Sunday, 16 June 2019

[slow craft] Constellation Quilts

Over the last few days, pictures of the most gorgeous constellation quilts have been popping up on my feeds. It is either the Baader-Meinhof effect or something else is happening in the universe!

I have finished my Foxy Four Patch Quilt top, have pinned to the back with batting and now I am just lamenting over the type of quilt stitching it needs. Hand or machine? Abstract or linear? I am undecided. I have some weeks up my sleeve, as the baby is not due until August.

But these gorgeous quilts kept on popping up and tempting me with their complexity and fascination.

I love the detail that is in the hand quilting, as blogged about by Cashmerette Pattern blog.

It is a natural progression from Ellen Harding Baker's Solar System Quilt or Jimmy McBride's Stellar Quilts. These quilts take hours, but look at the detail in them.

If I wanted to quilt this constellation, then Haptic Lab have done most of the hard work for me, mapping the Southern Hemisphere and putting it onto a pattern for me.

Skymania has maps of the Southern Hemisphere Skies that you could easily transfer onto a pattern for quilting. You can use their tools to set a time and also invert colours so that it makes it easier to print out and copy.

I will add this idea to my "to make" pile. One day perhaps!

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Foxy Four Patch Baby Quilt (part 2) Constructing the patchwork rows

When working a piece of patchwork there are some big decisions that need to be made.

Do you create each four patch block, sash it and join it together (A) or sew half the sash to the four patch block and run a strip along the top of the blocks (B)?

Certainly (B) is a lot faster in the short term, but consider the advantages from doing (A).

Option A

If you make each individual block you can measure and trim with your rotary blade to tidy up any uneven sewing. When sewing the sections together make sure that your seams line up.

For ironing, I pressed the seams open on the initial four block design and then with the grey sash, I pressed the seam into the block to add a bit of bulk. The key to seams is being consistent throughout the whole project, however, many would argue that seams need to be pressed open.

Option B 

The B option, even through it seems easier, can lead to misalignment of seams running from the top to the bottom of your quilt.

I tend to like to construct each row using the method described in A, it gives me a chance to line up all the blocks and the extra seam at the top of the row allows me to line up the next row more easily.

It also means that you can either construct it as a row of blocks or a cluster of four blocks.

When I was putting this quilt together, I initially created a cluster of four blocks to see what the design looked like. This picture looks a bit squeegee because I haven't trimmed or steamed out the blocks yet to get them to align properly.

One of the reasons why I am reluctant to sew with my son around is because when doing patchwork you are continually sewing and ironing. So the iron is on all the time; set at cotton with lots of steam.

Nicholas is quite uneasy on his feet and when he starts wandering around the house, looking for cookies or a drink, he wants to get involved in what I am doing; which means moving parts on the sewing machine and a hot steam iron.

My anxiety levels go through the roof and sewing no longer becomes the joyful escape that it once was many years ago. But with him out of the house I can relax and enjoy the process, even though I tend to work like a demon to get my projects finished!


The ironing is the most important part of making a quilt. You can use a hot steam iron to stretch fabric to line up seams or shrink fabric to meet a seam.

Creating each of the four patch blocks with grey sashing individually means that there is less likelihood of seams looking a bit off. You can steam and trim each block using your rotary cutter and ruler and make sure that things like up; as you go.

If the seams are a not straight, spray the block with water and use the steam iron to straighten them up. Iron until dry and press the back seams open. If you are pinning together blocks to sew them together and they are not aligning properly, pin them and then give the cotton a shot of steam to either stretch or shrink the fabric.

Here are some links about ironing and patchwork.

End of the row sash

Once you have finished a row, add the end sash.

Create 5 rows that look like this:

On the sixth row we will add the bottom row of sashing.

The inside of our quilt should look like this:

Press with an iron and trim the outside of the quilt ready for the border sash.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Foxy Four Patch Baby Quilt (Part 1)

Sewing and crafting is such a rare occurrence for me at the moment.

My son was given the opportunity to go on a weekend camp through one of the NDIS providers. So out came the sewing machine, a quick visit to Lincraft on the way home and I was set for a weekend of crafty goodness.

 Fabric selection from Lincraft

1 metre of the foxy fabric
2 metres of each of the greys
1 fat quarter of grey gingham
1x spool of grey thread

Here is the plan .... to make a four patch repeating block for a baby quilt.

Fussy cut the foxes out (the longest part of this process) and block each four patch with the darker grey.

I only had one fat quarter of gingham, so I had to use it sparingly.  

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Top 5 picks from the 2018 Top 100 #favequilts

I am chuffed to be listed again in the top 100 quilt patterns on favequilts. But I thought I would share my top 5 picks from the selection.

1. Blue Bargello Quilt Pattern

I love the mathematical feel of this quilt pattern and you could do some interesting things by playing around with the graduation and colours.

If you love this, just check out her rainbow version of this one!

2.  Full Moon Quilt Pattern

I love this because for me it references star wars. Choose some strategic use of star wars fabric and some appliqué this quilt would be loved by every fan!

3. Four Square Free Quilting Pattern

I just love the colours and the simplicity in this quilt. For me, it reminded me of the combinations of a 2x2 pocket rubiks cube.

I loved this one because it was a sampler type quilt. There were lots of flying geese patterns but this one stood out as challenging me (I know how hard those pin wheels can be).

I just love the idea of this triangle pattern and the accents throughout the quilt. Very sophisticated. Make sure that you check out her blog. Some beautiful quilts and ideas contained within!

These honourable mentions were quilts were too good not to mention.
  • Road to Oklahoma Quilt Pattern. Loved the way in which the designer used some simple patching techniques to create a quilt that looked complex and sophisticated.
  • Strip and Flip Quilt. simple yet effective. I think that this pattern could be easily knocked up in a weekend. You could also use the idea to use up scraps by making a jelly roll length of fabric from matching colours for each graduation. 
  • Aztec Charm Pack Pattern. Similar idea to the Oklahoma Quilt Pattern, take a jelly roll or some charm packs and experiment with basic blocks.
  • Church Picnic Quilt. I love the idea of doing a cathedral window quilt, but not the hard work that is involved! 
What do you think of my choices? Do you agree? 

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Society 6 Throw Pillows

I have a few designs up on Society 6 that you might like to check out. They have 30% off for new members at the moment which makes them $21 US.




Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Sixteen Patch Baby Quilt rides again!

It has been a while between patchwork projects, but my Sixteen Patch Baby Quilt tutorial keeps on generating traffic for the web site and it looks like crafters are enjoying the tutorial.

I recently received another email to say that the pattern was featured in FaveQuilts' collection of 24 Traditional Quilt Patterns and Quilt Blocks! Check out the great list of quilt patterns and projects.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Patchwork Knitted Blanket Ideas

At work at the moment there is a little knitting clique that are knitting blankets for charity. Every week they get together to knit squares of 20cm x 20cm and they are hoping to stitch them all together at the end and produce a few blankets.

So here are some ideas that I stumbled across.

I am not a knitter at all, I seem to have better confidence and technique with a crochet hook than two needles. But I am giving it a go and I see it as an opportunity to learn a new skill. After all, we always need an extra craft project and cats are enjoying the fact that I have been sitting on the couch knitting while watching television.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

The passing of Vladamir

I am absolutely shattered at the passing of Vladamir last Friday (29th June, 2018).

After battling kidney issues for 6 weeks, it was time to say goodbye. My beautiful boy had deteriorated to the point where he was skin and bones and he was having difficulty swallowing.

But for the eight years that we had him, we had the best time. He was the most gentle of cats. Befriending anyone who arrived at our place, he loved to jump up on laps and make people feel very special.

He was so patient as well, especially with our special needs boy Nicholas. He could pull his tail, lift him up, throw him and he would still be gentle with him.

He was a rose between two thorns, our girl cats and he will very much be missed by all. 

He is probably running around up there with Boris and Anastasia and having a grand old time.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Noah Greenfeld

This is the first time I have come across Noah, I saw a link on the Epiphany ASD blog.  Linked to the blog is a 60 minutes story about Noah's story.

For me, it is the first time that I have heard a parent in a similar position to us talk so candidly about what it is like to be a parent of a special needs child. 

Most of the parents that I know are "card carrying" members of the Phelan McDermid army. Most have drunk the cool aid and have re-invented their lives to evolve around their special needs child.n The campaigns, t-shirts and positivity can sometimes be a bit too much for me, when I think about the impact that he has had on my hopes and dreams. Don't get me wrong, I love him to bits, but part of me died the day I found out about his condition.

Reading about Noah and hearing his brother talk about him has given me another opportunity to talk about what we are going through with Nicholas. Josh Greenfeld was a successful writer and he talks about the impact of Noah on his life, his career and his family. I was very sad to read that he recently passed away, but I was glad that he took the time to share his story with us all.

His brother Karl Tao Greenfeld is a successful author and wrote a book what what it is like to be a brother to a non-verbal autistic. "Boy Alone" outlines his journey and is the fourth book written about Noah. I often wonder about what is like for my daughter to have some of these similar experiences, to love a sibling that in effect won't return their affection in the same way. She is, in effect, an only child.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Weekend Respite

The hubby and I stole a few days away in Sydney last weekend, by ourselves. No kids, no real commitments just both of us together. 2018 has been one hell of a ride so far and we both felt that we needed time to stop and recoup.

Sometimes as a special needs parent you tend to forget to look after yourselves. I'm back at work full time this year, so I don't have that quiet time on a Wednesday that I used to get. The plus side is that I guess my career is taken more seriously because I am full time (but that is a blog post for another day). Hubby is part time and taking over the primary caring duties. The role reversal has been interesting, along with the assumptions and statements made to me about this arrangement for our family.

As Tori gets older, we can see that in a few years time she will be wanting to get more independent, making her own way to school and back. She can basically take care of herself at the moment, she knows all the university food group basics; scrambled eggs, 2 minute noodles and toasted cheese sandwiches. She helps with the cooking and cleaning and is happy to bring the washing in when asked.

As she gets older, the irony is that Nicholas is getting harder to manage. He is still not toilet trained at seven years of age; despite working on it for the last 4 years.  Still non-verbal, he can point to wanting a drink or something to eat, but there is not much "conversation" beyond that.  He will "pinch" us when he is not getting his own way and he has started to show signs of frustration, but it is hard to reason with a 25 kg non-verbal seven year old. He is slowly developing, but it is a at a glacial pace. He still needs constant 24/7 supervision and a highly structured environment. In another life I would have two kids who would be learning their way to independence. But alas, that was not the card that was dealt to me.

And then there is the NDIS happening, which will probably happen at the same time as the NBN and cause us a whole world of pain.

In the mean time, we will try and grab respite whenever we can, be it 2 hours on a Saturday or a weekend away (which happens very very rarely).