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