I've now been quilting for three and a half years. This blog is my personal quilting diary, that charts my progress (and occasional regression) from the start. I use it so I can look back at my past projects...and hopefully see my skills improve!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Week 17 of my 2015 FMQ Challenge

The table topper is finished.  The quilting took a good 6 hours in total, but I'm happy with the effect.  I just drew straight lines using a Frixion pen to guide my feathers, and then winged it.  In hindsight, I wish that I had squared up the two star blocks before I sewed on the sashing and border.  There was quite a lot of fullness in the cream tone on tone fabric around each star.  I should also have stitched in the ditch around each of the cream triangles.  As they say, hindsight is 20/20!

I managed to find time to paint a 15 inch block and quilt it.  The block design came from EQ7.  I transferred the design to white cotton using a Pigma Micron pen.  I used Jacquard Textile paint for the first time.  I bought an exciter pack a few weeks ago.   Initially, I thinned the blue paint with fabric medium, and it bled, so I subsequently used it as it came out of the bottle.  I used a double layer of polyester wadding and cut away one layer around the main motifs, before doing the background stipple.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Week 16 of my FMQ Challenge

I have been meaning to make a table topper for my dining table for some time.  The table is in the conservatory, and the sun doesn't do the wood any good.  I want a table topper that fits the table exactly, with no overhang.

I have a soft spot for Fig Tree and Co quilt patterns.  The spool quilt I have had on the go since last year is one of Joanne's patterns.  I decided that I would like to have a go at making her Navajo Stars quilt, but the instructions were for one, four or nine blocks.  I worked out that with some math to work out sizes for the borders, I could fit two blocks in the required size.

The pattern uses 60 degree angles, and wouldn't you know it, I have mislaid my 60 degree ruler! I used my normal ruler, and hoped for the best. There are a lot of bias edges and I was a bit worried about whether the block would lie flat.

Once the top was finished, I decided to use polyester wadding and some tone on tone taupe cotton (from my stash) for the back.

The background areas are a bit of a strange shape to quilt, but I thought I would echo once around the star, and then FMQ feathers following the echo.  I thought I would fill the space that was left with small pebbles.  I used cream Isacord to stitch in the ditch around the star and for the FMQ on the cream fabric and in the background, and invisible smoky monafilament to stitch in the ditch on the star.  I used pale yellow Isacord to FMQ the yellow border.

I managed to finish quilting one block today, so one more block to go.  Happy quilting!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Week 15 of my FMQ Challenge

I adore reproduction style medallion quilts.  I love them when they have an interesting focal point in the centre of the quilt.  OK, so this can be pieced, appliqued or I could buy a panel.  A few weeks ago, I played with my Derwent Inktense pencils and liked the results.  What if????  I thought I would try painting a block to go in the centre of a medallion quilt.  For a kick off, I used a copyright free diagram from one of Dover's  publications.  I scanned the diagram, then resized it to about 18 inches long using Photoshop, saved it as a Photoshop pdf and printed it through Adobe reader using the banner option.  I taped the pages together and placed them under of piece of white PFD cotton.  I attached the paper to the cotton using quilting pins, so it wouldn't shift as I traced it. I traced the diagram onto the cotton using a fine Micron pen.

Once the diagram was transferred, I ironed a piece of freezer paper to the back of the cotton.  This provides a stabilised surface to colour and paint on.
I used my Derwent Intense pencils to colour in the drawing on the cotton.  I kept the pencil pressure fairly light as a little goes a long way once it is wet.

I used textile medium and fine paintbrushes to wet the coloured surface, attempting to not stray outside my lines.

Once all the coloured areas had been painted, I removed the freezer paper from the back, as it allows the cotton dries faster.

Next, I ironed some medium fusible stabiliser to the back of the cotton, followed by two layers of polyester wadding.  I hald the layers together with quilting pins.

Starting near the middle of the piece, I used about 8 different colours of Isacord thread to quilt the motif.

Once the motif was entirely quilted, I cut away one layer of polyester wadding around the motif at the back of the work.
Lastly, I echo quilted twice around the motif and FMQ'd a swirly leaf motif over the white background.

Close ups of the quilting

I'm sure there are a lot of other methods I could have used to achieve similar results and would not suggest this is a good method.  I make it up as I go along.  I have made lots of mistakes along the way.  It's the way I learn.  Happy quilting!

Tuesday, 7 April 2015


Week 14 of my FMQ Challenge

I have been making very slow progress with my spools quilt.  I wanted to use big stitch and perle cotton on the spools.  I tried using big stitch around the spools and in the sashing, but didn't like it...so out came the perle cotton stitches and I've now started to free motion quilt those areas.  so no practice piece this week. I am slowly FM quilting the sashing and areas around the spools in my spools quilt. The biggest challenge here is managing the bulk of the queen size quilt in the small arm space of my Bernina 1008.