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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Massive Sale at Miss Matatabi!

Just a quick heads up to let you know Frances has a huge amount of fabric arriving in the next few months, so she is having a MASSIVE sale on loads of beautiful fabrics. Everything is 60% off! And yes I may now be seriously regretting my fabric diet ;o)

There is a heap of Melody Miller:

Panels are reduced to $5

MM fat quarters for $2.12?

There are a whole load of others too (Nani IRO and Heather Ross included). Even better, because Frances is based in Japan, there isn't the nasty postage price increase!!

So have fun. I'm a very happy (and jealous) enabler right now ;o)

xx Jess

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Something's actually happening Reg!

Sorry, favorite (and frequently quoted) line from a favorite movie there :o)

I've managed to acquire a bit of sewing hyperactivity in the last week and actually gotten a fair bit done. Woohoo!

The quilt top Susan donated to the bush fire appeal is finished. Main lesson learnt here was to keep it simple, or I'll be quilting up these tops all year! I love how it turned out though. It's quilted with Aurifil 50wt in off white (2021). I used an echo-leaf type design, and the texture is lovely.


I also managed to get this gorgeous quilt top by Saffron Craig quilted - a simple large stipple using Mettler variegated thread in pink/purple. 


I just need to get these bound, and I also one more top waiting in the wings to quilt up, so I'm kind of keeping up with them so far! A HUGE number of quilts have arrived today as well, so I'll be busy delivering them later in the week! I'm in the process of photographing them all to share with you.

I've also done a bit of block making. Leila is running a Schoenrock Cross QAL - I don't have time to do a whole quilt of them yet (but I'm going to after the appeal calms down) but I couldn't resist making one. I won a charm pack of Fairy Tale Friends last year, and most of the prints are from that, aside from the black dots (Authentic by Sweetwater) and the script print (Lakehouse Dry Goods).

Schoenrock Cross #1

And I've joined the Aurifil 2013 BOM. I'm using my fat quarter bundle of Grand Hotel by Jenean Morrison (that I got for a song when the Fat Quarter Shop had 50% off Free Spirit at the end of last year), as well as a few other coordinating prints (this one uses a Sweetwater text print from Sunkissed). This block is called Jumping Jack Flash and was designed by Erin Russek. I'm not normally a pink person, but I love the combination with the teal and greys in the centre print :o)


Jumping Jack Flash

Now I've just got to get my bee blocks done for January (and continue ignoring my FAL list ;o) )

xx Jess

Monday, 28 January 2013

Sashiko Tutorial {Something New Blog Hop}

Welcome to my stop on the Something New Sampler blog hop. Thanks so much to Amy for inviting me to join this one, and for encouraging me to try something new and share it with you all :o) To be perfectly honest, I've been wanting to give sashiko a try for a couple of years, so it was nice to have a reason to finally give it a try! I should also add that before I became a quilting addict, I spent many years doing fairly complex cross stitching, so it's been really nice to go back to my stitchy roots :o)

A bit of history

Sashiko is a traditional Japanese embroidery technique, originally used to strengthen the areas of kimonos such as elbows that are prone to wearing out quickly. Traditionally it is worked in light thread on Japanese indigo cloth, to produce some amazingly complex and beautiful designs.

Having said that, I really think that sashiko is a technique that has a lot of potential applications in modern sewing. I've put together a mosaic of some less traditional uses of Sashiko - it has a distinctively Zakka feel to it, don't you think?


1. Sashiko Tsuno Kikko (Tortoise Shell), 2. DSC_0024_1369, 3. Sashiko -Shippotsunagi- 2, 4. Sashiko, 5. sashiko towel detail, 6. Sashiko Pouches, 7. Sashiko stitched, 8. Sashiko, 9. Hand Felted Bag Sashiko stitches detail

Tools:

All you'll need is a needle, thread, thimble and fabric. You don't even need to work it using a hoop.

Needle choice:
Traditional sashiko needles are very long - about 2". Rather than go out and buy new supplies I worked with what I had.



I tried a couple of different needles out (an ordinary sharp, the longest I had which was about 1 1/4" long.
My favorite needle for sashiko was a beading needle I use for sewing beads onto cross stitches. These are long, thin and a little bit flexible which I found really helpful.

Thread:

The beautiful thing about sashiko is the little bumps the stitching produces. There are a few options for thread. You can purchase thread specifically designed for sashiko, but again I worked with what I had.

I ended up using two strands of DMC embroidery floss (the stuff you use for cross stitch) but I had a play with Aurifil 12wt cotton mako too, and it produced lovely results.

Fabric:

Ideally, it's best to choose a fabric with a slightly looser weave, such as linen or a cotton/linen blend.

The Design:


To make this you will need a 7.5" x 14.5" rectangle of fabric (I've used Essex linen in natural) and fabric marking pen (mine is a water soluble pen I use for marking quilting lines), needle and thread.


The first thing you'll need to do is transfer a design onto your fabric. There is a brilliant website called Incompetech, which you can use to generate graph paper in a huge variety of shapes. I chose to do hexagons (with 1" sides) but there are so many options, including a traditional overlapping circular sashiko design. When I generate graph paper, I only change the colour (to black) and the hexagon size (in this case 1"), and leave the other parameters as is. If you have any questions on using it, please ask! Just as an aside, Incompetech is also an excellent tool for creating English Paper Piecing templates :o)

Once you've printed out your design, you'll need to transfer it onto your fabric using a dissolvable fabric marker - I simply taped the paper to a window, and then taped my fabric over it and started tracing. You will need to move your fabric a couple of times if you want to cover the entire area, since the print out is a fair bit smaller.

First, tie a quilter's knot in the end of your thread (I love this great tutorial by Heather Bailey).

Take your needle through from the underneath of your fabric, and then run the needle through the fabric until you have several stitches on the needle. The traditional ratio in sashiko is 3:2 - the three being the visible stitches, and the two being the gaps.


Then, push the needle all the way through, and gently pull the thread through. Pull the fabric taught, to avoid any puckering in the fabric.


Continue stitching up to the end of the first line. Some tutorials recommended leaving a small loop of thread on the underside before changing direction (to avoid puckering) - although I didn't do this and didn't find it to be a problem. I guess use whichever works best for you. 

Continue around the shape until you've completed each side of the hexagon. 



 At this point, I decided to change to a lighter shade thread. To do this, tie a knot close to the end of your stitching in the first colour. Thread your needle with the second colour, again tying a quilter's knot in the end, and start stitching at one of the corners of the first colour.


At the end of this second hexagon, I chose to continue stitching another hexagon with the same coloured thread. To do this, turn your work over, and take your needle up through the next starting position, leaving a loop of thread on the back.


To avoid this causing puckering, make sure the loop isn't pulled taught. 


Continue stitching around the hexagons, changing threads if desired. I used three different thread colours (the dark teal, a medium aqua and a very light aqua), and changed threads randomly throughout. The only whole hexagon in a single colour is the first one I stitched.




I'm thinking of making a couple more of these to sew together and make into a cushion. I'm also planning on embellishing some Japanese linen fabrics using sashiko to make into bags and the like. It is extremely relaxing and addictive - you have been warned ;o)

If you make a block using this tutorial, please add it to the Something New Blog Hop Flickr group - there are some great prizes up for grabs!

xx Jess



Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Sewing? Not so much.

Not a huge amount has been getting achieved in the last couple of weeks (I am typing this as my little girl sits on my lap trying to 'help' me type, and clicking the mouse. Fun times.) My long suffering partner went back to work last week, after three weeks of holidays. It was awesome having him home (especially since he's been away so much in the last year). He has just gotten a new job and once he starts, he will pretty much be home every night which is fantastic - but the last four weeks before he starts the new job he is working interstate. Sigh. 

Since it's still school holidays for another couple of weeks, it means sewing time is very limited - slightly frustrating with the amount I need to get done (quilting up quilt tops for the appeal mostly), but at the same time the kids and I have been having a great time pottering around doing holiday stuff. It's been fun - and I need to remind myself that pretty soon they won't want to hang out with the daggy old people who are their parents ;o) Carpe Diem and all that.

The response to the Bush Fire Appeal has been amazing - it's really exciting getting squishy packages arriving at my door. The flood of quilts have started rolling in - Susan's quilt top arrived at my door last week and I've been quilting it when I get a chance. 

 
A few others have arrived too, and are being sent off to their new homes today. I'm planning on setting up a blog page with all the donated quilts and who they're from when I get my act together :o)

I forgot to draw winners for the Tea for Two patterns too! I really enjoyed reading what fabrics you thought would work :o) 

Mr Random chose
 8. Adrianne said...
Gorgeous! I think I would use my stash of Chicopee, which I have only used tiny bits of so far.

and 
93. Fran said...
I follow your blog via GFC, thanks!

I'll send you both an email later and forward your email address to Alyce so she can send you your prize :o)

xx Jess



Saturday, 19 January 2013

How Far Will You GO? QAL Winners

It is nearly six months since I published the first tutorial in this QAL! We are so happy and amazed that people quilted along over such a prolonged time frame - it was a lot of hard work for everyone, but hopefully worth it. Looking at all amazing finished quilts (and the works in progress in the Flickr group) it has definitely been worth it for me :o) I really can't thank you enough for joining us - and hopefully if we're are insane enough to do another one, you'll consider joining in again ;o)

Because we had enough prizes for everyone except one person to be a winner (how awesome is that?), Jess and I have decided to award an extra prize in the Full Twin Quilt category so that no one misses out. Everyone has done such an amazing job - I encourage you to go check out all the quilts and quilty items that everyone made, it really is worth it. Jess has featured each of the quilts in her wrap up post :o)

I would also like to say a massive, massive thank you to The Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring all the Gift Certificates for the prizes - they have been incredibly generous.


So, the winners are:

Full Twin Quilt category:
First $50 voucher goes to #1 Vrooman's quilts
Second $50 voucher goes to #3 Ella
$25 voucher goes to #2 Nessa
Jess will be sending a fabulous prize to #4 from her stash.

 
Throw Quilt category:
$50 voucher goes to #2 - Jen
$25 voucher goes to #1 - Nectarine

Small items category:
Both entries awarded a $25 voucher

Quilt top category:
Rosa's entry wins a mystery prize from my stash.

Congratulations to everyone, I'll be forwarding your details to The Fat Quarter Shop shortly, or requesting your postage details if you've won a mystery prize :o)

xx Jess

Friday, 18 January 2013

Beeing late

I've managed to catch up with a few of my bee blocks in the last week. These four log cabins are for Rosa's November block for Scrappy? Sew Bee It. Her quilt is going to be so, so awesome (inspired by Rita of RPQ). These ladies choose the best bee blocks - I would love to make one of these for myself eventually. Rosa asked for bright solid centres surrounded by various low volume fabrics (of which I had more than I thought!)
And this one is Deborah's block for December - a 36 patch following the great tutorial at crazy mom quilts. Having seen the other blocks Deb's quilt is going to be seriously gorgeous. Another one I'd love to make a whole quilt out of (so quick and easy - thanks Deb!!)
I'm now nearly up to date (sorry Lu, they are coming!) which is quite amazing - although since I haven't started thinking about January's yet I may not be caught up for long... I'll be back tomorrow to announce the QAL winners! xx Jess

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Pattern testing fail!

Ok, so many of you probably saw that Jess has now released her fabulous Lucky Square pattern, and showed pictures of all the pattern testers awesome quilts? Yeah. Major fail on my part - I'm still making it, slowly but surely, but I didn't get to the finish line in time. Let's just say I need to be way more realisitic about my limitations and how much time I actually have to do sewing (again!! why don't I learn?) But as of last night, I have a lovely stack of 64 squares, and just need to make sashing and put it together.
Apart from that I've been busily getting my shiz organised for the Sashiko tutorial I'm doing in a couple of weeks. That's right - I'm not leaving it to the last minute (pick yourself up off the floor now ;o) ) I may also be just a teeny bit addicted to Sashiko...
I'm also trying to get these done before the flood of quilts and quilt tops arrive for the Bush Fire Appeal. I'm astonished at the response - I think we might come very close to having a quilt for every child, which makes me smile (and cry) every time I think about it. The first couple I'm donating should be sent off to their new homes very soon :o)

Monday, 14 January 2013

Market Maze Quilt Top and a Giveaway!

Just after Christmas last year I started testing a quilt pattern for Alyce (of Blossom Heart Quilts) and she has just released the pattern, so I can finally show you my top and tell you a bit about the pattern. Thankfully I've only had to wait a week or so (I'm not good at waiting, or secrets) ;o)



I honestly loved making this quilt - putting it together is kind of like doing a puzzle. So. Much. Fun. The way Alyce has designed the blocks is seriously brilliant - there aren't many seams to match up and the piecing is really easy as long as you use an accurate 1/4" seam. And pins. Lots of pins.

I used my Denyse Schmidt stash for this one (mostly Flea Market Fancy) - I ended up adding in a few different prints from the ones I originally picked out, just to add a few more warm tones to it. I'm calling mine Market Maze (thanks to Mr 5's immediate reaction of 'Mum, it's like a maze quilt!', quickly followed by 'is it for me? It has my letter all over it!').


There are four size options in the pattern - I made the lap sized version and it finished up at about 62" x 66" so a great size for snuggling under once the weather cools down (or anytime if you're addicted to quilts like my kids!) Even better, it is made using 2.5" strips, so it's the perfect Jelly Roll quilt :o) You could even use a JR for the background!


The pattern is now available in Alyce's Craftsy Store. 

But luckily for you, Alyce is giving away two copies of the pattern to my readers :o) If you'd like to win a copy please leave a comment on this blog post - I'd love to know what fabric you'd use to make it. And because I love you, my followers get a second entry (just leave me a second comment letting me know how you follow me). If you're a no-reply commenter please leave an email address so I can contact you if you win.
I'll pick two random winners next Monday 21st January.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Fabric enabling and some news

Firstly, thanks so much to all of you who have either made cash donations via the Red Cross, or donated quilts to the Tassie Bush Fire Quilt Appeal - I am constantly in awe of the generosity of the online quilting community. I've been in touch with someone who is organising a register of the kids affected by the fires, so the quilts will be matched to recipients according to age and gender which is just fantastic.

Secondly, after a few enquiries about entering completed quilt tops that haven't been quilted and bound into the QAL linkies, Jess and I have decided to create a fourth category, and will be supplying a prize from our stashes (not sure exactly what yet - it will be a surprise!!) I've added a fourth link up to the linky post. 

I also wanted to let you know about some fabulous new products my wonderful sponsors have recently added to their stores. Just because I've shot myself in the foot  banned myself from new fabric doesn't mean I can't enable all of you, right?

Sew Me A Song has just received and listed Architextures in the shop. Becca has bundles, as well as yardage.


Another one that has me excited is Lizzy House's Pearl Bracelet bundle - I think almost all of my quilts have at least one PB print in them somewhere :o)


Becca also has a load of other new stuff too including Type by Julia Rothman and a stack of Art Gallery solids.

Miss Matatabi has a heap of new Nani IRO in, including this amazing metallic dot fabric


and Nani IRO neon dots


Happy shopping ;o)

I'll be back tomorrow with a quilt top reveal, and a giveaway!

xx Jess

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Tassie Bush Fire Quilt Appeal

As some of you may be aware, my home state of Tasmania has been devastated by some huge bushfires in the last week. Many, many homes have been completely destroyed and families have lost everything. The latest report is that about 200 homes have been either destroyed or severely damaged in the bushfires.

According to the Tasmanian Government, the best way to help is to donate money at either

St Vincent de Paul - 131 812 or www.vinnies.org.au, or

Red Cross - 1800 811 700 or www.redcross.org.au

If you're local, donations of the following are being accepted:
  • Toilet packs
  • Essential new clothing
  • Necessities for children and babies
  • Batteries (including 9V)
  • Torches
  • Lanterns
  • First Aid supplies
  • Sunscreen
  • Aeroguard
  • Blankets and bedding
My heart goes out to all the people and families affected by the fires. What I've decided to do is ask for donations of baby's and kids quilts to pass on to the families who have lost so much in the fires. If you can help out with this, please let me know and I'll give you details of where to send them.

If you have quilt tops that just need backing and quilting, I'd be happy to accept these too and quilt them up myself to give to the families who've been affected.

UPDATE: There is a register being set up of children who have been affected by the fires - all the donated quilts will be matched to a recipient via the register (based on gender and age), and delivered directly to the families in need. This will be an ongoing effort, so there is not really an accurate time frame I can give.

There is also a handmade auction being hosted by The Handmade Library - if you are interested in donating anything for the auction, you can find the Facebook group here.


Thanks so much,
Jess






Friday, 11 January 2013

{QAL} Linky Party Begins!!

It's time to link up your finished quilts and quilty items you've made using tutorials from our How Far Will You Go? QAL!

A massive, massive thankyou to our generous sponsor The Fat Quarter Shop for supplying the fabulous prizes.

There are three categories here, so please make sure you add your link to the correct one. You can link to either a blog post, or a flickr photo. If you don't have either of these, send me a quick email and I'll see if I can sort something out for you :o)

FULL TWIN SIZE QUILT CATEGORY
This category is for those of you who made all the blocks. Your quilt should measure about 50" x 75" or bigger.

There will be three prizes here - TWO $50 Gift Certificates and ONE $25 Gift Certificate.






THROW QUILT CATEGORY
This category is for those of you who made a smaller quilt - perhaps 40" x 50" or something similar.

There will be two prizes here - ONE $50 Gift Certificate and ONE $25 Gift Certificate




SMALL QUITED ITEMS CATEGORY (Pillows/cushions, mini quilts etc)

There will be TWO $25 Gift Certificates here.





QUILT TOP CATEGORY - we have decided to include a link up for those of you who have completed your quilt tops, but haven't quilted and bound them. We'll be giving a mystery prize from both our stashes to one winner :o)



Thanks so much to everyone who has joined us in our QAL, we have had such a great time doing it!

xx Jess

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The Something New Sampler Blog Hop

I'm excited to announce a new blog hop starting next week, The Something New Sampler! 

something new sampler header

Looking for your next project?
Resolved to learn some new sewing skills this year?
Want to win some great prizes?

Then join in the blog hop for The Something New Sampler!

Each week, one or two bloggers will present a block tutorial with an uncommonly used technique. There will be a total of 9 blocks presented. And, just to mix it up, we're going with a funky modern block size - 7" x 14"! We'll have plenty of suggestions on how to use this block shape along the way. There's no need for our modern blocks to always be square :)

Here's our schedule:

Jan 14th
Amy @ thecutelifesmiles.blogspot.com | Bargello piecing

Jan 21st
Heidi @ buttonsandbutterflies.com | folding 
Chelsea @ pinsandbobbins.blogspot.co.uk | a scraptastic technique

Jan 28th
Jess @ theelvengarden.blogspot.com.au | sashiko
Lindsay @ lindsaysews.com | reverse applique

Feb 4th
M-R @ quiltmatters.blogspot.com | trapunto
Heidi @ fabricmutt.blogspot.com | cathedral windows

Feb 11th
Alyssa @ pileofabric.com | pinless curves
Becky @ myfabricobsession.blogspot.com | machine applique


And stop by the cute life on Fridays for tips and tutorials on how to set these rectangular blocks! Posts will be up on the following dates:
Jan 18, Jan 25, Feb 1, Feb 8, Feb 15

Be sure to join the flickr group to keep up with the hop, the chatter, and some inspirational photos.

Prizes!!
At the end, link up a blog post or flickr photo with anything you've done from the sampler series, even if it's just one block! There are two categories for prizes:

- finished projects, winners will be chosen by popular vote
"finished" includes an entirely completed smaller project, like a pillow, table runner, mini quilt, etc.
pieced quilt tops also count as "finished", even if not quilted


- participation prizes, winners will be chosen by a random number generator

link up any progress you've made!

Prizes for the Something New Sampler

Fort Worth Fabric Studio is an online fabric shop with yardage and some fantastic custom bundles you won't find anywhere else! One of these bundles - the Lagoon bundle - is a prize, and it is centered around Michael Miller's Lagoon line, with 18 fat quarters. You can also sign up for their newsletter to be eligible for a monthly prize. In addition to the bundle, they are also offering a $25 gift certificate.

Cotton Blossom Farm stocks great designer fabrics with plenty of modern options. One great feature of this website is the ability to search through fabrics based on categories such as color - it's just like shopping in a brick and mortar shop! You have the chance to win a set of ten 1/2 yards (of your choosing!!) of Simply Color from them.

Fat Quarter Shop is another online shop that sells yardage and precuts of some of the most popular fabrics. They offer next day shipping and have an incredibly large selection! Fat Quarter Shop also has a great selection of other items, such as books, magazines, and kits. They have generously donated a jelly roll of Paris Flea Market and an Amy Butler pattern for prizes.

Sew Me a Song is an Etsy shop that stocks Japanese and contemporary fabrics. Becca puts together some fabulous bundles of texty prints, polka dots, and - of course! - lots of Melody Miller prints. Don't miss the great collection of Type by Julia Rothman. She has created two custom bundles especially for our sampler event, one with six texty fat quarters and one with eight japanese prints. 

I hope you'll join in and check out the tutorials shared by the participating bloggers - I'm really excited about learning some of these techniques. 

xx Jess

Some bag making advice, please?

I have a few questions for you bag making experts out there. 

I'm planning on making this bag:


I have the pattern (obviously) and the cotton duck it requires for the interfacing.

The thing I'm not sure about is that it calls for mid-weight home dec fabric for both the lining and exterior. I'm not completely sure what I want to use to make it at this stage anyway, but I'd really like to use some of my Melody Miller cotton/linen blend fabric for both the exterior and interior. Would this work as is, do you think? It is a bit heavier than regular quilting cotton, but I'm not sure if it's heavy enough to work in this bag. The other option I'm considering is making the pieces QAYG using a combination of quilting cotton and linen/cotton blend - would this be a viable option?

Any and all advice would be really appreciated :o)

xx Jess  

PS - did you really think I'd stick to my FAL list without any distractions? I lasted a couple of days at least ;o)

Monday, 7 January 2013

The FAL Quarter 1 List

I stalked the finish along last year without ever joining in. But I've decided I need some serious motivation to turn my WiPs into finishes this year, so I'm joining the Finish Along, being hosted this year by Leanne of She Can Quilt.


she can quilt


My list (in no particular order) for Q1 is:

1. Sherbet Pips Lucky Square quilt. 
I'm pattern testing this for Jess (Sew Crafty Jess) and need to have the quilt top pieced by the end of January at the latest - and I'd love to get it completely finished by the end of the quarter. I have the backing and binding ready to go as well, so I don't have any excuses on this one. In fact, piecing starts tonight!


2. HFWYG QAL quilt. I would love to get this one finished up - I'm still trying to decide on border/s (I'll probably just use the background fabric though) and the back but I've decided how to quilt it, so it shouldn't take too long to get it done. Famous last words?


3. Bird and Bees Colour Blocks quilt. This is probably my most ambitious quilt in the list. Make that my most ambitious quilt to date. I've only done a couple of the sections, and it's going to be mahusive (full queen size - my first!) and will probably take a couple of weeks just to quilt it (which may end in tears - I've never attempted quilting such a big project). But I'm really, really excited about this one, and want to finish it while the excitement is fresh ;o)


4. Retro Flowers. All the hard work is done on this one - the curves are all pieced and trimmed, I just need to sew the last seven lots of petals together and put the quilt top together. No idea on a quilting plan yet, but hopefully that'll come while I'm finishing the top. Another one I keep leaving (started last May I think) but everytime I pull it out I fall in love with it over again, so I would love to finish it up in the nearish future, and get it hanging on the wall.


5. Stained quilt. I've only pieced one block, but the rest is cut and waiting in little bags. Another one I absolutely adore, just need to knuckle down and get it finished :o)


6. Swoon. This one has been on the back burner for a loooong time - and honestly I've fallen out of love with it. So I've decided to keep it to the five blocks I've done and make a baby sized swoon (the fifth will be part of the back). I adore the pattern though, so I will definitely make a full sized one at some stage (possibly Peacock Lane/Madrona Road?) 


7. Tea for Two - can't show you the top for this yet (Alyce is putting the finishing touches on the pattern so it shouldn't be long) but the quilt top is made, there is a quilting plan, and I am completely in love with it. Hoping this will be a finish sometime this month :o)

So seven finished quilts in three months. Crazy? Probably. But I'm determined to give it my best shot! 

If you're keen to join the FAL fun, head over to Leanne's blog and link up your WiPs - it's open for another week :o)

xx Jess

A Lovely Year of Finishes - January

I've decided to link up with Shanna and Melissa's A Lovely Year of Finishes - one finish a month is something I hope I can achieve this year (hopefully more, but one is good starting place, right?)


For January, my hope is to make this pile of squares and rectangles into Jess's Lucky Square quilt top  (which I'm pattern testing so I really have to get this one done ;o) )



For me, the cutting is always the worst part of a project (it's taken me about 3 weeks to actually get these all done...), so I'm hoping I'll knock this one over in the next week or two :o)

If you're keen to join in the finishing fun, the linky party is open for another day!

xx Jess



Friday, 4 January 2013

2013: The Plan

I've been trying to think what my quilty and not-so-quilty goals are for this year. I'm blogging them so I can keep myself accountable at the end of the year.

In the not-so-quilty arena of my life I've decided my mantra will be Balance. Balance between spending quality time with all three kids, quality time with my man, keeping the house from total disrepair (I'm not much of a cleaning freak) and having 'me' time (*cough* sewing).

I don't ever sew while my kids are awake - it's only usually when the boys are at school and the little one is asleep, or after they're all in bed. But I do find my mind floating toward quilt ideas, or doing a little stash diving, or occasionally a little cutting while they're awake. I'd like to be more present for them all the time, and just 'think quilts' when they're not around. Not too hard, I guess. Getting quality time with my super patient partner is a little more tricky - that can only really happen after the kids go to sleep, right? And that's the bulk of my 'me' time where I really like to sew. It hasn't really been a problem in the last year or so, as he's been working interstate a huge amount. But he's very close to getting a new job which will mean he's home all the time (which is absolutely freaking awesome). Just not sure how I'll balance it.

Quilty wise, I've made a decision (a huge, huge, huge one for me) not to buy any fabric this year, background and backing fabric included where at all possible. I'm going to work from my stash as much as I possibly can. My only departure from this will be Architextures (which Becca will be getting in next week and I've organised to buy a bundle already, but that will be it. Promise.)

I didn't make any quilts to sell last year (apart from a couple of commissions) and I really want to start up again. Last year was much more about building skills for me, but I want to get more back to the business side of quilting. I'm hoping to strike a balance here too though, and still make some for gifts and the family :o)

I would really like 2012 to be the year of finishes - more on that when I link up for the FAL next week :o)

Horrible photo, but I really want to finish my Hopscotch quilt ;o)

I'd like to continue building my FMQ skills as well. I tried to move away from stippling last year and had so much fun doing it.

The only post-washing photo I've shown. So snuggly now!

Another biggy is not to overcommit. I've already decided not to do the next round of the Modern 4x5 Bee, and I'm not sure if I'll do any swaps this year (we'll see - they're extremely tempting!) Last year was pretty frantic and I didn't keep up with bees (still way behind there) - I would really like to this year, and I think less commitments will mean I'm more likely to...

They're the main ones at this point. I'm sure I'll think of more as the year goes on, but it's a good list for now, me thinks!

Do you have any grand plans for this year? I'd love to hear!
xx Jess

{QAL} Binding your quilt

Wow, this is the final post in the QAL - next week (the 11th January) link ups will open for all of you who have been quilting along. I'm thinking we'll leave the linky open for a week, so you'll have until the 18th to link up. The prize winners will be randomly drawn from all the entries, and I'll use Random.org to pick the winners!

 I'd like to say a massive thank you to all of you for joining us on this quilty journey, it's been a pleasure seeing so many different interpretations of all the blocks.

So before I get onto the binding info, I'd like to share some of the finished quilt tops (permission was given from everyone for me to share these). 

Nessa's Quilt
How Far Will You Go QAL - Finished
Image source http://www.flickr.com/photos/64598582@N08/8301870730/

Carine's Quilt
HFWYG 2012
Image source http://www.flickr.com/photos/83555958@N02/8303105273/




Rosa's Quilt:


DSC01938-890

Image source http://www.flickr.com/photos/67798274@N03/8279514858/

Sharon's quilt:

Completed Top

Image source http://www.flickr.com/photos/53634609@N05/8259296821/

Ella's Quilt:

HFWYG

Image source http://www.flickr.com/photos/28665243@N08/8239149699/

Right! So binding your quilt.

You will need 1/2 yard of fabric to bind the Twin sized quilt. If you're making a smaller version, my binding tutorial tells you how to work out how many strips you need to cut. Please just send me an email if you have any questions.

I wrote my binding tutorial a while ago (which I just updated tonight) but this is still how I bind quilts. There are loads of variations on how to do it though, my way is definitely not the only (or probably best) way - but it works for me :o)

Have a great weekend - we're in the middle of a crazy heat wave (40 degrees celcius today which is just not normal for our neck of the woods...) so we'll probably hide inside ;o)

xx Jess

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Some unexpected mail!

Ok so not entirely true - some of this was expected (and highly anticipated!), but there were a couple of surprise packages from a couple of very lovely bloggers.

Yesterday these gorgeous coasters arrived in my letter box from Jess, to thank me for doing the QAL with her. The kids think it's especially cool that they are like a puzzle (actually, it's not just the kids ;o) )


And then a complete surprise package arrived this morning! Totally out of the blue, Benta of Slik Stitches sent me this very cool little Chap Stick pouch and a Chap Stick! I'm not sure how she knew how often I lose these in my bag - but no longer!


Thank you both so much, I love them!

A few packages of fabric goodness have arrived since Christmas too. Firstly, a bundle of Nursery Versery from Miss Matatabi - I'd been resisting these for a long, long time, but her 20% off sale before Christmas was too good to resist. I'm really glad I caved too - Heather Ross is one of my all time favorite designers, and the cotton/linen blend has the BEST ever texture. I'm thinking a few bits and pieces of Zoe's room (fabric baskets, cushions and the like).


Honestly, have you ever seen a more awesome selvedge? Those spiders just kill me with cuteness :o)


And the collection of the moment - Saltwater by Tula Pink. I actually pre-ordered my bundle of these from Caitlin at I Don't Do Dishes and they arrived yesterday. So many ideas for these - but they're going to have to wait till I get a few of my WiPs out of the way first :o)


Seaweed colourway (with a few of my Neptune FQs below - definitely going to be a Neptune/Saltwater quilt out of these!)


Aqua Colourway:


Coral Colourway:


Right, drool fest over. I'm off to finish up one of my pattern testing quilt tops, and then get onto some very overdue bee blocks.

xx Jess