Quilting

The reviewer of this book was Danielle: Danielle is a Canberra-based quilter, crafter, knitter and collector of fabric who loves to applique. She blogs infrequently at Petits Elefants, but is more likely to be found on Instagram and twitter (@petitselefants).

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Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting  Natalia Bonner, Stash Books, 2012

 

Natalia Bonner is well-known in the online quilting community as a professional long-arm quilter. In her first book, she shows us how many of the popular quilting patterns used on modern quilts by long-arm quilters can be replicated on our home machines. This is a practical guide, with lots of pictures and diagrams to unravel the mystery of how those lovely, perfectly rounded and spaced swirls can work on your quilt!

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There’s no denying that free-motion quilting is to many home quilters the last frontier. While we may have squeezed a twin-sized quilt under the tiny throat of our machines at times, sometimes we have to admit that sending the quilt off to be quilted on a long-arm machine is the better option. Others may be confident with a gentle meandering stipple pattern, but be a little nervous about trying something that looks a bit more complicated. This book will help dispel the perception that ‘fancy’ quilting patterns can’t be done on your home machine.

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In practical terms, it’s important to acknowledge that free-motion quilting, as with a lot of skills, takes practice, and lots of it. The more you practise, the better you will be. If you’re willing to put in that practice, then this book has loads of inspiration for quilting designs, ranging from simple swirls to more complex combined designs, and perhaps the pinnacle of quilting, the feather! One feature I particularly like about this book is the whole chapter it devotes to border designs, and especially the hints about carrying the design around corners, something I have struggled with in the past and which has put me off wanting to free-motion quilt on my quilts that have borders. There are also sections on allover designs, how to quilt custom designs to fit individual blocks and how to manage appliquéd quilts. Six quilt patterns are included in the book, my favourite of which is the cover quilt, Orange Slices.

This book will serve as a fabulous resource for anyone who either would like to try free-motion quilting or who has already mastered one or more designs. It is packed with detailed pictures and diagrams, and practical tips on how to complete your quilt.

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This month at Whipup we will be hearing from artists and crafters and finding out a bit more about how they keep records of their ideas and where those ideas come from. Today it is my great pleasure to introduce Heather Jones of Olive and Ollie who I had the great pleasure of meeting while at QuiltCon earlier this year. 

Heather is a designer, seamstress, and modern quilter who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two children. She is the founder and former president of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild and has designed a line of modern quilting patterns. She is incredibly creative, talented and inspiring and I’m so pleased she was able to join us here today. 

silo quilt sketch

Many of my quilt designs are inspired by things that I see in my everyday life, such as this sketch for my Silo quilt. And I never quite know when that inspiration may strike, so I always try to keep a sketchbook on hand, along with a pencil to draw with. I also take a lot of photos with my camera phone and use them as I develop my sketches further, once I get back to my studio.

improv color block sketch

I use graph paper sketchbooks to draw my designs in, and I especially love these spiral bound books because I can lay them flat as I’m working.

quilt math detail

I use the grid pattern of the graph paper to calculate the sizes of all of the components of my design, as well as the fabric yardage needed to complete the pattern.

markers

I start all of my sketches in pencil and once I have the layout of the pattern complete, I bring in color with some india ink markers. I really love these markers because they provide a nice sheer layer of color, so I can see still the grid of the graph paper behind them. They also don’t bleed through the pages, which allows me to use both the front and back of every page in the book.

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I really love to work this way. It’s probably more time consuming to draw out my designs with pencil and paper than it would be to design on the computer, but I love this type of slowed creativity. It’s also fun to see my drawings come to life as I’m working on my quilts, and I love going through my sketchbooks and revisiting the finished drawings of my designs.

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Yellow Colour Palette

Because where I am it’s freezing cold and I need warming up, we are going with summery yellow and warm fuzzy link love this week! (image above created here)

Stitch :: The Paisley Pillow

Share :: A cup of (hot or iced) tea with an old friend

Knit :: This Sunshine Scarf

Lounge :: under a quilt or under a tree with a good book

Crochet :: A flippy floppy ear flap hat

Visit :: Your local park and enjoy all that the weather has to offer. What do you notice about it in different seasons?

Make :: A beautiful sunny yellow picnic quilt (quilt pictured below by Jen Carlton-Bailly aka bettycrockerass)

quilt and photo by Jen (bettycrockerass)

Sew :: My favourite skirt pattern, perhaps using these bucks or scallops

Read :: Aloud to a loved one

Eat :: Courgettes with feta and mint

Enjoy :: your weekend, whatever it may bring

**No payment (monetary or in-kind) is received by whipup for any links in this post, they are genuine recommendations of the author**

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QuiltCon

The past month has been a bit quilty in the online craft scene

During March on Whipup I begin a monthly Guest Editor series, where I have invited a bunch of lovely people to curate a short series of posts each month.

Also recently we launched the latest edition of Action Pack magazine for kids. This edition is themed on Water — the first in a four part series focussing on the elements. A great issue with a bunch of fantastic contributors which was put together while on the road — libraries and tents and beach side writing — lots of ingenuity involved. If you are interested in contributing for further issues check in here. In the meantime do grab yourself a copy of this issue — only $6 for 40 ad-free pages of projects.

Book reviews this year are being managed this year by Julie and reviewed by a great team of crafty gals. Check out Feathered friends.

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DO get in touch if you are interested in writing a guest post for whipup this year! Send me a short email with your idea Kathreen {at} whipup.net

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Elizabeth Hartman is a self-taught quilter. She has been making things her entire life but, when she tried quilting for the first time, she fell in love and hasn’t been able to stop. Elizabeth is the author of The Practical Guide to Patchwork, Modern Patchwork, and the popular blog, ohfransson.com.

One of the most important parts of my creative process is maintaining a clean and organized space in which to work. I’ve been lucky enough to have a designated sewing room for just over 7 years now, and I’ve learned through trial and error the things that work best for me. I want to talk a little about my favorite parts of my sewing room and how they help me to be more productive.

Fabric organization

Since the process of making a quilt always involves pulling out and auditioning a bunch of different fabrics, it doesn’t take long before every surface in the room is covered. To keep things simple (both for finding fabrics and for putting them away!) I like to keep my fabric organized by color, with print and solid fabrics stored separately.

I keep my folded fabric in clear plastic drawers that fit under my sewing room counters. The drawers make it easy to put away extra fabric, or to pull out an entire drawer if I want to, say, go through all the yellow prints I have. Since I’m not always able to stop and put things away as I’m working, I also keep a “to be filed” basket on the counter.

Another thing that I find hugely helpful in keeping my fabric stash organized is editing. I routinely go through my entire stash and pull fabrics that have sat unused for too long, or that I’m just not as crazy about as I once was. This process was painful at first, but the benefits of having a smaller and less-cluttered fabric stash have made it worthwhile. I also feel better about giving my unused fabric to other quilters who will actually use it.

Design wall

My design wall has become such an important part of my process that it seems crazy to me that I quilted for so many years without one! A “design wall” may sound like something super-fancy, but the one I’m using now is, literally, just a giant piece of cotton batting tacked to the wall. (Some people use flannel, but I find that batting works much better.) Fabric sticks to the batting, making it possible to temporarily place fabric and piecing on the wall, step back, and consider the arrangement.

In order to make my design wall a full 8’ x 8’, I had to work around a few light switches and electrical outlets. To do that, I started by removing all the outlet covers. Once the batting was tacked up on the wall, I carefully cut away the batting from around the switches and outlets. Then I replaced the covers, which hid the raw edges of the batting I had cut away.

If you don’t have the space for a permanent design wall, it’s quite easy to make a smaller, portable one by wrapping sheets of lightweight foam insulation from a hardware store. The portable wall can be stored under a bed or in a closet when you’re not using it.

Pressing board

As a quilter, I almost never use a conventional ironing board. Instead, I have a counter-height pressing table that’s about 29” x 39”. To make it, I simply had a piece of plywood cut to match the top of my IKEA countertop. I wrapped the plywood in three layers of cotton batting and one layer of cotton fabric, and used my staple gun to tack the excess batting and fabric to the underside of the board. Simple!

My countertop pressing board stays in one place, but it’s easy to make more portable versions. I have a smaller version that I made by wrapping the top of a wooden TV tray. The smaller version can be set up and used right next to my machine and is portable enough to bring to sewing circle.

Keep things simple

When I was setting up my first sewing room, I approached it as I would approach setting up any other room. I picked regular furniture, I painted the walls red (really!) and I hung up lots of pictures and things on the walls. As a room, it was lovely. As a creative workspace, it was a nightmare. The red walls permeated everything I worked on, and having so many decorative elements around was distracting.

Today, my sewing room is painted a very light gray and I’ve made a point to choose white countertops, shelving, and other elements. The space is so much brighter and cleaner – like a blank canvas for my projects!

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