Sunday, February 28, 2010

Folksy Flannels decisions

I was keen to whip up this little baby quilt last night using Anna Maria Horner's Folksy Flannels. I kept the design simple to appreciate each of the fabrics. I cut them all out and arranged them on the bed, and then asked my husband Todd what he thought.

He thought it needed a little white strip in between each patterned fabric. Well, that's not what I wanted to hear. Once I get started on a project I want it finished yesterday (I'm so impatient). I don't know anyone around here who sells white flannel at the moment - we are in the middle of summer after all. So I would have to buy it from the states and wait 2 weeks for it to arrive.

I do like the white in between. The question is, is it worth the wait?

PS. I drew these diagrams with EQ6 just to get an idea of what it would look like either way.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The quilt I can't show you

You know that quilt that I just finished the binding for, the design that I was really excited to show you ... well unfortunately I can't show it to you just yet ... because it may or may not have been accepted to be featured in a fabulous Australian quilting magazine!!!!! Okay, well I'll just show you this...

mums the word...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My weighloss plan - More Quilting

After Sarah was born I just snapped back into shape in a matter of weeks, however, when Dane came along I found it hard to shake those extra kilos. Almost a year ago I joined the gym. I only wanted to lose about 5kg and tone up. I was very dedicated and went 5 days a week for 2 months. I worked hard at the gym but I didn't change my eating habits. You can imagine my dismay when I gained a couple of kilos, and it wasn't just extra muscle - I was finding it increasingly difficult to fit into my clothes. Anyway, I called it quits, transferred my gym membership to Todd and forgot about it.
This morning I woke up and out of the blue decided to weigh myself - well I'm 4kg lighter than I was. I've decided its all due to my quilting because:
  1. I can't eat and quilt at the same time
  2. I expend lots of nervous energy doing stippling (it hasn't got any easier)
  3. By the time I've spent all evening quilting, I'm too tired to snack, so I just go to bed.

So I've decided that quilting is FAR more effective than the gym (hehe).

I had a wonderful day today. My morning at work (I work 4 days/wk as a speech pathologist) was busy and so I treated myself to lunch at Ken Duncan's gorgeous art gallery surrounded by trees and birds. While I was waiting for my chicken caesar salad I made myself at home on the couch (surrounded by the most beautiful photographs) and finished off the binding for a new design I have been working on (I'll show you soon). Now that's the life!

Here's a picture from the show on the weekend.

Sarah London was also kind enough to snap some pictures of my quilts at the show, and do a little write up. She is having a great giveaway at the moment, so head over there - it finishes this Friday.

My friend, Ally, who works at my local quilting store - Blueberries - was also at the show. Their stand was really cute with a beach theme going on. Stop in at her blog and say 'hi'. I hear she may be planning a giveaway too.

Lastly, a couple of days ago "Handmade Kids" posted my idea about kids making quilts. They have a great website with tonnes of wonderful ideas for handmade stuff for kids, so it was cool to be featured.

P.S. Thanks for your comments on adding the red to the owl quilt. I think I'll get some of the red owls and then decide as I work on it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Found some flea market fancy!

I had a fabulous day with my cousin-in-law Becky, browsing the stalls at the Newcastle Expo. She is 36 weeks pregnant, but since she's just as crazy about quilting as me, we stayed from opening to closing. Becky took a couple of pictures of my quilts hanging up, so I'll post them when I get them. It was very exciting to see my quilts on show. Thanks Maru for putting them out there. It was lovely to meet you today.

I just couldn't go past these gorgeous Folksy Flannels from Anna Maria Horner. I've been eyeing them off for a while now, they're just so adorable. My favourite is the little houses at the bottom. Becky bought the 'boy' colours and I bought the 'girl' ones. Wouldn't it be fun to matching baby blankets. And no, I'm not pregnant ... yet.

And look what I found, some Flea Market Fancy charm packs. I picked up three, but I will probably only need 2 packs for a little quilt, so I'm trying to decide what to do with the third pack... stay posted.

I've seen these sock monkeys around the place and have resisted up until now. Can you see those red lips ready to go. I've just got to tear myself away from my quilting for long enough to try something new.

Speaking of something new, I met Sarah London, and she was so nice. It's so cool to meet people that you've only seen on the net. We had a great chat and when I got home I checked out her blog. Now I wish I had bought the cute granny squares pack she was selling. I didn't realise the crochet hook was purple! Her blog is really worth a look.

I also met Monica Poole from Moon-Shine Designs. She was really lovely and so encouraging. Its great to meet people that have been in the business for a while. Monica is an expert at 'quilt as you go' quilts, so you don't have to wrestle your entire quilt under the machine. Jenelle from Pieces to Treasure was another local person that I got to chat to. She runs quilting retreats just down the road from me on a beautiful rural property. Sounds nice, doesn't it.
Don't you just love these owls (another Saffron Craig treasure). I had to find some matching fabric. That brown spot just does the trick I think. But I'm not sure whether to add red owls into the mix. I've added some red ginkgo blossom to see how it would look, as I didn't have any red owls on hand.

Anybody who knows me knows that I'm the worst decision maker. So what do you think? Red or no red? Now that I see the picture, I'm thinking no red. But sometimes pictures don't show up colour properly ... am I rambling?

Friday, February 19, 2010


I'm so excited, Torah Bright just won an olympic gold medal on the half-pipe! She's a fellow australian and mormon, and not only that, but she used to date my husband's cousin. We're practically related :) (even though he went on to marry another beautiful girl, and I never actually met Torah in the flesh - but that's beside the point!)

Yesterday's "Stitched with Love" workshop went really well. There was 6 of us and I was surprised how quickly everyone worked. They made one each in less than 2 hours. There are another 5 cut up and ready to be put together by some others that couldn't make it yesterday. So thanks to everyone who is getting involved. And a special mention goes to my sister, Amelia, who made 5 blankets on the weekend. She's such a loving thoughtful person. I'll show you some pictures when I get them (my camera was missing the card when I went to take photos).

And guess what ... today my quilts are hanging at the Newcastle craft expo!! That's big for me. Material Girls Down Under are showing them off and have kits to go with the patterns. I'm heading up there tomorrow and can't wait to see them on the wall. I'm looking forward to all the other bits of inspiration that will get the creative juices flowing (not that I don't already have a bunch of quilt patterns in my head and bundles of fabric ready to go). This time I'm taking guilt free money, because its not indulgent, its a business expense (hehe).

On yet another note, have a look to see what Joan from Wishes True and Kind is doing with the "Fairy Hearts" pattern. I love it. The fussy cut hearts are just gorgeous and the borders bring it all together so well.

And Cindy from Live a Colorful Life said some nice things about Australian designers. Thanks heaps!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dandelion Windows Quilt Pattern - Baby Size

I have had a few requests for smaller versions of my quilts. I have added a baby sized version to the "Dandelion Windows" quilt pattern. It measures 33" by 42"(84cm by 107cm). The window blocks are the same size but there are only 4 of them, and it has a scrappy border at the top and bottom of the quilt.

This pattern is not a stand alone pattern. It is an addition to the "Dandelion Windows" quilt pattern. If you have already purchased this pattern online or from a quilting store, please email me at kateeconklin(at)yahoo(dot)com(dot)au and let me know where you purchased the pattern, and I will send you the baby size quilt pattern for free. You can buy the kit (including the pattern) from Saffron Craig here. If you haven't purchased the "Dandelion Windows" pattern you can download it instantly from my sidebar (it now contains the baby version).

As I haven't actually sewn up the baby quilt yet, I created this diagram with my new EQ6 program. It was pretty easy, but the fabric scaling is all wrong. I'm sure you can change this but I haven't worked it out yet. It gives you the general idea though.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Stitched with Love" Tutorial - Rail Fence Pattern

I have been meaning to put this tutorial together for a while. See my original post here. This is a tutorial to make tiny blankets 20" square (50cm square) to give to hospitals for those precious babies that die soon after birth. The idea is that the parents can wrap their baby in the blanket and have a cuddle, and then take the blanket home to keep with their baby's other things, or hang on the wall as a talking point. As I have been sewing them (my goal is one a month) I have felt a lot of love and concern for those anonymous parents who will be receiving these blankets (I couldn't imagine the grief and pain that those families must go through), and so I have called this project "Stitched with Love".

These are really simple for anyone to make, particularly for those new to sewing/quilting. I will be running a workshop for the women's organisation at my Church this week (Relief Society) and we will be donating the blankets to our local children's hospital. If you would like to get involved and donate a blanket, just contact your local hospital. I'm sure there is need for this kind of thing everywhere.

You will need 4 fabrics. From the border fabric cut 2, 3" strips (selvedge to selvedge). From the other 3 fabrics cut a 3" strip from each. Put aside the border strips. You will also need a 22" square piece of flannel or flannelette fabric for the back (a couple of inches wider than your quilt top).

Sew the 3 strips of fabric together along their lengths. Iron the seams to one side.

Then cross-cut this into 8" squares.

Arrange the squares like this.

Sew the top two squares together and then the bottom two squares together. Iron the seams to opposite sides (eg. iron the seams on the top squares to the right and the bottom squares seam to the left).
Sew the top and bottom parts together. Iron.

Sew your 3" border strip of fabric down the left side. Trim it so it is flush with the bottom of the blanket top.
Similarly sew a border strip down the left side. Trim.

Add border strips to the top and bottom trimming as you go. Iron well. You have now completed your blanket top.

I used soft flannel fabric for the back of my blanket (it doesn't have any wadding). You will need a piece about 2" wider than your quilt top (22" square). Iron your flannel backing fabric and put your blanket top on top right sides together. Pin around the edges to keep it in place.

Sew around the edge (approx 1/4 inch from the edge). Make sure you leave approx 4" gap along one of the sides so you can turn it inside out. Take out the pins and trim the corners.

Turn the quilt the right way out through the gap on the side. Wiggle the edges and corners so it sits flat and you can't see the flannel on top of the blanket. Iron the blanket flat and slip stitch the gap shut. Lay the quilt out flat on the table and put some safety pins in it to keep it from moving. Sew around the edge of the blanket about 1/4 inch inside the edge. Then quilt as desired.

Because the blanket is so small, you don't need much quilting. You can quilt by hand or machine. I machine stitched in the ditch (along the seam line) around the lady bug fabric.

I tried using just my normal sewing machine foot to quilt this instead of my quilting foot, as most people at the workshop this week wont have special quilting stuff. It worked okay, but it did pucker/pull a little bit. I would recommend just a little bit of quilting as you don't have much room to move.

Let me know if you have any questions. This is a very basic tutorial for beginners, but ofcourse the blankets can be as intricate or plain as you like. They can have applique or be made from a panel. The fabric does not need to be babyish, but the blankets should be made with care. I think around 20" to 24" square would be a good size. If you decide to join in, let me know. I would love to see your "Stitched with Love" blankets.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Check out the donkeys in boots!

This gorgeous fabric arrived today from Laurie Wisbrun at Scartlet Fig. Thanks Laurie! I just love those donkeys in boots. I don't know how I'm going to cut into it though. I have a few ideas for patterns, but now that the fabric's arrived I can start thinking measurements and nitty gritty. For the time being I'll just stroke the fabric and dream every time I go past it.

And here's a sneak peak of the latest project I've been working on. I was planning on making another pinwheel quilt, but at the last minute decided to design a new pattern. Luckily I had enough fabric, and I'll use the fabric earmarked for the borders -for the binding. The top is finished and I just bought the backing fabric today. That French General fabric feels so good to work with.

By the way, thanks for all the great comments - you're so encouraging. Its a bit sad, but I get soooo excited when there is a new comment. I'm hopeless at leaving comments, but I'll try to do better.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Baby boy - There's a Square in There

Here's a boy version of the baby "There's a Square in There" quilt (you can find the baby girl version here). I made this quilt using the demo blocks that I put together for the pattern. I didn't put any extra strips of solid colour in this one, just kept it simple. I used 2 fat quarters of patterned fabric and left over scraps.

I tried a different type of free motion quilting this time. Just lots of loops (not sure what the technical name is). It was really easy, probably easier than stippling, and I like the way it goes with the swirly blue/green fabric.

These pictures are a bit dark as I had to take them in the evening.

I gave this quilt to a new baby at church - Thomas. A beautiful little boy who has an extra special spirit. He has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome, so will have his own unique challenges, but he's one of 5 children, so there will be plenty of love and support for him.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fairy Hearts

Well here it is - "Fairy Hearts" - with a name and a pattern to go with it. A big thankyou to those who tested the pattern for me.

Thanks to Saffron Craig for the gorgeous fabric, her fabrics not only look fantastic but feel so good too.

This "Fairy Hearts" pattern uses quick and easy strip piecing to create the Nine Patch blocks; and machine raw edge appliqué for the hearts. It includes 10 pages of full colour photos and diagrams.
Two sizes are given, 50" x 62" and baby sized 38" x 50", as well as instructions for a simple pieced back.

Fairy Hearts Quilt Pattern (pdf) - available for immediate download here.

You can buy the kits from Saffron Craig here. They ship internationally.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

not bad for a 3 year old

You know the blocks I showed you about a week ago, the ones my little Sarah cut and designed and I ironed on - well I framed each "picture", added white sashing and borders and bound it in red.

I'm so happy with how it turned out and so is Sarah.

Now she'll be able to give this quilt to her Aunty Leia for a baby present. I think its nice that the new baby girl will have a quilt from her cousin.

I stippled it pretty closely to try to keep all the bits and pieces in place. Not sure how it will hold up in the wash, but I suppose we'll see soon.

Sarah picked all the fabric that went into this quilt, including the backing and binding. I was planning on using a spotty fabric for the binding but Sarah insisted on the solid red. And now that its on, I know she made the right choice ... that's my girl :)

I asked Sarah to sew a few stitches on with red cotton (she does lovely neat stitches) but she told me that the quilt was already sewn and finished ... and that was the end of that.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fairy winners

Thanks to everyone for the great name suggestions - you are a creative bunch! I love it that Ally was thinking about my quilt at 4:55 in the morning!!! It was a hard choice, but after much deliberation I have decided to name the pattern "Fairy Hearts". It is simple and sweet and even if you don't use fairy fabric, the hearts could still be fairy hearts. Anyway, without further ado ... the winners are number 8 and 1. I used to generate these numbers (I suppose you'll just have to trust me on that one). So congratulations Kristie and Kaye. Your patterns will be emailed to you right away.

The final pattern will be released in the next couple of days. It will include instructions for a pieced back, as well as dimensions for a baby sized quilt. So watch this space...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fairy Giveaway

This is what I've been furiously working on for the last couple of weeks. This gorgeous fabric is from Saffron Craig's Fantastic Fairies Range, with a couple of fabrics from her Fields and Owls range thrown in. Its the ultimate girly fabric, so I had to make a pattern that was equally sweet and girly.

I just love those fairies against the white. I took a couple of photos of it last night, but it was getting a bit dark, so I'll post more when I take some 'proper' photos.

The hearts were sewn on using raw edge applique and then I hand quilted around each one. I also hand quilted in white around through the Nine Patch blocks and on the border (although you can't see it in these photos).

I made a pieced back (ofcourse) using little square scraps against white and I love how the red quilted hearts came out on the back. I've decided to include instructions for the pieced back in this pattern.

I bound it in Saffron's brown fairy circles. I like dark binding on quilts, frames it well I think.

Now I need some help naming the pattern. At present I have 3 ideas. "I Heart Nine Patch" "Fairy Hearts", "I Heart Fairies" or something else. What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know what you think the name should be. Also let me know if you would be interested in proof reading the pattern for me. I will randomly select a couple of comments and email them the draft pdf pattern (they will also be sent the final pattern when it is completed). I will pick 2 winners in 2 days (Wednesday). Yay, my first giveaway. I feel like a real blogger now.