Sunday, January 24, 2010

Monkeys & Lions continued

I am surprising myself at the moment with firstly how much sewing I am getting done, and secondly the qty of things I am actually getting finished.

Now I just need to quilt and bind it and one more thing can be crossed off my list, maybe I might even be able to fit in a few more projects before the baby comes, one can dream can't they :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Princess Tutu

I decided that this year I am going to try and make most gifts that I have to give to people, well children anyway and only I know they will appreciate it. (eg 9 yr Nephew will most likely get a purchased gift)

The first birthday for the year is my niece who turns 3 early Feb, her two older sisters have never been girly girls but Emily definitely is, she is really into Tinkerbell and fairy's at the moment. So with that in mind I decided to make her a pink toned tutu using this tute for a no sew tutu

I actually used pink, purple, white and grey bridal tulle to get the multi coloured effect, I can see myself making a few of these for presents during the year

Friday, January 22, 2010


Leyroy the Lion and Milton the Monkey

These quite little fellows will form part of Bastian Cuddle quilt, aren't they adorable I just had to share. They still need to be blanket stitched and Milton needs a mouth and both need eyebrows, I am using this pattern from my LQS, given my little boys love of monkey I also got this pattern shrunk the Milton down to fit on to some of the blocks

DJ Tips and Tools

This post is way overdue and for that I apologise to the people that have already joined me on my DJ journey

Now depending on how long you have been quilting for and what tools you already own, I wont lie to you, a DJ quilt can be expensive to do, firstly you need the backing material around 15 mtrs as well as a stash of material to do your blocks. Then as there are so many different techniques used in the blocks you need some tools to help you with this techniques.

I will show all the tools that I use for my DJ quilt, but I have been working on this quilt for 3 years already, so I have been able to establish quite a stash of gadets (and I like my gadgets) I will try and say if you really need to acquire each item


You will need at least one Ruler in order to cut out your blocks, I found having a small ruler (the one pictured above is 4 1/2") very handy, especially when having to cut out 1" squares. I didn't acquire the DJ ruler set until this year and have only tried to use the small 5" ruler once, however I think I will find it useful when cutting my appliqué blocks back to size and checking the size of my blocks once I start sewing the all together. The triangle ruler will be used when making the triangle blocks and also to cut out the solid triangles that are used alternatively in the boarder. Also I apply this product to the back of all my rulers to help them stick to the fabric

Cutting Mat

Like the ruler you will need a cutting mat to cut your material out on, of which I own and use many. However I was given this nifty mat/sandpaper board for my birthday a few years ago and find it a godsend for when tracing out appliqué or hand pieced blocks. The sandpaper side holds the material in place while you are tracing out the shapes and the suede piece is perfect for laying your block out on. I find that I can close the book up with a block laid out, put it away and know that next time I come to work on it, it will not of moved.

Rotary Cutter

Once again you will need one, I found a small bladed one (the one shown here is 1") helpful for when cutting small pieces, once again this size is not totally necessary


You will need two pairs of Scissors, one sharp pair of good quality sewing scissors to cut out you hand pieced and appliqué blocks and the second paper scissors to cut out your template plastic (when need), freezer paper for appliqué and foundation papers.


You will need a good pencil to trace out your appliqué and hand pieced blocks, I started using a .5mm 2B retractable pencil and have since found this pencil which you are able to get all different coloured leads for to help the pencil stand out on dark material (I own black and white leads)

Pins/Glue for Appliqué

When I first started to do needle turn appliqué I was shown to use appliqué pins to hold my block together, now I don't know if I am just all fingers and thumbs but I use to dread this process as I would end up sticking myself with the pins numerous times. I have since discovered this fabric glue that goes one blue and dries clear. I recommend this product.


For appliqué I was recommended to you use size 12 sharps, the better quality the better, this is as they leave a fine hole in your work and therefore hide the stitches better. For hand piecing I use betweens and for in the machine I use a 70/10 instead of a 80/20 needle. This is also as it leaves a finer hole in the block, and as the blocks are so small you don't want your stitches to show.


For appliqué I use silk thread, and for machine and hand piecing I use Aurifil 50 weight, however I have since been told that you can also use the Aurifil 50 weight for the appliqué as well, I have not used it and am happy using the silk thread so will stick with that. However when using silk thread don't cut off too long a piece as it can split and be a real pain.

Other consumables

The other three items that you will need are template plastic, foundation paper and freezer paper, one thing I did get to try out and ended up deciding it was waste of time was a EQ brand printable appliqué paper that was sticky. You ended up wasting so much of each page to print out the templates for one block and I had planned on using it to save tracing and cutting out plastic templates for my hand pieced blocks as it is like freezer paper it was not sturdy enough to cut the pieces out correctly. (Can't find the product on the EQ site to link for you so maybe they no longer produce it)


There are many tips when it comes to doing your DJ quilt but the main ones that spring to mind at this moment are

  1. Use a smaller machine stitch length then normal, I normally use 2.5 but change my stitch length down to 2 for machine piecing of DJ blocks and 1.5 for foundation piecing
  2. When tracing out the appliqué blocks I always draw the item being appliquéd onto the background so as I know where I am stitching to, this helps a circle come out as a circle and not a oval
  3. Always cut your background for appliqué blocks to 6", instead of the 5" then once the appliqué is finished you cut your block back to 5". This is as the appliqué process can cause the background material to shrink some what (this is what I plan on using the 5" DJ ruler for)
  4. If you think you have stuffed up a block, but it in your pile and then when you come to put them all together you can go and check the finished blocks and redo any blocks that you are really really unhappy.
  5. I was once told that some craft makers on purpose but a humility fault in there project as "only God is perfect and to err is human" there are some blocks that I have made a small mistake in that I have decided to leave as my humility block, things like material showing wrong side up or pieces upside down.
  6. Most importantly have fun with it :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Making room for baby

With the baby due in April, we need to make some changes around the house. now most people would think that fitting an extra person in to a 4 bedroom house would be easy but when both adults in the house of hobbies that involving a large qty of "stuff" it means a big clean up and reshuffle.

In order to make room for our soon to be son/daughter I decided to give up my sewing room/guest bedroom as I don't tend to be able to get in there much anyway, over the last 6mth I have tended to take over the kitchen table as my sewing space (much to Andrew's delight)

However the problem began with how does one, move a room full of things that need to be protected from little fingers out to the family living areas.

Thanks to a 35% discount voucher from Spotlight in the week before Christmas part of this problem was solved

This lovely lockable cabinet,

not only stores my machine and other "sharp" sewing items

but it also provides me with plenty of room to quilt a large quilt if I one day so desire, or plenty of space to cut my material.

Now I just have to go and buy some clear plastic tubs to store my stash and large collection of in-progress and unstarted projects, the plan is to make use of one of my many WIP quilts to cover the stack of tubs so that do not stick out like a sore thumb.

This month also saw the end to my monthly Aurifil thread club, so I now the proud owner of this lovely box of 72 threads

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I was lucky enough to take Bastian sailing on the Gippsland lakes with my parents for a week, it wasn't till the night before we left that I started to panic that he would not like the boat, or even worse get seasick likes his daddy.

He had a ball, the only thing he was not to keen on was when we had to use the motor due to lack of wind or to motor into/out of berths etc.

In fact he found it so relaxing that he fell asleep on both days when we did a fair bit of sailing.

I think it is safe to say that we have a little sailor on our hands, just like his Granddad.  Granddad was very happy that he enjoyed it and even more so that by the end Bastian was telling everyone that Granddad's boat goes "woosh" and noisy speedboats go "boom boom boom boom" complete with a screwed up face to show his dislike for "stink boats" as granddad calls them.

Now I just need to find a way to cure seasickness and I can arrange my dream family holiday for a few years time, once #2 is born and a bit older

Friday, January 1, 2010

Maybe this a an omeno for a good quilty year!

Yesterday and today I have been able to apply myself, thanks to my darling husband and finally get this quilt finished that I started back May. The little girl that it is meant for is turning one in March and it was meant to be her birth present Oops :(

Know I just have to decide how to quilt it, I have three different ways in mind, the first an all over stiple which I would most likely get professional done, the second quilting all over on the angle following the lines of the quilt, like this

and the third quilting the small "birds" on a angle and echoing the large "birds" triangles

What do you think?

As far as new year resoluation or plans, I am still working though my list that I did back here, so I might copy this over to the right hand side. I will be back at a later date to do a 2009 wrap up and post a few pics of my final 2009 projects.