Category Archives: quilting

Super Stars – A Finished Charity Quilt

Super Stars is my first quilt finish for 2014. It probably should have been my final finish for 2013 but just spilled over, oh well it’s finally done! It finishes at 60″ x 75″ using a 4×5 layout of 15″ blocks.

Super Stars - WMQG Charity Quilt

I used a 50w Aurifil thread (2021) to free motion quilt a pattern of loops and stars in the background and a wonky star in the middle of each of the pieced stars.

Super Stars - WMQG Charity Quilt - Quilting

This quilt was made as part of the Vintage Made Modern charity quilt challenge, issued by Rachael, the leader of our guild, to use up some of the huge stash of vintage fabrics we’d been gifted, as well as to help our favourite charities.

Some of the blocks were cut & pieced by fellow members of the Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild at our dedicated sew day in August (yep that’s me, piecing away on my Juki and pulling a ridiculous face). We managed to get all the blocks cut and pieced in the one day.

Super Stars - WMQG Charity Quilt

Over the next couple monthly sew days I got all the blocks put together into a top and then basted the quilt. The floral print on the back was the first fabric I picked and then I pulled the other fabrics from there. All except for the yellows are a white-on-colour small floral print.

This was my first time doing free motion quilting on anything larger than a fat quarter, it was also my first attempt at machine binding. I used a 2.5″ wide strip for my binding to give myself a little extra to catch on the back. It’s a good method, I just need a little more practice so I can then reduce the strip width back to my usual 2.25″.

Super Stars - WMQG Charity Quilt - Backing & Binding

I’m linking up this finish with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday.

Quilting podcasts that keep me company

Sewing and quilting are always much more fun with company. Even with breaks for chatting or nibbling on yummy morning or afternoon tea, I get a lot more done when sewing with others. I’m also one of those people who will turn on the TV for company at home but always end up distracted. When sewing or quilting, a little more attention to what is in front of me is required so I’m really loving podcasts for a bit of company and quilting podcasts are great when you’re playing with fabric.


If you don’t know, a podcast is a like a recorded radio show, you can download them via services like iTunes or often you can listen directly from the hosting website. I subscribe to a number of podcasts through iTunes and sync these to my iPhone so I can listen to them where ever I am.

The beauty of podcasts is that nearly anyone can host one. There are plenty of high quality, professionally produced podcasts out there, and there are also a lot of really great podcasts created by passionate people who just love to talk about whatever it is they’re into, and they do it all on their own computer then share it with the world, thanks to the power of the internet.

Some of my favourite podcasts are by quilters. I don’t just listen to them at the sewing machine, but also when I’m walking to or from work, when I’m doing the washing up or other jobs around the house, and in the car. I wanted to share some of my favourite podcasts I like to keep up with in the hope you might give them a try to, or if you have your own favourites that you might share them with me, I’m always on the look out for more.

The first two are examples of podcasts where the conversation is pretty free flowing and casual. It’s mostly just the podcaster chatting away, occasionally they’ll have a guest as well. The second two are more structured shows with regular segments and guests.

Katie's Quilting Corner

Katie’s Quilting Corner

This was the first quilting podcast I began listening to. After a quick search on iTunes and a flick through some reviews I thought Katie’s perpective of a being a relatively new quilter around my age was something I’d relate to. It’s been great to start from the very first podcast and listen along, following her growth as a quilter and into teaching. She also shares fun stories about her Corgi’s and other interesting bits and pieces, I love her honesty.

Hip to be a square podcast

Hip to be a Square Podcast

“Your place for things quilty and geeky”. This podcast tickles my geeky funny bone like nothing else. Pam is absolutely hilarious, and somehow manages to create so many beautiful, varied quilts, all while keeping a detailed spreadsheet of her incoming & outgoing fabric, and sharing her love of cats.

This is another podcast that I started listening to right from the beginning (and naturally had to go back to the very first blog post and read those along with my podcast progress… stalker). I started listening to this podcast while still playing World of Warcraft and every now and then it reminds me of a certain place in the game, bit random but there you go.

Canadian Quilt  Talk

Canadian Quilt Talk

This is a fairly new podcast, starting just a few months ago so I didn’t have to go back all that far to start at the beginning, and was caught up in no time. Brandy Lynn discusses a range of quilting topics, often with a focus on Canadian quilters and groups. I find it really refreshing to hear from someone else outside the US and there are regular segments I always look forward to, particularly “the gentle judge”.

American Patchwork & Quilting Radio

American Patchwork & Quilting Radio – Hosted by
Pat Sloan.

This actually is a radio show, that is recorded and made available for download/listening afterwards. Pat Sloan hosts the show and usually has 3-4 guests who she interviews in each program. It’s a great way to hear from your favourite quilters and also discover new ones.

And if you’re looking for something a bit different, or have to occasionally bargin with your fellow travellers on a long road trip (like I do), then one of my favourite general knowledge podcasts is the Stuff You Should Know Podcast. If you just enjoy learning about new “stuff” or tend to be absorbed for hours in the wikipedia rabbit hole then you’re bound to enjoy this podcast. You’ll learn about the things you’ve heard of but never really understood or thought much about. For a quilty reference, listen to the episode on “How The Amish Work”.

You can search for podcasts on any other topic you like to. There are sports podcasts, music podcasts, movie & tv show podcasts… you name it, there’s probably someone out there talking about it on a podcast.

Blogger’s Quilt Festival: Madrona Road Festival Flags

Madrona Road Festival Flags is my fourth quilt finish!

It was completed as part of the Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild Madrona Road Challenge and just in time for the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. If you’re visiting from the festival, welcome!

Madrona Road Festival Flags - Front Madrona Road Festival Flags - Back

This baby quilt measures 35 inches by 48.5 inches. Most of the bunting flags were hand appliqued to the quilt top, however some flags were made to be double-sided and left loose for little hands to play with.

Madrona Road Festival Flags - Front QuiltingMadrona Road Festival Flags - Back Quilting

I echo quilted the flags with up to 5 lines and the filled up from the string below, roughly half an inch apart. My favourite, favourite bit is in the top right corner where I decided to echo quilt some phantom flags, inspired by a tip from Angela Walters in her Craftsy class on Machine Quilting Negative Space.

Madrona Road Festival Flags - Favourite Detail

The print fabric is Madrona Road by Violet Craft, and was very generously donated by Michael Miller Fabrics for the Modern Quilt Guild Challenge which many members of our guild took part in. Our fabric didn’t arrive until January and was handed out at the February Sew Day, with the finished quilts to be ready for our May Sew Day. While we weren’t able to be a part of the main challenge it was a great experience for many of us, and every single quilt was so different. The solid yellow was also supplied and I used Kona White for the front and Kona Medium Grey for the back. You can see more of the Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild Madrona Road Challenge Quilts on Flickr and the WMQG website.

I finished the quilt off with a cute scrappy binding and after a wash it’s come out nice and crinkly. There’s no label on yet, but once the new owner is chosen it will be included on a extra flag on the quilt back.

Madrona Road Festival Flags - Scrappy Binding

Last year I saw so many wonderful quilts during the Blogger’s Quilt Festivals in Spring and Fall (Autumn), I’m still surprised that I’ve actually made some of my own quilts and am so happy to be able to participate. If you haven’t taken part before don’t be scared, just take part and enjoy being part of this awesome event.

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2013

I Love Binding Clips!

Do people really use pins to hold on their binding? Really? I stab myself often enough during the piecing & basting stages and I knew it would only get worse if I tried pinning my binding. Luckily I haven’t had to try it.

Clover Wonder Clips

I came across a few reviews of Clover Wonder Clips while researching the various stages of making a quilt and it just seemed like a no brainer, I bought a box of 50 clips (10 weren’t going to go very far without constant rotation). Granted, I’m a sucker for a good task-specific gadget but I’m also quite realistic about my abilities.

Given I’m only just starting out, I knew it would take me a while to get through binding a quilt. Could you imagine all that time with a quilt draped over me, with pins sticking into me, or falling out into the lounge for a nasty surprise later on. The standard binding clips wouldn’t last long either, it doesn’t take much to pop them open and I have trouble keeping them in my hair for a day, how would they hold onto the thickness of a quilt sandwich?

Clover Wonder Clips

The Clover Wonder Clips were perfect. They’re really strong (try holding one open for more than a few seconds) but they grab onto your quilt and there’s no way they’re coming off. They’re also really quick and easy to reposition, open them just enough and slide along or pop them on somewhere else. I used them to hold the binding all the way around the quilt to make sure my joins weren’t going to fall awkwardly on a corner, then in place of pins while machine stitching the binding to the front, and again to help hold the binding, and particular the mitred corners when hand stitching to the back. The pack of 50 also comes in it’s own neat little box.

Binding seems to be one of those love or hate things, it’s your favourite part or your most dreaded part of making a quilt. If you’ve been having trouble holding or positioning your binding, or have just been thinking of trying these clips, I would definitely recommend them. There are enough blood spots on my quilts as it is.

Introducing Suki: My Juki TL-98P

I love my new(ish) Juki! Her name is Suki, I bought her second hand about a month ago after debating for some time about upgrading my current machine, a Brother NS50. She’s now my main machine and gets to sit out on the dining table all the time. It’s a long story but with a happy ending, if you’re keen to find out more about the Juki and my experience, you might want to grab a cup of tea and get comfy.

Yesterday was the first time in a month that I’ve needed to zig zag stitch, I’d taken in a top and wanted to tidy up the seams, and wanted to experiement with making frankenbatting (which was awesome by the way) so I had the two out together, below you can see them side by side.

Juki TL-98P (right) and Brother NS50 (left)

The Brother NS50 is a great machine, it was simple enough to get started on with a few fun features for me to grow into from when I first began sewing. It does all the utility things I might need (button holes, overcast, zigzag, fancy stitches, has a free arm) so I’ll be holding on to it for some time still. I should probably name him to…

After quilting my first lap sized quilt and getting a really sore wrist while doing it I thought there’s no way I’m going to get anything bigger under here or have enough space to be able to free-motion quilt comfortably. I’m not saying it wasn’t possible, it just wasn’t easy. I want to be able to enjoy quilting and I know that sewing and quilting are going to be something I’ll do for a long time so about 2 years after I started on the Brother I was ready to invest in a machine that would make things a bit easier for me.

I’ll admit, I’d been sucked into the hype about Bernina’s and started investigating those after trying out a 440 during a free motion quilting class. It was as if the quilt was floating over the surface. I knew they would be expensive but I was prepared to make an investment so I started looking around. Turns out, the larger machines that would meet my number one request of more throat/harp space were beyond what I was ready to invest, and I didn’t see it as good value, I didn’t need more stitches and all the other nice-to-have features that were only a bit of an improvement on what my Brother could already do.

That lead me to put together the wishlist below of the things I really wanted/needed to make a new machine worthwhile.

  1. More throat space for machine quilting
  2. Needle down on stopping
  3. Knee lift for the presser foot, so I could keep my hands on what I was sewing
  4. Nice straight stitch
  5. Walking foot, 1/4″ foot and free motion feet included would be a bonus
  6. Extension table would be nice to have while I sort out my furniture situation (I hope to eventually have a drop in table, but don’t think I’ll be cutting a hole in my dining table any time soon).

Juki TL-98P

I’ve been seeing and hearing so many good things about the Juki TL98 machines, and the newer TL2010 machines, mostly from my favourite bloggers and while reading reviews. It’s pretty hard to find someone who doesn’t love their Juki or who has had issues with it.

It ticked all the boxes, and then some. It has a thread cutter with a button on the foot pedal, I didn’t think I needed that but now I’ve used it a bit it sure does come in handy. It’s got a reverse lever and feed dog up/down switch on the front where it’s easy to access. Foot and thread tensions will take some getting used to but surely can only improve my stitches. It also came with a knee lift, extension table and quilting related feet as standard. While it has all these great, relevant, features, it’s a really simple machine, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that I didn’t need or want, another huge plus for me.

It wasn’t long before I was convinced this was the machine I wanted, and I didn’t look any further. It’s a mechanical, semi-industrial machine (Juki make a lot of industrial sewing machines) it also goes really, really fast. I would have liked a speed limiter, I use that a bit on my Brother, but that was only introduced on the 2010 model which is not available here, so I’ll just have to learn to control my foot pressure, not a bad skill to develop.

My biggest issue is they’re not easy to find here in Australia. Over here we only have the TL-98P (Perfection), which I believe is the equivalent to the TL-98Q feature wise, but it’s built for 240v power supplies, used here and also in Europe. There aren’t any local dealers, when I contacted Juki there were only 2 authorised sellers listed and they were in different states. I have since found a couple places in Sydney that stock Juki and I didn’t get around to arranging a trip up to test drive any when I came across the listing for mine.

I ended up purchasing Suki from Sewing Machine Warehouse via eBay. She was a trade in from another customer who had a frame setup for quilting, tried it out for a little while and then decided to upgrade to a table top mid arm machine instead. I have to say, I was hesitant about buying a machine, particularly a second hand one, online without getting to try it out first, not even a new one of the same model. I asked questions about the machines history and saw a lot of good reviews for the seller, being a physical store as well gave some reassurance and ultimately the price was too good to pass up. They were easy to deal with and took extra care when packing the machine for delivery.

I bought my current machine new from my local sewing machine shop Vera’s Machine Center and couldn’t have been happier with the help I received in choosing a machine, learning to use it, and when taking it in for servicing. I’d absolutely recommend finding a good local dealer and buying from them if you can. In this case I couldn’t find the machine I wanted locally, but I’m hoping I can get my machine serviced through them and hope to continue that relationship.

So far, I’m really happy with my Juki. I’m still figuring out a few things and looking at a few additional accessories, extra bobbins etc and hope to share more as I get to know her better. If you have any questions about the Juki TL-98P ask away and I’ll try to answer them as best I can. It wasn’t easy to find a lot of information about the machine and how to purchase one in Australia so I’m happy to share what I know and hope it will help someone else.