10 Things I Hate About Quilting

10 Things Pic

There comes a time in every quilter’s life where nothing seems to go right and it all falls apart…. The quarter-inch seam allowances aren’t matching up, you’ve burnt your fingers on the vicious hot steam pouring out from the iron when pressing your seams, the quilt is too big to fit on the ironing board, the pattern that you thought looked easy becomes the pattern from hell etc…

Today I share with you my top 10 hates when it comes to quilting. The worst thing is, most of these have happened to me in the past week….

DISCLAIMER: Prepare yourself for a whole lot of whinging!

>Hate 1: Puckering while Quilting<

Every quilter knows that a flat smooth quilt is a good quilt; a flat smooth quilt is a neat quilt; a flat smooth quilt is a ‘professional’ quilt.

And yet, after endless attempts of getting every inch of my ‘quilt sandwich’ flat and smooth after basting and ironing, unwanted puckers evade the surface, leaving me frustrated, annoyed and determined to get the most flattest, smoothest quilt surface in the history of quilting!

Shoo! Annoying puckers!
Shoo! Annoying puckers!

But then I think, ‘Pfft, fat chance! You’ll never please your internal OCD Monster when working with a medium that moves so freely like fabric does! Silly Billy!’

>Hate 2: The ‘Laws’ of Pressing<

Law One -Setting the seam: The process of setting a seam requires one to press on the seam to ‘set’ or ‘anchor’ the thread into the fabric before pressing the seam open to one side, thus resulting in a flat seam.

Yeh, I do that!! But nine-times-out-of-ten the seam on the back usually has other ideas, folding over the opposite way leaving my seam bulky and twisted!

A Twisted Seam!
A Twisted Seam!

I then have to re-do the whole process, which screws up my rhythm and usually results in a good steam burn because my frustration blinds me of my common sense around hot angry irons!

Law Two – Quilter’s Must Always Press to the Dark Side:

Not always necessary.

Stuff the rules!

I’m doing it my way!

>Hate 3: Flat Seams will be the End of Me!<

The time when all seams need to be sewn flat in all the same direction and there’s always that one little #@&$!% that does not want to conform!

The One Seam Join That Does NOT Want To Play!
The One Seam Join That Does NOT Want To Play!

‘Damn it! Where’s my unpicker!’

>Hate 4: Scrap or not Scrap? That is the question.<

You know what I’m talking about – those little pieces of fabric that are too small for any real use BUT still maybe useful if you were to ever get time to make 5-cent piece size hexies or some weird fabric collage….

Poor Lil' Scraps!
Poor Lil’ Scraps!

***But secretly you don’t want to get rid of any fabric scraps because you’re a serial hoarder and don’t want hurt the fabric’s feelings….just sayin’.

>Hate 5: The Joys of Cutting with a Rotary Blade<

So you’ve set your fabric correctly on the cutting mat, the ruler is in the perfect place at the perfect measurement and you cut – yay!

No.

The cut has been made but you didn’t press hard enough on the rotary blade and now you have those few little strands of thread that don’t want to be parted from the Mother fabric.

'Noo, I don't want to leave! You can't make me!!'
‘Noo, I don’t want to leave! You can’t make me!!’

Thus resulting in an edge that is botched and hacked, has pulled threads and has left you in tears on the floor because you have weak puny muscles that prevent you from simply cutting a line in a piece of fabric.

The world can seem very unfair sometimes!

>Hate 6: The Worst time for a Quilting Craving<

There’s nothing worse than the self-inflicting torture of quilting on a hot summer’s day. I find nothing fun about sweating under a heavy quilt just to soothe my weird urge of feeding three layers of differing orientated fibres through a sewing machine.

And yet I still do it.

Every.

Single.

Year.

>Hate 7: The bobbin running out at the worst possible moment!<

Argh!!
Argh!!

Need I say more…??

>Hate 8: The Stash Equation: I don’t need it, but I want it.<

A small snippet of my 'stash'
A small snippet of my ‘stash’

I know I don’t need any more fabric. My family knows it as well as my crafty friends.

And yet I keep buying it.

I have no room for it.

Boy, I don’t even have enough money for it!

But it keeps rolling on through the door and into my stash.

Why only today I bought two new fat quarters.

Why?

Because-they-were-a-D-O-L-L-A-R!! Who in their right mind would give up such a special like that!?

Nuh-ahh, not me!

I found room for it.

>Hate 9: Pesky Joins<

No matter how well I secure my joins (that is: two seams coming together and sitting at a neat T-Junction) with pins, there is always one that just does not want to match up no matter how well I’ve measured and sewn the pieces of fabrics together. Thus resulting in mismatched block joins and seams that look like a dog’s hind leg!

Tres Bon!
Yes!
U-G-L-Y!
No.

Boo, I say to you!

>Hate 10: Runaway Quilts<

That moment when you’re trying to feed a quilt through the sewing machine but it keeps runaway from you due to the sheer size and bulk of it, ruining your attempt at quilting a decent straight line.

If I were super-human and could morph eight arms out of my torso, maybe then would I be able to achieve the near impossible of perfect quilting on a domestic sewing machine.

Regrettably, I do not live in a Marvel comic so I will need to settle on rare but occasional burst of fits of frustration to get me through the dreaded ‘runaway quilt’ quilting phase.

End whinge.

And yet, after that mindless rant and rave, I could not think of one thing in the world that I LOVE and that brings me more joy than quilting (apart from my family, nephews, friends, my dog, God, food, my car, my independence and my BED!).

The passion is hard to explain but can be easily seen simply through the dedication I have to my blog.

I love quilting and my life would be simply colourless and boring without it.

Simple.

Happy Sewing! xx

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A New Sewing Space

Last week was moving week. All of my sewing stuff – my big sewing table included – was shipped, hauled and moved into another room in our house. Previously it was mum’s ‘office’ for when she worked fulltime as a primary teacher. And previous to that it was my older brothers room before he moved out.

But now, it’s mine!

It took a good four days to get everything just the way I wanted: two to move everything and another two to sort everything out!

Being the diligent-and-ever-so-organised-OCD-person that I am, I first made a to-scale plan-o-gram of the room with to-scale cutouts of the furniture that needed to be in the room. Here I was able to swap, shift and move stuff so that the dimensions of the room would work for the intended outcome – to sew!! (And to study…)

Room Plan-O-Gram
Room Plan-O-Gram

I ensured I had sufficient room for a design wall so I could see the layout of my quilts coming together, that the power-point was in easy reach and could be accessed by the iron as well as making sure enough light could flow into the room for both sewing and studying purposes!

And here it is!

Panoramic View!
Panoramic View!

And again at a fancy angle…

Another Panoramic View
Another Panoramic View

I was able to capture these angles using an app I downloaded onto my iPad –

Panoramic iPad App
Panoramic iPad App

And so, a new space creates new and fresh perspectives – here are a few of my favourite aspects of my new ‘studio’!

The View From My Sewing Machine
The View From My Sewing Machine
Buzz: My Ever Watching Hero & Lovely Sewing Notions!
Buzz: My Ever Watching Hero & Lovely Sewing Notions!
My Faithful Sewing Machine!
My Faithful Sewing Machine
Jars of Buttons & Vintage Frames
Jars of Buttons & Vintage Frames
Stacked Quilt Books
Stacked Quilt Books
Design Wall & Inspiration Cork Board
Design Wall & Inspiration Cork Board
Last One: The view from the doorway as I walk past...
 The view from the doorway as I walk past…

Happy Sewing! xx

Happy Sewing Days

Here I am, standing proudly in front of my quilt hanging at the Sydney Quilt Show.

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It was a great day exploring the endless forest-like rows of quilts hanging making their own creators proud! There truly is some great quilting talent in Australia and I was truly humbled to have my quilt there among it all!

It’s happy days here in my little world – university exams are almost finished, I have my last one this coming Wednesday and then five weeks of blissful freedom!

In my down time away from studying I’ve been able to tackle a few projects that I’ve been itching to get to…

Firstly, I made a quick little Hexie iPad Cover for my iPad out of my endless supply of hexies I made in an OCD haze during my summer holidays…

Hexie iPad Cover
Hexie iPad Cover
Colourful Union Jack Lining!
Colourful Union Jack Lining!

I take my iPad to uni everyday and have been desperate for that little extra time to make a cover to help prevent from scratches etc. My iPad fits nice and snuggly inside and I added a quick magnet snap thingy to keep the flap from coming open. I like it; I think it’s very ‘me’!

Secondly, I had a mad craving to start a new embroidery project and opted to begin a work that I’ve wanted to for a while – a stitch sampler (of sorts). I’ve paired navy linen with a range of yellow DMC threads to create a yellow embroidery sampler.

IMG_0179 I’m not in a hurry to get this finish. I think this will be a project that I’ll keep coming back to over a period of time until it’s finished.

Next, I basted, quilted and sewed the binding onto my colourful log cabin quilt-slash-wallhanging. (I must settle on a name for this project!)

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I was quite relaxed about the quilting and stuck to my love of straight-line quilting. I mixed up the direction of the diagonal lines within the log cabin blocks to add a level of interest, direction and movement to the quilt’s surface.

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Soon I’ll stitch on a hanging sleeve at the back ready to hang when I move into my new space!

Oh yeah, I’m moving!

Well, actually, just moving my sewing stuff to another room in our house…

When my older brother moved out of home my mum took over his room as study for work. She is now a semi-retired primary school teacher and doesn’t really need the solitary space. Whereas now I need a place to study (and store away my ‘crafty mess’ away from visitors), I’m taking over the study room! Yay!

This won’t happen for the next few weeks but I’ll be sure to post up photos of the space I create for my sewing – oh sorry, I mean ‘study’! Te-He!

Aaannnnd lastly, you can read all about my first prize win for ‘A Summer Bloom’ in the 2012 Under 35s Quilt Competition (How Does Your Garden Grow) in the June-July (Issue #61) edition of the Australian Quilters Companion Magazine. I’m not hard to miss – just look out for my massive quarter page selfie and Jacob’s Ladder Quilt!

Oh God!
Oh God!

Happy Sewing! xx

Ready to go!

My quilt for the 2013 Sydney Quilt Show is ready to go! I’ll ship it off tomorrow and see it next hanging at the show!

I’ve just come from outside were I shot some photos of the quilt in the glorious winter sunshine we’re experiencing this afternoon. Here are a few of them…

Minimalist: 101
Minimalist: 101
Quilt Centre, Close Up
Quilt Centre, Close Up
Contrasting Binding
Contrasting Binding
Pieced Quilt Back
Pieced Quilt Back
Quilt Back, Close Up
Quilt Back, Close Up
Quilting Lines on the Back of the Quilt, Close Up
Quilting Lines on the Back of the Quilt, Close Up
Exposed Selvedge Edge on Quilt Back, Close Up
Exposed Selvedge Edge on Quilt Back, Close Up
Hand Embroidered Quilt Label, Close Up Detail
Hand Embroidered Quilt Label, Close Up Detail

Happy Sewing! xx

University: Killer of Creative Dreams!

This is the reality of my life…

Sunday: Essay Writing
Sunday: Essay Writing

When I much rather be doing this…

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Sewing Hexies!

Or this…

Crocheting!
Crocheting!

Or even just this…

A Simple Joy: Eating.
Eating.

Unfortunately, the on slaughter of mid semester essays and assessments have all but killed my creative dreams and mojo and instead have turned me into a Microsoft Word zombie!

Last Tuesday night I was able to break free from the chains of monotonous textbook readings and spend a few glorious hours quilting away on my sewing machine! Our glorious reunion was met with happy rumblings from the sky as a fascinating thunderstorm rolled through the autumn night sky!

**One of my favourite things to do is to sew while it’s raining, even better when it’s a thunderstorm; who knows why I enjoy this so much!**

Therefore, I was in my element! I was able to get some much needed quilting done on my Minimalist:101 quilt, slowly getting finished for (hopefully) exhibition at the Sydney Quilt Show in June. (There’s nothing like a looming deadline to get you going in a hurry!) Here’s where I’m up to with my quilting…

Almost Finished - Yay!
Almost Finished – Yay!

I’m happy. I’m pleased. I’m slightly nervous. And slightly panicking about getting it finished on time along with everything else happening in life!

Whaa! I need a holiday!

Happy Sewing!

Quilty Textures & Giant Hexies!

Wow, it’s been a while since I last posted!

Life just seems to pull you in all different directions and it’s usually in the opposite direction to where you want to go!

I’ve been half procrastinating and half actively quilting the quilt I intend to enter the Sydney Quilt Show with. I’ve sent off my forms and have my fingers crossed that my quilt will be accepted into the show.

Here’s where I’m up to…

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I just adore the texture that the dense quilted lines have given the quilt and I constantly catch myself running my hand over them, daydreaming of the end result.

IMG_0024

I also really like the effect of how the different directions of quilted line interact and stop at each other.

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The name of the quilt is Minimalist: 101, mainly because of the clean and simple design of the quilt. And yet, there’s nothing minimalist about the amount of quilting that’s being put into! I supposed the quilt name is a slight play on words – whatever angle you come from…

I’ve also been playing around with some giant hexies – we’ll not really giant-giant hexies but ones that are slightly bigger than the size I usually use.

These ‘giant’ hexies were the perfect size to use with my Charm Pack of the Ruby range from Moda, designed by Bonnie and Camille.

IMG_1730This is what I’ve got up to so far…

IMG_0026 IMG_0027

I’ll add a wider white sashing around all the edges, quilt it and then bind it with the same red as that of the sashing. I’m intending to sell this quilt once it’s finished in my madeit store

Remember this little quilt…???

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Well it’s for sale with FREE shipping!! It’s the perfect size for a snuggly lap quilt or as a jumbo cot quilt or for a small single bed….the list is endless! Check it out here. <<—

And just quickly – over the weekend I’ve been watching and absorbing the wonderful lectures given at QuiltCon 2013 on Craftsy

quiltcon2013_leaderboard_844x160

It’s free to enrol and watch and I encourage all quilters to have a look at these lectures – they’re wonderfully inspiring and also make me feel slightly jealous for missing out on the fun that would’ve been QuiltCon!

Happy Sewing! xx

Quilty-Crosses: A Second Chance…

Last year, I bought some orange and blue DS Quilts fabric and played around with a quilty-cross technique I found on Pinterest.

November 2012
November 2012

Feeling rather un-inspired by them, I chucked them into my ‘unfinished projects’ basket (conveniently tucked deeply on a shelf under my desk) with the thought, “I’ll find a use for them another day…”. So outta mind, outta sight for the rest of the year…

Then last week, I receive an email containing the entry form for the 2013 Sydney Quilt Show. Yay!!

The coveted entry form!
The coveted entry form!

As it being my very first entry into this particular show, I wanted to design and create a quilt that screamed simply modern: very minimalist, aesthetically pleasing and centred.

So out came the abandoned quilty-crosses that then became encompassed with crisp clean white homespun…

Cocooned in White Homespun!
Cocooned in White Homespun!

Essentially, I hope to achieve a lot of texture and interest by quilting it in a very simplistic naïve way.

Quilting completed in the middle of the quilt
Quilting completed in the middle of the quilt

On the back I’ve exposed the selvedge of the DS Quilts fabric I’ve used just to add interest along side the four other quilty-cross blocks that weren’t really my favourite (the four on the front I just love!).

Back of the Quilt...
Back of the Quilt…

So with a quarter of the quilting completed, I hope to dedicate the majority of my time this coming week in finishing this baby!

And a bonus for me: it’s supposed to be raining for the majority of the week; I just love to sew when it’s raining!

Happy Quilting! xx

Jacob’s Update…

So here’s an update on where I’m up to with my Jacob’s Ladder Quilt…

All hand-quilting stitches have gone bye-bye and the quilt (along with my sanity and comfort) said a delightful ‘Hello!’ to my sewing machine and walking foot!

I spent a good three to four days quilting  – not surprising, as this quilt is a beast of a size! Here are some waves of quilty goodness!

And a snap shot of the finished quilting…

I’ve got to the stage where I just need to stitch the binding to the back of the quilt, label it and then, ta-dah!, it’ll be all finished! Yay!!

 However, that glorious day won’t be in the near future as I’ve dived head first into getting all of my Christmas presents made etc.  After the hectic-ness of Christmas is over, I’ll get right back into finishing my Jacob Quilt – It really has been the most patient quilt in the world and I love it more because of it!

Once finished, I’ll need to chuck it into the wash as it’s covered in dirty paw prints (thanks Lucy!) as well as sticky jam patches courtesy of little nephew fingers!

Mentioning Christmas: with only 27 days now until the big day, I’m on a slow roll to getting gifts prepared, made and finished.

Handmade Christmas cards are complete,

Mum & Dad’s present almost finished…

and only today I’ve begun work on some very special softies for my nephews! (Hopefully this shot doesn’t give too much away!!)

 I can’t wait to share them with you – I’m planning a few blog posts for the beginning of next year documenting my process as well as the gifts I’ve made for everyone… So be on the look out for that in January 2013!

Last Friday I received the last of the prizes I won for first place in the How Does Your Garden Grow? Quilt Competition – a brand new sewing machine…

It’s somewhat the same model of machine as the one I already have – it’s just cosmetically a little different.

Not to seem ungrateful for winning such an awesome prize, but I’m in two minds whether I like it or not. You see, I’ve grown such a huge attachment and sentimental feeling towards my old sewing machine that I found it quite hard to make myself pack it away and then unbox this sweet little beauty in it’s place.  I’ve made some really beautiful quilts on my old sewing machine – Jacob’s Ladder being it’s last (!!) and taught myself new and exciting techniques (as well as failing miserably in a few others). I would sit down in front of it with greedy pursuits and selfless projects and it would always be wonderfully loyal and trustworthy to get everything finished to my picky satisfaction!

And yet, I must admit, this new sewing machine does purr quite sweetly when it’s sewing along compared to my old machine, which would admit a loud chugga-chugga as I sewed along… It’s the same pretty pink and I’m sure will handle my quilting adventures with the same strength and gutsiness as my old one…

Oh well…I suppose I should just get over myself and be humbly thankful for receiving a NEW high-tech sewing machine for FREE!!

Happy Sewing! xx

It Shall Be Called: A Summer Bloom

It t’was a glorious day yesterday – at around 7.30pmish last night I finished my How Does Your Garden Grow? Competition quilt!! It was a very happy, happy moment…. stepping back and admiring the long hard hours I put into making it. And yet, strangely, all I could make myself see were the faults and mistakes I’d skipped over and tried to ignore. Apart from that, I’m very pleased with the end result and hope it does well in the competition – fingers crossed!!

So, here’s how I made it…

To start the paper piecing process, I bought four large pieces of poster board and sticky taped them together in a very professional manner (sprawled across the floor, butt in the air, tape hanging out of my mouth while my measure tape, hanging around my neck, tried desperately to strangle me to death!).

I made a 1m ruler out of a wood stick I had floating around (I’m a poor artist and can’t afford to buy a real 1m ruler stick) and drew up a 1m-squared square, cross-sectioned it into fours etc. and then drew in my petal blades and stem. I made a few adjustments here and there until I was satisfied with the final design. I numbered each piece in a clock-wise direction so I wouldn’t get lost and befuddled with all the different pieces. It more or less became a big number puzzle for me to cut up and then stitch back up again.

So that I wouldn’t be too overcome by cardboard everywhere, I cut and sewed back together the pieces in quarters; the first quarter of the flower design, then the second, third then fourth which then completed the quilt top.

I chose randomly which petal blade got what purple print fabric because – well – because that’s just how I roll.  I like to be spontaneous and try (very hard, with little success) not to over think things.

Hand basting was a slight nightmare. You see those pins? Well, let’s just say many cuss words came out of my mouth thanks to those sharp little buggers. (Please understand my meaning of cuss words: crap, poo, sonova biscuit, far-out and [oh] flip it!) Once basted, I patiently whipstitched all the pieces together, in their correct order, while watching a fair few classic episodes of Friends.

Spray Starch became my best friend – my crime-fighting buddy (no, more like my seam-flattening buddy! Ha!) and my quiet achiever while I untact all the paper pieces away from their fabric companions. I steamed ironed the hell out it and then became stuck on what to do next for two weeks.

Do I put a Dresden Plate Wheel on it to create the illusion of it blooming? No…

Do I use a browny/earthy centrepiece? No…

Should I put both of these together to see if they cancel each other out to make something better? Ew. No…

Do I break my pact of not resorting to making a typical flower with a yellow spot in the centre? Yes. And it works. You know why? Because purple and yellow are matching opposites on the colour wheel and so naturally work and look well together. (Ha! See I told you I don’t over think things!!)

After making such a crucial important simple decisive essential boring time wasting decision, I got on with the job! I hand stitched the centrepiece onto the quilt top and then got onto setting up ready to quilt it.

To shake off the tag that Gen Y (which is me) are a throw away generation, I recycled the idea of the Dresden Plate Block and the browny/earthy coloured centrepiece and appliqued it onto the back of the quilt – just for the sake of it. (And for the fact that I really didn’t want to throw it away after all the effort I put into making it.) I’m changing the world one quilt at a time!!

Once basted and ironed (for about the tenth thousandth time), I spent three days quilting. Three whole days of sewing line after line after line after line after line after line after line… It was fun – for the few minutes. I had to force myself to go to a happy place for the sake of my sanity. But, you know, this is what you do for your art, your passion and for your living.

Next came the binding and stitching on the rod pocket while watching more classic Friends episodes.

And then – tah dah!!! Finish! Fin! Finito!

So, that’s my very first self-designed, hand pieced, machine quilted competition quilt! Hoorah!

It shall be called: A Summer Bloom (as the photo I took of the inspired flower was blooming mid summer this past January).

And so I say: Bring on the next one!

Happy Sewing! xx