Thursday, July 29, 2010

10 reasons why I think Fat Quarterly is the best!!

1. The first obvious reason is the name!! Fat Quarterly is such a perfect crafty magazine name that somebody had to do it. And it can be shortened to FQ which sounds so upbeat and snazzy.

2. It's fresh, fun, and fabulous with it's simple layout and crisp white background that displays the colours of the photos so well. The graphics for the patterns are so clear and easy to understand.

3. I like that it's international affair with contributers drawing on their experiences in the UK, Australia, Germany and The States.

4. There's a Flickr group so we can upload our own photos of FQ inspired projects whereas with a paper magazine you send it away and may or may not get published. Leaving and receiving comments for each others photos is a really nice part of the Flickr experience.

5. The FQ blog is updated regularly with all sorts of interesting snippets ranging from super giveaways, book reviews, projects to interviews with crafters and designers. The posts are like little top up articles to keep us going till the next issue.

6. It's interactive- Readers are invited to say what they want the content to be. There's an Agony Aunt column where you can share a crafty dilemma or help someone else solve theirs. And the aforementioned Flickr Group.

7. Being an Ezine it's eco friendly to trees and it doesn't clutter up my shelves so I have more room for fabric.

8. I like knowing that I've been there from the first issue. I know they've only just released issue 2 but imagine being able to say in ten years that I was there at the beginning.

9. There's lots of projects aimed at all levels, something for everyone, using modern fabrics.

10. Last but not least I think Fat Quarterly is wonderful bacause they invited me to participate in their design challenge!

Yes that's right!!! I'm in this issue of Fat Quarterly!!!! Wahoooo!!!! Can you believe it!?!?

For those of you who don't know The Design Challenge is where a panel of quilters are given simple block and are then challenged to come up with their version of the block. This issue's challenge was The Pinwheel. This is what I came up with...

It looks like an normal, run of the mill pinwheel block...

Until you flap it's wings and it changes. Peek a boo!

I couldn't resist doing some wonky pinwheels too.

You'll have to wait till the next exciting post to see what I made with these blocks...

In the meantime you can get a copy of Fat Quarterly here.


Monday, July 26, 2010

My Quilt History- Part 12- Very Very Merry Merry Go Round

This quilt started with a humble block called Queen of May. I'd seen this block in a few patterns and really loved it's circular motion. When I found the templates at the 2009 Darling Harbour quilt show I snapped them up with glee.

I didn't have a design in mind so I just pulled out my overflowing scrap bag and started to play. It was fun to make each block in what ever colours suited me at the time without having an overall theme to limit me. They were surprisingly easy to hand piece and a perfect "on the go" project. Lots of opportunity for fun fussy cutting.

Before too long I had lots of QOM blocks and had to do something with them. I decided a quilt featuring them would be perfect for GBF's sister Sue, because her birthday is in May and being a colourful character I knew she'd think it was fun.

Keeping with my scrappy theme I cut the remainders into strips and sewed them together thinking I would alternate the QOM blocks with squares of scrappy strings. Once sewn together my little bag of scraps was enough to cover the bed! I was tempted to just sew them together like that as a quilt top. Maybe another time, another bag of lovely leftovers..

This was the days before my design wall when I would lay my quilts on the bed to see how they would look.

When I was laying it out I came up with putting the blocks on point with string sashing and that was it- A Very Very Merry Merry Go Round was created!

One of the fun things about this quilt is it's eye spy qualities. The more you look the more you see. I cut, laid it out, sewed it together but was still finding surprises when I was quilting it. Sue says she sees new little things all the time.

I machine quilted it along the sashing 1/4 inch in from the seam then hand quilted with perle8 cotton in bright contrasting colours around the centre and triangles in the blocks, and again with perle 8 in the setting triangles.

I loved making this quilt. Every step was fun and it all just came together without a hitch. I've still got some bright Queen Of May blocks left over waiting to be used in something.. They'd make nice cushions.. And I'd like to make them in sugary pink tones. So many possibilities!!

Oh, I guess I should show you the backing.... Just something I whipped up on a Saturday night...

The front of the quilt is so colourful and vibrant that I thought blues would be a nice cool, calm alternative. I'm not sure I achieved my aim. All those busy prints and pinwheels make it quite electric. At least it couldn't be called dull!!

I certainly picked the right home for this quilt. We gave it to Sue for Christmas 2009 and she uses it and loves it. I wish her very very many cosy warm colourful nights!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Musical threads.

Check out this alien that's landed in my sewing room! (insert spooky music here)..

Well actually it's just an innocent little Ipod dock stereo so I can listen to music in my sewing room. It was a lovely surprise from GBF when he picked me up from my sewing class.

Strangely ( insert eerie music here) his thoughtful gift was a bit of a coincidence because it had been quite a musical day at The Vintage Patch yesterday. Lynne had her Oldies but Goldies songs playing which, I noticed, had a few people singing along. Then at some point Sue mentioned she'd enjoyed watching Metallica and U2 videos the evening before. This sparked conversations about great concerts we'd all been to. Kate enjoyed Guns n Roses and Lorraine loves Andre Rieu (and Greg Norman who isn't musical but knows how to use his club). My favourite music was hearing a roomful of ladies (and Roger) laughing!!! You could say we were in stitches!!!

We really do have so much fun!!!
I have to admit I didn't seem to get a lot of sewing done yesterday. One of the bosses from my past would have been saying in his stern voice "There's too much frivolity and not enough work being done!!!". Our fearless leader, Chris is so great at being part of the fun but always one step ahead of knowing when someone needs a hand with their project.

I worked on the applique for my Mariners Compass but I didn't quite finish so I'm off to my sewing room to listen to music.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Quilt History- Part 11- All you need is love

I made this quilt for our good friend Graeme, aka Bagsy. When I was making Phil's quilt I ordered extra fabric thinking that I'd make a second quilt for Bagsy, who is the biggest Beatles fan ever! As is the way with quilting, I got sidetracked by another project or two and this fabric got put back in its box on the shelf. One day out of the blue, we had a phone call from Bagsy who told us this awful story about how a small routine operation has gone hideously wrong and turned into a months stay in hospital and he was facing a long recovery time at home. We hadn't heard because we now live interstate and get left out of the loop sometimes. It was quite a shock!!

I had the fabric out as quick as a flash and had this whipped up in a weekend. Isn't the best thing about being a quilter being able to make something for someone that shows how much you care?! The black really sets the colours off and make it look like a big licorice allsort lolly. It was the first quilt I thought to mix fabrics in the binding. Just little splashes of colour here and there. I knew sending it away to be professionally quilted could take a month so I machine quilted it in big angular lines myself and hand quilted the panels around the pictures. I was still using my lovely old Betty Bernina who was stuck in her ways and didn't know how to free motion quilt.

Graeme has a lovely girlfriend who used to be an international ballerina so I put this little heart
on the back so she would be close to his heart, (I'm such a soppy romantic!), and to illistrate that he'd be up dancing soon.

All up it took two weeks to make and get in the mail. In the message accompanying the quilt I said I'd read that sleeping under a handmade quilt when your unwell helps you mend twice as fast.

I'm glad to say the quilt worked it's magic and he recovered quickly.

We love you Bagsy!!


Monday, July 19, 2010

My quilt History- Part 10- Super 70s

GBFs parents, Joan and Brian celebrated their 70th birthday in August 2009. They share the same birthday, how sweet is that!! What better gift for a special birthday than a quilt!

A spy mission to find out what colours they might like revealed that their bedroom was white. White everything!!! I knew I wasn't quite up to a beautiful hand stitched whole cloth quilt so I decided on a mix of soft pastels. To represent their 70 years I used 70 different fabrics Well.. give or take one or two, I may have lost count but it would be pretty close.

The pattern I based it on was Kaffe Fassett's Wedding Quilt from his Passionate Patchwork book. I didn't make this quilt as large as his and I changed the border. It's like my cooking, I never seem to be able to follow a recipe exactly.

All the blocks are hand pieced, my first attempt at American hand piecing. They were fun to do and a great project for on the go. Considering I was sewing by hand I was surprised that they seemed to come together quite quickly. I then sewed the blocks together by machine. I'm impressed by people who even do that part by hand as well.

It was so refreshing to use soft colours after all the brights I tend to lean towards. Some of the blocks have fruity fabric that Joan had given me and I thought it worked well just to add some boost of colour here and there. She's given me some lovely fabrics from her stash that she's collected over the years. Little bits pop up a lot in my quilts.

I used a beautiful big ribbon print by Martha Negley for the backing. I seem to use a lot of her prints for my backing. I love their water colour quality and their large scale makes them perfect for being used in whole pieces. I had a little private joke with myself about this fabric because my Floristry teacher would always say "it's not a gift until it has a bow".

I sent this off to Maxine Sandry for long arm quilting. It was quilted edge to edge with simple feather design that really suited the quilt.

Joan and Brian loved their quilt. They even bought pillows to match.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Quilt History- Part 9- The Tour De France Quilt

In Europe it's glorious Summer time while the Tour de France is being held. Here in Australia watching The Tour means cold winter nights, sometimes with a little bit of cognac to warm the cockles. And a perfect excuse for a warm snuggly quilt!
I started collecting themed fabrics and when I came across the blue and white bicycle prints I thought it would be fun to somehow incorporate French flags of bicycle fabric.

I couldn't find red bicycle fabric anywhere. At first I thought of dying some of the white fabric red... but from my experiences of dying fabric in the past I didn't think the red would come out evenly. I tossed around the idea of maybe getting it custom done at a fabric printers but that seemed a bit too extreme for a homey lap quilt. In the end I came up with a solution...

I used a waterproof pen and copied the bicycles onto red fabric. It's not perfect but it looks fine if you don't look closely.

The quilt has all the features of The Tour. I put the four different coloured jerseys in the corners, with a background of water because hydration is a huge part of riding at that level, I figured it could also be interpreted as sweat, but that doesn't sound as glamorous, For those of you that don't know, the jerseys are worn by that the leaders of different catergories. Yellow is the Tour Leader, White - Best Young Person, Green - Best Sprinter, and my favourite is the Polka Dot jersey for the best climber.

I had to put some cows in because the race takes us through scenic countryside sometimes dotted with cows. A rider once said that cyclists are reincarnated as cows so they can peacefully watch the race go by.

Here's the Polka Dot Jersey with some mountains. For me the mountain stages are the most exciting because it's where the real contenders come out to play. It's amazing watching these guys accelerating up hills that I wouldn't even push a bike up.

To represent the south of France I used seafood fabric and any quilt with a french theme has to have some nice wine and champagne.

I chanced upon 5 yards of Heather Ross's Munki Munki bicycle fabric at a wonderful bargain price. It's extra soft and cosy. The French stripey binding works well but then I'm a sucker for stripes.

I must admit I was a bit naughty and did something all the books say not to...
Well... you see, I sort of ran out of time and The Tour was starting and hand quilting does take such a long time.. so I just put the binding on... and continued hand quilting afterwards.. I did stitch in the ditch all the squares so that has kept it stabilised...
I haven't quite finished the quilting because 2009 Tour finished and I put it away thinking I'll continue during the 2010 Tour.
But... We've been such busy bees that we're not watching it this year, Just keeping up with highlights via the web.
I do have it out and draped over the bottom of our bed but the rest of the quilting may have to wait till next year.

We've got our own super star rider here at Daisyland. On Tues morning GBF decided to ride his bike to work. About 85 kms!!! 3 hours!!! In the depth of winter!!! He plans to make it a regular thing. I'm impressed!!

Vive Le Tour!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Quick Trip To Ipswich

We've just returned from a flying visit to Brisbane to see this exhibition...

I'm so glad we went! It was such a great collection of approximately 30-35 quilts. Lots of different styles dating from colonial times to the 1960's. Tough sturdy aussie waggas, depression scrap quilts, silk tumbling blocks, crazy quilts with ornate embroidery, log cabins, hexagons, beautifully pieced quilts and some interesting applique quilts. I really liked that there were several examples of each style. Understandably photos were not allowed but there is a book available by Annette Gero.

It's an amazing feeling to stand in front of a quilt that dates back to the 1800's. The vibrant coloured fabrics of these quilts surprised me. It's humbling to remember there were no rotary cutters, special rulers or fancy sewing machines. I sometimes wonder how much sewing was done by candlelight as I turn on my 2 lamps in addition to the overhead light in my sewing room.

Another thing I appreciated was that these quilts were utilitarian. A lot of quilts we see in shows are only entered if they're expertly done. I know I have quilts that I love and use but their imperfections stop me from showing them to others. Some of these quilts in the exhibition had big messy stitches, some were unfinished, some a bit crooked, but that just added to their beauty.

Interesting information about the quilters helped bring the quilts to life. A good reminder to label our quilts. I have to admit I'm really slack at labeling my quilts. I've just had a thought, it's probably a nice idea to put our blog address on labels too.

The bonus of going to this exhibition was getting to spend time with my lovely aunt Angela who really is an angel. The lush plant photos are from her garden. We laughed a lot, ate a lot and really enjoyed ourselves.

A big thanks to Angela for a wonderful couple of days!!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Quilt History- Part 8, Lucky Dip

Lucky dip is a true scrap quilt! I had a couple of bags of scraps, my own and some from a friend. I sorted them into colours and just started sewing them into blocks. I really enjoyed the freedom of not having to think about measuring except for squaring up the blocks when they were finished. I was lucky to have such a great range of fun bright colours.

If you've read my Quilt History posts you'll recognize a lot of the fabrics.

Isn't it amazing how you can get little pieces of fabric that are otherwise useless and sew them together and it makes a quilt which is so useful and beautiful.

The round circle in the next photo was the cover on the lid of a jar of jam we bought from a market while we were on holidays.
A block of spots!
This was the first quilt I attempted to machine quilt myself. I was using a lovely 50 year old Bernina. I didn't know how to lower the feed dogs and didn't have a walking foot but that didn't stop me. I just shoved it in and sewed, supposedly in the ditch but I was a wobbly driver. Luckily it's such a busy quilt that you don't really notice. Now that I have my super Pfaff I plan to one day do some free motion quilting over it.

"Lucky Dip" seemed an apt name. So when I was putting the backing together I pulled this fabric from my stash.
( My stash surprises even me at times).

I loved making this quilt. I worked on it in every spare moment and managed to piece, quilt and bind it within about 3 weeks. It lives on our couch for those cosy moments watching movies or reading a book in the afternoon. Every time I use it I find little surprises, or combinations of fabrics that delight me. It's one of my very favourite quilts.



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