Sunday, September 14, 2014

Quilt Delights

There's nothing quite so delicious as spending a cold rainy day inside, toasty and warm, sewing quilts with good friends - and yesterday morning was a gourmet day for St Mark's Quilters.

We missed our other regulars, Liz (on a super-exciting holiday), Moo, Gail, Sophie, Susan, Helen and Cath, but those who braved the rain showers brought along finished Blankets of Love sweet enough to warm a grieving parent's heart.

Margaret has been making the most of a Peter Rabbit panel, combining fussy cuts with coordinating plain fabrics to make them go further. Those tiny tossed rainbow hearts around the border work a treat too.

Margaret's our queen of quilt-as-you-go. Tiny strips from bigger projects are never wasted in her hands, and this month she stitched them into another rhapsody in blue..

I can usually pick a quilt Gillian's made by the fancy serpentine stitched quilting she likes to use, as well as her favourite gelato pastels. Love this!

This next one, also by Gillian, gave me an 'ear worm' for the rest of the day. Remember Ernie singing 'Rubber Duckie' in the bath on Sesame Street? There's your ear worm (You're welcome!).

Barb had us in cuteness overload with these donkeys in gingham PJs smiling in their sleep. She's added a bunch of Peter Rabbits around the border as well, because too much cuteness is just never enough where baby quilts are concerned.

Di B has been spreading her wings and trying foundation paper piecing. Stunning work! The amazing circular geese at the centre of this block are from a pattern by Jeli Quilts (Kelly Liddle) available on Craftsy as a downloadable PDF.

Remember the workshop last month, when Di B showed us how to use foundation paper piecing to stitch a mini braid quilt? Well, four of us have finished, and here are our results.

This first one is by Di B in her trademark blue, white and yellow.

Di C preferred to tweak the basic pattern and use her mini braids to frame a flower fairy panel.

In a little surprise, her Blanket of Love is reversible, with a different flower fairy panel in the middle.

Rather than staggering her braid pieces, Barb chose to assemble hers in more of a chevron pattern, crisp and pretty. How about those panda bears!

Finally, here's my version, in rainbow ombré braids. Di B and I are in a little group on Instagram currently trying to sharpen our free motion quilting skills by doing 10 minutes' practice a day and posting a photo of our work, warts and all :-( So I decided to use this quilt as a practice piece for quilting feathers.

Of course there were plenty of other works-in-progress but I'll share these next month when, hopefully, they will be all finished. You have some treats in store!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Just a mini...

I've fallen in love with mini quilts, and I blame thank the lovely Sue Miller of Fabric Garden and the super talented Julie Herman aka Jaybird Quilts

With my quilting buddies, Di B and Sue M, I signed up, through Fabric Garden, for the 6 month Jaybird Mini Quilt Club at the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair in July, and the postman brings us a different Jaybird mini quilt pattern every month.

To add to the fun, the three of us get together for a full day once a month to sew our minis, each using our own fabric. It's amazing how different one pattern can look when three friends put their own stamp on it. I'll show you what I mean a little later in this post.

For July's pattern, the Mini Radio Way Quilt, I decided to keep the white frames but use a rainbow of fabrics in a colour wash effect across the quilt, so my first step was to draw up a grid and plan the hues for each block. Overthinking? Quite possibly :-)

Next I went to my scrap bin, pulled fabrics in every colour of the rainbow, rotary cut them into 1 and a 1/2 inch wide strips and stacked them in colour groups. I love playing with fabrics!

Following my sketched plan, I crosscut my strips and arranged them into blocks. This was where it started to become exciting!

Once I had also cut all my white framing strips I was ready to label each group with masking tape and pack them into plastic bags to take to our sewing day. Obsessive? me?

With the thinking part done, I could relax and enjoy all  the fun, laughter and chatter that's inevitable when we get together.

As I sewed each block, those masking tape labels went right back on so I could keep track of my overall scheme.

This little quilt, once assembled, had quite a radiance, almost like sunshine, so I decided to quilt it in concentric circles.

As a guide I drew the first few rings with a compass because these were quite tight curves that I needed to free motion quilt, but once I had moved out a bit to where my curves were gentler I used my walking foot and its space guide to keep me on track. 

For the first time I used Aurifil invisible thread for the top quilting, and Aurifil white Mako 50 in the bobbin. The invisible thread worked like a dream, and although I anticipated tension issues there were absolutely none! 

I was very happy with the result, which was just as I had envisaged. It's not often I can say that ;-)

For the binding I decided that no single colour was going to do it justice, so I used red, green, blue and purple, in unequal quadrants, to stay within the rainbow theme.

In the Bible the rainbow symbolizes God's faithfulness, and as I mark off the second anniversary of Boak's death this week it seems no-so-coincidental that I should find myself playing around with rainbows. After all, it's only because God has faithfully held me close that I've managed all the fresh challenges I've faced.

Here, as promised, are our three finished, but unquilted, Radio Way quilts. The top right is Sue's, which she has made a little larger by adding extra blocks, and this will become a Blanket of Love for RPA Newborn Care. The one on the bottom is Di B's, a delicious creation that somehow reminds me of lollies!

We have more five months of Jaybird mini quilt making, and I can't wait to share them with you. Hope you're ready!