New Quilt and maybe a Pattern!

This weekend, for the first time in ages, I didn't have much on, which meant I finally had time to finish the quilt I started last month. I'd forgotten how fun they are to design and make, and how the little details, like making your own binding, can be so rewarding.

For this quilt I had a few aims - I wanted to make it small and lap-sized (perfect for the cooling weather here in Melbourne), to test out a simple pattern I had in mind, and also show the size of a quilt made using five panels of my fabric (which are around the size of a fat quarter). 

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I'd already cut and started sewing up the pieces for the front, and finishing this off didn't take too much time. Then I dug deep into my stash to find some fabric for the binding and the backing - pieces that fit in with the overall colour palette but also provide a bit of contrast. 

For the binding I chose some fabric I printed in my old studio in Kensington in around 2009 (which is horrifyingly nearly 10 years ago!) It's a small brown dot on a beige cotton linen and mixed in well with the other basecloth fabrics. For the backing I chose some of my yardage fabric from around the same time - Akzidenz alphabet printed on a sturdy organic cotton, in a mushroom grey ink. I recently found a small bolt of this hidden under a bunch of other fabric, which was a nice surprise discovery!

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For the actual quilting part I simply sewed across the front in long lines - kind of boring but I'm not into facing quilting stitch patterns. This part is quite meditative, and makes me appreciate how good it is having the right tools, like a proper walking foot (a bit of an investment but totally worth it!).

The pattern for the quilt is super simple - squares and rectangles made by cutting up five different panels of Spin Spin fabric (including one plain unprinted panel, the charcoal coloured pieces), then arranging them into a grid. I used a super generous 1cm seam allowance, which I'd probably reduce a bit next time - this would also mean the quilt would be a bit bigger, as there are so many pieces! For the homemade binding I made strips of fabric 2.5" wide but next time I think I'll make the strips a bit wider, so you can see more of it. It would also make sewing it on a bit easier, as there's more room to move. The overall size of this finished quilt is just what I wanted - around 90cm x 100cm (35" x 39.5").

I'd love to know what you think of the look of this quilt and also if you'd be interested in a pattern - please comment if you do/don't like it or if you've got any suggestions. If you'd prefer to send me a message that'd be great too.

Below are some images to give you more of a look and if you keep an eye on my shop, in the next day or so you'll find the April fabric special, a pack of five pieces :) And did I mention that next time I want to make an 8- or 10-panel quilt? I might need a bit more time to sew that one up, hmm.

Tutorial: Felt Pillowcases

If you are looking for a fun craft project or you have a kid's birthday coming up, I highly recommend making a felt pillowcase. So easy, so fun and they make a great personalised gift. In place of a pillowcase you could use a tea towel, T-shirt, a piece of fabric (then frame or use as part of a quilt) - so many options! I was thinking of making a tutorial but it's pretty straightforward, I don't think you need one - just use iron-on interfacing on the back of the felt, cut into shapes/letters and use a sewing machine to sew on (around the edges). Here are some that I've gifted lately. And if you make one, I'd love to see it so remember to share!

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Hand Painted Pillowcase

I've been working on lots of new ideas lately, but was getting frustrated with having nothing to show for it. What I needed was a quick crafty project that produced a real-life thing that day, not next week or next month. So I dug up a blank pillowcase from the pile I've got in my studio, pulled out all my favourite custom-mixed screenprinting inks and painted directly onto the pillowcase and here's what I came up with. It's kind of full-on in terms of pattern/colour craziness but was so so fun and took no time at all. And I kind of like the fact that some of the ink colours bled a bit at the edges, to give a gradient of colour. 

Happy Monday to you.

Tutorial: Fabric Covered Buttons

I always have so many scraps of tiny remnant fabric, leftover from sewing projects and whatnot. These bits might be small but they're full of colour and texture and personality - little snippets of designs I dreamt up in a notebook and turned into a real-life thing. And the texture of the fabric really shines when you've got little itty bits - the raw roughness of flax linen, the supersoft and pure white of quilting cotton and the body and texture of organic hemp.

Yonks ago I made a heap of buttons and did a little tute (hello, old blog!) Back then I started out with a process that was a lot more complicated (involving sewing the fabric edges and gathering it, eek) but there's a much easier way and all it involves is buying a couple of really cheap tools, so I figured it's about time I did an updated tute. It takes no time at all to whip up a bunch of buttons yourself once you're set up, so get onto it!

TUTORIAL: FABRIC COVERED BUTTONS

TOOLS

  • Fabric scissors
  • Fabric scraps (preferable of different prints and textures, but that work together)
  • Metal self-covered buttons - shells (the front) and backs (shanks). I use the 23mm size, 7/8", which is US size 36).
  • Self covered button assembly tool, to match your button size
  • A circle template to match your button size (you can get fancy ones with an inner circle cut out, so you can see how much of the fabric will show on the finished button, but I like the surprise of not quite knowing!)

METHOD

STEP 1: Use the circle template the cut a bunch of fabric scraps to the right size.

STEP 2: Place the fabric, right side down, on top of the tool base. Then place the button, right side down, on top of the fabric, along with the blue presser tool.

STEP 3: Press the button and fabric into the base. You may need to apply a bit of pressure and sometimes it's easier to turn it upside down, as per step 6.

STEP 4: Smooth out any kinks in the fabric using your fingernail. 

STEP 4: Smooth out any kinks in the fabric at the button edge. 

STEP 5: Position the button back on top of the neatened fabric.

STEP 5: Position the button back/shank on top of the neatened fabric.

STEP 6: Place the blue presser tool on top of the button back (hollow side down) and turn upside down. Press the tool base. You'll hear a click when the back is locked in place.

STEP 6: Place the blue presser tool on top of the button back (hollow side down) and turn upside down. Press the tool base. You'll feel it click when the back is locked in place.

STEP 7: Admire your handiwork!

STEP 7: Admire your handiwork!

That's it! Sooo simple. Once you start making some buttons, you'll get addicted and want to make a heap. What do you do with them? I've put them on clothes, cushions, used them as decorations on gifts, used them tied into hair elastics - the possibilities are many. Or get flat backs and glue a magnet on the back and put them on your fridge. Happy crafting! 

Seven Panel Quilt with a painted back

I'm working on my first quilt pattern, which is pretty exciting. It will be super simple to put together, using just seven pieces of fabric, and will look similar to the quilt below, which I made recently. I'm so into easy sewing projects that you can finish off in one or two sittings.

Oh, and the best thing about making the below quilt? The back is hand painted using the same coloured ink as the quilt front. It took about 10 minutes to go crazy with the ink and a paintbrush on a blank piece of organic quilting fabric, and was so much fun. I've been thinking of selling little pots of paint, so you can paint your own fabric, so watch this space for that. In the meantime, wish me luck with the Tetris-like project of creating a quilt pattern that actually works. Fingers crossed.

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Fabric fabric fabric, buttons buttons buttons

Every now and then I reach *peak fabric*, ie: I end up swimming in a sea of the sceenprinted goods. This week was one of those times, so I promptly made up a whole bunch of colour-coordinated fabric packs, which are available as of today. And if you want to be the first to hear about such things in the future, make sure you sign up for the (infrequent) mailing list and get first dibs.

Oh, and I also went crazy making fabric covered buttons, so all orders received in May will get some buttons thrown in, for good measure. I hope you love buttons as much as I do.

Happy Friday!

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September

Not only is it September, but it's nearly the end of September. How did this happen? The Royal Melbourne Show is on, another radiothon is over for my favourite station RRR and it's definitely spring in still-cold Melbourne.

Here are some snaps of the things I've been working on lately - lots of ceramics, lots of watercolour patterns and lots of fabric (that I don't have proper photos of yet), soon to be added to the shop and/or for sale at some upcoming events

Lots of new ceramic spoons including the above.

Lots of new ceramic spoons including the above.

The first and only mug I've ever made. 

The first and only mug I've ever made. 

Lots of hand painted porcelain studs  now available in my shop .

Lots of hand painted porcelain studs now available in my shop.

I'm obsessed with pattern making in watercolour. This is my latest.

I'm obsessed with pattern making in watercolour. This is my latest.

I did an ink audit this week and sorted them by colour group. Pinks and reds win.

I did an ink audit this week and sorted them by colour group. Pinks and reds win.

This cake is  THE best banana cake ever . Thanks, Hello Lunch Lady.

This cake is THE best banana cake ever. Thanks, Hello Lunch Lady.

On a different not, today I listened to this podcast from The Jealous Curator while working (found via Tess at Creative Minds Publishing & CWC) and recommend it to any creatives who love hearing artists talking about their work and their thoughts. Sandra Eterovic is so generous with her thoughts and her ideas, what a gem.

And finally, there's a post about me at the Maribyrnong Makers Market blog.