Saturday, 9 December 2017

MM 19 Project - Dakota Prairie Dash by Jessica Roze

We've gone Lone Star quilts on the brain in Issue 19 of Make Modern and I'm getting ready to pull some pretty fabric from my stash and put this beauty together!

We're absolutely besotted by the divine Dakota Prairie Dash quilt by Jessica Roze of Scrappy n Happy. Her use of rainbow prints, grounded with low volumes and black chambray, has resulted in a spectacular quilt.


Make Modern Digital Quilting Magazine Issue 19
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Check out more from Issue 19 of Make Modern here.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

MM 19 Project - Hexalicious by Liz Dunne

Hexies are sexy - at least if you're a quilter! We adore the look of hexies, but they are a labour of love. Unless you can take shortcuts that give you great results without any hand stitching or y-seams, which is what Liz Dunne of Made In Ireland Quilts has done with her striking quilt project, Hexalicious, available in Issue 19 of Make Modern.
And as a bonus, the expanse of solids is the perfect canvas to showase intricate free motion quilting, which is always a bonus!
Make Modern Issue 19 Hexalicious quilt Liz Dunne

Make Modern Digital Quilting Magazine Issue 19
Grab your copy of MM 19
Check out more from Issue 19 of Make Modern here.

Friday, 1 December 2017

MM 19 Project - Mini Wonders Sampler by Sheila Christensen

We're so excited to announce a new sampler project beginning in Issue 19 - we have a gorgeous new sampler that will run over the next six issues, run by the fabulous Sheila Christensen of the Mystery Quilter. Sheila uses clever cutting and piecing techniques, as well as an equilateral triangle ruler, to create intricate hexagon designs in this beautiful table runner.

This sampler will run over six issues and by the end of it, you'll have a great arsenal of hexagon blocks you can use in other projects.  We adore Sheila's fabric choices - a mix of Sun Print and Diving Board from the one and only Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics.

Make Modern Issue 19 Mini Wonders sampler quilt Sheila Christensen


Make Modern Digital Quilting Magazine Issue 19
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Check out more from Issue 19 of Make Modern here.

Monday, 27 November 2017

MM 19 Project - Potter's Wheel by Julia Wentzell

Blues are - and probably always will be - a favourite go-to colour scheme for quilters. We adore how Julia Wentzell, the maker of this beautiful Potter's Wheel quilt, combined blue with low volumes for timeless beauty. This quilt is scrappy, but to ensure cohesiveness, Julia used a selection of Cotton + Steel prints, another of our very favourite things!

Julia is half of the fabulous design team Briar Hill Designs, who just launched their first fabric collection, June's Cottage, from RJR Fabrics. Potter's Wheel is the cover quilt for Issue 19 of Make Modern, out now.


Make Modern Digital Quilting Magazine Issue 19
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Sunday, 19 November 2017

MM 19 Project - Flocks of Colour by Monika Henry

It's no secret that rainbows are a favourite in the Make Modern offices. And fabric rainbows are our most favourite of all!
How delicious is this stunning quilt, aptly named Flocks of Colour, by Monika Henry of Four and Twenty Blackbirds? Featured in Make Modern Issue 19, it has directions for both baby and throw quilt sizes. It's the perfect way to showcase your favourite rainbow prints against a vibrant solid background.
Make Modern Issue 19 Flocks of Colour Quilt Monika Henry
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Check out more from Issue 19 of Make Modern here.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

MM 19 Project - Wrap Around Runner by Susan Emory

There's nothing like homemade to make a house a home, and table decor is a quick way to refresh your home.

The Wrap Around Runner, a delightful pieced and quilted table runner by Susan Emory of Swirly Girls Design, in Issue 19 of Make Modern. Pieced with fabrics from Susan's latest fabric collection, Hank &Clementine, for Michael Miller Fabrics.
Make Modern Issue 19 Wrap Around Runner Susan Emory

Make Modern Digital Quilting Magazine Issue 19
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Check out more from Issue 19 of Make Modern here.

Monday, 13 November 2017

MM 19 Project - Holly Hot Pads by Katy Devlin

When you're going for the perfect look for the Christmas Day table, it's a nuisance to discover that your day-to-day hot pads are going to totally trash your look! That's why we love this super cute project by Katy Devlin of Lethargic Lass, in Issue 19 of Make Modern.

How genius is this? Katy has created a set of hot pads - holly berries and leaves - that can make your holiday centrepiece, then be moved around the table as required. Nothing like pairing practical and pretty! A great scrap busting project, it also makes a great Christmas hostess gift.

Make Modern Issue 19 Holly Hot Pads quilted Katy Devlin


Make Modern Digital Quilting Magazine Issue 19 
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Check out more from Issue 19 of Make Modern here.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

MM 19 Project - Mondrian's Lone Star by Linda Robertus

I've long been fascinated by the work of Piet Mondrian, to limit a colour palette to the simplest or primaries with the addition of black and white is a striking idea with stunning results.
Linda Robertus of Blue Jacaranda Design, who originally hails from the Netherlands like Mondrian, has paid tribute to the work of one of her favourite artists with this spectacular quilt. Linda's design takes the classic Lone Star design and gives it a Mondrian feel with the use of red, yellow and blue diamonds, and black sashing. Fantastic!
Make Modern Issue 19 Mondrian's Lone Star quilt Linda Robertus
Make Modern Digital Quilting Magazine Issue 19
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Thursday, 9 November 2017

MM 19 Project - Christmas Tree Stockings by Capi Cloud Cohen

There is nothing like Christmas time to bring out the desire for traditions - in my house the children receive a new ornament every year, and now they are all teenagers, their individual ornament boxes are stuffed with special memories.

In Issue 19 of Make Modern, we've got a very special pattern - these gorgeous pieced and quilted Christmas Tree Stockings by Capi Cloud Cohen of Sew Cloudy. They are the perfect gift for a special child, or make one for every member of your family.
Make Modern Issue 19 Chirstmas Tree Stockings Capi Cloud Cohen

Make Modern Digital Quilting Magazine Issue 19
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Check out more from Issue 19 here.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

MM 19 Project - Christmas Crackers by Samantha Green

There's nothing like a brand new Christmas quilt - here in Australia we're not going to be snuggling under it while waiting for Santa, but we still love adding quilts to our decor wherever we can!

We adore this Christmas Crackers quilt by Samantha Green, of For the Love of Fabric, available in Issue 19 of Make Modern. It makes the most of a divine fat quarter bundle, Samantha used Nutcracker II by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics. And it's deceptively easy to piece too, so you can whip it up before it's time to put the tree up.

Make Modern Issue 19 Christmas Crackers quilt Samantha Green
Make Modern Digital Quilting Magazine Issue 19
Grab your copy of MM 19
Check out more from Issue 19 of Make Modern here.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Make Modern Issue 19 Out Now

Sure, it's November, which means we're all starting that panicky "It's nearly Christmas, where's the year gone?" talk - but that doesn't mean there's no time for quilting. Or at the very least, reading about quilting.

It's the perfect time to dive into the latest issue of Make Modern - which is in our subscriber's inboxes now, and available to buy here.

We are absolutely in love with, and itching to stitch up, our cover quilt, Potter's Wheel, by Julia Wentzell. Seriously... how dreamy are these blues?

Make Modern Digital Quilting Magazine Issue 19

Wanna see what else is in this issue? Check out all our divine projects...


The biggest challenge is figuring out which project to make first! But if you are thinking about Christmas projects, we have a few of those to keep you busy. As for me, I'm pulling fabric to get started on my version of Sheila Christensen's Mini Wonders sampler, which begins this issue.

Grab your copy of Issue 19 here.

For the next 48 hours, use the code $6MM19 to get it for just $6 AUD!


To subscribe to Make Modern so you never miss an issue (and you score exclusive subscriber only bonuses), visit our website. Please note that your subscription will begin with Issue 20, on sale Friday January 5, 2018.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Pressing Matters!

When it comes to electrical appliances that help you become a better quilter, your iron is second only to your sewing machine. As boring as it seems, your ironing technique is critical to the quality of your finished quilt products – the more care you take with your pressing, the better your quilts will be. Embroiderers will tell you that the back of your work should look as neat as the front when it comes to embroidery, and the same can be said for quilting. Even though nobody will see the back of your quilt blocks once they’re in a quilt sandwich, it is important that they are as neat as possible. The reason for this is that it helps the blocks lie as flat as possible, which makes them sit better in the finished quilt and makes the quilting process easier. Of course, like anything with quilting, there are differing opinions on proper pressing techniques – steam or dry?, open or to the side?, press or iron?.... And there are no hard and fast rules, there is a time and a place for all these things.

set up
Let’s begin with your ironing set up. Start with the best iron you can afford. A cheapy from the supermarket isn’t going to perform as well, or last as long as a top quality iron. Look for brands you’ve heard of, the ones who have been making irons for years and treat your iron as a quilting investment. Also choose the biggest, sturdiest ironing board you can find. I like extra wide, and if you can find one that is long enough to fit a full width of fabric on it, you’ll save time. Again, it’s worth spending the money on a quality board. Ironing board covers may need to be replaced fairly regularly, this can be done relatively cheaply. Just pop your new cover straight over the old one for extra padding. There are also some great tutorials online for custom made pressing tables if you’ve got the space. One of my favourite internet hacks was to make a pressing table from a folding TV table – it’s handy to have a portable pressing table you can put next to your machine when you’re piecing blocks and need to press lots of seams.

press, don’t iron
The difference between pressing and ironing is critical when quilting. Ironing involves pushing the iron across the fabric, flattening it as you go. Fine for clothing but it can cause distortion with quilt blocks. Pressing involves placing the iron down on a section of fabric, holding it to flatten the area, then lifting it up again and moving to the next area – you are not pushing across the fabric, causing stretch. Occasionally you might iron large pieces of fabric to get creases out of them, but for the most part it is important to press rather than iron.

when to press
In short: all the time. It sounds tedious, but pressing every step of the way yields better results. Ideally, you should press your fabric before you first cut from it (even if it looks pretty good). If you prewash, press it while it’s still slightly damp to get all the creases out. As you’re sewing your blocks, you should set every seam giving it a quick press while still right sides together. Then you should
press your seams flat from the back, either open or to one side. Every time you do a new set of
seams, you should be pressing them in place before you add the next step.

If you need to unpick a seam, reach for the iron again – set the seam flat again before unpicking, and then press it flat after ripping the stitches. And beyond block construction, you should also press all your border and sashing fabrics, as well as your backing fabric. Batting benefits from a good press (this can be done straight on the floor when it’s a quilt sandwich). Press your quilt top well before basting it also. And binding is obviously pressed as it’s being made, but if you also press it over after you’ve sewn it down on one side of the quilt you’ll also get a crisper finish.

starch, steam, dry?
This comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer a steam iron, others like a dry iron with a spray bottle of water handy. Sometimes steam can burn your fingers, particularly when pressing seams open, so this is a good time to reach for the bottle of water. Starch is another personal preference. I love a good spray of starch, particularly with fiddly little blocks and English paper piecing, when I want a really crisp seam. A spray of starch gives a nice finish to any block. Spray your block liberally, then give it a bit of time to air dry, then iron it. One thing to note: starch build up on your iron’s sole plate can transfer to your fabric, causing marks, so it’s important to wipe down your iron regularly.

open or to the side?
There are few controversies in the quilting world as great as which way to press your seams. Traditionally, it’s said that pressing to the side reduces pressure on the seams, but it is increasingly common to press open, too. Our rule of thumb is to do what is required for the block. I love how flat half square triangle units sit when pressed open, but most of the time I press to one side as I find it quicker and easier. You’ll often hear about pressing to the dark side (say this in a Darth Vader voice for full effect). The theory here is that the seams from dark fabrics will show through more on light fabrics, even with the buffer of the light seam allowance first. Pressing seams open eliminates this quandary, but it is worth taking the time to see if you need to press away from the light. If you plan to hand quilt, you need to decide how you’re going to quilt before your press – if you plan to quilt just inside edges, you’re going to want as little seam bulk on those seams as possible.

case study: success vs hot mess
In the interest of public education, I test made two simple nine patch blocks. For one, I pressed the fabric before I cut, set every seam, carefully pressed as I went and made note of how my pressing affected my seams. The completed block sat very flat with perfect seam intersections and a neat back. The other didn’t see the iron at any stage, and I didn’t pay attention to how the seams were sitting as I sewed over them. Even when I pressed this second block at the end, it wouldn’t sit straight and would be difficult to quilt over in a finished quilt, even if you couldn’t see how horrible the back looked.
Pressing matters!

-- JK

Aussie Hero Quilts

Nearly two years ago we shared a story on Aussie Hero Quilts but after seeing their recent call for help, we've decided to share the story again in a more public forum in the hope that it reaches more of you. Plus it was announced this week that over 7000 quilts and 13000 laundry bags have been delivered thanks to Aussie Hero Quilts and that deserves to celebrated!

Sometimes you just want to make a quilt. Sometimes you don’t have a recipient in mind, or a plan – you just want to make something lovely to make someone happy, even if that someone is a stranger. This is how I felt recently so I decided to revisit a charity I’d heard about – Aussie Hero Quilts. Let tell you a little about them, and it might touch your quilty heart too.

Aussie Hero Quilts sends handmade quilts and laundry bags, made by quilters all over Australia, to our deployed service men and women overseas. This includes personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as one of the ships deployed in the Middle East, and the United Nations Peacekeepers in South Sudan, Eqypt and Israel. In sending these quilts and laundry bags, it’s a way for us civilians to say thank you and show our appreciation for all that our Aussie servicemen and women do for our country. What can be better than that? These men and women sacrifice a lot, being away from the family and their everyday life, to serve our country. It seems a small thing to send them a quilt as a way of saying thank you. Plus, it’s a fantastic excuse to sew (because we all need that, right?!).

I was really interested in the work that Aussie Heroes do and decided to become a part of it. A quick look into the blog and Facebook page, and I sent an email off to Jan-Maree Ball, the founder. She has been an amazing help for a newcomer and her passion for what she does is absolutely contagious. This charity does such an amazing job – it seems only right to spread the word and tell our fabulous readers about them.

I asked Jan-Maree about why she had started Aussie Hero Quilts. She explained that there were a few reasons behind the decision. “One day I heard about a soldier in a rehab hospital who was injured in Afghanistan, and whilst in the hospital in Germany, he was given a red, white and blue Hero Quilt by the Americans so that he would not be the only man in the ward without a quilt. I was deeply touched by the generosity of the Americans, but was ashamed that there was nothing from his own country for him. I am really pleased to say that he is a good friend of mine now and has one of our quilts himself. He uses it all the time.” On a more personal level, (and I found this resonated with me too), one of Jan-Maree’s reasons for Aussie Heroes was due to a part of our Australian history that we’re perhaps not so proud of. “Although I was only young at the time, I’ve always felt ashamed of the way our Vietnam Vets were treated when they came home. One of my quilt recipients told me that he had friends who wished they had never come back to Australia because of the way they were treated. We cannot, must not ever let that happen again.”

The Aussie Heroes motto is ‘We care about the people, not the politics or the mission’. This resounded deeply with me. Regardless of the reasons for our troops being in various parts of the world, it seems so important that we Aussies appreciate what they do for us, and support them in whatever way we can. If it means getting creative and making a quilt (or laundry bag), then that seems like a fabulous way to show our appreciation.

The defence member or families on their behalf send a request for a quilt or laundry bag to Aussie Heroes. While they can’t always be guaranteed a personalised item, requests are welcome and the quilters involved endeavour to meet these. Jan-Maree sends out a request list once a week to interested quilters, listing each quilt/laundry bag request (with details such as favourite colours, hobbies or interests). A quilter chooses which one they would like to make and lets Jan-Maree know. From that point there’s usually five or six weeks to get the quilt or laundry bag (or both) made and sent directly to the recipient.

I must admit to being rather excited when I received the first request list! So many items to choose from, though in the end I chose a sports team (even though I’m certainly not an avid sports follower myself!). I love the idea of being able to tackle a bit of a challenge and make a quilt to brighten up someone’s day. With the request being for something ‘Port Adelaide’, I decided to simplify the logo and ended up with a rather striking quilt in teal, black and white. Not being a sports fan, I deferred to some of my Adelaidian friends to ensure that it was actually recognisable as representing the Port Adelaide team. Fortunately they said yes! In my enthusiasm for making something for Aussie Heroes, I talked it up quite a bit to some of my quilty friends – next thing our lovely Editor Jane was on board too! Jane took a request for ‘blue and white’ and came up with a design using up a good portion of blue scraps, and some simple applique to make a beautiful, patriotic quilt.

I asked Jan-Maree about the best sorts of quilts to make for Aussie Heroes. Jan-Maree explained that it is easier when people take requests directly from the lists. “The fact that someone that the troops don’t know has taken the time to make something specifically for them really makes them feel special and appreciated.” If you perhaps can’t manage something specific, then a masculine or gender neutral quilt is welcome – not so much of the girly quilts though. If you’re after colour guidance – blue is the most requested, along with Australian themed quilts (think Australian flag, Southern Cross or Aussie animals). Even if you’re still new to quilting, you’re very welcome to be involved. There are quilters from all levels of expertise involved so don’t let your level of quilting put you off!

There are specific guidelines for the size of the quilts to be sent to Aussie Heroes – so it’s not a case of rehoming quilts that you have already made. The quilts are made and sized specifically to fit into a Bx2 sized post box so that you can post them for free – anything posted to the members serving overseas under 2kg is free. Aussie Hero Quilts are sized to be the width of the fabric so about 42". The length should be between 70" and 75". Best part about that sizing? No need to piece together a backing for the quilt! (Okay maybe that’s just me, but that’s my least favourite part about quilting!) You can read more about the specifics for making the quilts on the blog.

While this is the first quilt I have made for Aussie Hero Quilts, it certainly won’t be my last. It is something special that quilters can do as a way of thanking someone we don’t know, but who has put everything on the line in their service to our country. When asked about her favourite part of running Aussie Hero Quilts, Jan-Maree summed it up beautifully – “It is a very powerful thing to wake up each morning and devote your time to doing something that you are passionate about. It is also wonderful to know that what you do is appreciated. I guess the best part is just simply knowing that what we do makes a big difference to the service men and women who are deployed. We are bringing them a bit of home and a reminder that the general public supports them and appreciates what they are doing. I always tell the quilters that you cannot really understand how much what we do means to the troops until you see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices and feel it in their hugs.”

-- KL

(Photos supplied by Jan-Maree from Aussie Hero Quilts)

Friday, 10 February 2017

Sew Your Stash

We’re going to make a sweeping generalisation here and assume that if you’re reading this, you’re a fan of fabric. And that you take pride in your stash, which may contain more fabric than you could possibly turn into quilts in the next year (or five). But despite all this, you will more than likely buy more fabric for the stash over the coming year. Can I see a show of hands?

Here at Make Modern, we are huge fabric lovers. We buy it, pet it, sometimes even sew with it. But a lot of it goes straight to the stash, where it stays (in some cases, in OCD colour coded glory). In previous posts, we’ve talked about maintaining a workable stash and organising your scraps. But all of that is null and void if you don’t actual USE the fabric you’ve got, which is why we’re talking about sewing your stash.

It seems simple enough… buy fabric, then use it. But it’s not always that easy. Sometimes we snap up the must-have bundle of the moment while it’s still available or we buy something for a specific project but don’t get around to sewing it up. Sometimes the lure of a big sale sucks us into buying things we don’t really need. Often we deem certain fabrics too precious to cut. All these factors contribute to having a stash that is bigger than any one quilter can manage. End result: you’ve got so much fabric that it’s guilt-inducing and overwhelming. This is why it’s important to take a long, hard look at your stash and actually use it. A commitment to sew from your stash isn’t as strict as a fabric diet, but it does force you to look to what you already own and be a little creative with your supplies.

organise your fabric
It goes without saying that if your fabric storage is in a state of disarray, it’ll be harder to sew from your stash. We’ve covered this extensively in previous issues so won’t go into too much detail now, but it is important to get that stash in order. This is your first plan of attack. Once your fabric is in order, it’s time to do something much more fun – pull some fabrics! Even if you don’t have a particular plan in mind, take a few minutes to pull some fabrics that work together. Explore new colour schemes. Mix and match things you wouldn’t normally put together. Pull out your treasured bundles. Take pictures of your fabric pulls on your phone and store them for later inspiration, then when there’s a particular project you need to make, you can pull up your pictures and see if you’ve got the perfect fabric selection already thought out. This is a great exercise to help you really understand and appreciate what’s in your stash.

ditch the ‘precious’ attitude
We all have precious fabrics in the stash. Maybe it’s out of print and valuable. Or it’s something you truly adore. Sometimes, the very thought of cutting into that fabric is terrifying. But here’s the thing: the purpose of fabric is to cut it up and use it. Take a look at your most favourite fabrics and come up with a plan for them. Make it something special just for you. When you’re sleeping under a quilt featuring your favourite fabrics every night, then it’s going to be more special than having that fabric on the shelf. The same goes for using fabric for things like home accessories, cushions or kids quilts that might suffer a lot of wear or tear. We’re not saying you turn your Liberty stash into potholders, but other than that, almost anything in your stash is fair game to become useful items around the home. If they wear out eventually, that’s okay – just make more (from the stash) and remember the joy you had using things made from your favourite fabrics and how much nicer they were than store-bought.

use your resources
Your stash extends beyond your fabric collection. It’s also threads, floss, zippers, buttons, books and magazines. All of these are valuable items that cost money, so make an effort to use them up. Before you race out and buy a zipper, button or thread, look in the stash to make sure there’s nothing else you can use. It’s useful to be a little resourceful in your fabric choices too. Sometimes you can alter a pattern to use what you have on hand. Perhaps you have a project that requires two yards of a low volume background print – before you race out and buy two yards of a single print, consider whether you could use the four half-yard pieces you have in the stash. A bit of lateral thinking can get the stash down fast, especially if you have a lot of small cuts of fabric. It’s likely you’ve bought a few patterns or books that you haven’t made a single project from yet – it’s time to look at them and plan to marry some of your hoarded fabrics with your favourite patterns. Win-win.

reduce temptation
If you buy fabric because it’s on sale or you see the latest ranges online, then it might be a good idea to avoid temptation. It sounds counter-productive, but it’s also a good idea to keep a stockpile of essentials like sewing machine needles, rotary cutter blades, neutral thread, interfacing and batting on hand. Every time you go to the local big box retailer to pick up more needles or a cushion insert, odds are you’ll go past the quilting fabric section, ‘just to see’ what new fabrics they have in. It’s much harder to avoid temptation when all the pretty bolts are looking down on you, begging to be bought.

make small stuff
Make a commitment to use your stash for more small projects. Whether it’s for gifts, swaps, home accessories or just cute things for yourself or your kids, small projects don’t require a lot of fabric, so you’re likely to find everything you need for a particular project in the stash. They’re also quick, which means you can make more of them, using more fabric as you go along.

embrace scrappy
Your quilts don’t have to be perfectly matchy-matchy, some of the greatest quilts contain a huge collection of prints. Scrappy quilts are the perfect way to use up your scraps and small cuts of fabrics. If you’re worried about things getting too scrappy, infuse a common feature into the whole design, such as white, low volume or a certain colour.

piece your backs
We love pieced backs, they’re almost like a whole other quilt! Buying backing is a big expense, so instead look at what’s in the stash. If you’ve got some fat quarters or half yards of fabrics that work well with your quilt top, why not create a scrappy back for your quilt? You’ll use up a lot of fabric this way and save yourself running to the store for more.

give yourself leeway
One thing to remember about sewing from your stash is that you’re not on a fabric diet. If you need extra fabric to round out a fabric pull, that’s totally okay. If you have to buy yardage of a background, go for it. It is a good idea, however, to only buy new fabric for the specific project you’re working on right now. When you fall into the trap of buying fabric ‘for the stash’ or the next five projects on the list, that’s when your plans fall apart. The key is to plan a project, shop the stash first (while being resourceful and thinking laterally), then buy any extra stuff you need to complete the project. Of course, if you have absolutely everything you need for another four projects, you do need to ask yourself if the project you’re buying for now is really your top priority (sometimes it is, but often it’s not).

use it or lose it
Let’s face it. Sometimes we outgrow fabric. Our tastes change, or we wonder why we even bought
it in the first place. There’s no shame in admitting you won’t use certain fabrics, but there’s no point
keeping them in the stash to remind you they weren’t your finest purchasing moment. A fast way to thin out your stash is to destash fabrics you know you won’t use. Need help destashing? See #9 from our 2017 New Year's resolutions for quilters post.

#sewmystash2017
You may remember the feature we did on Leasa from ProjectLeasa.com (on IG as @projectleasa) back in Issue 4 about how her innocent little new year’s resolution hashtag started a stash sewing movement. Well, the good news is she has just kicked off the 3rd year of #sewmystash and everyone's welcome! Read more and join in here. See you there!

-JK

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Our top ten 2017 New Year's resolutions for quilters

Out in the real world, some of the most commonly broken New Year’s resolutions include losing weight and saving money. In the quilting world, we have a few of our own that seem to get broken before you know it – like finishing all the UFOs and WIPs, or not buying any fabric...sound familiar?

Just like in other areas of your life, it’s the most extreme resolutions that slip away the fastest. That’s why we’ve thought long and hard to come up with some resolutions that’ll make you grow as a quilter and stretch your creative muscle, while being easier to actually keep.

1. Only buy fabric you love
This mantra isn’t as strict as a full-on fabric diet, but it does keep you in check. Rather than buying things just because they’re on sale, you’re visiting a new shop, or it’s the line everyone is talking about, instead buy fabric you LOVE. Really, really love. Treat your stash as a carefully curated collection that reflects your impeccable tastes. The upsides: your stash will fill up with absolute favourites, and you will buy less. There are no downsides.

2. Learn something new
Before you make this resolution, you need to be specific. Do you want to try English paper piecing? Screen printing? Hand appliqué? Art quilting? Think about one thing you’ve always wanted to try ‘one day’ and make this the year you’ll be doing it. Then make a plan – from gathering materials to finding how-to-guides to setting a start date. Then do it.

3. Finish some WIPs
Some people love to start and finish projects in a linear fashion. The rest of us ebb and flow, moving from one project to the next, sometimes leaving a trail of WIPs in our wake. While we are not saying you shouldn’t have any WIPs, remember that too many can be overwhelming. If your WIPs are out of control, then make a plan to finish some, without being too strict about it. Let yourself start new things in between, but make it a goal to at least reduce your UFO count. If you need some encouragement, the 2017 Finish A Long has just begun and the word on the street is that the prizes are awesome!

4. Keep a design book
Resolve to design more. Whether or not you consider yourself a quilt designer or not, you will stretch your creative muscle if you start looking around you for quilty inspiration. It’s everywhere, from clothing to nature to man-made objects. Sketch your ideas, and before you know it you’ll be coming up with original creations. Tip: A graph/grid paper book (the one with little squares) makes turning designs into quilt blocks so much easier!

5. Try a new craft
We know you love quilting, it’s our favourite too. But sometimes it’s refreshing to try another craft, such as knitting, scrapbooking or cross stitching. Doing something else will help improve your eye for design and teach you new skills that might apply to quilting. And you’ll find that sometimes you just don’t feel like quilting and it’s nice to do something else for a bit. Then you can come back to quilting all refreshed.

6. Slow down
In the world of social media sharing we are always so busy trying to create another finish, write another blog post, and meet another deadline. Productivity is good, but too much of this can suck the fun out of quilting. Instead, start a complex quilt with no end point in mind. Relish in the taking it slow. A few years ago, I started an EPP project with over 2000 diamonds in it. People frequently ask me how long it’s going to take me, and I’m happy to tell them ‘forever’.

7. Make time to sew more
There are weeks when you discover that you barely have time to touch your sewing machine, let alone make any significant progress on anything. Set a time to sew every (or at least most) days. If you change out your routine to include half an hour of sewing a day, you’ll find another 182 ½ hours available to you over a year. Imagine what you could do with that!

8. Organise your space
We’re all for the imperfect, honest craft room, but if your sewing space is such a hot mess you don’t know where anything is, you’re going to waste time looking for things you’re sure you had, and money on things you didn’t need to buy again. There are a million ways to store craft supplies and inspiration galore on Pinterest, so start looking for solutions that fit your space and budget. We recommend housing your stash all in one area, making sure your tools are always accessible, and keeping your threads and notions in a single location.

9. Destash what you don’t love
When you sort out your sewing space, you’re likely to find things you no longer love, you know you’ll never use, and some that you don’t even know how they got there. This might be fabric, supplies from another craft long forgotten, and even UFOs. You do not need to keep these things. They take up space, induce guilt and don’t have a place in your creative arena. Sell them, give them away, throw them away... it doesn’t matter how you get rid of them, as long as you do. There are groups on Facebook dedicated to helping you find new owners for fabric you've fallen out of love with (try the Aussie Patchwork Fabric Destash Group or search for one in your area) or you can list fabric you're destashing on Instagram (If you've got a lot, you may like to make a dedicated Instagram account so you don't lose followers or try to post all of your fabric on a certain date and time so you don't clog up the feed. If you're in Aus, tag your photos with #greataussiedestash and you might even gain some new followers. Perfect timing: Cole & Taffy just published her top 12 tips for Instagram destashing).

10. Sew for yourself
We all love making handmade things for others, but it’s important to be careful that sewing doesn’t become a chore as you churn through your to-do list. Remember that it’s okay to sew for yourself (I don't believe in the term #selfishsewing!). If you don’t have a quilt for your very own bed, this is the year to put yourself first and make one! Happy sewing!

- JK & LM