Sunday, 30 December 2012

Little ladybirds for a little lady

The story of this little quilt began online some time ago when I was looking for some other material...which is what quite often happens!  I came across Robert Kaufman's adorable "Picnic Party Ladybugs" and had to get some.  The picnic part of the name made me think of a picnic rug idea, or maybe looking at the ladybirds on the ground through a blanket...or something.  Anyway, as soon as I saw the material I knew I wanted to make it green and purple and a little bit crazy but still really cute.

I love doing freestyle blocks and using tonal purple material (all from my stash - yes, I have a lot of purple fabric!) I made some cut loose log cabin blocks.  I had played with this technique before but after a chat with my friend and mentor Trish, I was guided back to Jan Mullen's pattern for a wonky log cabin quilt in order to get the finishing touches right and I am very glad I did.  The small border of green (in this case Michael Miller Fairy Dust so it has some sparkle) was inspired by her design as was binding it in the ladybird fabric...

...and most effectively I think, she made little black frames around the focus material in the centre of each block.  I used 3 different lime greens instead to add a bit of variety and texture.
I backed it with a piece of green with white spot which almost matched the ladybird print exactly and which I just happened to have already *ahem*.   Finally I quilted it crazy style too - highlighting the centre blocks and frames and then quilting some wonky tramlines through the background.
Ready to give to the new baby, which is an interesting story in itself...I had chosen the ladybirds for her largely because she has a German mother and in Germany ladybirds are considered lucky, especially around New Year's, which is when she was due.  I had to keep the colours suitable for a boy or girl as it was going to be a surprise but as you can see, she was a bit early and is hopefully now enjoying it.  An even nicer coincidence?  She has been named Marie and in German a ladybird is a Marienkaefer (Marie's or Mary's beetle).  How about that?

Monday, 3 December 2012

Sherbet Stripes

Finally "Sherbet Stripes" has been gifted so it can be shared!
 This is another string quilt, which I really enjoy making.  They are a surprise which comes together at the end and are the perfect mix of traditional and modern.  Plus they use lots of little bits of material - perfect for scraps, jelly rolls or making the most of whole lines of fabric.  What more could you want?  This baby quilt was another commission and it needed to suit either a boy or girl...
 I had a jelly roll of "Sherbet Pips" by Aneela Hoey who does the cutest little whimsical retro patterns and figures.  Her designs and colours are very distinctive.  This particular line includes children skating in the Wintertime, scarves, little squares (which makes a nice variant on the polka dots you often see and which I also love) and cutest of all, little dogs!  This was the selling point for my client, the recipient has a doggy not dissimilar to the curious little dog on the fabric.

I tried something a bit different with strips and the white trellis effect this time.  As the quilt was small scale I made the strips and the white sashing a bit narrower so there was more variety and colour.  I also kept the strips the same width rather than having a random effect as in previous string quilts I have made.  I also experimented with the white centre squares which worked relatively well and echoed the little squares in the fabrics.
To finish it off I used a grey and white dot fabric, punctuated by a strip of playful puppies on red from the "Sherbet Pips" line.  The quilt is self bound using the backing and the little highlights of the red come through in that too.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Baby Elephant Walk

 This is Baby Elephant Walk - another quilt using the "Fresh Beginnings" pattern, with slight adaptions.  It is amazing how the same pattern can look so different in alternative colour lines!  This was the same pattern as I used in Pink! for example...
The brief was "novelty animal/jungle prints in blues and browns".  My client chose a few of the jungle prints to start with including the cute little elephants and I took it from there.  To save it from becoming too brown or dark I added the lime inner border.
Here is a detail showing my favourite addition - the Aboriginal walkabout footprints and the inspiration for the quilt's name.  It ended up a bit "Australia meets Africa", what with the Aboriginal print, the dogs in utes, the elephants, tigers and lions.  Somehow it works though.
As much as I liked the brown/blue combination, I was a bit over it by the time I made the backing and so I took my lead from the lime green and made it blue and green instead.
 This was a really fun quilt to make.  I hope the baby who belongs to it has sweet and exotic dreams on or under it. :)

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Baby Seuss!

Not the most original of names for this cute baby quilt but it seems to suit it. :)  Made from the "Celebrate Seuss" by Michael Kaufman line - I chose a panel for the blocks and the adorable dotted material for the backing and binding.  I then discovered, having found that it needed something bold for the sashing, that some turquoise from my stash was the perfect addition.
It is simply machine quilted in the sashing with straight lines and is self bound using the backing - a style I am really loving to use when the backing is just right.
It is now with a current Dr Seuss fan, awaiting the arrival of a new Dr Seuss fanlet.  I am guessing there will be much snuggling underneath it reading the Dr Seuss classics...

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Giving Hands

I am a member of Giving Hands, a charity quilting group who meet once a month to hone skills, learn new ones, have a cuppa and a chat all while producing beautiful quilts for charity made from donated and upcycled materials.  How good is that?
I have loved our first year together, the wisdom and friendships I have found in these women is incomparable.  As I am often encumbered (in the sweetest possible way) by my wee man, who likes to sort out bottle tops, check out the garden and chat with the chooks while we are there, I sometimes don't get as much done as I would like.  I have therefore only managed to fully complete one quilt this year.  As a group we have made about 20, which is a wonderful effort.  You can read more about it all here.
This one is my quilt:
As you can see if you follow the link, they are all based on the red family colour group and use this same "Fresh Beginnings" pattern by Jan Mullen but it is amazing to see how diverse the results are.  Next year we are making a foray into juvenile fabrics and a different pattern.  Can't wait for those! 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Watercolour Rainbow table runner/wall hanging

I made this little table runner/wall hanging from the leftover material from making this wedding quilt.  The batiks were too beautiful to ignore or separate so I played around with them and came up with this simple stacked design which studies their colour graduation.  I think it's like a muted rainbow, washed away by the rain. :)
The border is the same chatreuse I used to bind the wedding quilt too - it's a bit brighter than it looks here and I love the acidity against the pastels.  The backing was some pink batik I had in my stash.  You can see the simple quilting I used best on the back and the little hanging pockets I included on each corner so the recipient can hang it using some doweling if they want.
Overall, I was very happy with the result of this little piece and think it is apt that, like its big sister quilt, it has been gifted as a wedding present.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Hot Pink and more Pink!

Yes, it's very pink...with just a touch of butter yellow on the back.
This is my latest baby quilt to go to its new owner born just a few weeks ago and the request from the donor was that it be pink, pink and more pink.
By happy coincidence I have been working on largely monochromatic designs in my charity quilting group "Giving Hands" where we have been concentrating on using light and dark values within a colour family to create contrast.   This is where the pattern (called Fresh Beginnings) came from too although I altered the borders a little.
The border fabric (and the strip on the back) is a gorgeous little alphabet number from the "Love U" by Deb Strain for Moda, just perfect for the job.  The spotted backing material also comes from this range.
The little squares are scrappy from my stash - some cute hearts, some Jan Mullen fabric, some textured solids...and a few fussy cut donkeys for whimsy.
I really love the pop of yellow on the back and I adore the scooters!  Maybe a Vespa is something this little girl will aspire to one day. :)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Quilt and craft fair debrief

Had a great time as always but didn't buy as much.  The fabrics were lovely as usual and if I had seen a bali pop I liked then I might have been tempted but fat quarters are so expensive here compared to US prices so I much prefer to internet shop.
However I did support local a bit - I bought some lovely varigated threads in cute lolly like mixed packs of mini spools for accent hand quilting around applique etc.  I also bought a triangular ruler and a drunkards path template.
I attended two workshops which were interesting.  One on how to use jelly rolls, which gave me some good ideas about sewing strips together for a string quilt type finish and also about separating strips into light, medium and dark, both of which I knew in theory but it was a good refresher.  The second one was on quilt as you go techniques which I would like to try at some stage but think it may need practice!
The quilt exhibition as always was lovely, my favourite probably being a 1930s repro quilt with a gorgeously sunny yellow background.  Not the most technical but it made me happy just looking at it.
So inspired to start cutting again - have had a bit of a break but have some plans now and some definite projects other than my hand quilted hexagons...

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Quilt and Craft Show

I am making my annual pilgrimage to the Quilt and Craft Show tomorrow.  Really looking forward to it!  I have my eye on a couple of workshops, hope to get some cool cottons for hand quilting and maybe find a nifty gadget or two.
Material isn't high on my priority list this year.  I have quite the stash already and need to use some of it up!  That being said, if there is something so unusual, so amazing...then I might have to get it. :)
I will also be interested to see the quilt display, I love what people come up with, it really is an art form.
Watch out for a show round up sometime over the weekend...

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Linking things together

Blogger has some cool toys for seeing who is reading my modest little blog.  I am very excited that lots of you come from the USA!  How international and as I consider the whole modern quilting movement in the States to be very exciting I feel just a little bit honoured.

Anyway, enough blushing.  If any of you out there want to find me on Facebook (don't even think about Twitter!) I am here:
Feel free to like me and share with others.  I am keen to be in touch with other quilters as I find you guys so inspiring.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Balinese Wedding Quilt

 This is the latest quilt to have been kept under wraps until it was gifted last weekend...  It is a rather cute rectangle in square design using a luscious jelly roll (or rather Bali pop) of batik fabrics.  I am becoming rather fond of batiks and appreciating their saturation and design.  At a distance they give this beautiful watercolour effect while up close they are a riot of pattern and colour. 

Anyway, this particular quilt was for a good friend of mine who got married on the weekend.  She is an Indonesian teacher and loves Bali and Indonesia, so this was (I hope) an appropriate gift!

It is a good large lap quilt size and generous enough for two to snuggle under.

 The little applique hearts, also in batik, scattered over the quilt make it just that little more romantic. :)  Thanks to my teacher Trish, who suggested adding the touch of hand quilting around the hearts.  This won't be the last time I do that - it really adds another dimension and personalises it even more.  I am really getting into the hand quilting at the moment - ironic as I took up quilting to find a craft where I didn't need to hand sew!
The binding is the same chatreuse found in flashes in the quilt - I couldn't get enough of the "pop" it produces so had to use it for the binding.  The back is a real indigo blue/purple with what almost look like little silvery stars on it.  Also appropriate if you know my husband and I...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Themed Quilts

Every year Swancon (the Perth Science Fiction convention) is held at Easter.  Every year there is an art show and this year for the first time I decided to enter it!  I don't consider myself much of an artist (although I was in an art exhibition at uni, which was a laugh) and I entered this one in the spirit of things with a couple of themed quilts. 
The first one is a bit of a laugh and was great fun to make - square in square with the central spaceship material being 3D!  That's right 3D!  And it really worked.  Looked more hologram like to my eyes but there was a definite effect.  The glasses made the wilder patterned material jump out too.  Whoa! :)
The second one was a Manga/anime themed improvisational quilted wallhanging which I called "Thunderblossom" after the main character.  I love the rich gold metallic which is throughout each of the materials in this one.
It's on its side here but you get the idea...
Anyway they have now both gone to good homes, where I hope they will be loved and enjoyed.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

K's quilt

Another gift given and received and so another quilt to blog about. :)
 This is a "string" quilt of lap quilt proportions (48" x 56") made for my sister in law for her 40th birthday.  She loves pink and green together so I took the pinks and greens from the "Ruby" line of fabric plus a pop of aqua and a fresh Kona white and put them together using this as inspiration.  I didn't paper piece it however as I don't do paper piecing, stubborn person that I am.  Instead I centred the string strips either side of the white to create 8" finished blocks and set them to create this lattice effect.  All that pink and green reminded me of a climbing rose so the lattice seemed to fit nicely.
I bound it with a pink on pink hummingbird print that can also be seen on the back and which went perfectly with the pink on the front.  Most of the back is the green gingham.
So that's my first ever string quilt.  It isn't my last, there is already a finished small quilt top using the aqua and grey from the same ruby line waiting to be basted and quilted.  More of that anon hopefully. :)

Monday, 2 January 2012

A new year

Which will hopefully bring more sewing and more projects to write about!  So many of my 2011 projects have been gifts so there has been a bit of a time delay in blogging about them.  Hopefully there will be more creations which aren't secrets this year so I can put them up sooner.  Anyhoo, here are some small scale projects I made as Christmas presents for the in laws this year.  Each one involves a part of a layer cake cut into 5" finished squares.  Nothing too technical but pretty sweet I think.  I bound them all in the same yellow and white dot material, which gave them an interesting harmony together.
Not the best photos as they were taken inside but here is the table runner/chair throw:
 It was backed in a dusty pink cotton, nice and simple and quilted in the ditch longways and with double lines shortways.
This is the small square quilt - good for a baby, a small tablecloth, for the park...

 It's from the same layercake as the first one but as you can see I have separated out the pinks, blues and greens from the yellows, reds and teals.  This one is backed with a bright teal polycotton for harder wear and washing.  It is quilted more heavily too with a not quite random double track pattern in both directions.  I'm really enjoying experimenting with straight line quilting.

Finally the set of six placemats (clashing beautifully with our doona cover).  Different layercake from which I chose the blues and yellows (there is only the brown slices left now as I used the pink ones in this quilt.  These are backed with an apple green and white spot material.  I quilted these on the diagonal so each little square is marked with a cross.