Thursday, October 31, 2019

Sit Dog, Sit! New Paper Pieced Quilt Block Pattern!

Several months ago I did a very small Quilt Along featuring some new Farm Animals I had created. While most of these patterns were released at the time of the Quilt Along, one pattern was not. That pattern was called 'Sit Dog, Sit!'



'Sit Dog, Sit!' is a 12" quilt block pattern using foundation paper piecing. The release of the PDF pattern was delayed, as I was developing a print version of the pattern and it was one of the featured pre-release patterns in the Jump On In Box in October 2019. The Jump On In Box is a quarterly subscription box full of fabrics, patterns and other quilty goodness from Sew-Inn Colac in Australia, and totally worth checking out (I'm a subscriber myself). In fact, the background fabric I used when making my own version of this pattern was Serenity - Daydream from the Pinkerville Range by Tula Pink and was one of the fabrics which came in the first-ever Jump On in Box! I then used some pretty pink fabric from my stash and an 18" zip to finish my block into a pretty cushion cover!

There were some pretty cute versions of Sit Dog, Sit made during the Quilt-Along by my testers and I really couldn't pick a favourite:


I love the flowers that Truus Tante used for the background. Truus plans to make a full quilt of farm animals using all the animals from the quilt along!


Donna said she was thinking of her own dog when she was making her version and used fabrics and colours to reflect this. 


Marie's puppy quilt block was very cute in the green hues she chose!


Julia had been making a rainbow of farm animals for her quilt, and so she made her version of Sit Dog, Sit! using a variety of beautiful Orange fabrics. 


I'd love to know which version is your favourite - Let me know in the comments!

Sit Dog, Sit! is available as an instant PDF download in my Etsy Store now, or as a print pattern available select quilt stores.

Happy Piecing!
RJ

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Have you heard about the Purple People?

Hello again!

Recently I designed a fun new quilt called 'Purple People' and I haven't yet had a chance to write about it.  Essentially Purple People is a series of twelve foundation paper pieced faces, which all differ in expression and have subtly different features.


Each quilt block measures 6" wide by 8" tall and the finished quilt centre should measure 22" across and 37" down after sashing has been added. 

When I designed them, I envisaged the faces would be purple for my own quilt. However, since the release of the first blocks, I have seen the blocks made in all different colours, including, one participant who decided to make hers as a Rainbow! 

If you want to join in the fun an make your own Purple People Quilt - I'm releasing one quilt block each month until July next year through my email newsletters. 

'Moustache Matt' made using Aboriginal Dot by Kaffe Fassett

The first two blocks, Kissy Karen, and Moustache Matt, have already been released and have now been made available to purchase in my Pattern Store for a small cost and if you would like to get the remaining blocks for free, make sure you sign up to my mailing list

Alternatively, the full Purple People Quilt Pattern including all twelve foundation paper pieced quilt blocks, sashing, and quilting suggestions will be made available for purchase sometime in the last half of 2020.

Happy Quilting!
RJ

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Packing, Moving and Sewing.

It's been a while since I posted. There is a very good reason for it. 
I'm moving house - actually we are moving cities. As of next week, I will be living in part of the artistic (and coincidentally also political) capital of New Zealand, Wellington! 
However, in the meantime, it has meant a lot of sorting, donating, cleaning and generally having a clear-out of the horrendous amount of rubbish that we seem to have accumulated or kept from our last move. Seriously - how many spare pillows do we actually need? Because I had about 16 spares in the cupboard and more on the spare bed! Unfortunately, all of this has not left me a lot of time for quilting or sewing. 


However, I have managed to finish up one of the items on my list for The Work in Progress Project. 


Remember I wanted to finish my Up in the Air Quilt filled with Aeroplanes, Rockets, Helicopters, and Hot Air Balloons but was very unenthused about it. I had chosen a baby blue background colour which I thought was going to look like the sky when it all came together. Turned out by the end of six quilt blocks I really disliked the colour.



I think it was just too over-powering on its own and needed more colour to break it up. So I decided to put a colourful border around each one and make six mini-quilts to donate to Tauranga Hospital's Special Care Baby Unit. This is something I have done before, but never six at once!

Thanks to the ladies at Papamoa Patchers for being my lovely quilt-holders!
I know it probably seems a bit crazy, that as I'm trying to reduce the number of unfinished quilts I have by actually finishing them, I would decide to make six quilts instead of one. But it did give me the passion back that I needed in order to finish these blocks and make something that I know will be cherished by six little people. As I started putting the borders around each one, I realised that I could have quite easily put all six blocks into one quilt with the rainbow borders, making a lovely aircraft themed rainbow quilt. However I was also pretty determined to finish what I had started and because we are moving I now had a deadline!




Each of the blocks has a pretty backing, but my favourite is definitely the backing I used for the Red Hot Air Balloon Quilt. The heart fabric is by Riley Blake, and is something that I found while cleaning out my stash. The hot air balloons are a fabric that I had printed at Spoonflower using my logo (it's not for sale, but here are some designs that are) It turned out so cute. I also ended up using a lovely Satin binding which will I hope will be nice and soft and silky on those precious baby fingers that will be curling around the edges. 



I'm pretty pleased with all of these awesome colourful mini-quilts and hope they brighten up the Special Care Baby Unit! All of these quilt block patterns can be found in my Etsy shop either individually or as a set of quilt blocks.



It's another project finished, but I still have plenty left. Plus, unfortunately, when I was cleaning out my fabric stash I found another two unfinished projects that I started years ago. One is a completed flimsy (quilt top - yet to be quilted), and the other was an EPP project I started moons ago and clearly did not get unpacked from last time we moved. I have put them both in a box marked "The Work in Progress Project" and will add them to my list. One thing is now very clear - given my propensity to start further projects on a whim (I want to make everything!) and the fact that I keep finding forgotten projects, it is a safe bet that I will not be finishing all of my WIPs any time soon, but that doesn't mean I won't keep trying! 

Now my sewing machine, overlocker, and all my tools are sorted and packed into boxes. So that means no sewing for the next couple of weeks and not finishing any more projects for now. Although I'm sure it will be unpacked and set up in a new room as soon as possible when we reach our new home.

Until next time, Happy Quilting!
RJ

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Free Foundation Paper Pieced Patterns

Thanks for stopping by my website! This page contains patterns that I have designed and are available for you to download for free. I will continue to add patterns every so often, so make sure you check back regularly!

Many of these patterns were available first to my email subscribers - make sure you sign up to get a FREE Foundation Paper Pieced Pattern every month!



If you are a beginner to Foundation Paper Piecing, you might also like to download

Snowball Flower Pattern 



This was a free pattern in my June 2019 email newsletter.

Jack-O-Lantern Pattern 


The Jack-O-Lantern pattern was developed in 2018 and was offered for sale in my Etsy Store for a short time, but was also offered to my email subscribers for free in September 2018. It has recently been updated and comes in two sizes, 9" and 12".


Thank you so much for visiting my webpage and I hope you enjoy using these free patterns! Keep checking back as now and then I will add more.

Happy Piecing!
RJ


Sunday, September 1, 2019

Making something just for the fun of it.

I've been a bit naughty and I don't feel guilty about it either. 

I made something from my quilty bucket list - 'Distractions' by Blossom Heart Quilts! Its a foundation paper pieced pattern that is available in Issue 16 of Make Modern Magazine.



You might be wondering why I have no guilt about starting a new project?
Well to start with, I also finished it! 


The other thing is to be completely honest I needed a break. I’ve done pretty well so far finishing off some of my in-progress quilts, but I was feeling recently that my sewing was more “work” than “fun”. I needed to make something fun that wasn’t scheduled and is just for me. Something to re-inspire me and help me stop avoiding the sewing machine. This was a great small project to do that with, plus still get it finished in one day.

The other reason is that it is a great pattern for using up some of my ever-growing fabric stash! In fact, I didn’t buy a single thing to make this. Everything came from my stash including the wadding/batting and the cushion insert!

This helped me to realise two things
1. I have some cool stuff in my stash.
Check out the cool black and white fabric I used for my border and backing for example. It's been at the bottom of a box for a really long time and how perfect is it for this project!


2. I need to have a clear out, as some of the fabrics I have there, I will probably never use.

When I say the entire thing was made from my stash I mean it, I got to use some of the scraps from my overflowing scrap box, the black came from a skirt I tried to make years ago (and it was a disaster) which has been waiting around for me to fix (that was never going to happen).



This pattern was fantastic for using up my scraps and I got to dig around in my stash for the border and backing fabric. The example in Issue 16 of Make Modern Magazine used an off-white background with a grey border, but I decided to use black and the funky black and white flower print for my border for this one, which I think makes it really quite striking.

Worth noting: During September 2019 if you make ANY pattern from ANY issue of Make Modern Magazine and tag #highfivemakemodern on Instagram you could win some pretty awesome prizes like fabric bundles, patterns, books and magazine subscriptions. So if you have any patterns on your bucket list - now's probably a good time to make it!

I'm going to keep this cushion just for me. I really like it and it also serves as a reminder not to put too much pressure on myself, which is something I have been doing lately.

Hope you are having some great quilty adventures of your own!

Happy piecing!
RJ

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The Work in Progress Project: Another finish!

So I’m pleased to say I have finished two quilts this week!


I have finally finished my Spring Fling Lap Quilt (previously referred to as Grandmothers Garden Lap Quilt) and I have written all of my articles for Online Quilt Magazine! This quilt has turned out so pretty, and I’m definitely going to make another. In fact, I’m planning a sew-along for March next year. You can sign up to join me here, there are going to be some awesome prizes, including quilt patterns from Cedar Makerie, Premium subscriptions to Online Quilt Magazine and more!




I did a quick poll on Instagram to see which flower from this pattern was the most popular and it turns out that it’s pretty even across the board. Lots of people commented that they loved all of them, and the colours are very pretty.


I’m a firm believer that every quilt has something to teach you. With this quilt, I think the lesson was that a little bit of advance planning pays off. I don't think this quilt would have been quite so pretty had I not decided on using the fabrics I did right from the start.
The other thing I did with this quilt was to try a new binding technique. It worked quite well, but I think I need to try it a couple more times before I make a firm judgment on whether I like it better than my old technique.





Projects currently in progress: 6
Up in the Air Quilt
Farm Animal Quilt
Orphan Iris Block
Purple People Quilt
Lorikeet Mug Rug
Tommy Turtle/ Bale of Turtles

Monday, August 26, 2019

Conquering my fear of applique... it's time to try a new technique.

It turns out the Kiwi quilt I was asked to design and make was not as difficult as I thought and it has turned out so cool. Many of my regular readers will know that I have usually stuck to foundation paper piecing. My reasons for this were not simply due to the fact that I like foundation paper piecing, but also that I was terrified of applique. It seemed like it would be a very difficult thing to do. That probably sounds funny to many quilters, who feel quite the opposite. 



So when I was asked by a local quilt shop to design something for a print pattern that would use New Zealand themed Kiwiana fabric by Nutex Fabrics, I knew it would be a learning curve for me. 


Being a Cruise ship port, we often get an influx of tourists over summer. The plan was to sell my pattern along with a fabric-kit to tourists. Therefore the design needed to be appliqué as then it is possible to hand-sew the quilt while people are on their cruise (what a great way to spend those sea-days, am I right?)  

The first thing I did was buy the fabric. I probably did this backward - I bought the fabric first and then went home to try and think of the inspiration for a design. Eventually, I came up with the design and printed off my templates. I even went so far as to cut them out and put them on the bed in my sewing room. 


The next thing I did was procrastinate - for several months. 

Why? FEAR. I was so scared of messing it up and ruining those beautiful fabrics. I was also scared of moving out of my comfort zone and trying something new. But I couldn't put it off forever, as I had told the owner of the quilt shop that I would try and come up with something before cruise ship season starts in mid-September, and you all know how I am about deadlines!


I used the raw edge technique of applique and once I actually started I learned several things:
1. Heat n Bond is incredible stuff. This was so much easier than the previous stuff I tried using for applique. Plus I found a cool way to use it to print my own quilt labels (I'll write another post about that later).  Last time I used fusible web I managed to adhere it to my ironing board and ruin the ironing board. Lucky for me, a new cover for the ironing board was only a few dollars from KMart and as yet hubby hasn't noticed my faux pas.


2. My sewing is not as bad as I thought. I have said previously that one of the reasons I stick to foundation paper piecing is due to the fact that my sewing capabilities are somewhat lacking. Turns out all that practice has given me more confidence than I knew I had. Plus, when it came to quilting this one, I tried to stretch my skills a bit and I think it paid off.

3. Applique can be just as wasteful of fabric, if not more so than foundation paper piecing! Yep - Turns out when I looked at the amount of waste I created after cutting out my shapes and there was actually more wasted fabric than I would have had foundation paper piecing. I guess this is because you are cutting out shapes and there is less opportunity to use your scraps in the same project like there is in foundation piecing because the motifs are cut as one or two pieces. However, I still kept some of those scraps in my scrap box for future projects, so it's not like I threw them out. 

Although I think this pattern is really cool, it's pretty specific to the New Zealand quilting market. Because of this, I think this pattern will only be released as a print pattern and probably only sold to quilt shops at this stage (unless of course, Nutex wants to distribute it for me). However, I could be convinced otherwise if enough people want it as a PDF. 


I did have a lot of fun with this quilt and I learned a lot. I think I have conquered my fear of applique and would definitely do it again for another quilt. What advice do I have for you? Regardless of which technique it is that YOU fear, I would like to encourage you to give it a try. It's a great learning opportunity and you might find you are good at it. You might also mess it up, but you won't know that until you try it!

Happy Piecing!
RJ