A Piece of Cake Book Tour

I have known Peta from She Quilts a Lot for a few years now, and when she told me she was writing a book, I was thrilled for her. So I am very happy to be taking part in the blog tour to help celebrate the release!

A Piece of Cake – Sweet & Simple Quilts from Layer Cake Squares is Peta’s debut book, and I’m sure it will be the first of many. The book has 14 new patterns, including quilts, mini quilts, cushions, and table runners, and all of them can be made with layer cake (10”) squares.

The release coincided nicely with my Mum asking for a new quilt in aqua/turquoise, and I knew I wanted to make something from the book for her. I have to admit, I skipped past this quilt when I first glanced at it, as the fabrics aren’t really me, and I thought it looked a bit…’traditional’ (*ducks*). But then I realised that it is just HSTs (half square triangles), and I knew it was perfect.

This is Delight, and I am absolutely, well, delighted with it. Peta’s patterns are always well written, with excellent directions and diagrams to walk you through construction, and the book is no exception.

I didn’t actually use a layer cake for this one, I just cut 10” squares from the aqua shelf of my stash, and tried to make sure I had enough contrast for the pattern to really pop.

The quilt came together beautifully, and because Peta has written the pressing directions so that every seam nests, it’s the flattest and squarest quilt I’ve ever made, and (almost) all of my points match. (I can’t stress it enough – when a pattern designer tells you which direction to press things, it’s for a reason, and it took time to figure out what works best for the pattern, so I highly recommend following their instructions!)

I’ve backed it with a flannel sheet (my current favourite thing for quilt backing), and quilted it simply to keep it nice and soft.

Side note – Peta ever so politely suggested that my photos are….less than excellent (she is right), and kindly offered (*cough* insisted) to come and take some for me, which is why these are much better than usual!

The book has plenty of projects to suit all skill levels, is beautifully presented, and I will definitely be making more from it. In fact, I have two more Delight quilts in progress!

To see more projects from the book, check out the #apieceofcakebook tag on Instagram, and visit the quilters below to see their projects on the blog tour!

14 Aug Sedef – Down Grapevine Lane

15 Aug Jemima – Tied with a Ribbon

16 Aug Samantha – Aqua Paisley Studio

17 Aug Andy – A Bright Corner

18 Aug Kirsty – Bonjour Quilts

19 Aug Lisa – A Spoonful of Sugar Designs

20 Aug Alison – Cotton Factory

21 Aug Carrie – Moda Fabrics

22 Aug Nadra – Ellis and Higgs

23 Aug Angie – Gnome Angel

24 Aug Tara – Tara Sews (That’s me!)

25 Aug Jules – The Creative Retreat

26 Aug Kristyne – Pretty by Hand

27 Aug Kimberly – Fat Quarter Shop

28 Aug Lissa – Moda Lissa

29 Aug Amy – Diary of a Quilter

30 Aug Kerry – Kid Giddy & Cat – Hello from Cat on Instagram

31 Aug Jane – Modern Makers Retreat

1 Sept Kate – Never Enough Hours

2 Sept Jodie – Vintage Ric Rac

3 Sept Sharon – Patches Indooroopilly (in store & online!)

4 Sept Amanda – Material Girl Quilts

5 Sept Amber – A Little Bit Biased

6 Sept Xanthe – Wife Made

7 Sept Rachel – Family Ever After

8 Sept Jenny – Martingale

9 Sept Amy – Nana Company

10 Sept Peta – She Quilts A Lot


Pixelated circles, and a brush with disaster

Hi all! No, I didn’t fall off the face off the earth. I just haven’t really sewn for ages, my sewjo* totally up and left the building, and I have made hardly anything this year. But it’s funny how fast the desire to make comes back when someone wants to pay you!

So, this is officially my first paid commission quilt (woohoo!) for a lovely friend from work.

Rainbow pixelated circles quilt

The quilt is a slightly upsized, rainbow version of the Jessee at Art School Dropout’s pixelated circles pattern. I got to test this for Jessee last year (see mine below), and I love this pattern, it’s quite simple, but incredibly effective, and those big curves are nice and easy to sew.

And while this quilt turned out awesome, and I love the finished result, it wasn’t without its problems. Skip to the end if you want to know what happened and how I fixed it.

I decided, with some help from Instagram, to quilt it with a big off centre spiral, and that’s when the problems started.

First off all, the guide bar on my walking foot broke, so I decided to use my trusty blue water soluble pen to mark dots every inch or so, as a guide for the spiral. This worked well, so once the quilt was bound it was covered in little blue dots. No worries, all they need is a squirt of water, and they disappear, so why not throw it in the washing machine, that’s basically one big squirt of water, right? I was a bit worried about some of those colours running, especially the reds, as I’m not entirely sure where some of them came from, so I added a couple of colour catchers.

Wash finished, I took the quilt out, and was relieved to see that there was no colour run. I hung it up and noticed it was covered in brown dots. I FREAKED out. It was already paid for! I realised they were from the blue pen, that were supposed to have washed out.

Holy &#%@!!!

Google told me that a soak in white vinegar would remove them, so I filled up the bath, dumped in two bottles of vinegar, and waited with bated breath, while calculating how quickly I could re-make it if I didn’t sleep that night.

Luckily, they all came out. However, this time some colour had run during the soak (those pesky reds!) I was too scared to mess with it too much more, so put it in the wash for a rinse and hoped Bronwyn would be ok with it! (She was. She’s lovely).

Anyway (god Tara get to the point already), this led me to do some testing with the blue pen. I have used these for years and never had a problem. Some of the posts I’d read in my research suggested that it might have set in the sun, others suggested it could be a reaction with the laundry powder which caused it to stain. So I grabbed some scraps of white fabric, wrote on them all, and did the following:

1. Sprayed straight away with water
2. Left in sun for 6 hours, sprayed with water
3. Set with hot iron for a few minutes, sprayed with water
4. Washed in machine with laundry powder
5. Left in sun for 6 hours, washed in machine with laundry powder
6. Set with hot iron for a few minutes, washed in machine with laundry powder

The pen on first three, that were sprayed with water, came out fine, even having been set in the sun and with the iron. When removing the pen, don’t soak the fabric, as this can cause the pen to run, (as you can see below) and then you need to wait for it to try and remove it again. I saw a good tip to use a paintbrush dipped in water to brush them away.

The second three ALL stained, after being washed with laundry powder.

Terrible picture, but you get the gist

So my expert highly technical science experiment leads me to the conclusion that it is in fact the detergent that it somehow reacts with pen and causes it to stain. However, I soaked them all in white vinegar and water for an hour and they all came up clean. And I then washed them all with laundry powder, and again, all clean.

So, the moral of the story (or if you skipped to the end cos you couldn’t be arsed with my waffle) – DON’T TRY AND WASH OUT A WATER SOLUBLE PEN USING LAUNDRY DETERGENT! Ahem. And if you do, a soak with white vinegar will bring it up good as new.

Hope that was useful, back to my second commission quilt!


*like mojo, but for sewing

The Rebel Quilt

Hi all, hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Today I can finally show you my latest quilt finish, since it has been received for xmas: the gorgeous Rebel Quilt by Libs Elliott.

This quilt has been on my to-make list for ages. It measures 90” square (the pattern makes a 72” square but of course I can’t help myself and had to make it bigger to hopefully fit a king bed).

It looks tricky, but it is made up of only 5 simple blocks, you just have to stay organised!

It’s helpful to label each block with the position it’s supposed to be in as you go

Since it was for my sister and her partner, neither of who are into bright pretty colours, I’ve used a colour palette with lots of greys and a few colours thrown in to break it up and keep neutral.

This thing is massive. And since I don’t have the floor space at home, I had to take it to work and use the boardroom table for basting (which worked a treat!)

The quilting is fairly simple, which I love as it gives the quilt such a nice drape (and it was so big, and 35 degrees the day I quilted it, I didn’t want to spend too much time under it!)

The fabric is all Kona cotton – Nightfall, Wine, Hibiscus, Glacier, Shadow, Coal and Pepper. The backing is a wideback I got from Massdrop, Prisms by Studio E, and it’s bound in Kona Pepper.

I’m super happy with how it turned out, and I’m glad to have ticked this one off my quilty bucket list!