Saturday, 4 May 2013

Hand Quilted With Love Blog Tour - Day Two.

When Sarah asked me to be a part of this blog tour for her new book I said "Why?, I never blog." If I had the time to scroll through a zillion conversations I could tell you her exact response, but I haven't, so I won't but it was obviously convincing; because here I am.

In truth I was honoured to be asked. After all, I love her quilts and despite the fact that we've never actually met, we've developed an online friendship that swings from the sublime to the ridiculous. If we ever do meet you should all watch out because in true Aussie woman fashion - we'll be 'wrecking the joint'.

Firstly, a little bit about my quilting.

It developed from my love of sewing (dressmaking) and embroidery. A natural progression if you will.  But unlike both of those where I had relative confidence in my colour choices, in quilting I was a play it safe girl. I'd buy a kit if I could, or I'd buy a fat quarters from a range. If I was completely stuck, I'd just try and match the colours on the pattern as best I could.  Most of my quilts were pastels, civil war repro or prarie/grunge type colours.

Then, one day, as I was sewing a sample quilt in pink and blue (which I still love Helen) I decided I liked it so much I was going to make one for myself.  But because those two colours were stuck in my head, I went for a selection of bright variegated floss, then I added some Heather Bailey and some Amy Butler fabrics and 'BOOM' my brain went "yes! this is you" but even here, looking back, I can see a safe palette.

It was around this time I received Material Obsession and was completely bowled over. Then Material Obsession 2 and Quilting from little things endorsed the fact I was a changed woman.  Colour was now my 'thing', and I've been slowly developing my sense of it in quilting ever since.

Anyway, on to the point of this post...

I was lucky enough to be involved in the process of Hand Quilted With Love along with a couple of other ladies, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Sideline:  I'm going to put on my cowgirl hat, get on my high horse here and say, if you ever find an error in a pattern, any quilter's pattern, just drop them a quick line in an email or a DM if you know them, and ask if they could check it please. Don't post it all over Facebook and Twitter or Blogs - frankly, that's just rude and makes you look like a nob.  Pattern writing is not an easy task, particularly when you get caught up in the creative process and adapt and adjust things as you go. This much awesome doesn't come easily.     Rant over.

Looking at the notes, diagrams and photos I was sent brought me to appreciate the connections between the colours and the overall look of these quilts, the eclectic choices that contribute to the impact of a quilt as a whole.  During this period, Sarah was de-stashing and I bought a couple of bags of scraps from her. Opening those bags was a master class in colour, and in fabric itself. I've only ever used quilters cotton for quilting. Here was drill, a hankie, upholstery fabric!! I asked her about these and in a nutshell her reply was "if it's cotton, and I can make it work, it's in".  Holy cow! This woman's fearless!!

After the mathworks were done, I got to play with Lady Marmalade.  I harassed Sarah until she sent me the template drawings and began...

From this
To this

A bit of this...

Then this.

Apart from the background, which I really loved and is similar to the original, I've tried to learn and expand my thinking.Yes, there are all types of fabrics in there. My advice is take a chance, expand yourself.

I've also begun Millefiori.  I need to have hand-work to carry with me in the car for waiting. Waiting for Mum at appointments, boys at work or training, generally killing time. It cuts my phone data bill and stops me getting impatient.

In truth, I could prattle on about this book for ages, basically because I used to do it for a living.  Booksellers will tell you I was far too honest in my sell-ins; I would talk up the fabulous, discuss the ordinary and not say too much about the crap, and believe me, there is some crap out there. Publishers would probably say I was a terrible rep, but I got to walk away with my integrity intact and that's okay by me.

Now, I just go into book stores and do this.

Face out? Sitting with Quilting from little things and some Kaffe?
Oops. ;-)

My point here is you can trust me when I say;  to fully appreciate this book, you need to have it in your hand, a beverage of your choosing in the other (coffee, tea, martini, wine - whatever) and read it. Truly look at it, and you'll find something you need to start immediately before you even reach the end. Go on - I dare you!!

Since we all get something different from every experience I'll give you the other ladies on this fabulous blog tour and you can check out their take on Hand Quilted With Love.

Sew Take a Hike (USA) - 4th May http://sewtakeahike.typepad.com/

Me - you're already here! (Australia) May 5 http://belindastitches.blogspot.com.au/

True Up (USA) - 6th May http://www.trueup.net/

Lilys Quilts (UK) - 7th May http://lilysquilts.blogspot.com/

Meet Me at Mikes (Australia) - 8th May http://meetmeatmikes.com/

Sew Mama Sew (USA) - 9th May http://sewmamasew.com/

I'm A Ginger Monkey (UK) - 10th May http://imagingermonkey.blogspot.com/

Petits Elefants - (Australia) May 10 http://mespetitselefants.blogspot.com/

Prints Charming (Australia) - 11th May http://www.printscharming.typepad.com/

Red Pepper Quilts (Australia) - 12th May http://www.redpepperquilts.com/

Hand Made by Alissa (USA) - 13th May http://www.handmadebyalissa.com/

Creative Dabbling (Australia) May 14 http://creativedabbling.blogspot.com/

Mrs Schmenkman Quilts (USA) May 15 http://mrsschmenkmanquilts.wordpress.com/

Sarah also has a class on Craftsy, it's a bargain. Don't have a 'pop' at her about leaving her rotary cutter open,  once,  in hours and hours of filming. She knows!! Okay?!   

I hope you've enjoyed my post, have a lovely day and I look forward to seeing what you all make from this gorgeous tome.

Happy Sunday,

Belle. xoxo

PS: next time I will discuss the contemporary approach to traditional and modern quilting with special reference to capital letters, making and the psychological effects of over-thinking your stitch length. :o)


  1. Great post Belle. Yes, yes and yes to all of the above. I can't wait to see where your Millefiori goes, I'm already thinking about version II.

  2. I love an honest review, and your straightforward voice comes through loud and clear. Thanks much. And your "rants" are spot on and much needed in this age of constant snark.

  3. I'm looking forward to making millefiori too :)

  4. Thank you for your honest thoughts on the book, and also thank you for your "rant", which really is good advice and the right thing to do :)