Monday, October 6, 2014

Dear Jane: It's Not You, It's Me...

Do you ever find that at the end of the year you start looking at the list of WIPs and working out what you can complete and check off before the new year rolls around? That's where I'm at right now. I'm trying not to feel guilty about the number of WIPs I still have hanging around, and instead I'm concentrating on finishing them up.

One of the things that has always been at the top of my WIP list, under 'Long Term Quilts In Piecing' is the Dear Jane quilt I started way back in, ahem, 2002. Once upon a time I had grand plans of a hand-pieced, reproduction masterpiece that would take pride of place on a wall somewhere in my house.

Then life got busy. We built and moved houses a couple of times. I had another baby. I discovered scrapbooking with a vengeance. I went back to work. I rediscovered quilting, this time modern.

Occasionally I'd pull my highly organised Dear Jane box out from under my bed, complete a few blocks, then get over it. Fast forward twelve years and I've done 32 blocks out of the 225.

At this rate I should get it done when I'm about 120.

Or I can rethink and accept that I will never, ever get it finished. I don't love the whole concept any more, I don't enjoy this kind of hand piecing. I admire the amazing workmanship of anyone who's ever made a Dear Jane, but it's just not for me.

I pulled it out again today and took a look at what I'd done. For a moment I was all sentimental about how wonderful it was, then I realised how much more work there was to complete this quilt.

I've made the decision to use what I've got to create a mini-Jane. She's not going to be as spectacular as a full Dear Jane, but she's still going to be beautiful. It's a very manageable amount of work - I have two more blocks cut out that just need piecing, and then I need to put it all together. Hand quilting it will also be manageable due to its size. I used to panic about how I might possibly ever hand quilt it after I finally finished it. You know, my fingers will be pretty arthritic when I get to 120.

Once I'm done I'll sort the fabric reserved for this project - a small amount will go into my colour stash, some will go in my art quilts stash, and I expect a lot will go to a friend who loves reproduction fabrics.

And then I'll be able to check another project off my to-do list and take a huge weight off my mind. Sometimes quilting with no guilt is all about finding solutions.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Make Modern Blog Hop

It's been very quiet around here, but with good reason. I've been spending every spare moment working on this baby, and I couldn't be more excited to share it with you all. 

The very first issue of Make Modern is now out there for the world to see! To be honest, it's a little surreal to see it all together - while I'm not new to having things in print, it's different when you are key in all the decision making and the complete direction of the publication!

It is has been so well received and every kind word makes all the hard work all worth it. We've poured out hearts and souls into this baby, so to have people tell us they enjoyed it and identify with it means the world. Thank you. A million times. 

The first issue is jam-packed with 14 projects, from cushions to table runners to baby and bed quilts. Whether you want to try your hand at curved-piecing or applique, or you're after a quick baby quilt project,there's something in there for you. We're so excited to have so many fabulous contributors from Australia and overseas in this first issue. 

We've also packed the first issue with articles, because we figure you probably like to read about and talk about quilting as much as we do. Whether you need a bit of help getting onto Instagram or sorting your stash, or you want to tweak your tool box and are wondering what to add, we've got you covered. You can also read about some super-talented makers, Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts and Catherine and Vanita of cat&vee.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a little obsessed with selvedges, so my contribution to the first issue was this selvedge quilt, which features a gazillion rainbow hued selvedges on a low-volume background. 

You can find out more about Make Modern, buy the first issue or subscribe over at our website. It's $9.95 for a single issue, $26.95 for a three issue subscription, or $49.95 for six issue subscription.

If you want a little sneak peek, check out our preview over at Issuu.

Stop in and meet some of the amazing makers who have been featured in this issue of Make Modern on the rest of our blog hop.

1st September                   Make Modern
3rd September                   Kristy @ Quiet Play
5th September                   Where Jane Creates
7th September                   Gina @ Party of Eight: Our Story
9th September                   Molli Sparkles
11th September                 Juliet @ The Tartan Kiwi
13th September                 cat&vee
15th September                 Ruth @ Ben and Charly’s corner
17th September                 Kelly @ Kelliotmagic
19th September                 Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts
21st September                 Serena @ Sew Giving
23rd September                 Melissa @ Ms Midge

25th September                 Anne @ Hudson Valley Quilts

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Let's Get Acquainted

Welcome to my stop on Plum and June's Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop for 2014. Before I start chatting away, a huge thanks to Beth for all she's done to organise the blog hop. It's been a huge amount of work and we all appreciate it!

Beth suggested we show off a few of our favourite quilts, which is hard when you've been quilting as long as I have. Fortunately I'm not as prolific as some quiltmakers, and don't have hundreds of quilts under my belt. Some of these have been featured elsewhere on my blog, others haven't.

I made this baby quilt last year for my niece, who's about to turn one. It's my own design and I love the contrast between the pinks and greys. 

This is one of my son's quilts, made around 2011. He picked the colour scheme and design himself, using the border and sashing fabric for inspiration. 

I love paper piecing and this wall hanging was pieced for my daughter - a huge Hunger Games fan. The piecing was quite tricky, but the simple colour scheme certainly helped. 

This is my daughter's latest quilt, a faux Drunkards Path. I hand quilted this in perle cotton, which took forever and then some. I'm not sure that I should be proud or embarrassed that I had 100 different fabrics to use for the top in my stash....

My Polaroid Rainbows started as a polaroid block swap and ended up as an I Spy quilt that graces my younger daughter's wall. This is a super bright and cheerful quilt. 

Continuing the rainbow theme is my recently finished Rainbow in the Clouds. This is one of my first forays into improv piecing and was heaps of fun. I'm not sure why I still have so many scraps though. 

Now you've seen some of my quilts, here's a little about me.

 I'm a mum of three awesome kids, and wife to a very patient husband who supports my quilting habit. We've got two dogs (his) and two cats (mine). I'm a crazy cat lady in the making, except hubby won't let me get any more cats. My boys are very good at supervising everything quilty.

I live on the east coast of Australia, in a beach resort town half way between Sydney and Brisbane - there are worse places in the world you can live! I grew up in Sydney but we relocated to hubby's hometown when the kids were born to bring them up in a smaller town.

I've been quilting for the best part of 20 years (gosh that makes me sound OLD!!). My grandmother was an expert seamstress, my mother always sewed clothing, so it 's definitely in my genes. My interest in quilting came during high school, my best friend's mum is a quilter and she was a huge influence and great mentor when I was a beginner quilter.

I am completely self-taught, and always learning new things. I totally believe you're never too old or experienced to extend your quilting skills. These days I identify most with the modern quilting movement, though not everything I do is super modern.

I have a healthy addiction to fabric, a million ideas in my head and on scraps of paper and a huge pile of unfinished projects. I like to completely finish my projects myself, but I have a bad case of Quilters ADHD and often lose interest. But my mantra is to Quilt With No Guilt, so I'll get to them all eventually. I discovered English Paper Piecing this year and hand sewing is my therapy - I am amazed at how relaxing it is!

My day job is an assistant in a preschool, which is as tiring as it sounds. But my training was in journalism and I worked in magazines before children. I basically gave that up with the city life when the kids were born, though I kept my hand in doing freelance writing for craft and decorating magazines.

In exciting news, I've just embarked on a brand new quilting related venture with some dear quilty friends. I'm putting my journalism background to good use and I'm now the editor of Australia's very first modern-quilting magazine - Make Modern. Good news is we're publishing in the digital format so we'll be easily available worldwide. I am so excited about this new chapter of my life, even if it might encroach on my sewing time.

My blogging tip has been said before, but it's so true - be true to yourself. Develop your own voice, share what you love, don't stress if you're not churning out projects every other week. It's your own little bit of cyber space so make it your OWN. If people love it, they'll hang around, if they don't then it's their loss anyway.

My quilting tip is to look at your sewing machine and see if you can use it without the foot pedal. I only discovered this was a feature on my Brother machine earlier this year and I decided to try it out for Free Motion Quilting. Revolutionary. Seriously, not having to worry about what my foot is doing and coordinating the speed of my hands and my feet makes FMQing so much easier and has improved the consistency of my stitches too. I don't think it would help much with regular piecing, but for FMQ, I urge you to give it a go. If your machine has separate plugs for the power supply and foot pedal, pull out the foot pedal one and see if one of the buttons lights up as a stop/go button, then have a play around with it.

My Favourite Things:
My dream vacation spot is the USA. I want to visit all of it, but Nashville and a night at the Opry is on my bucket list. One day....
My favourite genre of fiction is romance. I don't get to read as much as I'd like, but when I do I like a light hearted read that's like comfort food. I also read a fair bit of non-fiction.
My favourite TV shows are Nashville (see dream vacation spot), and the Big Bang Theory. Those are the only two shows I watch, but my husband makes up for it by watching plenty.

To finish, I have a tricky question for you - what does modern quilting mean to you? I love modern quilting and I'm proud to call myself a modern quilter... but gosh it's hard to define. If you're interested, I've talked about it over at the Make Modern blog here.

Thanks so much for stopping in and visiting me over here at Where Jane Creates, it'd be great if you can share the love and visit the other hoppers for today:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Free Project on Make Modern Blog

Fancy a little rainbow colour wheel fabulousness in your life? We've got a free project for making your own embroidery hoop colour wheel over on the Make Modern magazine blog right now. You can also pop back a post and find out what modern quilting means to me.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Possum Magic Round One

As you may know, I'm involved in Plum and June's fabulous Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop (I'll be posting next week for the final round of the hop).

Today is the third round, and I encourage you to go and visit all the amazing bloggers who will be wowing us with their quilts and quilting stories today. The full linky list is at the bottom of this post.

I'm most excited that my fellow Possum Magic girls Jo and Wendy will be posting today. While everything to come out of this blog hop has been fantastic, I am most excited to have met my new Possum Magic friends through it.

We've all finished our first round of Possum Magic, and Alice wrote a great post featuring all our centre blocks. Go check out our awesomeness, I'll wait...

I received Carla's amazing leaf block in the mail the other week and the pressure was ON to add to it. I had a plan A before I actually saw the block... and thankfully that worked because there was no plan B.

I loved the greens and low volumes Carla used in the centre block, so I decided to stick with that colour scheme for now. I wanted to give the impression of something fading out, like a leaf dying, so I actually stitched five borders to get that effect.

The first border used a scrap Carla had provided from the original block - we decided we'd add scraps with each round to bring some cohesiveness to the entire quilt top. I used this green to bring the block up to 16 inches, and I also used some of the dot fabrics Carla included in my mix of low volumes.

For borders two through five, I decreased the amount of green in each border until I got to an all low-volume border.

I think it looks effective... gosh I hope she likes it!!

Don't forget to pop round and say hi to my Let's Get Acquainted buddies!

Janet @ Simply Pieced
Kristyn @ Melon Patch Quilts
Rachel @ Quiltineering
Shauna @ Shauna's World
Pam @ Sewing Wilde
Lin @ Lin's Quilts
Cheryl @ Texas Quilting Gal 
Jenn @ Sew Crafty Jenn
Heather @ QA Creations 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Make Modern - AKA Why it's been so quiet around here....

I'd love to tell you that this blog has been a bit quiet of late because I've been busily finishing quilt after quilt, but nobody would believe that anyway.

The real reason is even more exciting than that.

I've been working double shifts with a couple of my quilting besties, Kristy and Lara on a VERY EXCITING NEW business venture (yes, I'm shouting).

I am so thrilled to introduce my new baby, Make Modern, a brand new digital quilting magazine for modern quilters.  We're going to be publishing every two months, and we're accepting submissions from quilters all over the world.

Our big focus is on community, because that's what we believe the modern quilting world is all about. We want to hear from our readers, we want to showcase lots of amazing quilters and bloggers and makers and designers... not just the big names. We want to focus on the fun, guilt free aspect of quilting, because try as we might we can't take ourselves too seriously.

Each issue will be a mixture of projects, meeting amazing quilters and learning new skills, because you're never too old or experienced to grow and learn.

It's going to be busy, maybe a little crazy, there's so much to do, but it's so freaking awesome and I am so excited it's actually happening! After almost 20 years in and out of magazine publishing, including many years in the craft niche, I am really excited to be doing something that I am instrumental in putting together.

Right now, you can visit our website and you can also like us on Facebook  too.
Come and check us out, and Make Modern!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Possum Magic

Sometimes there are opportunities too good to pass up.

Despite all my intentions to stick with the one quilting bee I know and love (my super awesome girls in my paper piecing bee Wombat Stew), when the idea of a round robin quilt bee was first mentioned on the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop group, my interest piqued. I adore medallion quilts and I have seen all those pictures of the super amazing travelling quilts floating around blog land. If there was one quilt bee I wanted in on, it was a modern round robin. 

Then, some of the girls from Australia and New Zealand got chatting about doing a regional bee (to keep postage and shipping times down) and I was in.

Funnily enough, when we talking about names, Wendy suggested Possums as they are a native animal in Australia and New Zealand. I found humour in that as my other bee features another Australian native, the Wombat. 

For those of you not up with classic Australian picture books, Wombat Stew and Possum Magic are two of the best loved picture books in Australia. As a preschool educator, I know both these books inside out and upside down. So when Jo suggested we name our bee Possum Magic, I was secretly a bit excited that both my bees have that connection. 

And the other Possums have talked about the Magic we'll be creating with our bee, but I also want to mention that in Possum Magic, the possums travel all around Australia - so very appropriate for our travelling quilts!

We have absolute free reign on our centre blocks, but it was a bit high pressure to pick a block worthy of being the centre of a medallion that also set the tone for an entire quilt. I have been drooling over Flying Geese patterns lately, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to try out a complex Flying Geese block. I used this paper piecing pattern called Homeward Bound but I added the border. To make the border I simply cut extra Straight Geese templates and stuck them together into a 10 goose high stack. This brought the block up from 12 inches to 18 inches.

FYI: When following the cutting directions for this pattern, make super sure you're cutting the squares into triangles correctly. I spent the whole time piecing this thinking that the background pieces were very scant and then wondering why I had so many left over.... turns out I cut them on the diagonal twice when I was meant to cut them on the diagonal once. Duh! Go ahead, laugh at me... I am!
I want to stretch myself with this project, so I decided to switch up my colour choices a little. I started with a much larger fabric pull of quite saturated prints. I ditched most of these and pared it down to a few colours when I decided to go for a dark red shot cotton for the background. It was a creative stretch, but I think I pulled it off.

This block literally took hours, but I am so pleased with the end result. I am eagerly sending it over ocean to New Zealand to have the Kiwi contingent work their magic first.

Along with the quilt block I am sending a few scraps (including all those shot cotton hsts I have left over!) from my block. We have decided this is a nice way to build some cohesiveness with the borders to include bits from previous borders.

I've also made a signature block for everyone to sign - or since Apple doesn't approve of the word 'siggy', it's a 'soggy' block.... appropriate given its raining on the east and west coasts of Australia and in New Zealand at the moment. I'm putting together a little tutorial on that.

Linking up with Alyce's Sew Cute Tuesday, which is all about triangles - yeah, I think I nailed that one!!

The other members of Possum Magic are:

Alice of Blossom Quilts and Crafts
Carla of Granny Maud's Girl
Wendy of Wendy's Quilts and More
Jo of Riddle and Whimsy
Rebecca of One Wee Bird
Sharon of Motherdragon's Musings
Serena of Sew Giving