Monday, 16 December 2013

Fabriholics Anonymous - The UFO list

So, it's time for a bit of a Fabriholics Anonymous update. D-day is looming pretty fast (fifteen days people!!) but it's not too late to decide to join us if you too think a fabric intervention is necessary. We've decided to offer periodic linky parties throughout the fabric fast year, so we can virtually hold each other through the inevitable difficulties associated with not buying fabric. I'm panicking already! I have been doing a bit of pre-fast fabric buying so that hopefully I won't run out of anything in the first half of the year at least. This has mostly meant buying low volume fabrics rather than yards of background fabric - I haven't used a solid background in any of the quilts I started this year, so I figure it's a sensible option for me. Jodi has just finished up a year-long fabric fast, and has written an excellent post reflecting on how it went, so I would really recommend checking it out if you would like some advice.

So welcome to linky party number one - the WIP list (head over to Rebecca's blog to link up). I've split mine down into priorities (I have a few deadlines at the moment), and then into groups based on what stage the project is at. This isn't a complete list of my UFOs - but I will add to this post as I find more. There are a few that I have fallen out of love with, so I will probably do another post soon offering them to anyone who would like to finish them :o)


Midnight at the Oasis - I am woefully behind on my QAL already, but I'm hoping to knock over the applique over summer.

Lipari Stars: Due mid January. I've made six of eighteen blocks so far.

Liberty Charms: Due end of January. I've started piecing this one.

There are several of these, but only one has a definite plan at this stage.

Medallion quilt - I've designed a medallion quilt using this bundle, and really want to make a start on it ASAP.


Colourblock Quilt

Modern Sampler

Tea for Two

Giant Stars (two of these, intended to put them in my etsy shop)

Quilts I've started...

Plus quilt - all cut, just need to piece and quilt.


Lucky Square

Mendocino quilt

Low volume cross quilt

So next year is looking slightly busy on the quilty front. Are you tempted to join us at all?

xx Jess

Monday, 9 December 2013

SMS Giveaway Day - Heather Bailey Pop Garden Bundle

It's that time of year again - Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway day! If you're new to my blog, welcome. 

I'll keep it short and sweet. I'm offering a bundle of Pop Garden by Heather Bailey (now out of print and hard to find unfortunately). This is one of my all time favorite collections.

I'm offering a fat quarter bundle of these ten prints - so 2 1/2 yards of fabric.

To enter, just leave me a comment on this post. My followers get a second entry - just leave a second comment letting me know how you follow me! This giveaway is open internationally, and I will close comments at around 2pm on Saturday 14th December (Australian DST). Winner will be drawn randomly.

Please, if you're a no reply commenter, leave an email address in your comment. If I am unable to contact you, I will draw another winner. 

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. The winner, chosen by random number generator is Quilting in the Deep South has been contacted by email. 

Oakshott and Liberty, oh my!

I'm working on a couple of projects at the moment, using some particularly delicious fabrics. A few weeks ago, a parcel arrived from Ali of Very Berry Fabrics (Ali stocks an amazing range of Liberty Tana Lawn in her shop). I'm in the process of sewing up this pile of gorgeous Liberty charms and writing a quilt tutorial for Ali.

This bundle of Oakshott awesomeness arrived this morning too - I'll be sewing these up for Lynne's Made with Oakshott challenge over the next few weeks. I can't wait to get started!

So, if you don't hear from me for a little while, I'm sure you'll understand :o)

xx Jess

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Beach Ball - a jelly roll quilt tutorial (and giveaway!)

After finishing up my DUDQS mini quilt last week, I jumped straight in to making a larger version. I bought a jelly roll of Zen Chic's recently released Sphere collection a few months ago, and decided to design this quilt using just the jelly roll plus a fat quarter of background fabric for the setting triangles.

I've written up a mini tutorial for how I put it together - and I also have a giveaway offered by the Fat Quarter Shop at the end of the post :o)

I've designed this quilt using a jelly roll, but you could easily substitute for a range of 2.5" strips from your stash. To plan out your layout, I suggest using some equilateral triangle graph paper (you can download it free from here). The jelly roll I used for this quilt included a nice proportion of lighter value prints (15 of the 40 strips) which made it easy to play with the background hexagons. If you are working with a bigger variety of colours it might be useful to plan out colour placement to make sure you end up with a balanced layout. If you wanted to make a bigger quilt, it would be a good way to work out your layout too.

A few things to keep in mind:
* Each strip set will yield 9 triangles, enough to make one full hexagon, and one half hexagon per strips set. If you cut two strip sets, you would have enough triangles to make three full hexagons.
* For this quilt, I used 96 triangles, twelve across by eight down. I had several half-hexagons left over, which will become part of the back.

This quilt top finishes up at 45" x 50", a good size lap quilt for a child, or a large baby quilt. It would be really easy to make it bigger by using more strips.

All seams are a scant quarter inch, and I have pressed my seams open at all stages.

I started by sorting the jelly roll into colour sets, separating the lighter value prints (in this case the grey and white based prints) from the darker ones.

Next, split each colour into sets of three strips. Some of my strip sets included one strip with a contrast in colour or value.

Sew each of these strip sets together along the long edge. For the strip sets with one contrasting strip, make this the central strip in the strip set, as this will form a continuous ring within the hexagons. Press your seam open.

Next cut each of the strip sets using either a 60 degree triangle ruler:

Or using the 60 degree line on your ruler, lining up the line on your ruler with the bottom or top of the strip set.

Continue down the strip set, flipping the strip set or ruler as you go. You will end up with 9 triangles from each strip set.

Setting Triangles:

To avoid trimming off the sides of the quilt, and losing some of the width of the quilt, I added setting triangles at the end of each row. To make these, cut strips the same width as your strip sets (6.5") from your fat quarter of background fabric. Make a 60 degree cut with your ruler, and then make a vertical cut, 4" in along the long edge, and 1/4" from the shorter side (see below).  Continue along the strip, cutting a total of 16 setting triangles. 

Piecing the quilt:

At this stage, you could lay out your pieces and start piecing the rows together. I found it easier to piece together my darker coloured triangles into half-hexagons first, as it was much easier to switch them around on my design wall until I found a layout I liked. 

When sewing these half hexagons together, match up the seams along one edge and pin at each seam (I pin the side of the seam that will be sewn first). 

You will end up with three half-hexagons from each strip set.

Lay out your pieces into rows (here I have 8 rows of 12 triangles, plus a setting triangle at the end of each row). Adrianne has written an awesome tutorial on sewing equilateral triangles if you'd like some tips on how to do this. 

Once your rows are sewn, sew your rows together in pairs, carefully pinning the seams where your hexagon strips meet. Continue sewing together in pairs, until you have a complete quilt top. 

 In regards to the layout, you could easily make this quilt with full hexagons interlocking across the quilt, rather than using partial hexagons as I have done. In fact, the layout possibilities are endless - I'm planning on making another bigger version of this one at some stage soon. It's a quick and fun top to put together.

If you have any questions please just leave a comment or send me an email. If you do use this tutorial to make a quilt, please send me a photo!

So, on to the giveaway! The Fat Quarter Shop have generously offered the choice of any jelly roll to one of my readers.

To enter, just leave me a comment letting me know which jelly roll you would choose. My followers get an extra entry - just leave a second comment letting me know how you follow. If you would like a third entry, share this post (on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram) and leave a third comment with the link to your post.

International entries are welcome, and I will draw a winner next Monday (9th December) at 9pm AEST. The winner is Crickets Corner, who has been contacted by email.

xx Jess

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

I made a dress!

My little sister is getting married next March, and she has asked me to be one of her bridesmaids (eeeep!). Which is why I've made a dress - this isn't the bridesmaid version, but I wanted to test out the pattern before I dove into making it for real. I did do a bit of garment making before I started making quilts, but it's been a couple of years since I have made anything for myself. I'd completely forgotten how much fun it is!

The pattern I used is the Crepe dress pattern by Colette patterns. It's rated as a beginner pattern which is pretty spot on. It is a wrap style dress, which eliminates having to do buttons or zips, and makes it relatively easy to get the fit right. It is has several darts on the bodice, and the facing around the arms was a bit tricky (there are some very tight curves to sew) but other than that it was pretty easy to make.

I didn't make any adjustments to the pattern - I'm pretty much a standard size for my bust, waist and hip. I made the size 12 version - although the bodice is a wee bit baggy so I'm considering making the size smaller for the 'real' dress. I'm incredibly camera shy, which is why these photos look like I'd rather be anywhere else than having these taken ;o)

One of my favorite things about this dress is that it has pockets. And it is a very flattering style for those of us with ample curves. I used a quilting cotton for this version - a DS print from Spotlight. I think I will end up making several of these for summer - it is extremely comfortable and easy to wear.

xx Jess

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Churn Dash Border {Midnight at the Oasis}

So sorry about the delayed post again, I've been distracted by other projects over the last few weeks and haven't worked on my MATO quilt for ages.

I did make one tonight, so I could share how I'm approaching these (insanely) teeny tiny blocks. I'm pressing all my seams open in these - I find my piecing is far more accurate if I press open, and since these are so small I think every little bit of accuracy will count over the whole border.

For the HSTs, I'm starting with 2" squares, marking the diagonal and sewing 1/4" away from both sides. Once pressed (open) I'm trimming down to 1.5".

For the little rectangles on the sides, top and bottom, I'm strip piecing and then cutting my rectangles to size.

I'm hoping to make lots of these over the next couple of weeks and try to catch up a bit - I haven't really done much more applique than I had in my last QAL post, I really think that will become a summer project :o)

I hope you're all having fun making this quilt. I am absolutely loving seeing how different each version is!

xx Jess

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Down Under Doll Quilt Swap

I have been uncharacteristically quiet on the blog lately - mostly because I've been working on a 80" square quilt for a magazine, so haven't been able to share my progress (although I have been sharing a fair few peeks over on Instagram). It's completely finished as of last night though, so I'll be back here waffling about my quilty projects again until the next one ;o)

A couple of months ago, I signed up for the Down Under Doll Quilt Swap - a mini quilt swap for those of us based in Australia and New Zealand. I have been working on this in little spurts over the last month or so, but the last day to send is the first of December, so I pulled my finger out and finished it up today.

This is an idea I've wanted to try for a while, so it was a lot of fun to put together. I was a bit concerned about how well my points would match up as I didn't starch my fabric before cutting all the triangles, but I'm pleasantly surprised. A couple are a wee bit off, but mostly it came out really well.

After working for so long on a large quilt, it has been a really nice change to work on something small (my arms are especially grateful!) This little quilt is about 18" square.

I kept the quilting fairly simple, since there are so many seams in the quilt top (each of those strips in the triangles are 1" finished). Even so, I really like the texture the minimal FMQ has added. It has helped highlight the subtle pattern created by the light grey partial hexagons - although I did mess up some of the piecing at the bottom. Hopefully it's not too noticable!

I'll be posting this one tomorrow, so hopefully my partner likes it. I have actually started another version of this on a larger scale and will be taking photos and write up a tutorial for how I put it together, so stay tuned for that in the next few weeks :o)

xx Jess

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Adventures in hand piecing

Each month since May, I've been getting a squishy parcel of fabric for the Bring Me Flowers BOM (run by Amitie Textiles), but until fairly recently they've been sitting untouched. When I joined up for the BOM (which is designed with hand piecing in mind) I decided I'd really like to hand piece this quilt. Only problem was I was really dubious about my ability to actually piece anything by hand.

Long story short, I decided to just give it a go and hope for the best. I never really understood the attraction, or how people like Alison could be bothered spending so much time hand piecing something when machine piecing is so much faster. But at the same time, it was something I really wanted to try (because, you know, I'm a huge fan of learning new skills when it comes to quilting). I am SO glad I tried it, because I am absolutely addicted. I love the slow pace, the portability and the satisfaction I get from making something with my hands as opposed to my machine. I still really love machine piecing too, but I can see how hand piecing will become a handy skill especially with y-seams and the like.

I've finished the first month blocks, and am working on month two.

I think the other thing I love about these blocks is Jen Kingwell's amazing fabric choices. It is really fun to be using fabrics chosen by someone else, and seeing how they work together. I'm learning a lot through this process as well :o)

xx Jess

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Rainbow and low volume bundle

About a month ago, I put together an order for a bundle of fabric from one of my sponsors, Sew Me A Song. I was deliberately restocking some of my favorite low volume fabrics before my diet begins next year, and added in some more colourful prints, a lot of which I have used up in recent projects. Becca's shop really is my one-stop-shop when it comes to low volume - she stocks the most amazing range of texty and quirky low volume prints I've come across.

So this bundle of gorgeous landed on my doorstep on Friday (via Canada - quite the adventurous parcel!). And (squeee!!) Becca has cut a couple of extra bundles and listed them in her shop.  

So if you need a whole lot of texty goodness (plus a stack of other really useful prints) head over and take a look ;o)

xx Jess

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Flower Applique Border (Midnight at the Oasis QAL)

 Apologies that this post is a bit late - I've been really sick the last few days. This week I'll be talking about the second border - the flower applique border. I am way behind in this QAL at the moment - needle turn applique is a really slow process, but I am completely addicted. I'm enjoying the applique part of this quilt way more than I thought I would. This is my progress so far.

There are a few elements involved in the second border (technically the fourth I guess, but I haven't been counting the skinny borders). 

1. Bias Tape
The pattern recommends using a 3/8" bias tape maker, but since I don't have one I thought I'd share how I'm making my bias tape. First of all, make a 45 degree cut across your fabric. I've found a 5" wide strip makes the right length strips (or slightly long strips) to applique on to the background. I've used a couple of charm squares for some of my strips, and will use the left over triangles to make some of the leaf shapes to applique. 

Then cut 3/4" strips of fabric.

The next step involves folding both sides into the centre of the strip to make single fold bias tape. To make this easier, you can run a Hera marker along the wrong side of the fabric to make a crease. I have found by placing my ruler at about 3/8" from the edge, the creases are in the right position.

Once you have creased the fabric, press both sides into the centre of the strip. If you don't have a Hera marker, you can fold the strip in half and press, and then fold each edge in to meet the centre crease. Either way, you will end up with strips like this:

Next you'll want to pin your bias tape onto the background for your flower applique border. I have slightly overlapped the ends of the bias strips, but you could just butt them up against each other.

To sew these down, I worked along one entire edge, using the same stitch technique as in needle turn applique, and then worked my way back up the other edge. The it's just a matter of choosing fabrics to make the flowers, covering the joins in the bias strips in the process of stitching them on.

I haven't made my baskets yet - but looking at the pattern instructions I don't have much to add. The only change I'm making there is to make my half-square triangles using my normal method (with two squares right sides together, marking the diagonal and stitching 1/4" away from the diagonal on both sides). The HSTs in the baskets will be 1" finished.

We would love it if you would like to link up your progress so far!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Giant Chevron Pattern Release

I'm so excited to be able to tell you my Giant Chevron pattern is now available to purchase in my Craftsy shop and my Etsy shop! This quilt was published back in July in Quilters Companion as a lap sized quilt, but thanks to my wonderful group of testers I ended up writing in two size variations in addition to the original size. Each of these wonderful ladies is offering two copies of the pattern as a giveaway, so be sure to click through to their blogs for your chance to win a copy :o)

This pattern is incredibly beginner friendly, as it's made using half-square triangles and squares. It's also pre-cut friendly - the baby size can be made using charm squares, and the lap and twin sizes can be made using a layer cake. I'd love to show you the versions my testers made, as it shows just how easy it is to make this pattern your own.

Kirsten (of Gemini Stitches) has actually made two versions of this quilt already - and has plans to make another for her son using Parson Gray fabric. This is the baby version, made using a charm pack of Farm Fresh. This is such an adorable baby quilt.

And Kirsten's second version. Aqua and orange goodness!

Lucy made an absolutely gorgeous rainbow version with low volume background (be still my beating heart!!) for a friend of hers.

Nat truly made this her own, and pieced some of the chevron stripes, using a very vintage palette. Pop over to her blog to check out lots more photos.

Jen made hers using solids, and has done a phenomenal quilting job. This one makes me want to make a second version and go to town on the quilting!!

And finally, Di made this beautiful version. I adore her colour choices.

Each of my awesome testers will be writing up a blog post with lots more photos I'm sure, so it would definitely be worth clicking through and checking them out :o) Thanks again to all of you, it is such an amazing thing to see my design brought to life by each of you - I couldn't have asked for a better bunch of testers xx 

xx Jess