Sunday, May 27, 2012


Unfortunately there can only be one winner for my Sew Mama Sew giveaway, but thankyou to everyone who commented! I really appreciate the feedback.

It was interesting to see a pretty even spread across the quilt patterns, but I think the most popular ones for possibly selling may have been Scattered Showers and Baby Mobile. I'm still not sure if I will end up making quilts to sell, and if I did I would probably use each pattern once or twice. I don't know if I could cope with making the same quilt more than a couple of times. Having said that, I have been making a baby quilt with my sister this week (her first quilt) and it's been nice following a pattern, rather than writing one. I love designing new quilts, but I would say it takes about four times as long by the time I design it, photograph all the steps along the way, unpick it and start again, take more instructional photos, write up the pattern, draw the diagrams, proof read it a gazillion times and get a front cover shot.

Anyway, you came here to see who won, so I'll get on with it. Thankfully did the work in picking the winning number... 226. Congratulations Robin! I'll be in touch with you.
Blogger Robin noteverstill said...
I really, really love Sherbet Dreams.
May 22, 2012 6:43 AMDelete

Whether you snagged yourself a prize at one of the giveaways, or not, I hope you all have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Donkey Fail

Hills (as in Sir Edmund Hillary) tried out for the part, but I just got the feeling that he wasn't lovin' the quilt (or my camera in his face).

Even the donkey outside my local mexican restaurant (Maiz and Mezcal) gave it a crack...

But I'm afraid the Wonky Donkey 2 gig had to go to Cocoa coz he was just such a softie.

Cocoa was overwhelmed by all of your kind words about his cuteness (and his apparel) - thankyou!

Have you voted for your favourite quilts in Blogger's quilt festival yet? You can vote for all of your favourites here.

By the way, my Sew Mama Sew giveaway and pattern sale is still running. We're up to 575 entries - wowsers!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! Closed

Last month I shared a booth with some friends (Chuckees Bibs) at my first craft market in my home town of Adelaide (Australia). It's not quite Quilt Market, but I had a great time meeting new people and talking quilting all evening. I did lots of demonstrations, showing how easy and fun quilting can be, hopefully encouraging beginners to give it a go!

Despite my best efforts to convince people that quilting is not hard, I was surprised at how many people said that they didn't want to make one, but they would love to buy one of my quilts. I haven't sold my quilts in the past, but it's got me thinking about whether I should make up a few baby quilts for the next market to see if they would sell (for a reasonable price).

I'd love your help deciding which ones to make up.  Here's the current options for baby quilts:

Baby Mobile
Off the Rails
Gathered In
Wonky Donkey 2 - I would make it 3x4 blocks

 There's a Square in There

Sherbet Dreams
Scattered Showers
So, let me know which of my baby quilts is your favourite (or which you think would sell the best) to be in the running to win some Heather Ross Lightening Bug fabric - half a yard of bikes, with some scraps of dots and stripes thrown in... OR 4 of my pdf patterns of your choice. One comment per person please, and make sure there's a way for me to contact you. This giveaway is open internationally, and I'll randomly pick a winner on Friday 25th May.  Goodluck! Thanks to everyone who entered! Giveaway is now closed. I'll announce the winner soon.

And to celebrate my 200th post, my downloadable patterns are all 20% off while the giveaway is running - you can see them all here.

Have lots of fun checking out all of the fabulous giveaways at Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! It's a great way to find wonderful new blogs.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wonky Donkey 2

Welcome if you've come across from Blogger's Quilt Festival or from Laurie's blog! I have a brand new quilt to show you...

Amy's Creative Side

There's nothing cuter than a donkey in boots, so I was very excited to hear that Laurie Wisbrun's adorable donkeys in wellies had been picked up by Robert Kaufman and released as "Jack and Jenny".  Some of you may remember the original Wonky Donkey quilt that I made using Laurie's spoonflower fabrics (modelled by Fizzy). My son loves this quilt!

I started straight away on making an updated version for my son (you can never have too many donkey quilts!) I love that the new donkeys and boots are just so vibrant and it was fun pairing them with some really strong colours - the grey background adds that extra pop - don't you think? 

On the new Jack and Jenny fabric the donkeys are a bit smaller (original donkeys measured 5in x 4in and the new donkeys measure 4in x 3in), so I was able to make the blocks a bit smaller and have more of them... it a more refined look... maybe?

I decided to quilt this with straight-ish white vertical lines, kind of like rain. Initially I was tearing my hair out trying to get it right, but once I figured out that I had to really reduce the pressure on the presser foot, it quilted beautifully and I'm thrilled with the result!

I made a very simple pieced back. My son picked out the red fabric, as it will be his quilt, and I didn't buy quite enough fabric, so I added some white lines (inspired by a block in Modern Blocks.)

I absolutely love this quilt, but I was in desperate need of a super cute donkey to plop it on. As I don't live in Sydney any more, Fizzy was out of reach and the rocking horse wasn't quite cutting it.

Yesterday morning I rang up Margaret from the Donkey and Mule Society of South Australia and begged explained that I needed a donkey urgently! She was fantastic, and a couple of hours later I met her adorable donkey Cocoa, the friendliest donkey in the world (sorry Fizzy, but you did try to eat my quilt.) He was the perfect model.

If you would like to try your hand at some stack 'n' slash, fussy-cutting donkey fun, the pattern's available here.

This quilt will be appearing at Australian Quilt Market in the HQW Distributors booth in a few weeks. Do you think I should stick with the name "Wonky Donkey 2", or try something new like Wonkier Donkey, Donkey got Wonky, Too Wonky for a Donkey... something else?

Now I'm off to check out all of the other quilts at Blogger's Quilt Festival, which I'm proud to be sponsoring. Thanks Amy for all of your hard work!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Straight Line Quilting Woes

I haven't been happy with the quilting on the last couple of quilts that I've straight line quilted. I love my sewing machine (Janome 1600p) but I just haven't been able to figure out the right settings so there's no puckering or pulling. When I bought my machine the guy I bought it off said that I didn't need to change any of the settings for quilting, just put on the quilting foot. So for quilting I normally set the stitch length on 3, the thread tension on 3 and the presser foot pressure on 3. This is obviously not working. So lately I've been on a quest to figure it out.

The other day I read this post by Rita where she mentioned that she changed the pressure on her Juki (which is very similar to mine) when straight line quilting. Okay, so I think pressure is the key to success here.  Then I watched this video pointing out how too much pressure on your presser foot can cause the quilting to bunch and pucker.

So I made a little demo quilt to practice on (with the fabric and batting I would be using for my next project). I put on my quilting foot and decreased the pressure. It still pulled, so I decreased the pressure some more until it didn't pull any more, but then the stitches became really really small because the feed dogs couldn't pull it through properly. It didn't help if I increased my stitch length.  Okay, so now I'm starting to pull my hair out.

Think, think.... there must be an answer. So I put on the normal foot that I use for piecing, and voila! It started quilting beautifully. Pressure 1.5, stitch length 3.5, tension 3.

Now it's time to bring out the big quilt. And that's when it all went pear shaped! You can see the terrible puckering on the back.

So now it was time to call Jody at All About Sewing. She knows everything about these machines - the Grandquilter, Juki, Megaquilter and Janome 1600p. Her advice - use the normal sewing foot, and keep reducing the pressure to one or even lower. Make sure the quilt is supported at the front and the back so that there's no pulling.  It worked! Thanks Jody, you're a guru.

BUT then... it started pulling just a little, and I remembered that trick to turn the quilt around and alternate sewing from each end. Not a good idea! I will be doing a lot of unpicking tonight.....aghhh!

I have reduced the pressure to almost 0 (about 0.25) and it's finally quilting pretty well - touch wood. I just have to watch that the stitch length remains even. What a saga! Any advice?

Thanks for all of your suggestions. I am going to try pinning it more closely next time. A couple of people have commented about using a walking foot for quilting. I don't think I was clear - when I said "quilting foot" I meant "walking foot". I do have a walking foot that is made for this machine (pictured below), and when I use it the quilting gets worse. If I reduce the pressure too much the walking foot doesn't work anymore and the stitches become tiny, so I've found that it's much better with the normal foot pictured above. Weird isn't it! Maybe there's something wrong with my walking foot.

By the way, I've unpicked, restitched and almost finished the quilting, and it's not pulling at all - yay! Also, I wouldn't exactly call it straight line quilting, more like 'go with the flow', or 'organic' straight line quilting.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

We've gone wild with fabric covered buttons!

Sarah cut her fringe off at school yesterday. Her hair was "in her eyes". She very tidily put the trimmings in the bin, and her substitute teacher didn't even notice (why do they think they can get away with things with a substitute teacher?)

You may remember last time she didn't just cut her fringe, she went the whole hog. But I'm a seasoned mum now, and we're taking in our stride.

We've enjoyed the afternoon covering 23mm buttons in little red riding hood fabric and celebrating the fact that it still goes into ponytails!