Monday 29 June 2015

Ripple (Finished and Featured!)

A few weeks ago, I promised to show you a couple of quilts that have recently appeared in magazines. The quilt I'm sharing today can be found in the Spring issue of Modern Patchwork (that came out in, ahem, April. That's recent, right?) This is Ripple - she's a 96" square beast and was a wee bit tricky to get a full photograph of. 

I would have really loved to free motion quilt this quilt, but I decided to save my shoulders and use my walking foot because of the massive size. It was a sensible decision - this is the biggest quilt I've made, and even walking foot quilting it was pretty tricky with the 7.5" throat space in my machine. I ended up quilting a rectangular crosshatch across the diamond design, but only extended the lines out in one direction into the background rather than cross hatching across the whole quilt. I really like the effect, and the texture is lovely. I used wool batting, so it has a little bit of puff and is incredibly warm and snuggly.

This quilt has quickly become our favorite bed quilt. I think I'll be making another version of this quilt from my scrap basket later this year. I'm in desperate need of using some of my scraps, and I'm thinking a rainbow version would be pretty cool (and I'm pretty sure miss 4 would agree)!

I'm hoping I'll be back later this week to share some of what I've been working on lately, and some quilts that my students have been making in the classes I've been teaching so far this year :o)

xx Jess

Monday 22 June 2015

Stuff ups of the royal kind

Sometimes people stuff up big time. Now is one of those times, and that person is me. Also thank goodness for quilty friends for nipping this in the bud and alerting me to it! I failed to read my contract with Interweave properly, and I am not allowed to publish my Misdirection pattern until next March (12 months after the original publication, not two like I thought.) 

So thanks for all your lovely comments and congratulations on the release, but you'll be seeing it all again next  year when I am actually allowed to release it. I feel horribly unprofessional doing this, but it's a good learning experience and not something I'll do again. Read your contracts properly, people!

I hope you have a better start to the week than me ;o)

xx Jess

Friday 19 June 2015

Friday Fabric Finds

It's been a long time between my Friday Fabric Finds posts - but I'm hoping to get back to doing them on a regular basis again. These posts are where I share what's new in my sponsor's shops, and any sales or specials that they are running.

First off the ranks this week is Pink Castle Fabrics, who have just begun stocking Janome sewing machines and accessories. Pink Castle are running a Janome kick-off sale from 18th - 28th of June, and they have some phenomenal deals on offer. If you're in the market for a new machine, it is definitely worth checking out! Pink Castle have also just listed this limited edition Alison Glass bundle of fabrics - 46 fat eighths of rainbow goodness with a bunch of fantastic low volume prints thrown in!

I always find it hard to choose what to share from Sew Me a Song - Becca carries such a unique range of fabric in her shop. As always, Becca has a huge range of fabulous low volume prints in the shop - and this Floursack bundle from Suzuko Koseki really caught my eye. These would make such fantastic fussy cuts, or backing fabrics.

Polka Dot Tea have just received a whole bunch of fantastic collections. They have the full collection of Jen Kingwell's recently released Gardenvale, Skopelos by Katarina Rocella for Art Gallery Fabrics, and this spectacular bundle of Cotton Couture solids. Just think of all the rainbow goodness you could make with 42 fat quarters! We have had so much cloudy, rainy weather here lately, I think I'm craving colour ;o)

Finally, the Fat Quarter Shop are celebrating their 12th birthday, and are having a week of fabulous deals. They are running a different 24 hour sale each day this week - and you can check out what's on offer each day on the Jolly Jabber blog. Right now they are offering 30% off selected layer cakes.

I also wanted to share a sale that's happening a little close to home - Frangipani Fabrics are currently offering 40% off loads of designer fabric, including Amy Butler, Tula Pink and more. Even better, if you're based in Tassie it's free postage! 

I'll be back over the weekend to release my Misdirection pattern - I can't wait to share my tester's gorgeous versions with you! 

xx Jess

Thursday 18 June 2015

Beneath the Waves (a finished quilt!)

Back in December last year, I hosted a giveaway for a roll up of blue Cotton Couture fabric from my wonderful sponsors Polka Dot Tea fabrics and Danielle and Jeanette generously sent me a roll up as well. It's no secret that I'm a massive fan of cotton couture - I first used it last year when I made Galaxy and it was love at first touch. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to work with the roll up! Around the same time, I bought Karlee Porter's self published Grafitti Quilting book (which is excellent), and instantly wanted to give grafitti quilting a try - and what better way to feature quilting than working on an all-solids quilt? This idea percolated away for a while, and then when I came back from QuiltCon I came up with a solid plan for how I wanted to approach it.

I started by sorting the strips by value (using the black and white function on my camera), attempting to have a smooth transition from dark to light across the quilt top. I nearly managed it, but I think I accidentally switched a few strips around while I was piecing it so there are a couple that don't quite transition smoothly - but it's close enough for the effect I wanted ;o)

Once it was pieced and basted I dived straight into the quilting. I was lucky enough to attend a class with Krista Withers (one of my quilty heroes) at QuiltCon, and I came home full of ideas I wanted to try. One of the best things I came away from Krista's class with was ideas for how to approach breaking up negative space with quilting, and I wanted to incorporate some of that into the quilting on this quilt. So I decided to use a combination of grafitti quilting and Krista's ideas and hope for the best. I decided to use this as a learning experience, and just go with it - no ripping stitches, no self-criticism but just have fun and play. As a result it was one of the most enjoyable quilts to quilt - and I'm delighted with how it turned out. It was a brilliant learning quilt - finding some new (to me) shapes and combinations of designs, and getting LOTS of ideas for future quilts.

I made this quilt for my baby nephew, who lives in a house with polished boards, so I used a double layer of wool batting on this quilt thinking it would be a lovely quilt for wriggle time (and to play on as he gets older). The resulting texture is pretty incredible - I think it will be a really great sensory quilt as he gets older and starts to explore things more. I'm using a double layer of batting more and more on smaller quilts - I just can't get enough of the texture it gives. I don't think I'd do it on anything much bigger than this (it's about 40" x 60") due to the added weight, but as I'm becoming more confident with my quilting, I'm really loving the added puff two layers gives.

The quilting is all Aurifil 50wt thread - a variegated blue in the darker area of the quilt, and then a light variegated grey in the lighter area. Overall the thread has blended beautifully and has just left all the glorious texture. The combination of cotton couture, double layer batting and all that quilting makes for a pretty luxurious quilt - it's silky soft to touch and it is very comfy to lie on (as this little cutie can attest!)

I can't promise I'll have two posts in such quick succession again by the way - but these wintery nights are much better suited to sitting on the couch with my laptop than braving my freezing cold sewing room, and I have lots of things I need to share, so I might actually become a regular blogger again ;o)

xx Jess

Wednesday 17 June 2015

TMQG Raffle Quilt

Earlier this year, some of our Tasmanian MQG members got together at one of our sewing days and started putting blocks together for our raffle quilt. One of our very dedicated members (my friend Lauren) then put the rest of the blocks together. We worked together to piece the top - and then it was handed over to me for the quilting (which I finished back in April).

We made this quilt using a bundle of Kona solids, and Carolyn Friedlander's fantastic Aerial pattern. The blocks are all paper pieced, so it was the perfect choice for a group quilt in terms of making sure the blocks were all the same size. It went together like a dream! 

It took me a while to decide how to quilt this one, but I knew I wanted to keep it fairly simple since it's such a dynamic and complex design. I ended up deciding to quilt in the ditch in all the seams in each block, and then chose one colour within each block to do some free motion organic straight lines. I think it works really well - the texture is really lovely without distracting from the complexity of the blocks. 

I used coordinating Aurifil thread for all the quilting - my healthy thread stash certainly came in handy ;o) How to quilt the borders had me stumped for a while - but I ended up extending out the 'fractured' lines within the blocks, and then filling in the spaces around them with some swirls and a couple of feathery designs.

 It wasn't until I quilted the last border that I discovered what I should have done across the whole border - rather than extending the line and echoing it at an angle on both sides (as in the photo above), it looks much more effective where I've just echoed one side (as in the lower area in the photo below). I'm still really happy with how this one came out, but it was a really great learning experience and has given me ideas for how to quilt future projects :o)

We are currently selling raffle tickets for this quilt, and the winner will be drawn at the Craft and Quilt Fair in July. The money we raise will be going to a support a sewing program at our local Women's Prison. I am thrilled that we are supporting this program - I know so many people (including myself) who have found sewing and quilting to be amazing therapy when going through difficult times in life. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, please contact us at tassiemqg at gmail dot com.

xx Jess

PS stay tuned for my MisDirection pattern release later this week! I can't wait to show you my amazing testers versions.

Thursday 11 June 2015

Modern Quilt Show Australia

Things have been a bit quiet around here of late (again!), mostly due to a month or so of continual ick in our house and zero sewing. But everyone seems to be healthy again now (touch wood!!) and I have tonnes of stuff to share with you all, so I am determined to get back to blogging again a bit more regularly. Famous last words I know, but I have some upcoming pattern releases and a few recent publications that I still haven't shared so I'll hopefully get back into the swing of it this month :o)

I have some pretty exciting news to share in the mean time. A few weeks ago, the Woolongong Modern Quilt Guild hosted the second Modern Quilt Show Australia, in Kiama, NSW. Unfortunately I wasn't able to travel over for the show, but the glimpses I got were pretty amazing. The massively talented Rachaeldaisy (who blogs at Blue Mountain Daisy) won Best in Show and First Place in the Modern Traditional category for her spectacular Clamshell Carousel, and I really hope I get to see it in person one day. I love everything Rachael makes, but this one takes the cake.

I entered two quilts into the show and they were both accepted. MisDirection was entered in the Use of Negative Space category, and Galaxy was entered in the Modern Traditional Category.

I found out on Saturday via my lovely friend Melissa (aka Ms Midge) that MisDirection won third place in her category! I'm (obviously) completely over the moon, I love this quilt so much so it was lovely to win a prize for her. But then Sunday afternoon I got some of the best news ever (again from Melissa!) - Galaxy won First Place in Viewers Choice. I'm still a bit shell shocked to be honest, it's a little overwhelming that people loved my quilt that much :o) A huge, huge thanks to the show organisers, you all did an amazing job!

I'll be back in the next few days with more to share,

xx Jess