A Miniature Version.

Quilters are always making quilts for others, sometimes for loved family members and dear friends, sometimes for charitable causes, and sometimes as commissions. A couple of years ago I made a quilt for a young family member who was facing some traumatic experiences.

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To read the full story go to https://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/made-with-love/

Much love went into the quilt’s construction and after the quilt was with its new owner I decided to make a miniature version for myself. Not only does the mini quilt help to decorate a spot in my quilting studio, but it also serves to remind me of the person who received the full-size version.

I made the miniature quilt from four mini-blocks, using four of the original feature fabrics, plus the white and grey background fabrics. The mini blocks are 6 inches square, so the quilt measures 12 inches square.

The large-size version was quilted with white thread (Aurifil Cotton Mako’ 40, colour 2024), but for the small quilt I chose a soft grey (Aurifil Cotton Mako’ 40, colour 2615) to tie in with the grey fabric I used on the back.

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I quilted it “in the ditch” on my domestic sewing machine. The back looks like this:

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I purchased a little hanger to display my quilt. (Buy yours now with a 30% discount from the Always Quilting online store. http://alwaysquilting.com.au/product-category/quilt-hangers/)

My mini quilt is ready to hang.

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Just Because….

Most of the projects I make involve fairly intense hand work, such as needleturn applique and English paper piecing. Here’s one of my current projects.

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Even under “optimal conditions” (no housework, no paid employment, neglected hubby and family, and little sleep) such projects progress slowly. Much as I love this activity, it’s sometimes nice to have a change of pace and produce something that goes together more quickly and with less effort.

I have recently made such a quilt.

While distracted (i.e. browsing on the internet) I saw a quilt which I thought had an interesting layout. There was no name or pattern, but that did not deter me as I simply drafted my own, using dimensions of my choice. I had some suitable fabrics in my stash so I was able to begin without delay.

The blocks are simple and require only two seams.

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The trickiest thing is to ensure the correct orientation of all the blocks once they are pieced. Check and check and check before joining!

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I used the red sashing fabric to add a border around the edge to frame the quilt and bound it in the same fabric to maintain the framed look. In the photo below, I am trialling the position of the blocks and the border.

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With my long-arm machine, quilting my projects is straightforward.  My quilting business, “The Quilt House” is located in Vermont South, Victoria. Check out my website :  http://www.thequilthouse.com.au 

I decided to use an all over quilting design (edge-to-edge) 0n the quilt, in this case I chose Lorien’s “Twirly Feathers”. It’s a really elegant design.

For this type of quilting, I use Aurifil 40 weight thread on my Gammill quilting machine. I chose a red thread to match the sashing fabric. It provides a nice contrast with the gold coloured backing fabric.

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And here is the quilt used as a topper on my bed. I called it “Just Because”………well, just because!

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Pinwheel Passion

At the beginning of this year, I celebrated the birth of my first grandchild, and like quilting grannies through the generations, wished to mark the occasion with the creation of a quilt.

I decided to ignore all the beautiful baby quilt patterns available commercially and design my own quilt using the pinwheel block with three narrow borders, using bright fabrics on a white background.

Camera file jan2015 075To make the pinwheel block I used a technique  where you start with squares.

You take 2 squares of contrasting fabric and sew them right sides together, with a 1/4 inch seam all the way around the edge.

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Pinwheel squares sewn with 1/4 inch seams around the perimeter.

Then you cut the joined squares on each diagonal, being careful not to move the squares out of alignment as you rotate. (Tip: move your cutting mat around, not the squares, or better still, invest in a rotating mat!)

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Cut the sewn squares diagonally.

Press the seams on your triangles, firstly as closed seams, then open them out and press with the seam in the direction of the darker fabric.

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Pressing seams closed first.

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Now press seams open and towards the darker fabric.

At this point you will have four matching squares which you arrange to form the pinwheel design and then sew  together.  TQH 001

Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of this when I was making my quilt so the sample looks a little different.

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Joining the pinwheel block.

If you wish to see a video of this technique and find out how large to cut your squares to reach the desired block size go to http://blog.missouriquiltco.com/update-on-the-easy-pinwheels/  You may notice that there is a great deal of confusion about the cutting size required to obtain the pinwheel square you require. The following method is accurate:

Take the finished size you wish your block to be (i.e. without any seam allowance)

Multiply by 1.41

Divide by 2

Add 1.25

Round up/down to the nearest eighth of an inch.

This will make a block which includes seam allowance so that when you have joined it to its neighbouring blocks it will be the accurate size.

I needed to make 50 pinwheel blocks and cut 49 intervening plain white ones.

Having done that, I then arranged them in a pleasing layout. In the photo below I have mine pinned to an old sheet. Theoretically no two blocks were supposed to be the same, but there are two that are!!

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Arranging the layout of the blocks.

I then added the borders:a narrow plain white border, a pieced border using strips of all the fabrics used in the quilt, and finally another narrow white border. I also used white fabric to bind the quilt. This gave the effect of the pinwheels and border “floating” on the white background.

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White borders and binding.

To quilt the quilt I used a design called Curlz by Patricia Ritter. Throughout the quilt, for piecing and quilting, I used Aurifil Cotton Mako 40.

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Quilting my quilt on my long-arm machine.

Ta Da!! My completed quilt.

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My completed pinwheel quilt.

Round Robin Round-up

At the beginning of 2014 the members of the Always Thread team set themselves a challenge, in the form of a round robin quilt project. We wanted this to be a small wall-hanging sized quilt, and one with a very modern feel. To see how we set up the specifications for our challenge go to https://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/taking-the-round-robin-into-the-21st-century/

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The original four blocks using colours determined by the colour wheel.

 

At various stages in the year we have blogged about our progress and posted photos. To track our progress you can visit https://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/round-robin-round-two/ , https://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/round-robin-bl…e-21st-century/ , https://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/quilting-the-2…-c-round-robin/, and https://alwaysquilting.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/twenty-first-c…-quilting-plan/

At our final handover day the four quilts looked like this…..

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 Heather and Denise….. and this.

Always Quilting Round Robin 2014 Jenny and Judy

Ladybirdee added both machine and handquilting to her quilt, using two different weights of Aurifil thread. (Ne 40 and 12 respectively).

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A combination of hand and machine quilting.

A view from the back shows her extensive quilting.

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Back view.

She has also used pieced binding in 2 colours to add to the visual impact.

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Judysewforth also added lots of detailed quilting in a very “fun” design!! (#FUN)  Her binding is also pieced in two colours to match the outer border.

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Her backing fabric is a bit of fun too. (Sorry about the direction of this photo – WordPress is doesn’t seem to like this photo!)

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Jenny found some binding fabric to complement the colours in her quilt and used a variegated thread to machine quilt her project.

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The back view.

And as for my quilt….I could not decide how to quilt it and spent ages gazing at it without inspiration! In the end I machine stitched in the ditch to stabilise it (using Aurifil 40 weight), then added modern look hand quilting using Aurufil cotton in 12 weight. I trialled lots of colours before being happy with the apricot/orange I used (colour 2220) which doesn’t really show up very well  in the photo.

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Although this project took me very far from my comfort zone, and I engaged in a fair bit of sighing and complaining along the way, it did prove to be an intriguing exercise with interesting quilts as a result.

What about your group? Is anyone up for a challenge? We’d love to hear!

 

Always Playing with Fussy Cutting

Recently I have made some miniature quilts, one of which is made from 1/2 inch hexagons.  I wanted to be able to engage in  some fussy cutting, so I deliberately chose a fabric which would give me plenty of opportunities to do this.

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Feature fabric for fussy cut hexagons.

I had great fun playing with the fabric to obtain 9 different little “flowers”.

 

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A little “flower” in the making.

 

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Another “flower”.

Once I had constructed 9 little flowers, I arranged them on the background fabric.  I decided to use a whole piece of fabric for the background, but I could also have pieced the background. I used Aurifil Cotton Mako Ne 50 (on the orange spool) to create ‘invisible” applique stitches.

 

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Arranging and appliqueing the flowers to the background.

When all the flowers were in place, I machine quilted in the ditch around each one, and also quilted a small hexagon, the same size as the components of the flower (i.e. 1/2  inch), in the spaces between them. For the quilting I used Aurifil Cotton Mako Ne 40 thread (on the green spool).

 

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Machine quilting the mini quilt.

Finally, I added some stripey binding and a rod pocket for hanging the quilt.

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Sewing on the binding.

I had purchased 40cm of feature fabric, which gave me enough to make the hexagons and back the quilt (which measures 13 inches square). There is not much left over, and what does remain is very holey!!

 

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Not much fabric left over.

 

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Small rod pocket for hanging the quilt.

 

Ta Da!  My miniature quilt is finished and ready to display.

 

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Completed miniature hexagon quilt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh dear, it comes around again.

Yes, the shops are starting to fill up with Christmas decorations, the catalogues are full of gift suggestions, and my calendar is filling up with end of year celebrations. I know I should be very happy to get so many invitations out  and have people to buy gifts for – but IT HAS COME AROUND TOO QUICKLY!!!!!!
Looking in the Always Quilting shop I discovered some ideas for Kris Kringles or gift making. Re the latter – I had better get sewing quickly if I want to make a quilt! but some of the other ideas are done much quicker – or don’t involve any sewing at all.
My ideas list:

A “quick” cushion??

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Perhaps a table runner – or one table mat??
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A Christmas Stocking??IMG_0006
For those with more time on their hands than me, a lovely Christmas quilt
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Can always give a card (for someone else to make!)
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For a special friend, a collection of thread??IMG_0011
A quilt label??IMG_0013
And always appreciated – more Christmas fabric and some gorgeous Brillo thread!!IMG_0008

You can check out the Always Quilting online store for more ideas. I hope you can find something special for your gift buying.

Under the big top

Recently I went away with 49 other patchworkers from my guild to a “Retreat”.  I don’t know how the name was chosen originally, as it certainly isn’t a time for quiet contemplation!  It’s a time for enjoying sewing, and eating meals none of us have to prepare, and making merry (in a very contained sort of way!!).  Our club choses a venue only a few hours away from where most of us live in the  Victorian countryside.  We were very lucky this year with beautiful blue skies and warm sunny days.

Retreat WP 2014 Neerim East

This year the theme for the weekend was “Under the Big Top”. The organising committee cleverly works with this theme in the goody bags we each receive on arrival, entertainment and  the Saturday night ‘ dress up ‘.  There was  an amazing variety of costumes – with lions, strong men, clowns, popcorn sellers, fairy floss fairies, ring masters and even a bearded lady and a sword thrower’s assistant putting in an appearance.  (No photos here – too incriminating I think!).

Many make great use of the time away from other commitments to sew from morning to night – either by hand or by machine.

Beautiful hand embroidery

Beautiful hand embroidery

Some enjoy the walks in the natural surrounds or relax with a magazine or some chat instead of “working”.  It is always interesting to see what everyone has chosen to bring along – some complete a quilt in a weekend, while others work on several projects.

Naturally I found someone using Aurifil !!

Naturally I found someone using Aurifil !!

Japanese case for glasses or rotary cutter

Val’s Japanese case for glasses or rotary cutter

Allison quietly sewing low contrast quilt blocks

Allison quietly (and accurately) sewing low contrast quilt blocks

Beautiful machine applique on a William Morris design from Belinda

Beautiful machine applique on a William Morris design from Belinda

Wendy starting a new project with hand applique

Wendy starting a new project with hand applique

Jeanette's beautiful appliqued borders for a new quilt

Jeanette’s stunning appliqued borders for a new quilt

The “Retreats” have been an annual event for our club for many, many years, and each year the organising committee manages to make our time away even more memorable.    I think everyone came home slightly tired, but in a good sort of way – enjoying the time shared with friends old or new.

 

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