Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Reflected Textures Cushion {finish}

Back in March (I think?) I showed you a sneak peek of what was to become my Reflected Textures cushion. Well it was finished and you can now find it and the full pattern in Issue 13 of Fat Quarterly :o)

Issue 13 is all about using traditional blocks in modern quilts - perfect for me, as I think that's definitely becoming my 'thing'. As much as I love, love looking at improv and minimalist quilts I enjoy working with traditional blocks more than anything. There are some amazing projects in this issue - 8 quilts, six pillow/cushions and more!

I think it's my favorite cushion so far.

xx Jess

Queen scrappy

Follow my blog with Bloglovin I've been using bloglovin' a bit, but didn't realise I had to claim it anyway... So here we are!

 May is my month to be queen in Scrappy? Sew Bee It and I've been stressing deliberating for the last few weeks about what block to choose (thanks Nicky for putting up with my whinging!). One I kept coming back to is the fabulous winged square block (using the excellent tutorial by my friend Amy). So last night I decided I should put one together (you know, just in case they are too horrible to make ;o). )

It came together reasonably quickly - the worst part (as always) was trimming all the HSTs. So my lucky (?) bee mates get to make one for me :o)

I'm asking for one half to be red, orange or yellow, and the other half to be black or grey with low volume background (doesn't have to be prints, but I do love a good LV print!) I'm super excited about this one - mostly because I won't have to make all those HSTs myself ;o)

Oh, just an update too - quite a few people were interested in a value tutorial. I am slowly working on one, I even worked out how to do screen shots (finally) but it's taking longer than I thought. Once the kids are back at school next week I'll hopefully get it finished up :o)

xx Jess

Monday, 29 April 2013

Planning a pillow

A few weeks ago, sign ups opened for round ten of the Pillow Talk Swap and I decided to join in this time around. It's been a fair while between swaps, and it's looking like a fun one to be involved in :o)

I've discovered one good thing about having a ridiculous decent fabric stash is it's pretty easy to use stuff I have on hand rather than having to order fabric. Pretty much all my partner's favorite fabric collections happened to be in my stash! So after a bit of stalking and getting feedback on my initial fabric pull, I've narrowed it down to these:

The paper pieces down the front are more Schoenrock Cross templates (I'm totally obsessed still), I just need to have a play around with layout ideas...

So I'm having a bit of a break from quilting and getting started on this. Oh, and trying to decide what block I want my bees to make next month when I'm queen in Scrappy? Sew Bee it. So hard!

xx Jess

Friday, 26 April 2013

Flamboyant feathers

For the first time, I'm linking up with Leah today. I'm going to bombard you with more quilting-in-progress (last one before the final reveal, I promise). It's turning into quite an epic quilting adventure, but I'm extremely pleased with the results. I've done a bit more triple stitching. Love how it looks!

I got a wee bit bored after a while, so I decided to start the borders. It's such a pretty quilt I decided to try some free-form feathers around the border. I have done feathers before (on this quilt) but these are way more fun, and I'm much happier with how they're coming out. The first one was awful, and got ripped out - but I learnt from my mistakes (make sure the curves in the foundation line are really gentle!) and the others have come out really well.

 I've decided to continue the triple stitch behind the feathers (as you can see from the tiny section I've done). I'm hoping to get the quilting finished in the next week or so - but we'll see how it goes. I've been quilting for a few hours each night and it's still got a long way to go!

Hope everyone has an awesome weekend.
xx Jess

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

My new secret (quilting) weapon

Since I started free motion quilting, I've read about various tools and gadgets that make the job easier, but up until recently I haven't used anything to aid my quilting. Recently though we were at our local hardware store in the gardening section, and I noticed some fairly cheap gardening gloves that were really flexible and had great grip, so I got a pair intending to use them when quilting. They sat unused for a few months, but then I thought I'd try them out for quilting my Retro Flowers quilt.

I am so glad I did - the make it so much easier to grip the quilt and move it smoothly when quilting. Problem is, my little girl loves them too, and keeps running off with them (so they're currently missing!) They've been such a help with quilting Retro Flowers - I'm stitching in the ditch around each petal, and then echoing about 1/4" away, which has required a lot of control (and time and patience!!). So far so good (apart from the first one, which will be ripped and redone - it's extremely wonky). I'm going to leave the petals un-quilted so they really pop.

For the areas in between the flowers, I've decided to use a quilting idea I've been admiring for a long time, which is a trademark of the fabulously talented Lisa (seriously check out her blog - she quilted the Best in Show at Quiltcon). It's called triple stitch (as the name suggests, three straight lines of stitching really close together) - time consuming, but I just totally adore the texture it gives. It kind of looks and feels like really chunky corduroy. Since it's fairly small areas, I'm doing it by eye (following the central seam for the first stitch lines) - I'd love to do it over a larger area, but would definitely be marking first.

I've quilted around about 3/4 of the flowers, and only done the one triple stitch area so far, but I'm really loving how it looks :o)

Hope everyone is having a great week!

xx Jess

Monday, 22 April 2013

More Bee Blocks

I have finally caught up! This is the first time ever that I've had all my bee blocks done on time - it's a good feeling (I hate having things hanging over my head, and always feel really guilty that when they're late).

March Scrappy Sew Bee It? queen was Debra, who asked for boats and lighthouses on a white background.

Boat block

April queen was Nicky, who is a clever clogs and designed these blocks to work perfectly with charm squares (see her tutorial here). I used some of my charms from the Indian Summer charms Jenelle organised last year.

Nicky's April blocks

And finally, Bron's second block for AusMod bee. This one caused a few headaches to be honest - it's not as perfect as I'd like, so I'm thinking I'll make a third one and she can decide whether to use this one or not.

Bronwyn's block #2

I've started quilting my Retro Flowers too - I'm hoping to have some progress pics on that later in the week!

Hope everyone is having/had a great weekend.

xx Jess

Friday, 19 April 2013


There are a couple of QALs that have caught my eye in the last couple of weeks - both of which are slow paced (which means I can hopefully do them as well as work on my FAL list), and a bit of a challenge.

Firstly is the Steam Punk QAL, being organised by Amy and Jeannette. Steam Punk is an amazing pattern designed by Jen Kingwell of Amitie Textiles - and it is just stunning. My pattern arrived today - and I've ordered templates as well from Sunset Seams. I have absolutely no idea what fabric I'll use for it, and I have a feeling I will do a block here and there when I have time. There is a really great Flickr group set up for this pattern if you're interested in joining, lots of helpful hints and some seriously beautiful blocks popping up.

The other one I'm super excited about is the Tula Pink 'City Sampler' Sew Along being hosted by Sara of Sew Sweetness. I pre-ordered the book a while ago, and I'm eagerly awaiting it's arrival. I spent a bit of time yesterday picking through my *cough* sizeable Tula stash - I'm thinking something along the lines of the cover quilt (rainbow goodness). I'll probably add in a few others as needed, I'm a bit short on purples and oranges. I do have a few spare FQs of Nest fabrics (I've double up in a few cases) so there might be a Tula giveaway in the near future ;o)

And I bit the bullet and pieced my Retro Flowers together last night. Thanks so much for all your feedback, and ideas on how to balance the values and colours. There were some really interesting tips on techniques for looking at value distribution - I might collate them all into a post if anyone is interested? I ended up going with layout 3, with a few swap-arounds.

I think I could have played around with the layout for weeks and never really been completely happy with it. It's interesting how different it looks taken in decent light - the darker ones no longer look too dark relative to the others. I think it's reasonably balanced, and I'm fairly happy with it. I'm hoping to get the borders on, and the back pieced over the next few nights and get moving with the quilting. We've just started school holidays for a couple of weeks, so I won't be getting a whole lot of sewing time - but I'm busting to get this baby done :o)

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

xx Jess

Thursday, 18 April 2013

A cry for help!

Trying to arrange my retro flowers blocks is doing my head in completely. So I'm fluttering my eyelashes and asking prettily for some advice from you all ;o)

These are my finalist layouts (out of the twenty bajillion I've done). I would really love some feedback as to which you think looks best. I've alternated warm/cool blocks in all cases (by happy coincidence I have eight of each), but as to where to place the bloody things, I've got no idea. I'm trying to get a balance of value across the whole quilt, plus made sure each colour isn't too concentrated in any area. I need a few fresh pairs of eyes on this I think!

Layout 1:

Layout 2 (apologise for blurry photo):

Layout 3:

Thanks in advance lovely peeps :o)

xx Jess

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Playing with flowers

Since I finished off Mario last week, I've been on a bit of a finishing things high, so I pulled out my Retro Flowers plastic tub and got working on them again. There wasn't quite as much work involved as I'd thought - no trimming or curves left to do, just piecing the petals for the last seven flowers. And now they're done!

They're on the design wall right now, and I'm playing with layouts. I'm going with the standard 4x4 layout with a border - I just need to decide how to arrange the flowers. I'm thinking the lower layout at this stage - but I think I'll keep playing with it over the next few days until I'm completely happy. 

My design wall isn't well lit, so these photos really don't do the fabric justice - this is my absolute all time favourite collection ever. Anna Maria Horner is a genius with colour. I'm not convinced this quilt was the best way to use some of the prints (they'd be better used less cut up) but I do have more of each print, so there will be another Good Folks quilt on the horizon when I decide what to do with it. Regardless, I'm completely besotted now I've pieced all the flowers. 

I've given myself a deadline for this one - I'd like to get it finished for the Blogger's Quilt Festival in May (so roughly four weeks). It's not going to be huge (60" x 60") so I think I should manage it!

xx Jess

Linking up with Lee

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The great bee (almost) catch up

I'm in three bees at the moment, and nearly from the beginning I've been behind (horribly so at one point), so I'm really happy that I've almost caught up :o) Just one March and a few April blocks and I'll be completely up to date - hopefully before the end of the month at this rate :o)

The March and April queens in Stash Bee both requested the same block, with slightly different colours - the Cracker Scrap block by Angela. These are giant 19.5" blocks, but came together really easily. I mostly used fabric from my Reunion layer cake for these.

In the AusMod bee, our queen for March was Charlotte, who sent us three solids (bright pink, slate and white) and asked for two traditional 12.5" blocks (or a modern twist on traditional blocks).

The first block I paper pieced using this tutorial by Jenna of Sew Happy Geek (which incidentally I would have made as part of the Sew Happy Quilt QAL if I'd ever finished it. ;o) ) A few of the seams are a tiny bit off, but it mostly came together pretty well.

I didn't have much fabric left over for the second block, so I went with a fairly simple 9-patch variation of my own devising (although closely based on an actual block - unsure of the name sorry!)

And finally, one of two April blocks for the AusMod bee for Bronwyn. She sent us a variety of (extremely cool) aqua/blue and red fabrics with white solid, and asked for two 12.5" blocks from the Summer Sampler Series. This one is the Flower Garden - I used the alternate piecing method and it was surprisingly stress free, despite the number of bias edges involved.

So I just need to make my March and April blocks for Scrappy? Sew Bee It, and a second block for Bron and I'm up to date! Eeep!

I've also been working on my Retro Flowers blocks - back tomorrow with some progress on that front :o)
Oh, and by the way, the little man absolutely LOVES his Mario quilt - thanks for all your lovely comments! I will be writing up a tutorial for the maze quilting at some stage in the near future :o)
xx Jess

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Super Mario Quilt {Finish}

Thanks so much for all your words of encouragement yesterday. It must have worked, because I'm happy to say that today's marathon quilting effort (complete with extremely sore arms) paid off. Mario is done - a day early! Which means I can make some attempt to get the house sorted tomorrow before the chaos of ten small children arriving on Sunday :o)

I am so relieved he's finished - I had visions of finishing up the binding in the early hours of Saturday morning (thanks Susan!). But it went fairly smoothly today, so it's all good.

For the design of the quilt, I used the block Angela designed for her Mario QAL - but scaled it up to 3.5" squares. I actually strip pieced it in the end rather than using squares, so it came together pretty quickly, without too many seams to match. With the borders added, he's finished up at about 65" square - perfect snuggling size for my soon to be 6 year old little boy!

Please excuse the black seeds I accidentally knocked onto the quilt - didn't notice until I was looking through the photos tonight!

I'm really pleased with how Mario has turned out. He's fairly extensively quilted (aside from the borders) with various FMQ designs. Straight lines and pebbles for the most part, although I decided to try a maze-ish kind of design in the background, which I think looks pretty cool. It's not perfect (and I nearly stopped a short way into it) but overall I think it's effective if you don't look too closely at some bits. Normally I quilt myself into corners and have to stop and start - but surprisingly with this design I only did it once. My little boy has been asking for a maze quilt for a while, so I think he'll enjoy tracing his way through this one :o)

I worked entirely from stash on this one (aside from the backing). The solids are all Kona cotton, apart from the brown for the shoes, which is a shot cotton (I think?). I ran out of the background fabric part way through (I thought the yard I had would be enough - whoops!), so I've used two different kona aqua fabrics (Ice Frappe and another - not completely sure which one!) If I'd had more time I probably would have ordered a bit more of the Ice Frappe, but I think it looks okay anyway :o)

The quilting is all Aurifil 50wt, matched as closely as possible to the fabric. My recent win came very much in handy for the red, dark blue (Kona Ocean) and yellow buttons. I'm beginning to acquire a stash of Aurifil that challenges my fabric. Ok, maybe not quite, but I have thread in just about every colour I'll ever need ;o)

I think my favorite part is his ear :o)

And the back is perfection - confirmed by master 8 (who incidentally thinks it is a very cool quilt, and has asked for Luigi for his bed. So I think I've done well!) I would have liked to use the same red as the border for the binding, but I ran out. I ended up using a print from Tufted Tweets by Laurie Wisbrun, which works quite well and is in keeping with the white/red spotty mushroom theme on the back.

Needs to be washed still, but I can't wait to pop this on the birthday boy's bed while he's asleep tomorrow night - I really hope it's all he dreamed it would be.

xx Jess

Linking up to Le Challenge

Le Challenge

A Lovely Year of Finishes

and the Finish Along 2013

she can quilt

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Panic sewing

**Architextures Giveaway post here**

I've made a fair bit of headway on the quilting of Mario over the last couple of days (thanks to Mum looking after the smallest one yesterday).

I'm keeping it fairly simple - mostly FMQ'd straight lines, with some wavy lines on the skin part, and pebbles for his hair. I'm definitely a FMQ straight line convert - I love not having to turn the quilt. Oh, and you can see a peek of the backing at the bottom of the photo - perfect or what? There might have been a small squeal in the shop when I found it - and there was just enough left on the bolt. It was meant to be!!

Slightly panicky about getting it finished by Saturday - and the little man has requested that I go down and put it on his bed while he's asleep on Friday night, so he can wake up snuggled under it on his birthday :o). So really, not much time to finish it up - and there's a lot of quilting left to do. Just as well Thursday is my child-free day - hoping my arms are up to an all-day quilting marathon.

Wish me luck?

xx Jess

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Architextures Giveaway from Sew Fresh Fabrics

You might have noticed I'm a wee bit obsessed with Architextures at the moment? It's such an awesome collection - little bits are creeping into pretty much all the projects I'm working on at the moment. So I'm really excited that one of you will have the chance to win this gorgeous bundle, courtesy of Peg at Sew Fresh Fabrics! If you haven't had a chance to check out Peg's new website, please pop over and have a look - loads of great fabric and it's really easy to navigate.

Eight fat quarters of textural goodness - two yards in total!

I'm running this giveaway using Rafflecopter - for some reason (which is far beyond my shockingly bad tech skills) I've lost the numbering on my comments, and I'm way too lazy to count through entries to find the winner ;o).

Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget - which will ask you to leave a comment on this blog post. There are a few optional bonus entries as well :o)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to EVERYONE! It is open until next Tuesday 16th April. I will contact the winner by email, and announce the winner on this post.


xx Jess

Free Shipping at the Fat Quarter Shop

This is probably one of things you don't want to miss. You know, cos the Fat Quarter Shop have loads of awesome fabric ;o)

Free shipping on US orders over $40, 40% off international shipping on orders over $40. Expires on the 16th of April at midnight CST. 

In the past I've used the Fat Quarter Shop's awesome cheap postage promotions to order backing fabric in the Sale Section. Just saying!

PS, they have 50% off Savannah Bop by Thomas Knauer today!!

Back later with some giveaway news :o)

xx Jess

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Quarter 2 FAL List

Q1 was a bit of a non event for me. Not long after I wrote my ridiculous list, we had the massive bushfires in Tassie, and the next couple of months were pretty much spent quilting up and finishing off quilts for the Bush Fire Appeal I organised. So this quarter I'm hoping I'll get a few actual finishes :o)

she can quilt

1. Super Mario Quilt. 
I have to get this one done by next weekend for my son's 6th birthday. Mario is completely pieced, just need to add a border, quilt it and bind it. I found the most perfect backing fabric for it today, so I'm all ready to go :o) 

2. Birds and Bees Colour blocks
This was on my Q1 list, and was actually only just started back in January. This is the only Q1 thing I actually worked on, but I've completely finished the top, just need to make the back and quilt it (I also have the fabric for the back all ready to go). It's a giant (queen size) so quilting will probably take a looong time. 

3. Retro Flowers
Still want to get this one done, still totally in love with it. All the curves are done, just need to put the other seven flowers together and work out how to quilt it. Also have the backing fabric for this one.

4. Medallion quilt
Another one I started in Q1, but I'd really like to finish it in Q2. 

5. Hopscotch. 
This one actually didn't appear on my Q1 list, but I rediscovered it the other day and decided I want to finish it soon, so it's going on my Q2 list. 

6. Amy Butler Messenger bag
I've cut most of my pieces for this, and have all the hardware I need, just need to pull my finger out and start making it!

I'll also be keeping on doing the Forest QAL (which will go on my Q3 list) and bee blocks, so I think that will keep me busy enough for the next three months :o)

Linking up with the fabulous Leanne - if you have WIPs you'd like some motivation to get finished, you should think about linking up too :o)

xx Jess

Friday, 5 April 2013


You might remember my self-imposed fabric ban that was part of my new years sewing resolutions? It's been really, really hard (I think my fabric buying problem could actually be classified as an addiction...), but I've been doing well until a couple of weeks ago. I've been using lots and lots of my Architextures prints (from Sew Me A Song) in quite a few different projects, especially the lower volume neutral prints. And got a bit panicky that I was starting to run out of a few of them (is it just me that does that with fabric?).

So I ordered some more from Sew Fresh Fabrics and they arrived yesterday. Low volume awesomeness.

All yard cuts, so I won't be running out any time soon - and I snuck a yard of the Button Up print from Little Apples in as well ;o)

I'm hoping I won't fall off the wagon again for a while :o)

Sewing wise, I'm making great progress on Super Mario - the rows are all pieced, I just need to finish sewing them all together. It's looking fairly good in terms of getting it done before next Saturday, thankfully. He's around 52" square at the moment, and I'm trying to decide on borders at the moment (I have enough black and red so I'll probably go with one or both of those.)

Hope everyone has had a great week!

xx Jess

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

April Goal {A lovely year of finishes}

So far this year, my intentions of having a year of finishes has been a big fat fail. I'm hoping that will change from now on though - starting with April. I'm hoping Q2 of the FAL will also be a bit more fruitful than Q1...

My middle child turns 6 on the 13th of April - and when I was asking him the other day what he'd like for his birthday his response was 'a Mario Skylanders Ninjago quilt'. My heart melted just slightly when he said this - although it was closely followed by panic (not sure I'm up to a Mario/Skylanders/Ninjago mashup quilt). Once I'd talked him down to choosing just one (Mario) though, things were looking achievable. 

So, I've pulled a stack of solids and I have a plan to make a big-ish Mario (I think it'll be around 60" square). Oh, and a Bowser cushion apparently. We'll see how that goes.

Given the fact that I have a deadline on this one, I'm pretty sure it's a safe goal for April in the Lovely Year of Finishes :o)

xx Jess