Saturday 28 April 2012

Gadgets and Petals

You may remember a little while ago I was excited about getting a Curve Master foot for my sewing machine. And was then pissed off disappointed to find when I read the small print that my Bernina required a shank adapter in order to use said Curve Master. I bit the bullet and ordered the shank adapter, hoping all the while that the foot was going to be worth the outlay. I am very relieved pleased to say it was totally worth it. It's my new favorite sewing gadget!

 My curve master foot.

Obviously it's designed to make curved piecing easy. And it does - once you get used to moving the fabric through the foot (you need to hold the top piece up in the air) its very quick and painless to sew accurate curves. What I didn't realise is that it also allows you to sew a perfect scant 1/4" seam on straight piecing too. For someone who is accurate-seam-allowance challenged (like me for example) it is so worth getting one! Plus all my curves sit really flat, and I've had no problems with puckering etc - all due to the foot, not my abilities :o)

I still actually haven't finished cutting my fabric for the Retro Flowers QAL, but I wanted to give some piecing a go so I've cut enough for a few flowers (and will do the rest when I need to. Not in any great hurry to get back to the cutting!)

First petal attempt - you can see the side seams aren't perfectly matched - I'm not really that phased by them (and you can't really notice from a distance, and I'm too lazy to unpick and resew them)

Second petal attempt - a bit better than number one, the seams pretty well match up perfectly (yay!!) Not sure what I did differently for this one, but the seams are much more accurate.

I promise I won't bore you with any more petal by petal accounts for this quilt - I'm just so impressed with the curve master I couldn't resist. 

The other gadgety thing I've gotten this week isn't all that gadgety, but it is extremely useful, so I guess that counts as kind of a gadget, right? The supplies have been sitting in the garage for a month or so... but Mr E is on holidays for the next couple of weeks, and I finally conned him into setting up my design wall. I apologise for the truly awful photo - my sewing room/study is too small to get far enough away to get a decent photo, so it's taken from the side... Anyway, it's simply constructed by covering three pieces of 3mm thick MDF board with batting (I think they were each 120mm x 60mm), taping the batting to the back, and then nailing the boards onto two 180mm long planks of wood. So it's portable and not too heavy to move around, and it's the perfect size for the space between our filing cabinet and the doorway in my sewing space (the only wall in there that isn't a window or taken up with shelves). 

Right, back to some more curved piecing. Oh and trying to come up with something brilliant to make with this little bundle of prettiness for a Fat Quarterly Designer challenge...


xx Jess

Thursday 26 April 2012

Fat Quarterly Issue 9

This is quite possibly the most exciting blog post (for me, anyway) I have ever written. I've had to keep it under wraps for the last couple of months but I can now reveal... I have a tutorial published in Issue 9 of Fat Quarterly! I am so excited about this (ridiculously excited actually). And still a bit in shock. 

So here's a little sneak peek of my project...

Issue 9 is all about sewing for kids and teens, and it is jam packed full of fantastic projects. So what are you waiting for? Head over to Fat Quarterly  and get yourself a copy!

xx Jess

Tuesday 24 April 2012

HST Festival Finals!!!

I woke up to a lovely email from Megan telling me I'M IN THE FINALS! I'm so excited and honoured - there are some seriously awesome entries in the competition. And the final ten is stiff competition. But I'm feeling all competitive all of a sudden - there is a $100 fat quarter shop voucher up for grabs...

So now dear readers, it's all up to you to vote for your favorite. So head over to Megan's blog. In case you're interested, mine is #57...

Monday 23 April 2012

Retro Flowers and My Precious QAL - Fabric Choice

I've started cutting my fabrics for the Retro Flowers QAL, which has also become My Precious QAL as I've decided to use some of my Good Folks and Garden Party fabrics for it. My fabric pile at the moment looks like this:

Such is my love for this line, I may have found a few of the other pieces online and paid ridiculous amounts of money for them... so there may be a few more Good Folks prints added to this bundle ;o)

I actually have a few pieces of Good Folks available for swaps:

All these are about 1/3 yard - if anyone has the other Good Folks prints they'd like to swap, or AMH Garden Party I would be really interested. But I'll consider any swap so please just ask!

xx Jess

Friday 20 April 2012

Liebster Blog!

Ok so this post is quite overdue. A few weeks ago Cherie (who blogs at I be's Cheraldine) nominated me for a Liebster Blog award. Then a bit after that Libby at Miss Beau Jangles did too. And then today Shawn at Creative Inspiraciones nominated me too. Sorry for being slack ladies, I'd love to accept the award!

The award is given to worthy blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules are as follows:

  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
  3. Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
  4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed.
  5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

So I need to choose my favorite 5 blogs with under 200 followers. 

1. Jess at Scrappy and Happy - lovely Jess always makes the time to comment on my posts, and makes some really, really great stuff. 

2. Jennie at Eclectically Delicious. Jennie is the amazing talent behind the fabulous arty entries into the Aurifil challenge recently held by Lynne at Lily's Quilts. Plus she is awesomely nice - she gave me heaps of awesome help on my comment numbering issues, which are now solved. Thanks Jennie!

3. Jodi at Tickle and Hide - go check out her blog, she makes gorgeous stuff!

4. Marika at Live, Laugh, Love, Sew - a fabulous quilt maker and fellow fabric addict.

5. Heather at Crafting... again, makes beautiful stuff!

Go check out their wonderful blogs!

xx Jess

Thursday 19 April 2012

My Precioussss

After chatting with Danny the other day about my quite excessive stash of Good Folks, I've decided to kill two birds with one stone and use some of it. Gasp. I still get little butterflies when I think about actually cutting this stuff! So I'm joining in with the My Precious QAL (I can't help but say that in Gollum's voice in my head...) and using my stash of Good Folks (along with some AMH Garden Party fabrics) to make my retro flowers quilt (that's the killing two birds part).


Because this was a late night decision (all of ten minutes ago) I haven't taken any decent photos of my fabric pile as yet, but be assured I will do tomorrow. Unless after sleeping on it I decide it's not such a great idea. 

I might even do some cutting now before I chicken out. Wish me luck!

xx Jess

Wednesday 18 April 2012

WIP Wednesday: HST finishes!

Wow, this is my third post today. Heh. The other two were Festival of HST entry posts though so I really did have to split it into separate posts...

Anyway. I have had two finishes in the last couple of days. My Outfoxed on the High Seas quilt (you can read more about it here)

And my Rainbow Trail mini (blogged here)

Mojo is definitely back I'm happy to say! So plans for this week are to put together my iPad case I mentioned last Wednesday (didn't get any further than a few drawings and picking the fabric) and my biggest boy's giant chevron quilt. I am getting frequent 'so where's my quilt, mum?' so I really need to do that before I get onto anything else!

WIP stats for this week:

New Projects: 1
* Giant chevron quilt for Finn 

Finished: 2

In progress: 5
* iPad case
* Retro flowers QAL - at fabric selection stage still. So undecided about what to use!
* Baby quilt - no progress
* Swoon - completed 5/9 blocks (no progress)
* Stained QAL - no progress

Long term WIPs: 3
* Outfoxed on the High Seas  DONE!! Yay!
* Fandango
* Pop garden
plus a few other abandoned projects that may never see the light of day again ;) 

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced - go check out what awesome stuff everyone's been doing :o)

xx Jess

Outfoxed on the High Seas - A Finished Quilt

I am so, so happy to have finished this quilt. I made the quilt top back in January this year and then had a major brain freeze when it came to working out how to quilt it. After my sewing mojo issues last week I needed a finish to perk myself up a bit - so I picked up my High Seas quilt and did some sketching to work out how I was going to quilt it.

Three days of some pretty hardcore night time quilting (plus most of today thanks to my Mum looking after the smallest child) it's done. Quilted, bound and finished :o)

The pattern I used for this quilt is High Seas by Lizzy House, from her 5 Magical Projects book (all using 1001 Peeps). I used a bunch of different fabrics when making it, including lots of Outfoxed (in the blue/coral colourway), Denyse Schmidt, various Kona Solids, and some Amy Butler. The pattern did call for a border, but I decided not to - I like the way the waves appear to continue off the sides of the quilt.

I decided to try something different (for me) for the quilting on this one. I quilted the light spirals in a feather type motif, and the dark ones with a pointy flower just in the centre, with no quilting out in the 'arms'. It's not perfect by any means, but overall it looks really effective I think.

Apologies for the numerous quilting shots, I'm just a proud mama of this baby ;o)

I'm happy to say this quilt has been claimed by my 5 year old son (yes, the same one who declared last week he didn't want a quilt). Despite the pink in it, he loves the spiral pattern and has spent this afternoon snuggled under it :oD

Quilt Stats:

Design: High Seas by Lizzy House
Fabric: Outfoxed, Kona solids, Denyse Schmidt, Amy Butler
Size: 54" x 63"
Quilted by myself using cream Aurifil 50wt thread

I am entering this into the Festival of HSTs over at Canoe Ridge Creations (its nearly all comprised of HSTs of various sizes)

xx Jess

Rainbow Snail Trail Mini Finished!

I finished most of this quilt back in February, and had half-stitched the binding down and then it languished unfinished on top of our piano with all the other mini quilts waiting to be hung somewhere (yes, we are very lazy in this household ;o) ). I took me about an hour last night to finish stitching the binding (whilst watching a couple of episodes of Spaced - so excited they are replaying this series!) Cue photos.

Despite the miserable, grey day today, this one was a good little model and behaved itself perfectly for the photos.

A couple on my favorite bush in our garden (such a great colour!)

I quilted this one in the grey areas in straight lines following the edge of the rainbow trails, spacing the lines about 1/4" apart.

Quilt Stats:
Design: my own, using snail trail blocks
Fabric: a range of rainbow scraps (including Lizzy House, Denyse Schmidt, Jenean Morrison, Joel Dewberry) Kona Coal, Kona medium grey
Size: 24" x 24"

This quilt is about 90% HSTs, so I'm entering it into the Festival of HSTs over at Canoe Ridge Creations. Stay tuned for entry number 2 later today!!

xx Jess

Monday 16 April 2012

Happy mail!

Nothing like fabric parcels to cheer me up on an overcast autumny day. And there were lots today. So sorry in advance for a very gratuitous post. Well not sorry, but please try not to dribble too much on your key board ;o)

Firstly the postman delivered a few rather lovely parcels in my letter box. Firstly, my retro flowers templates (so now I really have to decide on fabric and get onto cutting!) They're really thick acrylic templates, so I think they'll make accurate cutting fairly easy.

A Fairy Tale Friends charm pack and honey bun, and a pack of Aurifil threads from a giveaway I won a few weeks ago on Pat Sloan's blog. No idea what I'll make with them, but I love the colours and designs. And the thread is going to be fun to play with :o)

My polka dot charms from the swap the very lovely Jen organised (thanks Jen, they're awesome!) I actually forgot to mention I was featured on her blog last Friday so if you'd like to learn a little more about me, you could check it out. She has a great blog!

Then a bit later in the day the parcel postman arrived with a couple of packages I ordered a few weeks back. I might add now that my fabric diet didn't last very long. Remember my commissions? Let's just say I will never make money making quilts, it gets spent on fabric veeery quickly :o)

Some Silent Cinema by Jenean Morrison - I have a bundle of the green/blue/yellow fabrics from this collection and I adore it, so when I saw these for $6 per yard, I ordered a bunch of the other prints. Some yard cuts (the top ones) and some half yards (the bottom ones).

And the other package was some FQs and half yards of Echo - I think I have most of this collection now. No idea what they'll become yet...

And a couple more pieces of Melody Miller's Ruby Star Spring. I have plans to embroider the cross stitch bees and make a couple of cushions. Plus I love the feel of these fabrics - so silky soft and lovely to work with.

If that wasn't enough for one day (I was feeling pretty chipper after all that fabricy goodness) the FedEx man arrived with the most exciting package I've seen in a loooong time.

This was a total splurge. It's really an early birthday present - the free shipping offer Oakshott had over Easter was too much to resist (it's normally 30 pounds to ship to Australia), plus the colour box itself was massively on special. 
So I begged Mr E and he agreed - and even he agrees they are superb. The photos do it no justice. You can wipe up the drool now ;o)

Back to quilting for me now!

xx Jess

Sunday 15 April 2012

Weekend sewing

I have been flitting between projects like a crazy butterfly recently. After finishing my sushi quilt early last week, I've been at a loose end. I had a few hours on Tuesday when my mum looked after my boys (who have had a week of school holidays) to sew and faffed around and got nothing achieved apart from sewing a few pieces to some random blocks. Then got pissed off with myself and grumped around for the rest of the day.

Wednesday I tried to convince my 5 year old to let me make him a quilt (it was his birthday on Friday, so I thought a late birthday quilt would be nice). Complete lack of interest. Which is weird, since he love snuggling under the other quilts in the house. Then Mr. 7 decided he would like a quilt, and the fun began. I've had a giant chevron quilt planned in my head for months, so I drew a sketch for Finn he loved it. He helped me design it, picked out fabrics and is really excited about it. I got it all cut on Thursday and sewed all the HST blocks together on Friday night. And then lost all motivation.

I thought I'd lost my sewing mojo. Seriously devasted. I have so many projects started, and so many in my head wanting to be made, and I just. couldn't. do it. And then I had this crazy idea that maybe I should actually finish something off. Maybe I should actually start seeing projects through from start to finish. Not all the time, obviously (I don't think I can work that way) but sometimes.

So I picked up my Outfoxed on the High Seas quilt top and did some sketches to work out how to quilt it. And just like that my sewing mojo was back! I've been quilting it tonight and I think it's going to work pretty well:

This is the quilt top I'm talking about - I have a love-hate relationship with this quilt so I'll be glad to finish it.

See how there are light wave shapes alternated with dark wave shapes? I've decided to connect with my inner Angela Walters (yeah, right!!) and quilt the light ones with a feathery type motif and the dark ones with a flowery design. I quilted my first light one, and then unpicked most of it (I forgot to take photos) because I didn't think ahead at all, and it looked awful. The next go was slightly better - not perfect, but I'm pretty happy with it considering I've never done feathers before. It's a bit hard to see the stitching cos I'm using Aurifil 50wt cream thread and it's disappearing into the quilt beautifully. I'm hoping it will mostly be the texture rather than visible quilting.

Same thing with the first dark one. Quilting, then frogging. Second go wasn't too bad if you don't look too closely ;o)

So wish me luck. I've had this very late realisation (like five minutes ago) that this quilt is in fact almost entirely made from HSTs. Which means it's a perfect candidate for the Festival of HSTs at Canoe Ridge Creations. Which means I need to get it done in the next 48 hours or so to enter it. Bets on whether I can do it?

x Jess

Wednesday 11 April 2012

WIP Wednesday: Nothing to see here...

First of all, thanks to all of you who entered my giveaway, and welcome to my new followers :o)

Second of all, after much mucking around with html code, and trying various gadgets to get my comments to be numbered (there may also have been a lot of swearing involved...) I have discovered I am an epic technology failure. I cannot get my comments to be numbered. I suck. I also managed to make the giveaway post disappear when closing the comments. So I doubly suck. Sigh. 

Anyhow the winner of the fabric is comment number 4: 

Heather D.Apr 3, 2012 09:30 PM
I follow your blog via google reader.
Congratulations Heather, I'll email you soon :o)

On the quilty front, I have finished my Sushi quilt and will be taking photos tomorrow - and I'll put up the finished photos once I get the okay from Sonja. So no pics sorry!

Apart from that it's been a weird week sewing wise. I've been a bit unwell (tonsillitis which has mutated into a snotty cold) and have had a few set backs with my intended next projects. I was all set today to start a few curves with my new Curve Master foot, in readiness to start my Retro Flowers quilt. I got it out of its packet and then read the fine print on the back - apparently for Berninas (which I have) you need a special foot to attach the curve master to (which I don't have). I have ordered the foot and I'm hoping it gets here quickly - I'm busting to give it a try - the youtube videos make it look SO easy to sew curves. Sigh again. 

On a more positive note (that first part of this post was a bit negative really!), I got an iPad last weekend (which has been heaps of fun to play with) and am planning a case using these fabrics (apologies for the horrible night time photo - they look much nicer in real life!):

It's still very much in planning stages - I want it to be quite different from the many tutorials out there. If my grand plans actually work (without too much swearing!) I'll do some sort of tutorial for it...

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly pieced - so check out the other peeps who are sure to have more exciting things to show :o)

x Jess

Monday 2 April 2012

Stale Stash Swap Goodies!

Late last week and today have been very cool mail days - my stale stash swap parcels have been arriving. I'd like to thank Lucy for organising this brilliant swap! It was heaps of fun negotiating what to swap, and what could be better than 'free' fabric?

Firstly, the lovely Alyce from Blossom Heart (a fellow Australian) sent these lovely fabrics. Two Loulouthi fat quarters, and half a metre of a teal and white print from Spotlight:

From the lady herself, Lucy from Charm About You sent a fat quarter of Amy Butler Lark, and some AMH hugs and kisses - plus a great bundle of scraps. Thanks Lucy, you rock! Lucy's just finished an absolutely gorgeous hexagon quilt made from Just Wing It - very, very cool, you should go check it out!

From Dana, a FQ of Moira from Lotta's Echo line. Love the rich orange - gorgeous!

From Cherie of I be's Cheraldine, a FQ of scarves from Aneela Hoey's sherbet pips.

From the fabulously hilarious Danny of Mommy for Reals (who has some serious talent going on!) a full yard of tufted tweets, and some great red gypsy fabric:

And lastly, my cheaty Curve Master presser foot. I really feel like a cop-out getting this, considering I've supposedly done the curves class at Stitched in Colour. But, several of my Twitter peeps swear by it, it means no pinning curves, and apparently makes perfect curves as easy as pie (seriously no pun intended!). I'm hoping to trial it in the next few days, so I'll keep you posted on whether it was worth it :o)

Off to do some more paper piecing - and show you some tomorrow!

x Jess

Sunday 1 April 2012

Fresh Sewing Day and To Do First April

For fresh sewing day this month, I thought I'd look at my 'To Do First' list from March:

1. Make my two commissioned quilts (no deadline, but I want to get them done soon) - DONE. Woo hoo! I feel like they took forever, but when I re-read my fresh sewing day post from the first of March, I hadn't started putting them together. So I'm actually quite pleased I got them done within the month (just).  
2. Secret project (Deadline 30th March) - DONE. Can't reveal this yet, but it shouldn't be too much longer...
3. Swoon - make the other four blocks and then work out how the heck I'll quilt it (and what sashing colour to use - I'm thinking black at the moment ?!) No further work on this. To be honest, I've lost motivation and have other things I'll do first :o)
4. 4x5 Bee blocks (Due 15th April) - DONE

So pictures of my finishes for March:

And my To Do List for April:

I have had SO much fun picking out bundles of fabrics for these projects - I could seriously play with different combinations of fabric all day, every day :o)

1. Retro Flowers QAL 
using (probably mostly) this bundle of fabrics (well maybe not these exact ones, but it will involve purple, mustard, orange, teal, grey and black):

 2. A baby quilt using these fabrics:

Based around Meet the Gang, with a bunch of coordinating solids, plus a few other prints.

3. Stained QAL - I've cut all my fabrics for this and made one block. I'm using Saffron Craig's Magical Lands and have chosen a bundle of prints based on this.

4. To do absolutely first is a paper-pieced quilt (all will be revealed in a couple of weeks)

I'm linking up to Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts

Lily's Quilts

And To Do First with Lawson and Lotti

Lawson and Lotti

xx Jess

Finishes at last!

Woohoo! Finally finished these commissioned quilts! I'm really happy with how they've turned out - now just the gut-wrenching wait till my customer receives them, and I find out whether she likes them...

I apologise in advance for the truly awful photos - grey miserable rainy day yesterday and today has meant no good photo opportunities. So they're inside shots.

Firstly, pillowcases (there are two of these, identical) - it has been folded overnight, hence the really bad crease lines in it... They came out really well. I used this tutorial again for them. It is such a straight forward tutorial, and you end up with a really great pillowcase at the end :o)

Quilt number 1 (plus a small person trying to help hold it up! May have had something to do with the whining from the person holding up the quilt ;o) )

Quilt number 2. Upside down now that I look at it...

And a bit of a close up of the pretty stripy binding - I really, really love striped bindings, and this pink/white stripe just pulled these quilts together perfectly.

Each of these measures about 82" x 58". I did take some photos on our queen sized bed this morning (just because it was such a grey, rainy day and I needed to get photos to my customer) and they pretty much covered the mattress. But then we got sun this afternoon, so I did manage to get some outside (much better) photos.

So big sigh of relief these are finally done - now I can start the next batch of projects :o)

xx Jess