Sunday, 8 February 2015

Pink Christmas

At the end of last year, Brother Australia ran a Brother Goes Pink Christmas competition, where entrants were asked to make one of twelve free projects from the Brother website, make it predominantly pink and add their own creative touch. I entered and am happy to say I won a runner-up prize.

Here is my entry:

The project I chose was the Joy wall hanging by Angie Wilson (aka GnomeAngel). I added my own touches by adding a fabric bow instead of a pieced one, sewing on a ribbon for the bauble to 'hang' from, and reducing the size.

The squares in my quilt finish at half an inch, somewhat smaller than the two inch finished size of the original. Most of my pink was in the form of small scraps so if I wanted to make a scrappy bauble, which I did, I had to go smaller.

Doesn't the sewing together make a huge difference to the size? It halves it, in fact, since each square starts at one inch and has half an inch consumed by the seam allowances.

I loved the way the blue fabric set off the pink, so went with that for my background, and after trialling a lot of different fabrics, I couldn't go past the black and white spot for binding. I quilted it with lots of bubbles (or pebbles or stones) gradually increasing in size towards the top of the quilt. It was great fun to make. I think the hardest part of the process was photographing it. Pink is hard! At least it is for me.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my little quilt as I do love the pattern and was quite chuffed to win a prize.

Bye for now x

Thursday, 5 February 2015

New Tool Love - Rotary Blade Sharpener Review

If you're like me and hate throwing things away, you'll have built up a collection of used rotary cutter blades. I'm not sure what I was planning to do with mine - I mean, they're blunt, so what use are they?  - but then I found out about rotary blade sharpeners. Finally, I can use my old blades again!

After a bit of research online I decided on the TrueCut Linear Rotary Blade Sharpener. My main reason? I don't need to take the blade out to sharpen it. Also, you can sharpen different sized blades with it.

The sharpener cost me about $50 (Aussie dollars) plus postage. I feel that it's a sound investment for several reasons:
  1. New blades are expensive! Here in Australia they're normally about $10 each.
  2. Throwing blades away seems such a waste, and I'm all for being eco-friendly where I can. 
  3. I will get very regular use out of it - this is NOT a tool that will sit gathering dust.
  4. I will no longer try to eke out as much use from my dull blades as possible, worried about the cost of yet another new blade - and my cutting mat and wrist will thank me! 

I found the sharpener quite easy and safe to use - no need to put your hand anywhere near the blade because the sharpener grips the table surface. The sharpening stone is rotatable and replaceable - though I'm yet to find anywhere in Australia that sells the replacements. Anybody know somewhere?

It took a while at first to get the blade sharp, but it went from a blade that wouldn't cut, to a blade that will easily slice my fabric. Apparently it takes a bit longer to sharpen the blade the first time because you're matching the angle on the blade to that of the sharpening stone. The next time is quicker.

The blade doesn't seem as sharp as a brand new one, but it is close enough for me. New blades seem to dull from that super-sharpness pretty quickly anyway.

If you would like to see the sharpener in action, you can see a video from the makers of the product here.

A few places I've found the sharpener online in Australia:

And of course you can ask at your local patchwork & quilting shop.

I hope you find this useful. So far I've only sharpened a couple of blades with it, so I'll let you know some time in the future how it goes after lots of use. I'll try to remember how many uses I get out of it too.

Happy sewing (and cutting)!

Hope x

P.S. Just so you know, nobody gave me anything or paid me anything to write this and I have no link to the stores mentioned. :)

Saturday, 31 January 2015

You're Scrumptious Doughnut Mug Rug

I have a new pattern available! It's called "You're Scrumptious" and I'm really excited about this one because I think it's so very cute (is it ok to say that?) and would love to see more mug rugs or other quilty projects with little doughnuts licking their lips. How cute would this be for Valentine's Day?

The mug rug includes applique and embroidery, quilting, and a no-binding finish. It would be super quick to make if you did it all by machine, and not all that time-consuming to stitch by hand either, which is what I did.

Because it's Valentine's Day soon, and because I like my patterns to give you more than just one project to make, I've included a couple of extras. If you scroll to the end of the pattern you'll find printable greeting card designs, portrait and landscape, to suit standard A6 or 4.25" x 5.5" card sizes. They're perfect to include if you decide to give a mug rug to someone special, or even to give on their own.

There's also another applique design at the end of the pattern... but I'll let that be a surprise!

The pattern is available now through my Craftsy store.

Thanks for looking. Do let me know what you think, and if you make your own Scrumptious Doughnut, be sure to share a photo with me.

Happy Sewing!

Hope x

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Valentine Hearts

With Valentine's Day coming up, I thought it would be fun to make a new version of my ZigZag Love quilt. I've had this idea for quite some time now, curious to see what a more bold and simple colour scheme would do to the look of the quilt.

Here are the original and the new version together. Quite a difference, don't you think?

The hearts on my new version finish at three inches. It's still a work in progress, as I am yet to decide whether to make it a little quilt to hang, or a cushion cover. Either way, this will be the backing:

If you'd like to make a zigzag heart quilt of your own, you can find the pattern in my Craftsy store, here. There are several sizes included in the pattern, as well as instructions on how to make a heart in any size you choose. And as ever, I'm just an email away if you need any help.

Bye for now, and happy sewing!

Hope x

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Scrumptious! Zigzag Run Table Runner

Hello! 2015 is well under way, so I thought it was about time I shared the very last thing I sewed in 2014 - my Zigzag Run pattern made up in Scrumptious by Bonnie & Camille for Moda.

These fabrics give the runner such a different look to the original, and I love it. In some lights it appears quite soft, in other lights very vibrant. Such pretty fabrics.

I chose a green polka dot I had on hand for the backing, and quilted in an all-over meander. Very simple and very quick! Another aid to a speedy finish was sewing the binding on entirely by machine. I do love how fast it is, but still prefer the look of a hand-finished binding.

The binding fabric is a print from Botany by Lauren + Jessi Jung for Moda.

I didn't make the place mats included in the pattern. I have other plans for the triangles left from this runner, and have sewn them together in pairs by colour.

Watch this space!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Thank you x

Happy New Year! I really do hope it is happy for you, and full of wonderful experiences, fun, love and good health.

I would like to say a big thank you to those who have supported me over the past year or so, by purchasing my patterns, posting lovely comments or sharing your quilts with me. It means so much to know that people actually want to make their own versions of my patterns. I still pinch myself sometimes. Thank you x x

2014 didn't go quite to plan, but still I'm happy to have 4 patterns for sale now, and 3 mini quilt block patterns available for free. I plan to bring out more of both this year, and also provide some ideas on what to use your mini blocks for. I have so many quilt designs and ideas in my head, on paper, drawn up on the computer... the hardest part is knowing where to begin!

So, here's to a good year, a productive year doing what we love!

See you soon x

Friday, 12 December 2014

Christmas Reflections - Runner and Mini Pattern

A while back I made this table runner from some red and aqua fabrics I had in my cupboard. It was a spur of the moment thing. :) I designed it to fit a certain space in our dining room which is teal and aqua. It's called Christmas Reflections, which was my Mum's idea.

The runner was quick to cut and sew, and the little bit of applique was so relaxing to sit and stitch. I had so much fun quilting it. It's supposed to look a bit like snow falling from clouds and settling between the trees. 

The space between the stars and tree trunks had me stumped for a while, but after a sketching a few options, I went for this long swirl design, and I like it! The scale is tiny. There's just a couple of millimetres between the lines of quilting. 

Prior to any quilting on the runner though, I made a little mini quilt to trial a design on. I got VERY frustrated quilting this because my thread kept breaking. I think it was because I had the feed dogs down... It may sound odd, but my machine seems to prefer free-motion quilting with the feed dogs up and my stitch length set to zero. I've had no trouble with thread breaking since. 

The reason there are some wavy lines in with the swirls is because of that thread-break issue. I thought the thread might cope better with lines than swirls. I was wrong though - it still broke. 

The pattern for this runner AND the mini quilt (all in the one pattern) is now available in my Craftsy store, here