Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Irish Chain Quilt

Irish Chain Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

Irish Chain Quilt by Wooden Spoon Quilts

I finished this quilt a few months back and I've been waiting for a chance to photograph it. Today I packed it in my car, along with my camera and went on my first ever quilt photoshoot, outside of my own backyard!. My friend lives in a beautiful villa just outside of the city, with a charming veranda, wisteria coming into bloom and lichen covered fences. It was fun playing the photographer in such a beautiful location.

The Irish Chain quilt pattern is from Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration by Denyse Schmidt. The top came together in just a few days, which basically never happens in my world. Strip piecing made it so easy! I used a Westminster solid (it came in a quilt kit so I'm not exactly sure which one) for the background and the Ladder print in Fuchsia from Chicopee for the squares. I added the scrappy squares, just like the original. There are instructions on how to include the rogue squares but to achieve the same effect as the original you do need to make more rogue strips than the pattern suggests. I think the rogue prints took as long to work out as the rest of the quilt. Totally worth it though.

For the backing I pieced four of my favourite Chicopee prints. The long arm quilting was done by Donna Ward. Did you spot my Maple Leaf pillow? It was made by Adrianne, I love how it looks with my quilt!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Weekend sewing

My topup fabric order arrived in record time, less than 6 days from the US to NZ. I have no idea how it got here so fast! The timing was perfect as I was down to my last scrap of the Wee Wander print. I added a few extra prints to my order, Far Far Away for backing, and two more prints to fill the envelope and because I'm all out of them and I love them (Pearl Bracelets and Briar Rose).

My Swedish Bloom flowers are pieced now, all 12 of them. They're hanging on my kitchen wall, the washi tape is working perfectly! The leaves are a bit quicker to put together, I'm hoping to finish them up in the next day or two.

How is your weekend sewing going?

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Swedish Bloom ~ still a WIP


I've been working away on my Swedish Bloom blocks this week. I've finished the nine flower blocks that the pattern calls for but I've decided to upsize the quilt so I'm making another three flowers. This will give me the length I'm after, I haven't worked out how to increase the width, I'm thinking anything that doesn't require adding more flowers! If you have any suggestions, then I'd love to hear them!

I'm using my kitchen wall as a design wall, I love being able to see the blocks throughout the day.

Unfortunately I've now run out of the Wee Wander fabric by Sarah Jane that I'm using as the background. I've ordered some more of that print and a few Far Far Away fabrics for backing. In the meantime I'll do some cutting prep for the leaves.

And a finish! I needed a small item for my Great Pillow Fight Swap partner. I had planned to try a new pattern but in the end I went with an old favourite, Svetlana's Drawstring Bag Tutorial.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Swedish Bloom WIP

Swedish Blooms

I never thought I'd make a bed sized paper pieced quilt. As much as I love the look of paper pieced blocks, they can be so time consuming to make and they always seem to use an excess amount of fabric. But... I am loving making these blocks. Each flower is made up of four identical quadrants, so for the first time ever I'm chain piecing paper piecing! Four quadrants at a time. It almost feels efficient! The Swedish Bloom pattern is from one of my favourite quilting books, Patchwork, Please by Ayumi Takahashi. I've made a block a day so far, if I can keep this pace up, the flower blocks will be finished by Monday.

This quilt will go on my 7 year old daughter's bed so I'm using my treasured Heather Ross fabrics, Briar Rose and the reprint of Far Far Away. I'm planning a colour palette of pink, orange, purple and green. I love these fabrics, they're beautiful to sew with and the colours are so vibrant.

Linking up (woohoo, my first blog linkup!) with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Around the World Blog Hop ~ New Zealand

My friend Aylin  was kind enough to tag me in the Around the World Blog Hop before I had even written my first blog post! In fact, if she hadn't tagged me, I very likely still wouldn't have written my first post, so thank you for the tag and the motivation Aylin!! Last week Aylin made a fun mosaic of our work lined up together, I think it explains why I like Aylin's projects so much, we have quite similar styles! You can see the mosaic in Aylin's blogpost here. Right now she is working on a beautiful new Diamonds in Diamonds quilt pattern, it's due to be released next week!

1: Where I live?

I live in Hamilton, New Zealand.  With a population of 150,000, Hamilton is a small city, even by New Zealand standards. I've lived in Hamilton for 14 years now, and I absolutely love it. Through the power of online crafty communities I've met quite a few local crafty people in the last year or so, which makes it an even better place to live!
Shoot for the Stars Pillow
Shoot for the Stars pillow, the pattern was based on the Broken Arrows quilt pattern by Charlotte Demesny

  2. What am I working on?

HR Swedish Bloom
Swedish Bloom pattern from Patchwork, Please by Ayumi Takahashi

I have a few swap blocks to check off my list, and a new quilt that I accidentally started (that's my second block up there) and then I plan to tackle my long list of WIPs. Top priority are the 4 quilt tops that need quilting (it's really 8 quilt tops but I'm ignoring 4 of them).

3. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Rather than describe how my work differs, I thought I'd describe my style. I like to use low volume fabrics! I love the way low volume fabrics can tie loads of different fabrics and colours together and give it some cohesiveness. Low volume fabrics are perfect for making scrappy quilts!
Low volume plus quilt
Low volume charm plus quilt, inspired by the Marcelle Medallion quilt and Ashley from Film in the Fridge's plusses quilt

I love working with simple repeated blocks and I've also started experimenting a little with improv. 

Main panel
Playing with improv, sewing machine cover
And I love doing really complicated paper piecing, or more truthfully, I love the result of complicated paper piecing, not the process so much.

Seahorse for Mel
Seahorse, pattern by Joanna from Shape-Moth
And I'm not afraid of tricky piecing or teeny tiny pieces.
Down Under Doll Quilt Swap is ready to post!
Mini Quilt, The Night Garden pattern by Sarah Fielke

  4. Why do I create what I do?
Christmas Snowflake Pillow
Christmas Snowflake, pattern by me
I made my first quilt about 6 years ago. Making that quilt filled a creative hole in me that I didn't know I had. Now I create because I need to. It's a passion. If I'm not at my sewing machine, I'm most likely plotting my next project.

 5. How does my creating process work?

Courthouse Steps
Courthouse Steps, a mini quilt
My process is quite fluid. I usually make a start on an idea without having it all planned out. I like to make a test block or two and then re-evaluate. I often change my mind a few times before settling on a final plan.

I keep track of WIPs and deadlines in a notebook that I use especially for that purpose. I list everything that is due each month and projects that I'd like to work on that month.
Next up on the blog hop, I've tagged two quilting bloggers that I'm lucky enough to know in real life. Deb from Deb's Doodlings, and I catch up most weeks, there is always some new fabric to share or a new make to admire. Deb is in The Great Pillow Fight swap too, she made this beautiful pillow for her partner. Those centre geese are tiny!

Completed pillow for The Great Pillow Swap
Deb's Pillow
Megan, from Jaffa Quilts is not quite so local but not so far that she won't drive to join us. Megan has some amazing EPP skills, her stitches are perfection! I'm hoping to learn a few tricks from her! She made this version of Carolyn Friedlander's Aerial quilt pattern in Oakshott Cotton, so beautiful!

Megan's version of Aerial, pattern by Carolyn Friedlander

Raspberry Kiss {Block Tutorial}

Raspberry Kiss Block Tutorial

I'm not sure if this block has an official name, I'm calling it Raspberry Kiss. Below are the instructions for making one 4 1/4" finished square.

Making a pillow 

If you'd like to make a 20" pillow then make 16 of these squares (4 rows of 4) and add a 2" border on all sides. My Aerial Kisses Pillow finished at 24", I used 25 of these blocks (5 rows of 5) and added a 2" border on all sides.

Resizing this block

If you'd like to resize this block, see cutting dimensions for an 8 1/2" block and my resizing tips, at the end of this tutorial.

Directions for Making a 4 1/4" finished block

Fabric cutting

Centre cross block cut ~

4 - 1 1/2" background fabric squares
2 - 1 1/2" cross fabric squares
1 - 3 1/2"x 1 1/2" cross fabric rectangle
9 patch in pieces cropped_text copy

Corner triangles cut ~

2 - 3" squares
Then cut each square in half diagonally to yield 4 triangles. If you're using a directional fabric, as I have here, make sure to cut the squares in opposite directions as I've done below (that is, if you'd like the fabric to go in a uniform direction).

Directions for block assembly

Use a 1/4" seam allowance throughout.

Sew the centre cross block together.


The centre cross block should measure 3 1/2" square at this point.

Add the corner triangles.

I like to lay them out before sewing them together.

The triangles need to be centred on each side. To line the triangles up accurately, I fold both the triangle and the centre block in half and finger press a crease at the centre. I like to fold each piece in opposite directions so that when lined up, they nestle inside each other. Here I've folded the centre cross block with right sides together...

and the triangle with wrong sides together.

Nestle the fold in the triangle into the fold in the cross block as shown here and sew.

Repeat the process on the opposite side so that you now have two triangles attached to your cross block.

Press your block.

Repeat the process with the two remaining triangles


Press your block.

Trim the ears.

Your first block is finished...

Make a few more!

If you use this tutorial, I'd love to know! Any questions, let me know too!
IMG_2718_bright_wm70_long_txt copy

Cutting Instructions for an 8 1/2" finished block

Raspberry Kiss Block Tutorial

Centre Block cut ~

4 - 2 1/2" background fabric squares
2 - 2 1/2" cross fabric squares
1 - 6 1/2"x 2 1/2" cross fabric rectangle

Corner Triangles cut ~

2 - 5 1/8" squares, cut these in half diagonally to yield 4 triangles (if you prefer, cut these squares a little bigger and trim the finished block back)

Notes on resizing this block.

Make the centre cross block to your desired size.

To determine the cutting size for the corner triangles I found this great calculator at Quilter's Paradise  for square in square blocks.  In the column Select Starting Dimension select Inside Square Finished Length. Enter your centre block finished length measurement in the top drop down box and press Calculate.

The  resulting Corner Square Side Length is the size to cut the two squares required for the corner triangles. If you prefer, you can cut these squares a little bigger than necessary, this will give you room to trim back.

This handy little calculator also gives you the size of your finished block!

As an example, if you base your centre cross block on 2 1/2"' squares, the centre block will finish at 6". Enter 6" as the Inside Square Finished Length. The calculator tells you to cut your corner squares to 5 1/8" and the size of your finished block will be 8 1/2".

Screenshot of the calculator at Quilter's Paradise

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