My version of Stipple Quilting

Hello Everyone

A quilting project has brought me to think about the way I use simple quilting designs to add texture to my applique quilts. I like the applique to be the major design feature in my quilts, so I use a subtle thread weight and colour to add the quilting layer. I stitch in the ditch as close as I can with a very fine thread matching the colour to the background fabric and where necessary to the applique pieces. Stitching in the ditch helps define the applique shapes, they start to look raised almost 3D on the quilt surface.

Whirlygig_7You can see in this picture where I have stitched in the ditch around each circle to make the flower pop and give it dimension. This is when you will need to match your thread to the applique pieces. You can of course use a monofilament thread although this is not my favorite.

 

After the stitching in the ditch is done, I then like to work the design in close to the applique shapes. Working small when close so that the quilting is denser and really pops the applique shapes.

Whirly Gig_2You can see where I have stitched the design close to the stem, making the stem pop. You can also see in this pic where the larger applique shapes have also been quilted inside the shape. I do this to stop the larger shapes from bagging. I find that the larger pieces tend to do what I call bagging, where the fabric can puff looking loose. I also like the effect a little quilting can do to these larger shapes, giving another layer of design. It can look worse when left un-quilted after the quilt is washed.

Whirlygig_4I am not a fan of the traditional stipple quilting and honestly find it hard to do. Maybe that’s because it does not rock my boat as far as a design feature. I love to meander with little spirals, or leaves etc the possibilities are endless. I love to make the shapes varying sizes, this adds more interest and when you have a shape that has gone a bit array it does not show. I use echo quilting to get from one spot to another, making it easier to keep going and get out of those little areas. I do have to remind myself to quilt larger shapes, it is easy to get into a motion of small shapes. I find on the outer areas of the block it can look nice with larger shapes mimicking the smaller shapes that are in clos to the applique.

Whirlygig_6This is the border of cross blocks, I have stitched in the ditch and then done a free motion design in the centre of the block. I really like the effect and will use this more often when I need a fill design for a block.

 

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed my quilting play, and would love to hear any ideas you have.

Happy Stitching

Sharon

 

New patterns now available as pdf downloads

Hello Everyone

Along with new patterns I have been busy creating, I have been busy working on making all of my previous patterns into pdf downloads.

There are a few good reasons for this, one being you can then shop in your birthday suit if you wish. That said ! you can shop anytime and have instant access to your purchase without having to wait for the post. Or pay for the postage.

Another good reason is that I can put more information into pdf’s, for example, links to good information. More pictures, the list is endless.

You can download my patterns from anywhere in the world, this is so exciting being able to share our love of quilting.

I would like to tell you about the patterns I have just converted into pdf format.

Birds in a Bluebird Tree

Birds in a Bluebird Tree

Birds in a Bluebird Tree is a lovely little Wall Hanging or table mat, inspired by the blue and white Dutch china that I love.
A simple applique design with a scalloped border effect.

Luscious Berry Baskets

Cover Pic

Applique lovers will enjoy the Luscious Berry Baskets applique quilt. This quilt is one to add to your family heirlooms.

I am so excited to be able to make sharing my designs a little easier. My patterns are available as pdf downloads on several websites including here on my blog under the downloadable patterns tab. They are also available on Craftsy, to access my craftsy patterns just click on the link in the sidebar. My Etsy store and The Pattern Spot.

Happy Stitching

Sharon

Washing and Blocking your Applique Blocks

Hello Everyone

Working on class projects, has made me think how important it is to wash your applique blocks when you have finished them. Because of the products used to complete the blocks. ie: glue, starch etc, it is really important to get this all out of your blocks.

I don’t always get enough time to fully explain this in class, so I have taken some pictures of my process for you. I hope this helps those of you who are not sure.

Here we go, this is how I go about washing my blocks. First I soak my block in warm water with a mild detergent. I leave it soaking for at least two hours.

Soaking your block

I then rinse all the dirty water out of the block and when the water is clear I gently squeeze out the excess water. I place it flat, right side down on top of a towel.

Layed out on towel

I square it up with my large ruler, making sure all the seams are straight and the measurements are correct.

Pinned in place

I pin as I go so the block stays in the correct position.

Example of pinning

I then press with an iron, I do not move the iron from side to side. If you are not in a hurry you could leave your block to dry overnight on its own without the iron.

Ironing block

finished blocked block

When the block is dry, take the pins out and flip your block over to see your finished block.

Invisible Stitches 2

Here is a close up of the finished block to show you how invisible the stitches are even tho they have been done by machine.

Invisible Stitches

Now on with the quilting, I will leave you with a shot of a feather. I love seeing the quilt and my initial idea for the design start to take shape.

Quilting feather

Corner Quilting

I hope this has helped you, if anyone has anymore ideas on this process I would love to hear them.

If you like my design, and would love to learn invisible machine applique. I will be teaching this class at All Things Patchwork next year.

This block is taken from my quilt Luscious Berry Baskets.

Happy Stitching

Sharon

My Rarotonga Holiday

Hello Everyone

I have been spoil’t this year and have returned from a lovely break away in beautiful Rarotonga. White sands and clear blue water, lots of relaxing on the beach and eating out at wonderful restaurants. I even had some quiet time to catch up on hand sewing.

My highlight was to see amazing Tivaivai quilts. At the museum they were preparing for an exhibition, as I was not going to be there for the exhibition a lovely lady working at the desk took me out the back and gave me my own personal exhibition. These quilts were amazing, the embroidery stitches combined with cut out applique are stunning colourful  displays of local flowers and palms. I was not able to take any photos of this fabulous artwork, but would stress to anyone visiting that it is a must to see. On certain days you can sit with the ladies and learn how they make these wonderful quilts. My husband was loving the exhibition also and took me to the local bookshop and purchased a book on Tivaivai for me. I would also stress that you should be aware of the way this is spelt as there are people trying to commercialize this art and they spell it Tivaevae. If you are interested in this art then this book is a must, a really interesting read from cover to cover. I can definitely see this will have an influence in my designs.

Tivaivai Book

We also loved the flowers on the island, Frangipani is my favourite and there are plenty of these in many beautiful colours. we rode around the island on a scooter, me on the back and loads of fun.

Here are a few of the photos I took of this beautiful place.

Frangipani-three

My collection of Frangipani flowers that had  fallen off the tree. ( Honestly I did not pick them )

Ship Wreck

Ship Wreck in the Harbour

Palm View

Palm trees

Beach

Hibiscus on beach

Hibiscus flower on the beach

Hibiscus Flower

Happy Stitching

Sharon

 

 

Placing your applique on your background

Hello Everyone

Do any of you struggle with placement of your applique ?

I have been writing applique patterns for some time now and have always included a full sized pattern layout sheet. With this in mind I have been working on turning all of my patterns into PDF downloadable patterns. This causes a problem with some of my applique patterns, as the pattern layout sheets are large and you need several A4 or letter sized pages to complete the layout. ( A lot of taping together ) Also through taping these patterns sheets together it is very easy to distort the design. I have decided to take a look at how to eliminate all these pages and found that some of the patterns from other designers are done with a 1 inch grid. This gives you a guide to placement.

There are several methods, I have been playing with the pros and cons of a few of these methods and these are my results::

Light Box:  For my applique placement I have always printed a full sized pattern layout and used a light box.

Pros: Exact placement and no guessing, especially when you have a lot of small pieces to place.

Cons: Does not work well with Dark or heavy background fabric. Not everyone has a light box.

Using a window as a light box is hard on your arms.

Transferring your applique design onto a clear vinyl sheet: This seems to be a popular method.

Pros: Works with any colour or weight of background fabric. Easily transported and you do not need to purchase a light box.

Cons: Pieces move easily and can be hard to get into exact position.

Some books with applique designs give a smaller picture and you can use it as a guide, making it a more organic placement.

Pros: No need to have a lot of pages taped together. No need for a light box. Your blocks will be more original.

Cons: It will take some practice to create a block with lots of small pieces. Hard to get pieces in the exact place. ( Does this matter ? )

1 Inch Grid: Using a 1 inch grid for placement.

I have seen many patterns printed this way, where the applique pattern is shown with a 1 inch grid for placement. I decided to test this method for myself. I made a 1 inch grid using a clear sheet.

Pros: Easy to print. You only ever need to make your vinyl grid once, it can be used many times. Placement is accurate. Its portable and no need to purchase a light box. Works on all background fabrics. Works well with small applique pieces.

Using the inch grid method

Free pattern Rosa Block

The pattern is not full scale, the 1 inch grid is used so you know where to place your pieces.

The first thing I did was to make a 1 inch overlay, using a transparent sheet. The one I used I got from a stationers and it is for architects. I laid this on my cutting board, I also made sure that my ruler marks and the cutting mat marks are the same.

Step 1_edited-1

I then marked lines in 1 inch segments, using my ruler and a fine black marking pen.

step 2

I then numbered the segments along the top and side of the grid.

Step 3

After making my applique pieces I used the pattern guide and the 1 inch overlay grid to place my applique pieces in the correct position.

Overlay placement

Pic 4

Pic 2_edited-1

Pic 3

 

Final pic

As you can see, this method worked out well, if you would like to try this block you can download the free Rosa Block Pattern.

I would love to hear your thoughts, and your favorite method.

Happy Stitching

Sharon

 

Wreath Cushion

Hello Everyone

I have been working hard on applique projects for classes in the coming year, and although I don’t have a lot to show you all at this stage. I have completed this cute cushion.

Wreath Cushion

Quilting Detail

I loved using Wonderfil Invisifil thread on the entire cushion. From Piecing, applique to quilting.

Zoom Detail_edited-1

The thread just sinks in and you can not see the thread that has been used in the applique, I love it ! You do however need to match the colour of your applique piece with the colour of the thread. Which means you need a good selection of colours. Although you would be surprised how the thread blends and therefore you can use a select few colours. I used this thread in the bobbin also and you can buy handy pre-filled bobbins which are great. They are wound to the correct tension which makes life easier.

Circles

The Centre of this cushion has been created in layers, with the large Flower layer underneath and rest of the layers built up from there.

Can you see my applique Stitches ? Don’t get them confused with quilting stitches as I ditch stitched the entire piece first before echo quilting the to finish.

Whole Cushion_edited-1

If you like my cute cushion you can download the pattern here or grab a printed copy here

This cushion will also be on the Wonderfil Threads stand at the Festival of Quilts show this weekend. Or up and coming shows next year.

I would love to see your comments

Happy Stitching

Sharon

A good day to quilt

Hello Everyone

It is such a dreary day today, after the glorious day of sunshine we had yesterday. It has rained all night, I love the sound of rain on the roof while I am snuggled up in bed warm as toast.

Today I have the fire going and the crockpot on with a lovely stew. The only thing left to do is sit at my machine and quilt. Gotta love days like this.

Too wet to garden

Too wet to garden

Deary Wet Day

Deary Wet Day

 

Somehow even tho the weather is awful living by the water there is always something worth looking at.

Red Block Challenge

Red Block Challenge

Today I will finish the quilting on my Red block challenge, the challenge is RED and it is a twelve inch block. This is my effort, now to finish it and send it off. The challenge is with ‘Aotearoa Quilters‘ I have not entered in any challenges before so this is a first for me. It will be really interesting to see what everyone comes up with.

Looking forward to your comments

Happy Stitching

Sharon

My Home Town Border

Hello Everyone

After all the wet and horrible weather we have had recently, we have a beautiful day here. Part of me is thinking I should  be outside in my garden enjoying the sunshine but I could not keep away from my sewing room. I have been busy today sewing the border for my quilt. I am eager to see how this will look, and hope my plan works. It is always exciting to see if what you envision works out.

I have decided to make the border from two inch squares, I have always loved this ( organized ) scrappy look. I say organized because I have to admit to being a bit of a control freak. I cannot relax and just sew these together randomly. I like to organize the colours and make sure there are not two of the same fabric sitting together. ( famous last words as this usually always happens and you do not notice it until the quilt is finished ) Therefore I cut the squares individually and I do not try to save time by sewing strips together, then cross cutting. Cutting the squares individually also gives me a more random look.

This border also gives me the chance to use all the fabrics in the fat 1/4 bundle. It has amazed me just how far this bundle has stretched. Don’t we all love Fat Quarters.

Here is my progress so far.

My organized pile of squares

My organized pile of squares

Sewing the squares into pairs.

Sewing the squares into pairs.

Sewing the pairs together.

Sewing the pairs together.

Now to sew these together, until my border is the correct size.

Now to sew these together, until my border is the correct size.

So much fun !

I can’t wait to show you the finished result in my next post.

Happy Stitching

Sharon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Design ( My Home Town ) Part Two

Hello Everyone

I have been addicted to this design, I am having so much fun with it. I feel the need to confess that I am truly addicted to working on my quilts. I love every stage of the process, and each quilt is a favorite. ( oh there may be a concession to that statement, I am not a fan of sewing down the binding ) I get caught up in the design so much that it wakes me up at night and I find I am calculating measurements in my sleep. ( there’s a true confession ) You probably all think I am nuts now. Haha Well this little ‘My Home Town’ Quilt is no exception.

I have been loving the Lynette Anderson fabrics, they are full of cute whimsical pictures, the fun thing has been to fussy cut some of these as with the cats in the doorway of my houses. So Cute!

Take a look at the progress so far.

Centre Block

Pieced backgrounds always give interest. A good excuse to use more fabric. In this design originally I thought it would give the look of the town square, but I have used subdued fabrics that blend into the background so not sure if I have accomplished the town square look. I am happy with the look all the same.

Red House

You can see the cute little cats in the doorway of this house. I have made two red houses and two blue ones. So much fun.

Blue House

With the blue houses I have used the heart fabric for the doorway, ‘Home is where the heart is’.

I am looking forward to working on the corner blocks and have decided to piece the background for these as well.

I am enjoying sharing this design process with you all and love to hear your comments. I would love to hear any suggestions you have along the way.

Happy Stitching

Sharon

 

 

 

New Design

Hello Everyone

I cant believe I am organized and on the ball early today. I have had a design floating around in my head for a while and have finally committed to making it.

I found the perfect fabrics for this project at the Melbourne Quilt Market from Lynette Anderson ( Follow my Heart). I purchased a fat quarter pack and they are just so lovely. I am really looking forward to using these in this design. Lynette has always been a favorite designer of mine.

LAD

I have also found a great new photo editing site called Pic Monkey, don’t you love what I was able to do with this picture. Such a lot of fun and so many options to choose from.

Well I bet you are wondering what this design is ? Well I have played around on my computer and come up with this to start with, the size of my quilt design may grow as I progress as there are loads of fat quarters in this bundle as it is the whole range so I am not limited to the size of the quilt.

My-Home-Town

I have thought of a name for this project. ( My Home Town ) I thought this would be a good tribute to the little town I grew up in.

I would love you all to follow along with me on this project and share each step, the decisions and changes I make along the way. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and comments.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, mine will be hopefully weather permitting filled with getting my garden into shape.

Happy Stitching

Sharon

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