Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fussy cutting: Colours: Hand quilting...

  These are three things I love to play with in my designs and in the projects I make for my home.

I shared a few odd snippets of the design below a couple of months ago. It was just randomly placed beside what I was really photographing that day, but a few people noticed it and asked "hey Jenny, show me more of that pretty pastel project, will you please?"
The reason it's been kept hidden for the last six or seven weeks is simply that I wanted to use it in today's blog post. So ta da! The big reveal...

"Jenny's Favourite Table Topper"

Now some of you might think 'no big deal' and that's okay, but this is my favourite quilted project of 2014 (so far) and that's due to three things I'm going to share throughout this post.

Number 1 -
The colours. Pastels.
A very simple palette of blue and pink and green; soft and welcoming...melts my little girl heart actually.

Number 2 -
Fabric that begged to be fussy cut.
The inside of every little block was carefully chosen and cut to allow that section of fabric to become a diva...and the tonal pink, blue and green fabrics that border the fussy cut squares help them to take centre stage, kind of like supporting cast members...

Number 3 -
Hand quilting with magic Perle #12 threads. Okay, the thread is not magical but it does make my design look way nicer than machine quilting would have.
I like how the quilted running stitches create a little pillow popping effect across the top...and I love the sensation of this texture as I hold it close.

Three simple things that created something beautiful for my home.
I might share the pattern next week...Might. 

Now let's look at these three design aspects individually in other projects. 

Recently I purchased this gorgeous frame because I fell in love with the bright colour combination and could envision myself designing a small stitchery specifically for it...

I paired some fabric and threads that may work with what I have in mind...

 ...and played around with co-ordinating buttons as they could add impact. Gathering complimentary things around the focal point (in this case that's the frame) helps build a 'bigger picture' in the eventual project even though I probably won't use them all. 

Fussy cutting...
Choosing fabrics as the star of a design is fun! Most fabric has a repeat, and whilst some prints don't lend themselves to being fussy cut, others do.
Recently Helen Stubbings sent me a few pieces of her latest fabric range to design with. I made a couple of projects that featured them, but as I was designing the final project I took a good look at the remaining two fabrics before me and realised one was perfect for some fussy piecing...

 I've used sections of the floral print for the centre of the squares that run the length of the table topper...

 ...but I also made use of the small daisies featured in the fabric as the focal point in my appliqued hearts!

When you really look at fabric you find so many possibilities, don't you?

Fussy Cutting & Hand Quilting...

Now we'll look at one of my very first designs from early 2009 because it featured both fussy cutting and hand quilting. I was still quite new to quilting at the time but already I liked the idea of using small focal pieces of fabric to bring impact to my applique, plus the effect of outline quilting with simple running stitch...

In this flower it is the outer circle which featured the fussy cut fabric, rather than the centre circle...

And notice how effective the use of hand quilting is around all the applique aspects of the design?

When I look back on this little wall quilt from my fledgling attempts at design over five years ago I feel so immensely grateful for this gift the Lord blessed me with...

I was just turning 50 at the time, and a new career was but a spark of an idea  only just about to be realised.
Be encouraged, and remember you're never too old to try something new! Adventures are like that...they open your eyes to so much more than you ever imagined...

As I was packing up the above projects after their photo shoot, I chanced upon a fabric that seemed to whisper as I walked by, "What about me? What can you do with me?"....

 And so I played a while and a plan began to form...how could I ignore that sweet request.
I wonder where it will lead?

Has this blog post inspired you today?
Tell me the things you love most about creating your projects. I'd love to know...



  1. Ah....beautiful birds - where will you fly? Such beautiful things you make Jenny - they make me so happy to see them - beautiful, beautiful. Love all those colours going on in this post and all the info.

  2. Thank you Jenny, so much shared and to take in, learn from, I love the idea of hand quilting (I wonder do you mark for the quilting lines, they are beautifully stitched)and the fussy cutting, can see some beautiful birds fussy cut in your gorgeous bird fabric. The pastel table topper gorgeous. Judithann :-)

  3. No, I don't mark quilting lines, Judithann. They are easily followed by feeling the seam edge under the fabric. :-)

  4. I just learn SO much from your posts Jenny - I am very much a visual person & your posts really help me to understand the concepts - if you were just telling me face to face I would struggle with it. Your photos are always SO great & helpful. I think I have read somewhere that you dont use a hoop for your stitcheries so I am guessing you dont use one for your hand quilting either??

  5. It seems that I am inspired by your blog every time! I'm pretty sure I have some of that bird fabric in my stash, but don't have an idea of what to do with it. I'll be watching to see what you do with it:)

  6. This was a delightful post. Love each and every project!

  7. Gorgeous - everything. I have a house with 3 boys and those soft pretty pastels sing to me! I need to make that little quilt now!

  8. You have featured many lovely fabrics in this post and I really enjoyed reading it , thank you.

  9. Love, Love those fabrics.....any left? I'm sneaking in around midnight!!!LOL!

  10. Simply lovely Jenny! Your pastel hand quilt looks so fresh and beautiful! I'm always so inspired by what you do. Your lollipop quilt hanging is so simple yet so gorgeous! Will you be popping that into your shop sometime soon too :D

  11. Ok...up front I will ttell u I love it all. Every single fabric , every design, every color scheme. You have a good eye for detail.

  12. Hallo Jenny, zauberhafte Dinge hast du uns da gezeigt. Ich bin begeistert von deiner Lieblingsarbeit, auch mir gefallen die zarten Farben und die Stoffe sehr gut. Ich liebe deine Arbeiten und schaue so gerne auf deinem Blog. Ich habe schon oft viel Inspiration erhalten durch dich. Danke dafür. Ich bin gespannt was du mit dem Vögelchen-Stoff machen wirst.
    Ganz liebe Grüße Annerose

  13. Beautiful post Jen,I love your designs and the fabrics that you use,enjoy your evening my friend.xx

  14. What a fun post, Jenny!! Beautiful pieces.

  15. Yes, it has inspired me! The fussy cutting makes the table topper pop!

    Patricia C

  16. I love your blogs ... They are so very helpful..... I am hand quilting a table runner just now but my stitches are no where as neat as yours.

  17. Since I picked embroidery back up and really got into it I noticed that I have not kept one piece for my home. I kept wondering why I could never make it as homey as is like so I inspired but my house. I want to make pretty things for it. And the Lord's Prayer will be one thing and the promises and boarders will be another.

  18. Love your posts. They are so inspiring. Your stitching is exquisite, and your choice of fabrics so lovely. You truly are gifted in all that you do! Keep up the good work! :)

  19. i love all the projects so much..
    sweet hugs x

  20. Seeing your work always inspires me. So dainty and perfect. I am off to work on my rug hooking - doing a turkey for Fall.

    Thanks for sharing.

  21. Every post you make, Jenny, inspires me in some direction - to be a better quilter, to be a better person. I love the last possibility you showed. I'm not a pastel person, but I always enjoy your projects and your pastel table topper is just wonderful. I love that you quilted with the perle threads.

  22. Best blog post ever. Love how you look at fabric and I love how you quilt the quilt. Perfect. I will be trying out this process soon. Baby quilt to do for fun.

  23. I have that same bird fabric in my stash--so will be waiting to see what you do with yours!!!????
    Love you projects and you do have a lovely hand quilting stitch--
    thanks for sharing!
    hugs, di and miss gracie

  24. I am working on a table runner that I want to do the big stitch on. I really like how it looks. That frame is so cool, can't wait to see what you put in it.

  25. Gorgeous projects, Jenny. I can't wait to see what you do with that cute bird fabric.

  26. Sunshine Lollipops is a Great Big Smile and Cheerful Hug. Sew Sweet!

  27. I rushed off without saying your Fussy Cutting Quilt is stunning. There is something so soothing about your color and fabric selections and then your stitchings on them. True Bliss...

  28. This was a great post. Please share with us how you designed your table topper. I really like it. I am not a quilter, but I would love to do some small projects. And I like hand sewing, so I'm really enjoying your embroidery patterns. I can't wait to see what you create with your bird fabric.

  29. Hi! Just found your blog from a Facebook post by Olfa. You have an absolutely lovely blog and it is a pleasure to meet you(in a manner of speaking, :D). I live in the great state of Georgia, in the United States. I am a quilter and love the look of embroidery and have tried a little bit. You have inspired me to try some more. I'll be checking back in with you again.

  30. Great post Jenny - thank you. xx

  31. Lovely, peaceful quilt. For some reason, I associate pastels with you so this quilt is perfect! You are right, if you look at fabric with an eye to fussy cut, it is amazing what you can come up with!

  32. Such a pretty table topper. Your bird fabric is too cute. Can't wait to see what you create with it.


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