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DIY, Quilt

.Handmade Christmas Gifts.

This year I only made a couple of Christmas presents for family members. In past years I have made many more, but the sewing machine hasn’t been used much at all since moving house. I’m still getting my sewing area set up and with the kids on school holidays and the weather finally warming up I just haven’t felt like doing much sewing. A sewing break is always nice though, after a month or so I’m really hanging out to get back into it and at the moment my list of things to sew is becoming rather long so hopefully this week I will pull out the fabric and start making a mess again!

So, the first handmade Christmas gift was for Carli. We do a family Christmas draw where adults gift for another adult and children gift for another child. It’s really nice – especially the cousins choosing presents for each other. Jaron got Carli’s name and she hinted that I could make her a quilt top! She doesn’t like cutting or sewing on the machine, but does enjoy a bit of hand quilting on the couch so I put together this quilt top for her, taking inspiration from colours in her house. I forgot to measure it before it was posted, but the blocks were cut at 6 1/2″ square so it must be around 66″ (167cm) square. I love this modern colour palette, nice and vibrant and I’m a big fan of simple square quilts where the focus is on the fabric.

After I had finished making the top, I kept looking at this floral fabric by Lotta Jansdotter sitting in my cupboard and thinking how good it would look on the back of the quilt. It wasn’t big enough though so I selected a few fabrics from the quilt top and pieced them together to make the back bigger. Now all Carli has to do is buy some wadding and baste the layers together and it will keep her busy for a little while!

The other handmade gift was not of the sewing variety. Lil had to get a gift for baby George and Sam said that she would like to get more wooden toys for the kids. At the beginning, I thought this project was going to be quick, but I found myself cleaning, sanding and painting these little suckers for 3 weeks! Lucky I started with lots of time up my sleeve! 

These wooden blocks started out in our toy collection. I had a man make them for us a few years back and lots of them I had covered in scrapbook paper and modpodge. My kids didn’t play with them much as they were so I soaked them in water to get the paper off then gave them all a really good sand and clean up. Then the painting went on forever…but I love the black and white geometric effect and think they will have lots of fun making different shapes and designs with all of the painted sides.

My inspiration came from this account I follow on Instagram. Check her out, she makes lots of funky kids toys and books and other craft projects. Now that I know how long these blocks took to paint I know why she has a really long waiting list for new orders!!!

Diawabo, Tip Top Elephants in grey (Japanese fabric)
Lizzy House, Pearl Bracelets in dark blue
Cotton & Steel Basics, Cross in navy
Lotta Jansdotter, Echo, Rugged Lena in suede
Sarah Jane, Wee Wander, Nature Walk in grass
Lotta Jansdotter, Echo, Moira in deep indigo
Joel Dewberry, Modern Meadow, Herringbone in pond
Joel Dewberry, True Colours, Lodge Lattice in turquoise
Lotta Jansdotter, Echo, Small Spring Buds in grey
Art Gallery, Chromatics, Pointelle in navy
Michelle Engle Bencsko, Simpatico, Straws in minty
Riley Blake, Hipster, Mirrah Leaf in grey
Lotta Jansdotter, Glimma, Marby in jade


.325 Triangles Quilt.

I’ve had a 2 1/2 year break from quilt making. The last one I made was very special and there hasn’t been a need for a new quilt until now. New house = new bedrooms = new quilts. Well, I guess I could go out and buy bedding, but that’s not my style. Any excuse to get creative, right?!
Our house will be finished at the end of this week (eek!) then we have a marathon of cleaning the new house, moving, unpacking and cleaning the old house. We are really looking forward to it, but will be able to enjoy everything more when the work phase is over!
Oscar is especially looking forward to having a bedroom to himself. His two great loves are the solar system and the human body – we thought decorating a room solar system-style would be more tasteful than the human body!! Oscar has just turned 9 so I’m very mindful of keeping the room decorated to suit an older boy and didn’t want to make him a quilt that screamed planets.  
Instead, we chose a selection of solid coloured fabric (I’ve listed them all at the end of this post) inspired by the solar system. I’ve been drawn to triangle quilts lately, this one on Instagram especially caught my eye and it was decided that the quilt would be made of lots and lots (325 to be exact!) of triangles. Sticking with a theme-neutral quilt also means that if he ever grows out of the solar system, we are not stuck with an out of place piece of bedding that a lot of work has gone into!
This quilt is definitley the biggest I have ever made. The finished measurements ended up being 91″ (231cm) x 82″ (208cm). I wanted the quilt to be big enough to sit on a queen-sized bed and tuck under completely on the bottom and two sides. I like the look of a tucked in quilt.
When I first started cutting and piecing triangles, I totally underestimated how many I would need to make the quilt big enough and ended up cutting and piecing more and more rows until it finally worked! At the moment Oscar only has a single bed, but when Harvey moves out of his cot we will do a bed shuffle and will buy a queen sized bed for Oscar. This quilt is made with forward planning in mind, but can sit folded in half on his bed now anyway!
To cut the triangles, I cut 7″ wide strips of fabric, then cut those into equilateral triangles using the 60 degree cutting line on my cutting mat and ruler. It wasn’t hard, but more time consuming than cutting squares or rectangles.

With all of the quilts I have ever sewn, I have only once had a try at machine quilting and that was using a quilt-as-you-go method. I was keen to give proper machine quilting a go though but wondered if it was worth trying for the first time on a quilt this big?! I bought myself some proper quilting gloves (they were my magic gloves and made a huge difference!) and used Matilda’s Own brand 100% cotton batting and managed to pull it off!! I’m definitely not going to be winning any prizes at the fair for my efforts, but it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. There are a few wonky sections and uneven stitches, but I’m super happy for my first effort and am keen to perfect my technique now!

To make it easier, I stuck with straight lines and quilted 1/4″ either side of every seam. I thought it was going to to take me weeks to get it finished, but it only took 5 or 6 hours! Hand quilting this would have taken me a few months so I was extremely happy with the quick finish it gave me.
For the back of the quilt, I bought some extra wide backing fabric to save myself the hassle of having to piece anything. When it arrived in the post though, the shop didn’t send me as much as I had ordered so I made use of a few extra rows of triangles that I hadn’t used in the front and added a happy strip down the middle. Although I didn’t want to do any more piecing, I’m really glad that I did because it really gives the back some bright character.
I had just enough solid grey fabric left to use for the binding, and then it was done! Just in time for a new bedroom in a new house…and now I’ve got three more children waiting for their new bedroom quilts! I said I wanted to perfect my machine quilting, didn’t I?!!

Triangles…Kona cotton solid in the following colours:
Poppy red
Grass green
Flame red
Binding…Kona cotton solid in graphite
Backing…Carolyn Friedlander, Widescreen, Crosshatch in Pacific 


.Nani IRO Mothers Day blanket.

For Mother’s Day I made my Mum a Lap Quilt from luscious Nani IRO double gauze fabrics.

This is the third lap quilt I’ve made from the Lap Duvet pattern on The Purl Bee and I don’t think it will be my last.

The two that we have in the loungeroom are constantly in
use for snuggling on the couch. And after 2 and 3 years of use they are
softer and snugglier than ever. (See them here and here.)


I actually bought these fabrics from Miss Matatabi back in November last year to make Mum a quilt for Christmas, but decided to hold onto them for Mother’s Day when the weather was colder and there would be more need to actually use it!



The quilt is really easy and fast to construct – this one took me 1 hour tops! Essentially, all it is is two pieces of fabric sewn together with a piece of wadding in between. Then when it is turned right-sides out, you “quilt” the layers together using bartacks on your sewing machine. So, so easy and achievable. Mum and I were wondering if the bartack quilting would work for a smaller sized regular quilt – anyone tried it before?

In order to get as much width to the quilt as possible, I left the writing on the selvedges showing. I like it like that, Nani IRO has cool selvedges! 
I love these fabrics, the floral one especially reminds me of Mum. The soft pink spot is actually metallic, a subtle interesting detail. Pretty sure the pink one is out of stock at Miss Matatabi now but keep checking because she is always getting new stuff in.

Happy Mothers Day, Mum! Might have to sit under this blanket when I come over next because I love it!

Nani IRO Kokka Pocho cream with metallic pink dots

.Updating the fleecies.

My kids love their snuggly polar fleece Winter blankets. They keep little toes cosy in bed and are often dragged out to the lounge room, wrapped around them on a cold, Winter’s morning. Our old fleecies were well and truly ready for an update. Some of them have been going strong for 10 years and just weren’t as cuddly as they started out.

I’ve been keeping my eye out for decent polar fleece over the last month or so and grabbing pieces here and there as I see something that I like and is good quality. Our old polar fleece blankets were all made using this tied method. (I’m sure just about everyone has made a fleece blanket like that before!) I wanted the new blankets to look a little cleaner and not so tassely, so I placed the pieces of fabric right sides together (each piece measured 1.5m square), sewed around them curving the corners, turned them right sides out then topstitched the edges using a two rows of stitching. I think they look much nicer this way.

 I made Lil’s blanket first (how cool that Prints Charming sell polar fleece at Spotlight now?!) and this polar fleece is really thick so I thought a double layer would have been too chunky. I edged the sides using this braided method. I’m not loving it now that it is finished and wished I’d just hemmed it, but it does the job.
For the blanket on the bottom of the pile, I used contrasting grey/green fabrics on each side because I couldn’t find a print that I liked. I’ve kept the old blankets and will use them as “wadding” for jackets and maybe even a new picnic blanket so they won’t go to waste. All of the fabrics were from Spotlight, except for the chevron which I bought from And hopefully these fleecies will keep us going for another 5 years!

.Finished Quilt.

Remember my latest loungeroom cushions?  I finished my matchy-matchy quilt over the weekend.
After the cutting and piecing was done, I hand-quilted the entire thing.  Long and slow.  Just the way I like it, something “busy” to do when I want to watch a bit of TV!
Mum helped me come up with a design for quilting, I divided the quilt into quarters then quilted big rectangles within rectangles in each of the quarters.  I used white perle 8 thread and love the chunky stitched look.
I couldn’t picture anything other than plain white for the binding and am really happy with the sharp frame that it gives.
The quilt is a great size, measures 76″ x 64″…not too big or too small, ready to keep us snuggly in Winter and good enough to use in cubby house building!  What more could we ask for?!
Umbrella Prints, Floating Flowers
Umbrella Prints, Elephants
Umbrella Prints, Raindrops
Erin McMorris, Summersault, Pixiestick Posies in Turquoise
Erin McMorris, Summersault, Raindrops in Celery
Erin McMorris, Wildwood, Checked Floral in Green
Saffron Craig, Magical Lands, Magic Spots
Lizzy House, 1001 Peeps, Pearl Bracelet in Purple

Jennifer Moore, Monaluna, Hip to Be Square in Steel
Erin McMorris, Summersault, Pinwheels in Midnight
Kona Solids in White