Friday, 24 June 2016

A Hover of Helicopters - RJR Fabrics What Shade Are You?

Hello! My name's Kristy Lea of Quiet Play. I'm a bit of a foundation piecing fanatic, so when asked to join the RJR What Shade Are You blog hop, well there was only one thing to be done. Design a foundation pieced pattern, perfect for use with solids.

I knew I wanted to do something with rainbow solids (rainbow is my favourite colour, let's be honest!) and the timing happened to coincide with the early arrival of my darling new little nephew. Both his parents are helicopter pilots, so it seemed only natural to design rainbow helicopters. Ok well not actual rainbow helicopters, but little helis in rainbow order. With fluffy white clouds. Because who doesn't love clouds?

Picking fabrics for a project is probably one of my most favourite parts of quilting. And this was no different. I went for bright, bold colours to make for a very happy rainbow hover of helicopters.

Ahhh bestill my rainbow loving heart. That's perfection right there. For the curious, the colours are (in rainbow order):
Chili Pepper 
Grass is Always Greener
Royal Blue
Turks and Caicos

Bora Bora and Poolside for the background colours.  Ah pretty pretty.

The cotton supreme solids are beautiful for foundation paper piecing. The seams crease perfectly and you get such a crisp look with paper piecing. It was hard to stop at just 6 little choppers!

Here's a close up of the helicopters. After a bit of deliberating, I decided to personalise it by paper piecing my nephew's name as the centre piece of the quilt. This was just one of those quilts where the design and the piecing all just came together beautifully. Finished it off with wavy quilting to give the little helicopters some movement. 

The hardest part of this project? The photography most definitely.

It was a really tough life to have to go to New Zealand and visit the amazing Fox Glacier on the South Island just to get some photos of my quilt. The lengths we quilters go to! Ok kidding, I went on a family visit, and during that time was fortunate enough to have a helicopter flight up and over the Glacier - just spectacular. I didn't think to take the quilt with me ON the helicopter to photograph at the glacier, so these snaps beside the chopper will have to do. ;)

I know, I know, it's hard to decide whether to look at the quilt or that scenery isn't it!

All the patterns used in this quilt are listed in my Craftsy shop - helicopters, clouds and the alphabet is from my Geometric Alphabet patterns. If you love a bit of paper piecing shenanigans, pop over and check out my Instgram feed @quietplay or my blog - Quiet Play

Thank you to RJR Fabrics for including me in this very fun blog hop - I've loved seeing what everyone else has made, as well as working with these fabrics myself. 

Monday, 20 June 2016

Paper Piecing Tips Part 2

Foundation piecing can sometimes be a little frustrating - it's a technique that takes practice. Once you get the hang of the basics though, there's nothing stopping you from tackling the most complex of patterns. But along the way, there are a few little tips that might help you. Or at least - make paper piecing seem a teeny bit tedious.

So I snapped these pics during my recent paper piecing shenanigans (notice all that pretty rainbow stuff happening in the background? Yeah I'm totally in my happy place).

Let's start with the very first thing you should do when paper piecing. It's all about stitch length, because size really does matter.

Here's a visual shot to show you of where my stitch length sits when I'm paper piecing. That's right - allll the way down to around 1.5. This makes teeny tiny stitches. Which in turns makes the paper removal an absolute breeze. However if you stuff up your seam, and need to unpick it, well let's just say there might be a few swear words involved. So if you have a tricky seam where you have to line things up just perfectly, consider using a much larger stitch (4 or so) and stitch the seam. Open it up to see if you're happy with how it looks. If so, shrink that sucker back down to 1.5 and do it again. If it didn't work, make friends with your seam ripper and pull it out and do it all over again. Even after many years of paper piecing, I still use a basting stitch if I'm not certain. It's much better than unpicking teeny stitches!

Next tip in this process... rough cut your fabrics to size and put them in order. Pictures first, explanation second.

This shows two pictures of sections I was piecing. As I work through sections, I rough cut my fabric to size. That is I grab the first colour, lay it over the paper template and make sure I cut a big enough chunk to still have 1/4" seam allowance all the way around. I tend to err on the generous side. It makes life easier, trust me.

However if you're a bit OCD about your stash, you may not love having rough chunks cut out of your pretty fabrics. So another option - you can use your ruler and measure how wide the section to piece is (don't forget the seam allowance) and cut a strip with your ruler. I do this if I'm paper piecing the same pattern mulitple times and know I'll need the same size pieces of background fabric for multiple sections.

It doesn't stop there. Cut your fabrics in order and lay them in a pile IN ORDER. Nothing worse than grabbing the wrong scrap and piecing it in the wrong place. Not that I'd ever do that. Ahem. This makes it quicker to piece each section when you can just grab a fabric scrap, sew it up, move along to the next one. Try it. You'll like it.

Last tip for today - and this one involves a notion that you're going to want in your paper piecing toolbox - a Clover Finger Presser. Ok it doesn't have to be Clover branded, but that's my preferred one. You can also use a seam roller. Just something that will save you trips to the iron for every.single.seam.

See how that seam is sitting up after being sewn? Naughty seam. Normally this would involve a trip to the iron to smooth it flat before moving on, right? Not necessarily. Just watch.

Side note: it's very hard to take a photo of yourself demonstrating the use of a magic sewing tool, so forgive the weird angle. But here you see the Finger Presser in action. It's like magic, really.

Now look at how lovely and smooth that seam is! Good seam! And now you can move onto the next piece (from your nicely orderly pile of rough cut fabrics). I like to piece alllll the sections at once, then iron them all at once, then trim them to size all at once. It's a bit of a factory production line, but that's how I prefer to do it. Then I iron again when joining the sections. You can use the finger presser on these joining seams too, but I find an iron does a better job.

While we're talking about irons - again personal preference. I use a dry iron. I found using steam, sometimes the water would leak and could make the ink on the paper run (possibly staining your fabric!). Plus I never have to worry about refilling the water. Dry iron all the way.

So there you have it. A few little tips and hints that may make paper piecing a little more fun. But please, don't blame me if this further feeds your addiction. I only accept thanks, chocolate and vodka. ;)

Monday, 30 May 2016

A new kind of obsession - hexies

For the longest time I didn't think hexies were ever on the cards for me. I'd admire them, and look at them and dream of pretty things I could make with them - if only I could machine sew them. I have joint problems so I didn't think hand sewing was going to be something I could do. But it turns out, I can make a few hexies here and there with no problems - and the pile seems to grow rapidly.

 Then I discovered Nicole of Modern Handcraft's Modern Hexie tutorial. A method where you quilt the hexies into place rather than hand sew them together. The hand sewing is where I didn't think I could manage so machine sewing? Brilliant!

This cushion was the result of my first attempt. I was using a borrowed machine (as mine is in the repair shop) and it was a little fussy. But I love the end result. I straight line quilted in on direction to keep the hexies in place, rather than in different directions like Nicole's tutorial. I love how it looks.

Also the opportunity for fussy cutting? Perfect! And using up scraps? Even better! I gave the first cushion as a birthday gift to one of my daughter's little friends. My friend Jane was rather taken with it, so I decided to surprise her with one of her own. A little less fussy cutting and a little more of my favourite fabrics!

I backed it with even more rainbow fabric on the back. Because rainbow goodness is what everyone needs in their life!

Not going to lie. This won't be the last you see of hexies happening in my projects. I'm already working on another one with my Mendocino fabric - this time a project for me! I absolutely love this method of hexies - and am even more thrilled to have a project to work on making hexies while I watch telly! Oh and never fear - I haven't neglected my paper piecing. There are new patterns in the works! Right after I get back from my little jaunt over to New Zealand for a holiday... :)

Friday, 13 May 2016

Homeward Bound

 Recently I was fortunate enough to do a little bit of pattern testing. Usually it's the other way around and I'm sending out patterns for testing. It was a bit fun to be on the other end of the pattern, so to speak! My gorgeous friend Keera from Live Love Sew has just released 4 brand new patterns - and I got a sneak peek to test Homeward Bound.

Here's my version of the block:

I couldn't resist making a rainbow version with Alison Glass prints - and paired with the grey. Oh so pretty right?!

The centre I made with Ex Libris panels - which I just adore! It wasn't easy to cut them up - but I think it was worth it for how pretty it looks.

Then.  I had to add my newest obsession. Little hexies I've been making out of Sunprints (also by Alison Glass). I had quite a collection and it just seemed right to add them to this block.

The quilt block from Homeward Bound is quite large - 24" square. So I decided to add just a little bit, with the hexies and call it a finished lap quilt around 35" square. Perfect for my Miss 5 - nearly 6. She has quite a collection of quilts these days!

Here's how it finished up! I so love how the dark grey for the background makes the rainbow just sing! It's a nice little comfy quilt and the fun part is my gal helped me sort out the hexies and was involved in the layout. Always a bit special when you can work on something together!

Keera has just released this one as one of four new patterns last week - so now's your chance to nab a copy of Homeward Bound (in either PDF or paper version) and give it a try yourself! You can find Keera's blog and pattern shop here and on IG as @livelovesew.

Also anyone going to the Sydney Craft Fair at the end of June - let me know! Keera and I are meeting up, and also planning an IG meetup dinner one of the nights. We'd love to meet anyone else going along! Drop me an email if you're interested!

Happy sewing, quilty friends!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

New patterns released!

Hello lovely quilters!

I've been busily working behind the scenes of late to bring some new patterns to the Quiet Play shop. I've released three new patterns this week that I'm very excited about! It's been a busy week!

The most recent (and perhaps most anticipated?!) one is the large unicorn block! That's right - now you can make your very own 25" unicorn block. Because everyone needs a giant unicorn right?!

So I've done a little bit of tweaking with this pattern. Because it's so large, some of the pattern templates print over two pages. Because of this, and the difference in printing on A4 vs Letter size paper, I've done two versions of this pattern. In my Payhip shop, the files download at once (with A4 or Letter noted in the file name). In my Craftsy shop, they are listed separately so you need to look for the one that is the right paper preference for what you want. By having two versions of the pattern, I'm hoping this makes it easier when you print out the templates and tape them together!

And now for the other patterns! The geometric lowercase is ready now to join the uppercase version in my shops! I had a whole bunch of fabulous testers who helped out and made sure this one is all set! Hope you love it as much as I do!

And lastly (for now! Because you know I'm always dreaming up new patterns!), I have a new little helicopter pattern! My sister and brother in law are both helicopter pilots, so when they announced they were adding to the family, naturally I had to come up with a helicopter quilt design! So a new little helicopter in honour of my darling new little nephew!

 You can find these patterns all listed in my Craftsy shop or in my Payhip shop. A little heads up - if you nip over to my Payhip shop, I have a little sale going on where you can save 25% on all of my patterns. Just use code "QP25". Please note that the code ONLY works in the Payhip shop as Craftsy doesn't allow for coupon codes unfortunately. But hurry - code expires 3rd May!

If you make any of my patterns, I'd love to see! Feel free to share them on Instagram and tag me with @quietplay and #quietplaypatterns. Happy sewing!!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Rainbow Unicorn Quilt

My Miss 5 is soon turning 6 and naturally a birthday calls for a new quilt. Particularly as she's had the same quilt on her bed for *gasp* 3 years. It wasn't hard to decide what should feature on her quilt as she's a little bit unicorn obsessed. Preferably rainbow unicorn. So what's a rainbow-loving quilty mother to do but design a new unicorn pattern and use all her favourite rainbow prints to bring it to life!

(Please note, there are like a gazillion photos coming, but consider yourself lucky that I pared that back from a bazillion to a mere gazillion). 

Ah this does make my quilty heart sing. It's the biggest quilt I've made in some time and wasn't exactly fun to quilt, but so worth it. My Little Miss was involved in every step of making this quilt - from choosing fabrics, and helping decide on the layout. I love that she is so interested in what I make and do - and I'm hoping this means she'll love her quilt FOREVER. She better.

I used a mix of SunPrints from 2015 and 2016 for the unicorn's mane and tail - in colour order, naturally. I'll admit, I was pretty happy with how it was going at this point, but I felt it needed something else. So I had a bit of a play with my EQ7 sketch before I committed to anything more on the quilt block.

 Aha! It needed a wreath! Obviously! As you can see my original plan for the unicorn was one with much pink and purple - but my Little Miss had other ideas - and I think she was so right in choosing a rainbow theme!

So after deciding the unicorn needed a wreath - which would be too hard to piece,  and I don't like applique - I cracked out the old embroidery skills. I'll be the first to admit it's not perfect, but my daughter loves it. There are 6 flowers in each colour - because she's turning 6. Of course.

The next part of the plan was to add in more rainbow! My favourite Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis to the rescue! I just adore the bright happy colours of Blueberry Park and they play so nicely with SunPrints!

So with some lovely simple patchwork that shows off the prints beautifully, I added Blueberry Park Rainbow stripes to the top and bottom of the quilt. And while we're on this photo, let's briefly discuss the quilting. I'm no good at free motion quilting. For me, I like to show off the piecing and design more than the quilting as that's where my heart lies. So it was my standard straight line quilting (1" lines apart) to the rescue. I'm rather happy with it!

The backing is pure rainbow unicorn vomit. My daughter chose it at the shops and could not be talked into a more subtle rainbow stripe, or something with a white background. I tried, really I did. But it's her quilt, and it's the back.

So rainbow unicorn vomit it is. I actually kinda love it now. As you can see it wasn't quite big enough so I added some pink solid in - which formed a giant L. Appropriate as that's the first letter in my girl's name. Let's call it deliberate piecing. Uhuh.

We went off for a wander into the great Aussie bush to find a spot for photos. We braved itchy grass, kangaroo poo and potential snakes and ticks - but Miss 5 was very brave and keen for the adventure. She's responsible for the full length photos of the quilt - doesn't do a bad job does she!

A last few details! The block is a 25" square. I've decided to keep it at that size when I release the pattern in both my Craftsy shop and Payhip shop (which will be very soon). It's fairly detailed around the mane, so a bigger block makes it a little easier to piece. Final quilt size is 52" x 90".

So there you have it! A rainbow unicorn quilt for a rainbow loving, unicorn obsessed nearly 6 year old. I'm a bit in love and so is she. Now to wait for the next month until her birthday and we can actually put it on her bed!

Usual disclaimer: While I do not have direct paid sponsorship on my blog, I am a Craftsy affiliate and receive commission payments based on affiliate links that I may include within my blog posts. A girl's got to help fund her fabric addiction somehow ;)

Friday, 15 April 2016

Blueberry Feathers

You might notice that of late I've been rather obssessed with feathers. I don't quite know what it is - the shape, the look, but it's all just so pretty and appealing and I want to make like a million of them. So I did close to it. I made 28 feathers for one quilt. Because. Feathers.

All of the prints in this quilt are from Blueberry Park by Karen Lewis. There are 75 different colours and prints in the range and they are all absolutely gorgeous and stunning and every other superlative you can think of.  I used 52 of those gorgeous prints in this quilt.

I don't think it'd be any great leap for me to say that this line is one of my most favourite fabric lines ever. I use it in most all of my projects of late - I may be starting to run short...

Nor is it going out on a limb to say this may be one of my most favourite quilts I have made to date. All those pretty paper pieced feathers. All those pretty colours. All those gorgeous prints. What's not to love seriously?

I paired it with a geometric print for the backing - which just seemed to match so perfectly with the jewel tone feathers. Ah this makes my quilty heart sing.

I stuck with my tried and true straight line quilting. I quilted it with white thread with the lines 1/2" apart. It just seemed the perfect way to finish off this quilt.

You can find the paper pieced pattern for the feather on Craftsy or Payhip. There are two versions - a more complex one, and a simplified one. I used the simplifed version and then cut down the number of fabrics I used to just two fabrics per feather. This way I could show off all the pretty so much more easily!

The hardest part of this entire quilt? Taking photos. I had to bribe my children with ice cream to help me. They weren't the best help - in the end I held the quilt, my 5 year old snapped the photos. I think she did fairly well! Though just to prove that it didn't all go so smoothly, and because it's fun, here are some of the outtakes from the Blueberry Feathers photo shoot!

However I got some lovely photos of it, which I'm thrilled about as this lovely quilt now belongs to Karen Lewis herself (talk about pressure making the quilt for the designer of the stunning fabric!).

Ah so much pretty and happiness all in one photo. Quilty bliss.

Usual disclaimer: While I do not have direct paid sponsorship on my blog, I am a Craftsy affiliate and receive commission payments based on affiliate links that I may include within my blog posts. A girl's got to help fund her fabric addiction somehow ;)