Friday, 24 March 2017

Easter Blessings 2017

Each year I like to release an Easter Project and this year it's Easter Blessings
A bouquet of parrot tulips, a mischievous bunny and plenty of charm—it must be Easter. I just love this abundant basket of bulbs and it's admiring hopper in the tradition landscape layout (above) but I also know that there'll be those of you who have a perfect spot that would suit a portrait design rather than the original landscape option, so I've made another version. In face, this project offers you three styles: the original landscape layout, a portrait option and an Easter Egg bonus for all those chocoholics out there who want to celebrate the fun of garden treasure hunts along with bunny and bunting to boot! Speaking of bunny, this little fellow is too sweet to kick out of my garden patch, with his twitching ears and possessive taste in tulips, he’s the star of the show.

The finished size is 32 x 24 inches which is a perfect golden ratio number whether you opt for the landscape or portrait layout. With the 2 inch border, you have multiple options. The pattern shows a layout consisting of 2 x 2 inch border blocks which when turned, create an egg shape. However if piecing these 2 inch blocks doesn’t appeal, simply add your 2 inch border and applique the egg shapes into position or leave the egg shapes out completely and replace those motifs with an interesting fabric print. It’s up to you! Which will you choose?!
 
It's a real honor for me to keep up this free Easter Project tradition. When I started out in quilting, I wanted to connect with other people who were passionate about the art of creating and who wanted to be part of a 'creative bubble' with me. A place where we could create and inspire and dream- all in fabric. I didn't know then that this creative hub would indeed happen, but that it would happen unexpectedly and online of all places. But it did and I'm so grateful that it turned out that way.

Another thing I didn't expect was that the Group would attract the most perfect people to it - our Moderators - who, as well as being skilled and committed were also prepared to volunteer their time for free - just to help others get what they needed in order to get on with creating. What an unexpected surprise it is when I look back on how all these events turned out. What a blessing!

This Easter is a reminder to me that life goes on and what time we have is both precious and fleeting. This time last year, I was completely oblivious to the fact that my mother was about to die. In the time since, I've thought a lot about what a blessing it is to have life and to be in a position to share life's passions with others. I do indeed believe in Easter and in the power and beauty of acknowledging that blessings abound. 

It's an honor for me to share my Easter Blessings with you this year 
 I hope that you'll love it as much as I do!
Be sure to come back as I'll be showing you how I made my own Easter Blessings in a tutorial post tomorrow. You know how much I love seeing your work, so be sure to join my BOM Group and share your own thoughts and ideas as you make your block.

Easter Blessings is available to members of my BOM Group for free (it's over in the FILES area)

For those of you who don't want to join the Group over on Facebook, you can download it right here, right now, simple click the link below and a PDF download will begin. 


 Yes, it's currently completely free. 
No signups, email lists, hurdles or other scams, simply download and enjoy.
After Easter 2017, it will no longer be available for free, so if you love it, get it!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

WOW: A Lovely Beesting

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
When is a bee sting lovely? When it's a cake slice .. delicious :)

Today I'm in a Springtime kind of mood. I've just finished the pattern for my free Easter Project which will be released on Friday, (be sure to come back and download this lovely project, it's a real gem) and now I'm preparing a plate to take to my end of term sewing class. I've been volunteer teaching a group of young ladies to sew (general sewing, not quilting) and it's been great fun. Today, we're finishing up after a successful 10 weeks of sewing essentials and it's a perfect excuse for some slices, pastries and biscuits during morning tea.

As you can see, I'm cheating. I didn't actually bake this bee sting slice, I bought it - along with some other lovely morsels to make up a 'plate' to take in with me. I'm afraid that I am mostly beyond baking sweet things. I just can't be bothered and shop bought tastes and looks so much better. I probably shouldn't admit that, but it's true. Nowadays, my DDs bake all the celebration cakes in our household and they are much better than shop bought in those instances. But when it comes to slices and morning teas, I have no knack for homemade cupcakes, macaroons or things with custard and cream.

My talents are better spent with fabric creations. And speaking of fabric creations, I can't wait to share the 2017 Easter Project with you. See you on Friday!

What's Your WOW?


Monday, 20 March 2017

Secret Garden: Colouring In Block 2

Last week I showed you how I made my bluebells. Well, I've accepted that they're bluebells, I like to keep it ambiguous - they can be whatever you envision them to be. So, after making up my bluebells I started rethinking my yellow print stems. I felt they took away all focus from the beige toned leaves. Then I thought it was actually the leaves that required enhancing. I couldn't decide how to balance out the block.
So I took out my coloured pencils and crayons to play around with my block and get things more how I 'see' them in my mind. I love colouring over fabric prints with coloured pencils and water soluble crayons. Once you heat seat these quality pigments, they're permanent so there's no need to worry. And, the little touches you make can really impact a big difference. Usually I highlight areas of an applique block with a tiny amount of white, yellow or block matching colour to make certain areas stand out more than others - but this time I'm creating a gentle wash to change the tone of an existing print.
This is my usual colouring in work for applique blocks - a simple enhancing of the existing colour - in this case blue with some added highlight in white to give my flat fabric some dimension. I think the Prisma pencils work best for this.
It just adds some overall subtle visual movement
For the gentle tone wash, I move over to my favourite crayons. They're Caran D'Ache which is the gold standard in pencils, crayons and colouring in pigments. These are water soluble crayons and like the Prisma pencils, they are permanent once heat set. They are pricey - this set cost me AU$160, but they last for years. I've had this set for several years now and I've no doubt I won't exhaust it for a few more years yet.
Being water soluble, I can mix a small amount of pigment with some water and use this to 'paint' with
This is my 'before'
and this is my after
It's a small change which blends in the stark print which was glaring at me.
And that's it for now. It's time for me to get on with making Part 3 so you can actually see what I've done by the time it gets released April 1st. 


“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Welcome to this wonderful Mystery BOM 


This very special applique Mystery BOM has launched!


Will you join me on this adventure?
The journey started February 1st, 2017
You can join right now
Digital pattern downloads are instant!
The BOM runs for 12 months
The pattern will be emailed to you directly each month
The finished quilt size is 80 x 80 inches

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

WOW: Diamond Hill: Part 3 is Launched

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Can you even believe Diamond Hill has reached Part 3 already? WOW! 2017 is just flying by. Each month I get to enjoy seeing how everyone is making up their own Diamond Hill over in my BOM Group and it's wonderful to see so many members sharing their progress pics. I hope I'll be able to share some of those here on the blog just as soon as they're made. They're gorgeous!

I'm really enjoying seeing what backgrounds you've chosen and what fabrics have captured your imagination. There are so many different fabric ranges coming out all the time, it's a real treat to see them in action.


This is my BOM Quilt Group over on Facebook. It's where you can connect with other quilters making any of my quilts or projects. You can also download all current and previous Diamond Hill blocks from the 'FILES' area. It's basically the best online quilting club in the world. For those of you who are not in my BOM Group but who are making Diamond Hill, here's your monthly link: simply click the Diamond Hill badge above to start downloading now:

What's Your WOW?


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Secret Garden: Thread Picking

My Secret Garden block is coming along, but the tones in this block mean that my leaves need some help. Because of the blue, they are now completely lost into the background. Because the background is such a soft green, it mostly doesn't photograph correctly, colour wise. It is much softer in real life and the green background is lighter than it looks here.
 I'm really tempted by a strong yellow, but I think it might be too bright
 So I'm just playing around. There's so much scope for embellishing and working and adding all these kinds of details to the Secret Garden blocks, I'm just playing around and enjoying the moment..
 How is your Secret Garden coming along?

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Welcome to this wonderful Mystery BOM 


This very special applique Mystery BOM has launched!


Will you join me on this adventure?
The journey started February 1st, 2017
You can join right now
Digital pattern downloads are instant!
The BOM runs for 12 months
The pattern will be emailed to you directly each month
The finished quilt size is 80 x 80 inches

Monday, 13 March 2017

Secret Garden: Making Turn Edge Bluebells

 
When it comes to making the bluebells, I really think that the fastest and best use of time is to create a production line. After much experimentation, I have found that making each unit from start to finish individually takes far too long. You can half the applique time by breaking the stages up into batches.
I opted for a hand dye of blue fabric from my stash and ironed all the fusible pieces down, leaving enough room between them to add a seam allowance when cutting each piece out.
This is an individual bluebell, cut out with it's seam allowance. Now I snip the fabric seam allowance very carefully, just a thread width away from the fusible edge.
You can't see the snips, but they are there. Now I glue the seam allowance, ready to turn.
Turn the sides first by pressing in as tightly as possible
Then turn down the tip
As you turn the tip, you wiggle your stick to coax the fabric to overlap nicely and tightly in the shape of the curve. 
This is my tool of choice - an orange stick, or manicure stick, or whatever they call it where you are in the world. I find that it allows my to push edges and tight corners without worries over nicking the fabric fibres as I do so (as some metal ones can.)
Then I snip and glue the opposite edge
After you get used to this technique, you will come to understand where you should tighten the seam allowance just by looking at a shape. You can see the edges of this bluebell have some fabric overlap. You could clip away this extra bulk if it was a miniature shape where the excess could cause sewing issues later on, but it's not necessary for this shape.
Usually a nice roll over by the stick gets it all properly flat without any extra cutting away
Sometimes I hammer my applique too, with a soft hammer I have set aside just for he purpose. But with this shape, it would be necessary.
My finished bluebell
It is much faster to create batches when turning this many shapes. I find that 3 working stacks work best:
>The shape cut with seam allowance
>The shape clipped and ready to be glued (but not yet glued)
>The shape with one side glued and turned
and then you have the finished stack.
I love turn edge applique, but remember, these bluebells also look wonderful when completed in raw edge applique, so if turn edging these pieces isn't for you - that's fine!

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Welcome to this wonderful Mystery BOM 

This very special applique Mystery BOM has launched!

Will you join me on this adventure?
The journey started February 1st, 2017
You can join right now
Digital pattern downloads are instant!
The BOM runs for 12 months
The pattern will be emailed to you directly each month
The finished quilt size is 80 x 80 inches

Friday, 10 March 2017

My New Pattern HEXIT is Launched!

Straight off my cutting table, HEXIT is launched!

This is where I pop the imaginary champagne and kick my feet up in celebration - my long lost pattern has been found and I'm over the moon about it. Can you tell?!

18 months ago I had a serious hankering for a hexagon quilt and it just had to be all repetitive hexagons. It had to be pieced and had to be perfectly scrappy. I wanted an easy ongoing pattern that I could keep returning to, knowing that eventually I would end up with a stunning hexagon quilt to be proud of. So I made a hexagon of three simple centered diamonds with purposely mis-matched lines and turned the hexagon diagonally. The result?
A pattern that can go double duty - any size you want, any style you want. Too easy! The diamond centers allow you to use a 'base' colour if you want to, or make way for fussy cutting or even decorative quilting later on. Luckily my actual quilting skills are far superior to my digital drawing skills (above) but you get the idea of how this stunner comes together. The design is an effective way to play up either the scrappy fabrics or the central contrast fabric any way you like. As soon as I found my HEXIT pattern, I couldn't resist getting stuck in straight away making it - and I bet you won't be able to either!
Yep, hex's are addictive. What is so satisfying about this pattern? Oh I don't know, I just know that the simplicity and sheer satisfaction of the diagonal hex is something really special. Will I be able to exit the HEXIT and get back to my other quilt WIPS?? Hmmmm.. I really can't say!

I have an entire shelf of layer cakes and guess what? HEXIT loves layer cakes so I have a feeling that I might just go ahead and make an enormous HEXIT for all those times when I think a huge quilt would really come in handy. Surely I'm not the only quilter who has those thoughts during the holidays??

Anyway, back to layer cakes -
I feel so good about finally using these fabrics for something that's going to get so much practical use. And also, the pre -assortment of prints means that I don't have to think and rethink about fabric combinations, and if you know me - you'll know what a relief that is!
I've opted for red as my base colour because I love the way this specific shade instantly warms up my living room. But you didn't think I'd stop at just one did you? I'm also planning on making up another HEXIT with a bag of civil war scraps contrasted with a rich deep gold that will create an instant 'antique' style quilt. And yes, I've already started my Fassett scraps bag - and I don't have to tell you how gorgeous that HEXIT is going to be!

And for those of you who don't want to foundation piece? No worries! HEXIT is perfect for hand piecing. I've included all the templates you need to make this pattern a slow, go along project for hand stitchers. So, not only can you stash bust all those scraps quickly and easily on your machine, you can also join the slow quilting movement with a perfectly charming hexagon stitch along.

Of course, a pattern like this is bound to have a long list of has a long term list of fabric uses, and I've already planned on this pattern serving as my 'fabric eater' for those scraps I love too much to part with. This means that there will be a vintage Liberty HEXIT somewhere on the horizon. What I love about HEXIT is that you really can make it from scraps and I have Liberty fabric scraps leftover from dresses I made for my DD back in the 80's which I couldn't bear to part with. Now? Solution!
So what are YOU waiting for? 
Go ahead and foundation piece your heart out!