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


Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Quilty Bucket List and an addiction to making quilts.

What’s on your quilting bucket list?
One of the issues I’m finding while I’m trying to reduce the number of WIPs I have is that there are so many other quilts I want to make and there is constant temptation to start another project. I’m guilty of trawling through Instagram, drooling over all the pretty quilts other people have made, wishing I had time to make them all myself. At some point, I have to set a limit. So I’ve created my Quilty bucket list and thought I would share some of the projects on it with you:



I really want to make a smaller version of Lady in Red by my friend Nessie 505. This pattern is so original and there is no other quite like it. In fact, I have my fabrics picked out already and I think this quilt will look awesome in some Tula Pink fabrics.

Next on my bucket list is Distractions by Blossom Heart Quilts. This pattern is in Issue 16 of Make Modern Magazine and I think it would be great for using up some of the scraps in my stash. Plus this is a cushion size so a nice small project which I might be able to do in a day or two.



It’s not glamorous but here’s a picture of my scrap pile and, yep, that’s a nappy box I’m keeping them in (I’m a great recycler). 



I have a plan to use some of these with another scrap busting pattern that I want to try is Girls Best Friend by Gray Barn Designs from Issue 29 of Make Modern Magazine





Plus I really want to make some Candy Cats by Unicorn Harts! They are so cute and I think it would make such a cute quilt for a baby.

Of course, then I dream up my own designs, as well as the several others I have spinning around in my head that I would love to make for family and friends. I guess this is how you know you are addicted to quilting - because this is what I think about all of the time!

I know I will eventually get to make all of these quilts and many of the others that are on my bucket list probably more, plus this list will probably change and grow over time. But when I look through those Instagram photos drooling and read all the comments, I notice that I’m not the only one with a Quilty bucket list. So, I’m curious - what’s on your list? 

Happy Piecing!
RJ

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Work in Progress Project: I've run into a problem....

Previously I mentioned that I have been struggling to avoid starting new projects. I had one slip-up and started a parrot mug-rug, but apart from that, I have managed to curb my natural instinct to start a thousand more quilts without finishing the ones I have already started. 

But now, I have run into a problem: I need to start another quilt - actually, another two quilts.

Kiwi Quilt


The first is a custom quilt that I have been asked to make featuring New Zealand Fabrics. This is a hard one. While I really don’t want to start another project, when you get asked to design and make something specific it's hard not to. What’s really different for me is that this pattern is an appliqué pattern - so it’s also going to be a little bit about me conquering my fear of appliqué. I’ve designed something which is very New Zealand specific. This is what I’m planning:


The good thing about this quilt, however, is that it is only a small quilt. It is only 12" x 18" plus a 2" border. The pattern is being designed for tourists and visitors from the cruise ships here in Tauranga, so it needs to be small and able to be sewn by hand (hence the applique).

Purple People


The second is my new Purple People quilt.
Purple People is a fun quilt featuring twelve funny faces in 6”x8” quilt blocks. I’m releasing one block every month starting at the end of August. 



My email subscribers will get the blocks for free before they are released for sale. (Hint, hint: Now might be a good time to sign up if you don’t already get my monthly email).
The problem with this is I do actually need to test each block myself and I can’t do this without starting to make the quilt.




So that’s my dilemma. I’ve made such good progress on finishing some of my quilts and I'm quite disappointed that I now need to start more when I still have 4 other quilts to finish. 

Do I try to finish two for every quilt I start, will that work? Or is it a slippery slope back to a room full of unfinished quilts?

Stay tuned for the next episode to find out how I’m going...

RJ

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Work in Progress Project Chapter Seven: It's looking pretty Rosy from here.

Well, it's been quite a while, hasn't it? Yes, I have been slack. I've also been working - on my WIPs.
I have finally finished all twelve of my blocks for my flower quilt which has been renamed "Spring Fling"

It's almost been a full year since I started this quilt, purely due to my own procrastination, but I knew I had to get it done so that I could finish my series of articles for Online Quilt Magazine!



Some of the blocks in it are quite complex - but they are totally worth the time and effort. For example, this Rose block which was rather complex, but almost looks 3-Dimensional when it's finished. Several people have commented that this block is their favourite.

Personally, I think my favourite was the Pansy - This was the last one I put together, and I threw out  my first version, as it wasn't as pretty as these ones. I ended up buying some more Moda Grunge Fabric in Brown Dot for the center, which when I look at the blocks now was definitely the right decision.



Tonight I'll be working on sashing and basting and hopefully, I will have the quilt finished by the start of next week.


Work in Progress Count: 5 / 11 completed. I've almost halved the number of projects I had half-finished!

Happy Sewing,

RJ