More excuses and some lessons learned…

So excuse No. 2 for my slack posting last week was that I was working helping set up the Quilt Knit Stitch Exhibition in Portland. It was two exhausting full days but lots of fun hanging quilts, knit bombing bits and pieces and generally helping when needed.

This was the first time I had hung quilts for an exhibition and the first time I had a quilt hang in an exhibition.  I learnt a lot during the process and thought I would share some of my revelations…


Please note the photos are all from my phone so not brilliant….

Number One… the importance of the hanging sleeve.

All quilts selected for display need to have a quilt sleeve SEWN onto them.  The details of the dimensions needed are usually included in the instructions that come with your acceptance into a show…but most shows require a 4 inch sleeve.

I learnt the hard way last week that if your sleeve is too small the show will pin a proper sleeve to your quilt BUT it is not the optimal solution as the quilt can and will hang strangely.

If your sleeve does not have much slack in it, your quilt will also hang strangely.

The Blue Moon River has a great tutorial on how to attach a sleeve…check it out.

                        Detail of Polka Dot Bikini by Sharin McConnell

Number Two… the importance of squaring up your quilt

Several of the quilts that we hung last week were not properly squared up.  Usually this is not too big a problem when the quilt is going to be loved and washed and loved some more…but when you are trying to hang the sucker on a wall it becomes almost comically painful.

Quilt with Aimee has a fabulous video on how to square up your quilt… you can find it here.

tuning fork
                   Detail of Heather Pregger’s “Tuning Fork #11″

Number Three… the importance of carefully folding or rolling of your quilts when you ship them

If you are like me, I fold my finished quilts up and stack them in cupboard, not paying too much attention to how I fold them or store them.  My quilts always have a fold line in them when I pull them out.  This also happens if you do not pack your quilts off to the Exhibition with care.

Sacred Threads Quilts has a great PDF which shows you several options for packing off quilts….

When the Exhibition ships your quilt back to you they take incredible care, using acid free tissue paper and special boxes. I spoke to one of the Exhibition curators about how she ships and stores her quilts and her advice was lots of acid free tissue paper to pad out the fold, bulking the quilt up so that there are no harsh creases.

Aussie blocks
                      Detail of Jennifer Bowker’s “The Quiltmaker”

Number Four…. trim those threads

Seems simple right, but we found a lot of loose threads when hanging.  The Exhibit can not do anything to the quilt, they can not trim them so they are just there for all to see!

                      Quilting detail of Helen Godden’s “Zen Magpies”


Number Five….hand bind your quilt if you can

Most Quilt competitions require hand binding but not all exhibits do.  We found when handing the quilts that machine binding made the quilt a little stiffer and they did not hang as well as hand bound quilts.  If you have the time, hand bind.

               Detail of Carol Morrissey’s “Roses in the Window”

The respect that Quilt International, the team that put on Quilt Knit Stitch, showed to the quilts was amazing.  Every quilt was handled carefully and only with white gloves.  Each quilt was inspected and photographed, marking any damage or issues before being hung.  It was such a wonderful experience to be a part of the process and it was a thrill to see two of my quilts hanging in the Exhibition.

Excuses, excuses and some paper piecing…

Okay I had another slack posting week last week, but I have some good excuses really.  Excuse One….camping.

Yep I spent four days camping last week….Four whole days without a sewing machine, a computer, cell phone connection or a shower!  Despite the limitations I did manage to get some quilting done….

photo 1

I hexied up a storm… four days of hand work produced this lovely collection finished and ready to go….

hexie flower close up

I love the flexibility and ease of English paper piecing.  Whenever I am heading out the door to an appointment or event where I think I may have some spare time I just grab my hexie kit, just in case.

photo 2

So here is a much overdue shot of my quilt top so far… it is growing slowly.

Hexie quilt top wip

I am adding flowers willy nilly, I am sure there is an easier way to put the top together but I kind of like the “stick and flower here, stick a flower there” approach.

Hexies close up

My husband declared a month or so ago that this quilt was going to be his, because (1) this would ensure that he got a quilt eventually and (2) it would also ensure that I did not give this quilt away, as I am prone to do!

HexiesThe fact that the quilt will be pretty and loud and contains flowers does not seem to bother him at all!

Hexies cu

It does not seem to bother the cat either…

Kitty approved

Excuse number two for my slack posting will be part of Wednesday’s post….

Paper Piecing Monday the crazy edition…

Summer has well and truly arrived in Portland and I have been making the most of the sunshine… and not posting as much as I usually do.  Sorry about that.

This of course does not mean I have not been quilting… I have still been sewing away, just a little more sporadically than usual.  For the last week or so the only thing that has been up on my design wall has been my Starry Night quilt.

design wall

As you can see the jigsaw is slowly coming together.  I have finished with the star blocks and I am now just making sky.  Random weird bits of sky.

starry night wip


This week I went through my EQ7 quilting program and found a pile of paper pieced patterns and printed them out (my sky pieces are currently all 6 inch square or 3 x 6 inches).  With EQ I have been able to find a pattern I think is interesting and print it out at both sizes.

tree block sky

Now as stand alone blocks they look a little weird but once you add them to the quilt they just blend into the background in weird and wonderful ways….

star wip 2No matter how hard I tried to hide it you have probably realised by now that I did not have a grand plan when I started making these blocks, and that I am really making it up as I go along.  The blocks are not being placed in any sort of grid and I am just going with the flow, piecing bits and pieces together and seeing what works.

star wipIt is a crazy way to work…but really fun.  If you are interested in exploring the individual star blocks I have used,  you can find links to them under the “Paper Piecing Monday” tab and/or under the “Free Paper Piecing Patterns” tab.

6 inch star sky



Conquering the fear of Curves

In the last week I had an amazing quilting break through.  Anyone who has followed me for a while knows I had an irrational fear of curved piecing.  Sewing curves, circles seamed unnaturally and ridiculously hard.

Well you can imagine my “delight” (note the sarcastic inverted commas)  when my fellow ScrapBeeLicous Bee member,  Michelle of Factotum of Arts set a drunkard path block as her block of the month.  To soften the blow,  Michelle very generously also sent us all this…


Angela Pingel’s “A Quilter’s Mixology”  has changed my quilting life… seriously. Armed with this book and it’s pattern sheet, Michelle’s colour directions, a sharpie pen and a sheet of Overhead Projector film I went to work.

OHP templateThe OHP film worked nicely as a sturdy template and Angela’s instructions made it all seem so simple… and it was ridiculously simple.

First circle blocks

In no time I had made the requisite blocks and then just kept going….

Little carried awayTwelve blocks later I decided I wanted to try something different… so I pulled out a circle ruler my husband had bought me recently and started cutting up more fabric…

Easy Circle Cut

The Easy Circle Cut ruler is great for making smaller circles and curves, while Angela’s book has a great selection of bigger templates.

Circle block size differenceArmed with the EZ template and a stack of solids from my stash, I produced copious amounts of curved blocks in about three days…

orange circle block

Enough to make a full quilt top actually…  there was a point on Saturday night when my husband thought he might have to do a circle intervention but I convinced him it was okay, I was nearly done…for the moment!!!

quilt detailWhat I did not tell him was that I already have another circle quilt planned, using the extra bits from this top.  Yes it is official I am now curve obsessed.   You have been warned.


Wonky Kites Quilt

A couple of weeks ago a group of PMQG members met for our monthly Charity Sew Day.  These get togethers are always good fun and this one was no exception.  For July I had chosen a wonky kite block for us to make… another easy scrap busters…

wonky kite quilt 2This quilt is so ridiculously simple.  We started with a 5 inch square of our background solid, Kona Shadow and then sewed a green/blue scrap on opposite corners.

trim blockYou then trim the block to 5 inches….

wonky kite blockThen sew two block together, making sure the triangle pieces meet, but not worrying at all about matching the seams (this is the wonky way).  Repeat process and then sew the two halves together to make the kite centered block…

trim block to sizeWhat you end up with is a really fun, random block…

quilt detail 2

Sew them all together and you end up with a huge quilt top!

wonky kite quiltOur charity for this month has requested Twin size quilts, no mean feat at the best of times (and impossible for me to photograph properly).

quilt stain glass

This block was perfect for making sure we had a fun, modern quilt ready to go to a long armer, in a day.

Michelle sewing awayIt helped that we had a great team working to make blocks….

sorting out the scrapsAnd of course the final check and block layout approval was provided by the cat!

cat inspection

Monaluna Ohio Star production

This week I have been working on doing some more Monaluna block for the PMQG, this time I made a handful of Ohio Stars in the new Haven Range.

Haven block 3

For the block I used the wonderful tutorial by Tessa at The Sewing Chick.   Easy peasy!

Haven block 4

I actually got quite a production line going….

Haven block 2

Okay I admit it I got a little carried away…

Haven block 6

But these fabrics are too much fun to not play with…

Haven block 1


Haven block 5

I must admit I made more of these, but this is a nice selection that really highlight the lovely fabrics.