Sunday, 26 December 2010

Lattice Quilt - Instructions

Lattice Quilt -  more pictures in previous post - Draft instructions

All Measurements in these instructions are for the cut size not the finished size.

58 Light coloured 5" squares
58 Dark Coloured 5" squares

Make 36     4 patch blocks with 2 Dark (D) and 2 Light (L) squares diagonally placed across block.

4 Patch Block - Orientation (X)

4 Patch Block - Orientation (Y)

Block arrangement

Lay the 4 patch blocks out into an appealing arrangement - I used those with more contrast in the centre.

Looking at the pictures above for the block orientations.  The blocks need to be arranged into 6 rows of 6 blocks

Odd numbered Rows- Block orientation order is - XYXYXY
Even numbered rows - Block orientation order is - YXYXYX


2.5" strips of cream to form the basis of the sashing. ( you will need lots!!! Sorry not sure how much)
2.5" x 2" rectangles of greens fabric (A)
2.5" x 4" rectangles of greens fabric (B)

Sashing Block (X)
Add (A) to the cream sashing strip, attach to the top of Block matching the dark end to the Dark square.  Trim excess.
Add (B) to the cream sashing add to right side of Block matching the dark end to the Dark square. Trim excess.

Sashing Block (Y)
Add (A) to the cream sashing strip, attach to the top of Block matching the dark end to the Dark square. Trim excess.

Add (A) to the cream sashing add to right side of Block matching the dark end to the Dark square. Trim excess.

Extra Sashing of Blocks on the Left hand side and Bottom

For only the blocks on these edges add
Block (X)
Add (A) to the cream sashing strip, attach to the top of Block matching the dark end to the Dark square. Trim excess.
Block (Y)

Add (B) to the cream sashing add to right side of Block matching the dark end to the Dark square. Trim excess.

Sew blocks together.

Border 1

12 rectangles (A)
1" white strip
20.5" lengths of 2.5" strip (S)

Sew the strip onto the long sides of the rectangle (A) to make them 2.5" square. Now (A")

Sew 4 long lengths (S) (A") (S) (A") (S) (A") (S)
Sew onto side making sure the coloured squares are in the centres of the lattice edges. Trim excess sashing from ends.

Boarder 2

This boarder is made of "Piano keys" strips in 2 widths - 7.5" and 5.5"

Piano keys are made of random width srips with the length being fixed  - in this case - 7.5" and 5.5"

Make 12 lengths of 5.5" Piano keys which are 7.5" long. Add 2.5" cream strip along one side.

Make 8 lengths of  7,5" Piano keys which are 15.5" long and  8 extra for the ends 4 shorter and 4 longer.

Assemble in alternating sections, add to sides

Boarder 3

4" cream strip

This a draft - please ask any questions so that I can improve it!!!!!


Saturday, 25 December 2010

quilts for taiwan - part 3

This is the third larger quilt that I made for our Trip to Tiawan. I am particualrly pleased with this block - sashing combination and I am thinking of writing up instructions for this quilt... let me know if you think it is worth while.

The quilts were a great success in Taiwan. Also I think I did OK on the steep learning curve of learning how to be a Taiwanese mother-in -law with all those expectations..........  Amoung the traditional textiles I did not see much actual quilting - the taiwanese aborignals do the most wonderful weaving and as i can i will share some of my photos.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

photos for memory quilts - mixture of black and white and colour

Here are some black and white phtos i "coloured" to help them blend in a mixed photo quilt

In both cases I sellected out the figure and changed the black to browns in the people and greens in the backgound. This helped the figure stand out.

The final quilt

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Progress report - 50 quilts from stash challenge. - currently 11

I have begun working on this challenge and have been surprised at how quickly it has been going.

This is one of 2 quilts that I made with a friend (entirely from my stash). this is constructed from a sellection of irregular panels and photos and made up on the same principles as the wonky red square quilt (instructions in previous post.)

Since begining this challenge I have also finished 5 bed quilts, 3 large cushions, 1 wall hanging,  11 table mats and 8 potholders. I have decided that the table mats and potholders are extra - even though when making a large quantitiy that are good stash busters. So that is 11 items entirely from stash

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Finishes that will go to Taiwan - part 2

This quilt began with te 4 hand pieced blocks in the centre - which I was given by a friend. I wanted to find a special way of displaying them so that they were the focus of the quilt. I am pleased with the peaceful effect that I came up with. This will be for my daughter-in-law sister.

This is a lap quilt for my daughter in law's grandfather. She chose this one for him out of a few options I had prepared as suitable because eagles convey appropriate repect for an older person.

Cross culturally I find that I an constantly learning about what is the most appropriate. Certainly I was glad to have Stephanie's help in choosing what her family members would like and very glad that I had a number of quilt top options prepared for her to choose from.

Finishes - that will go to Taiwan Part 1

This quilt is for my son's mother in law Grace. She particularly like this colour scheme - which is also the colour scheme of my older daughter  Hannah's quilt. ( below) The first challenge was to find the fabrics as several shops told me that these were not fashionable at the moment.

 The second challenge was to find a pattern that I liked as Hannah's quilt had been dominated by hand prints of friends and family. This would have been difficult to collect for Grace's quilt given the language and distance barriers.

When I began this quilt I did not realise just how challenging the diamonds would prove - because they are cut on the bias the tend to stretch out of shape - so making this has been a learnbing curve for me. Next time I will used much more starch from the begining - to hold the pieces stiff and straight.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

UFOs - a problem or a step to more efficient production?

UFOs are in the quilting world "unfinished objects" - most of us have a fair number of them. In the stash busters group there has been a poll of why a project becomes an unfinished object.... Which has got me thinking about my UFOs.

Stashbusters runs a challenge to get the UFOs finished.. ... which has been great for me to finish off those really old projects that got left behind some years ago. I now only have 3 of them left. Certainly during my involvement in this challenge my production has really increase (also helped by having a mid arm machine and quilting frame).

Quilts completed in a year.
2007 prior to stashbusters 7 quilts
2008 stashbusters challenge and quilting frame 21 quilts
2009 more confident 39 quilts
2010 (to date) 41 quilts

However the number of UFOs that will have to begin the 2011 challenge will actually be greater than in previous years not less.............. I currently have 24 finished tops, 42 projects that have been begun.

Why so many?

Finished Tops

5 come from blocks discarded by the local red cross when their building had to be sold - they will go to the local nusrsing home once quilted.

4 are "in the queue" to be quilted ASAP

1 is waiting for the backing to be signed by the wedding guests before quilting

Most of the remainder are there so that if i am asked to a quilt in a hurry I dont have to start from scratch.

Other  Projects

The other projects range from the just begun: some of the squares, strips etc cut; to the nearly finished top that just needs that final boarder added. The cutting often begins with a special piece of fabric - and as i find bits that will go with it I prepare them until I have enough to actually start using the project for the "starter and ender pieces" (thanks Bomnnie Hunter) which I make to control my loose thread problems.

Having several projects on the go means that if I do hit a design glitch I can work on another until I work out the solution.

So what do I conclude? for me UFOs mean I am productive and dont get stuck not knowing what to do.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Wonky red square quilt - instructions.

This quilt is based on the use of high contrast - in this case white/yellow versus red/orange.

I would not attempt to do this without a rotary cutter, mat and large square ruler. Mine is 12.5" but I am planning to get a bigger one if available.

Firstly you will need graph paper, a pencil and an eraser. Bigger is easier but if you only have a fine grid use the dominant squares. On my metric paper i let 1 cm be 6 ". If you can get 1/4 inch grid let 1 square equal 3".

Draw the finished size of the quilt.

I use squares of 18", 15", 12", 9", 6", 3"  Plus seam allowances.

Place a ring of larger squares Through the space - bringing it up to or near all 4 edges. Fill in the gaps. With some gaps rectangles might look better eg 9' x 6" or 12" x 9". I find that the eraser is very important in this process as I realise I need to move that square over a bit or something. Try to avoid lines that go straight though the entire quilt from top to bottom or side to side. Count and make a list of how many squares of each size you need.

Collect up a large amount of scrap in each colour.  As the outer bands of each square use more material than the inner bands - use the smaller pieces first. Cut a few squares or rectangles for centres - you will generate more small pieces as you go so you do not need to cut too many. Cut some strips. Add a band of the other colour to centre. Iron. Place on cutting mat, measure, rotate the ruler - either clockwise or anticlockwise, to create a new square that is slightly smaller than the original and wonky. Cut.  Repeat this process begining with adding another strip.. When you are getting nearer the desired size of the square  (about 10" for a 12" square) Add a wider strip ( 2.5' to 3.5") to make the accurate cutting of the final size easier.  REMEMBER to add the seam allowance to the final size so a 12" is cut 12.5" .

Join the squares together according to your graph. Where the two pieces are of different sizes join the seam from the end that matches up and stop half way. Continue adding the other blocks and come back and complete the seam when possible.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Fast finishes - how do I do it?

A reader asked, "How do you finish a quilt in a week?"   which got me thinking.
There a number of factors in getting a fast finish for me.

1. Motivation and focus.

I need to really believe that the finish is important - situations like a friend going to hospital after a major accident, or with a significant illness. This allows me to drop some of my fussiness. I ask myself  which is more important that the points of the pattern are perfectly match or that it is finished and going with then to chemotherapy or whatever. It also means that my family are willing to support me when I drop back on all but the minumum housework in order to complete the project.

2. Choosing a quick simple pattern.

I have now collected a few simple patterns that work well for me in the situation where i need something quick.
a. Court house blocks either traditional or wonky

b. Panel with boarders (see previous posts)
c. Simple medallion - square diamond square   
d. Convergence quilts (originating from Ricky tims)

3. Pre cutting boarders from scraps

I cut srips in 3" 4.5" 6" and 7.5" lengths.

4. Chain piecing and "leaders and enders"

By sewing in a "never ending"  chain, until the bobbin runs out, one saves an enourmous amount of time trimming all those loose ends afterwards. The idea of leaders and enders is developed by Bonnie hunter and basixcally means that you always have a real block in the machine. For the piece I leave in the machine i use either something that i will need later in the same project or for the next one.
5. Having a few tops on hand for emergency situations.

6. Quilting with an "all over" pattern

Friday, 29 October 2010

50 quilts from stash challenge...

I have decided to join Becky in her personal challenge to make 50 quilts from stash.... details

Personally I know I will need to buy wadding and maybe backing before the finish but I am going to try the use up principle first.

My other exceptions will be: 1. photo printing cotton for memory quilts
                                            2. fabric purchased in Taiwan on holiday - there maybe somnething special that i just cant resist!!!!!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Photos for memory quilts 2

These 2 photos of a kea again are the before and after alternation. the differnece between these are the children's photo in the previous post is that when I layered the photo into the bird and the background I cut the bird from the back ground leaving a white space. (rather than copied the bird into a new layer)
This meant that when I used the blur function on the background a Small lighter Halo was formed around the bird as the white cut out area was blurred inot the remaining backgound.

Also this was a radial blur rather than a motion blur.

Photos for memory quilts 1

I have been busy preparing photos for a memeory quilt for an former exchange student. One of the challenges of printing on fabric is that there needs to be a storong contrast betweeen the photo and the background to compensate for the loss of quality that comes from printing on woven cotton rather than photo paper. I have a copy of Adobe Photoshop elements and with this i adjust photos so that they work better on fabric.

Therefore i find that many otherwise great photos dont look like much on fabric. In the example above I selected the children and separated them into a different layer "via copy" which leavels the original in the background of the "Layer 0"  I them blured the backgound and manipul;ated the colour and lighting so that the children stand out. i them went in to "layer 1" and altered the lighting on the children so that the faces are brighter.... On the computer the boys face partularly looks shiney but on the fabric the faces settles down in its appearance and looks nice.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Size of Quilts

Every so often in various discussions there comes the question of the best size of a quilt. Often related to the bed size that is used. I have realised that for me the bed size is really only one factor in how I size a quilt probably because I am a person who likes to wrap myself in my bedding rather than sleep neatly underneath it. For this reason  I like to make quilts wider than the standard bed sizes so that there are not gaps at the side for drafts - often this means my quilts are square (or close to square)

Looking through my recent quilts these would be the approximate minamum size guides

Prem baby                                                30 inches
Baby                                                         40 inches
Toddler                                                     50 inches
Child or Small adult lap                              60 inches
Single or Adult  lap                                    70 inches
Double                                                       80 inches
Queen                                                         90 inches

For Teenagers I use adult sizes...........

A Quiet patch

It is interesting (at least to me) to consider why i have gone quiet ... life has been busy over the last couple of months with my eldest moving to Oxford with his family, the local show, and a series of quilts in a hurry for people in need. ... Any way I will try to catch up especially with some of the Ideas of the process by which i make quilts.

Monday, 13 September 2010


After all my recent finishes I must confess what little system I have in my sewing room is not very obvious...... Too many boxes half unpacked. So i have begun that wonderful process of going through all the little discarded bits and getting them into a useful format.

Big pieces I fold and put away by color.

Long skinny pieces get cut into more regular strips. 2.5" and 1.5" I use a lot but others widths I put in the random width box.

Short strips I cut into Lengths ready for making boarders 7.5", 6", 4.5" and 3"

I also cut squares 5" 4" 2.5" 2" and 1.5"

WHY do this??????????????

Let for the way i work of ten the inspiration for a design will come far more quickly playing round with similarly colored small pieces than with great big lengths.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Busy finishing.....

The last week I have been very busy finishing quilts 3 UFOs(unfinished objects) and one quilt made from scratch.

The bright red quilt was the one that i began and finished in under a week... its for a friend in hospital who likes bright red and of course none of the 16 quilt tops I had finished were red.  The basis of this quilt is very easy. I draw up a graph of squares that i like ( in this case 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 inch) and make the required number of blocks in each size. The only dimention that matters is the final size of the block which is achieved by making it bigger than necessary and cutting it back to size. For the quilting I did an all over design of straight lines that crossed in places to form squares and rectangles. I am really pleased with how it came up.

Orca. This is a small single quilt designed to fit my daughters lower bunk - she wants one with animals on the top bunk..... not yet done.  I kept the piecing simple so that the focus was on the panel.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Printing you on fabric design professionally

I have found a firm that prints fabric designs professionally as well as running a weekly contest for a fabric design on a theme.

For the fun of it i have entered last weeks competition with this design. The images come from my recent trip into northern South Australia. I sellected parts of photos and blended and adjusted them in photoshop.

Note the car (not ours) This is what can happen if you decide it is too cold to cook outside and do it in the back of your vechile instead. the glass from the windows had melted and looked like frozen toffee.

Quilting 5 point stars

I have just finished a quilt which has a star print in the boarder. As it had to be finished quickly I chose to do a meandering design with stars added. However i find that keeping the order of the direction of the arm lines hard. .....

I eventually came up with the image of a person for with the head hands and feet making the points. The lines are then

Head to a foot
Foot to opposate hand
Hand to hand
Hand to remaining foot
Foot back to head.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A quilt with random bits - orphan pieces

This quilt grew out of  some similarly coloured panels that i had collection and had not used. The same Idea could be used for orphan blocks. The design came out of my need for some order in the arrangement - I find completely random very hard to manage because i tend to always want to find the pattern....

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Memory quilt finished

Central panel

finished quilt
 Details of  fabrics in outer boarder: Pleated panel, glove, smocked dress.
 The greatest challenge in quilting this was the textured nature of some of the pieces and sewing the darning foot into some of the folds and pleats. Any suggestions for next time??????

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Two quilts that gelled together

When I had finished the nine patch and sashing I began to look for a suitable border and was thinking of a green. I then remembered the postard quilt that had not worked on it's green background. So I decided to cut it up to make the border. As most of the postcards were either less than 8 inches wide or 8 inches tall - I cut them out to make a 10 inch boarder including some of the original green background to unify it ... this time I think they work.

Should I add another cream border? Or some more green? Or just get it quilted?

Finished quilt

Two quilts that did not gel - Australian postcards.

The second quilt that did not gel is one for a former exchange student who wanted something that reflected his time in Australia. Initally I looked at making an Australian scene with large kangaroos in the forground and other things in the background. Unfortunatly I found it very difficult to include the variety of things that he had been involved in in one picture... footy (Australian rules) , Hockey (field not ice), scuba diving on the barrier reef, and Ayers rock etc.

So I came up with the idea of postcards thrown on a breadspread..... Well they certainly looked thrown  and while I Like some of the individual pieces the combination I had come up with looked like a teenager's mess..... and this student was not one of the really messy ones.  So it had got shoved in the too hard basket.

This toille picture was originally very black on white ... so I "aged" it by soaking in strong tea.

This picture of the Sydney opera house I printed from a photo after increasing the contrast in adobe photoshop elements ( I find this important to get the correct colour balance on fabric)

This group were tiny panels with almost no fabric around them to create a seam allowance - so I appliqued them onto a backgound so that i did not loose part of the picture.

Two quilts that did not gel .... Australian 9 patch

As part of my stash busting I am trying to finish off all those UFOs and quilts promised to people. So last week I got out a bundle of blocks that had come in from a nine patch block swap on an Australian theme. There were lots of great blocks in this swap -which a considerable variety of fabrics and colours many of which must be relatively rare as I had not seen them previously. (I collect all Austrlian fabrics I can). Unfortunatly I has not been successful in arranging these in a way I liked I had it fixed in my mind to have a plain block in between each of the pieced blocks but I could find no fabric that worked ....

So I did a google image search on 9 patch blocks to see what other had done with very varied nine patches and I found that the ones I found most attractive were those with a plain sashing allowing each block to stand in its own right.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Memory quilt continued

The boarders are now added. I had carefully calculated the necessary boarder so that the square all matched up but unfortunately i did not allow for the wide variety of fabrics affecting the size. With the outer boarder i increased my ususal seam allowance to 1/2 invh because so many of the fabric were prone to fray.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Memory quilts - in progress.

I have been working on some quilts with a firiend in memory of her mother.

The central panel above is made from doillies, a silk bag (vase); a small wool enbroidery sample (pink rose centre); flowers and leaves cut from a  lace collar (shown left) and a lace hem; figarines from a piece of furnishing linen; ribbon and the background fabrics are recycled from clothing.

Things that I found important technically:
1. To carefully catch in any "loose loops" on the flowers and leaves as they are crochet and would unravel where cut.
2. To back the furnishing linen with a very light iron on interfacing to prevent fraying.

The overall look I am trying to achieve is that of a table top near a wall between two windows with satin curtains - with a bit of a William Morris flavour. This panel will become the central panel of a quilt in the traditional British Medallion style.

The other quilt we are working on is for a grandson who likes dramatic effects including black. We choase a pattern suitable for a younger person making the blocks using all types of fabrics many of which were backed with light weight iron on for stability.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

A scrap quilt finished.... forgotten photos.... tiny scraps

I am realising that I have to be more systematic with the photographing of quilts before they leave home....Of my last 6 UFO finishes I have only managed to photograph 2..... (Dolphins above and the cream silk in the previous post). Yet when I think about why I did not take photos - they went too quickly to those who needed them perhaps I should not get too intense about photos.

The dolphin quilt is one of my "use up those tiny scrap designs". I pre cut the smallest pieces into 3" , 4.5" , 6" , 7.5" strips (any width that is less than length) and bag them up. When I want boarders for a quilt I sellect from the bags the colours that go with the key piece. and sew them together into long Boarder lengths.... and hense a quick quilt that does use up those little bits.

Silk Quilts finished (finally!!!)

I have just finished the third of a group of silk quilts made from silks collected over a number of years by a friend's father.
Originally I had thought of making a "crazy quilt" style quilt but when I recieved the fabrics I found that many of the designs were large and the colours just did not blend that well. Therefore i ended up making three quilts. In the cream background quilt above the main difficulty was that the silk were very fine scarves so each one had to be backed. Originally I had thought of iron on woven backing but the fabrics were so sheer that this killed the colour. Therefore each scarf was back with the appropriate coloured poplin.

The design of the purple quilt was determined by the fact the silk was hand woven and the check is not actually regular or really square - hence the strong lines along the joins. The red one was just very strongly coloured - so needed to be separate from the pastels or it "killed" them

More pictures