Thursday, 30 September 2010

LOOK! A distraction

At the moment I am trying to make a quilt that is making me feel like this:

and my sewing room look like this:

Yes I am actually trying the pattern out with paper first to see if I can manage it. More on this project later if I stick with it and don't jump out of the window first.

So to distract myself from maths and angles that this quilt requires I have been making pretty little things....for pretty little people!

First up a fabric flower that I have turned into a hair slide, this is winging its way to Brisbane for a special little girls upcoming birthday.

This is my first attempt and there are a few corrections I would like to make next time around but on the whole I am happy with the style. I thought these might make lovely broaches as well so watch this space...

I have been wanting to try making a bag for a while now so my next distraction project was the perfect opportunity. I downloaded the free pattern from Made By Rae and in the space of one Lewis nap time I was more than half way there! Half an hour yesterday evening was all I needed to finish this:

It has pleats. It has lining. It has magnetic snaps. It has an interior pocket. I never thought I could make something like this. Thanks to Made By Rae for the great pattern and instructions. I feel ready to attempt a bigger bag soon so that I can fit in nappies, wipes, snacks, water bottles, keys, general crap...

Lewis was quite taken with it as well and he knew just what to do with it!

ps. I'm working my way through my Bird Textile scraps can ya tell?

Saturday, 25 September 2010

I like big butts

Lewis wears cloth nappies which mean his little bottom is slightly more padded than a disposable nappy covered baby bottom. For the most part we find trousers that fit him but most baby clothes these days are not designed for a cloth nappy bum. I came across this pattern for 'big butt baby pants' on this great blog and I decided to give it a go. Voila!

I am not very good at sewing clothes but this pattern has great instructions. I used left over Anna Maria Horner fabric for Sarah's birthday quilt. I can't wait to make more!

Lewis the model demanding grapes as payment.

Lewis modeling the added rear panel

Lewis took them for a test drive this morning and proclaimed them good for skateboarding,

good for exploring the jungle,

and good for a relaxing stroll

I love the little cuffs...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Pins and needles

Inspired by the talented Kirsten Smith who blogs here, this great tutorial she shared and a week away from my sewing machine, I ducked into my spare/sewing room while Lewis slept this afternoon and whipped up this pin cushion.

My pins were living like this:

and are now much happier like this:

I LOVED using some Bird Textile scraps and am already thinking up other projects to use more!

We spent a wonderful morning today at the local school fair day. I wish I had taken my camera to share the cake stall, pony ride, sausage sizzle etc with you but here is the AWESOME jungle animal portable play mat that we nabbed from the craft stall.

The mat open with the animals and tied up and ready to travel with the animals inside. Apparently the design is based on a type of Japanese bathroom bag.

Here is the LOVELY pile of kids books (and a few adult ones) that set us back about 10c each.

It was nostalgia central as Rich and I compared the differences between an Australian school fete and an English village fair and I was happy to learn that Rich won a cake baking prize as a child. Just another reason that I am glad I married him.

What a good Sunday. How was yours?

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Cosy Nest for a delicious bubba

A beautiful little baby friend of mine turned one a few weeks ago which provided the perfect opportunity to use a luscious little charm pack that has been waiting in my drawer. A charm pack is a stack of 5x5 inch pre-cut squares from an entire fabric line. I love things like charm packs and layer cakes (10" version) because they are cheap and easy way to get a diversity of fabric and the pre-cuts make them super handy (less fiddly cutting!). I have read that Charm Packs can be used to make lovely bags...maybe one day soon! My charm pack was by Tula Pink and was cuts of her collection Nest.

The birthday girls is called Billie Miro Mystic Merrill and she is a gorgeous little thing whose bright, lively, vivacious attitude to life suited the fabric perfectly. Billie is already a bookworm (following in the footsteps of her poet father and journalist mother) so I decided to make her a quilt from the charm pack that she could curl up under or sit on with a good book ('Where is the green sheep' anyone?).

I only had a week to make this quilt in so I wanted a pattern that was simple (no wonky blocks this time) but I also wanted the quilt to look interesting and quirky. There were 40 squares in my charm pack so I made a 4 nine patch blocks (traditional style).

Then I cut straight down the middle of these blocks, so I found the middle point of each the middle top square and cut directly down. I then had 8 new pieces which I twisted around and laid out on the floor till I had a jumbled but attractive ( I hope) pattern.

This technique took me about 2/12 hours from beginning to end, this included a stop for poached eggs with the boys and various interruptions for a one and a half year old.

I then had four charm squares left over so I decided to cut them each diagonally into triangles and sew different halves together to make different colour squares.

I found a lovely patchwork shop near to my house called Quiltsmith which also happened to be selling the Nest collection half price so bought a few larger pieces of the collection to make borders and used the coloured squares I made to make border posts on each corner.

I also chose this fabric for the backing

In the charm pack, the 5" squares meant that the amazing bird pattern was hidden so I HAD to display it in the quilt somehow :)

I decided the try the 'stitch in the ditch' style of quilting for this project. I have never done it before so I was keen to try and also I love the pattern on the quilt top and I didn't want to have stitches running across them. Stitch in the ditch in when you quilt or stitch in the 'ditch' left from joining the patchwork pieces on the quilt top. The quilting is then effectively hidden in the seam that is already there. I found it surprisingly easy to quilt this way (although my quilting is not always invisible due to my inability to sew in straight lines) and I was super happy with the effect for this project.

All in all this quilt was made across two Saturdays and the binding was happily hand stitched on while catching up on Big Love season 3.

Happy Birthday Bille Miro Mystic Merrill!

Monday, 13 September 2010


With a healthy sense of irony, a stunning location and a talented quilt stylist, Sarah's Birthday quilt (aka fecund quilt) hits blogland.

Quilt Stylist Jenn Blake tries her hand at quilt modeling

Birthday Girl on her Birthday Quilt

And birthday quilts need birthday cake

Happy Birthday Sarah xx

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Wonky wonderfulness

Here is a sneak preview of a new quilt that I am ALMOST finished. I have been making this quilt in my head for so long. It is a present for a very special friends birthday (who I hope is not following my blog...I guess the fact that I didn't post anything for three months scared most people off).

I wanted to make a quilt that really suited my friend, her quirk, her beauty, her....her-ness :) Over the past few months since I started quilting I have been going on a 'journey of discovery' (me browsing quilts on the Internet for hours). I have become really taken with Liberated Quilting, Modern Quilting and the quilts of Gee's Bend. Much as I loved the asymmetry of these designs I suspected that this effect was much harder to achieve than the traditional look! I came across a great quilt blogger called Quilt Dad. He has a 'wonky block' tutorial on his blog which is so clear and easy to follow and also really easy to adapt my own style.

Next...fabric. Easy! Yeah right... There is too much choice in the world (Internet). I eventually settled on a Anna Maria Horner Good Folks stack of fat quarters. Even after postage the price is pretty darn good. I am so happy with my choice, the fabric has a sort of gloss or sheen to it that makes it look rich, lush, almost fecund (he he just saw The Kids Are Alright...anyone else seen it and get my fecund reference?).

So enough with the words, here is my work in progress pictures of my new quilt (dare I call it The Fecund Quilt??)

This was the first block I made

Pinned and ready to be quilted

Taped up to guide my quilting

taking over the kitchen table

Pictures of the finished product to come!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Yen Quilt

Well I have finally gifted this quilt so I can display it without giving it away!

This quilt was based loosely on a coin quilt that I saw in an online preview of a Jelly Roll quilt book. Basically for what I can gather a coin quilt is a quilt that has stacks of 'coins' (rectangles of fabric) in various different patterns. They can be stacked on top of each other or at irregular spaces and they are joined with sashing of a contrasting material. I had decided to use remnants packs from Bird Textiles to make my quilt so cutting 'coins' out of these remnants worked perfectly. Given that I find Bird Textiles to have a real Japanese feel to them I have decided to name the quilt my Yen Quilt (get it? Coin. Yen. yeah?)

When the quilt top was sewn with the sashing in I knew that I was going to struggle to quilt this myself of my home machine, so I phoned a friend. The amazing Yvonne (mother in law of my friend Sarah Mac) quilted it for me using her long arm machine. I think that the intricate stippling really makes this quilt, it is such a contrast from the straight lines of the pattern. I am pretty fixed on the idea of quilting my own projects in the future but I am soooo happy with Yvonne's work on this one.

Here is Lewis 'helping' me prepare the binding.