table - plus I could leave all my fabric laid out in between cutting sessions.

This is a really dodgy photo of my squares, HSTs and QSTs ready to be sewn together:

I'm linking up to Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet over at Lily's quilts
Fresh Sewing Day

Small Blog Meet
Happy new year!