Friday, July 22, 2016

Woodland Quilt-Along - The Mouse

We kick off the woodland quiltalong today with the pattern that started the whole thing off- the Mouse.

During the quilt-along I will be sewing a set of the woodland blocks using Cloud9 cirrus solids fabric. Thank you so much to Cloud9 for generously providing these fabrics.

I must admit that this is the first time that I have sewn with cirrus solids and I am doing it due to the rave review that my friend Ali gave them. The fabrics are 100% organic cotton and they feel gorgeously soft. They cooperated very nicely when I was paper piecing with them.  I totally understand why Ali was so complimentary about them.

Having previously sewn 4 inch versions of the patterns, I decided to sew the 8 inch versions for the quilt-along, whihc is proving to be a lot less fiddly! I have a plan for what I will do with the patterns, but I won't spill the beans on that yet.

I promise that next week's post will be a bit more detailed, as school holidays will be over and I will have more time to think. I will also not be madly collecting quilts from around the house ready to give my first ever presentation about my quilts tonight- wish me luck!!!

Before I leave, I thought I'd ask- is there anything that you want to know about how I do paper piecing, or tips that you need?

I was thinking I might share how I deal cope with when the first two fabric pieces are really small and only anchor to the paper with one or two stitches. How do I stop them from ripping away from the paper? This is a tip that seems pretty relevant to many of the patterns in this series.

I have just seen the first wee mouse appear on instagram- can't wait to see more!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mini Woodland Quilt-Along - The Prizes!

What's a quilt-along without a few wee prizes to keep things exciting.

First off the lovely people at Aurifil provided a large spool collection of Karen Lewis Threads. I wish I could win these myself- just look at all those amazing colours!

We also have three Fat Quarter Shop tokens. One for $50 and two for $25.

Cloud9 fabrics donated a generous scrap pack of their beautiful cirrus solids fabrics. If you haven't worked with these before, they are a range of chambray weight cross-weave yarn-dyed solids. The bag weighs about a pound and contain bits of all of the colors in workable pieces- great inspiration for you to come up with new colour combinations for your next projects.

Karen Lewis generously donated a scrap pack of her beautiful screenprinted fabric.

The girls at Make Modern Magazine have donated two six month subscriptions to their digital magazine. There is lots of great content included in the magazine so you don't want to miss out!
Finally, I will add two $30 vouchers to spend on my patterns.

I must admit that I haven't had a chance to think about exactly what the prizes will be for. At this stage, I would say that they will be awarded to a mixture of random winners and favourite pieces.

Keep your eye on this post, I will update it when I have more details of what the various prizes will be for.

I will also update if any further prizes are added to the pot.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Introducing the Mini Woodland Quilt-Along


A few weeks ago, I spent a lovely morning with Kristy of Quietplay. It was wonderful to spend time talking about pattern design and quilting with someone who knows exactly what I am talking about.

In the few days before we met, it suddenly occurred to me that it would be nice to make her a wee gift and since I knew that she loves both mini mini quilts and blueberry park fabric, I decided to combine the two.

First up, I designed a mouse. To be honest, its a simplified version of a mouse that turns up in another quilt and which I haven't yet shared on social media. I sewed it quickly and that night I hand stitched the binding while attending stitch group.

When the girls saw it, they loved it and there were requests for a whole set of patterns that could be sewn into coasters. I thought about it and by the end of the evening we had come to the agreement that if I designed the patterns, they would test them for me!
The original mini minis were a teeny tiny 4 inch finished block, if I'm honest that means that some of the pieces are insanely small. To make the patterns accessible to as many people as possible I have provided each pattern as a 4 inch block, a 5 inch block, a 6 inch block and an 8 inch block. Feel free to upsize the patterns even further if you desire.

Mid way through the design process, it struck me that it would be fun to hold a bit of an event- a Mini Woodland Quilt-Along. These blocks are quick and satisfying to sew. They are the perfect summer project for those days when you want to achieve something quickly and to feel as if you have actually achieved something, but don't have the time or energy to start on a new complicated project.

The majority of the event will be held in instagram, but I will write blog posts to support and explain.

The Nitty-Gritty

The quiltalong consists of four woodland patterns which are quick and easy to sew- a mouse, a bunny, a squirrel and a badger. Each week we will sew one block.

The patterns are available in a bundle and can be purchased from my Etsy, Payhip and Craftsy stores. For the duration of the quilt-along, the bundle will be available for the bargain price of US$7.50 (or as close to this as possible taking exchange rates into account!).

Your challenge is to make something with the blocks. You might want to make a set of coasters, you might want to make a mini mini quilt, you might want to make a zipper pouch, you might want to make a cover for your kindle, you might want to sew a cushion or a pin cushion... the possibilities are endless.

The only stipulation is that to be eligible for prizes you need to show a completed item. Just sewing the blocks is not enough to be entered in the draw.

Your entry in the prize draw will take into account the number of blocks that are used to create a finished item.

If you sew a cushion with all four blocks, you will gain four entries in the draw. If you sew a zipper pouch with one block, you will gain one entry.

How to Enter

To enter your items in the prize draw, post them on instagram using the hashtag #woodlandqa and tag me - @tartankiwi

Important Dates

We will kick off the fun today and entries will close on Friday 28th August at 6:00pm NZT (remember that New Zealand timezone is ahead of the rest of the world).

Sorry, I would have left the prize draw open for a little bit longer, but I really want to send all the prizes out before I go to Scotland (I'll be teaching a class in Edinburgh while I'm over so hop over here if you want more details).

This post is pretty long already, so I will write another post tomorrow with details of the generous sponsors, prizes and any other details which I have undoubtedly forgotten.

Ask if you have any burning questions that I have forgotten to mention.

I hope you join the fun- I can't wait to see what everyone sews.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Quilt Market Adventures and a New Pattern

As most of you will no doubt know, Quilt Market is a big event in the Quilting calendar. Twice a year the quilting world comes together, new fabrics are introduced and contacts are made.

If I'm completely honest, watching it all happen on the other side of the world can be pretty frustrating. You feel out of the loop and it's tough watching all the American bloggers get involved when time and budget considerations mean that it is virtually impossible for little old me over here in New Zealand to get involved.

This year, was a little bit different and I had my own littel quilt market excitement. In the run up to quilt market, I received a message from Frances Newcombe who, together with Jane Davidson, was presenting her new Franny and Jane fabric line Manderley for Moda. She asked if I would design a pattern for her booth. I have worked with Frances' fabrics before and love them so it was an easy decision to say yes.

For a wee while, it looked as if it wouldn't go ahead as it would be cutting things very fine for her to send me the fabric. In the end, we agreed that I would design the pattern and Frances would sew it.

After designing the pattern, I gave the pattern a trial run. I made a conscious decision to use a more muted colour scheme than I normally use and I chose a scrappy style. I'm really pleased how well it worked out.

I love the version of the pattern that Frances created. Isn't it stunning!

Here are some photos of the cushion in her booth.

My testers did an amazing job with the pattern:

I'm more than a little bit in love with Anjeanette's version of the block and super impressed that her son chose the fabrics for it- great job!

I always take it as a compliment when testers say that blocks come together easier than expected and a couple of testers (including Kim) made that comment.  I'm pretty sure that the metallic prints in this fabric will look stunning in the right light.

I love Patti's eye for fabric. She has been testing for me for a long time and I can trust her to come up with something beautiful every time.

I'm ashamed to admit that I have mislaid the photo of Zsofia's crane, but she also did a great interpretation of the block and gave me some great feedback.

You can find the crane pattern in my Etsy, Payhip and Craftsy Stores. 

Remember that the coupon code "flashsale" will give you a discount on my Etsy and Payhip stores until 10 June.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

May was for Makers

You might remember me recently saying that I wanted to find a way to keep the fun in my sewing. To not let the pressures of deadlines and pattern designings spoil my fun. To get out of my rut and to get back to doing a wider variety of sewing. One of the ways that I have been doing that recently has been to join in with #Mayisformakers.

This was an initiative started by Lindsey Rhodes. I urge you to go and read her post as to why she decided to buy a new indie pattern each week during the month of May. As someone who uses pattern writing to supplement our family income, this is a subject close to my heart. Free tutorials and patterns are great and I will always provide a few freebies, but at the end of the day, I can't afford to give my talents away for free all the time. I fully endorse what she says and wanted to get on board and support other creatives who are trying to make a living from their work.

The first pattern that I bought was the Scout Tee from Grainline Studio. Although I have sewn plenty of clothes for my children, I am not particularly confident at making clothes for myself. The pattern was straightforward and the result was surprisingly good. Unfortunately the pattern is just a teensy bit too tight across the back so I will have to work out how to alter it for the next time that I give the it a go. I will admit that its not a shape of top that I normally choose, but I actually like the way that it sits so I have also learnt something!

With this initial clothes making success under my belt, I decided to buy a second clothes pattern in the second week. This time I chose the Sidekick Wrap Skirt by Amy Barickman. I must admit that I haven't had a chance to sew it yet but I am looking forward to giving it a try. I have had the fabric for this skirt for a while so I am looking forward to finally being able to wear it.

My next purchase was the Maker Tote by Anna Graham. I have sewn a few of Anna's patterns in the past and am really enjoying making bags at the moment so this one will be a fun one to try.

I must admit that I stressed about the forth week. I just couldn't decide what pattern to buy. There were so many awesome patterns out there and I wanted to try them all. Eventually, I accepted my indecision and bought three patterns by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness.
1. The Aeroplane Bag (I may need to make one of these for my trip to Edinburgh in September!)
2. The Annex Double Zip Pouch (this will make a great pencil case for my daughter who has taken to complaining that I never make anything for her!)
3. The Ultimate Art Organiser. It would be fair to say that I am more than a little bit intimidated by the idea of this pattern, but having sewn a few of Sara's patterns recently I really trust her to walk me through all the steps in a clear and logical way.

My final purchase was also for my daughter. Her teacher has asked her to take slippers to school so that they don't traipse mud into the classroom on damp winter days. I was thinking it would be pretty cool if I sewed her some fun unique slippers so I bought the Indygo Junction Sleepytime slippers pattern. It looks pretty straight forward, I just need to find the energy to work out how big her feet are, find some suitable fabric in by stash and get sewing. It shouldn't be a big job...

I am really looking forward to sewing all of these patterns.

Even if you didn't take part in May is for Makers, remember that there is no wrong time to support independent designers.


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