Sunday, October 4, 2015

Greg Mystery CAL Part 2

I have just completed Part 2 of Spincushions, Greg Mystery CAL and this installment was all about this stunning little square, JOE:
It's is such a lovely pattern and it didn't take long for me to crochet my first square. For Part 2, I needed twelve little 5" JOE blocks and I worked on them while watching afternoon movies with the kids.
Blocking takes a little time and patience but I think they still look pretty, during this process:
So here's my stack of twelve JOE blocks, all ready and waiting for the next installment:
I'm really enjoying this project so far and I'm excited to see how it will all piece together :)  For now its back to the final two rows of my Sophie. This blanket is so close to completion and it looks gorgeous. I'll share some pictures of its completion, next week.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thursday Tip #11

{Thursday Tip: A regular weekly feature sharing my quilting tips. There are no rules in quilting, these are just the things that work for me and might help you. There are no quilt police, so use them as a guide; no ones watching :) There is no wrong way to do anything......just relax, experiment, learn, create and have fun. }
We all like to add our own stamp to designs or whip up a project without a pattern. I love seeing how people interpret my designs; some people adhere to the pattern, others make it there own. There's inspiration everywhere and playing around with different design elements is all part of the fun.
Here's a few of my tips to help you design some of your own elements:
  • To add lettering to projects, choose your favorite font or Word Art in Microsoft Word (or equivalent) and print them out to use as templates for applique or stitching. Use fine fonts for stitching and large bold fonts for applique.
  • Depending on your preferred method of applique, letters may have to be reversed prior to printing, to avoid backward lettering.
  • Don't forget Microsoft Word has lots of shapes i.e. stars, hearts, circles etc. that are perfect to use as templates as well. 
  • Basic stationary items such as pencil compasses, protractors etc. are handy items to use for drawing accurate circles or half circles for applique, stitching and quilting designs.
  • Cookie cutters, bowls, glasses, buttons and cake decorating supplies are great for tracing around and using as design elements. Basically everything has a shape, so consider everything.
  • Kids colouring books are also versatile. A few years ago, I made Cohen an appliqued "Ben 10" quilt . He picked his favorite characters from his colouring book and I used those as the templates for all the applique. I stitched the smaller details, to keep it as authentic as I could.
  • Colouring books are also helpful, when teaching kids to stitch, as the designs are large and less detailed. Trace their favorite character onto fabric, start them stitching and then frame the completed stitchery for their bedroom wall :) 
  • Their artwork is another great source of inspiration and even more special, because they designed it themselves.
  • Most printers have an enlarge or reduce feature, so you can alter the size of any design element you draw or digitally draft, quite quickly and easily, to fit.
  • I have been guilty of raiding hubby's workshop, looking for shapes. Metal washers are perfect for flower centre templates, just for reference :)
  • Design your own quilting designs, using houeshold objects as well. Plates are fantastic for marking arcs and glasses for marking circles. You can also give a rounded edge to quilts, using a plate, to evenly mark each corner.
Its easy and fun to add your own special touches to any project. Remember to look around at your everyday items and you will find something just perfect and if not, you can always forage through hubby's workshop too, just don't get caught :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 48

This weeks gorgeous block is Tudor Rose. While researching the history of this traditional block, I found that it was attributed to Loretta Leitner, a daily columnist for the Chicago Tribune during the 1930's, who wrote under the pen name, Nancy Cabot. Every day Nancy shared a quilt block pattern which was available for readers to purchase and this was one of those blocks.
I think its a lovely block and it will be a perfect addition to our sampler quilts.
Unfortunately, this is another one of those blocks where the measurements should be taken to the nearest 1/16". To avoid doing that to you, I have taken them to the nearest 1/8" and you will have to trim back the centre square, just a smidgen, to achieve an accurate 6" finished block (this step is clearly marked in the pattern)
To download this weeks free block pattern, just visit HERE.
Also, a few people have asked how many blocks will be required for this quilt. I'll be sharing two layout options and some border options, in future posts. The on-point layout will require 83 blocks and the horizontal layout will require 80 blocks. Of course feel free to design your own, adding or reducing the number of blocks to suit. This is your quilt, so its all up to you; I'm just giving you some options and inspiration.
Meanwhile, my little stack of gorgeous blocks will continue to grow, as we continue to sew:
Happy sewing :)

Monday, September 28, 2015


It's early December 1974. I am six years old. I'm surrounded by women dressed in evening gowns and men in dinner suits and bow ties. I am in the balcony, dead centre. My program is already wrinkled from devouring the contents in anticipation. The chandelier dims. The red velvet curtain rises. The orchestra begins to play and I am taken on a magical journey with the beautiful Clara, the gorgeous Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker.
This beautiful ballet, introduced me to the wonderful world of theatre and dance. I have seen many productions of The Nutcracker since then and I have loved them all, but I don't think you ever forget that first time. It's also the inspiration behind my new Christmas design, Nutcracker:
I really love this little quilt and he will be a wonderful addition to our Christmas decorating this year. Its a quick and easy design, using basic piecing and some quick corners and he finishes at around 18" x 37".  I'm sure all the kids will love him because he is a generous size and he's such a sweetie.
He may not magically transform into a prince, but I think he's pretty cute, from the top of his hat to the tips of his shiny black boots. He's a great little stash buster project; I raided my older fabrics, to give him an authentic feel and I am very happy with the end result.
Nutcracker is available as a PDF pattern only. The pattern includes detailed written instructions and lots of step by step colour diagrams to assist in the easy construction of your quilt. From now until Christmas, PDF patterns of Nutcracker are available at the discounted price of $5.95. If you wish to purchase a copy, just visit my store HERE.
I really enjoyed designing this little quilt. I hope you love him as much as I do and that he adds that something special to your Christmas decorating for many years to come :)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Free October 2015 Calendar

School holidays start this afternoon and I'm looking forward to spending the next two weeks, relaxing with Cohen (and Maddi when she isn't working on Uni assignments or at work). Its been a fast paced term and the kids, and the mums, are beginning to show the signs of exhaustion: its time for a well deserved break :) It's also time for your free October Calendar:
This months featured design is my Sunday Brunch pattern. This is one of my favorite designs and I use my set quite often both on our dining table and our outdoor setting.
The pattern pack includes instructions for the tablecloth, placemats and coasters and they all look lovely on any table. The main block used throughout all three projects, is the Oddfellows Chain block and its one of my absolute favorites :)
So as my monthly special, from today until the end of October, PDF versions of this pattern are available at the discounted price of $5.95 in my store HERE.
To download and print your free October Calendar, just visit HERE.
Next week, I'll be releasing a new Christmas pattern. He's just adorable and I had lots of fun with him, so I thought I'd share a little sneak peek:
Just a few more tweaks to the pattern and I'll be happy to release it, so watch out for this one next week, I'm sure you will love him too :)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday Tip #10

{Thursday Tip: A regular weekly feature sharing my quilting tips. There are no rules in quilting, these are just the things that work for me and might help you. There are no quilt police, so use them as a guide; no ones watching :) There is no wrong way to do anything......just relax, experiment, learn, create and have fun. }
I get asked a lot about how to choose fabrics for projects. Now days we are spoiled with lovely precuts of complete fabric ranges such as Jelly Rolls, Charm Packs, Layer Cakes etc. and our choices have already been selected for us.  So, how do we choose fabrics from our stash or the scraps from these precuts? Here's a few of my tips for choosing fabrics from scratch:
  • I always begin with a main fabric and for me 95% of the time, its always a blue or aqua fabric usually with a floral print. Its the fabric I'm most "attracted" too and I usually select all coordinating fabric based on this main fabric.
  • Look closely at your main fabric. Identify all of the colours that appear in the fabric. Look at how brown fades through to gold or burgundy fades through to pink etc. Select fabrics with the same warm/cool colour values.
  • Consider using a colour wheel to help you identify warm or cool colour hues.
  • Add one additional fabric at a time to the main fabric, to see how they work together; what may appear minimally in the main fabric, may overpower or dominate throughout the quilt.
  • Stand back and critique your fabric choices. Remember you will be seeing these fabrics in smaller amounts over the whole quilt. Its also helpful to walk away and look at your choices later with a fresher eye and change any fabrics which you feel overpowers your selection.
  • Mix different patterns but be careful of the scale of the pattern. Large polka dots might not work well with small floral patterns or thick stripes might overpower delicate patterns. I find a large selection of different patterns works best for me.
  • Also consider the size of the pieces you will be cutting when choosing the scale of a pattern. Thin strips or small pieces, don't work well when cut from large scale patterns.
  • Don't be afraid to use solids. They can add a dramatic feel to a block or emphasise a colour throughout a quilt.
  • If you can, sew a test block to ensure the colours are balanced and that there is lovely contrast throughout the block.
  • Make sure your fabric choices are evenly distributed throughout your quilt, so your eyes are not drawn to one particular section.
  • Scrap quilts, like the Postage Stamp Quilt, are great practice but they also help to develop your "freedom" with using colour. Pull a large selection of fabric and take out anything that may be too overpowering or just screams "NO" and play around with combinations as you sew,
  • Trust your instincts. If your combination feels right and looks balanced to you, then go for it. Don't be afraid to break out and play with colour, it just might work :)
Nature is great inspiration for choosing colour. Take some time to really look at your surroundings and appreciate how colours work together before choosing fabrics for your next project. Kids use colour so well when they draw or paint. They commit to bold colour choices, they break the rules, they have fun and create, which is what life is all about.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 47

This weeks lovely little block is Courthouse Steps. There are a few variations of this block, all equally as beautiful, but this one with the cornerstones, is my favorite.
This block is an easier variation of the traditional Log Cabin block, and its a perfect block to teach beginners. The construction is a little different to the Log Cabin, which has the dark and light pieces wrapped around the centre square. In this variation, the dark and light halves are divided on opposite sides of the block.
This is a lovely block on its own but it also looks stunning when used as a secondary block in a quilt layout.  I hope you enjoy sewing this one.
To download this weeks free pattern, just visit HERE.
A huge welcome to everyone who subscribed to follow my blog via email. I was unaware that so many people preferred to read blogs this way, so I am very thankful to those who asked for me to include this as an option :)
And as promised, here are the collages for Blocks 27-36 and Blocks 37-45:
Blocks 27-36
Blocks 37- 45
Happy sewing :)
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