Category Archives: patchwork

Riley Blake MQG Challenge – Quilt-As-You-Go Bag

It was a perfect match, a Modern Quilt Guild Basics Challenge sponsored by Riley Blake Designs to make anything quilted, with six fat-eighths to start us off, and a fabulous Craftsy class to make Quilt-As-You-Go Patchwork Bags that I could not wait to try. I’m so excited to share this bag so look out, lots of pretty pictures coming up!

Riley Blake Challenge - Quilt As You Go Bag

I’d been hoping for a chance to take the Quilt-As-You-Go Patchwork Bags Craftsy class with with Tara Rebman when it was announced that Riley Blake Designs would be sponsoring the 3rd annual MQG members fabric challenge, we heard about it at a Wollongong MQG sew day and I knew exactly what I was going to make. Light bulb moment!

Riley Blake Challenge - Quilt As You Go Bag

We received our fabrics towards the end of last year as 5.5″ x WOF strips from the range of Riley Blake basics. The fabrics I received were:

  • solid dark grey
  • light grey and white 1″ stripes
  • navy and white medium gingham
  • aqua tone on tone medium chevron
  • white on yellow small dots
  • orange pop

Riley Blake Challenge - Quilt As You Go Bag

I’ve supplemented these with some other Riley Blake fabrics from my stash and a few solids including:

  • yellow tone on tone small dot
  • orange tone on tone small dot
  • white on aqua dot
  • orange solid
  • yellow solid
  • sea green solid
  • navy solid for the bias binding
  • navy blue solid cotton duck cloth for the bag base

Riley Blake Challenge - Quilt As You Go Bag

I started off by cutting a few small and medium strips and squares of varying sizes from each fabric and began the quilt as you go process which uses a log cabin approach. Each round adds a new piece of fabric to cover the join of the previous two pieces and gets quilted down (as you go), towards the edges using pre-patched slabs rather than single fabric pieces. Stay tuned for an upcoming post reviewing the class and sharing some more details of the bag making.

Riley Blake Challenge - Quilt As You Go Bag

I used Aurifil 50wt threads for this project, a light grey/silver (2600) for piecing & quilting the main panels and navy (2745) for quilting on the base panel and attaching the bias binding. My quilting is roughly 1/4″ apart, though I did vary on purpose to give some subtle difference in textures and in some cases to suit the fabric.  My favourite part of the quilting is this navy gingham piece below.

Riley Blake Challenge - Quilt As You Go Bag

The bag is a pretty good size as you can see above with it on my shoulder. In opens up wide and has a handy flap with magnetic snap to keep it closed. I included both pocket options, a hidden zipper pocket on one side and a divided pocket on the other.

Riley Blake Challenge - Quilt As You Go Bag

I really love these challenges, this one in particular took me out of my comfort zone with colour but seeing all the fabrics combined I quite like the overall effect of the outside of the bag.  I wish I didn’t choose an orange solid for the lining, next to the navy binding all I see is football team colours. This is a perfect case where a subtle tone on tone chevron or dots would have been a better choice for such a large area. I already have some fat quarter packs of the Riley Blake small dots and tone on tone dots and I’m sure more of their basics will make their way into my stash, I just haven’t been able to source it locally yet so couldn’t get it in time to finish my bag.

Riley Blake Challenge - Quilt As You Go Bag

A huge thanks to Riley Blake Designs for sponsoring this challenge and providing the fabric for us to play with. Thank you also to the Modern Quilt Guild for organising these challenges for us and to our awesome leader Rachael of the Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild who does all the organising so we can participate.

Tea Cup Block

Back in July one of my favourite quilters, Sarah Fielke, put out the call on her blog The Last Piece for tea cup blocks for a birthday quilt-a-long. The tea cup block is from her pattern All That and the Hatter from the book Hand Quilted With Love.

I was immediately drawn to this quilt when I saw it in the book, and loved it even more when I got to see it at the Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair, there’s a picture of the full quilt on Sarah’s blog. The amount of piecing involved seemed a bit daunting. Making this tea cup for Sarah was a perfect way to try out a single block that would go to good use. I also made my first cut into one of my pieces of Liberty. That was a bit scary but oh so worth it.

Tea Cup Block

If you’d like to see more of the blocks, Sarah has been posting pics on Instagram tagged with #birthdayquiltalong to show the many beautiful and varied tea cups she’s received so far. I can’t wait to see the quilt top when she gets to making it.

Quilting From Little Things

Continuing on with the Craftsy love from before (I sense a theme developing here), I signed up for Big Techniques from Small Scraps, or Small Stash as is my case so far, with Sarah Fielke and am really loving it!

I had the class in my Craftsy wishlist for a few weeks, thinking I’d have another look when I had watched and worked on a bit more of the Machine Quilting Negative Space class with Angela Walters. I was tempted by a couple of the sales, and then got an email from Craftsy offering a really good deal on the class to treat myself because it was in my wishlist, and that I did. That was pretty awesome of them, so thanks Craftsy!

Honestly there were maybe two techniques I was initially interested in and thought I wouldn’t be as keen about the rest, boy… was I wrong. I watched the first few classes and wanted to try them all. I think that seeing the techniques demonstrated for you is a huge advantage. I’m sure I could figure it out from a book or magazine with good written instructions but then I find the photos of the finished item have to really pull me in to want to try it. If the colours or prints aren’t really my style sometimes it’s hard to look past that. In this case, seeing the individual techniques is what convinced me to want to try them and make something, it wasn’t all about the finished item but learning how to do something new.

I settled on the Step Down Piecing technique first as I was planning to make a baby quilt anyway, and had the perfect 50cm pack for it. The fabric is the 100% organic cotton, GOTS certified range Wombat Wonderland by Saffron Craig. It’s beautiful fabric to work with, I was lucky that the smaller wombats on the dark purple background were the perfect fit for the small squares, both in size and contrast.

Step Down Piecing Top

I decided I wanted the top ready to take away with me to hand quilt a few days later so I got stuck right in, I probably spent more time fussy cutting the wombats than sewing. I only got it finished late the night before I had to leave, hence the bad night lighting in the shot above.

The Step Down Piecing technique is really interesting and not all that hard in terms of sewing. Laying out the pieces first is a huge help, putting the first few pieces together was a bit tricky but once you get going it comes together easily. I found that it was a bit like free motion quilting, 80% of the technique is just knowing where to go next (something I’ve picked up from Angela Walters’ class).

I’m currently hand quilting the quilt after seeing another little promo video by Sarah which you can watch below. Seeing someone demonstrate what are quite simple steps makes something seem so much more achievable. If you’re a visual learner, Craftsy classes are perfect for you.

Next on the list is needle turn applique, I’ve got my little kit of Sarah’s recommended supplies and her book, Quilting from Little Things, for eye candy. This book has most of the same techniques in small and large project pairs. Can’t wait to start my next little project.

Sarah Fielke Applique Kit

Lucky Stars BOM: January

January block is done! I found this block made from 4 squares instead of the 8 triangles in the practice block seemed to be more straight forward. The blocks probably took a little longer but only having 3 seams to sew to turn it into a complete block made it super quick.

Lucky Stars BOM - January

I’m attempting to get a bit designery (that’s a technical term) with these blocks by mocking them up in Adobe Illustrator and trying out my colour combos first. It seems to be working in that my original plans for the colour placement within the blocks look ok, but with a bit of swapping and changing around I’ve found a variation that I think achieves what I’m going for just that little bit more. Sometimes along the way I discover a way to emphasise different patterns in the block than I orginally saw.

You’ve probably heard of Photoshop, I use that quite a bit for my work. Illustrator is a kind of sister program to Photoshop that allows you to draw, manipulate and resize lines and shapes where as Photoshop is more like painting (and photo editing). I’ve been wanting to expand my skills in Illustrator, so far my experience is limited to making small edits to other peoples work. My idea of tracing, drawing or designing quilt blocks seemed like a good fit for Illustrator so with that in mind I’ve been trying a few tutorials. Kmac Quilts has a small series including some good tips on setting up grids based on your common quilt sizes. I also found a handy tutorial from Vector Diary on how to outline and colour in your quilt.

The below images show how I originally thought I would place the colours (left) and another variation that I really liked which I think gave emphasis to different parts of the block (right). What I ultimately wanted was a kind of exploding starburst effect so what you see in the block above was what I ultimately went for.

Lucky Stars BOM January Block - Original Idea
Lucky Stars BOM January Block - Alternate Design

Lucky Stars BOM: Practice Block

I’ve been a bit slow to start but here’s my first block for the Lucky Stars Block of the Month with Elizabeth Dackson of Don’t Call Me Betsy. This is just the practice block released back at the end of December and was my first attempt at foundation paper piecing.

Lucky Stars BOM - Practice Block

So far I’m really loving this technique! I had a vague understanding of how it worked but had never seen it done. Someone posted a link to the video below in our Flickr discussion groups for the Lucky Stars BOM Club. Even though Elixabeth has supplied us with great instructions and templates, watching this video and just seeing it done once was huge help and the steps have been easy to follow.

I’ve decided to go with all solids for my blocks, brights on a navy blue background and in each block I’ll make a feature of one of the elements in white. Time to get cracking on the January and then February blocks.