Book Review – Shape By Shape

I love books, all kinds of books. I have a lot of them and have even more ebooks. However I find when it comes to quilting books, I really love a physical copy.

I have recently found Angela Walters and Natalia Bonner as inspiration for my new found love of longarm quilting. So of course me being me, I had to buy books from each of these wonderful quilters.

So, today I am going to review a book by Angela Walters called Shape by Shape Vol 1.

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I ordered it from the Book Depository and received it in record time. I actually ordered Vol 2 as well. Well why not?!

Anyway, it has over 70 quilting designs in it and it is separated into sections using shapes of blocks, borders and backgrounds. I found that to be a very interesting idea. I looked through the book and was pleasantly surprised to see variations of each design and ways to use the design in other types of shapes. There is step-by-step instructions on how to do each design, definitely something that is really useful. For me this is a book I would have very close to my longarm machine to use as a ready reference when I have different shaped blocks, or borders I want to quilt but am a little stuck. It has a lot of designs at your fingertips for easy access.

I have been practising like crazy and I have already used some ideas from her book. I really love her attitude of ‘close enough is good enough’ and ‘a finished quilt is better than a perfect quilt’. I think especially in my case I get too caught up in trying for perfection that I forget to enjoy the process and just get on with quilting. Angela Walters has helped me ‘get over myself’ and really get back into enjoying quilting and experimenting and giving myself permission to get it close enough and not constantly trying to get it perfect.

Shape by Shape is a really handy book to have if you need inspiration for different quilting designs and all the designs work for the longarm, a domestic or sit down machine.

I would definitely recommend this book.

Let’s make scraps beautiful,

Suzanne

Re-Fresh After a Long Break

Someone once told me that once you start quilting you will never stop! I didn’t know how true that statement really was until very recently.

I had stopped my machine quilting service about four/five years ago and stopped piecing about two years ago due to illness and thought for ‘sure’ that I would not get back into it again. I thought I would sell my longarm quilting machine and move onto something different.

Instead, only recently I went through my studio tidying up and sorting out all the quilts that I still had waiting for binding charity quilts for Sew Generous and couldn’t believe how much fabric I had amassed. At this point I thought I would just make a few quilts for the family and then call it quits.

After finishing off the charity quilts and then sorting through all my scraps and reorganising everything, the quilting bug hit me like a sledge hammer and I realised that I didn’t want to give this up, not yet. I still really, really love quilting and piecing and everything else that goes along with it.

I shut down my old website and started up a new one with the same name and re-freshed my logo. After designing the logo I noticed that it was a design that could be very easily transferred to a quilting pattern. I haven’t designed or graphed out blocks in a very long time (I am thinking Farmer’s Wife Quilt) but I still remembered how to do it so I got out my trusty graph paper and drew out my logo.

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I really enjoyed the process. It is now the first thing I see when I walk into my studio.

I used TouchDraw which is a new to me app that is fantastic for making quilt designs. In the past I used EQ which is a windows based program and I own a Mac. The version I had was really old so I thought it was time to upgrade to something that actually worked on a Mac. I read about TouchDraw from Lily’s Quilts and after reading her tutorial I purchased  the Mac version and since then I have made about eight quilt designs.  I also used this app to transform my logo into a quilt pattern and then I went ahead and made it. I think it reflects more of a modern feel which is definitely what I am going for.

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1998-My First Quilt

I started off doing a lot of traditional quilts with traditional fabrics because lets face it, back in 1998 when I made my very first quilt that was all there was.

I throughly enjoyed quilting traditional quilts and I still have some unfinished projects like Dear Jane, Farmer’s Wife and Pony Club. I have already done half the blocks for Farmer’s Wife, but for Dear Jane and Pony Club I hope to put a modern twist on it. I will have to see how much traditional type fabric I have left to use up.

My first quilt was the usual stitch in the ditch on my domestic which was my mum’s old Singer at the time.

I just love how the most amazing quilt designs can be done on both the domestic and longarm. I must say I am a little spoiled with my 26″ throat longarm.

I bought my longarm in June 2010 and only did pantographs and the occasional ruler work. I really wasn’t much into custom as it just didn’t seem to  come together and my back would hurt only after a short time quilting. It wasn’t until I watched a free longarm quilting Craftsy  video ( brilliant online learning courses) called ‘A New Look At Longarm Quilting’ that I realised that I had my machine height set up all wrong. When I bought my machine I didn’t have someone come out and set it up for me as I believe most companies do now when you buy your longarm machine. I had my machine set about 30cm to low. That is significant height difference. According to the video I watched the  front rollers of the frame should sit just under bust height. That very night, very late that night I made my husband readjust the height of my quilting frame.

The next morning I gave it another go and couldn’t believe the difference, I could quilt from the front of my machine for over an hour with no back pain. I have been practising like crazy ever since and am just loving all the custom designs out there. I have all the videos and books by Angela Walters and Natalia Bonner and I don’t want to put them down and I can’t wait to practise what they are teaching!

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Let’s make scraps beautiful,

Suzanne