Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Block 5

Block 5 in the free Block of the Month Wall Quilt
Hand-picked Wardrobe
is now available for you to stitch.


The classy little jacket is a reminder of our theme verse:
So, chosen by God for this new life of love,
dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you.
Colossians 3:13

I hope you enjoy stitching this block. You can find the pattern here in my Craftsy Store.


Last week I had a lovely email from June who belongs to the Kilham Quilters Group in the UK. The group recently held an exhibition to raise funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Yorkshire Cancer. June made my Garden Dreams perpetual Calendar in time for the Exhibition and you can see it in the centre of the photo below. The exhibition was a great success and I am so pleased to know so much was raised for these worthy charities.


The Calendar was one of my earliest designs and I still love everything about it, especially the box to keep all the pieces in!


 If you are interested in making it too, the pattern is available here in my store.

I've managed a little bit more applique work on my quilt - cherries this time:


... and started another couple of projects. That's four things going at once, which is about the right balance for me I've discovered. There's one with plenty of machine work, another ready for stitching at the drop of a hat, another that needs time to prepare appliques, and a commission with a deadline. I like to have things at different stages and then I can choose what to do according to how I feel, what time I have available, what interruptions I'm expecting, or even maybe what the weather is like! Then of course I'm already planning another design or three!

Happy stitching!
Val 

Roses are Blue

I'm always thrilled to be offered fabric to make my projects!!! Handmade magazine gave me some of the lovely Indigo Essence fabric range by RJR Fabric to design whatever I liked. I chose three of the fabrics - a blue tone-on-tone, a black background blue roses print and a khaki tone-on-tone.  I had in mind to make a bag and to use a set of handles that I had purchased on a whim and been waiting to use in just the right project.


I was very happy with the finished project and rather like the way the blue tone-on-tone fabric peeps out from the pleats. I used the khaki fabric for the lining.


There was plenty of fabric, so I made this pretty glasses case to match:


The project is in Handmade Vol 35 No 11 but unfortunately it wasn't printed correctly. The glasses case instructions were not included either, so the magazine has made the corrected pattern available on their website in their pattern library:   http://www.patchworkandcraft.com.au

Yesterday, hubby and I had a fun afternoon at an old-time movie matinee, complete with newsreels, cartoons, shorts and a classic Aussie film from the 1930's. We were even treated to an icecream during interval! It's a while since we laughed so loud and so long and it brought back lots of memories of childhood excursions to the cinema, watching comedies (in black and white of course!) Those excursions were very occasional so hold a special place in the memory and it was lovely to have them revived in such a delightful way.

My fruit quilt is steadily progressing:


The grapes were a bit fiddly but turned out OK:


Apples good enough to pick!:


Since this quilt is in the hand-stitching phase at the moment, and I like to do that in the evening, I have been thinking about a new project which will need machine work which I want to do in the daytime. There are a few designs running around in my head and I have started exploring them in my EQ7 software. It would be so much easier if my brain would just focus on one thing at a time!!!

Happy stitching!
Val

Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Block 4

Happy Easter!

In looking past the eggs and the bunny, I've found that the true meaning of Easter is an amazing reality that deals with our past failures, puts our present life into perspective, and gets our future sorted. What an amazing gift is the death and resurrection of Jesus!

Today I have block four for you in the free Block of the Month Wall Quilt

 

Block 4 features a scarf and it will make up very quickly, so it's a good opportunity to catch up if you're a bit behind!  You can find the pattern in my Craftsy Store here.

Last weekend we had the joy of having nine of our family with us - so special to be able to spend time with them. It was tinged with sadness because our daughter and her family were supposed to be with us too. They live at Airlie Beach which was where the huge Cyclone Debbie hit Australia just the week before and caused so much devastation. Thankfully our family were kept safe with only minor damage such as their fence smashed down, the clothes hoist dead and some damaged gutters from tree branches being flung around. Their cars in an open car port were amazingly protected from damage. They were without water for 2½ days and without any electricity for 9 days. We are so proud of how the family coped, kept smiling, helped others worse off, took a friend in as his unit was unliveable and shared lots of meals with neighbours who had no means of cooking. Of course they were unable to leave their home with all that happening, so we have had to resort to long Skype calls!



My Arbor Window quilt is coming along really well. I stitched all the blocks together then a week later, unpicked the lot!!! It just wasn't as good as I had hoped. After lots of thinking and a couple of mock-ups on scrap fabric, I decided to make the sashings wider. That has worked well and it only took me a couple of days to put it all together again. As I am using the QAYG method, my new dimensions mean that the walking foot fits more easily in the sashings when joining the rows which in turn makes it easier to obtain good neat results.


Now I'm on the fun part doing the appliques.


We're big fruit eaters in our house but the plan today is to indulge in a decadent dessert I made to help celebrate our 51st wedding anniversary! How blessed am I to have the love of my life with me for 51 years!

Val
 

Coins in the Jelly and other treats

I've been a bit slack lately in putting some new patterns in my Craftsy Store, but I've remedied that and you can now find "Coins in the Jelly" Quilt here

I'm happy that it is proving very popular. 


This project is ideal for Jelly Roll strips and is very quick to make.



I did simple walking-foot quilting on it:


I've also uploaded Belinda Bilby's Birthday stitchery which you can find here.


I'm rather fond of this sweet project with lots of pretty stitching.

 

I've framed mine, but it could be made into a wall hanging or a cushion or a book cover or anything your imagination can bring up.



Meanwhile, I'm steadily progressing on my pool-table quilt. I'm up to the appliqued borders - heaps of work but I think they are going to look good!

Pears are cheap at the moment, so out came the preserving pan and two or three hours later I have eight bottles ready for later in the year. It does take some effort to prepare everything, but it is worth it down the track when the fruit is no longer in season. We use our preserves on our breakfast cereal. Combine that with Greek Yoghurt and it is fit for royalty!


The India/Australia Cricket is on, so it's a good time to sit near the TV and prepare some more appliques!

Val

Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Block 3

It's time to give you the next block in the free Block of the Month Wall Quilt



This is my take on 'the little black dress'.


"So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you." I hope you are enjoying these blocks each month.

 Block 3 is available in my Craftsy Store here.


I've had a couple of good weeks after a health scare for the first two months of the year. Thankfully medication has sorted out my problems and I'm feeling back to normal. It's amazing how quickly you bounce back once all the tests show that there is nothing seriously wrong! 

Hubby was really getting worried when he came to empty the scrap bin in my sewing room each week and there was nothing much in it!  He will be happy this week because it is full and overflowing. 

I have completed all the Arbor Window blocks for my pool table quilt and here are some of them sorted into their rows:


I love the way the black background makes the colours pop. I have now started putting them together with my favourite QAYG technique. The more I make quilts using this method, the more I am becoming hooked. I find it makes everything just so much easier for me.

Of course, I must have some hand-stitching to do at night and the little bit of QAYG stitching doesn't take long, so I have started a new design!!! There's nothing like the thrill of a new project!

Happy stitching!
Val

Confessions of an imperfect piecer

I’m one of those painful people called “perfectionists”! I spend nearly as much time unpicking and resewing as I do in stitching in the first place. If I can’t do something well, I don’t do it at all – eg I would never play chess, because I knew my brilliant son would beat me! I always have to fix mistakes – other people’s as well as my own! I’m always correcting grammar, like telling sporting commentators from my lounge room that they’ve used an adjective instead of an adverb – pity they can’t hear me!


My personality of course carries over to my stitching. If you look at my designs, you will see dozens of needle-cases, bags, cushions, wall-hangings, stitching accessories, but only a handful of quilts. That’s because I’m an imperfect piecer! 
 

I admit that embroidery is my first love and so it is easy to put all my effort into that. I don’t find sitting at a sewing machine sewing little pieces together for a quilt all that enjoyable, especially when they don’t turn out 110% accurate. I become disappointed with the result, and therefore I don’t sew many quilts!
 

 Over the years, I’ve learned ways to get by, like designing quilts without points, or using ‘disappearing’ blocks that look as though you’ve done amazing piecing, or using lots of appliqué to get the focus in the right place! 


 We have a half-sized Pool Table which is always covered with a quilt when not in use, which quilt is now VERY faded and drab. As only a quilt will do, I have to face my fear of imperfection and get going and make a replacement. I wanted to use the Arbor Window block (aka Granny Square), but oh dear, all those hundreds of points with the potential to be not quite perfect. 

After a pleasant time looking at lots of wonderful quilts using this block on the internet, I discovered the possibility of making beautiful square blocks with no points to align! Out with the calculator, some scraps, and plenty of enthusiasm, and after a couple of attempts at getting the right triangle sizes, I have had success. 


I don't mind the small bit of wastage involved, when I can achieve perfect points and accurate square blocks. Nesting the seams makes it easy to line up the square blocks in their rows, which is about all the aligning that I have to worry about.


 I am now facing the making of this quilt with a totally different attitude. Once again, I have decided to use the Quilt-As-You-Go method. I feel as though I have somewhat perfected my favoured version of this QAYG technique now and I certainly find it easier quilting small blocks instead of a whole quilt.

I have one other admission to make - using a cutting die (I have an Accuquilt Go) means I start with very accurately cut shapes, and this has certainly helped my piecing to improve. Who knows, one day I might even make a Dear Jane Quilt!

Val

Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Block 2

Today I have the second block for you in the free 


The next item in our wardrobe is Tolerance - an attribute we sure need to put on every day!


So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe
God picked out for you ... 
Be tolerant with one another.
Colossians 3:13


A few people have asked when these blocks are being made available. I plan to upload them at the beginning of the third week of each month. They will each then be available until the end of this year. So don't worry if you miss one, you can always go back and collect it.


Block 2 is available in my Craftsy Store. I hope you enjoy stitching it.

I have done a bit more work on my row quilt which is full of lovely appliques. Here's the preparations for a pot which is now filled with plenty of flowers:


Do you like my little hinge on the gate?:


It's part of a key charm plus some chain stitching. My quilt is almost ready to put together, but I've had another commission to attend to so have had to put it aside for a week or so!

My husband and I are so blessed to have some wonderful friends. A dear couple turned up with these gorgeous carnations and roses to brighten our week when I was feeling a bit down:


Totally blessed!
... and I hope you are this week too.

Happy stitching!
Val

The Glue Pen workout

If you've been reading my blog posts for any length of time, you will know that I love applique. Many of my designs feature it, and mostly I have used the fusible web/blanket stitch method. You can see a post I wrote about that here.

However, I really do love the look of needleturn applique and after some initial very poor attempts, I discovered the glue pen/Appliquick method a couple of years ago.


I needed a "sitting down and taking it easy" thing to do last week, so out came the applique paper, my Appliquick tools and the glue pen.


I fused, cut, glued and turned over edges ...


... and refilled the glue pen .... and again ... and again, till I had a heap of prepared shapes.


I didn't feel like doing much else last week so sat and relaxed and watched a movie, or the tennis, or cricket which gave me plenty of opportunity to attach the shapes to the background.


and so my row quilt is growing.


I made a row of Dresdens a few weeks ago and it's all quilted ready to join up to the other rows:


While plums were cheap, I did some preserving:


... and thankfully I was able to buy some more Glue Pens!

Happy stitching!
Val

2017 Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt - Hand-picked Wardrobe BLOCK 1

I'm excited today to launch my 2017 free Block of the Month Wall Quilt. I have called it:

Hand-picked Wardrobe



It is based on some fantastic and oh-so-relevant verses from the Bible in Colossians 3:12-14. The Message version puts it this way:

"Dress in the wardrobe God picked
out for you ..."

and then it goes on to enumerate the character traits that we should wear every day. I love sharing God's Word and I hope you will enjoy stitching these wonderful words with hundreds of other stitchers around the world.



The pattern is FREE, for personal use or to make as a gift. You may also give a copy to friends and tell them where to find me, but please do not use the pattern for profit.



If you have a blog, I would love it if you would put my
"Hand-picked Wardrobe" button on your sidebar, or post it on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc so that other stitchers can share in this free pattern. Here's the button for you - Just right click on it and Save image as or Copy image over to your site with a link back to my blog.


The wall quilt measures 32 inches square and will be broken up into 12 blocks. Each month this year, I plan to give you the pattern for another block plus the finishing instructions. Each new block will be available for free download until the end of 2017. 

The first item in our wardrobe is compassion - how this is needed in our world today:



If you hop over to my Craftsy Store, you will find Block 1 there.


As always, I would love to see photos of your completed block!

 
We have had a heatwave here so it's certainly the weather to be indoors stitching in front of the air conditioner! The result is that I have completed another row of my new QAYG quilt and all the appliques are done on a different section so it's ready for quilting - still deciding how I'm going to quilt this row, but it's certainly easier for me to manage just an 8 inch strip than manoeuvering a whole quilt under the needle.

Before I get to the machine again, I have another job on my list - to preserve a case of plums. They have just become plentiful in our area, which means they're at a good price. It's a bit of work now to process them, but the result is that we can enjoy them on our cereal throughout the year.

Melting heart moment of the week was when Grand-daughter skyped us and asked could we order some play-dough 'food' in her pretend cafe! Thanks to the wonders of technology, we watched her more than 1000 kms away, prepare our nachos, hot dogs, and dessert, all beautifully presented - it actually made us feel hungry!  We are blessed to have such beautiful grandchildren.

May you know many blessings in your life too.

Val