Saturday, January 18, 2014

My new Website is live!

I have finally done it :)

I have my very own website woo hoo!!

I feel like celebrating! So head on over to the website and if you decide to buy anything, use the coupon code 'giveme30' for 30% off your total purchase!

Thanks so much for your support!

Hugs Paula

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Australian Quilt Market 2013

It's been a fantastic day, we set up our stand yesterday for the Australian Quilt Market and there is so much to tell you about.

I have a some new patterns that we released today, the first is my new Softie Designs 'Rupert and Piper'
 Rupert has a little bit of a crush on Piper!
 This is my set up and my other new design. The Sit Me Up Donut 2.0 and a Beanbag. Both the Donut 2.0 and the Beanbag are in the same pattern. It will be available in about 2 weeks.
 I'm so happy with my display this year, doesn't it look great :)
 I even got to catch up with one of my favourite people! Penny from The Patchwork Angel.
My other big news is that my First book is almost ready! We will be launching the book early next year and these are some of the quilts from the book :)
If your at AQM tomorrow, drop by and see me on the Pattern Press stand #27.

Hugs Paula

Sunday, April 7, 2013

International Quilt Festival of Ireland!

I have a huge Thank You to make! I'm just not sure what your name is...

I was sitting at home the othernight watching a TV show, (I promised I wouldn't check my email for an hour while this show was on) but I broke my promise ;)

Out of the corner of my eye I saw an email come in titled 'Invitation to Exhibit' I just had to look at that one! Didn't I?

Upon reading the email I was speechless! I was being invited to send my 'Summer Rain' Quilt to be featured in an exhibit in IRELAND!! At the INTERNATIONAL Quilt Festival no less!
I just looked at my husband with my mouth hanging open, no words would come out hehehe.

Anyway, this all came about because a lovely reader of my blog sent a message to Jim West the Managing Director of Quiltposium and recommended he look at my quilt! Can you believe it! I was totally in shock for about 2 days. My quilt is 1 of only 3 quilts being exhibited from Australia, I feel so honored!

So Thank You from the bottom of my heart dear reader, I am so greatful!

You can read all about the International Quilt Festival of Ireland here. The exhibits sound like so much fun! Here is the Exhibit Synopsis for the Rain exhibit (were my quilt will be featured)

When one visits Ireland you can’t help but know that one day during your stay, it will rain. Rain is the theme for this exhibit and a soundtrack of rain falling in the background of soft relaxing music will set the mood as visitors stroll through the exhibit.

Ohh how I wish I could deliver my quilt in person!

Hugs Paula

PS. Please let me know if you were the one who emailed Jim West, I would love to thank you in person!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

"Summer Rain' my Modern Dresden Plate Quilt

I started making my Dresden Quilt late last year and I soon became obsessed with Dresden Plates...
I never thought I would make a Dresden as I didn't think they were very versatile and felt most looked the same as the next so when I discovered the Westalee Dresden Rulers and Toppers I started to experiment.
The Milton Show was getting close and I decided to get busy and try and finish my Quilt to enter, I got there and this was the result of many many hours spent in my Sewing room.

 I had made a quilt full of Dresdens and then I decided I didn't like any of them and so I started again ;)

This quilt became very experimental for me, I love modern quilts, but I also like complex quilts that are technically difficult with more to see than what first appears.
 I began playing around with the background and decided that it needed some grass, so being a big fan of Sheena Chapman and Sarah Fielke's work I decided to try some improvisational piecing. The grass actually became one of my most favourite elements of the quilt.
 As you know I work in a very modern quilt shop and there tends to be 2 very distinct groups of Quilters, those who love 'matchy matchy' quilts (every shade of pink must be the same and never mix white and cream) and those that don't.

Not that I think either is right or wrong, but I decided that I really wanted to prove that you can in fact blend White, Cream and even Grey and have it 'work'! So I created the background first and used many different fabrics and every single one was very different to the next, both in tone, and value... Print size and shade....
 I'm a strong believer that we have a very unique style in Modern Australian Quilting. I think it began with the Material Obsession Books and the work of Sarah Fielke in particular. I feel that we live in such a young country (in relation to everyone else) with only just over 200 years of european settlement we have no real history of quilting thats not soley influenced by other countrys.

I think one of the best ways to describe our newly emerging unique style is to say that where others use value to create contrast (ie. Light, medium, and dark values), we are using warm and cool tones to create that contrast and visual interest.
 The beauty of this way of quilting is that we can put 2 of the new big bold prints next to each other when others have been very nervous to try... and it CAN work!

Anyway back to the Dresdens, I used many different techniques in this quilt, all of the Dresdens were machine pieced and then needleturned onto my background. For the flower stems I made bias strips and then appliqued them into position. I made single dresden wedges to use as leaves and I am very proud of my Butterflys, the antenna are needleturned and are just 1/8" wide with the circles on top being about 3/8". These were made from a single strip of bias fabric.
  Each flower is very different, This large flower with the lady bug on it was actually very different tonally. When looked at on its own, its actually a very bright range, but when I put it on my quilt it took on a slight 'muddy appearance'. It was the only flower that I felt nervous about including in the quilt, but I really wanted to see if I could make it work and I think by including the hit of Red (with the ladybug) it does work.
 I had almost finished the quilt before I decided to add the Ladybugs. I felt that it needed a hit of colour that hadn't already been used. It needed to be a strong colour to draw the eye to it and Red was the first colour I though of. I really love them and although they were incredibly easy to make, they make the quilt.

I trapunto'd a few of the flowers to give some lift to them and another layer of interest. The ladybugs were also given an extra layer of batting. I used that as my stabliser to free motion (thread paint) the antenna with a black Sulky thread. I then cut away the excess batting before sandwiching my quilt.
 The sun was created with the Westalee Spike ruler. I had seen a discussion on Squilters about the 'spiked' Dresden Plate Block and I made a trial version. I sent a picture of my block to Leonie (of Westalee Design) and next thing you know she had created the Spike ruler and 2 other peeper ones as well. Have I mentioned how much I love the Westalee Rulers?
Anyway back to the Show, I entered my quilt in the Milton Show and guess what!
I got a first place!
Yep This is only the 3rd quilt I have ever free motion quilted myself and I got a first place! Even more exciting was that I was also runner up to the Best in Show and my Quilt was honered with being voted as a tied winner for the Peoples Choice on the second day! (I was 2nd overall for the Peoples Choice) I couldn't believe it and was very honoured!
 Ooh I forgot to tell you about the quilting and its significance. The Summer of 2012/2013 in Australia has been one of the wetest in our history. The rain has been unrelenting with many floods and nonstop rain. I decided to quilt my quilt with Superiour Threads Monofilament Thread in a diagonal direction, the angle of the quilting and the sheen of the thread really does look like rain... after all there is nothering like seeing your garden bloom after a storm....

Funnily enough the 2 days I spent quilting the quilt were 2 of the most humid days (as it had just stopped raining) I have ever experienced! It was so humid that the water erasable pen that I used to make my quilting lines was disappearing in the matter of just minutes because there was so much water in the air...
 Ooh and thats why my grass is so long and full of weeds... non stop rain ;)

Hugs Paula

In the interest of full disclosure I was gifted 2 rulers from Westalee Design, but I bought the rest myself after falling in love with them. I will be demonstrating the rulers at the Stitches and Craft Show in Sydney March 7 - 10 and possibly Canberra later this year.

For those who are interested, the majority of the quilt was pieced with Superior threads Bottom Line. I also used this as my bobbin thread for the quilting. I chose this thread (even though its a polyester) because it is so thin that it doesn't affect the accuracy you need to make the dresdens lay flat. Getting the right seam allowance is so very important in a Dresden or it will not press or lay flat... I almost soley use Polyester threads for all my quilt making, I love it!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

'Not Nanna's Dresdens' Dresden Plate Sampler

If you've been following me on Facebook, you would have already seen all these pics, but I thought I finally had something to blog about :)
So here is my 'Not Nanna's Dresden' Sampler Quilt.
 I made this quilt because I will be demonstrating the Westalee Dresden Rulers at the Sydney and Canberra Stitches and Craft shows this year and I wanted to show what amazing things you can do with these rulers!
 This first block is a Rounded Point 8 wedge Dresden plate.
 This is again an 8 wedge Dresden with a Persian Top
 and the 8 wedge with a Round Top.
 For this plate I used the 10 wedge ruler and made the traditional pointed tops, I also layed a second dresden on top and sewed it into the seams of the first so I could leave the points 'free'
 This is one of my favourites :) This is the 20 Wedge with a smaller 'spoke' inserted in every second wedge. This is all done on the machine with no appliqueing neccessary.
 The teal Dresden in this pic is a traditional 16 point Dresden with an 8 wedge appliqued on top. The 8 wedge has round tops and Persian tops alternating.

This is also one of my favourites its and 8 rounded point Dresden with 'spikes'. The teal wedges are sewn into the seams much like the 3D flying geese block and remain 'free' on the sides.
 Here's another using the spikes with the 10 wedge ruler
If you click on the pictures you will see that the Dresden's really pop out of the quilt, I did this by using a medium loft Matilda's Own Polyester Batting and free motion quilting right next to the dresdens. I then cut the excess batting away from the outsides of the Dresdens.
Next step was to sandwich the quilt with another layer of the same batting and Ditch stitching. This basically gives a Trapunto effect to each flower. I also 'ditched' every seam of each Flower, this helped to really define the 'petals'.
To make the trapunto effect really pop, I heavily quilted the white background with really close free motioned lines (about 1/8 inch apart), I also quilted figure 8's in the border. It used a heck of a lot of thread, but I really love the effect it gives.
Now I need to go and get working on my Dresden Quilt that I'm hoping to get finished for my local Quilt Show Competition. Head over to my facebook page for progress pics.
Hugs Paula

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Part 1: The Perfect Half Square Triangle Tutorial

Today is the start of a new series of tutorials that I'm making to help teach you some of the best tips and tricks that I've learned over the years. My plan is to help you make the easiest and most accurate blocks you can!
First up is Half Square Triangles.
I've tried almost every way there is to make half square triangles and this technique is by far the easiest, quickest and most accurate that I have found!
About 18 months ago at the Sydney Trade Show I was very lucky to meet up with Bill and Leonie West of Westalee Designs, they are lovely people and I was immediately taken with their range of Rulers. After watching a quick demonstration I bought every single ruler they had :)
I was in my wheelchair at the time and Bill went out of his way to make sure I was able to see every detail of his awesome products. A very kind deed that I will never forget!
I've been doing a heap of demonstrations at local craft shows recently with the Westalee Rulers for My Patch Fabrics and after the 50th person said to me
"I buy these sorts of things at shows and then immediately forget how to use them" I decided to create a series of tutorials on how I use the Westalee Rulers.
I must tell you first up that there is a series of really great videos that Bill and Leonie made on their website and I will be adding links to their site in my tutorials, (with their permission)
The first in the series is a Dolly Quilt made mainly with the 18" Ruler and the half square triangle ruler. You can make this project with normal rulers, but it is a lot easier with these specialty rulers.
Here is the project we will be working on,
The block is called Slanted Diamond and I found it on the BlockFab app on Itunes.
Here is what you will need for the main part of the Dolly Quilt:
3 co-ordinating Fat Quarters (please note: FQ's must be European sizes, ie. 50cm x 56cm)
1 x 9.5" Square for the bottom corner
I also added the Dresden Flower and Butterfly using scraps from my stash. (This will be a separate tutorial)
You will also need the 18 or 24" Westalee ruler and the 6" Half Square Triangle ruler or a standard patchwork ruler.
 The beauty of the Westalee rulers is that the measurement on the ruler is the finished block size. 
The finished block size I wanted was 3", so I set the ruler on 3. The ruler increases in 1/4" increments, so you have a huge amount of options available to you with this ruler.
OK lets start cutting. First up we need a strip of fabric which is the same measurement as the distance from the black bar to the tip of the 1/2 square triangle ruler.
So flip your 1/2 square triangle ruler upside down and put your 18 or 24" ruler on top of the half square triangle ruler. Set your long ruler to this measurement. I will show you a video to help you with this step shortly.
See how the black bars are touching the clear plastic on each ruler. Make sure you check your measurements at each end of the ruler.

 After you press your fat quarters well place one on your cutting mat facing right side up, and lay a second Fat Quarter on top right side down.
 We are going to cut strips on the bias. This means you need to line up the 45 degree line on the selvedge.
  Make your first cut on the bias making sure the black bar is just covering the point.
Before you cut you must push down on the clear part of the ruler on the right side of the black bar. This rocks the ruler down and holds your fabric securely
 Flip that first strip around and push the black bar of the ruler up to the edge of the fabric (gently) when the black bar hits the edge you rock the ruler down again to hold the fabric securely and trim off the point.
 Move that first strip out of the way and continue cutting strips until you get to the halfway point of the fat quarters. (A total of 5 strips)
I put all these strips back down to show you how many strips I cut, but you will need to move them out of the way before each cut.
 We now need to take each strip to the machine and sew a 'scant' 1/4" inch seam down each side of the strips to form a tube.
 I like to use the Westalee guide instead of a 1/4" foot as you really need a 'scant 1/4" seam' and most 1/4" feet are a full not scant measurement.
 See how I've sewn down each side of the strip
 Now sew down both sides of the rest of the strips
 Take the strips to your iron and press each strip to set your seams.
 Now you need the half square triangle ruler and because you cut your strips to the exact measurement, see how the tip of the half square triangle lines up with the ruler, so you only need to cut off each side.
 your left with this
 You can use a normal ruler and line up the ruler so the bottom edge is on the 3 7/8" marks...
your original strip width needs to be 2 3/4". But you can see how the Westalee Ruler makes life much easier :)
 Ok, so after you've cut your triangle you just need to pull out the few stitches that are holding the point of the triangle together and....
 TaDah!! A perfect Half Square Triangle!
 Now you go back and cut out the rest of your half square triangles.
Don't they look so pretty :)
 I know it looks like lots of steps, but really it takes no time at all!
Heres the video by Leonie West:
I wanted to show you how perfect these half square triangles are. I placed my ruler on top of my block and see how it measures exactly 3 1/2", not only that but the 45 degree line is exactly lined up with my seam! The beauty of making half square triangles this way is that the bias is completely contained BEFORE you cut it out, so you won't get any stretching at all!! Perfect!
OK so to get the next 2 lots of blocks, take the remaining fat quarter and the 2 pieces left over from the first round of cutting and place them right sides together, like this...
 repeat the cutting and sewing with the rest of the fabric and you should get a total of 75 finished blocks from your 3 fat quarters. (you'll have 3 blocks left over that we won't use in our Dolly Quilt)

 We need to start sewing our half square triangles together now and because the bias is taken car of, we are basically just sewing a 9 patch. So we sew the rows into groups of 3, be sure to sew 3 of the same blocks together.
When we press, press the seam allowance to the middle on the top and bottom row and to the outside on the middle row. This allows you to nest your seams and really have the best opportunity for perfect points!
 When I sew my rows together I like to pin both sides of the nested seams. This keeps everything nice and secure. Because the 1/4" guide is on the right side of the needle, I pin from the other side and make sure my pins are just out of my scant 1/4" seam line, so I don't need to stop to remove them.
Look at that, so pretty! 
 Repeat with your 3rd row of half square triangles and you've completed your 1st block!
So all you need to do is repeat this another 7 time for a total of 8 blocks. Join your blocks into rows of 3 and put that extra 9.5" block in the bottom corner.
Now aren't they the easiest and most accurate half square triangles ever! No drawing diagonal lines, no stretched bias and best of all No Trimming back!
I made my Dolly Quilt top in an afternoon, it really is so easy!
Next time we will be making the Dresden Flower and Butterfly and then Binding our Dolly Quilt.
I hope you find the tutorial useful! I'd love to hear if you give it a go and please send me pictures, or better yet, share them with all of us on my Facebook page.
I was not compensated in any way for this tutorial.
If you are interested in buying the rulers, we have them at My Patch Fabrics, or why not ask your local Patchwork Shop to get them in for you.
Click here: for the Thumb Screws $9.50 - I suggest you only use these on the 18 or 24" rulers
Happy Stitching!
Hugs Paula