Where’s Hazel? Hazel QAL

Hazel bag 25 RSLast year a friend let me know of a good deal on some patterns by Elizabeth Hartman and I couldn’t resist, I bought about 5 of them.  Hazel Hedgehog is one of those patterns.  I had seen a few Fancy Foxes appearing on the internet but I really liked Hazel.

This year that same friend talked about a Hazel Quilt A Long.  I wanted in.  I’m very pleased Angie let me join in her Hazel QAL and here are my makings involving Hazel Hedgehog.

Just in case you are new to my blog I am a long arm quilter but I wanted to switch it up a little and make something other than a Hazel Hedgehog quilt.  I did use my quilting machine as you’ll see but I made this.Hazel 36 RS cropped

I was inspired by Angie’s weekender bag and this pattern is the Cargo Duffle bag by Noodlehead for Robert Kaufman.  I plan to use this when I travel, definitely individual isn’t it!?  I did not add the pockets as I wanted to use the space for Hazel and friends.  So that’s why my bag looks a little different.

Here’s my process in pictures.Hazel 24 RSFabric selection.  Blue is a favourite and then I added some red.  Red is a great colour.

I can’t believe I have no pictures of the Hazel construction but the pattern was written so well and it was easily followed.  I had fun piecing my Hazels.

Now I did alter the Cargo Duffle pattern a little to allow for the size of Hazel.  I didn’t want to cut her feet off.  So the bottom contrast on my bag is smaller than the pattern.  I also chose a darker colour for the base of the bag so dirty marks wouldn’t show so much.

So the pieces are together and now I need to quilt the side panels and the base.  Onto the quilting machine we go.  I left the lining fabric in one piece to load onto the frame and then used 2 layers of wadding for each of the 2 side panels and the base piece.  I used 2 layers to give it some body and durability.  The quilting machine coped great.  My domestic machine might have struggled a little.

Hazel 2 RSHazel 4 RSI did simple straight horizontal lines which gave stripey Hazel and interesting look. Her spines got a new ‘do’Hazel 20 RSSo the making of the Cargo Duffle was easy, though I did learn a few things along the way.

Hazel 5 RSI really like the way Anna does her handles for the Cargo Duffle bag.  Easy and they look great with the contrasting fabric.

Hazel 6 RSI used an extra long zip and just stitched over the teeth, only possible if you use a plastic zip like I did. Not a good plan if you use a metal zip.  The zipper portion I quilted on my domestic machine using my walking foot.

Hazel 7 RSSo far one side has been sewn to the zipper gusset.

Hazel 9 RSI snipped the gusset strip to help me sew around the corners of the side panels.

Hazel 10 RSThis really helped as I could maneuver the pieces and sew the side seam much easier.

Hazel 12 RSSo here’s the inside, not yet neatened.

Hazel 17 RSHazel 19 RSI learned that I  should have positioned the zipper closer to the edge of the zipper pieces but I’m chalking this up to experience.

So, my Cargo Duffle bag is made and I’m really pleased with it.  But I had quite a few pieces left over, I got a little cutting happy.  So I made another Hazel, and here she is…

Hazel 30 RSThis Hazel will hold my toiletries, but she matches by bigger bag perfectly.

Now I know you don’t mind seeing a few pictures but I thought a few pictures of Hazel that are not on my green cutting mat would be a good thing.

Here’s hazel in the wild.

Hazel 34 RSAnd if you were watching you might have seen a shy Hazel lurking earlier, let’s bring her out.

Hazel 35 RSI am looking forward to our family holiday soon so I can use my Hazel Cargo Duffle.

Thanks Angie for organising the QAL and Elizabeth for your great patterns.

How are your Hazel projects coming along, please share using the hashtag #HazelQAL.

Have fun



Australian Day 2015

Australian’s all let us rejoice

For we are young and free…

How many of you know the second verse to our national anthem, or even that it actually has 4 verses?

I am really pleased that my kids’ school sings the first 2 verses each assembly.  The younger grades learn it quite fast.  I think I prefer the second verse.  I remember a time when my husband joined me for a school assembly and as he has a wonderful voice he sang our national anthem loud and strong.  A great example to the kids to be proud of our nation.  Anyway, even the kids at the front of the hall were turning around to find out where this strong voice was coming from.  Many eyes turned to us amongst the parents present.

It was a little interesting but I am proud of my husband for singing so well.  One of the teachers commented that it was good to hear another baritone, he is usually the only one there.

Quilting and Australia – we have a plethora of talent in our wonderful country.  Designers, sewists (sewers doesn’t sound good), and of particular interest to me – quilters.Effalump smallIf you go to any state guild and view the quilts, there are so many wonderful quilts and they have been enhanced and made spectacular by the collaboration between the piecer and the quilter.  Seeing the amazing texture and features that can be added by quilting is one of my favourite parts of a quilt show.  How has the quilter made the quilt better with quilting, what have they added to enhance the work done by the piecer?

Our country has award winning quilters, both Australia wide and world wide.  It’s great to see the results of the international quilt shows and seeing the Aussie names there.  Makes me so proud that Australian’s can hold their own in a much larger field of talent.

I can get a little awestruck by the achievements of these talented quilters, but typical to Australian culture, they are the same as you and me.  Regular people who in many cases have a real gift for their craft, but are down to earth and generous with their knowledge as well.

I did get to meet a couple of well known people in the industry at the Australian Machine Quilting Festival last October.  Not Australian but we will forgive them for that. Judi Madsen and Jamie Wallen are both quilters whose work inspires.Judi Madsen smallerJamie Wallen small croppedI hope that on our national holiday you are able to enjoy time with family or friends and perhaps even a BBQ.

Happy Australia Day!  Cheers!

Australian flag

Meet A Quilter – Tisha of Quilty Therapy

Some more eye candy today and you get to meet Tisha from Quilty Therapy.

  1. How did you come to be a quilter?
    1. I became a quilter because I hated my first semester of college roommate. I had been sewing for years but wasn’t good. This roommate really annoyed me so I would go out to Jo-Anns to get off campus and away from her. I started some hand piecing that I have still not finished, almost 14 years later. I made my parents my first quilt that year that they still have. It was their Christmas present that I barely finished in time. Actually I finished on 12/26 because I ran out of binding at 3am on Christmas morning. My grandma and her friend helped me get started and I was hooked from there.Capture 1 2. What is it that you love about being a quilter?
    2. I love that I can create something from beautiful fabrics that people enjoy. I can’t draw, paint, or play an instrument as a creative outlet. Give me fabric and an idea is created. I also love that my work has evolved over the years and that I’m not like anyone else.


  1. What are you most proud of from your quilting experience?
    1. This is tough because so much has about recently due to my quilting and the products I create. However this moment may have made more nervous than meeting Lotta Jansdotter. I met Mary Fons and filmed a segment with her about my friend’s quilt I made when she had cancer. See below.Capture 2
    2. http://www.qnntv.com/videos/437_qty-this-is-my-quilt-tischa-nagel/ Never mind that my name and info isn’t correct.


  1. What quilting challenges would you like to conquer in the next 12 months.
    1. I have an irrational fear of sewing with zippers.   Tried to make a wet bag for my son and the zipper is atrocious. I need to sit down and really just give zippers another try, I hear they aren’t terrible.Capture 3


Zippers can be frustrating, I agree.

  1. What’s your 3 favourite quilts that you’ve made that reflect who you are as a quilter?
    1. My three favorite quilts have all been from 2013-2014. I think I really hit my stride these last couple of years.
    2. This first gift is about charity and giving. My friend was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the only thing I could think to do was to make a quilt for her. I wanted to support her and be with her every step of the way. At least if I wasn’t there she could wrap herself up and feel me there beside her.Capture 5Rainbow Charms is a quilt I just winged after looking at a stack of rainbow charms. This is will be my first pattern that I hope to get out in 2015. This quilt is a good reflection of how I like to use colors and keep things simple.Capture 6
    3. This quilt is my favorite. Luckily all three of these are nearby and I can see them often. Nomadic triangles just kinda came to be one day after weeks trying to come up with a design for the Indiana State Fair Sewing Challenge. This will be my second pattern in 2015 that I want to put out there. Improv but still modern and simple. This quilt shows me that if I keep looking at something differently, considering new techniques and sometimes throwing everything out the window I will love the end product.Capture 7



  1. What holidays, traditions or religious occasions do you celebrate in your family at this time of year?
    1. Prior to Porter, my son, hubby and I have just a few holiday traditions. On Black Friday we always shop at a few local stores nearby. Chinese food or sushi on Christmas along with watching staple Christmas movies. We usually always watch Christmas Vacation, Elf, and Die Hard. Hey, it’s set during Christmas.
    2. Now we are working to create new traditions as a family. This year we are driving our son around on Sunday night, listening to the all Christmas music channel, and looking at lights. Porter is loving it and it melts my heart to hear him shrieking with excitement.Capture 8 Porter



  1. Do you listen to music, watch television or prefer the hum of the sewing machine when you sew?
    1. Are you ready for this? I love 90’s hip hop and rap. Normally on Pandora my Petey Pablo station is blaring. My husband laughs at me for listening to rap music and quilting. When the phone is dead I reach for my laptop and bring up Netflix. I have watched all of Scandal. Do you think Olivia should be with Jake or Fitz?
    2. Now I’m on to Once Upon a Time. I will probably finish that series out by January with the amount of sewing I foresee in my future.



  1. What are your favourite types of blog posts to read?
    1. Reading blogs for me is about learning and getting to know other sewists. I enjoy blog posts where the writer explains what went on with the project, shares ups and downs, and let’s their real voice come through. Kind of project, project, personal, then project again. Also let’s me know you’re human and not Wonder Woman over there cranking out projects.


  1. If you had to pick any designer to sit down and chat or work with for the day who would it be and why?
    1. Have you been reading the draft posts for my blog? This is something I have been pondering and wanting to write about. Here’s a snippet of who and why I like them. Lotta Jansdotter! Yes, exclamation point. She creates fabrics that simple, creative, and most of her collections go together. I’ve been to her Brooklyn studio and didn’t want to leave. I got to meet her and forgot to take a picture with her. Taking one of her classes in her studio is on my bucket list.
    2. If you don’t follow her on Instagram, let me encourage you to do so. She loves to play and create. She’s very hands on. For her first fabric line she hand drew all the designs and someone had to put them into a digital format. That really shows in her work because things aren’t perfectly straight for example.
    3. I just want to sit down, have a coffee, and pick her brain.Capture 9 Lotta shop




  1. Do you have any quilting goals for 2015, what are they?
    1. My biggest quilting goal for 2015 is to learn how to free motion quilt. I know I can do but I really struggle with just sitting down and giving it a try. I’m very attached to straight line quilting, that I’m struggling to break out of it.



  1. Do you prewash your quilting fabrics?
    1. I used to prewash when I first started quilting. Now I don’t. With three people in the house there is little time to wash fabrics before I use them. Please I use lots of precuts so that would make washing awkward.



Precuts are great but washing them is not such a good idea, on with the creating I say

  1. What are you hoping the festive season will bring for you?
    1. This holiday season I just want to enjoy time with my family. My mother in law will be in town for 6 days and is giving us the best gift. A night and morning off. The gift of time with just my husband and I makes me so incredibly happy. We got a hotel room and will enjoy sleeping in without hearing “DAAAAAAAAAAAAAD” from across the hall and fighting for space with the dogs.
    2. Hopefully we can create many new memories leading into 2015.

Sounds like a great chance to have some Mum and Dad time, hope you had a good sleep in.

You can see more of Tisha via the links below.

Website/Blog: www.quiltytherapy.com

Store: www.etsy.com/shops/quiltytherapy

Instagram: @quiltytherapy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/quiltytherapy

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/quiltytherapy/

Twitter: @quiltytherapy

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/50319251@N06/

Meet A Quilter – Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts

Over the next few weeks I have a few ladies to introduce to you.  I hope you enjoy the opportunity to do a little bit of internet surfing.

Today I’m happy to introduce Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts.  You can read about her and see what Alyce gets up to via the links at the bottom of this post.  Happy reading.

The Questions:

  1. How did you come to be a quilter?
    I had always been vaguely intrigued by quilting, knowing that it existed, but I really realized what it was when a mum in my local mums’ group showed off the quilt she had made with her own mum! It was gorgeous and I decided to make one each for my kids, maybe when they were 5 years old… They were 1 and barely born at the time! I started reading up about it, when one day in Spotlight, my husband told me to just buy a machine already while they were on sale. So I did. And Ellie the Elna 1000 and I have had such adventures since!
  1. What is it that you love about being a quilter?
    The colour play. The choosing of fabrics. The math of making the designs coming together properly. The community.
  1. What are you most proud of from your quilting experience?
    On the actual quilt side of quilting experiences, my latest quilt is definitely my proudest achievement. Eternity was not only the biggest quilt I’ve quilted myself, it’s also the most detailed that I’ve done.  In other quilting experiences, I’m definitely proud of the writing opportunities that have come out of blogging – Make Modern (http://www.makemodern.com.au) and Craftsy blog (http://www.craftsy.com). Bright-Sky-quilting-detail-550x537
  1. What’s the one piece of advice about quilting that all new quilters should know?
    Experiment and try everything once. That way you’ll be able to find your style much more easily!

Great idea.  The things you’ll learn too…

  1. What’s your 3 favourite quilts that you’ve made that reflect who you are as a quilter?
    Well, we’ve already covered Eternity, and I’d be remiss to mention the original Bright Sky quilt. It was such a fun journey to get to the final design, and very precious to me as it was a gift for my best friend. I think I’d have to pick Tea For Two (http://www.blossomheartquilts.com/pattern-shop/tea-two-pdf-quilt-pattern/) as my third one, as it really reflects my love for quilt math and sneaky-cool repetitive patterns  I have sketchbooks full of designs like this, that work on simple blocks repeated to make an effective, complex design. I’m excited that many will finally see the light of day next year!Bright-Sky-Cover Tea for Two
  2. If you weren’t a quilter, what other creative endeavour would you like to master? Well, I dabble in cross-stitch and Project Life scrapbooking, but I don’t know that I’d want to master either of them… I guess potentially scrapbooking? I have always loved beautiful paper and stationery! So really, living in Japan is truly the best place for me with all the fabric and adorable stationery everywhere!
  1. What is your favourite kind of pie?
    Apple or cherry for sure. Or both. Both is good! Chapple pie, anyone?

Yum, yes please

  1. What holidays, traditions or religious occasions do you celebrate in your family at this time of year?
    We are all Christmas, all December. We put up the tree roughly December 1st (or for the past couple of years, the weekend nearest, anyway), we sing carols, we eat fruit cake, and now the kids are at last old enough to fully enjoy the Advent calendar I made a couple of years ago! This year, they will find a piece of the 24-piece Nativity scene puzzle, a Bible verse and an activity to do together. Ornamental-Sew-Seasonal-bundle-400x400 link: http://www.blossomheartquilts.com/pattern-shop/christmas-pdf-pattern-bundle/ )

We do an Advent Calendar as well, I like this version.

  1. Do you listen to music, watch television or prefer the hum of the sewing machine when you sew?
    I frequently try to watch videos/TV on the iPad while sewing, but I just get too distracted – I either sew away and suddenly realized I haven’t paid attention for 5 minutes, or I realize I’ve just spent 30 minutes to do a 5-minute task because I was watching the show instead. Ditto for podcasts! So music is definitely my best companion while sewing.
  1. What are your favourite types of blog posts to read?
    I love stories. It’s so easy to see images everywhere else – Instagram, Pinterest, etc – but this is why blogs aren’t really dying. Words. Nowhere else can you find the stories, the tips, the tutorials, the behind-the-scenes information that take us deeper than that snapshot into your sewing room.
  1. If you had to pick any designer to sit down and chat or work with for the day who would it be and why?
    Kate Spain. Anyone who knows me for even a few weeks would know this already! I just love her designs. While some other designers have the most amazing uses of colour in individual prints that might make my heart sing more, it’s her actual patterns that get me and the way her colours work across the whole range. Each line takes me to a different place! Cuzco and Terrain are definitely my favourites, and her Christmas lines are always so fun but also full of good blenders for use any time of the year.
  1. What’s your favourite colour combination to work with and why?
    It changes every few months! 2013 was the year of navy, pink, yellow and teal green. These evolved into a more saturated palette of navy, coral, rich/golden yellow, aqua and/or teal. Currently, I can’t bear to put this autumn-inspired pull away IMG_7347 These aren’t usually my colours – hello, brown?! But it’s gotten under my skin and I know I need to use it somehow.

Mmm, brown is not my go to colour either but there are some gorgeous browns available now.

  1. Do you have any quilting goals for 2015, what are they?
    I have some big goals I’m already working towards! There will be a year-long quilting series on my blog, and several patterns to go along with it. I also want to make at least 2 full-size original quilts, plus it would be good to chip away at a few UFOs lying around before we move back to Australia in 2016.
  1. Do you prewash your quilting fabrics?
    Nope, ain’t nobody got time fo’ that! Especially all the ironing afterwards! I only prewash flannel if I don’t want it to shrink, or fabric for garments.
  1. What’s the best quilting tip you ever got?
    A quarter inch seam really does make the difference. So does pressing seams – my Clover finger presser is my best sewing friend!
  1. Do you have any favourite tools that you love to use?
    Clover finger presser is obviously at the top! I also love my little pink scissors for trimming thread tails, and my red Clover seam unpicker is one of those tools you need but hate but love. Also red and awesome are my Clover Wonder clips. I’ve got 30 of them, and I’d love another 30! They’re awesome – not just for binding or holding bulky layers together, but also long paper piecing seams sewing with clips


  1. What are you hoping the festive season will bring for you?
    Well, my chances of getting that new Juki sewing machine are about as real as Santa, so I’m quite happily settling for some beautiful family times with our five guests visiting us here in Japan! My cousin/sister-from-another-mother is one of those, and oh boy, I have late night chats and sing-alongs and crazy dancing sessions already lined up!



Sounds like a lot of fun,  I look forward to meeting you when you get back to Australia.  Meanwhile enjoy Tokyo.

You can find Alyce at the links below.

Store: http://www.blossomheartquilts.com/pattern-shop/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/blossomheartquilts

Facebook: www.facebook.com/blossomheartquilts

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/alyceb

Twitter: www.twitter.com/blossomheartq

Oakshott Lipari Fabrics Wallhanging

Pieced and bound By Angie Wilson, quilted by Raylee Bielenberg

A short time ago Angie mentioned to me that she was making a small wall hanging using some fabric from the Oakshott Lipari range. I was really pleased to be asked to be involved and quilt this for Angie and she asked me to make some notes as I went along. What were my design ideas and reasons and the quilting process.

The completed wall hanging. Photo taken in sunshine.

The completed wall hanging. Photo taken in sunshine.

Angie gave me free reign with regard to the quilting design and though that can be a little scary at times I always consider what I would like on the quilt if it were mine. So, I asked Angie for a front on photo of the quilt so I could do some design drawing in paint on my computer. This is so much faster than drawing up the quilt each time I started a new idea. I just saved each file and started again.

Another design drawing.

Another design drawing.

Quilting ideas drawn on top of the quilt photo on the computer.

Quilting ideas drawn on top of the quilt photo on the computer.

The next step was to work out what thread to use. I really wanted to keep the colour only to the fabric and so opted for a thread only slightly darker than the beautiful background fabric Angie used. I did audition a variety of threads and narrowed it quickly to only 2. I used the Wonderfil thread on all the cream background areas and a Rasant thread similar in colour to the Aurifil thread in the picture. The Rasant thread is only in the ditch around the coloured squares.

Almost final thread choices.

Almost final thread choices.

Angie has made her wallhanging using the Oakshott autumn colours and also a linen look background which has a gold thread through it. I wanted to be able to show this a bit more but it’s best seen on a curve. I also wanted to create a good amount of texture with the unquilted squares. To help create texture and the curve I was hoping for, I have used 2 layers of batting. In the quilted areas this is pushed down but the squares end up with a beautiful ‘pillow’ effect.

Two layers of batting used for extra fullness.

Two layers of batting used for extra fullness.

So to be able to quilt in lovely straight lines and have those lines exactly where I wanted them, I used a blue water erase marking pen to mark the design on the cream fabric. It’s a good idea to test these pens on your fabric before marking the whole quilt. Thankfully I have never had a problem removing the marks. I also use a small hand held straight ruler when I am quilting so my lines are quite straight.

One of the smaller squares marked ready to quilt.

One of the smaller squares marked ready to quilt.

Now we are ready to load the quilt and get quilting. My first step is to stabilize the quilt top by basting around the edges as far as I can and then stitch in the ditch around the Oakshott Fabric squares. This way I make sure the quilt stays as square and even as I can, especially as this one has squares on it. Skewed squares – not a good look.

A smaller block quilted.

A smaller block quilted.

Next I changed thread to the Wonderfil thread and started on the smaller background squares. At this stage I had not decided on a quilting design to push down the background around the created squares. I wanted something that would not create too much pattern on its own, no thread build up to make darker areas of quilting. I also wanted a design that would offset the many straight lines that are in this quilt. The answer – Stippling. A great choice for this quilt.

A close up view of the texture.

A close up view of the texture.

Moving outwards on the quilt I worked my way around the inner border, quilting in the squares and then stippling the background. Ideally I try to have as few starts and stops in the quilting as I can manage. When working on a quilt I will often stand at the end of the quilting table to see the texture being created on the quilt top. I have a sliding door at the other end so the lighting is great.

A side on view, shows the texture very well.

A side on view, shows the texture very well.

Once I got into a rhythm the quilting flowed smoothly and I was soon done. My initial photos inside did not do justice to the quilt so I hung it outside the next day in the sunshine. Looks great hey! The binding is completed by Angie.

Completed wall hanging. Centre area, photo taken in sunshine.

Completed wall hanging. Centre area, photo taken in sunshine.

You can see more of this quilt on the blog of Angie Wilson, aka Gnomeangel. www.gnomeangel.com


A Busy Year.

Checking back to my blog today I was shocked to see that despite my last post I did not get myself into a habit and show you things regularly, it’s actually been longer than before.
In the past year my husband has gone on long service leave from the Defence Force, I have taken on an executive position of an Australia wide association, been needed at school by son #3 a fair bit, done a fair bit of quilting, and more recently spent a week in Adelaide at the Australian Machine Quilting Festival.

I have seen on a few blogs I regularly check that they have a button which says something like IBOT, which stands for I Blog On Tuesdays.
What a great idea.  I don’t need the button, I just need the day that it should happen and I plan to stick to it unless there is something that just cannot wait.  I did think about my week and have to admit that Tuesdays is probably the better for spending some time at the computer.
So after a busy year I do have lots to show you and my plan is to do that on Tuesdays. Watch this space.

Block detail from Blue Gentleman