Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2016: Colourful Pencils

Here is my second entry in the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy Ellis from Amy's Creative Side: Colourful Pencils. Regular readers of this blog have seen it quite recently, for I made it only a few months ago.

It is inspired by an original art print designed by Melbourne-based graphic artist and illustrator Harper and Charlie. I saw this print last year in November and immediately thought that it would make a great patchwork quilt. I contacted them to ask for permission to make a quilt inspired by this design and was very happy when they said yes!

Colourful Pencils is quilted very densely with Aurifil 40wt threads in matching colours:

For the binding I used a lovely stripey fabric:

The quilt measures 31'' x 51''. It now hangs in my son's room - he loves the 3D effect. The pattern for this wall hanging is available in my pattern stores on Craftsy and Etsy.

I am entering this quilt in the ROYGBIV Quilts Category (rainbow quilts). Do check out some of the other quilts in the Festival as well - there is so much eye candy and inspiration to be found!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2016: Starimekko

It's that time of year again: the Blogger's Quilt Festival 2016 is on, hosted by Amy Ellis from Amy's Creative Side. I am entering my quilt Starimekko in the Large Quilt Category (it is 67'' square).

I love making Lone Star quilts, and in July 2015, when I had finished my red and white Lone Star (which was one of my entries in the Blogger's Quilt Festival 2015), I decided to make a more modern version. For that version I used the iconic Unikko (Poppy) design by Maija Isola for the famous Finnish company Marimekko in nine different colourways. I had been collecting these fabrics for quite a while - I bought most of them at the Finnish Etsy shop OttaShop.

I used large diamond shapes to showcase the fabrics, and added white 1'' sashing strips. The binding is yet another Unikko print.

For the back I used a large Marimekko print called Hetkiä (Moments), designed by Maija Louekari:

I quilted this modern Lone Star in straight lines through the diamonds, ½” from the seams, continuing in the white spaces outside the star, using a walking foot and white Aurifil 40wt thread. It has a thin cotton batting, so it's perfect for early spring nights here in subtropical Queensland.

After I showed this quilt on my blog and on Instagram, quite a few people asked about the pattern. It took me more than a year to write it down (much longer than it took to make the quilt!), but it is now available in my pattern shop on Craftsy and Etsy.

Don't forget to check out the other quilts in the Festival and stay tuned for my second entry!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

New pattern: Lone Star Baby Quilt, made with half-square triangles

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I love Lone Star quilts, and that I have made quite a few.  Many people admire them, but I often hear that they wouldn't dream of making one - too hard, with the diamond shapes and inset seams.
As a quilter who thought so myself for many years I can relate to that - however, there is a way to make a Lone Star quilt and avoid all those issues: by using half-square triangles (HSTs).

This Lone Star baby quilt measures 40'' (100 cm) square and it is made up of squares, rectangles and half-square triangles. It is pieced and quilted with white Aurifil 40wt thread. I quilted it 'in the ditch', with the lines continuing in the white bakground fabric.

For the back I used the same aqua fabric that was used in the top, and it shows the quilting really well:

I had a ball taking the quilt out for a photo shoot!

The pattern for this quilt is now available on Craftsy and Etsy. I have just started working with Adobe Illustrator and am quite proud of the diagrams I managed to create!

The pattern is very suitable for beginning quilters. I have included instructions on how to make multiple HSTs at once - quick and easy!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Etsyversary - celebrate with a 20% discount!

Five years ago today I opened my Blue Jacaranda shop on Etsy! (I blogged about it here)
At that time I mainly sold screenprinted fabric postcards (and very cute kids' oilcloth aprons - here are my boys modelling them, they were so little then!). Then the burlap items came up (the burlap coffee sack apron was quite a hit), followed by the screenprinted fabric stretched in a hoop.

Nowadays I mostly sell PDF quilting patterns and pencil rolls - but I also have homewares, handprinted fabric, a few baby quilts, textile art, etc...

To celebrate this Etsyversary, use coupon code HAPPYBDAY at checkout for a 20% discount on any item in the shop.

The more items I sell now, the less I will have to take with me in the upcoming two moves... So you will be doing me a big favour!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Quilting again: half-square triangles

Finally I am quilting again! I've made a top with lots and lots of white and aqua half-square triangles and have almost finished quilting it. I'll show it here when it is completely done, which should be in the next few days.

This might be my last quilt for a while, as we have some busy times ahead of us. My husband has found a new job in Sydney and will start in January. We plan to move in December, when the kids have finished the school year, but unfortunately the lease on our current house ends in November and we have been asked to vacate it at that time. A friendly request to extend the lease with a few weeks was denied, so it looks like we'll have to find a short-term rental place and store our furniture until we move to Sydney. Very inconvenient and quite stressful, but I'm sure we'll manage...

Friday, 19 August 2016

Sewing again: Kombi Van pencil case

Yesterday I realised that it had been more than a month since I last touched my sewing machine! I could clearly hear it calling out to me, and decided to whip up a quick project: this cute Kombi van pencil case, made with a funky home dec fabric that I bought last year (couldn't resist it of course!).

I've added the case to my Etsy shop and hope to take my place at the sewing machine again soon. I am trying to master Adobe Illustrator to use it for designing patchwork quilts, and have just created a design that I would like to create IRL... Stay tuned!

Meanwhile I am also still knitting (and watching the Olympics) - the baby blanket is progressing steadily; about one quarter is done now.

And what have you been up to these days?

Monday, 15 August 2016

SAQA Oceania Blog Hop 2016

Welcome! I am happy to kick off the SAQA Oceania Blog Hop 2016.
SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) has a Benefit Auction of art quilts every year, and this year 36 Oceania members contributed a piece: the Oceania Collection.

The Auction starts on September 16th, and in the weeks leading up to it 16 Oceania members will show how their quilts were made and what inspired them to make them in the SAQA Oceania Blog Hop 2016. A full list of all participant artists can be found here on the SAQA Oceania blog.

This is my Auction piece, Colouring In:

I love the current trend of colouring books for grown-ups and have quite a pile of them:

When I was thinking about my contribution for this year's Auction, my eyes fell on this pile and I decided to quilt a colouring page. I started with plain white fabric. My favourite colouring-in books are the ones with geometric patterns, so I quilted a triangle grid using black Aurifil 50wt thread:

For the pencil strokes I wound a bobbin with Aurifloss embroidery thread and turned the quilt around to sew from the back. For the top thread I used a matching Aurifil 50wt thread.

I then used fabric in the same colour to appliqué a pencil shape:

Initially I had planned to use only one colour, but I decided that that wasn't enough, so added another one:

And then a few more:

And some more pencils:

Then I decided it was enough, and I finished the quilt with a facing finish. Here is a close-up of the colouring-in:

And the view from the back:

This is my fifth Auction quilt! Here are the four previous ones, clockwise from top left: Balance 1 (2010), Balance 3 (2011), Black and White #3 (2013) and Escape (2015).

Don't miss the next posting in this Blog Hop by Dale Rollerson on August 17th!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Baby Blocks

I am still in knitting mode (perfect during the Olympics) and last week at the library I took out all the knitting books I could find. In one of them, Stitch Library by Claire Crompton, I found a pattern that looked familiar:

Baby blocks! It's one of my favourite quilt patterns, although I haven't dared to try it yet - too many Y seams... (I have made Baby Blocks trivets with felted wool though). I knitted a sample in this pattern and made it into a pincushion:

The pattern is really simple and I like it very much, so I've started a baby blanket for a baby that is expected in our family at the end of the year:

That'll keep me going for a while! I have also knitted my first beanie, for hubby. It's only a little too large...


Thursday, 4 August 2016

How to make continous t-shirt yarn

After my posting about knitting with t-shirt yarn last week, a few people asked me how I make yarn from t-shirts, so I thought I'd post a short tutorial. It's really simple!

First of all, obviously, get a t-shirt - one without side seams, so you will get yarn without seams. Old, well-washed shirts work best, so raid the closet or visit the thrift shop. Avoid shirts with large prints as the printed area usually does not curl up well (the print on the shirt in the photo below had almost disappeared and did not pose any problems). Also, make sure the shirts are made from single-knit jersey, as this fabric stretches easily and will curl when it is cut. Double-knit or interlock jersey will not curl, so will not yield the typical t-shirt yarn. (Ask me how I know)

Next, trim off the bottom hem and the top part of the shirt from armpit to armpit. To do this, I fold the shirt in half as shown in the photo below, leaving about 2'' (5 cm) uncovered:

... and, being a quilter, use my rotary cutter and ruler to cut off these parts. Of course you could also use a pair of fabric scissors.

Discard the bottom hem and the top part of the shirt. You now have a seamless tube of fabric with one side folded towards the other. Make sure you leave about 2'' (5 cm) uncovered. Cut the tube into strips that are 1-1.5'' (2.5 - 4 cm) wide, but stop cutting about 1'' (2.5 cm) before the end (where I have added the dotted line):

Now you need to unfold the tube and cut diagonally from one strip to the next to make continuous yarn. To do this, I find it easiest to hang the tube over one arm:

... and cut across as indicated in the photo below:

Cut the first strip to the edge of the tube to make the beginning of the yarn:

Let this strip drop and cut the next strip to the first one at the back, as shown below:

Continue like this until you have cut all strips

Now stretch the yarn to make it curl up:

... and roll it into a ball, ready to use for knitting, crochet or braiding. This medium-sized men's shirt yielded almost 20 yards (18m) of yarn!

Questions? I'm happy to help! Leave a comment (but don't forget to enter your email address so I can reply - it won't be visible to others) or shoot me an email at