Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Willoughby Bay - A Sail Boat Quilt Pattern

I am happy to announce that I have a new pattern available! 

Willoughby Bay is a little wall hanging with a decidedly nautical feel. It would be great on the wall of a baby nursery or a child's bedroom, or anywhere you want to hang something cute!

I named the quilt for Willoughby Bay in Sydney, which I used to live just a couple of minutes walk from. I'd often retreat to Primrose Park and look out at all the sailing boats on the water of the Bay. It was several years ago now, but I've found a photo to show you:

Ok, so there aren't many sails, and there's as much tree as sea, but there are a lot of boats and it's what comes to mind when I think of sailboats. :)

These patchwork boats are very little - just 2.75" tall - and I think they're a lot of fun to make. Here's a close-up with a pen to give you more of an idea of scale: 

Cute, huh?

Cutting instructions are included for both a scrappy look as shown and a single fabric for each element. I'd love to see this quilt in some different colours. Deep indigo seas with jewel-coloured boats, or a colour palette based on a sunrise or sunset... One great suggestion I've had is for pirate ships!

The pattern is suitable for confident beginners, through to more experienced sewists. I have written comprehensive instructions with lots of diagrams throughout, so I think that a newer beginner could also give it a decent go. As ever, I'm just an email away if you need any advice. 

The pattern is available through Craftsy, Etsy and My Pattern Shop. Or, you can click the nifty button below to buy it now. All options offer 'instant' download after payment.   

I'd love to hear what you think of my newest design. If you have any questions or comments, please leave me a comment and say hello.  

Bye for now, and happy sewing!

Hope x

Thursday, 14 May 2015

(Copy) Right or Wrong

As a quilt designer/pattern writer, copyright is a subject I've spent quite a bit of time looking into and thinking about. To try to make it clear what I expect with regard to my patterns, I wrote a page on copyright which you can access by the Copyright tab at the top of this blog (or click here).

Since writing that page, I've been thinking more and more about it. Everything there holds true, but lately I've been wondering... what is important to me? Why do I write patterns? Why do I want people to buy my patterns? There's the obvious answer (income!) but there is a bit more to it than that.

I want you to buy my pattern because you want to make a quilt from the design. I want to show you how I do things and for you to feel confident trying them for yourself. I want you to enjoy the process, to love your quilt, and to feel like it is exactly that - your quilt.

Yes, your quilt. So that means you can do what you like with it. Sell it, give it, auction it, exhibit it, donate it... it's up to you. You made it, you put all that time, thought, money, effort and love into it, who am I to dictate what you do with it next?

You know what else I want? I want you to share. If you like the pattern, if you think a friend would enjoy making it, then please tell them about the pattern. Show them your quilt, show them the pattern. What the hell, even give them a copy of the pattern.

I know! That's a bit of no-no, right? Your friend should buy their own copy, really. But you know what? I'm not going to jump on you and call you nasty names if you share with a friend. Please, please, please tell them how they can buy their own pattern, suggest that they do so (it's what I'd prefer, obviously), but don't feel guilty if they choose not to. I understand.

For me, making a quilt is about doing something I love. Writing patterns is about sharing what I love, and selling patterns is about doing that in a way that helps buy food and pay the mortgage. I hate that there should be guilt associated with quilting in any way, shape or form. I know that if you give someone a copy of my pattern you're not trying to deprive me of income, you're not being mean or nasty. You're not a bad person. You just want to share, right? And that you want to share my design, my pattern? That is a compliment to me, for which I thank you.

Having said all that though, do keep scale in mind. One or two friends is very different to a whole quilting group or guild, and different to a class of students. No mass distribution, please! Also keep in mind that what I have said relates to my patterns, not quilt patterns in general. If in doubt, ask. That's the safest and most respectful way to do most things, I think.

What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them. :)

Hope x

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Rose Parade Spools - A Swap Quilt Received

I've shown you what I made for the #igminioz swap on Instagram. Well today, as promised, I'd like to show you what I received:

Isn't it pretty? I feel so very lucky. My partner Julie (@patchwork_gecko on Instagram) went to so much trouble. In the questionnaire I said that my favourite fabric line so far is Rose Parade by Moda. It's a line that is long out of print, but Julie went to the trouble of sourcing a jelly roll of Rose Parade to make my quilt with.

And not just a quilt - she also made me a coin purse, mug rug and a spool pin cushion with the Rose Parade fabrics, and included in the package some little spool blocks and some left over jelly roll strips. PLUS there was a tea bag wallet (with tea bags), chocolate (my favourites, she stalked me well!) and a charm pack of Fresh Cut by Basic Grey (who I'd said is my favourite fabric designer).

I feel so incredibly spoilt and happy and grateful. Everything is perfect for me, and I love it all. Did you notice the hand-stitched label and the selvedges on the back? Also, it just so happens that the turquoise of the border and binding is a very close match for the trim colour in my craft room, see?

How's that for perfect?

This is the first quilt anyone has made for me, and I am smitten.

Bye for now

Hope x

Monday, 20 April 2015

Millennium Star - A Swap Quilt

In my last post I shared a photo of a quilt in progress. That quilt is now finished and I'm so happy to be able to share some photos with you. You can click on any of the photos to get a bigger view.

This quilt is now living in Queensland with somebody I have never met! You see, I made it for a swap run on Instagram. (The hashtag, if you'd like to look, is #igminioz.) It was my first swap, and I had lots of fun making the quilt, despite a sore shoulder slowing me down with the quilting.

It is an interesting exercise, making a quilt for someone based on knowledge you gain of them through a questionnaire and 'stalking' them on social media. (It was a secret partner swap). I was very fortunate in that my partner, @strange_stitches, commented on and 'liked' my progress photos, so I felt I was on the right track. Still, I was very nervous and so, so excited when it actually arrived and she got to see it in person. Her reaction was all I could have hoped for and more, and actually brought tears to my eyes!

I admit to being rather proud of this quilt, and completely smitten. The fact that it has gone to a fellow patchwork quilter is, I think, wonderful. I know that she knows what has gone into making this, and that makes giving it away so much easier. I also got to watch her progress on the quilt she made for her partner, all the effort she put in, which was fun.

The pattern I used for the star is called "Millennium Star" and is from the e-book included with the Craftsy Class "Quick-Strip Paper Piecing" by Peggy Martin. I love that class. It has made paper foundation piecing so much more fun for me, and easier. I highly recommend it. I changed the orientation of the star to have more room to go to town with the quilting.

The quilt finishes at a touch under 25" square. The quilting is mostly done with Aurifil 50wt thread. The black quilting took a LOT of thread - I went through over four bobbins! I also used rather a lot of purple thread for the feathers. I used white cotton batting behind the star, and black batting of a cotton-polyester blend for the quilt as a whole. I pre-washed all the batting.

All in all, I'm very happy to have participated in this swap. Whether or not I will do another one remains to be seen. Though it was not all I had hoped it would be, I feel I was very lucky with the partners I was allocated, and the interaction I have had with them and a few others over the course of the swap. And the swap package I received from my partner... wow. I was, and still am, thrilled and touched. I will share that with you next time.

Bye for now,

Hope x

P.S. Have you participated in a quilt swap? What did you think?

Monday, 13 April 2015

Quilting, quilting, quilting...

Hello, what you been up to? There's been lots of quilting happening here lately - here's one quilt I've been working on:

Lots of blog posts written but not published for fear of offending somebody (not that I'm being mean or anything!) and lots of wondering where, oh where, is time heading to so quickly? If I ask nicely, do you think it will linger with me over cake and a cuppa? Slow down a little?

No, 'time waits for no man' - or woman. :)

Bye for now x


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. :)