This month’s queen bee for my Miss B Haven quilting bee asked for the Checker block in a riot of large florals. Caroline aka Geometriquilt is not known for her floral tastes, so it was a (fun!) shock to us all! I must say, I don’t have many large multi-coloured florals, but I only needed four.
The magic of the Checker block is that if you cut two sets of the background strips, you can make two blocks because the HSTs make 2. Except that you may notice that my HSTs are the same fabrics, but different placements… instead of making one large and one small set of HSTs, I made two large sets – one from each fabric. And then one was trimmed to the smaller size, and one to the larger size. And hey presto, same fabrics, different look!
Now, I’ve been showing you the quilt top mock ups for each month’s bee blocks by using EQ8, but when it comes to the Checker block, there’s a few options that you could go for! And with the fabric placement that Caroline has chosen, it changes the options even more so. If you don’t rotate the blocks, she would get some fun shapes happening, like the wonky bowties in the negative space.
You can still rotate these blocks to create pinwheels, even with the different fabric placement. The white as half of the HSTs really helps tone down the flower garden.
Or rotate alternate blocks, and you get this unique arrangement.
I could see some interesting potential in this third layout, but the florals were getting distracting! So I recoloured this layout to solids to see how it looked and oh wow… how amazing and graphic does this layout look?! Tip – use a skinny border to demonstrate the binding.
As you can see, rotating quilt blocks can often create interesting quilt designs. By using EQ8, it’s really easy to quickly rotate blocks and see how you like them. In the Quilt Sketchbook, click to the Design tab, then click Block Tools. Select Rotate and click on the quilt blocks you would like to rotate.
With each click, they will turn 90 degrees to the right. You can also flip blocks to see how it would look if you made them mirror image!
It’s also really quick and easy to recolour your quilt top to try out new colour schemes. To recolour blocks, like I did to create the monochrome layout, click Fabric Tools in the Design tab. Click Swap Color, then choose what fabric or colour you would like to use. Click on the patches you would like to recolour, and it will swap each instance of that fabric in the quilt to the new choice.
Bonus tip – you can also drag and drop fabric or colour swatches to the fabric you want to replace, and it will do the same thing.
So which layout do you think Caroline will choose? Straight, pinwheels, or alternate? Which would YOU choose?!
If you’d love to grab EQ8 for yourself, use the code EQ8ALYCE to get 20% off – it works for everything in store! Valid until April 17.
In all the busy-ness of summer holidays and preparing for QuiltCon, I forgot to share the past three blocks from the Patisserie Block Of the Month that I’m designing with AccuQuilt Australia! Bad blogger! But if you follow along with the AccuQuilt Australia blog, you won’t have missed them
Block 5 were both blue this time. The 8″ Qube version is in more pastel blue colours.
And the 6″ Qube version is much more bright and vibrant.
Block 6 was inspired by my love of cherry danishes. There is one bakery in Adelaide, next door to where I worked throughout college, that made the best cherry danishes. I’ve never had any as good as those ones! Sweetly tart cherries, thick dollops of custard, perfectly flaky pastry… *drool* My 8″ Qube version is a cherry pink one!
The square on point die is always so fun to use! I love how it’s a no-waste method of making this unit. The fabrics are from the Solids Club provided by Jules at The Creative Retreat, with Kona Ash for the background.
And the 6″ Qube version is a vibrant red version.
Block 7 was also inspired by danishes, with a bit more of the folded corners effect. I’m not sure what flavour purple would be… perhaps blueberry? They definitely tend more toward purple than blue when baked up!
Do you label your quilts? Early in November, for some random reason I can’t recall, I had read this post by Jeni from In Color Order about her adorable little labels, and had been thinking that something like that would be much better for this lazy quilt labeller. I’m shocking at remembering to do it, unless I actually have to do a quick, temporary one when sending it off to a magazine! Of course, I left it at that “I should…” thought until a couple of weeks later, I freakishly coincedentally received an email from Dutch Label Shop asking if I’d like to try out their labels. Cue the hallelujah angel voices! Yes please! So they provided me with a coupon code, with no obligation to blog about it, but of course, when you see how they turned out, you’ll realise why I just had to share them with you…
I must admit, I was a little nervous about submitting my artwork. There isn’t a good template or description on bleed lines or seam allowance guides on their website, like other websites that provide similar types of services (i.e. printing websites). So I did a quick Google to see what other sewers and quilters had ordered, to try and get an idea of what the process/results was like. Felice from I Am Luna Sol had recently done a brilliant review of her Dutch Label Shop labels, including a sample of the artwork she submitted. Molli Sparkles mentioned the colour of pink he chose so I could reference that compared to what pink I was after. And Jeni from In Color Order had mentioned about seam allowances and adding taffeta to her’s to help with that (by adding a note in the comments). I should note that there is now an option on the ordering page to select “<desired style> + taffeta”, which makes ordering much clearer.
Here’s the artwork I submitted, with a note for adding 1/4″ of taffeta:
I chose black and pink 213C for the colours, with double white for the background. And these are the labels I received! So vibrant, great contrast, and of good quality. I stayed with one pink for the lotus, as it’s so small that any colour difference would be barely noticeable anyway.
They took about 3 weeks to arrive, from ordering to delivery, although that was during December and thus Christmas postal times were well and truly in force. I’ve added them to a couple of quilts already. I’ve tried two different ways to do so – first by stitching them in place before securing the binding down on the back, or, adding it in right before I finish sewing the binding down. The second way gets a bit of a better result in making sure there’s enough space to not cut off the logo, especially when you’re racing to finish a binding like my Modern HST Sampler quilt… Not my finest binding, but it’s secure! Do as I say, not as I do, haha!
Having such lovely, quick-and-easy labels to stitch into the binding and done? Should hopefully help me remedy this quilty weakness of being a non-labeller.
You can find these at Dutch Label Shop – I ordered centre fold, 2.5″ x 1″, plus taffeta (this is the full measurement when they’re opened, not folded). They also have a basic woven label tool that lets you design your labels right there on the website – you can add personalised text, and choose from loads of cute sewing themed icons to add to your label.
I was provided with a credit to use but was not under any obligation to blog about them. All opinions and dodgy binding seams are my own.
While this post may be in March, I do solemnly swear that my Modern HST Sampler quilt was finished during February. Before I left for QuiltCon, no less! Although, in total disclosing honesty, it was a little bit of a rushed binding job #keepingitreal
While I popped outside to get a few shots of this half-square triangle quilt, a neighbour popped her head out and ironically asked how long it took me to make it… I sheepishly laughed and said I started it at the end of 2015, but only just added the final touch.
Yep, it’s been a while, but who’s counting? Not me, anymore, because this one is D-O-N-E! And it feels goooood. It means I just have one last yearly sampler quilt to finish off, and my Milky Way Sampler quilt is getting finished this month (I pieced the backing yesterday, so that’s one step closer!).
This one was quilted by Katrina Wilson, and I asked for a geometric triangular pattern. There’s a whole lotta angles going on, and I’m totally loving it. I’m also loving the way the quilt top is ever so subtly not a grid. I added sashing to two sides of each block, and rotated each one. Click here for more of those details.
I also have a small dilemma… my daughter loves the colours and would like to claim it for her bed. But I’m currently EPPing a quilt for her! I need that pressure of finishing it for her while she still appreciates the Heather Ross fabric to keep me moving! But then again, there’s no way it’ll be done before this winter anymore, so maybe she COULD have this one in the meantime?! What would you do?!
Well, here we are in month 3 of the Year Of Finishing, and I’ve successfully finished off two UFOs (yes, I still need to photograph my finished Modern HST Sampler… this weekend!). Can I make it 3 in a row?! This month, I’ve got a liiittle more space than the past two months, so I’ve decided to finish off a project that needs a bit more work – my Milky Way Sampler quilt.
I’m yet to decide how to quilt my Milky Way Sampler. I’m tempted by the thought of doing a 1/4″ outline around each of the stars, with swirls in the background (like I did on the background of my Aurora quilt). But I don’t think that will be enough to secure the stars properly, so I may need to just ditch stitch through them to keep them more secure? Open to thoughts and suggestions!
Oh, but before I do baste and quilt, I should probably decide on a backing! I’ll see if I have anything in my stash first, but this is one of those quilts where I would like it to be a “perfect” backing, AKA one that coordinates well with the front.
When it’s your turn as queen bee in a quilting bee, choosing what quilt block design and what colours to use can be a difficult decision to make! It can be a slow process doing it by hand, especially if you want to test out other colour options. Last year, I chose the Treasure Hunt quilt block for my month as queen, and thought I’d choose my favourite colours – navy, mustard, teal and coral (you can see how some of the blocks look like together here). But where did I want to place each colour?! So I opened up EQ8 and had a play. Psst – stay tuned until the end for a coupon code for EQ8!
This is what I first tried, but I decided that I wanted to make the coral be more of a “pop” than a feature colour, and to make the overall quilt a bit more “moody” by using more navy and teal. So I moved the coral to the corner sections instead, and ended up with something like this.
Hmm, almost, but I didn’t quite want the bands of colour like that. A bit too regimented. A quick rotation of some blocks and I get this look instead…
Oh yes! That’s more like it! I never did get time to piece my quilt top together, so I’ll be adding to it again in this year’s round and making it nice and big, but here’s a quick snapshot of what it looks like in real life.
By the way, the biggest tips I can give for selecting fabric for your quilt blocks when you’re queen?
Provide a picture of the kinds of fabrics/colours you are wanting, using 4-6 examples, so that people can more accurately match the shades of the colours you’re wanting.
The scrappier the fabrics, the more cohesive it will look overall. When you have 12 people each sewing the same designs, fabrics will vary in shades and tones, plus the quilt blocks will all end up a little different in size/seams, so the scrappy fabrics help blend it all together.
This year, I’m also creating mock ups in EQ8 for each month of my quilting bee, demonstrating how their chosen quilt blocks will look in the finished quilt top. Our January queen be chose the Double Star quilt block in navy, emerald, and light grey, using the same fabrics throughout. Pardon the late night pictures, but here’s my blocks…
And this is what her finished quilt will look like. So good!
February’s queen, Josephine, chose the popular Tic Tac Toe quilt block in pink and grey to make a quilt for her daughter. She asked for a variety of any shade of pink in the corners, but with the same light grey, and dark grey, prints for the rest of the blocks.
Her finished quilt will look a bit like this! Such a sweet quilt, with a hint of edge through the dark grey…
If you want to grab EQ8 for yourself, then I’ve got some fantastic news for you! From now until April 17, you can get 20% off everything in store with the code – EQ8ALYCE. How awesome is that?!
That’s an amazing deal, and includes both the Electric Quilt software, and all the various products and downloads they have too.
Life tends to go through phases, doesn’t it? Sometimes it’s smooth and calm, and other times, it’s hectic and one thing after another! I’ve had a brief chance between the end of school holidays and my trip to QuiltCon next week to start my work year properly, but it was just the warm-up phase for what’s to come over the next few months. Between a busy family life, and some pretty intense work months for myself… let’s just say that the light at the end of the tunnel is our trip to Japan in June! Oh yes, there’s at least four months of solid head-down-tail-up to be done, and my Quilter’s Planner is getting quite the work out.
As a brief example of how life is rather crazy, let me share a little about our March… A week after I get back from QuiltCon, my husband heads off to Europe for a work trip for 10 days. A couple of days after he returns, my son heads off on his first school camp! Then in quick succession is my daughter’s birthday party, her birthday, and then it’s Easter long weekend when we have family visiting. And that is the start two weeks of school holidays. The aforementioned Quilter’s Planner is seriously all marked up!
As such, I’ve had to take a hard look at my (too long) to-do list and make some changes. It’s meant saying no to a couple of opportunities, postponing some things, and making some changes to the way I do certain things. One such change is that instead of being weekly, my newsletter, Behind The Quilts, will now be going out fortnightly for the next few months. I’m going for quality over quantity, as I’d rather still have plenty of interesting news and information to share in each newsletter, than scraping for bits and pieces each week.
And in other news, every now and then, I re-assess my range of patterns, and sometimes, it’s time to retire a pattern or two. The Bright Sky quilt pattern is one such pattern now being retired, and is on sale on Craftsy and in my store for just $5 for the rest of February to say good bye. It’s a great fat-quarter friendly design, and shows off your large scale prints beautifully!
Or perhaps you have too many fat quarters to feature for Bright Sky? Then Geode is the one for you, and yes, the PDF pattern is also just $5 for the rest of February too. Geode is on Craftsy and in my store.
How’s that a nice, happy way to end this post? Well, that and a final word I want to say… thank you so much for all your ongoing love and support. This process has been hard for me, as I hate to ever feel like I’m letting down people! But I know that it needs to happen so as to keep the core of what I do sustainable going into the future. And while the next few months are going to be incredibly busy, it will also be incredibly rewarding afterward. Please bare with me as things may be a little less scheduled/regular! I do promise there’s still some fun bits and pieces coming in the next few weeks and beyond, don’t worry, I’m not going away completely!
There’s been a secret I’ve been hiding for a few weeks, and it’s time to come clean… I have a new sewing machine! And it came in such a cute box…
When I upgraded my very first machine to my big, beasty, 13kg straight-stitch workhorse, I knew that one day I would need a second, smaller machine with more stitch options. Since moving to Melbourne, I’ve been needing a second, smaller sewing machine that has more than just a straight stitch, and that is much lighter for taking to sewing days and retreats, and wanting one that has speed control that the kids can sew on too. And the Pfaff Passport met all the criteria, and was highly recommended by a few local quilty friends too.
Yes, I am now the proud, and very excited, owner of a Pfaff Passport 3.0 (currently affectionately known as Baby Girl), and I’ll be sharing a lot about our journey together as a Pfaff Associate. The Passport is everything I have come to need in a second machine – lightweight, but packs a punch. For the past 18 months, since we moved to Melbourne, I’ve been lugging around that 13kg workhorse to sewing events – retreats, Guild sewing days, sewing at friends’ houses, classes… And as it’s Japanese, I’ve also had to take the 2kg transformer too! But no more. Whenever you see me out and about sewing, it’ll be with my new Baby Girl. At just 6.7kg, it’s a game changer (and back saver!).
Other than the weight and stitch range, the other main reason I am so excited about my Pfaff Passport 3.0 is the speed control. This was another feature lacking on my workhorse, and it meant that my children were unable to use it. But now, I can pop it onto the lowest speed, and let my kids have fun. That’s how my daughter was able to sew up this little pouch almost all by herself the other week! I just helped her with the hem around the top edge.
Of course, now she’s thinking up all these projects to make, and I’ll have to try and get MY sewing done while she’s at school so that we’re not competing for time on the Passport, haha!
As with any new machine, it’s taken a little bit to get used to the way it works, and buttons and levers in new places, but we’re getting on pretty darn well. I was rather excited to have a play with the decorative stitches, and thankfully, I had some small projects already basted from demonstrating for my basting tutorial. I decided to tackle the tulips table runner first.
For the long edges, I used the serpentine stitch – stitch #42 – and weaved my way along the borders, mixing it up. I’d love to try and work out how to evenly stitch serpentine rows next to each other, though! Does anyone have some tips for that? Next, I used the most perfect vine-like stitch – stitch #80 – to quilt next to each tulip block. It echoes the blocks’ leaves perfectly!
So yes, I’m loving my Pfaff Passport 3.0, I’m thrilled to become a Pfaff Associate, and to share this new journey with you all!
Do you have some favourite artists that you follow? I’ve long admired the stunning watercolour art by Caverly Smith, one half of the Briar Hill Designs duo. Their Instagram feed – @briarhilldesigns – is one of gorgeous florals that have you sighing at the sweet prettiness of it all! So when I heard that they were releasing their first line of fabric with RJR Fabrics, I knew it’d one full of pretty florals, and I wasn’t wrong! The June’s Cottage fabric range features the gorgeous handpainted art of Caverly in lemony yellows, fresh greens, cool blues, and a punch of lavender purple.
I was thrilled when they asked if I’d join the June’s Cottage Maker’s Tour to showcase the sweet prints, and I selected three prints to work with for a couple of pouches. I originally had a tote bag in mind, until I borrowed Stitched Sewing Organizers by Aneela Hoey from my local library, and instead decided that these fabrics now needed to become a zippered pouch, and a drawstring bag!
For my zippered pouch, I used the See It All pattern, but with a slight difference… you see, I love the style of see-through pouches with vinyl, but when I was in Japan, I couldn’t easily find vinyl to use for it. So I came up with a Daiso hack instead! I bought one of their see-through zippered pouches and carefully unpicked some seams, leaving the zipper attached to one side. This time, I grabbed one with two zippered pockets – twice the vinyl and zippers for the same price! And it even came in the right kind of purple too #winning
A bit of careful sewing created this See It All pouch – perfect for storing hand sewing supplies. Big enough to fit all the bits and bobs, and still able to easily locate what you need when digging around with one hand. It neatly fits in my Cherish EPP supplies!
With the leftover fabric, I whipped up a quick lined drawstring bag. These make a great gift, whether as a gift bag or as the actual gift, and are also great to store bulkier crafty projects, like crochet or knitting.
And then over the weekend, my daughter wanted to sew by herself for the first time, as I recently got a new sewing machine on which the kids can sew (more on that later!). So I grabbed some of the June’s Cottage scraps, and let her have at them…
One cute little pouch, which turns out to have fitted in her Monopoly winnings perfectly.
There are some other, talented, makers joining in on the June’s Cottage Makers Tour this week! Be sure to check them out, before a big giveaway on Instagram as a grand finale on Saturday, February 10th.