Wednesday 27 December 2023

best of 2023

As each year comes to an end, Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs hosts the 'best of 2023' party. You can pick and highlight your posts anyway you like, and this year I've opted for the posts with the most views.

My Daylesford quilt #2 won hands down with the most views this year. And, it's my favourite finish for the year! 
I started this quilt in July 2023 & finished September 2023, it was the 2nd time I'd made this quilt. The #daylesfordquilt really is the perfect one to let your imagination run wild with.
I love the play of colour in this quilt, especially the hot pink & teal combo. I hunted high & low in my sewing baskets for some of my most treasured fabrics for that mood I was looking for palette-wise. So, it's a real mix of fabrics, old & new, designer, florals & geometrics!
For my backing I used a wide back Tula Pink sateen. Machine quilted by Cheryl at allthingsbernina in a simple leaf & vine pattern. And I opted for a Kaffe teal/blues stripe for my binding.
The finished quilt has a lovely soft drape, very cuddly & light, and measures 60" x 68". 

Courthouse Steps: colour play.
Next up was a quilt I'd actually finished the year before (does that count?) but it showed up in this year's figures too. Anyways, about my Courthouse Steps quilt - I'd been super keen to have a go at spicing up this classic courthouse steps block. Lots of colour blocking & fabric play happening here and the pretty star quilting pattern called 'compass rose' adds the ultimate texture. Read more about the quilt here.

The next three quilts all had very similar counts for the number of views. 
My post titled 'emptying the UFO cupboard' (see back here) was about a quilt I had pieced way back in Feb 2014 but never actually finished. I remember using Jen Kingwell's pattern 'broken glass' and my blocks are 12" finished, but I'm unsure of my actual 'rules' regarding my fabric choices - I probably went with the "anything goes" concept, all the colours and all the prints. It's still my favourite way to put together a fun and colourful quilt.
So, one hot summers night earlier this year, I turned up the fan and joined pieces of leftover backing together, and pin basted the quilt top. 
I finished this quilt by machine quilting edge to edge straight vertical lines, spaced evenly across the quilt. Simple and functional lines which at the same time gives the quilt a lovely texture and a soft drape, especially with the lightweight batting that I used for this quilt. 
Unfortunately, I couldn't get the quilting bar to stay tight, so my quilting is organic, jumping from point-to-point, so it's not perfect but done! 
I used a striped fabric for the binding, pulled from my stash. I love how the black & white adds a final accent.  Finished quilt measures 60" x 60".  Super happy to have another ufo ticked off my long list!

Making it work
This next little quilt had a long journey before becoming a flimsy even, sometimes things just don't go together as planned! While looking at a few more unfinished projects, I spotted my 4patch blocks (a 'penny patch' variation, see back here in December 2022). I was all set to start joining them together, but things still weren't really working for me. 
Then I had an idea! 
And the next thing I knew, I was faffing around shuffling my blocks around down on the "design" floor! I put most of the really light blocks/fabrics all to one side and began laying out my 4patch units. Some deconstruction was required (= unpicking & resizing), had to happen given my change in direction! 

This sweet selection of blues & purples had been on my mind for so long, it felt good to get them out of my head and rearranged pleasingly. Some blocks are definitely high contrast, but not all, resulting in a subtly broken chain. 
I do love mixing up all the different fabrics too, old & new Tilda, Liberty, Kaffe, AMH, along with a little gingham to achieve a real vintage floral look. It's now in the 'to be quilted' pile. 

1000 Flowers quilt was the final quilt in this little collection of my most viewed quilts for the year, see back here for more details & pics. Super happy with this whispery palette for my strippy triangles quilt, inspired by a vintage quilt. I may never be a true “modern” quilter or make a quilt from all solids, but you know right, if it's all scrappy and all floral around here, I'm okay with that.
There really is a great mix of pastel florals in this quilt - Kaffe, Tilda, Outback Wife, a little AMH, and a couple of other nameless brighter bits & bobs from my stash - and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This quilt earned a trip to the "quilt spa" for longarm quilting treatment by Leeanne from quiltmekiwi. I asked for edge-to-edge quilting in the Baptist Fan pattern, a real fav of mine and perfect as a wee nod to the original vintage inspiration quilt. For the backing I pieced together a few large strips of grey florals.
I chose an {oldish} small floral print in plum for my binding, 1000 Henley Flowers from Makower. It seems to contain things nicely ... and draws out all the warm pink colours ... and I love the idea of lots & lots of floral fabrics front, back & sides, hence the quilt name!
Finished quilt measures {approx.} 62" x 56".

Hope you enjoyed this little review of my 'Best of 2023'.
To see lots more creativity & colour pop over here to Meadow Mist Designs. 
Simply click on the link and have fun reading about everyone’s favourite posts for 2023.

Loving this quiet time between Christmas & New Year ...
taking it slow, with no plans, no dinner decisions just lots of leftovers,
 and enjoying all the family time together.

Happy New Year


Sunday 17 December 2023

last finish for the year

And here's my last finish for the year, retro sawtooth stars quilt.
I love how all these vibrant colours mixed up together, sure to bring the sunshine into any home.
Finished quilt measures 68" x 58".

I sent this quilt up to Leeanne @ quiltmekiwi for some e2e quilting. 
I usually have a clear idea of how I want my projects quilted, 
and the 'Compass Star' panto was a sure winner giving this quilt lots of texture. 

- "mix and match" is a super idea, using each fabric 3 times within the sawtooth star blocks. 
I used the #brightstarquilt pattern as my starting point, from Christine @clvlasic

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays,

Thursday 14 December 2023

whimsical blooms

Enjoying this so much
 ... I needed some 'Just Because' creative time with no deadlines, no rules 
 ... no pattern even!

I'm finishing up the prompts for my 2nd BBQAL project, creating the scrappy background panel and then composing my floral blooms. I used a mix of peach, orange & pink fabrics for my flowers, and both my stems & leaves were cut from older Kaffe-in-the-stash fabrics!

Once my pieces were fused down, I began to work on my raw edge applique flowers. And many thanks to Tania @mrsmagillaquilts for all the advice. I used black thread, a straight stitch set to 2.0 and stitched 2 times around each shape. Random stitching for that whimsical design look! 

It's a super simple way to applique edges, and there's a couple of bonuses to this method too, like no need to change threads throughout the stitching plus it's a great choice if you are going to be photographing your projects. I'm guessing any fraying simply adds to the overall whimsy vibe.

Looking forward to the next prompt.

Sunday 10 December 2023

From stitching down shapes to a new story

Bramble Blooms QAL update

Audrey at quiltyfolk is hosting a quiltalong, one where we get to create our own original designs following her prompts. The idea is to make a medallion style improv quilt using some of our older and slightly unloved fabrics, along with something we love too. The centrepiece is a floral applique theme.

inspiration pics ...

BB steps 1 & 2 ✅✅

Improv Applique #1 
I don't often do too much applique, and improv applique (what? no pattern?) is probably one process I've really struggled with in the past. 
The idea for my centerpiece came from a few photos on ig, including the delightful basket blocks here at French general - imitation and flattery and all that!
Using my early art vignette piece as a starting point, I've been happily cutting up the larger piece into smaller sections and reshuffling positions all last week. 

I've now stitched down all my shapes to my background. I used a combo of machine “blanket stitch” combined with some raw edged appliqué, and I had also hand stitched lots of extra little embroidery details. 

One thing I'm learning is that editing the colours and shapes is essential (and fun) when working with any improv project. My tentative plan for the first border is to use similar colours to those I've used in my centrepiece to keep things cohesive, but I'll wait & see what Audrey's next prompt & advice is before progressing further. 


But wait... there's more... with the little hiatus in the BBQAL program, I got sidetracked exploring raw edge applique just a little bit more. And sew a new story begins! 

I'm planning another combination of a variety of freehand fabric shapes with some (beginners!) raw edge thread applique to enhance things. 
Improv Applique #2 ... who knows ... maybe this is the start of a series?

- and one last pic in the morning sunshine

🌷💐"You can never have too many flowers"🌺🌹 

Friday 8 December 2023

blue ... on repeat

We’re celebrating the arrival of summer in the southern hemisphere, and this quilt top screams everything summery to me - it's light and bright with lots of blue! It’s scrappy but with purpose✅ and objective✅ It's really super seeing scraps from so many of my earlier quilts finding a home in this one!  

My daughter requested a large quilt, leaving the decisions on fabric, pattern, etc to me. This week, while I've been making the blocks, I've also been wondering how I was going to make this a bit bigger but still keep things looking in proportion, balanced & cohesive.  
For those of you who are curious, I ended up making the 16 blocks as per the pattern ("me sew happy" quilt from these clever hands), and then I added two rows of extra squares to the top & bottom, 1 row of extra squares to the sides, and finally the two borders. 

- yes, it's definitely big enough to go down over the sides & the bottom of a king-sized bed!

Finished quilt top measures 94" x 87" (approx.) - and my daughter is very happy.
Hoping to get some extra quilty texture added from Leeanne early in the New Year, 
just in time for my daughter & her husband's Wedding Anniversary.

Until next time, Linda

Monday 4 December 2023

maximum scrappiness

I've put this off for long enough. My daughter needs wants another quilt! She likes her quilts big ... big enough to go down over the sides & bottom of their king-sized bed, so, it needs to be huge!
I faffed around for days coming up with different ideas, but it wasn't an easy decision.
I decided to go scrappy of course. What really troubled me were the proportions of a large quilt & boredom setting in while making it.

I ended up settling on the "me sew happy" quilt from these clever hands. It looks like it'll be a great pattern to use up some of my stash & scraps. The original is made up of 16 simple large blocks ... and I think repeating a few more blocks and/or sashing could work very well to bring it up to a larger size.

This idea checks lots of boxes for me:
Colourful ✅ 
Scrappy ✅
Low volume prints ✅
Using fabrics I already have ✅
Fast & easy ✅
Fun! ✅

Keen to begin, I headed to my fabric baskets for some afternoon sorting. I'm using mainly small to medium sized prints, lots of colourful & busy Kaffe, AMH, & Jennifer Paganelli fabrics from my stash.

After a few epic cutting out sessions, I'm now busy sewing my blocks. When making my small hourglass blocks I did start trying to be matchy-matchy - it's kinda automatic isn't it - but after cutting out, slicing, mixing up, sewing, cutting again, then pairing up to sew again, I gave up! There were heaps of them! I focused on getting 4 different prints in each little block for maximum scrappiness. 

Super happy with the play of the occasional lighter, low volume spaces amongst all my mulit-coloured brights!


To sash or not to sash?

Either way, the end is in sight!