Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wheel of Fortune

This is the name I have given to this quilt which I finished just prior to Christmas for my eldest son. 

I found a pattern in a 2009 "Beautiful Country Crafts" that was for English paper piecing using assorted charm squares...because I am always time poor for anything for myself (as my wife constantly reminds me with the unfinished paintwork, dripping taps, odd jobs etc - love her dearly xx) I adapted the pattern to machine piecing and rather than charm squares worked with fat quarters from my stash.  I actually started with just creams and pale greens, but when I started to look for the final fabrics to 'pad' the quilt out, found these amazing new prints by Jane Sassaman called 'Sunshine and Shadow' from my local patchwork shop (Patchwork Dreaming). 

I could not be happier with the end result...the colours are breathtakingly bold and it seems so far from the original scrappy quilt that actually inspired the whole journey.

Some of my fabrics had gold metallic print on them so I used this theme by stiching the whole centre triangle panel with a gold metallic thread...the outer corners and borders were done with a variegated green thread.

One son down...two to go!!

Until next time...Happy Quilting
Stephen xx

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Brand New Year

New resolutions...welcome to the Year of the Rabbit !!
Firstly...I apologise for my very poor attempt at blogging in 2010.  It was an amazing year for me at work...I actually held 4 different positions over the year which had me learning many new skills and procedures (all still within the fashion industry, but differing aspects of the company).

My new roles meant I spent a lot of time travelling overseas...this tends to take me "off the beaten track" as my time is mostly spent in factories and industrial cities, but nevertheless it is very exciting to visit new places, meet people and be part of other cultures.

Most of my time was spent in China but I did have 2 short trips to was all an amazing experience...I have attached some photos of some of the sights I have seen...I am very keen on architecture, culture and history all of which is in abundance in both countries.  I have also met some lovely people who have become dear friends when I am visiting and make my work trips relaxed and enjoyable.

Lotus Temple...New Delhi

Older than the Taj Mahal!  Built by a queen for her dead husband...exquisite

Not hard to see where some of our quilt block inspirations come from...wall detail New Delhi

Ferry to Gulan Island from Xiamen (China)
Me on Gulan Island

During all this I filled in what spare time I had finishing quilt tops for customers.  What a great year!!  I have received so many beautiful quilts to work on...I just wish I had photographed some of them to show you.  This year will be different...I will be keeping on top of my blog...promise!

Happy quilting all my friends
Stephen x

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Back Online !

At last my computer is back on track.  Firstly...thank you to everyone that has taken the time to visit my blog and for all the encouraging comments that have been left.  Also thank you for your patience while I have been getting myself (and my computer!) organised.

Since first setting up my site my longarm machine has arrived and I have been busy practicing most nights and weekends.  My lovely niece Rebecca has given me a few of her own creations to work you all know Bec is a beautiful quilter whose work I admire very much so I was a little apprehensive stitching on her work, however I am excited by the outcomes.  The small squares quilt (above) with it's 50's inspired colours and prints ended up with a simple edge to edge swirls stitch which mirrorred the print in one of the blocks. 

The Japanese print quilt inspired me to practice my custom techniques so I picked some of the flower motifs in the prints and the clam shell shapes to highlight the beautiful patchwork design.  I backed this quilt with plain black which really highlights the quilting when the quilt is reversed.  Bec hasn't seen them yet...I hope she likes them! 

I have also photographed a quilt I finished for Bec's mum (my sister in law Barb) which she has been making for Bec...beautiful fabrics/colours and blocks.  I tried to highlight the individual block designs with a floral design that reflected the style of the quilt (kind of Art Deco ish I thought), then filled in the borders with a beautiful feather meander.  Again...check out the's amazing! 

Lastly I finished one of my own which has been in the cupboard waiting to be quilted for 12 months.  This is a simple triangle block design using light and dark tones in some beautiful Moda Autumn colours.  This got an edge to edge autumn leaf design broken with a multi colour leaf pattern in the small frame. 

All are still waiting to be bound but I wanted to share what beautiful pieces they all are.  Hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I have enjoyed working on them.  I will try not to be so slow keeping up to date with my blog, but I can't promise so many pictures next time!   Happy Quilting
Cheers Stephen

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My First 2 Quilts (1998-2000)

This is my first quilt as mentioned in my bio. It started with the 2 fabrics that Julie purchased...the tye dye leaf and the lilac/green paisley. I read through my book "Rounds of Friendship" (ISBN 1-875625-01-1) to find some great inspiration and thought "I Can do this"!
The book is about 8 quilter friends who follow a "recipe" and share their quilts around as they follow each stage. Not belonging to any such thing as a quilt group and feeling somewhat apprehensive about joining one I decided to go it alone and just do each stage myself.
I started my centre 12" block by hand as this is what I believed a "real" quilter would do...and as I was convalescing at the time it worked quite well for me...but in the end my desire for faster results won out and I went back to my machine...after all I come from an industrial background.
Julie and I had fun searching for more fabrics and I tried not to buy too much of any one type so it stayed true to the recipe where each of the quilters were to use fabrics from their stash to match back to the previous quilter's round.
I think this project was several months in the making when I decided that I really would like to learn techniques and processes before finishing it, so I joined my first quilt class at Patchwork Dreaming and started a sampler quilt. 
This gave me the confidence to finish the recipe (and change a few ingredients on the way!) and also introduced me to one of my favourite patchwork styles...the Sampler.
I love the maths and the precision and what seem to be never ending combinations of blocks and how when a group of patchworkers can all be working on the same blocks, but with fabric choices and positioning they will all look different. Anyway my first sampler quilt is attached photographed with the ginger jar that inspired it.
Here's to inspiration and enough hours in the day to do something with it...

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Beginnings

My machine arrives this Saturday and after much coaxing from my dear wife (Julie) I have decided to have a go at setting up a blog site...after all..."how will people know who I am and what I am doing"?!
I am very excited about the machine (Gammill Optimum Plus with Statler Stitcher) and have several practice pieces of my own to get me started...will post the finished quilts once they are done. The Statler Stitcher allows me to get started straight away with edge to edge designs (the software has hundreds to choose from) and after practice and patience I will be able to tackle the more complex customised work. This is what I am really looking forward to, there is something very exciting about seeing a beautiful quilt enahanced by complimentary quilt designs.
My first custom will be one of my own...a huge Queen Size Thimbleberries Quilt that has been finished for almost a year (and about 3 years in the making!) but waiting for me to save up and purchase a quilting machine...lets face it quilting on a domestic machine, though rewarding, is also very slow and hard work...and I want this one to be special.
All my quilts to date have been finished on a domestic as I enjoy the challenge, but I also know there are many patchworkers out there who love the piecing but want to move on to the next project...I love to piece but I also love to see a project finished. Hopefully I can help you to finish yours!
Pictures coming soon once I have mastered the whole blogging thing!
Happy Quilting