Round Robin Blocks for the 21st Century

This year we have been “Taking the Round Robin into the 21st Century” as a challenge at our work.  In February each staff member had to bring a 6 inch starter block in a designated colour from the colour wheel.  This week we took possession of ‘our’ block and now we have to  feature Aurifil threads on it to make it into a mini quilt with quilting and/or embellishments.

Back in February, I had to work with the colour Violet and make a 6 inch block.

Starting block

Then every two months we were  to add borders of different sizes to each relevant quilt block.  Round two of mine was made by Judy using  a red-orange colour to create an asymmetrical border on four sides.

RR Block 2

Then Yellow was choice of colour for Jenny, with an even size border on four sides ( no more than 3 inch wide) added.

Round Robin block 3

Finally, a border on two sides, no more than 3 inches wide was added by Denise in Blue Green

Round Robin Block 4

Here are all the quilts (hung over some of the batting in the shop) showing the results.  It will be fascinating to see what everyone chooses to do with their individual quilts.

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 no.1

And a closer look of them (Jenny and Judy’s):

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 Jenny and Judy

and the other two (mine and Denise’s):

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 Heather and Denise

We have been given some time to finish the quilts as they will be displayed at the Melbourne Wholesale Quilt Market in November – and if we are really keen and finish them before hand, someone may even blog about them earlier!!

Woolly Things for Winter

Here in Melbourne we are in the grip of winter, where the weather specialises in dull, dismal, damp and often draughty days.

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A typical wintery day in my back yard.

 

It’s the perfect time of year to indulge in some handcraft of the woolly sort!

Each year I usually knit several adult garments. This year I have made a jumper for hubby…

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8 ply jumper which is actually a darker purple than it appears here.

…and a jumper for me.

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This is much greener than it appears!

I have also just completed a cardigan for myself.  When sewing on the buttons, I always use cotton thread, not the wool in which the garment is made, as this is too thick for this purpose.  With 270 colours in the current Aurifil Cotton Mako range, I can find one that’s just right.

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Sewing on the buttons with Aurifil thread.

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The completed cardigan.

I always have a number of different knitting projects on the go (just like my sewing!!!).  One of the things I am currently working on is a jacket for a friend.  When her mum died a few years ago, she inherited some yarn which she asked me to make up for her.  It must be 70s-80s yarn, a wool, mohair and nylon mix, and although the band says 7 ply, I am knitting it to an 8 ply pattern. I had to do a bit of research and “trial and error knitting” to get the size right.

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Because this yarn is so fluffy and uneven in texture, it would be a nightmare to use for sewing the garment together, so I will use Aurifil Lana (50% Australian wool/50% acrylic blend) to sew it up.  The Lana slips through the seams effortlessly.

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Sewing up a sleeve with Lana.

Another current project is a beanie for my husband to use on the boat (the last beanie went west on a previous fishing excursion).  There was a bit of trial and error involved with this item too, as I had a request to make it a bit bigger than the pattern, so that it wouldn’t sit too tightly on the head.

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A friend showed me her current project, a scarf using some fabulously soft Alpaca yarn in a rich mulberry shade. Just beautiful!

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Another friend showed me her hat, made from knitting 2 strands of carpet wool together.

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In addition to my knitted woolly projects, I am also preparing for a couple of items using wool felt.

The first is using a Quilted Crow Girls pattern .  http://www.thequiltedcrow.com.au/

I’ve selected Cotton Mako 28 for use with this.

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 The other project will be a small 15 inch wallhanging using these materials.

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This time I will use Lana (wool blend) thread.

For more ideas about using wool and Lana see http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/tuesday-treats…-wool-applique/  and http://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/the-flavour-of…-month-is-felt/

So while the temperature outside may be in low figures, the sun may be hidden and the wind whistling,  I’m snug indoors surrounded by my wonderful woolly things!!

 

Wednesday Wonder: Thread Colours for Hand Quilting

Last week we helped a customer choose threads for hand quilting, something that we often do but we don’t always get to see the results.

Well this week Judy L sent me a photo of the quilt ….. just look at her beautiful feather and cross hatch quilting.

Judy-Leckie-feather

I loved this feedback, especially as Judy wanted a thread colour that would add a little contrast to the beige background fabric, so it was interesting to see how the colour selection had worked

Aurifil-Cotton-Mako-Ne28-quilting-colours

We played with several colours from the Cotton Mako’ 28 range.

In fact we spent quite some time agonising over the colours … some looked too dark while others looked too light.

Judy L finally decided upon a deep greenish brown for the feathers and warm brown for the cross hatching.

Aurifil-Cotton-Mako-1318-2340

In her email, Judy commented:

Just thought I would show you this,  the different colours don’t really show

This reminded me of the times that I have helped a customer choose the thread colour when machine quilting.

We have ALL the Aurifil colours at our finger tips, and many spools are open, so we can spread a length of thread across the quilt to preview the effect.

Doing this has made me realise that you don’t have to have the “perfect” colour. More often than not any one of 4 or 5 colours would work, and look good.

As Judy has found with this quilt, as long as the colour she chose was deeper & richer than the fabric colour, and the contrast was pleasing to the eye, it would achieve her desired effect and her hand quilting was always going to be a beautiful feature on the quilt.

 

Red, White and Blue

 

Many colours in our lives have special significance. Some colours reflect age old traditions and some reflect new and exciting trends.

I am the proud owner of a red, white and blue quilt. When I moved away from the Midwest in America, my quilting friends made this delightful quilt. It came with plenty of room for signatures and thoughtful phrases.

 

Red, White and Blue Goodbye Quilt

Red, White and Blue Goodbye Quilt

Happy messages from dear friends

Happy messages from dear friends

 

Wonderful edge to edge quilting adds texture

Wonderful edge to edge quilting adds texture

Today when I consider making a quilt with red, white and blue fabrics, Aurifil’s variegated threads spring immediately to mind as they give me several choices.

I can use these traditional fabric colours with Aurifil Mako Cotton Colour #3852

Traditional fabrics and thread for patriotic blocks

Traditional fabrics and thread for patriotic blocks

For a more modern look, I match the colours in the Mako Cotton Colour #4647.

Modern Fabric Choices and matching thread

Modern Fabric Choices and matching thread

The next time you want to remember a place or an event with a quilt, try matching your Aurifil thread colour to a Holiday themed quilt or a country’s flag. I’m off right now to gather my red, white and blue fabrics for an Independence Day or maybe a Bastille Day quilt …..

Modern “One Star”

Recently I had a request from a family member to make a ‘lone star’ modern quilt.  A request is always appreciated – as I tend to make quilts for me – usually because I like a pattern, or a fabric, or I have attended a workshop or because a friend is also making one.  I think there are quite a few other reasons why I have made quilts over the years and quite a few reasons why I have never completed some quilts too!

This new quilt was to be more of a ‘decor’ quilt – to suit a room – and to be relatively modern in appearance.  By that I mean with minimal quilting (YES!!) and with few colours.   I suggested a visit to the local hardware shop to find some paper paint samples in the appropriate colours would be necessary.  Using them I was able to purchase the fabrics and have a colour palette to work with.  I choose a deep charcoal grey for the background, and this ‘set off’ the aquas, pink and yellow colours well.

I had never sewn a lone star quilt before, but luckily a friend had a Nancy Johnson-Srebro book called “big one-star quilts by magic” in her extensive collection of quilting and patchwork books. The pattern book cleverly uses squares and rectangles to make up the star,  rather than cutting strips into diamonds and then sewing them together.

Nancy Johnson-Srebro

Using Nancy’s instructions I was able to easily follow what to do.  Well – it was kind of easy – except I started sewing at a quilt retreat, and one does have to concentrate when putting colours together in the correct order!!

My block pattern

Once I had all the top pieced, I machine quilted it with Aurifil (of course) in Ne 40 and then hand quilted minimally with Ne 12.

Basting with pins and marking with tape for the quilting

Basting with pins and marking with tape for the quilting

 

Simple quilting with Ne 12 in pink on the soft aqua fabric

Simple quilting with Ne 12 in pink on the soft aqua fabric

The quilting colours

The quilting colours

I added a row of flying geese top and bottom to add length to the quilt as well as pick up the colours used in the main star.

Flying geese border

I am hoping the recipients  are pleased with the end result – if not, there is a home in my house for the quilt, as I have really come to love it!!

Finished quilt

 

Another hexagon bag (or two)

I must confess a real weakness for bag patterns. When I buy them I am full of enthusiasm and good intentions, but I am not very good at actually making/completing the bags.  Last year I bought a pattern, “Mill Girls Tote”,  from Sewn and Quilted. http://sewnandquilted.com.au   It is designed by Vicki Bellino of Bloom Creek  http://www.bloomcreek.com

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“Mill Girl Tote” pattern.

I purchased a lovely piece of border print fabric for the top and bottom borders.

another hexagon bag

Border print fabric “Pride and Purpose” by Kaye England for Wilmington.

I found some jazzy red handles which are perfect!!

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The perfect handles.

I was able to utilise many fabrics from my stash to construct the hexagons for the centre feature. The hexagons are quite small, only 1/2 an inch.

Sewing bag 143

Fussy cutting some of the hexagons.

Sewing bag 144

The collection of hexagon “flowers” grows.

154 hexagons are required to make this panel.  I’m nearly there!

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Hexagon panel progressing well.

While I was beavering away on this project, my friends in a friendship group decided to make a bag, using this pattern, for one of our members celebrating a “big O” birthday. A group of us shopped together to select fabric.  Our choice this time was quite different from the fabrics I’ve used.

hexagon bag

Hexagon panel taking shape.

Various members of the group completed different sections of the bag.

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Bag outer constructed.

After much furtive activity and secret conversations, the birthday bag was completed and presented to our birthday girl.

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The completed birthday bag.

As for my bag….well I did confess at the outset that I am not good at completing bags.  And the decision to make another hexagon panel for the bag back  (rather than using a plain panel as in the pattern) will slow me down.  However,  I’m now re-enthused and keen to add this to my list of completed projects for 2014!

Time to fussy cut some more hexagons…..

 

 

 

Aurifil at Market Trends, Brisbane

Did you have an exciting weekend?

Brisbane

I did!  ……  I went to sunny Brisbane and escaped the cold Melbourne weather for three days.

Market-trend-stand2

I had a vendor stand at the Market Trends wholesale trade show, held at Doomben Racecourse in Brisbane.

It was a great opportunity for people to see the Aurifil threads first hand, and for me to meet, in person, with people who I have only previously meet by telephone & email.

Camille-Jenny

As well as being the place to “put faces to voices on the telephone”,  trade shows are always a great opportunity to meet new friends.

I was particularly excited to meet the special guest, Camille Roskelley,  and to see her beautiful modern take on traditional patchwork blocks.

Camille-Roskelley

Camille also had her books, patterns & Aurifil Collections on display.

Market-trends-hall

This inaugural Market was quite small,  but well attended by retail store owners from Queensland & northern New South Wales.

Camille-Roskelley-talk

As well as having plenty of time to speak to each of the Wholesale vendors,  the visitors had morning training sessions and demonstrations during the day.

They were also treated to an evening talk by Camille, explaining her fabric design inspirations, talking about, and showing, the quilts that she has made for each of her Moda fabric ranges.

Camille-Roskelley-Miniatures

It was fascinating to see her miniature quilts, and to hear how they started because she wanted to keep a smaller version of each of the larger “fabric range” quilts on her wall.

Camille said that she stitches her quilts with Aurifil Cotton Mako’ 50, and she has created patterns for each of her miniature quilts so you can make your own versions.

2-green-zebras

Each wholesaler had put a lot of effort into setting up their displays to make the market hall look interesting.

tilda-cupcakes

My  “across the aisle” neighbor even had cupcakes made, and decorated with designs inspired from their Tilda fabric range.

Just too, too tempting.

Suitcases

Then suddenly the weekend was over, my display stand was pulled down, packed into two  suitcases, and I was ready to ride away into the sunset ….. no …. I mean catch a plane back to Melbourne.

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