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Monday, April 27, 2015

Portrait Quilt

I'm really struggling with blogging at the moment - I hear others say the same - but it really is a time sucking sport. I seem to have a lot of quilt requests at the moment which makes me more than aware of the time I'm spending away from my ever 'speeding to adult hood' little bunnies. This quilt however really deserves a little narrative.

I never thought I wanted children. Children plain scared me. When I fell pregnant with my first child I was petrified. I remember crying in check ups. The ultrasound pictures scared me. I remember standing in prenatal yoga and being asked to touch my belly and 'be at one' with my unborn child - to feel lucky - I didn't feel lucky I felt purely petrified. I barely made it through prenatal classes - in fact I turned to my husband at one point and said 'if I have to watch one more video I'm going to cry'. I didn't know what it was to have a child. I didn't know how it felt. I didn't know that the moment I saw her that I would fall so deeply in love that the past 9 months of petrification would melt away into pure awe. I didn't know that having her would be so much, mean so much. Since this little bundle arrived I've become addicted to the little people. I have 3 beautiful children whom I couldn't adore more - despite their tantrums and their insistence that my cooking is 'yuck'. I'd love to have more (i.e. read 'begged until all dignity is gone) but my husband insists that that shop is now shut!

So finishing this quilt which I have been saving the pajamas for for 6 years now (although I have only used the first 3 years of pj's in this one) marks something for me. Love - for sure - but also a strange confidence that I finally found to know that I could cut up theses precious things and do them justice. And sadly due to my mean husband that there will be no more little people coming along to dress in these cute clothes.

Can you spot Tinkerbell?

There was some distress from Bunny#2 when she saw her favorite Ariel Pj's had been included!

A huge thank you to my hugely talented friend Luke Haynes who taught me how to construct portrait quilts.

A huge thank you to my new equally as talented friend Karen McTavish who told me 'don't not do something just because you are scared' ... I will be taking that mantra to my grave.

And a big thank you to Michelle Jackson who's wonderful work I fist saw in my favorite Machine Quilting Unlimited and she showed me a different way to quilt portraits with tiny bubbles. I love the effect Michelle - thank you!!

I love this quilt.

And I love this little girl.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Kids Art Quilt: Marbling Fabric

I have wanted to do marbling with the kids for a long time. With the endless winter weather we have found ourselves inside with a lot of time to fill

I purchased a Jacquard Marbling kit from Amazon. (As you will read this was a bit of a waste of money and a frustrating process.) We also used fabric paint from Jacquard - that I love. Really bright vibrant colors. We dropped the colors straight from the bottles.

For all our marbling I gave the girls disposable chop sticks that we ran through the mixture. We experimented with straight lines and swirly lines. 

Jacquard Marbling Kit (Methocel)
It took a long time to prepare - 45 mins+ which was not practical as the little people were keen and waiting to start. The methocel mix did not work without the suggested addition ammonia - a tatty addendum to the instructions was stuck in the box suggests adding ammonia if the methocel doesn't work properly. I didn't want to add ammonia - perhaps I'm a whimp but ammonia and kids 5 and under didn't sit well with me. It was a bit of a disaster. And yes I did get a little cross after trying this process 3 times!!! The paint in the kit was way too thick too and the girls got very frustrated trying to get the paint out.

Shaving Foam & Fabric Paint
Spray in shaving foam into a flat pan add drops of paint on the top and mix.  The girls LOVED spraying the shaving foam - that was the highlight for sure. We got better 'marbling' when the shaving foam had some water added to it. But all the finished colors were very light.


Liquid Starch & Fabric Paint
This worked really well. The paint dispersed and looked amazing. But I think the liquid starch perhaps diluted the paint a little and the fabric paint washed out more than I would have liked. 

Fabric before heat setting and washing (above) and after (below)

Cornstarch & Fabric Paint
Amazing what cornstarch can be used for - but this was my favorite method for marbling by far. The girls loved mixing it. It suspended the paint well & looked amazing. It gave us the strongest color on the fabric.

Fabric before heat setting and washing (above) and after (below)

Once the fabrics were heat set,  washed and ironed the colors did dampen a little -  but I think they will be fun to work with - now I just have to figure out a design idea!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April Lesson (& Giveaway) 100+ Straight Line Quilting Designs

January Lesson: Beginners Guide to Free Motion Quilting
January Roundup: Beginners Guide to Free Motion Quilting - Roundup
February Lesson: Thread
February Lesson: Thread Roundup
March Lesson: Choosing Batting & Fabric for Free Motion Quilting


I have never loved to practice at anything much (although I like to practice eating chocolate a lot!) When I discovered FMQ  I found I could spend hours practicing various designs. This post came about because I wanted to make a group of samplers - based on 5 classic shapes which are used over and over again in free motion quilting.

This is not a how too post - I hope that this post encourages you to explore how many designs you can come up with with using 'just straight lines'. "Just straight lines' is a phrase I heard over and over again in the January Lesson. This sampler shows that using 'just straight lines' can make a lot of different quilting patterns. Some are simple - others are more complex and time consuming - but you should never say 'just straight lines' again.

I started thinking I would aim for 40+ different designs but it soon seemed obvious it would be very easy to hit 100. Warning - this is a long post. Many of these patterns are self explanatory. Where another quilter has given a tutorial or published the design I have provided a link.

The sampler was an amazing exercise for me and I feel like I have discovered many more possible designs to use in future quilts. I quilted many of these designs on the sampler for the first time. I would love to hear if you discover any ideas you don't see here. I would also encourage anyone who wanted to expand their FMQ horizons to do a similar sampler for themselves.

Monday, April 6, 2015

March Lesson & Giveaway Results

I feel really bad to say that the majority of us seem to shop for fabric online. I'm a bad offender of this. I like the wide range of extra wide backing that is available online and not usually available in a quilt store. I also like the fact I can shop from home at anytime of the day and I don't have to drag the kids along with me!My favorite store is fabric.com for their free shipping, returns policy and lovely customer service.

However I was recently rather stuck with a memorial quilt and I did in fact go to my local specialist fabric store. The thing I found most valuable from my visit was the discussion and ideas given about my project. I felt a lot more confident & prepared to tackle it when I left.