Tuesday, January 13, 2015

One WIP Down

... Well, sort of.

I got to cross one project off my list because I put the offending blocks in the mail to someone who makes charity quilts. 
A few years ago I did a monthly block swap, but the blocks I kept getting back were very 'traditional' in fabric choices. I had planned a purple star quilt for my daughter but the fabrics just weren't to my taste. 
This was a very good lesson for me and I dropped that block swap and decided to be very selective about my bees - that may sound snobby, but I would much rather know I can trust the fabric choices my bee mates come up with.
At the time I put the blocks aside but when I pulled them out recently I knew I was never going to want to do something with them so I found a lady who makes charity quilts and offered them to her. She was thrilled - they are well constructed blocks and there are already 12, so it will be an easy finish. 
I am relieved to cross another thing off the WIP pile. 
I need to be more ruthless like this because that WIP pile is holding me back from what I really want to do.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dealing with Scraps

I love scraps, I really do. But my scrap bins were overflowing and I had a stack of stuff to go in them and when I looked through them for a project the other day I realised I didn't like half the stuff that was in there any more. 

So last night, quite spontaneously, I decided to clean out my scrap bins and put the new scraps away. Now they look like this. 

I love that they're neat and ordered and filled with fabric I like. 

And this is the bag to go out. The ugly fabrics, the poor quality fabrics and the teeny weeny pieces.

The teeny pieces were hard. I had put them aside to make a ticker tape quilt. But in truth, I've made one ticker tape quilt and I don't much want to make another. And it's just another thing on a never ending to do list.

I also think I need to factor in that making any scrap quilt costs money - the top may be free but the backing and batting and time aren't. And it's not like I need to save fabric because I might run out tomorrow. Even if all the fabric manufacturers shut their doors next week I'd be good for a little while ��.

I'm not saying I don't love scrap quilts, I really do. My Dismond Stars EPp is mostly scraps. 

The border I added to the latest round of the Possum Magic bee is all scraps.


For me, the key is not keeping ALL the scraps, just the best ones.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cuties for the Kitchen

I'm on a decluttering kick at the moment, and of course the kitchen is a big target. The past it pot holders, the old cork trivets... Ugh. 

I'm also trying to make more cute things for the home and last year I got these fab placemat panels from the lovely Cat&Vee. We're not really placemat people, plus there are five of us, so I hadn't done anything with them yet.

But tonight I pulled out the insulbright I'd been hoarding, some scraps of batting and some black fabric and whipped up four super-cute, very useful pot holders/ trivets. 
Then I immediately tossed the old ones out. Now all I have is cute and handmade, which makes me much happier. And there's one less thing on the sewing to do list. 

Win all around. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dear Jane: It's Not You, It's Me...

Do you ever find that at the end of the year you start looking at the list of WIPs and working out what you can complete and check off before the new year rolls around? That's where I'm at right now. I'm trying not to feel guilty about the number of WIPs I still have hanging around, and instead I'm concentrating on finishing them up.

One of the things that has always been at the top of my WIP list, under 'Long Term Quilts In Piecing' is the Dear Jane quilt I started way back in, ahem, 2002. Once upon a time I had grand plans of a hand-pieced, reproduction masterpiece that would take pride of place on a wall somewhere in my house.

Then life got busy. We built and moved houses a couple of times. I had another baby. I discovered scrapbooking with a vengeance. I went back to work. I rediscovered quilting, this time modern.

Occasionally I'd pull my highly organised Dear Jane box out from under my bed, complete a few blocks, then get over it. Fast forward twelve years and I've done 32 blocks out of the 225.

At this rate I should get it done when I'm about 120.

Or I can rethink and accept that I will never, ever get it finished. I don't love the whole concept any more, I don't enjoy this kind of hand piecing. I admire the amazing workmanship of anyone who's ever made a Dear Jane, but it's just not for me.

I pulled it out again today and took a look at what I'd done. For a moment I was all sentimental about how wonderful it was, then I realised how much more work there was to complete this quilt.

I've made the decision to use what I've got to create a mini-Jane. She's not going to be as spectacular as a full Dear Jane, but she's still going to be beautiful. It's a very manageable amount of work - I have two more blocks cut out that just need piecing, and then I need to put it all together. Hand quilting it will also be manageable due to its size. I used to panic about how I might possibly ever hand quilt it after I finally finished it. You know, my fingers will be pretty arthritic when I get to 120.

Once I'm done I'll sort the fabric reserved for this project - a small amount will go into my colour stash, some will go in my art quilts stash, and I expect a lot will go to a friend who loves reproduction fabrics.

And then I'll be able to check another project off my to-do list and take a huge weight off my mind. Sometimes quilting with no guilt is all about finding solutions.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Make Modern Blog Hop

It's been very quiet around here, but with good reason. I've been spending every spare moment working on this baby, and I couldn't be more excited to share it with you all. 

The very first issue of Make Modern is now out there for the world to see! To be honest, it's a little surreal to see it all together - while I'm not new to having things in print, it's different when you are key in all the decision making and the complete direction of the publication!

It is has been so well received and every kind word makes all the hard work all worth it. We've poured out hearts and souls into this baby, so to have people tell us they enjoyed it and identify with it means the world. Thank you. A million times. 

The first issue is jam-packed with 14 projects, from cushions to table runners to baby and bed quilts. Whether you want to try your hand at curved-piecing or applique, or you're after a quick baby quilt project,there's something in there for you. We're so excited to have so many fabulous contributors from Australia and overseas in this first issue. 

We've also packed the first issue with articles, because we figure you probably like to read about and talk about quilting as much as we do. Whether you need a bit of help getting onto Instagram or sorting your stash, or you want to tweak your tool box and are wondering what to add, we've got you covered. You can also read about some super-talented makers, Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts and Catherine and Vanita of cat&vee.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a little obsessed with selvedges, so my contribution to the first issue was this selvedge quilt, which features a gazillion rainbow hued selvedges on a low-volume background. 

You can find out more about Make Modern, buy the first issue or subscribe over at our website. It's $9.95 for a single issue, $26.95 for a three issue subscription, or $49.95 for six issue subscription.

If you want a little sneak peek, check out our preview over at Issuu.

Stop in and meet some of the amazing makers who have been featured in this issue of Make Modern on the rest of our blog hop.

1st September                   Make Modern
3rd September                   Kristy @ Quiet Play
5th September                   Where Jane Creates
7th September                   Gina @ Party of Eight: Our Story
9th September                   Molli Sparkles
11th September                 Juliet @ The Tartan Kiwi
13th September                 cat&vee
15th September                 Ruth @ Ben and Charly’s corner
17th September                 Kelly @ Kelliotmagic
19th September                 Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts
21st September                 Serena @ Sew Giving
23rd September                 Melissa @ Ms Midge

25th September                 Anne @ Hudson Valley Quilts

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Let's Get Acquainted

Welcome to my stop on Plum and June's Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop for 2014. Before I start chatting away, a huge thanks to Beth for all she's done to organise the blog hop. It's been a huge amount of work and we all appreciate it!

Beth suggested we show off a few of our favourite quilts, which is hard when you've been quilting as long as I have. Fortunately I'm not as prolific as some quiltmakers, and don't have hundreds of quilts under my belt. Some of these have been featured elsewhere on my blog, others haven't.

I made this baby quilt last year for my niece, who's about to turn one. It's my own design and I love the contrast between the pinks and greys. 

This is one of my son's quilts, made around 2011. He picked the colour scheme and design himself, using the border and sashing fabric for inspiration. 

I love paper piecing and this wall hanging was pieced for my daughter - a huge Hunger Games fan. The piecing was quite tricky, but the simple colour scheme certainly helped. 

This is my daughter's latest quilt, a faux Drunkards Path. I hand quilted this in perle cotton, which took forever and then some. I'm not sure that I should be proud or embarrassed that I had 100 different fabrics to use for the top in my stash....

My Polaroid Rainbows started as a polaroid block swap and ended up as an I Spy quilt that graces my younger daughter's wall. This is a super bright and cheerful quilt. 

Continuing the rainbow theme is my recently finished Rainbow in the Clouds. This is one of my first forays into improv piecing and was heaps of fun. I'm not sure why I still have so many scraps though. 

Now you've seen some of my quilts, here's a little about me.

 I'm a mum of three awesome kids, and wife to a very patient husband who supports my quilting habit. We've got two dogs (his) and two cats (mine). I'm a crazy cat lady in the making, except hubby won't let me get any more cats. My boys are very good at supervising everything quilty.

I live on the east coast of Australia, in a beach resort town half way between Sydney and Brisbane - there are worse places in the world you can live! I grew up in Sydney but we relocated to hubby's hometown when the kids were born to bring them up in a smaller town.

I've been quilting for the best part of 20 years (gosh that makes me sound OLD!!). My grandmother was an expert seamstress, my mother always sewed clothing, so it 's definitely in my genes. My interest in quilting came during high school, my best friend's mum is a quilter and she was a huge influence and great mentor when I was a beginner quilter.

I am completely self-taught, and always learning new things. I totally believe you're never too old or experienced to extend your quilting skills. These days I identify most with the modern quilting movement, though not everything I do is super modern.

I have a healthy addiction to fabric, a million ideas in my head and on scraps of paper and a huge pile of unfinished projects. I like to completely finish my projects myself, but I have a bad case of Quilters ADHD and often lose interest. But my mantra is to Quilt With No Guilt, so I'll get to them all eventually. I discovered English Paper Piecing this year and hand sewing is my therapy - I am amazed at how relaxing it is!

My day job is an assistant in a preschool, which is as tiring as it sounds. But my training was in journalism and I worked in magazines before children. I basically gave that up with the city life when the kids were born, though I kept my hand in doing freelance writing for craft and decorating magazines.

In exciting news, I've just embarked on a brand new quilting related venture with some dear quilty friends. I'm putting my journalism background to good use and I'm now the editor of Australia's very first modern-quilting magazine - Make Modern. Good news is we're publishing in the digital format so we'll be easily available worldwide. I am so excited about this new chapter of my life, even if it might encroach on my sewing time.

My blogging tip has been said before, but it's so true - be true to yourself. Develop your own voice, share what you love, don't stress if you're not churning out projects every other week. It's your own little bit of cyber space so make it your OWN. If people love it, they'll hang around, if they don't then it's their loss anyway.

My quilting tip is to look at your sewing machine and see if you can use it without the foot pedal. I only discovered this was a feature on my Brother machine earlier this year and I decided to try it out for Free Motion Quilting. Revolutionary. Seriously, not having to worry about what my foot is doing and coordinating the speed of my hands and my feet makes FMQing so much easier and has improved the consistency of my stitches too. I don't think it would help much with regular piecing, but for FMQ, I urge you to give it a go. If your machine has separate plugs for the power supply and foot pedal, pull out the foot pedal one and see if one of the buttons lights up as a stop/go button, then have a play around with it.

My Favourite Things:
My dream vacation spot is the USA. I want to visit all of it, but Nashville and a night at the Opry is on my bucket list. One day....
My favourite genre of fiction is romance. I don't get to read as much as I'd like, but when I do I like a light hearted read that's like comfort food. I also read a fair bit of non-fiction.
My favourite TV shows are Nashville (see dream vacation spot), and the Big Bang Theory. Those are the only two shows I watch, but my husband makes up for it by watching plenty.

To finish, I have a tricky question for you - what does modern quilting mean to you? I love modern quilting and I'm proud to call myself a modern quilter... but gosh it's hard to define. If you're interested, I've talked about it over at the Make Modern blog here.

Thanks so much for stopping in and visiting me over here at Where Jane Creates, it'd be great if you can share the love and visit the other hoppers for today:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Free Project on Make Modern Blog

Fancy a little rainbow colour wheel fabulousness in your life? We've got a free project for making your own embroidery hoop colour wheel over on the Make Modern magazine blog right now. You can also pop back a post and find out what modern quilting means to me.