Adventures with Pre-cuts


Today I want to show you one of my latest designs to be published - The Tour of the Garden Wall Quilt:


It's gone to the top of my list of favourites as I really like everything about it - colour, needleturn applique, simple piecing, the theme, style and, well ... it just works!

You can find it in Australian Country Threads magazine, Vol 15 No 4:


If you are unable to find this magazine, don't worry, I will have the pattern available in my store in a few weeks.


Showing you this design started me thinking about my love affair with Pre-cuts. I bought my first Jelly Roll six or seven years ago when they were quite a new idea and managed to make two projects out of it. I was a bit restricted with just 2½ inch strips so next time I bought a whole set of 40 fat quarters, plus a Jelly Roll. That was WAY too much fabric! I ended up making 13 projects from that. Thankfully it was a gorgeous range and I didn't get tired of using it.

Through trial and error, I have found what suits me well when it comes to Pre-cuts. 
I now buy a layer cake, (40-42 ten inch squares), 1½ yards of a solid/tone-on-tone fabric, then four or five further half yards of fabric.

I thought you might like to see the rationale behind that. (I know that you have already seen the photos below, but I want to use them again as illustrations.) I bought this lovely Double Chocolat range by 3 Sisters - the layer cake, 1½ yds Cherry, ½ yards of two blues, a chocolate floral, chocolate tone-on-tone, tan, and a red, (and then they had packs of 40 2½ inch squares already cut at a very good price so I thought I'd save myself some cutting time and bought two packs). Here's what I made with the range:

The Cherry and Chocolate Table Runner uses the Cherry yardage for the border and binding. The four chocolate floral blocks are cut from one of the half yards.

Confectionary Corner make use of the variety of fabrics from the layer cake and the binding is cut from the tan half yard of fabric. 

The Chocolate Delight placemats also use the layer cake and a chocolate half yard for binding, but notice how different this looks to the previous design. That's because I chose to leave out all the tan fabrics and major on just chocolate, blue and cherry colours.
  
 
For the Picnic in the Park tablecloth and cutlery wrap, you can see I again used some of the layer cake and three or four of the half yardages. Have you worked out why this one looks different?  There is no chocolate colour used.

The chocolate floral yardage came in handy for the Red Robin Peg Bag above. 

Snowed Under used up some more of the layer cake and again yardage for the binding.

Then of course I used up all the bits and pieces that were left over, making my Tour of the Garden quilt at the top of this post.


So what have I learned with my adventures with Pre-cuts?  Firstly, you need fabric for borders and binding! Jelly Rolls are great, but generally in a large range, you get only one strip of each fabric, and that just isn't enough.  I now buy half yards, because I know I can cut a good number of 2½ inch strips from them (seven if need be). I try to buy four different colours in the half yards so that I can obtain quite different effects by changing the borders or binding.


I choose one fabric in a strong colour that has very little pattern - like a solid or tone-on-tone print and buy 1½ yards of it. I figure that will give me sufficient for bordering a wall quilt plus a table runner or a bag and if there is any over, I know it will be a useful piece to have in my stash.

Another principle I work on is that I usually choose a range that has four distinct colours and has very few neutrals. That's my personal preference but I have found it gives such a wide variety of "looks", as I hope you can see in the photos above.

 Yes, I love Pre-cuts. Being able to have a whole range of fabric without buying 42 pieces from the roll is just wonderful. I don't live within easy range of a quilt shop so I love that everything matches, without my having to go searching for just the right colour to fit in. I love the variety that can be obtained when selecting portions of the range and I love all the wonderful choices I have for my beloved appliques. Whoever invented Pre-cuts deserves a medal!

Happy stitching!
Val 




All things bright and beautiful


The question I get asked most when talking about my designs is "Where do you get your ideas from?". It's a difficult question to answer really. They just come!


I know that any talent I have is a gift from God. 


I know that there are hundreds of things that inspire me. 


 I know my heart skips a beat when I see something of great beauty.

I know I love detail.


 I know my heart sings when I have a needle and thread in my hand.


I know I have an amazing creator God.


 I know I have been blessed to live in a wonderful country.


I don't know how the ideas just pop into my head!


I know I'm on an amazing journey.


I love that you have joined me on it!

Photos from top:
Blue Cockatoo Orchid
Fringe Myrtle
Lady Bird Beetle on Acacia
Rose (forgotten name!)
Scented Sundew
Boronia
Bee on our Plum tree
Bulldog Orchid
Amanita muscaria toadstool
Protea???

Val







Free Block of the Month Wall Quilt Pattern 6


Wow, nearly half the year gone already.  It's time to give you Pattern 6 in our free Block of the Month "Shining Like the Dawn" wall quilt.


Such a simple statement for this month’s mini-quilt - “Do good”! Can you imagine a world where everyone acted like this? Well, it is something to look forward to one day in the New Earth that is coming!

You can download the free pattern here.

I really don't like the cold! What do I do, then, when I need to design a project celebrating Winter? The thought of it sends a cold chill through my bones - I definitely never celebrate its arrival! There was nothing for it but to go bright and cheery:


"Snowed Under" has plenty of warmth with a red cottage, red border and bright orange flowers in the garden:


 I love the tactile element with the felt "snow". There's even some nostalgia from my childhood. I remember with fondness the Snowdrops in the garden. (We always called them that but I have since learned that they are actually "Snowflakes"):


And of course there has to be my bird on the roof. You would not believe how many birds sitting just like this we see on our morning walks: 


 You can find "Snowed Under" in the Australian Patchwork & Stitching magazine, Vol 15 No 6.

I've been thinking about Christmas this week. I needed to produce a country Christmas design in a hurry:


and a contemporary one:


We are blessed with mild winters here, but yesterday the temperature dropped below 20 degrees and that to me is colder than I like! It's definitely the weather to enjoy the slower process of making a pretty project with hand-dyed felt, silk ribbons, applique and silk thread - all things I love. I really enjoy creating stitcheries and country-style projects, but there's always a place in my heart for 'real' embroidery. I've put some of my recent ventures with silk ribbon on my Facebook page if you want to see another string to my bow.

Happy stitching.
Val


Bargain Time!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links


Are you a member of Craftsy? I am so in love with this organisation. They have the most fantastic online courses, a really informative blog, and then they allow us freely to use their facilities as a shop!


For this long weekend, (well it's long where I live!), Craftsy are offering up to 50% off on ALL online classes! Patchwork, quilting, embroidery, cooking, cake decorating, sewing, gardening and so much more. Some classes start at just $9.99! 
Have a look here before the sale ends at midnight (USA time) on Monday June 9th.

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And I have more bargains for you.

I decided this week to reduce the price of many of my wall-hanging patterns, with more than 30% reduction. Have a look here:
 and see if there is anything you like!

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And how's this for a bargain project? The Snug Hug Mug Cosy and Coaster are really quick and easy to make and cost next to nothing. You can find the pattern in Handmade Vol 32, No 7:


I'm really into purple this year. The Pantone colour of the year, Radiant Orchid, has really inspired me, not that I needed much because it's always been one of my favourite colours!


Here's something I've been working on recently. I can't help myself - just have to make roses:


 Isn't the colour of the Kacoonda Hand-dyed silk ribbon (054) just absolutely gorgeous? Can you see the sneak peak of purple framing the design?

On my to-do list this week is to make a Christmas bag - and yes, purple is featured once again! Then I will be preparing the next block in the Free Block of the Month "Shining Like the Dawn" quilt. Keep an eye out for it next week.

Happy stitching!
Val

To the Point


Prairie Points are one of my favourite embellishments. I think they really suit my design style. I remember the first time I saw them and how it was love at first sight. Today I thought I'd share some of the ways I've used them. 

The Bluebird of Happiness quilt uses one-colour Prairie Points, repeating the light blue of the centre and third border. It ties the quilt together well and the width of the Points has the effect of another border which a narrow binding would not have given:


 The Fan, Heart & Charm quilt  has a variety of colours in the Prairie Points, highlighting the fabric range that was used for the quilt. You will notice that I didn't use any of the lighter coloured squares for the Prairie Points so that there was a good contrast between the light border and the edge: 


Prairie Points work well on circles and small projects. The Points on the Country Cottage Calendar echo the colours used for the appliques and removable days and numbers:


The Showers & Flowers Cushion works on a different principle. I have introduced an entirely different fabric for the Prairie Points here, something I would not normally do. The pink and white check fabric gives contrast to the rest of the design, but it's not entirely foreign, is it? By picking up on the pink in the floral fabric, there is a smooth transition from the centre to the outer edge:


Swan Lake uses a technique I've tried a couple of times with great visual success - two layers of Prairie Points. Remove those black Points and the design is pleasant but a bit ordinary. The black provides great contrast and takes the design to another level. Of course I could use the colour black without fear because there was already black in the swan outline and the peeper border:


A word about Prairie Point construction. When I first learnt about them, the instructions were to cut a square, fold it diagonally, and fold it diagonally again: 


I soon discovered that while this was great for ease of preparation and for nesting the next Point inside, it did have some failings! I don't know how many times I had to unpick because when I turned the Points out after stitching, I would find that the back of the Points showed out further than the front instead of vice versa.  See that point top right:



 When I discovered there was another method for making Prairie Points, I grabbed it with both hands and went with it. Fold the square in half wrong sides together, then fold the sides into the middle to form right angles:


This is definitely my "go to" method now. Instead of nesting the Points inside each other, I simply overlap them and with this method there is NEVER any problem with the protruding back.

One last word about the Points; they don't have to be used just on edges. I love the effect when they are used in a section of the design. That's something I want to explore more often, but for now you can see them on my apron:


I hope that has been helpful in your choice and use of these great embellishments. (I have a number of other free tutorials and blog talks which you can find here).

I've now had a full week of using my new storage system and it is working brilliantly. I thought I would have to do quite a bit of fine tuning, but it seems that won't be necessary. It is great having easier access to everything. Maybe that's why I had a productive week - two projects completed and another one started plus the concepts for another two all sorted.

Happy stitching!
Val