Saturday, December 8, 2012

Glacier Star Top is complete

After 78 1/2 hours all those itty bitty foundations are joined into a top.  It now should be 60" square. I haven't measured it as I still need to spend a few more hours removing the papers.  Now that I am finished I want to get into and start another one.  Think I may be becoming addicted.  It went together so easily.  Judy Niemeyer writes really good instructions.  My only (: is the amount of extra fabric that is not used from her original purchase requirements. For my classes I will go through the instructions and calculate the specific amounts required.  I know you need to keep straightening up etc when you cut but I usually allow 5% of fabric for this when I design a pattern.  Judy seems to have allowed a bigger margin.  With the tight quilting economy in Australia I think it would make a difference.

I will not get to quilt this top until January as now I really do need to concentrate on some customer tops.  Decided I will put my old Longarm back into my sewing room so I can have a custom on the new one and do the overalls on the older one.  I still have about four days to go on the Baltimore I have on my frame and since the customer won't be home for another four weeks it can come off for a while.
But come the New Year it will be major family and sewing room rearrangements.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Sewing Room

The shallower of the bird baths

 My sewing room/studio is 4.2m by 5.2m long with cupboards along the 4.2 m end wall. It is a tight space to fit all of my sewing things within the room and I keep eyeing off my family room as a possibility for extension. I enjoy standing at my longarm and looking out the window into my Frangipani garden at the bird baths. I regularly have Blue Wrens, Willie Wag tails, honey eaters, doves and the double barred finches are back for this year.


The view from ny sewing machine towards my windows.
Rotated view from my machine looking towards my kitchen
Looking straight ahead from my machine.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Glacier Star

I was very fortunate to spend last week in Melbourne in a class with Judy Niemeyer of Quiltworx.  She was teaching her Glacier Star quilt, which is one of her patterns that is only available through Certified Quilt Shops that have undertaken training with her.  We spent four days some of them working up to 15 hours, there was nothing else to do in the motel,  with a few more hours over the weekend.  I can now show the finished centre part of the  Glacier Star.  The NYB blocks in the corners are only pinned on as the Circling Geese which I have still to piece, need to be attached to them before they are pieced into the quilt.  So far I have about 55 hours of piecing in it.  Someone mentioned the geese take about another 24 hours!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Simple Things

Sometimes it is the simplest things in life that can give a lot of pleasure.
We drove about 2700 kilometres last week to visit family for a niece's wedding.
Stopped with my daughter on the way south, borrowed the grandson and drove further south to stay overnight with my son.
To see my son and husband chasing each other around the house with Nerf guns, priceless. My son and grandson playing with water pistols.......fantastic.
The wedding and catching up with my husband's family, while still spending more time with my grandson before the long drive home...... that could be a holiday.

For the last two years as I have driven through the Pilliga Scrub, at this time of the year I was sure I could see flannel flowers growing.  So on this trip on the way down I studied just where they grew.  Mentioned something to my husband on the way home and he pulled up.  So I scrambled up the sandstone embankment to take some photos.

Later on we saw them closer to the road on the flat and at one stage you could see them growing further into the bush.

This is the first time I have been up close and personal to a flannel flower and to me that is priceless. This one lone beauty is still looking healthy and it wasn't taken from a state forest!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

APQS machines in Houston

Quilters know that Houston have the biggest quilting show. I think it is great that the APQS machines are well presented in their booth.  These demonstration machines from the show circuit were offered for sale at really good prices.  Used at the show, taken back to the showroom and serviced again before being shipped to their owners.  Lenni, Lucey, Freedom, George and a Millenium with Quilt Path, the new comuterised quilting system.  Millenium and Freedom are both the same machine.  The Freedom does not have the automatic thread cutter so is a few pounds lighter. 
George lets you sit down, at the height suitable to you, as his table is fully height adjustable.  Many art quilters use him for their intricate award winning work.  You can alos purchase another height adjustable table to put behind him or to raise and use as your cutting table.      I am biased but I love my machine.. and it is great to see pictures of them displayed at Quilt Shows, with other people also enjoying them.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hexie Quilt Finished

It was on my frame for 12 days but I was at the Queensland Quilt show for 6 of those days, but it is now finished.  10 bobbins used so almost 2000m of thread.  Each of the hexagons were SID, most of the inside pieces were also SID but I did give some of them wavy lines or outlined patterns within the fabric.

Now onto the next quilt a signature quilt in rows with a lovely stained glass applique rose in the centre.  I 'll look at it for a while.  I have some housekeeping to catch up on.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A modern Hexie Quilt

This hexie quilt has more than 300 pieced hexagons through out it.  I am up to my fourth set of pins to pin each hexie as I quilt the background first.  I am using  Glide Cleopatra thread, love the sheen on the batik fabric.  Quilting a feathered meander across the top, but only on the background fabric.  It looks like it is continuous but once I come to a print hexie I stop the feathers.  One meander goes left to right, the next one goes right to left.  I chalked where the spine would be before I started and once it was on the frame  found I needed to chalk the boundaries of  the feathers so I didn't get carried away with the bubble fill I am using behind the feathers.  Am almost finished the background then I will start on the actual hexagons.  Still toying with ideas on them.  Possibly will do the same pattern in every diamond no matter what size, different pattern for trapezium etc to fill them up.  Hexagons have 2 1/2" sides.  and I only found 2 papers in the whole quilt!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Judging a Quilt Show

I am a quilt collector for this years Queensland Quilt Show.  So this morning at 6.30 am I set off with thirty quilts from my local area in my car.  Once at our Meeting venue nearly 300 quilts were unloaded from the respective cars by the other quilt collectors.  Sorted into their categories, and the fun began.  Fun ... exhaustion.... we did stop for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, but were constantly on the go for the rest of the day.
Putting large quilts into small bags after the judges have finished with them is not an easy feat.  Not is putting tiny quilts into bagsmany sizes too large for them.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and now know what goes on behind the scenes of a quilt show..


After 11  & 1/2 hours I was eventually back at my home ready for a nice cold drink.
Now to do the same road trip next week when we hang all the quilts!
There are some great quilts so if you are in Brisbane from next Wednesday make sure you head to the quilt show.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Bathurst Motor Race and the Ironing

35+ degrees outside under the terrace but the ironing goes on!
8 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of jean shorts, 2 pairs of work trousers -  all caught up and with one lap still to go of Bathurst.
Definitely made the ugly job of ironing easier to see such a great race.
Next year will be better.  Think I will cheer for the Mercs!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Serious Quilter

I found it funny that a quilter would prepare themselves for a day of classes in the following manner.  It was 8.30am, and they may have been special cans, but three!

It gave me a laugh.  One cup of coffee for breakfast and another if I was lucky in the 30 minute break between classes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

AMQA Festival

I have just spent four days in classes at the Australian Machine Quilting Association Festival in Adelaide.

I went to the Festival to take classes with overseas tutors - Ricky Tims,  Cindy Needham, Megan Best, Renee Haddadin, Myrna Ficken and Sherry Rogers-Harrison.  I also had classes with local tutors Vicki Jenkins and Michele Turner as well as Teachers angel for two of Anita Ellis's classes.  So I was very busy.

I had entered my Spring Diamond quilt in the Large Traditional Custom Quilt category.  What is a quilt show if there are no quilts to look at. I enter my quilts to share - not to show off.  As I had a busy class schedule I was not going to go to the presentation evening, but decided to drag my husband along.

I was busily writing down the winners on the back of my class list as they announced them.  When I heard my own name, a tiny expletive came out before I hastily moved to the stage to receive my ribbon.  I was shocked, as my quilt was hanging with many other better known quilters work.  That third place ribbon is already proudly hanging on my ribbon quilt!  This is the first time I have received any judges comments from a show and mine were all excellent - couple of spots has tension issues. Was the only comment, and I won't mention that grammatical error either!

The same quilt was also published this week in Down Under Magazines #154.  I put it on my bed last night and slept under it. That is what quilts are really for!

Friday, September 7, 2012


I was really pleased to receive a phonecall early this morning from a customer, thanking me for quilting her quilt and saying how wonderful the  quilting design was.  I thought I had taken more photos of the quilt but the only one I have tells a different story.  The quilt was all asian fabrics and I used a Glide thread called Cleopatra that looks gold in colour.  I quilted it with a Clamshell desgin using long boards on the back of my machine.  Because I was standing at the back I am not constantly looking at the front of the quilt.  So it  happened that I stitched through one of my flower head pins, that I was using to baste the quilt.  Changed the needle etc and complacency set in again and I stitched through a second one before I finished the quilt!  But she loved it and that is all that matters.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My machine is Bliss

 I updated my longarm machine earlier this year as I wanted to get Quilt Glide and Bliss.  These were both new features that APQS came out with after I purchased my first machine.

I am very happy that I made this purchase. I still have my old machine for sale but it is sitting unused  to the side of my family room.

These two quilts were quilted without using any rulers.  The 9 patch to the right I did mark where the straight lines were going to go with a Frixion pen.  When I quilted it I did not use any of the chanel locks or even a ruler.  My machine moves wonderfully.  All the smaller 9 patches in the outer backgrounds were filled with tiny fillers using the Quilt glide.
The other quilt is for a friend's daughter's wedding, so I won't show the front.  The outer curved border is 10" wide and all of those curves are freehand.  I marked the initial curve with soap, as it had a black background, and that was the only markings. The rest of the sitiching follows the piecing or eyeballed.  Again no rulers.  some of the straight lines are on the diagonal and no problems with them being straight!
I love my Bliss and my machine!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Travelling blocks

The eventual owners of these two blocks will be very pleased to know that they are completed.  One is going to join 29 other blocks from the United States and Japan to make a pretty 1930's quilt.  The other one will be winging its way to America to be adorned with applique during the "Baltimore on the Plains" Retreat.  Lucky Block  almost wish I was going, but I have the Australian Machine Quilting Festival in adelaide instead.

Monday, August 6, 2012

I entered these three quilts in EKKA, in the Quilts Across Queensland category. Judging was today so on a whim I went onto the website tonight and the results were already up.            SewToisPas a collaborative effort quilt between Gail Chalker (applique), Susan Harris (piecing) and myself (curved piecing and NY Beauty  and machine quilting) won first place in its category.
The Towoomba Quilters Club Inc raffle quilt was in the same category and it gained a second place.  Shara's Bouquet my third quilt gained second place in the applique category and I say I don't applique!  Might have to rethink that saying!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Issues in Quilts

When a quilt top is put together  that has bias edges sewn to a straight  edge often there can be extra fabric in the straight edge block due to errors in measuring. All those bias edges and seams that are opening up just a little, then measuring at the edge not from the middle! All four corner squares of this lone star had similar amounts of extra fabric to contend with.

This quilt was finished by members from Toowoomba Quilter's Club Inc for a member who could no longer sew due to medical problems.

After giving the corners a generous spray with a spritz of rainwater and then  drying them with a steam iron there was still  extra fabric to contend with.  As I was quilting all the cream fabrics first I heavily pinned the dark border and the star to keep them as square as possible. Then I had fun with hooked feathers in a square feather wreath shape.  There was now plenty of stitching to "suck up" the excess fabric and have the corners laying flat.   Unfortunately the centre of the star couldn't quite get as flat due to all the seams pressed whichever directions, but on a bed it will look great.

Overall Design with a Twist

The Customer wanted an overall design but not over the top of the applique which was on two opposite corners of the quilt.  So using the leaves and the curls of the applique as inspiration I came up with this design.  Using a variegated thread in the colours of the top, with a black thread in the bobbin.  The back was also a pieced quilt, and after centering it I was able to avoid any major problems with bulky seams.  Customer was very pleased and I think the recipient will be too.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

APQS George

This is a George machine from APQS.  It is a sit down longarm machine for  machine quilting.

It comes with
•Warranty: 8-year (96 months) parts/labor

•Throat size of 20" x 8" - Having a large space to quilt means you can select the large flowing designs we all love without having to stitch them in two passes.

•Weight 37 lbs (16.8 kgs) - Enjoy the lightest-weight machine to enhance maneuverability and control, without taking a toll on your body.

•24" x 60" portable table that is height adjustable

More info on George can found at

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bugs and Aliens

I have had Bugs and Aliens on my machine this week.  Some quilts for  the lucky grandchildren of a prolific quilter.  She said she went through ten skeins of DMC thread blanket stitching these two.

The Aliens are on a black background, so the quilting shows up better on the back.  I was able to quilt it almost continuously, making up a design for the borders that followed the print of the planet fabric she used.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Quilters Breathing Space

As a longarm quilter it is good to have a break from the mental pressures that quilting a custom quilt for a customer entails.  To be able to take a customer quilt where the request is something simple and avoid quilting over the horses, is a welcome relief.

Both the top and the backing were flannel.  The backing was also pieced so with this pattern I was able to avoid the corners of the seams which were very thick.

The horses were impeccably blanket stitched to the background.  The gap in the quilting on the right is where I was avoiding a horse!

No off to put another custom quilt on the frame.  It is a bright Kaffe Fassett fabric hexagon quilt.  Won't really get much done as I am to a quilt retreat this weekend.  I am hoping to piece together my 2012 APQS block swap quilt top.

Can I Please keep it?

This is a customer's quilt.  She is holidaying for another three weeks,   do you think she would notice if I didn't call her to say it was finished.  I love Candlewicking, just don't have the time to do it myself.  Not sure if it was to be a wedding gift but I gave it some lucky dragonflies anyway!
12 blocks, two of the same pattern but each one quilted differently.  I had fun getting the border to fit just so, but I worked out a solution.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

APQS Giveaway

APQS the brand of the longarm machine that I like to use are running a competition until the middle of December.  This is part of a promotion  to introduce their new website.

I can't participate boohoo.

The Prize is a Lenni machine.  I am sure if an  Aussie won it they would have to pay freight to Australia.  Still a great prize.

So check out the new website and find the competition and enter.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Travels and a Drunkard's Path

Sorry I have been missing in action for a while. We had a visiting tutor Tresa Jones from Kansas in Gatton for our quilt school.  I then chauffered her to Dirranbandi where we taught a class each.  The picture to the left is Queensland Cotton Gin, round bales of cotton as far as you can see. Showed off a little bit of SE Queensland to her, the SOuthern Cross windmills are made in Withcott. Then shared my go to holiday beach with her for some R and R.  A lovely break but it has been a while between posts.

Now I am getting back into my customer quilts.  This is a drunkards path quilt from one of my prolific piecers.  The back shows up the quilting a lot better than the front.  I quilted a  quick overall pattern in the style of Sue Patten. Minimal stops and starts, completing the border sashing and middle of the quilt in almost one pass of each roll.  I have another one on the frame now so am trying to think of a different pattern to put on it.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

TQ Raffle Quilt is off the frame

After almost 27 hours and 17 days I have finished quilting the raffle quilt.  I've trimmed off the excess backing fabric and wadding.

The pins have been returned to their respective bowls and containers.

The floor has been readied and the tools laid out to square it up and pin it.  Blocking the quilt helps to keep it square. The pins will again be in use, as the quilt will be pinned every inch around the outside edges, through the camping foam floor squares.

The colour catchers are catching all the excess colours as it does the rounds of a gentle wash in my machine.  Now to give it 36 hours to dry before I put the binding on Monday afternoon.

I will be taking it with me to Toowoomba Quilters on Tuesday, to finish sewing the binding and hanging sleeve on.  Then I will only need  to finish the quilt bag before it's first Official airing at Queensland Quilters Picnic on Tuesday 8th May.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Close to the end of TQ Raffle Quilt

This is a close up photo of the detail of the quilting within the ribbons that flow across the quilt. The opening in my machines foot is 1/4" so it gives you an idea of the size of the quilting.

It is a new machine so I have gone overboard with the quilting to give the machine a good workout.  I am learning all about its great features and I am really happy.

This is the fill I am putting between the ribbons.  I am using a variegated thread in autumn tones that ties in well with the different coloured batiks.

After almost twenty five hours of planning, pinning, stitching, rolling, changing threads, winding bobbins etc  I can see the end of the quilt.  I may actually get to finish it tomorrow evening and get it blocked before Anzac Day.

The binding will have to wait until next Monday as I have other commitments before then. So hopefully I can sit at TQ next Tuesday and sew the binding down.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Floating Your Top

I float a top when I am putting it on my longarm to quilt it.  This means that I only roll the backing fabric onto the rollers.

I stitch a horizontal line to hold the wadding to the quilt back, using the horizontal channel lock.
I then line up the first internal border with the front edge of the foot,  horizontal locks on, and pin, every 2" the top to the wadding and backing making sure the border stays straight.
I use my mother's dressmaking ruler to mark where the edges of the quilt top need to be kept. This mark is determined by the smallest measurement across the width/length of the quilt. The top needs to be eased in to this smallest measurement so that it sits flat.

I have quilters clips that I clip to my quilt top roller so that I can give myself a visual reference of where the sides of the quilt, sashing strips in the centre of the quilt, need to be to keep the quilt square

I use lightweight clamps on both sides of the quilt to hold the backing fabric and wadding tight behind the top. A longarmer needa about 3-4" of extra fabric at the sides so the machine does not hit these clips when stitching close to the edge of a quilt. They are held up off the quilt by the rod you can see, but if the machine nudges one it will put a wobble in the stitching.