My latest quilt pattern, Northern Lights, is out now in Love Patchwork & Quilting!
I posted the Sunday sketch (#124) for Northern Lights on 11 November 2018 – almost a full year ago!
I ended up changing the colour palette and reversing the order of the colours, with the darkest on the outside. I went with a cool-ish palette: (from dark to light) Navy, Ultramarine, Candy Green and Ice Frappe, all Kona Cotton solids from Robert Kaufman. The backing is Mist from Jennifer Sampou’s Chalk and Charcoal collection, which is also manufactured by Robert Kaufman.
Northern Lights is my first paper-pieced pattern, and it was a steep learning curve for me! The blocks are quite large – 18″ square – and I tried freezer paper piecing before going back to normal paper. Because there are 4 copies of each block, I eventually got into a rhythm of placing, sewing, pressing, trimming, placing, sewing, pressing, trimming….until they were all done. There was a point where I wasn’t sure I was going to manage it, but it’s amazing what a deadline can do to motivate me 🙂
Northern Lights was quilted by Sharni Crossett from Lyrebird and Lamb Quilt Works. Sharni has done a few quilts for me now, and she has taken a huge weight off my shoulders (literally as well as figuratively, haha). I’d love to get better at the actual quilting stage of making a quilt, but for now, it’s an area where I’d rather pay a professional – particularly for quilts that are destined for magazines!
Issue 80 of Love Patchwork & Quilting is on sale from Wednesday 30 October. You can find it in newsagents or online.
If you make Northern Lights, please tag me on Instagram (@geometriquilt) or send me an email. I’d love to see it!
I’m still submitting quilt patterns to magazines, because a deadline seems to be the only way to motivate me to sew! My latest pattern is out now in Quilt Now, a UK-based quilt magazine. Meet Whirlwind!
Whirlwind started life as Sunday sketch #119, which I posted on Instagram on 7 October 2018. I had sketched out an idea of interlocking curved arrows on paper, then figured out the actual construction in Electric Quilt 8.
It’s actually a lot easier to make than it might look*: some rectangles and squares, a few curves, and a few quarter-square triangles. My Instagram feed from around that time shows a few other variations you could easily make – for example, by replacing the arrowheads with rectangles (#120) or going monochromatic (#121).
I used all Art Gallery Fabrics – Pure Solids in Canary, Burnt Orange, London Red, Raspberry Rose and Snow for the front, and Squared Elements in Citrine for the back. I’d used Art Gallery Fabrics before, for Loophole, so I knew they’d have a lovely look and feel. And the range of colours in the Pure Solids collection meant that I had no problems picking the right shades of yellow, orange, red and pink (still one of my favourite combinations!).
And I decided I’m not going to stress over machine quilting anymore! I am thrilled to have found a fantastic edge-to-edge longarmer, Sharni Crossett from Lyrebird and Lamb Quilt Works, to quilt my quilts for me. I used to agonise over the cost, but I’ve finally realised that it’s more than worth it: sending my quilts out saves me not only lots of time, but also lots of stress, panic, anxiety, and more stress. I think edge-to-edge quilting patterns look much nicer and more professional than my go-to grid quilting, too.
If you make Whirlwind, I’d love to see it! Tag me on Instagram or send me an email.
Issue 63 of Quilt Now is on sale from Thursday 16 May. You can find it in newsagents or online.
* I’m pretty sure I always say that! But it’s true 🙂
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I find Electric Quilt 8 to be incredibly frustrating to use sometimes, but I’m also the first one to admit that it’s much easier than hand-sketching for creating curvy designs (for me, at least). Earlier this year, soon after I bought EQ8, I created my first curvy design.
This isn’t the colourway I started with – it’s about the 50-kajillionth one I tried. But I was so stuck on this design, just really drawn to it, that I couldn’t get it out of my head. I kept trying new combinations of three colours, enlisted the help of some quilty friends, and finally settled on this muted palette. It reminds me of waves, or clouds, or wisps of smoke or fog.
I can’t remember if I created this design because I knew that Jenny Haynes – AKA Papper, Sax, Sten – sells double drunkard’s path templates, or if I only saw her templates afterwards… but I knew the only way to get it out of my head would be to actually make it. So I ordered the 7″ template, ordered the fabric (Kona Cotton Solids in Sky, Baby Blue and Fog), waited impatiently for everything to arrive, and then took it all to my annual sewing retreat in late September.
In a little under 2 days, I cut all the pieces, arranged them by block, sewed the double curves (for the first time ever), and put together the entire quilt top. Is there a word for that feeling of relief you get when you complete a project and you can finally free up the brain space it’s been occupying for months?! There totally should be.
As soon as I finished the quilt top, I folded it up and put it away. I knew it needed expert quilting… and I’m no expert when it comes to quilting. I’d like to develop my skills beyond straight-line quilting, but limited space, a shallow-throated domestic machine and my own impatience mean it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
Coincidentally, my quilty friend Steph Skardal was steadfastly practising straight lines on her new Juki longarm machine. I cheekily suggested that she might like to practise curves on my quilt top… and she agreed. A few days later (quick enough that Steph couldn’t change her mind!), the quilt top was winging its way from Australia to the USA. And soon after that, Steph had a plan and made a start on the quilting. You might have seen some of her progress shots on Instagram (here and here).
I couldn’t be happier with Steph’s choice of backing fabric and quilting design – they complement the quilt design but don’t overpower it. Once she’d finished and washed it, the quilt got that lovely crinkly texture. Look how good it looks!
The fabric colours aren’t as similar as I would’ve liked (I think the darkest colour stands out a smidge too much from the other two colours), but for my first curvy design and piecing, I’m pretty happy with this quilt. And I love Steph’s quilting and binding. I’ve long admired her work, so I was really excited to collaborate with her and benefit from her expertise. I hope we can do it again!
Because Steph finished the quilting in super-quick time (I’m convinced there are 36 hours in a day where she lives), we decided to submit it to QuiltCon. I cheekily called the quilt ‘Blue Wave’ in a nod to current events at the time. Unfortunately, Blue Wave is a #quiltconreject, but we might submit it elsewhere. It seems a shame to post it back to Australia before it’s seen a little more of the world.
In the meantime, I’m toying with the idea of writing up a pattern for Blue Wave. I’d love to see how it looks in other colour combinations and fabrics! And given how quickly it came together, I’d be tempted to try another version myself.