Friday, 30 January 2015

They call me Bruce!

Meet Bruce...

No, not THAT Bruce, THIS Bruce,
Bruce is a funky little crafty carrier designed by the super dooper talented Australian designer - Jodie Carleton of Ric Rac.  Bruce has pockets back and front and enough room for a project or two.  He carries everything and you will never hear a word of complaint.  Every girl needs a Bruce in their lives! 

This is my personal Bruce.  He sits next to my chair and looks after my hand sewing equipment.

Here are some Tula Pink Bruces that I made for Ashleigh & Julie.

Bruce comes in many colours.  The pink Bruce was part of the prize for my "1000 Followers" giveaway & the orange Bruce was for Cassie.
This is the Bruce that I made for my Schnitzel & Boo swap partner.
Greenie the Bilby likes Bruce's buttons and often "minds" them for me whilst a Bruce is in construction.  He is especially fond of the green ones as they remind him of his Aunty Alison.

A ladder of Bruces!
Carol's Bruce

Go on, you know you want to make one too.  Bruce is an easy pattern to make.  He only uses 2 fat quarters, some interfacing, 55" of binding and a self covered button.  Just watch that Greenie the Bilby doesn't run off with the button, he's lightning fast!!
Click on the logo above to purchase the Bruce pattern

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Cute Cups Quilt

Late last year I purchased the book "Quilty Fun" by Lori Holt with the intention of doing a sew-a-long with my friend Jess early in the new year.  Well December proved to be a busy month which spilled over into January and I was just a little bit stressed wondering how I would manage to get everything done; when Lori Holt posted the following invitation on Instagram:
I tagged Jess and asked her if she would rather do something smaller like this instead of the whole "Quilty Fun" quilt.  The next thing I knew, Jess had sorted through her scraps and started to sew it together already.  Time to get myself into gear.  I had been hoarding some red and white prints with the intention of making something schmancy for my kitchen - this seemed like a good excuse to use my special stash.  The prints I used were a lovely "Pam Kitty Picnic Red Recipe For Success" text fabric that I had purchased ages ago from Alison at The Cotton Factory, and I matched it up with some prints from "Weeds" by Me and My Sister for Moda.
The cups are made.

The sashing goes on.

My completed top.

I'm still rather inexperienced when it comes to actual quilting (no I still can't FMQ!), and when Jess posted a photo of hers with a lovely cross hatch quilt design I asked her how to do it.  I knew that I would be able to use my walking foot to quilt this design but instead of using tape to mark the lines I used a water erasable pen.  I stitched the ditch in red around the red border and used Aurifil in white for the cross hatch. I was surprised how quick and easy this method was!
My assistant - Snowy the Squirrel

In next to no time it was quilted, bound and hung up in the kitchen.  I hadn't pre-measured the space I had in mind to hang it but thankfully it fitted perfectly.  It now hangs on the kitchen wall above my recipe book shelf. 
Overall this was such a quick and easy project and it surprised me actually.  Lately most of my work had been intricate foundation paper piecing and I guess I had forgotten how quick regular piecing is in comparison.  It took me a matter of hours to sew the top together and similar time to quilt it.  If I had of hand quilted it would have taken one or two nights to complete it. 
I'm pretty chuffed with how quickly this mini came together and how cool it looks hanging up in my kitchen, but what really impressed me was how sweet, kind and supportive Lori herself has been:
"Quilty Fun" by Lori Holt

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Swap-a-holics Anonymous

Hi, my name is Fiona and I'm addicted to quilt swaps.  Seriously!
I've gone slightly swap crazy this year.  You may have seen my previous post listing some of the swaps that I joined this year, well the list has grown.
I am now in the following:
  1. Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap (round 3) - due 23 January
  2. Whimsical Woodlands Mug Rug Swap - due 02 February
  3. Downton Swap (Downton Abbey themed) - due 24 February
  4. Kitten Mini Quilt Swap - due 31 March
  5. Aussie Hoop Swap - due 31 March
  6. Rainbow Mini Swap - due 06 April
  7. Mini Oz Swap - due 10 April
And I am contemplating joining the Aussie Tula Pink Mini Quilt Swap that opens tomorrow (due 01 May).
Today I mailed off my Schnitzel & Boo and Whimsical Woodlands swaps so I can now cross those two off my "To Do" list.  Those of you following me on Instagram will notice that I am well into creating something special for my Downton swap partner #DailyDowntonUpdate and I have just finished piecing together the quilt top for my Rainbow swap.
Did you know that I have a page dedicated to swaps on my blog which lists all my likes & preferences to make life easier for my swap stalkers?  Are you one of my lovely stalkers or has someone recently asked you "What do you know about Fiona?" Well there is a link on the top of my blog called "Quilt Swaps" and all the information that they'll need should be found there. 
In addition to these swaps there are many other projects on the backburner...

Hazel Hedgehog QAL on
My dear friend Angie of Gnome Angel is hosting a Hazel Hedgehog Quilt-a-long which kicks off on the 4th of February.  Details can be found on her blog (click on the link above) and the pattern designer - Elizabeth Hartmen - has kindly supplied a 25% discount code for those who need to purchase the pattern.  It's a fun and easy pattern and I'll be guest blogging on the 9th of February and showing you my version of Hazel Hedgehog - she's currently hanging out with the squirrels in my sewing room waiting to be quilted...
In addition, the squirrels and I have been very busy training the latest Secret Squirrel recruits as we are expecting a visit from Secret Squirrel HQ on Saturday.
Regular blogging will recommence once I have caught up a bit. 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Movement in Squares

Sometimes you see a pattern and immediately you know you NEED TO make it.  That's what I was like when I first saw this pattern - "Movement in Squares" by Wendy Sheppard.  I knew that I HAD to make it!
I purchased some gorgeous green & brown prints back in January during the first "Great Aussie Destash" on Instagram (#GreatAussieDestash) and they cried out to be used for this pattern.  I don't have all the selvages, but the ones I found were; "Groove" by Caleb Gray Studio by Robert Kaufman, and "Santorini" by Lila Tueller for Moda.   It wasn't a difficult quilt to make, I just needed to make sure that I sewed straight lines and an accurate 1/4" seam - sometimes easier said than done - but the quilt top was put together in no time.

My completed top - June 2014

That was back in June.  Then it sat. And sat. And sat.  Until October came around and I suddenly got the guilts and decided that I wanted to get this quilt finished before the end of 2014. 
I'm not keen on plain quilt backs (unless they are hanging on a wall and you can't see them), so I dug out my left over fabrics and tried to get inspired.  Thankfully a friend was destashing some fabric so I purchased two pieces of extra fabric which coordinated perfectly with my scraps.  When combined they were large enough to create a scrappy back.  With fabric in hand and renewed motivation, a scrappy back was whipped together in no time.
The scrappy back
Then came the mammoth hand quilting session - the clock was ticking down to the new year, it was WAY TOO HOT to be quilting (summer in Oz), but I was determined to get this baby finished before midnight on the 31st of December 2014.

By the time that I was binding the quilt, I was so delusional from lack of sleep that I imagined jelly dinosaurs attacking my Wonder Clips... but I slogged on...

Welcome to Jurassic Park!
I would've made it, but I had pulled so many all nighters that I actually fell asleep late in the afternoon on the 31st and woke up after 7pm.  YIKES!  I soon realised that I wasn't going to make  my self imposed deadline so I gave myself permission to switch over to Perth time (they are currently 3-hours behind the East Coast so I could make up my lost 3 hours); and I managed to finish the hand quilting at 11.10pm Perth time (2:10am local time) with 50 minutes to go. YAY!  Thanks Perth! ;0)
Ok well in fairness I am going to call this my "First Finish".  So far I have only just done basic quilting on this.  I do have intentions to add more detailed stitching into the negative spaces but have not yet worked out what I want to do.  Plus it is way too hot.  It's our summer.  Our temperatures are in the high 30's - mid 40's Celcius (that's averaging over 100 Fahrenheit for you crazy Americans).  But I'm happy with what I've done, for now.
The Front
The Back
Movement in Squares FREE pattern by Wendy Sheppard. 
Please click on image to download the Free PDF pattern.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

We Have a Winner!

The winning entry for my 1000 Followers Giveaway is entry number #45 which is Michele Timms from Canada

Congratulations Michele! 
Can you please email me or DM me on Instagram with your postal address so that I can organise delivery of your prize?
Thank you to everyone who entered.
If anyone would like to make their own Bruce, patterns can be purchased online from Ric Rac or from Cotton Factory in Ballarat.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Exploding Star

I recently made an Exploding Star mini quilt for a friend who likes all things green.  She has good taste because I like green too (in case you hadn't already figured that out) :0)

Piecing the quilt block with light to dark shades of green.
Snowy the Secret Squirrel helped me with this project
The completed block prior to quilting.  14" unfinished.
Starting the marathon quilting session....
The quilt inspectpurrrrrr examines the finished article.
I was very relieved to hear that the quilt eventually arrived as it got delayed in the mail over all the public holidays.
copied from Instagram
copied from Instagram

"Exploding Star Paper Piecing Template" by Lake Johnson Patterns
Please click on Craftsy logo above to access pattern.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Looking Back At 2014 - My Year In Photos

Sometimes it can be fun to reminisce and to look back over the year that was.  In April last year I was introduced to the iPhone app "Photo365" and I have kept a photo journal from May onwards.  Here is my year in photos.  I have notated some of the highlights below:
Social Totes; Bee Blocks; Catching up with friends; Miriam's "Autumn Hearts" Quilt; Circuit Assembly;  "Urbana" Quilt using Dashwood fabrics; Lachlan's pillow for his broken foot/ankle; Pat Sloan's "The Letter F"; Nested Churn Dash sew-a-long; FMQing class at my LQS; the start of "Fiona's Block Swap". 
Working on "Mrs Beasley's Sampler Quilt" blocks 1 & 2; numerous bee blocks & "Fiona's Block Swap" quilt blocks; starting the "Movement in Squares" quilt top; meeting Rosalie Quinlan at "Craft Alive" in Bendigo; more quilting, embroidery & my Grand Canyon cross stitch; starting the "Quilty Sisters Instabee"

Bee blocks; "Friendship" by Rosalie Quinlan; Patchwork House Block Swap; "The Two Of Us" embroidery pattern by Rosalie Quinlan (Mum turned it into a handbag after I stitched it); "Dresden Circle" mini quilt; lots of embroidery and secret squirrel sewing for "Fiona's Block Swap"; "Stitching Seams with Polkadot Dreams" by Rosalie Quinlan; meeting Julie & Ashleigh; "Raincheck" mini quilt by Thimble Blossoms; "The Letter F" mini quilt completed; Sea Breeze mini quilt a long; Pat Sloan's "Let's Go Sew".
Lots and lots of bee blocks; Very Cherry Swap; "Tea for Two" for Alison; the Butterfly Challenge; English Paper Piecing (hexis); "Journey of a Quilter" finally quilted; Mum completes "The Two Of Us" handbag; Fox mini quilts for Kelly & Carlie; 500 followers on Instagram.
Bee Blocks; starting my mini "Swoon"; pattern testing for Juliet; Very Cherry Swap parcels sent off & received; "Butterfly" mini for Jess; Owl cushion for a friend; more cross stitch; starting to quilt "Let's Go Sew".

Peg Board finally hung up in the sewing room (after renovations); Cross Stitch; "Elephantasy" mini quit for the Spotlight Quilt Expo; more bee blocks; Bendigo's yarn bombed tram; "Singing in the Rain" mini quilt; bee blocks for Jade; Deniliquin day trip with Probus; a new Horn sewing cabinet; floss; starting my "Millefiori Mystery Quilt" by Sarah Fielke; meeting Jess on a day trip to Ballarat & also meeting Alison from Cotton Factory & Jodie from Ric Rac; my first ever Aurifil; collecting Mum's quilt from the Long Arm Quilter; & teaching Mum how to fussy cut.

Working on my "Millefiori Mystery Quilt" by Sarah Fielke and my "Quilty Stitches" cross stitch by Little Miss Shabby dominated November.  Mum's quilt finally finished.  Some bee blocks; "Norway" mini by Thimble Blossoms for Sharon; Greeny the bilby heads off on his journey to his new forever home; my 3-year anniversary in Bendigo; VIP guests for dinner; and lots & lots & lots of secret squirrel sewing that I can't show just yet...
Lots of secret squirrel sewing - "Goosed Up in Blue (da ba dee)" for Annabel ; starting my "Schnitzel & Boo" mini quilt; "Quilty Stitches" is complete; "Green Exploding Star" mini quilt for Kellie; more bee blocks; peg board in sewing room painted lime green; Olaf sings bad songs for Sharon; "Bee Hive" wall quilt for Carolyn arrives in America (made last month); my "Harlequin Stars" kit arrives from Emma Jean Jansen with Terra Australia fabrics; Day trip to Ballarat to visit Cotton Factory & Greeny touches the big green button; Cosmo; "C" mini quilt for Cassie; housewarming gift for Cassie; Hoffman Fabrics Batiks prize arrives; Aurifil arrives & hung up on a new thread holder in the sewing room; Bruces & Ric Rac birdies; and I *finally* completed the "Movement in Squares" quilt (nicknamed my "Peppermint Freddo" quilt).
Wow, there's a lot of crafting in there!  And to top off the year I also reached 1000 Followers on Instagram in late December.  If you haven't already done so, check out my "1000 Followers Giveaway" competition.
Click on picture above to access the competition page. 
Entries close 9pm Sunday 11 January 2015 Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time.
Entry is open to all friends worldwide.