Monday, 20 November 2017

Giveaway Winner

Just a very quick post today to announce that the winner of the book and Tula Pink Patch giveaway is Paula (bubbabean22 on instagram). As the winning post was one in which she tagged a friend, @fattycornersquilts   will also receive a small prize in the post from me.

Both winners have been contacted and were thrilled.

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway, it was lots of fun.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Animal Quilts Book Blog Hop- Day 1


When my son (my youngest child) started school in February 2016, it dawned upon me that I was reaching a crossroads. Unless I became more disciplined about quilting as a career, my days of staying at home and playing in my sewing room were numbered. I was approaching the moment where I would have to return to a proper grown up day job if I didn't take quilting more seriously.

So I decided to start collecting ideas for a book. Animal Quilts is the result. I took my time and made sure that I loved each and every idea that I put forward. Many designs were created, many were rejected.

I made a few key decisions right from the start.
  1. I wanted my designs to feature centre stage. Even though it might be impractical for printing purposes, I wanted to create a book of quilts, not a book of quilt blocks with instructions on how to turn these into cute pouches and cushions.
  2. I wanted the patterns to be BIG. I didn't want the quilts to consist of multiple repeats of the same block. I have a low attention span for sewing the same block over and over. I don't  mind doing it to perfect my design, but once the design is finished I like to move onto the next project.
  3.  The construction of the blocks was important to me. I spent a lot of time drawing, redrawing, and testing to make sure that everything would sew together as well as possible. I always feel that the better that I design a pattern, the more successfully you guys will be able to sew it. To me, designing paper pieced patterns is not just about drawing a series of lines, it's about drawing a series of lines that are easy to sew. What is the point of designing a stunning pattern if nobody can sew it together properly?
  4. I wanted the chance to share paper piecing tips in my book. There are many many tricks that I have learnt along the way and although I have shared many of these on my blog, I wanted to be able to share my latest thoughts in one place.
  5. I wanted to empower those who are scared of paper piecing. While the patterns in this book are not designed with beginners in mind, I strongly believe that once you master a few basics and discover a style of paper piecing that suits your personality, these patterns can be attempted by anyone. If you're an adventurous beginner, jump in with both feet and give yourself permission to make mistakes. If you are more cautious, start on simpler blocks, master the basics and then move onto the patterns in this book.
  6. While I really wanted to create a book of quilts, I wanted to offer people options for what they can do with the patterns. Most patterns in the book come complete with a number of suggestions as to different ways that you can use the pattern.

I will admit that it was tough keeping all the designs secret. I tend to be pretty impetuous in what I share on social media so I had to take a deep breathe each time that I felt like sharing and email friends instead.

In the very early days, my exact plan for the book changed a few times.  Initially it was going to be a book of black and white animals against colourful fractured backgrounds. The Panda and the Polar Bear designs date back to this initial version of the book. I quickly found this concept too limited and boring. I moved on.

My next plan was to work with animals from a specific area of the world, but again this was too limiting.

Finally I decided to just choose birds and animals that I liked. Some are requests from my children, others are animals that I've been wanting to design for a while. Some were challenging to design, others came together quickly. I guess that you could say that it's a bit of an eclectic mix, but I like it that way!
Over the next two weeks, a collection of my talented quilting friends will show you the wonderful quilts that they have made using patterns from my book. I've seen a few sneak peaks and I can tell you that  there are some really exciting projects to share. Make sure that you drop by their blogs to have a look. The schedule is as follows:

Monday 6th November – me
Tuesday 7th November – Annabel from Little Pincushion Studio 
Wednesday 8th November – Chris from Made by Chrissie D 
Thursday 9th November – Quilting Daily
Friday 10th November – Matthew from Mister Domestic 

Monday 13th November – Kate from Quilt with Kate 
Tuesday 14th November – Kristi from Schnitzel and Boo 
Wednesday 15th November – Angie from Gnome Angel 
Thursday 16th November – Paul aka Evildemondevildog 
Friday 17th November – Sarah from Sariditty

*** Please be aware that we are all scattered around the globe, so the exact time and date for posting may vary according to the time zone that each individual lives in.**

Giveaway!

To round off this post, I thought it would be fun to have a giveaway. The winner of the giveaway will receive a signed copy of my book, a limited edition Tula Pink Frog Patch, a 12 inch add-a-quarter plus ruler and a mini charm pack of Violet Craft Palm Canyon fabric.

There are lots of opportunities to win. You can enter as many times as you wish. After the giveaway closes, I will collate all the names and pick a random winner.

I will close entries on 16th November at 10pm New Zealand Time (remember we are ahead of the rest of the world!).

The giveaway is open worldwide.

Do as many or as few of the following as you wish:
  1. leave a comment on this blog post telling me the first pattern that you want to sew from the book.
  2. Follow me on instagram and leave a comment on the prize picture post
  3. Follow me on instagram and tag a friend (or friends)who you think will be interested in the giveaway. (If the winning post is one tagging a friend, I will send them a copy of my new Pride and Joy paper pattern and an add a quarter ruler)
  4. Follow me on facebook and leave a comment on the giveaway prize post.
  5. Share the giveaway post on facebook publicly (I can only award prizes to entries that I can see).
I will do everything that I can to contact the winner, but if I have not heard from them within a week, I will draw a new winner.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Announcing Animal Quilts Blog Hop


I'm really excited to announce the talented line-up of quilters who have agreed to be part of the blog hop for my new book of foundation paper pieced patterns- Animal Quilts.

Monday 6th November – me
Tuesday 7th November – Annabel from Little Pincushion Studio 
Wednesday 8th November – Chris from Made by Chrissie D 
Thursday 9th November – Quilting Daily
Friday 10th November – Matthew from Mister Domestic 

Monday 13th November – Kate from Quilt with Kate 
Tuesday 14th November – Kristi from Schnitzel and Boo 
Wednesday 15th November – Angie from Gnome Angel 
Thursday 16th November – Paul aka Evildemondevildog 
Friday 17th November – Sarah from Sariditty


I must admit that I've seen a few sneak peaks of their work and I can tell you that there are some really exciting projects on the go.

See you back here on Monday as I kick off all the fun.

** Please note that the participants are spread around the globe. As such, the exact time and date that they post may vary slightly from the dates given above.


Thursday, 31 August 2017

Lion Quilt

I'm going to start this post with a confession:

When I first started paper piecing, I was scared of printed fabric and top list of designers whose fabric I never thought I'd use was Kaffe Fassett. The bold prints, the high contrasts- it all just seemed too much. I was worried that the prints would interfere with the clear sharp lines of my paper pieced designs.

These days I have conquered my fears. I embrace the challenge of finding the perfect printed fabrics to sew with and I love the extra dimension that Kaffe Fassett's amazing and vibrant fabrics add to my sewing.

When I was given the opportunity to work with Kaffe Fassett's Artisan Fabrics in the new Red and Pink colourways, I couldn't resist!

My first impression on seeing the fabrics was that there were a couple of prints which were perfect for Lions manes. It seemed like a great opportunity for me to make a lion in preparation for my class at the New Zealand National Quilt Symposium.

The lion pattern is one that I designed a couple of years ago using Electric Quilt 7. Returning to it, I quickly realised that my first job was to update the pattern. I have learnt a lot since I initially released it and I wanted to improve the formatting of the pattern pieces and to present the diagrams in a manner that is more representative of my current patterns. If you have previously bought the lion pattern, you should now have access to the updated file.

Once the pattern was improved, I made the first lion. I was initially a bit cautious about the batik mane fabric, but I love how it worked together with the floral background and solid face.

I loved it, but still had a ton of fabric, so I picked another set of fabrics and made another lion.


At this stage, I had to stop and think. I knew that the logical thing to do would be to keep going and sew some more lions, but I have a low attention span for repetitive sewing and I knew that I would struggle with sewing another two lions.

I took the opportunity to play with layouts in EQ7. I tried two block quilt layouts. I tried 4 block layouts both with sashing and without sashing and finally accepted the inevitable, I needed to keep piecing lions.

The third lion went well. I wasn't initially sure if I had made a good decision for the mane fabric, but I love how the flowers work and I think that the contrast between the different aspects of the design is great.

The fourth lion was a bit struggle. I was chronically unsure about the fabrics- they are a lot more busy than I normally use and the repetition of sewing lions was beginning to get to me.

I kept working and got there in the end.
I was still unsure about this final lion when I went to the Canterbury Modern Quilt Group's monthly sew day, but I was amazed to find that everyone responded to this block the best!

On it's own, I think I would have dropped this block, but when put together with the other lions, he works well.

I had fun putting the quilt together and must admit that I really love the finished quilt. Leeanne Hopper- Quiltmekiwi did a great job on the quilting as always.

I am currently in the process of producing a printed paper pattern for this lion quilt, but I have a problem! I can't think of a decent name for it. Please help me, I'd love to hear your suggestions. If you provide a name that I love, I will send you a printed version of my pattern (when it is finished).

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Teaching a Child to Paper Piece

I'm really excited to be participating in the Back to School Blog Hop 2017. Sam of Hunter's Design Studio has lined up an impressive line up of 32 quilters to teach you some handy tips and trick.There is something for everyone, so make sure you go and check them all out.

Over the past few months I have been teaching my daughter how to foundation paper piece. We have both really enjoyed spending quality time together with a sewing machine and we have learnt a few tricks along the way. I thought that it would be fun to share our experiences with you all.

I should probably start by telling you that my girl 8 years old. She has grown up watching me paper piece, so she is used to the idea of sewing with paper and fabric.  She started to show an interest in sewing a while ago, but her interest really took off when we gave her a little blue sewing machine and an awesome Annabel Wrigley book for her eighth birthday. I am really glad that we made this investment as it has given her independence to explore fabric and has given me the peace of mind to allow her to do it (I would not be comfortable letting her loose on my big powerful Juki).

If I'm honest, she is close to growing out of her wee sewing machine, but I am really glad that we bought it as it has proven that she IS interested and that she WILL use a sewing machine if we buy her a bigger one. She has discovered that one of her favourite things to do is to join me in sewing with the Canterbury Modern Quilters Group. Everyone there makes her feel welcome and encourages her. She sees them all as her friends.

When teaching her to paper piece, I have a few important goals:
  • I want her to be safe.
  • I want her to have fun.
  • I want her to be successful (too much frustration will put her off for life). My daughter sets high standards for herself and can be hard on herself when she makes mistakes. This is something that I try to take into account when we are sewing together. I want her to set realistic standards, accept that she is learning and be proud of what she achieves.  
  • I don't want to stand over her and tell her what to do at every turn. This is not because I am lazy. It's because I think that it is important for her to learn the process of what she is doing so that she can anticipate every step and understand fully what she is doing. I am doing her no favours if I deny her the room to learn and make mistakes. As you can no doubt understand, there is a fine line between too much supervision and not enough. The border will lie in different places for different children.
In order to achieve these goals, I have adapted my usual piecing technique. I try to remain flexible and to alter things that I see are not working and I advise you to do the same. Be observant. Pay attention for problem areas and be prepared to experiment to solve any issues that crop up.

Here is a list of things that I recommend that you consider:

1. Pattern Choice

It is essential that the first pattern that you sew together is not too complicated. I started my daughter with my Kingfisher pattern. It consists of three paper templates, two of which require 7 pieces of fabric to be sewn. The final paper template requires 15 pieces of fabric to be sewn.

As well as the number of pieces, consider how easily the sections can be sewn together. Do they need points to match exactly, or does the pattern allow a certain amount of leeway. The Kingfisher pattern is one which does not have any really critical join points, and if the pieces are slightly misaligned it is not a disaster.

Finally, I would say that you should choose a pattern that your child likes. Perhaps you could look out two or three simple patterns and give your child the final decision as to which one they sew. If they are excited about what they are making, they are far more likely to press on and finish.

The pattern that she is sewing in the photos is my hedgehog pattern from the Woodland Quiltalong 2. It is more complicated as it has more paper templates and more pieces to sew on those templates, but she loves the pattern and it is a straightforward one for beginners to sew together. So far, she has had no problems with it.

2. Time

Allow plenty of time and make sure that you are able to give your child as much attention as they require. Be prepared to take a step back as they gain in confidence. It took three sessions for my daughter to sew her kingfisher- one paper template per session. Each time that she started anew, she needed a short reminder as to what she was doing. The reminders became shorter each time.
The third pattern piece was the most intensive to sew and she grew a wee bit tired and frustrated by the end. I offered her the chance to stop if she wanted to, but she was determined to keep going. Towards the end, I had to encourage her to go for a run around the block to clear her head. This was supposed to be a fun activity for her, so when it threatened to turn into a battle, it was time for a break and a change of scenery. 

3. Piecing Order

Take a critical look at the pattern before you start sewing. You don't have to start piecing from section A. I would suggest starting from the easiest template, one with the least pieces to sew and the fewest nasty angles. 

4. Adapt your Technique

I adapted a few aspects of my usual paper-piecing technique for my daughter in order to make it more appropriate for her age and abilities.

Cutting the Fabric

At this stage, I have taught my daughter to cut her fabric generously. I am happy for her to learn more about accuracy at a later stage when she is more comfortable with the technique.  I would argue that beginners need to learn the logic of the technique rather than worrying about scrimping on fabric.
If fabric wastage bothers you, then don't let your child use your most precious fabrics. My daughter has her own fabric stash, but I'm pretty relaxed about giving her access to most of my fabric and she knows that she is welcome to use fabric from my scrap baskets. Remember, if you are stressing about your precious fabrics then your child will feel it and will not enjoy themself.

Checking whether the fabric will cover the paper. 

As I said earlier, avoiding frustration was one of my big goals and there are few things more frustrating than having to unpick the seam of tiny stitches because your fabric doesn't cover the necessary area.
We developed a wee trick to avoid this. My daughter would position the fabric, then place a pin along the seam line that she was going to sew. She often asked for my help with this step as she found it difficult to manipulate the pin with the required amount of accuracy. After placing the pin, she could carefully fold the fabric back and see if it was correctly positioned. By so doing she avoided having to unpick too much and also avoided shredding the paper by having to resew seams over and over.

Trimming

Although my daughter is quite possibly capable of using a rotary cutter, I am not yet ready to let her try. I kind of like the idea of her having 5 fingers on each hand!
I have taught her to trim her seam allowances using fabric scissors. If anything she errs on the side of caution and cuts the allowances too big rather than too small. In time I will teach her to use a rotary cutter, but for the moment this is ample accuracy for what she needs.

Pressing



When I am paper piecing, I am a bit of stickler for pressing each seam. I love the accuracy that this step gives and feel that it improves my finished result. Although my daughter is capable of using an iron, I gave her the opportunity to use a seam roller instead. She loves it and now only presses her seams with an iron when she has finished a complete template.


Let's be honest, it can be hard work and a bit stressful sewing with children, but it can also be extremely rewarding and fun, especially if you manage to tailor the experience to suit your child's abilities.

I really do think that the most important message of this post is to remain relaxed and have fun. If you can do that, you will be amazed by the things that your child can achieve. You will also gift them a skill that will serve them well in years to come.

Thanks for dropping by. Don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog hop. There are some really great posts sharing extremely useful skills:

Check out the line-up:
Day 1 – August 15 – Sam Hunter: How to spray baste a BIG quilt – www.huntersdesignstudio.com
Day 2 – August 16 – Mandy Leins: Thread Dread: removing stray bits after quilting – www.mandalei.com
Day 3 – August 17 – Nancy Stovall: The Sweet Creamy Filling – www.justquiltingpdx.com
Day 4 – August 18 – Ebony Love: 7 Indispensible feet for your sewing machine – www.LoveBugStudios.com
Day 5 – August 19 – Michelle Freedman: Machine throat plates – www.designcamppdx.blogspot.com
Day 6 – August 20 – Teresa Coates: Edge/Under/Top stitching – www.crinkledreams.com
Day 7 – August 21 – Kelly Cole: Ten ways to regain your sew-jo – www.vintagefabricstudio.com
Day 8 – August 22 – Megan Dougherty: Choose to Fuse: tips for working with fusibles for applique – www.thebitchystitcher.com
Day 9 – August 23 – Kim Lapacek: Tricks to being productive while hauling your kids around – www.persimondreams.blogspot.com
Day 10 – August 24 – Yvonne Fuchs: Circuitboard quilting on Domestic and Longarm Machines – www.quiltingjetgirl.com
Day 11 – August 25 – Sandi Hazlewood: Chain Piecing Quilt Blocks Tips – www.craftyplanner.com
Day 12 – August 26 – Juliet van der Heijden: Paper-piecing with children – www.thetartankiwi.com
Day 13 – August 27 – Maddie Kertay: Fabric folding for any storage solution – www.badassquilterssociety.com
Day 14 – August 28 – Cath Hall: Working with Lawn fabric – www.wombatquilts.com
Day 15 – August 29 – Tracy Mooney: Tips for the perfect seam – www.sewmuchcosplay.com
Day 16 – August 30 – Teri Lucas: How to bury thread – www.terificreations.com
Day 17 – August 31 – Debby Brown: Securing machine quilting knots – www. higheredhands.blogspot.com
Day 18 – September 1 – Flaun Cline: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 1) – www.ipleadquilty.com
Day 19 – September 2 – Jessica Darling: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 2) – www.jessicakdarling.com
Day 20 – September 3 – Trish Frankland: A bigger blade really IS better?! – www.persimondreams.blogspot.com
Day 21 – September 4 – Lynn Krawczyk: Build a simple design with hand stitching – www.smudgeddesignstudio.com
Day 22 – September 5 – Jane Davidson: How to make scrappy HSTs – www.quiltjane.com
Day 23 – September 6 – Linda Pearl: Low cost tips for organizing your sewing room – www.onequiltingcircle.com
Day 24 – September 7 – Christa Watson – Top 10 tips for quilting on a domestic machine – www.christaquilts.com
Day 25 – September 8 – Sarah Nunes: To Starch or Not to Starch – www.berrybarndesigns.com
Day 26 – September 9 – Suzy Webster: Testing fabric for bleeding – www.websterquilt.blogspot.com
Day 27 – September 10 – Sarah Goer: Machine bind your quilts like a pro – www.sarahgoerquilts.com
Day 28 – September 11 – Vanda Chittenden: Beginner paper-piecing tips – www.chittenden.co.za
Day 29 – September 12 – Cheryl Sleboda: Needle threading tips – www.muppin.com
Day 30 – September 13 – Kim Niedzwiecki – Different thread weights and when to use them – www.gogokim.com
Day 31 РSeptember 14 РSandra Healy: Conquer Your Fear of Machine Appliqu̩ Рwww.sandrahealydesigns.com
Day 32 – September 15 – Sandra Starley: The Basics of Antique Quilt Collecting – www.utahquiltappraiser.blogspot.com



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