July 25, 2016
|Start Date||9 July 2015|
|Pattern||My own design|
|What it’s for||Canberra MQG challenge “Love is Love”|
|Batting||Random cotton my from stash|
Quilt Top Notes/Techniques
Cut 3.5″ strips of solids. Used pre-bought, single fold 1″ bias for heart. Had some issues getting bias to curve. Ended up using a bit of heat from my iron (no steam) and then pinned a whole bunch to keep in place. I made a test block to see the best way of stitching it down – a 3.5 length straight stitch worked better than the typical blind hem stitch I’d use on turned edge machine applique.
Used freezer paper to make “LOVE” block letters 6″ tall. Used the one inch grid on my cutting mat to draw out the letters. Pressed on to surface of quilt. Had to re-press a few times.
Used a 3.0 straight stitch to straight line quilt using the open toe Accufeed foot. First did 1/2″ spaced lines, then filled in 1/4″, stopping at the letters. I buried the threads, but some I left too short to knot. When pulling off the freezer paper, some of the stitches did pull a little bit.
Sydney NYE Tablerunner
July 25, 2016
|Start Date||28 May|
|Pattern||Urban Runner – modified layout|
|What it’s for||My table & practicing the Quick Curve Ruler|
|Batting||Random cotton from my stash.|
Quilt Top Notes/Techniques
I bought a Quick Curve Ruler ages ago because I was interested in the Metro Rings (double wedding ring) pattern. But I needed some help figuring out how to use it. Enter Sylvia (aka CreativeChicky) and her QCR class at Addicted to Fabric in Canberra.
We used the free included Urban Runner pattern, but basically the class was to figure out a little about how to use the ruler itself. It did take a little practice.
I ended up using my regular, non-Accufeed, quarter inch foot on my sewing machine. I find the Accufeed doesn’t do well on curves due to the bulkiness of the feet.
After making and trimming the blocks, I attempted to match points when putting them together, but this went by the wayside pretty quickly. I think the issue is that my 1/4″ seam/pressing was still not great, meaning that the width of the inner strip varied. This mean that even when trimming 1/4″ away from the corner on the bottom, the top varied in size.
After Sylvia’s suggestion, I made a little Sydney Harbour Bridge by adding strips to the side of a solid grey curve.
Quilting in smoke invisible thread with a firework burst pattern. It takes a bit of time and uses quite a bit of thread. Have to re-fill my bobbin regularly.
Lightsaber Legacy – Star Wars Quilt
July 25, 2016
|Start Date||28 March 2015|
|Status||Ready to be quilted|
|Size||~85″ x 75″|
|Pattern||My own design|
|What it’s for||Gift for my husband|
|Batting||Warm and natural 100% cotton|
Quilt Top Notes/Techniques
Got a 21 fat quarter set of Start Wars The Force Awakens fabric.
I used the Quilt in a Day HST trimmer to make 6″ finished HSTs. Fortunately the fat quarters were a true 21″ wide (I didn’t pre-wash). I used my signature block technique to add in the solids for the lightsabers – I just used 2.5″ strips.
I used left over strips from the fat quarters to make the cornerstones and blocks in the borders.
I should really write a proper pattern for this quilt.
Attempted to quilt on my friend’s Tin Lizzie longarm, but it kept skipping stitches. Not sure what the issue was. This is the first time I’ve used this batting.
QuiltCon is Like Sex…
February 24, 2016
The first time it can be awkward and over in a flash, not quite living up to the hype. The second time you know what to expect and it’s more relaxed, letting you get into the groove.
After attending QuiltCon in Austin in 2015, I was a bit underwhelmed. I didn’t plan on attending again anytime soon. But then they announced QuiltCon West in Pasadena. This California native couldn’t resist, especially combined with cheap February airfares.
So, as follows my review of the tiring, yet extremely satisfying, second trip to QuiltCon.
The Venue and Location
I much preferred Pasadena to Austin. It was easier to get to, the convention center was nicer and there were more amenities close by, such as the world’s best placed Starbucks.
The partnership with Lyft was also handy – I used the service a lot to get around when I wanted to explore Pasadena or was just too lazy to walk to/from my hotel a kilometre away.
I will admit that I am biased – I’m a California girl and the location was both practical and convenient for me. I wouldn’t have gone to QuiltCon again if it hadn’t been for the location.
When the workshops opened online I copied/pasted in all my choices, assuming I would miss out on some. Well, they all went through. So I had a very busy QuiltCon. I did three FMQ classes, two piecing classes and one finishing class.
Things that were good:
- The instructors. Part of the reason I’m willing to pay more is getting world class teachers that we aren’t going to see in Australia anytime soon. All my instructors were excellent, open and inspiring.
- The setup. The rooms were much better set up than at Austin.
- The machines. All the machines I used (HQ, Babylock, Juki and Janome) were easy to use and the dealer assistants were friendly and helpful.
- The three hour class times. For FMQ classes this was a perfect amount of time. Enough to get the idea without being exhausted.
Things that weren’t so good:
- Sharing Sweet16s: In two of my FMQ classes, students had to share quilting time on the mid-arm machines. This cut down on our quilting/learning time. I would have preferred to have individual domestic machines.
- Three hour class times: my two evening classes, which focused on piecing and finishing, felt a bit rushed. This may have also been because my brain was on overload.
- Over prepping. This is more my foible: over-preparing and bringing more than I really needed. Particularly for my FMQ, one 1 meter square practice sandwich would have been sufficient for my three classes, rather than the two I brought. I also bought a 6″ x 24″ ruler at Joanns that was totally unnecessary.
Last year at Austin, I did the show all in one go, and it was just way too much at once. Talk about visual overload. This year I was smart and took it in chunks.
I enjoyed the show a lot more this year. While it seemed like there were less quilts overall (and this was totally fine!) the variety was greater. Last year seemed like a lot of the same thing over and over. This year, trends included less matchstick quilting (thank God!), a greater variety of background solids other than white or grey (thank God!), an increase in variety of fabrics including hand dyed and prints, and more complex designs.
A few quibbles… I still feel that technical issues were common. I know I’m being the quilt police (and according to one of the quilts on display, I can go fuck myself), but these are supposed to be the best of the best quilts to represent the work of the MQG’s 10,000 members. A quilt in the piecing category should have good points, or be so wonky it’s clearly deliberate. Starts on straight line quilting shouldn’t be visible; it’s not hard to bury threads. And don’t get me started about how much it chaps my ass that a quilt with only straight line quilting won an excellence in quilting award.
I also would have swapped the locations of the Minimalist and Modern Traditional sections. The Minimalist quilts were right behind the main winners. The Minimalist quilts are probably the highest on the “modern” spectrum, so it was a bit confronting to jump right into these. I think the Modern Traditionalist section could have eased people in a bit better, especially those visitors who are new to the style.
I always save my shopping until Sunday afternoon to get the best deals, but by then of course some vendors are a bit picked over. I felt like there was more fabric, but fewer gadget/lifestyle vendors. I did notice more batiks for sale at this show; I predict these will be trending soon in the modern quilt sphere. I ended up spending about the same amount as I did last year.
It did seem like the fabric companies upped their game as far as displays/activies in their booths. Many made creative use of technology. And the giveaways were fairly generous (yeah free fat-quarter of Kona Highlight from Kauffman!)
The vibe is really the main reason to go to QuiltCon. You’re surrounded by likeminded and excited quilters.
It was amazingly awesome to chat with my wonderful fellow attendees, workshop students, volunteers, vendors and crew. I got to meet people I’ve followed online and made some great new quilter friends.
Again, in part because of the California location, the show had a more chilled vibe. It felt more like a nice buzz instead of caffeine overload. It definitely left me with a much better afterglow.
I won’t be going to QuiltCon in Savannah (just too far away), but I would certainly go to one in Pasadena again.
2015 Year In Review – Challenges and Lost Sewjo
January 21, 2016
It’s still January, so I think my year in review is still on time. Indulge me.
Nearly all the quilts I made this year were as a result of challenges or specific requirements. It helped to have a place to start and not be starting from scratch. The deadlines were also essential!
Forest in the Fog was a result of a special request from my lovely mother-in-law who wanted a green and grey quilt 36″ square. I had previously made a block for the Canberra Modern Quilt Guild colour of the year challenge way back in 2013, so I expanded on the idea. I really loved doing the feather quilting and fills on this quilt. It’s probably the most exemplary quilting I’ve done to date.
I entered this quilt in the Modern Quilt Show Australia and the Canberra Quilters Exhibition. No placements in either, but I’m glad it was on display.
Fuck the Patriarchy was made for inclusion in a Social Fabric Exhibition, organised by Bee & Lotus Textiles. Unfortunately, we were not chosen by Craft ACT to exhibit. This is my most political quilt and I hope one day it will go on show.
I wanted to juxtapose the aggressive message with the extremely feminine fabric and traditional style. I definitely succeeded in my vision.
I’ll Be Clammed was made for the OMG Quilts project. Co-creator Helen Godden presented the idea to the CMQG and I just had to make some quilts. I ended up with OMG #14.
Broken Star was a result of the Canberra Modern Quilt Guild’s modern monochrome challenge for the 2015 Canberra Quilt and Craft Fair.
My first concept had the pieced lone star blades take up more room in the 24″ square required size, but in the end, it worked out perfectly to quilt in a lone star.
The filler quilting on this one was really fun, and turned out fantastic.
The Badass Quilters Society sponsored the Game of Quilts Challenge. I decided to make quilts in both colourways.
Spoiler Alert – A Game of Thrones Memory Quilt was made to honour all our favourite (and not so favourite) characters who have met their makers on the TV series (I’ve blurred the names in the pic above to avoid spoilers, but if you’re caught up on season 5, click the link to see the quilt).
A Song of Ice and Fire was made to the represent the series name of the books. The three snowflakes represent the prophesied three heads of the dragon to save Westeros.
A Song of Ice and Fire ended up in the middle of the pack in voting. Spoiler Alert was towards the end, but I still love the idea behind it.
I actually did the piecing for Mesozoic Mates in 2014, but I finally finished quilting it in 2015. The quilt is for the daughter of some geeky friends. I really wish we’d start seeing more unisex panels/quilts for kids. Girls like dinosaurs too!
I quilted feathers in the border. Dinosaurs had feathers damn it!
Despite a very inspiring trip to QuiltCon in February and the Australasian Quilt Convention in April, the last half of the year, I lost pretty much all desire to sew.
I made a few small things, but other than that, my sewing machine sat dormant. All I wanted to do was read shitty books and listen to good music.
Hope for 2016
This year I started with mucking out my sewing room. I purged a bunch of books and patterns. I also trashed some old UFOs (mostly poor attempts at sewing clothes) that were in plastic bags that were literally disintegrating.
I have signed up for the Project 48 Quilt and am hoping to get started soon.
I also bought a bundle of Star Wars fabric off Massdrop. My husband has requested a couch quilt. And I have an idea for a pattern! And I want to sew! So there is hope.
What are your quilty plans for 2016? How have you gotten over losing your sewjo? Let me know in the comments.
Modern Machine Quilting – What does it mean to me?
January 14, 2016
Hello and Happy New Year! I’ve had quite the month healthwise (on the mend) and unfortunately my blog has been neglected.
But, I had a prompt today I couldn’t refuse. Forgive me for a slightly more freeform blog post. 😉
The lovely Christa Watson of Christa Quilts asked a question in the Facebook Group Modern Quilting…Exploring A Fresh Horizon (you should join if you aren’t a member already). She asked:
What does “modern machine quilting” mean to you?
Hoo boy, Christa you may regret asking me that question. I will preface this by saying that free motion quilting is probably my favourite part of the quilting process. And I’ve worked hard to become proficient and skilled in this area. So I am certainly biased.
I will say that “modern machine quilting” is NOT limited to straight line or matchstick quilting. I saw a lot of this style of quilting on the quilts displayed at QuiltCon. I even took a class about it with Jacquie Gering, the patron saint of matchstick quilting, at QuiltCon.
I hate to say it, but straight line quilting, to me, is basically the “all-over meander” of the modern quilting world. It’s effectively a quilt Zamboni, mowing down the texture of the quilt.
Now, that’s not to say that this type of quilting shouldn’t be used. It certainly suits many “modern” styles. But there are so many other options out there.
With all that wonderful negative space that modern quilts often provide, why not fill it with fabulous free motion quilting!?! We’ve seen some fantastic examples of skilled quilters using and enhancing negative space. Angela Walter‘s quilts immediately spring to mind.
What about using a traditional pattern in a new and modern way? How about Angela Walter’s Creepy Feathers on a Tula Pink quilt? How about the extra layer of meaning added to Thomas Knauer’s Pride quilt by quilting a double wedding ring pattern over the rainbow piecing (pretty sure Lisa Sipes did the quilting)?
I’m reminded again of the five stages of grief I went through watching Jacquie Gering’s What is a Modern Quilt webinar in 2014 – one of my major sticking points was that the quilting should be secondary to the design.
To this I say:
Quilting gives us another way to express our creativity. Take advantage of the opportunity to make your quilt truly spectacular.
As OG Quilter Harriet Hargrave says:
The quilting makes the quilt.
Yes, it should enhance the piecing/quilt top – that’s the goal for the quilting on EVERY quilt, whether traditional, contemporary, art or modern in style.
But in no way, shape or form, should quilting be considered the red headed stepchild of the modern quilt world.
¡Viva la modern machine quilting revolution!
Anyway, that’s my rant for now. I should probably go back and add in some pictures at some point, but I’ve at least gotten it off my chest.
I’ll be keen to check out Christa’s webinar for MQG members.
What do you think? What does “modern machine quilting” mean to you? Let me know in the comments, or hit up the original FB post.
Feather Quilting Gurus
November 23, 2015
I have the privilege of presenting how to draw feathers for free motion quilting at this week’s meeting of the Canberra Modern Quilt Guild.
Over the years, I’ve tried several different methods of both drawing and quilting feathers, and this was heavily influenced by a few particular quilters. I highly recommend checking out their books and blogs if you want to learn more about how to quilt feathers, and for inspiration in general.
Harriet is one of the pioneers of domestic machine quilting. While she has a very traditional style, her lessons apply to all sorts of machine quilting including feathers.
Her seminal book on the subject Heirloom Machine Quilting: A Comprehensive Guide to Hand-Quilting Effects Using Your Sewing Machine is a must have for any serious quilter, especially if you are like me and love details. Harriet covers pretty much everything you need to know. Even if you are an experienced machine quilter, you should still own this book as a reference.
In it, Harriet covers feather basics, adapting traditional hand quilting designs and techniques into machine quilting, including the “bump back” or “bump bump” method of feather quilting.
She throws down the gauntlet with the ultimate challenge: when backtracking over a previous stitching line, the needle should go into the same holes as the previous line. That shit is HARD CORE!
Diane is another pioneer of domestic machine quilting, and feathers are her specialty. For me, Diane’s feathers take on an elegance that I have not seen matched by other quilters.
Her feathers are created by forming each feather shape separately, with a teeny gap in between (aiming for 1/8″) and then echoing around the outside to unify the shapes. She covers the method in her book Quilt Savvy: Gaudynski’s Machine Quilting Guidebook. Diane provides some additional feather tips on her blog here.
I’m a big fan of Diane’s method because you don’t have to backtrack over your shapes, eliminating thread build up issues. I used her method on my Star of India quilt to draw/quilt the feathers in the setting triangles of the lone star.
She also extensively covers how to frame your feathers with background fills of various types. This is important as the right fill can make your feathers pop, while the wrong fill can make them disappear into the background.
Wendy is an incredibly talented quilt designer and machine quilter and the force behind the Ivory Spring blog. Wendy’s quilts perfectly bridge the gap between modern and traditional.
One of the things I love about Wendy is that you can always tell her quilts when you see them in magazines. They are impeccably finished with custom quilting, and not pounded into submission with the dreaded all over meander *shudder*.
When I first started trying to quilt feathers, Wendy’s series Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine provided practical tips, tricks and designs for lots of different kinds of quilting including feathers.
One of her designs that really caught my eye was her pseudo-feathers. Posted as a way to practice making feather shapes, I modified these feathers to stretch down and touch the previous feather shape instead of curling around.
In effect, it combines the simple shape of Wendy’s feathers with the individual feather shape creation and echoing from Diane’s feathers. I like to call them self-echoing feathers.
I found these feathers were quick and easy to quilt and still give the elegant shape of more difficult feathers. I’ve adapted this as my own personal preferred feather style. I first used them for my Modern Wedding Ring quilt.
Angela is one of the best known modern machine quilters on the scene today. Her blog Quilting is My Therapy is fantastic inspiration for blending the traditional look of feathers into very modern quilts.
Angela also has several books published with her various quilting designs. I’m proud to say I own all of them as they are continually useful resources when I have to figure out the answer to “how am I going to quilt this?” (note that feathers are rarely the wrong answer to this question).
I first saw Angela’s feathers in an issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited. I really loved how she made the feathers look like they “disappeared” behind a block.
I adapted this method in my Forest in the Fog quilt. I also used some of Diane’s fills to make the feathers really pop out.
Do you have a preferred method for quilting feathers? Who is your feather guru? Let me know in the comments.
IKWLTA – A Quilty Twist on IKEA
November 16, 2015
The new IKEA in Canberra opens today and it is a VERY big deal for locals. I’m not one of the 15,000 people showing up for opening day (many of whom are claiming to be “sick” to get off work), but I thought I’d rework some IKEA products to take on a quilty spin or just a more honest name.
Note: this is not an IKEA hack tutorial. There are a metric shit-ton of those already on the web and I’m not touching that!
As most quilters will know – it’s not the size of your fabric stash that’s the problem, it’s the lack of storage. The Billy bookcase takes care of that issue.
I do not have kids, but from what I hear, distractions are a necessary part of getting sewing time in.
Since approximately half the modern quilts ever made use Britten Nummer fabric on the back.
Every sewing room needs a comfy and pretty chair for relaxation and hand sewing. The Poäng is the classic.
I honestly have no idea if SY thread is any good, but at A$2.99 for a four pack, I’m pretty suspicious.
Why yes, of course I hand embroidered that cushion. 😉
I could make these all day, but we’ll leave it there for now.
Do you have any IKEA faves that you use in your sewing room? Tell me in the comments.
Canberra Fabric and Craft Shops
November 9, 2015
After the positive feedback from my post and Google Map for the Phillip Arts and Crafts Enclave, I’ve decided to make a new map/post with details of the independent fabric and craft shops in Canberra.
Below are some of the shops that I’ve visited with some quick reviews. I made a custom Google Map here for your convenience, and embedded below. Info was up to date upon the publish date – it’s suggested you check the website/call the shop in question before you arrive to confirm current opening hours.
Note that some content has been repeated from my Phillip post.
Addicted 2 Fabric – Phillip
Probably Canberra’s best known independent fabric shop. A2F carries a huge variety of quilting fabric – mostly in the modern style – as well as dress fabric and Liberty lawn. They also have a good range of notions.
Calico Patch – Gold Creek
Calico Patch is like a treasure hunt – it is literally packed to the rafters with fabrics of all styles. They tend to be more traditional, but also have a great range of Christmas, Australiana, and other themes. One of the few shops I’ve seen anywhere in Australia that has a good range of flannel. If you’re looking for something specific, I highly suggest you ask a staff member – they seem to know exactly where everything is.
One of the few shops open on a Sunday in Canberra. Gold Creek also has lots of lovely shops and is ideal for a visitor without much time.
Canberra Sewing Centre – Phillip
Canberra Sewing Centre has probably the best range of thread (for sewing machines) in Canberra. They carry all the major brands. They also have a small range of fabric (mostly traditional style) and products for embroidery such as a selection of stabilisers. They also do sewing machine repair onsite. They really shine with their friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Hobbysew – Belconnen (Westfield)
An outlet of the popular Hobbysew quilt shops. Hobbysew has a huge range of fabrics, in pretty much every style from modern to contemporary and traditional. They also have a good range of notions, lights, rulers, and other quilty tools.
One of the few shops open on a Sunday in Canberra.
KimoYes – Phillip
KimoYes carries vintage Japanese fabric including silk and cotton from kimonos. This shop is a must visit just to check out the beautiful fabrics. They also have gifts and pre-made items like purses and brooches made out of the fabric.
One of the few shops open on a Sunday in Canberra.
Sew Simple – Phillip
Sew Simple has a small range of quilting fabrics, thread and notions. They have a wide variety of batting available. They also have a long arm machine you can rent by the hour.
They are also a Janome dealer and where I take my MC6600P for its servicing and buy my bobbins.
Crafty Frog – Kambah
Crafty Frog has the best selection of hand embroidery thread anywhere in the ACT. They have an extensive range of yarns, cross stitch kits and supplies, felt and more. The friendly, personalised service is also excellent.
Stitch ‘N Time – Phillip
Stitch ‘N Time primarily carries yarn and products for knitters/crocheters. They have a wide selection of notions and a small range of embroidery thread and cross stitch kits.
Woolshed – Manuka
A little shop crammed with beautiful yarns. They only carry the good stuff – no cheap or acrylic yarns here.
Canberra folks, have I missed a favourite shop of yours? Let me know in the comments.
P.S. – If you want to make your own custom Google map(s) for fabric/craft shops in your area, it’s surprisingly easy. Check out the tutorial here. All you need is a free Google account.
Can you be a Modern Quilter but not make Modern Quilts?
November 6, 2015
My quilty friend Crystal has been hosting the fantastic Modern Quilting, Modern Women series over on her blog Raspberry Spool. Today she posted an interview with the resplendent Mary Fons.
In the interview, Mary talks about whether she considers herself to be a “modern quilter”:
I’m a modern quilter only if you take “modern” to mean now. I think that word actually can’t be used in this way, however, because of the genre we have. So I consider myself a “contemporary” quilter but in every other way a quilter can be modern today, I am. I used social media and video to do a lot of work; I lecture and teach and all that business (booking, promo stuff, blog posts, ticket sales, etc.) happen well and quickly because of the Internet.
Mary nicely sums up some thoughts I’ve had for a long time:
If you don’t make “modern (style) quilts” can you consider yourself to be a “modern quilter”?
This is certainly not a new topic. Many different bloggers have covered this same ground, several coming up with different answers (embrace it, ignore it, who cares?). So I’m not exactly covering new ground.
I think this conversation was really brought to head with the acceptance (or rejection) of quilts for the QuiltCon 2015 show nearly a year ago now. The Modern Quilt Guild strictly adhered to their definition of a modern quilt and the requirements of their categories. (Full disclosure – I entered my Blue Steel mini quilt and was not accepted, although after seeing other people’s entries on Instagram I was certainly not surprised, or particularly disappointed.)
And obviously it’s the MQG’s show; they can pick who they want to be in it. My hypothesis is that they really wanted to show a strong differentiation between modern style quilts, and traditional, or merely contemporary style quilts.
Shortly before this, I watched Jacquie Gering‘s MQG webinar (only available to MQG members) about the definitions of the modern quilting style. Not gonna lie – I felt like I was going through the five stages of grief watching this webinar. I realised then that the majority of the quilts I make are definitely not modern and those that are, are barely blips on the modern spectrum.
I had the opportunity to take a straight line quilting class with Jacquie at QuiltCon in 2015 and both she and the class were lovely. Unfortunately, I had almost completely lost my voice at the time, so I couldn’t take to the opportunity to further discuss my response with her.
The Imminent Future
Now that the Modern Quilting Movement has effectively entered its adolescence, the MQG (effectively the governing body and leader of the movement) will need to decide what’s more important – a descriptive style of quilting or people.
In the end, for the movement to be successful and enduring, it will need to side with the people. Styles and trends come and go, but people will always remain.
Like Mary Fons, my quilting and participation in the craft has been shaped by the people around me, including and especially, on the internet. My quilts may not be “modern quilts”, but I am most certainly a modern quilter in attitude.
In the end, it can be summed up by a new member of the fabulous Canberra Modern Quilt Guild: “I felt like I found my people.”
I’d love to know your thoughts. Do you consider yourself a modern quilter?