31 December 2010

Let's join the blocks

Now that you've made your blocks, you can see how simple they are. Here's the fun part - arranging them to make the most of the colours.

Join the blocks
The blocks are sewn in horizontal rows. Refer to the diagram below and lay out the 45 block A and 45 block B in nine rows on a large, flat surface or design wall. 

Start the odd rows with a block A and the even rows with a block B. Ensure that block A and block B are alternated in each row, with the long seams on block A running vertically. This will make it easier to sew the blocks together. 

Rearrange the blocks, if necessary, until you are pleased with the colour arrangement. You can see how some shades make blocks recede, while others seem to 'pop'. This is part of the fun of this pattern.

Pin and then stitch the blocks into rows. Press the seams of alternate rows in opposite directions.

Pin and then stitch the rows together, taking care to match seam lines. Press the seams.

Add the borders
Join the 5 1/2in pink and yellow print strips together into a single length. Press the seams. Measure the pieced quilt top through the centre length and trim two strips to this measurement.

Use pins to mark the sides of the quilt top and the border strips into quarters. Pin the borders to the sides of the quilt, matching the pins, and stitch them in place. Press the seams towards the borders.

Measure the quilt top through the centre width and trim two strips to this measurement. Use pins to mark the top and bottom of the quilt top and the border strips into quarters. Pin the borders to the quilt, matching the pins, and stitch them in place. Press the seams towards the borders.

How exciting! You have completed your quilt top. Come back tomorrow for the final set of instructions about how to finish your quilt.

30 December 2010

Let's start sewing

Welcome to all the new visitors to my blog! I am pleased that you have stopped by and would love to see photos of your quilts if you use my pattern. I drew this pattern using Electric Quilt software - fabulous to use for diagrams.

Enough talking - let's get sewing!

Make the blocks
 Block A

Join matching 1 1/2in x 4 1/2in yellow strips to two opposite sides of one 4 1/2in pink square. Press the seams towards the yellow strips.

Join matching 1 1/2in x 6 1/2in yellow strips to the remaining two sides of the square. Press the seams towards the yellow strips. 

Make 45 Block A, as shown above.

Block B

Join matching 1 1/2in x 4 1/2in pink strips to two opposite sides of one 2 1/2in x 4 1/2in yellow rectangle. Press the seams towards the pink strips. 

Join matching 1 1/2in x 4 1/2in pink strips to the remaining two sides. Press the seams
towards the pink strips. 

Make 45 Block B, as shown above.

Check back here tomorrow for how to put the blocks together.

29 December 2010

Let's get cutting

A couple of days ago I posted the fabric requirements for my Sunshine on Roses quilt. Do you have your fabric ready? Let's get cutting the pieces for this easy quilt.

You will be making two blocks for this quilt - block A and block B. All cutting instructions are in inches and include scant 1/4in seam allowances.

I recommend you cut and make sample blocks A and B before cutting out all the pieces to complete the quilt. That way, you can ensure your cutting is accurate. Tomorrow, I will provide instructions for making the blocks.

Remember, these instructions are for a quilt that measures 154cm x 164cm (60 1/2in x 64 1/2in). If you would like a larger quilt than this, simply increase the amount of fabric required, cut extra pieces and add extra rows of blocks.

Cut the fabric 
From the assorted pink prints
Cut 45, 4 1/2in squares for block A.
Cut 180, 1 1/2in x 4 1/2in strips in matching sets of four for block B.

From the assorted yellow prints
Cut 45, 2 1/2in x 4 1/2in rectangles for block B.
Cut 90, 1 1/2in x 6 1/2in strips in matching sets of two for block A.
Cut 90, 1 1/2in x 4 1/2in strips in matching sets of two for block A.

From the pink and yellow print
Cut six 5 1/2in strips across the width of the fabric for the borders.

From the pink fabric
Cut seven 2 1/2in strips across the width of the fabric for the binding.

Check back tomorrow for how to make the blocks. 

28 December 2010

Every home should have one

For ages, I have yearned for a letter opener. You know, one of those slender tools that helps you simply and elegantly slit open envelopes. (I tussle with envelopes - it's a special skill I have - and often they fight back.)

The obvious place to look for such an implement is a touristy shop that sells souvenirs but, until today, I haven't been able to track one. Now I am the proud owner of this gorgeous souvenir of my own country.

Isn't it totally over-the-top? Just in case you want a closer look, here's the insert section.

Made in China, of course!

So now I am happy (and obviously easily pleased.)

27 December 2010

Let's get cheery!

Australia has now slumped into summer, even though it's raining in many places, flooding all over the country and we are being flogged in the cricket. In parts of the northern hemisphere, snow has cut off towns and is isolating many people. Just as well we quilters have other distractions!

Want to make a cheerful quilt project? Over the next week or so, I'll post the instructions so you can make your version of my Sunshine on Roses quilt. Anyone is welcome to join in, so tell all your friends!


Sunshine on Roses measures 154cm x 164cm (60 1/2in x 64 1/2in). If you would like a larger quilt than this, simply increase the amount of fabric required and add extra rows. It is simple to construct - all squares and rectangles.

Fabric requirements
Make sure you choose an assortment of prints to add to the visual interest of the pattern. I chose the colours for this quilt after I noticed the effect of bright sunshine highlighting the intense pink rose petals in my garden.

You will need:
  • 1.6m (1 3/4yd) assorted pink prints for the blocks
  • 1.5m (1 2/3yd) assorted yellow prints for the blocks
  • 90cm (36in) pink and yellow print for the border
  • 50cm (20in) pink fabric for the binding
  • 1.8m (2yd) 240cm (94in) wide fabric for the backing
The amount of fabric listed above is based on 100cm (40in) width, as this is usually the
useable width after selvedges have been removed. The backing fabric, though, is wider. I
always wash and iron fabric before cutting. This is a scrap quilt, so the amount of fabric
stated is only approximate.

I used a variety of pink and yellow fabrics to create a bright pattern all over the quilt. You can use scraps - for the pinks, you will need 4 1/2in pink squares and four 1 1/2in x 4 1/2in matching pink strips and for the yellows, you will need 2 1/2in x 4 1/2in yellow rectangles and two 1 1/2in x 4 1/2in and two 1 1/2in x 6 1/2in matching yellow strips. 

This pattern is perfect for an I Spy quilt. Choose novelty prints for the 4 1/2in squares and the 2 1/2in x 4 1/2in rectangles and bright colours for the strips.

So choose your fabrics and get ready for a fun sewing project. 
I'll post the cutting instructions in a couple of days, so you can get that rotary cutter revved up!

25 December 2010


The sun is shining, there's a gentle breeze and the washing is flapping on the line. Looking forward to prawn and mango salad for lunch and many hours of stitching. Lovely.

22 December 2010

At my house today

Thank you to my postman! I've just received 42 fat quarters of Kona Cotton solids in the Ocean and Hot Spice colour collections. How gorgeous are they?

Now I can get started on a very special quilt.

21 December 2010


I am thankful

that I have time this week to continue my love affair with hand piecing blocks for this quilt.

As I finish each block, I am compelled to make another one and then another one and then another one... you get the picture! So yes Sarah, I think this may end up being a bed-sized quilt - just because I am loving the process so much. Are you shocked? :-)

Hello to Eva from Germany, who discovered my blog recently. Welcome!

18 December 2010

Can't wait to see this

Frank Gehry revealed the model of his design for a new business school building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) this week. What fantastically amazing shapes. Love it!

15 December 2010

I'm in hand piecing heaven

I've been busily hand piecing blocks for the past few weeks to make a happy, scrappy quilt. Here's a peek of part of some blocks from my design wall.

I confess that constructing this quilt is making me feel totally content. I think it's the rhythm of the needle through the fabric and the pretty colours of the fabrics from my stash. I'm so easily pleased.

14 December 2010

Reflections on: fantasy personal shopper

Earlier this year, my stash was purged of metres of fabrics I will never use. I can’t remember why I bought some of these pieces in the first place! I have decided to prevent this happening again by hiring a personal shopper who specialises in advising quilters.

Does such a person exist? A personal shopper helps other people buy goods by making suggestions for purchases. Usually this relates to fashion items such as clothes and accessories, but also in other fields such as home furnishings. I can’t see why we couldn’t extend this to the quilting world.

Here is a job description for my fantasy personal shopper. She needs to have these attributes: empathy, tact, a sense of humour and patience. She needs to accept, without becoming frustrated, that often I will say I want green fabric when what I really need is pink. The ability to read my mind would be convenient for this purpose.

My personal shopper needs to understand that there is no such thing as too many blue fabrics, but one brown fabric is one too many. She has to accept that Sunbonnet Sue and yo-yos have no place in my world and that a look of horror will cross my face if they are accidentally encountered. 

I expect my shopper to have extensive knowledge of the current ranges of fabric and also the new ones just about to hit the shops. She should also have contacts in the quilting world that can help her track down an extra fat quarter of a specific fabric I bought in 1992. Knowing my habits so well, she will purchase a metre instead, so that when I finally get around to sewing in a few more years, there will be sufficient to double the width of the borders without panic. 

My shopper will have wide-ranging storage experience. She will be able to stack fabric on shelves so that I can remove a piece from the bottom of the stack without the whole lot cascading onto the floor. An understanding of creative chaos is important. I do not want her touching my carefully arranged piles of fabric on my sewing table unless I call for her help; in which case it will be because she has neglected to read my mind on this matter. 

Since my personal shopper will constantly entice me with purchase suggestions, she must have a firm grasp of budgeting principles. At the same time, she should know that exceptional temptations call for extreme action and that spending a week’s income on fabric that is 50% off retail price is sensible and is to be applauded. 

Wouldn’t we all love a personal shopper to help with our quilting needs? At the very least it will give us someone to blame for all those inexplicable pieces of strange fabric in our stashes. 

What guidelines would you give to your fantasy personal shopper?

11 December 2010


Sometimes a quilt design idea that looks good in EQ just doesn't work successfully once I convert it to fabric. Stitching blocks is the only way to see how the pattern translates.

After making a dozen of my current blocks, I've decided I just don't like one half of each block. Just as well I have my trusty pirate friend to help me with the unpicking.

I am happy to do the unpicking because I know the amended blocks will make a happy quilt. And that's important!

10 December 2010

Yesterday's dyeing

I dyed two pieces of fabric yesterday but I only like one of them. The first one is horrible, but it may redeem itself if I cut it and used for a pieced project. Or over-dye or stamp on it or print on it?
The second piece, though, I love. Really rich colours and interesting textures.

This was the first time I painted with dyes instead of doing immersion dyeing.It was fun, but very messy. A job best done outside in future.

09 December 2010


Please help me out here! I've just become interested in podcasts and would like to hear any recommendations you have for quilting, textile or design-related podcasts (and vidcasts, for that matter). Which ones do you enjoy and why?

08 December 2010

Inside my head

It's a very messy place. Yesterday I had the opportunity to join a group of friends who had gathered to share various techniques for creating pattern on fabric.We are working on individual projects that will come together next year. I am quite scared, but scared is good because it will make me develop my work.

In the meantime, my head is ready to explode. I can see my quilt in my mind's eye and I already have a name for it. Whether the project develops as I envisage it, or morphs into something completely different, inside my head it is complete.

If only it was that simple. First step this week: dye my fabric.

02 December 2010

They have to go!

Looking for a small gift for a quilting friend? Or maybe a reward for yourself for making it through this far in 2010? Here's your chance to purchase one of my selvedge pincushions (they are six inches square).

I'm not making any more of these, so once they are gone, that's it! Send me an email
or leave a comment that includes your email address and I will send you a PayPal invoice. Delivery only within Australia - no overseas orders, thanks.

Oops! Forgot the price - $10 each plus $6 postage within Australia.