Monday, 16 November 2015

Quilting From Every Angle + Giveaway

Today I'm thrilled to be taking part in Nancy Purvis' (owensolivia on Instagram) blog tour for her new book, Quilting From Every Angle: 16 geometric designs. The book showcases Nancy's pared back design aesthetic, with a focus on angled shapes to create modern quilts with graphic impact.


Choosing which design to share today was no easy task, they were all so tempting. I settled on the Mesa pattern, but rather than make a quilt I decided to make pillows as my sister has been waiting for new pillows for far too long! "Pillows for my sister" has been on my to-do list all year, oops!

To make the pillows I followed the instructions in the book to create three pieced sections then added strips of background fabric to bring it up to pillow size. I learnt a new technique in the process, how to make two half rectangle triangles at a time. Nancy's diagrams made it really easy!

I love Nancy's addition of narrow strips at the bottom right of her quilt so I've added those to my pillows too. When it came to quilting, I stuck with my favourite, serpentine stitches using my walking foot. I like the contrast between the soft curves of the quilting and the sharp angles of the piecing.

Fabrics Used:
Background fabrics: Robert Kaufman's Essex Yarn Dyed in Graphite and Black
Feature Fabrics: Liberty of London Tana Lawn in Mitsi C and Growth Pond from Bound by April Rhodes for Art Gallery.
Finished Size: 20"

About the book

Nancy has used a wide range of techniques to create her quilt designs (including y-seams, paper piecing, applique and improv) and the book details everything you need to know with clear diagrams and instructions, you're sure to learn something new.

There's a great chapter on finding inspiration and developing your own style and designs. My favourite piece of advice from this section is 'don't be afraid of mistakes', oh yes, very good advice.  I plan to re-read this chapter on a regular basis.

And then there're the 16 innovative designs. Here're a few of my favourites..

Click on the links below for more inspiration... and for more chances to win a copy of the book!

Blog Tour

11/10- Michelle Wilkie of Factotum of Arts
11/11- Hillary Goodwin of Entropy Always Wins
11/12- Karen Lewis of Karen Lewis Textiles
11/13- Anna Graham of Noodlehead
11/16- Rachel McCormack of Wooden Spoon Quilts (you are here:)
11/17- Tara Larson of Rad & Happy 
11/18- Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane
11/19- Holly Hughes of Holly Gets Quilty
11/20- Nicole Daksiewicz of Modern Handcraft
11/23- Pat Bravo of Pat Bravo Fabric Design and Jesse Maloney of Art School Dropout
11/24- Astrid Slagle of Red Red Completely Red
11/25- Holly DeGroot of Bijou Lovely
11/26- Christopher Thompson of The Tattooed Quilter
11/27- Spoonflower
For information on book updates click here.
To purchase a signed copy directly from Nancy click here.

Disclaimer: the book was provided by Interweave but all opinions are my own.


To be in with a chance to win a PDF version of the book...
  • Leave a comment below telling me what your favourite background fabric/colour is. Mine has always been low volume or white, so using grey was a much needed step outside my comfort zone!!
  • If you're a no-reply blogger then please leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win.
  • Giveaway closes Saturday 21st November 9pm NZST.
  • Winner will be contacted directly.
Good luck!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Granny Tutorial: Block 41 in the Farmer's Wife 1930s Sewalong

Hello and welcome! Today I'm sharing my method for making Granny, the latest block in Angie @ GnomeAngel's Farmer's Wife 1930s Sewalong. I am really thrilled to be sharing a tutorial for this block as it's perfect for my favourite Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) technique. I've pieced all my other blocks so far but the small pieces and bias edges in this one make it a great choice for FPP.

The method I'm showing you today uses freezer paper as the foundation, but differs from the more traditional approach to Foundation Paper Piecing as you don't sew through the paper. Instead you use the magical properties of freezer paper.. when you iron fabric to the shiny side of it, the fabric sticks like glue but can also be peeled away with no side effects. In this method, rather than sew through the paper, the paper is folded back along the seam line and you sew right next to that fold. When you've finished the freezer paper is simply peeled off. Which brings me to the HUGE advantage of this method, there are no papers to rip out when the block is finished.

Merran @123bluejumper taught me this method several years ago, I think it's the best, I hope you try it and love it too! 

If you'd like more detail than I've included below, then have a look at the two-part tutorial I wrote a few months back;

What you'll need;

  • Usual sewing requirements
  • Freezer paper; available in supermarkets in America, in other parts of the world, look for it in your local quilt store, if you're in Australia or New Zealand your local Spotlight should stock it, it's also available on Amazon.

  • A stapler or washi tape.

So let's get started..

Step 1: Print the paper piecing pattern pieces for block 41

The paper piecing pattern can be found on the CD at the back of your Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt book.

Step 2: Make freezer paper foundation templates

This block has eight templates but only two of them are unique, we'll be reusing our freezer paper templates so you only need to make the two unique templates (I chose A and B). The two templates are mirror images of each other so I made my templates in one step by layering two pieces of freezer paper back to back (ie. one shiny side down, and one shiny side up), this way the two templates will be mirror images of each other.
  • Cut two squares of freezer paper large enough to cover the template pieces with room to spare.
  • Layer the two pieces of freezer paper, (one shiny side down, one shiny side up) behind the pattern print out. 
  • Staple through the three layers (pattern on top) to hold the layers in place.
  • Sew along the template lines with the needle on your sewing machine (remove the thread). This gives you perforations along all the seam lines.  See Step One here for more detail and photos of this step.
  • Trim back excess freezer paper from your templates. I add the 1/4" seam allowance at this point using my ruler and rotary cutter.
  • Rethread your machine.

Step 3: Cut fabric

For foundation paper piecing always cut your fabric larger than required so that you can trim back later. I outlined the two large shapes on freezer paper then ironed these shapes to my fabric. I then cut around the shapes leaving a 1/8" margin on all sides. This way I know my fabric is the right size and shape. The extra wiggle room helps when lining up fabrics and allows for trimming back later. Optional: I also took note of the block outside edge on my shapes so that I could make sure the straight grain was on the outside of my block.

  • For the two larger shapes cut two from each colour.
  • For the smaller inner triangles I cut rectangles 1 3/4" by 1 1/2" (four of each colour).

Step 4:  Prepare to sew the first seam

Because I had two freezer paper foundation templates, I worked on two sections at once. The photographs below show both sections.
  • Iron the largest piece of fabric, wrong side down, to the shiny (sticky) side of your freezer paper templates. Position fabric so that it covers the template.
  • Fold the template back along the seam line and trim excess fabric from that edge so that there is a 1/4" seam allowance beyond the seam line. I use my rotary cutter and ruler for this step but you could also use scissors. 
  • Line up your centre fabric piece with this cut edge.

Step 5: Sew seam

  • Keep the freezer paper folded back along the seam line.
  • Sew the seam as close as you can get to the paper without sewing over the paper. Use your normal stitch length.
  • If you do sew through the paper, don't worry, just gently pull the freezer paper away from the stitches before the next step.

Step 6: Finish pieces

  • Iron centre fabric to the freezer paper.
  • Trim excess fabric from all edges.
  • Gently remove freezer paper by peeling away from fabric.

Step 7: Repeat for remaining pieces

Repeat above process starting from Step 4, re-using the templates, until you have made all eight triangle sections.

Step 8: Sew block together

  • Lay sections out as per block layout.
  • At this point I changed the direction of some of my pressed seams so that the direction alternated around the block. This makes it easy to nest the seams as you sew them together.
  • Sew pieces together, following the directions on the paper piecing pattern (note the order is different from that in the book, I recommend the order in the paper piecing pattern). 
    • Pin carefully
    • Press these seams open.

Step 9: Finished block!

Hooray, we're done! Stand back and admire your handy work! Don't forget to share on Instagram (using #FQS1930farmerswife and #fw41granny), in the Flickr group and/or Facebook!

 Bonus block!

My blocks so far.

I hope you're having fun and enjoying trying out new techniques!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Modern Wedge Workshop with Kathy Doughty

This year has been an amazing year for meeting my quilting heroes and taking workshops with them! It started back in January when I took a class on hand quilting with Sarah Fielke. In February there was a trip to Quiltcon and classes with Carolyn Friedlander and Penny Layman. Next month I'm taking the Meadow class with Lizzy House in Wellington...and last weekend I took a 'Modern Wedge' workshop with Kathy Doughty at All Things Patchwork in Auckland. It's been a good year!

Kathy and Sarah's 'Material Obsession' books were my first glimpse into how joyful and colourful quilts could be (all book links in this post are to the Material Obsession shop). I bought MO1 before I had even started quilting and I've since spent hours pouring over the pages, mesmerised by the fabrics, colours and designs. Taking a class with Kathy is something I never could've imagined when I bought that first quilting book.

The workshop started with a show and tell by Kathy. We were introduced to the 'wedge' and some of its many variations. The photo below shows just a few of the block samples that Kathy had brought along to show us.

Kathy also had a huge pile of quilts to share, this is her Garden Party quilt from 'Making Quilts'.

Before launching into making our own wedge blocks, Kathy asked us to organise our fabrics in to three piles; warm, cool and neutral and then to organise each pile by value. This simple exercise helped us think about contrast, and helped us get off to a good start choosing fabric combinations for our blocks. The rest of the day was spent pairing fabrics, cutting and sewing. I wanted to make the most of the day so worked hard and only took a short break to scoff some lunch and snap a few photos (hence the lack of photos to show you!).

Megan arranging her wedges on the design wall.

Kathy took this photo of me hard at work (haha!). The wedges on the design wall behind me are Megan's, mine and mum's. We're all making Vintage Spin blocks, the pattern for which can be found in Kathy's book 'Adding Layers'.
My blocks after squaring up.

These blocks are fun to make and a great way to use some of the larger scale prints in my stash. Another wonderful workshop experience, I'm really looking forward to the Meadow workshop now!
If you're interested in seeing more photos from the day, check out Megan's (Jaffa Quilts) blogpost here, and Linda's (Koka Quilts) blogpost here.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Pillow Cover Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my pillow cover giveaway, I had so much fun reading your comments! I've used a random number generator to help me find the winner...

.. And the winner is Karen Likens.
Karen, I don't have your email address so please leave me a comment with your email address or send me an email (my email address is over on the right) so that I can get the pillow cover in the mail to you.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Polka Dot Tea fabrics and a pillow cover giveaway!

I love it when I can cross two things from my list with just one project finish, and, hooray, that's what I'm doing today...

A while back Danielle (petitselefants on IG) and Jeannette (goneaussiequilting on IG) from Polka Dot Tea asked me if I'd like to choose a bundle of fabrics from their store. Um, yes please! I then spent a (very) long time browsing their Etsy store trying to choose my fabrics. They have a fantastic selection of fabrics, many of which you don't see in the bigger online stores. It was really hard to narrow my choices down. Here's what I eventually came up with...

It's a mix of all time favourite fabrics (like those Heather Ross wild flowers, the Anna Maria Horner gold floral Folk Song print, the Lizzy House mini pearl bracelets), some Japanese fabrics that I've long admired (including some LightHearted by Ayumi Takahashi) and two Art Gallery low volume prints, the Priory Square rose print on the top of the pile and the Maker print which is second from the top. Note; links are to the fabrics in their Etsy store where they're still available, a couple of fabrics have since sold out.

I wanted to share their generosity with you and also celebrate my first year blogging anniversary... and do justice to these beautiful fabrics. This is what I came up with...

I'm really excited to be giving this pillow cover away. But first, let me tell you about Polka Dot Tea fabrics...

I've been buying fabric from their Australian based Etsy store for the last couple of years. Not only do they have a wonderful selection of fabrics (including Liberty and Japanese fabrics) but they're also really friendly and helpful. They often post their curated bundles on instagram and all you need to do to purchase them is leave your Paypal email. It's that simple/dangerous! You can also visit their Etsy store to check out all their fabrics. They've recently listed the new Heather Ross line, Tiger Lily and Doe by Carolyn Friedlander (although I see that's nearly all gone already!). Also, unlike many online stores, you can purchase individual fat quarters (yay, fat quarters are my favourite way to buy fabric!). Their fat quarters are based on metric measurements too so they're that little bit bigger than you'll get from a non-metric store ;)

Disclaimer: I received 12 fat quarters for free but all opinions are my own and are based on my experience purchasing from Polka Dot Tea Fabrics. In case you're wondering, I will not receive any compensation if you decide to purchase from PDT.

Now, about the pillow cover I'm giving away...
  • The pillow cover measures 16 1/2" square, it has an invisible zipper closure at the bottom and is backed in Melange in natural (a yarn dyed cotton that I purchased from Polka Dot Tea a while back).
  • I've used fabrics from the bundle provided by Polka Dot Tea and added fabrics from my stash, some of which (like the Liberty fabrics and the backing fabric) I've purchased from Polka Dot Tea.
  • The design is my own. If anyone is interested, I will happily share how I made it.
  • It's densely quilted with a walking foot using the serpentine stitch on my machine.
  • The quilting thread is Superior Thread So Fine #50 in Snow (401).
  • Feather pillow inner not included. 

Details on how to ENTER TO WIN this pillow cover...

  1. Leave a comment below for one entry. Say anything you like or give me your best blogging tip! 
  2. For a second entry, pop over to Polka Dot Tea's Etsy store, then pop back and leave a comment telling me which fabric/s you would like to add to your stash.
  3. My followers get an extra entry, if you follow my blog let me know by leaving a comment below, just tell me how you follow my blog. And THANK YOU for your on going support, it means a lot!
  4. The giveaway is open until 9pm New Zealand Standard Time on Saturday 19 September (that's Saturday morning if you live in Europe and Friday night if you live in the US).
The giveaway is open to EVERYONE no matter where you live. If you're a no-reply/anonymous commenter please leave your email address in the comments or check back here on Sunday.

Hooray, that's two things crossed from my list... make something with my Polka Dot Tea fabrics and celebrate my first blogiversary with a giveaway. Now on to the next item!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

A Tablet Case

Tablet Case

If I wasn't already quilting my way through a book, I would be tempted to make every project in Anna Graham's book Handmade Style, I love this book! This quick project is my second from the book and I know I'll be making more. If you have the book you might have noticed that I left the pockets out in my version of the Tablet Case, only because I didn't want anything to distract from that caravan!

The caravan is a paper pieced pattern by Penny Layman from sewtakeahike and is yet to be released. I was a little smitten when Penny posted an image of her caravan on Instagram so I was really thrilled when she sent me a copy of the pattern. Especially as I knew just the person to make it for. The wheel is appliqued on, which I think is a great idea! It's so much easier to applique a circle than to paper piece one!

Back soon with a little giveaway!

Friday, 11 September 2015

A visit to the Hamilton Craft and Quilt Show

The Hamilton Craft and Quilt Show is an annual event here in Hamilton and one I look forward to all year. The show runs over four days and combines vendors, exhibitions and workshops. While there weren't nearly as many vendors this year as there have been in previous years, there was a new vendor from Australia that more than made up for the drop in numbers. Valerie and Lindsey from My Patch Fabrics had so many inspiring things for sale...beautiful soft leather, Liberty fabrics, Cotton and Steel, dress patterns... I went a little crazy. Want to see?

Purchases from day one...
Fabrics purchased on day two... I'm planning on using most of the top row in my Farmer's Wife quilt and I couldn't pass up the Heather Ross fabrics which were crazy cheap at All Things Patchwork.

 The "My Patch Fabrics" stand...

Lindsey and Valerie...

Lindsey hosted several workshops. Deb and I went along to two of them, Adjusting Dress Patterns to Fit and Sewing with Leather. They were both so inspiring!! I ended up buying a total of FIVE new dress patterns for myself and two rolls of leather. I'm looking forward to making some clothes sometime soon, I just need to buy some fabric first!! The leather will probably get used in bags, it's always fun trying something new and I love the professional look that leather gives to a project.
Another newcomer to the show this year was the "Road to Colour" exhibition, organised by Cheryl from Auckland patchwork shop, All Things Patchwork. As you can guess, the emphasis for the exhibition was 'colour' and it certainly didn't disappoint! Unfortunately I didn't take nearly as many photos of the exhibition as I should have, but if you'd like to see some of the quilts that were on display, check out Megan's post at Jaffa Quilts. I do have two photos to share with you though...

Mum had two quilts in the exhibition, this Sun Burst quilt and her Farmer's Wife quilt.

Jo Dixey is one of my favourite New Zealand quilters/stitch artists, this was her entry in the AQC Challenge "True Blue". Her quilter's statement read "When a person is depressed or feeling Blue, they send ripples of that depression out to the world around them. These ripples in turn create more depression within the person".

All in all, it was a very inspiring show, hopefully vendor numbers will be back up again next year.

Meanwhile, I've been busy working on a little giveaway item that I'll be sharing with you soon (if you're on Instagram you may have already caught a peek).

Friday, 21 August 2015

Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-Along

Have you heard the news? There's going to be a Farmer's Wife 1930s Sew-Along! In fact, there're going to be TWO sew-alongs running at the same time, one organised by Kerry from VeryKerryBerry and the other by Angie from Gnome Angel. If you're making the quilt then you can join both sew-alongs!

I'm so excited to be taking part as a blogger in the sew-along organised by Angie. This sew-along will run over a year with four blog posts a week, a Sunday link-up party and a monthly roundup hosted by the Fat Quarter Shop blog. If you'd like to know more check out this blog post by Angie, it has all the information, including;
  • a link to the Facebook group (which currently has over 1600 members from all over the world!).
  • signup to a Farmer's Wife Sew-Along email newsletter
  • a world map where you can post your location and see where other participants come from
  • HTML code for the sew-along button
If you'd like to join in you'll need to buy a copy of the book 'The Farmer's Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt Inspiring Letters from Farm Women of the Great Depression and 99 Quilt Blocks that Honor Them' by Laurie Aaron Hird. Weekly blog posts hosted by Angie and her group of bloggers will give tips on how to make the blocks. These posts will start with the easiest blocks and work up to the harder blocks, so won't be in book order. You can meet the blogger's taking part in Angie's blogger introduction post.

My copy of the book has just arrived. As with Laurie's previous books, each 6" block is accompanied by a letter to the 'Farmer's Wife' magazine, all the letters in this book were published in the 1930s. I love reading these letters, they're enchanting! They speak of a different time in one sentence and in another could have been written yesterday.

I've started pulling fabrics for my quilt. The sew-along starts on September 29 so I still have plenty of time to add, subtract or completely start over. Will you join in? Have you chosen your fabrics?

Thursday, 20 August 2015

WIP Wednesday



I've been experimenting with my Sugar Loaf block lately. First of all I tried setting it at a slight angle. I made the two blocks at the top before giving up on that idea. Maybe I'll come back to it or maybe not. Sometimes I try something new and I just don't love it as much as I thought I would, this was one of those times!
My next idea was to go all solid. I've never made an all solids quilt before so it feels quite adventurous! The blocks above were made with charms from a Denyse Schmidt Designer Solids charm pack. I'm still debating the background colour, my original plan was to use a variety of white/off-white fabrics but now I've started, I think it will work better with just one colour. I'm much happier with this plan and I'm looking forward to working my way through the 75 colours in the charm pack. This will be another slow burner project, it was a fun diversion from my to-do list but I should probably get back to it now!

Monday, 17 August 2015

Rainbow Clutch

This month it's Deb's turn to receive pressies in our birthday club swap.  I made her the Rainbow Clutch from Anna Graham's beautiful book 'Handmade Style'.
The front pocket is paper pieced, making it the perfect spot to include some favourite fabrics. I started with the Lizzy House Twinkle Twinkle fabric in burgundy for the main part of the pouch, then added coordinating prints from Lizzy House, Anna Maria Horner and Bonnie Christine. 

There are several different techniques to try in this pattern; paper piecing, magnetic snap installation and two different zipper installation methods. I really appreciated the tips on magnetic snap and zipper installation, both are techniques that I don't use very often so I'm always happy to have lots of detail to remind me what I'm doing. My zipper end tabs have never looked so tidy!.

This is my first finish from Anna's book, I have a feeling there will be many more!

Friday, 31 July 2015

Quilt the Book: Wagon Wheel Quilt finish!

I'm so happy to show you a finished quilt! My Wagon Wheel quilt came back from the long-armer last week, Sue did a beautiful job on the figure eight quilting. It's the first time I've had a computerised quilting design done on a quilt and I love it to pieces.

A little trimming and binding later...

...I had a finished quilt. My plan was to take the quilt somewhere different (but as yet undecided) to photograph it but this afternoon I noticed that the backyard soccer goal was perfectly positioned in the sun. Unfortunately the goal is not quite tall enough for the quilt so it's hard to see one of my favourite details.. the additional sashing strip that runs along the bottom of the quilt. I love the quirkiness of that strip.

And just for fun, a wide shot. You can see that there was only a sliver of non-shady sun. I put a blanket under the quilt where it touched the ground as the grass was wet and muddy. The joy of quilt photography in winter!
With just a few minutes left before school pick up, I whipped the quilt back inside and onto my son's bed, moved all the mess into a corner and shot a few more photos...

This is the second finished quilt from my Quilt the Book project, I'm making all the quilts in the book Denyse Schmidt Modern Quilts Traditional Inspiration. I can't wait to get a big pile of quilts! It's also the first finish from my third quarter goals, I'll be linking up with the finish along at the end of this quarter.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side
Quilt Details;

Previous posts: here and here
Pattern: Wagon Wheel by Denyse Schmidt, from 'Denyse Schmidt Modern Quilts Traditional Inspiration"
Fabric: Hello Bear by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery (except for the axle centre which is a Robert Kaufman Quilter's Linen)
Size: 64 1/2" by 88 1/2"
Quilting design: figure 8
Quilted by: Sue Burnett from Busy Bee Quilt Shop
Quilt the Book: second finish.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...