Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Improv cushion for the Modern Makers Retreat blog tour

Prepare for photo overload!

A few months ago, I sorta, kinda, maybe started another business with two crazy chicks (you can read all about it over at Modern Makers Retreat). 

This month we launched the Cushion Palooza competition (terms and conditions here). We decided to have a blog tour, yep I'm claiming myself as a blogger on this poor neglected blog! So I called in a few favours with some friends and tada - a blog tour was created.

Strategically, I scheduled myself last. Because the deadline was looming. And yep, needed the weekend to finish it. 

So here is my creation. 

My mum and dad visited last weekend and I showed mum the cushions I had started to make her for Mother's Day (yeah I'm totes late!). They were super cool, retro browns, corals and oranges tones. And then they bought a new couch. Which was black - doh! So back to the drawing board (and the other ones are still sitting there half done). 

I wanted to work with these beautiful screenprinted fabrics from Spin Spin. I picked up a sample pack ages ago but just couldn't bring myself to cut into them. Mum loved the bright colours and wanted to include them all. Add in a little Kona solids in Goldfish (orange colour) and Cyan and this pillow really pops!

I embraced my recent foray into improv style - just slice and dice it all together. The pieces were all different sizes so it really suited what I had. 

Add in some cross hatch quilting - seriously the texture on this is amazing - and it was done. 

I kept it simple and just did an envelope back with some fabric that has been sitting there for ages (so totally justifying the stash growing, right?)

As an aside, my grandfather gave me this little wicker chair when I was three and it has now made it's way back to me. It makes my heart sing when I see my little ones sitting in it. 

And my dad's comment "oh its bright!" Sorry dad, mum designed it!

Head on over to Modern Makers Retreat to see the other bloggers on the tour and check out the amazing prizes on offer. You just have to make a cushion. You never know right ...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Making Merry Garland Pattern

When one of your quilty idols asks ever so nicely if you can test a pattern for her .... you ponder for about 3 seconds and almost scream down the (thankfully) email with of a measured response of 'yes, I'd love to' (I was totes playing it cool).

So the pattern is for a Christmas Garland. mmmm not feeling terribly Christmas-y right now (please tell me I have more time to get organised!). So I asked, did she want me to make a Christmas one or different?

"Different would be nice but whatever you like, make it your own!"

mmmm make it my own? Given I'm relatively new to this quilting caper, I'm not sure I really have a style yet. But I wanted to try something different rather than a Christmas one. 

I was inspired by a single line in the pattern "make a fairy ring". I knew Miss 7 would love something like that so I gave it a go. I fully intended to make a 12" mini (it has five different sizes in the pattern - how cool is that) but I totally (stuffed up) cut the 8" mini size. 

I clearly decided to give myself a challenge. Here is how I made it my own:
  • cut six feature fabrics instead of two, then
  • cut them a different size and
  • made them a different way to the pattern (shhhh don't tell Alyce, figured I needed 12 HSTs and I got there in the end!)

Next time I think I will choose even more fabrics to really emphasize the rainbow I was aiming for. 

I decided on a simple cross hatch quilting design using a gorgeous creamy-gold Aurifil. 

When I did that it was just not quite right ... It needed more. So I pulled out my trusty embroidery thread and added some lazy daisy flowers (inspired by Karen Lewis's fabrics) and simple french knots. Each section has three different colours.

While I did pretty well hiding the stitches, a few escaped to the back - meanwhile how awesome does the back look!!

All the fabric are amazing Karen Lewis Blueberry Park except for the binding. I was lazy and already had this cut and leftover from another project so it seemed silly to waste it. 

I was pretty happy with my little rainbow fairy ring. What do you think?


Project details:

  • FabricKaren Lewis Blueberry Park -  you can find it everywhere!
  • Embroidery thread: various DMC colours
  • Thread: pieced with Aurifil white  and quilted with the creamy gold (#2000 actually Light Sand). I get all mine from MsMidge here.
  • Pattern: Making Merry Garland pattern by Blossom Heart Quilts - check out her blog post here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My five favourite gifts to make for Mother's Day

Just thought I would share a few of my favourite Mother's Day gifts if you are going to make something. There are so many things you could make but I'm just limiting to a couple of my favourites.

Lil Pip Clutch

Last year I wrote tutorials for metal frames supplied with the Sew Box monthly subscription. Every frame is different and it is fairly easy to work out the pattern (I say that but you should see all my test versions!). 

This one was one of my favourites - a quilt as you go version. You might prefer the little coin purseplain clutchglam version with lace and beading detail, glasses case (I'm not responsible for damage to glasses!) or add a little hand stitching (surprise, surprise mine has an owl!).

Cushion cover
My mum is moving into a new house in May. I'm sure she will spend some time in deciding how to decorate, perfect colours and so on but I know she would love a little handmade cushion by me. I have a few quilt blocks that I made last year for the Quilt Block Boot Camp that I didn't finish but I'm just as likely to go back to the drawing board and find something that suits her perfectly. 

I love Ros' aka Sew Delicious version of the Economy Block Cushion, Raspberry Kiss Cushion with all that low volume or the striking London Calling cushion

My Economy Block cushion top - I'm not sure mum would love this!
Emma Clutch Tote
My friend Amy's (of Ladybug and Daisychain fame) first pattern was the Emma Clutch Tote. I was lucky to be one of the original testers but challenged myself a little too much with my fabric choices. I need to circle back and make another with some pretty cotton fabric (rather than the heavy drill I used the first time!). 

Here is Amy's example. Love how you can hold the handle or flip it over to be a clutch. 

Mug Rug
I think I could do an entire post about mug rugs but will limit to my favuorite that I found online by Mack and Mabel who guest posted on Simply Solids. My mum drinks a lot of coffee and I could actually see her using this. Will have to see what I can come up with. 

Commuter cowl / scarf 
I don't think I ever see my mum without some type of scarf. Maybe it is just because when she visits us from Brisbane to Melbourne, she is freezing!

I made this commuter cowl last year - was so quick and easy to put together. I also have this Make it Perfect Scarves and Cowls pattern (seriously $3 - bargain!) so I might try one of those too.  

Lots of options to make, hope this inspired you a little? What are you making this Mother's Day?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

FriXion Pen - a 'scientific' test on fabric

I've been using the Pilot Frixion pens for a while but with my recent foray into the land of quilting (am I a quilter now?), I thought I would conduct a very rigorous scientific experiment to see how they shape up (you can detect the sarcasm there right?). 

The Hypothesis 

"The erased lines reappear in low temperatures"

I've read other reviews - Freshly Pieced for example - but as soon as they start talking about snow, I kinda wonder if it is relevant in our Australian climate ie hot!!

Now I'll preface all this by saying that Pilot (makers of the FriXion pens) are designed for paper. The are not designed for fabric or tested while developing them. 
"perfect for everyday use at work, home or school. With no damage to the paper, you can erase and instantly re-write over your mistakes."
Information online does state that the ink will reappear in temperatures below -20 degrees.
"The friction-generated heat caused when rubbing the paper with the special tip turns the ink invisible (put the document in the freezer and the ink re-appears)."

The Test

"Test the fabric in temperatures below -18 and between 0-4 and a control of approximately 28-30 degrees"

Method and Materials

I used two styles of FriXion erasable pens: the Gel Pen in Black and Blue and Marker in Violet.    

Here is before photo. I ruled three lines onto three 5" charm squares. One to be placed in the freezer, one in the fridge and one was my 'control'.

I gave them all a quick press with steam. Not talking long here people and I possibly could have ironed longer, with starch, sprayed water or something (maybe a later test!). You can see where the heat has removed the words I wrote at the top and I didn't even go over the top, that's just from the iron close to it.

I then popped the 'freezer' one into the freezer. Flat on a pull out drawer for one hour. The 'fridge' went into the top shelf .... on top of a box of choccies... mmmm I should find them again... and finally the 'control' was left right on my kitchen table. Now I will say that there was a good chance the fridge and freezer were opened a few times during that hour so possibly some changes in temperature! 

As an indication, I found this temperature guide from Choice. Fridge temperatures should be between 0-4 degrees and freezers should be -18 degrees. Now depending on where you live in Australia, you might get fridge type temperatures but I don't know of any where (unless you live in the snowy mountains areas!) that gets below -18 degrees. 

Analyse and Results

"Lines have returned at the lower freezer temperatures and faint lines at the fridge temperatures"

After one hour I removed the fabric charms and here is what I found. The lines had certainly reappeared on the freezer fabric and faint lines on the fabric from the fridge. The control fabric was exactly the same. 

If you ironed it again the lines would disappear. The freezer temperature fabric is much more prominent than the fridge fabric. I even had to draw these amazing little arrows on the photo as I didn't think you would see where they were! The line was only from the marker rather than the pen at this temperature.

Theorize and Apply

"I wouldn't recommend that you use the pens to mark quilting lines"

But for use in seams say marking notches in a pattern or tracing around a pattern that you will then cut on the line it would be totally fine. If you are anything like me and perhaps more carefree (and not entering quilts into competitions for example!), then go ahead knowing that you can just give it another blast of steam from the iron and they will be gone. 

Besides ... I'm not going for any sleigh rides in the snow with my quilts any time soon....

If you want to read more - try this awesome one by Quilt Skipper who spoke to reps at Pilot!

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