Friday, April 17, 2015

Marsala Lion

2015 Pantone Challenge

When I first designed my lion pattern, Marsala had not long been chosen as the Pantone colour of the year and the 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge had just been announced.

Now I must admit that I don't generally tend to enter these kind of challenges as they never seem to coincide with the projects that I am working on, but it suddenly occurred to me that a marsala mane would look amazing on this paper pieced design.

I tried to ignore the idea, and worked on other projects, but the marsala lion kept on haunting me. Late one night (isn't that always the way with online fabric shopping!?!) I sat down to order fabrics.

I don't know how other people experienced it, but I found it really difficult to choose fabrics in the right shade based on the images on my computer screen. This difficulty was compounded by the fact that many of the fabrics that I KNEW were marsala had very straight geometric designs and would not have been suitable for my lion. Other fabrics with more fluid designs were difficult to judge as to whether they were more red, brown or marsala.

I bought a range of fabrics in roughly the colours that I wanted, knowing that I would probably change my mind with regards to placement and exact use of the fabrics when I saw them in person. In the end, I suspect that some of my fabrics were more red than marsala, but they work well within my design and that was my top priority. 

The fabrics that I used were a mixture of Tula Pink's Moonshine, Carolyn Friedlander's Doe, various Cotton and Steel prints and Katrina Roccella's Skopelos. I love the way that the fabrics work together.

When deciding which fabrics to put where, I was inspired by Patti of Retired to Quilt's interpretation of my lion pattern. I loved the way that she shaded the lion but didn't want my lion to be an exact copy of hers. I wanted to make a lion that was completely different to my first interpretation of the pattern. I don't like to sew the same thing too many times, so when I do, I like to change things up and try new things. When the pattern is one of my own, it has the added benefit of showing the versatility of my patterns.

My Utopia Lion- the first Lion that I sewed
There was one slight technical hitch in the making of this cushion. It was commissioned by my 4 year old son who, the moment that he saw a picture of my lion design had said "I want you to make one of them for me!" After seeing my Utopian Lion cushion he added a few conditions- I want it to have a pink nose like this one and a black mouth.

Call me a naughty mummy, but I ignored the request for a pink nose and when my son saw the finished lion block he said "Nooooo! I want you to make another one for me with a pink nose!" Luckily my hysterical laughter must have given away the fact that there was no chance that I was making another lion and he pretty quickly accepted the marsala nose instead!

I've had the feeling for a while that my basting has been the weak link in my quilting. This cushion was the first time that I have tried spray basting. I am really really happy with the result and I will definitely be doing it again for small projects (I don't know if I'm brave enough to do it on bigger quilts).

I free motion quilted using 50 weight Aurifil 2000 for the lion and 50 weight Aurifil 2600 for the background. I am definitely becoming more confident in my quilting and am loving the extra detail that free motion quilting adds to my patterns. I am finding that free motion quilting can be used to soften the straight lines of a paper pieced design. This is illustrated in the mane.

I had plans to increase the size of my paw print pattern and use it as the back of the cushion, but my wee man requested a "fluffy back". Having ignored the pink nose request, I didn't feel that I could ignore the minky request, so I chose some navy minky with white polka dots.

I am really glad that I decided to bind the edges of the cushion. I love the way that it frames the lion and makes it look finished.

And my wee man...?

He LOVES his new cushion! When I handed it over there was a flurry of screams while he ran about throwing the cushion on the floor and himself ontop of it.

A Happy Boy With His New Cushion
 As for me, well as is often the case with such things, it is my new favourite cushion. I love the way that he seems to be watching no matter where you sit in the room. He is really striking and keeps drawing my eye back to him.

Mr Tartankiwi is convinced that the lion is my best pattern yet. He can be a pretty tough critic at times, so believe me, this is high praise!

The only problem is that Mr Tartankiwi has now requested a 24 inch tiger cushion and my daughter wants a 24 inch horse cushion- ah my work is never done! I guess I had better get designing and sewing.

No rest for the wicked eh!?!

Finished Size: 24 Inch
Construction: Foundation Paper Piecing
Pattern: Lion by The Tartankiwi
Fabric: Tula Pink's Moonshine, Carolyn Friedlander's Doe, Cotton and Steel, Katrina Rochella's Skopelos
Thread: 50 wt Aurifil in 2000 and 2600

Monday, April 13, 2015

Safari Pattern Release and a Sale

It's still the school holidays here and I am enjoying spending time with my children. Normal sewing and blogging activities will resume next week. 

In the meantime, I managed to find a few minutes to put the finishing touches on the final Safari pattern- the flamingoes.

In addition to this, I have created a Safari pattern bundle.

I have decided to celebrate the release of the final safari pattern, so until 19th April (NZT), the coupon code 'Safari' will give a 25% discount on each of the safari patterns in my Payhip store.

The affected patterns are:
The Giraffe
The Big Cat
The Lion
The Hippo
The Flamingo
The Elephant Patterns (including the Elephant Bundle)
The Safari Bundle

You can also find the new patterns in my Etsy Store, but the coupon code will not work there.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Scrabbled- A Mini Quilt

About six weeks ago, I gained a whopping 1000 followers on instagram. I was so amazed by it, that in a spontaneous gesture, I decided to hold a wee giveaway. Participants had to post a picture of their favourite of my patterns and I in turn promised to sew something for the winner. It might be a new pattern designed especially for them, it might be a twist on an existing pattern, what I made would depend what mood I was in and which picture they chose as inspiration.

The winner posted this picture of a pattern that I was working on for a scrabble tile. It was something that I hadn't yet sewn 1000 times so I happily decided to carry on and make her a mini quilt using the pattern. I asked her which words she would like and then got to work planning.

My initial plan was to make the letters and numbers black, but just as I was about to start sewing, I saw the very very last scraps of my Oakshott Cotton Lakes bundle. I had a quick change of plan and decided to use them for this quilt.

I decided to use my scraps of low volume fabric for the scrabble tiles. I really like the fact that most of these are text fabrics- it somehow seems very appropriate. I was relieved to discover that I had just enough different low volume fabrics to use a different fabric for each scrabble tile.

Finally for the edging of the scrabble tiles, I used some of the tiny scraps of kona black that I had left from my Utopia Quilt.

When I first dreamt up the idea of scabble tile patterns, I had a mini quilt in my head. The further that I got into the pattern, the more insane I knew this idea to be, each tile has a finished size of 4 inches which means that the pieces in the number 3 and 5 are pretty tiny. I stubbornly kept going because I was in love with the idea of a mini! I'm glad that I did, but I must admit that I won't be making another one of these in a hurry. I think I will also make the tiles bigger when (if) I release the pattern.

Once the tiles were pieced, I came to a screeching halt. What should I use for the background of the quilt?

I played with the idea of a patchwork of blocks, but the mock-up that I did in EQ7 just looked wrong. It was too busy and detracted from the scrabble times.

I thought about using a solid background, but that was too plain and boring.

Big scale prints were out as they detracted from the blocks too much.

Then I went to my fabric stash and had a look to see what I had. One fabric sprang out at me. It was PERFECT. I had loved Katarina Roccella's Indelible fabrics the moment I saw them and bought a selection of the prints to make a quilt. These fabrics had been lying together untouched for an increasing period of time and the longer they did, the smaller the chance that the quilt would happen.

When I saw the fabrics lying in my stash, I knew what I had to use as the background for my mini. I love it! It provides the perfect combination of colour, text and big designs for my mini quilt.
I must admit that it was difficult to put this mini in the post and a few bad influences may have tried to persuade me to hold into it. But what's the fun of making things if its not to give them to others?

Scraptastic Tuesday

Monday, March 30, 2015

Giraffe- A Pattern Release

Sorry sorry sorry to those of you who have been waiting for the release of my giraffe pattern for what feel like forever.
I won't go into detail about the delays, needless to say that things outside anyone's control affected the testing process.

That said, the testers did a great job as always. 

Don't you just love Elisabeth's sweet floral giraffe.

Jennifer went for an awesome, more realistic interpretation of the block:

The good news is that wait is finally over.
You can find the giraffe pattern in my Etsy and Payhip stores.

This is the second last safari pattern to be released. When they have all been released, I will create a safari pattern bundle for those who are interested.

While I am talking about my pattern stores, I wanted to let you know that Payhip has now added a shopping cart so if you want to, you can buy more than one pattern at a time yay! 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

IN FLIGHT- Block 6- Swallow

Can you believe that we are now at the halfway point of the In Flight Quilt-Along.
The Swallow is the sixth bird block. I love the way that it is elegantly hovering, waiting to get into its nest under the eaves of the house.
This is the first block which gives you the choice to do a big or a small block. I made a 12 inch version of the block, using my usual combination of Oakshott Cottons and yarn dyed Essex Linen. I really like the dark colour of this bird and the variations in its colour depending on the way that the light hits the Oakshott Cotton.

For those of you in doubt, I must admit that 24 inch blocks are generally more difficult than 12 inch blocks. I know that many people assume that bigger blocks are easier because there is less faffing around with teeny tiny pieces, but the bigger paper and fabric pieces can be harder to deal with. It can be difficult working out ways to hold the fabric and the paper so that you can manipulate everything into the sewing machine.

My tips for dealing with large scale blocks are:
1. It can be hard finding a way to hold the fabric in place while holding everything up to the light and manipulating it under the sewing machine. Don't be afraid to fold the edges of the paper if you need to so that you can more easily grip the pieces that are towards the centre of the paper.
2. If there are small details towards the centre of a paper piece, consider sewing them first before taping the paper pieces together.
3. Large flaps of fabric can easily swing out of place and become difficult to sew neatly. I strongly recommend that you anchor these to the paper as you work. You may choose to do this using glue stick or pins, the choice is yours.
4. Remember I told you to use basting stitches when sewing papers together? You may wish to baste fabrics to the papers as you sew while working on large scale blocks. This is again a way to minimise the agony of unpicking if you make a mistake. It's not essential and many of you may be too impatient to do it, but it might be worth considering if you find yourself unpicking every second stitch.

Please do not let me put you off trying to sew bigger blocks. For all that they are harder, I personally far far far prefer the finished results. Big blocks allow you to have a lot more fun with your fabric choices. They have more impact and drama. The sense of achievement at finishing them is also far bigger!

You can find the Swallow pattern in my Etsy store and my Payhip store.

Don't forget that the linky for these blocks is already open. It will close on 7th April at 8:00am (NZT).

A big thank you to my awesome sponsors:


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