Sunday, 27 July 2014

Sunday Stash #86 - Does This Match My Outfit?

Two packages arrived at my office this past week (well, actually a few more than that, but we'll talk about those next Sunday.) The first was from my dear quilting-ninja-friend, Mishi Kichi. When I opened the package, I thought she had sent me a hat--albeit a slightly too small one! As I was resting it on my head, slightly askew (so chic!), I found a note in the package that read:
Molli - This is a thread catcher. But it's twice the size it should be; I figure if Molli is going to have a thread catcher it should be the biggest!! But you don't have to use it as that (I don't.) The sparkly button in the bottom is the special touch. xoxo - MK

Oh. Thread catcher, right. I quickly swiped it from my head, hoping no one else in my office had witnessed my faux pas. Mishi had also sent the left over fabric, which is gloriously over-saturated, and reminds me of that acid trip I took in 1972. It was exactly like that. You can see I've already put this super-sized thread catcher to good use by filling it with my Kate Spain HST trimmings!

Oddly enough, the second package I opened was the Molli Sparkles Blogger's Bundle from Fluffy Sheep Quilting that I curated. Apparently, my mail has now decided to start colour-coordinating itself for me. How amazing would that thread catcher fabric look mixed into my Blogger's Bundle? And maybe another little pop of purple too? Mmm... getting excited thinking about this one!

There's only two of my Molli Sparkles Blogger's Bundles left from Fluffy Sheep Quilting! Two of you European folk should go buy them and then you can all call me a sell-out. WooH -- .... Oh, wait. Um, maybe don't call me that, but still go buy my bundle! ;-) Happy stashing!

Friday, 25 July 2014


A few weeks ago I teased you with some paper pieced letters a la Wheel of Fortune. (Seriously, where is Vanna White these days?! Hold on, total sidebar, but I just read her Wiki, and she is apparently still turning letters on Wheel of Fortune at the age of 57! But wait, there's more! She is a crochet and knitting enthusiast with her own range of yarns called Vanna's Choice! God, I love Wikipedia.)

Well, now that that unplanned digression is done, let me officially present to you my #SELFIEWITHSPARKLE quilt! I've never been one for mini quilts, but I can't help but totally adore this one. I used a paper piecing font pattern I purchased from From Blank Pages. It's called My First Alphabet and you can get it from her Craftsy pattern store for $9.00. (Just so you know, I paid full price, and I am receiving no revenue from this; just want to give you all the info). The letters are made from homespun and white scraps, surrounded by Mirror Ball Dot in Snow. Yep, my glitter-flecked binding is there, too!

The patterns were super easy to follow, and if I can do this for my second paper piecing attempt, I'm sure you can too! Now, why oh why, did I need to make this? Well, you probably saw me wearing it on my little spot on The Today Show, but I actually made it originally to bring to the Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair. I was going to hang it in the corner and let people take their own #SELFIEWITHSPARKLE standing in front of it. Then some good friends of mine suggested I turn it into a sash (<--Rodney and Vern, you are brilliant!), so I attached a blue sequinned harness to the back (of course, it was sequinned), and viola the #SELFIEWITHSPARKLE sash was born!

Well, lady boy, was it ever popular! You can search on Instagram for some of the photos, but I've seen them floating around other parts of the Internet as well. Two of my favourite members of the Glitterati, Cassie and her mum, Carolynne stopped by my booth to grab their own version. You know why I love them so? They started this whole trend at last year's Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair when they messaged me the week before asking if we could meet up for a selfie. Two years in a row: I think it's now a tradition! See you in 2015, ladies?

Let me remind you though: You don't need to be wearing this quilted sash to take a #SELFIEWITHSPARKLE. All you need is your fabulous self, being the best version of you, for all of the world to see. We all have our ups, we all have our downs, we even have in-betweens, but no matter what, never forget to ... 

Size: 7" x 37"
Quilting: Four straight lines using Aurifil 50wt, colour 2024 White
Binding: hand stitched with Aurifil 50wt, colour 2024 White
Backing: DS Quilts stripe from my stash.
Favourite Part: It's a quilt for the people.

Linking up with TGIFF and Crazy Mom Quilts!

There should be more wearable quilts.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

WIP Wednesday - The Kate Spain Charm-Along

My friend Midge recently hosted an Aussie-only (it's only fair, c'mon!) Kate Spain charm swap. Now, I always say I'm an equal opportunity fabric employer, but if I am completely honest, Kate's design aesthetic has never really grabbed me by the hips and made me want to do the lambada. That doesn't mean I don't respect the talent, it's just all those florals never did much for me.

That's exactly why I went and signed up for two spots in Midge's Kate Spain Charm-Along. I knew I needed to explore what all the fuss was about. I wanted to be challenged by fabric that I would never have chosen myself. If I expect myself to grow as a quilt maker, as an artist, as a human being even, I need to step outside my comfort zone and face these types of challenges head-on, adorned with my fiercest tiara.

So I received 224 charms from what seemed like every Kate Spain range in the history of ever. Upon closer inspection, some of them I really, really love! It's also interesting for me to see Kate's growth as a designer, because (at least in my humble opinion) her designs have become more sophisticated over the years. I've also been pleasantly surprised to see much more saturated colours than I expected. This has been a great experience for me to re-assess a designer that I had written-off as not being for me. Oh but now, Kate, baby, I'm ready to make sweet, sweet quilty love!

So what am I making? Well, after going through about thirty-seven pages in my sketch book, and over-designing to the n-th degree, I've now backed the eff off, and have decided to let the fabric do the talking. I've started making 289 HSTs measuring 4.5" (I've thrown in some extra yardage), which will allow for a 17x17 grid, with a finished quilt size of 68" x 68". The final design may not be epic yet, but what this experience is doing to my aesthetic certainly is.

Ms Midge

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

#NGAQB - June

Oh, it's July, you say? Well, forgive me, my dears, but I just sent my June #NGAQB (No Girls Allowed Quilt Bee) blocks today. Thankfully, Mr. June, Chris Jones, is quite the forgiving dandy, and didn't mind so much. In the vein of all of our previous King Bees, read on for more about this one-of-a-kind male quilter. You'll find his full social media contacts, and a link for the Diamond Stack Block tutorial at the end of the post.

When did you start quilting?

I didn't actually pick up quilting until I was in college and living with my mom's family. She comes from a strong lineage of quilters, and I thought I might enjoy it. I grew up with my grandmother, who was a seamstress. She taught me how to sew, crochet, cross stitch, embroider and many other things.

When I graduated from college, I stopped quilting for a while. I was sucked in to the world of MMORPG, and barely had time for anything else but work. I picked up quilting again at the suggestion of a great friend at work. She introduced me to hand-piecing and I was in love again. I've done quite a few small projects, but I've yet to actually quit a top yet. I'm hoping that I'll get to take some valuable time-off soon and try my mom's new long arm or free motion quilting machines.

What do you do professionally?

Right now I'm a SQL Developer/Data Administrator for an online book company (nope, not that one – not that one either). I've been with the company for fourteen years; I started with them two weeks after I graduated college. I started in the Customer Service department, and quickly moved up to CS Manager. I've held a position in just about every department within the company, and if I haven't worked there, I work closely with them to generate reports or import data.

What other hobbies do you have?

Outside of sewing/quilting, I love to cook, can, and garden. I just picked up canning this year, and I love it. There's nothing more awesome than taking the things that you grow and preserving them to eat throughout the year. Though I don't typically eat it, I love making jam, the stranger the flavour profile, the more fun. So far I've made mulberry jam, strawberry balsalmic jam, grape jelly, wild berry (strawberry, blueberry, mulberry) and apple butter. I'm trying out recipes for pineapple rum jam and mulled red wine jelly. They will likely be part of the family Christmas presents this year.

Do you have pets?

Yep, I have three furbabies that are the love of my life. A scottie named Finnigan, a Cairn named Ursula and a German Shepherd named Zahara. Ursula and Zahara were both rescues. We're currently taking Zahara through obedience school right now.

What is your favourite color?

Orange, definitely orange. From pumpkin to safety vest, I love it all.

Which season is best?

Fall [Autumn] will always have a special place in my heart. I love the color of the season. But now, because I really enjoy planning gardens, and digging in the dirt, I'd have to go with spring. The smell of the air right after a spring rain ... it's invigorating.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be?

I'd love to see my grandfather again. He was such an amazing person. He was a short-order cook in the army, a recorded musician that wrote music, played the guitar, banjo and fiddle, and spent the greater portion of his adult life as a taxi driver. His routes ranged from around the block to across the country. He loved life, and never had a cross word for anyone. He, like my grandmother, really taught me how to “be” in this world and I love him for it. I'd love to see him again.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

I probably have too many to mention here. I have a touch of an OCD streak that rears its ugly head from time to time. Right now the biggest thing that bothers me are leaves. I was out in the snow raking them the other day because I couldn't stand seeing them all over the ground. As far as peeves from others, though, I don't like people that use others for their benefit. Gets in my craw every time.

What kind of music interests you?

I will listen to just about any type of music, except modern country. I just can't get into it. As far as favourites...the sugarier the pop, the better. As of late I've been bouncing between bollywood hits and electronica.

What book/movie/tv show can you not live without?

TV is a guilty pleasure of mine; I watch way too much of it. I'm a card-carrying fandom member for Supernatural and Teen Wolf – can't miss an episode. I don't read as much as I should, but I like fantasy, historical fiction and romance books. Bernard Cornwell, Gregory McGuire, and Diana Gabaldon are a few of my current go-to authors.

How would you best describe yourself?

I never know what to say with this question. I think the best thing that I can say is that my Meyer's Briggs personality type is INFP. I'm introverted, usually very quiet and reserved, or in my own world. Feelings and emotions are important to me, and I am usually overflowing with them. I like to daydream, and don't like strict rules.

Chris Jones
IG:  kailichi
Twitter: @kailichi
Pinterest: kailichi

Diamond Stack Block Tutorial

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sunday Stash #85 - The Intrepid Thread Empire

It's no secret that I love crack fabric dealer, Intrepid Thread. Julie's shop always has all the best pieces that meet my diverse, aesthetic sensibilities. Y'all know I adore colour, but I love sophisticated neutrals just as much. 

Well, a few weeks ago, I did some pro bono graphic design work for Intrepid Thread because it is something I like to do in that little bit of spare time I have. So colour me happy, when this fat quarter bundle of Parson Gray's new line, Empire, showed up on my doorstep. It was Julie's way of saying thank you, and it was totally uncalled for, but very much appreciated! 

Coming very soon on my quilt to do list is a quilt for Mr. Sparkles, using the wide array of Parson Gray pieces I have collected. It's going to be a winter quilt, so fortunately, I have until next year to get this sucker finished. If anyone in the world deserves a quilt, it's him, so I need this one to be epic. 

If any of you have suggestions for a masculine quilt for a guy named Mr. Sparkles (I know, right?) feel free to leave it in the comments. I'd love to find an elegant pattern that I can put my own stamp on, because you know I insist on making it my own! To get us all in the mood, I'll leave you with this latest David Butler memes!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

TGIFF - Union Jack Surprised!

It's a good thing y'all have seen the full frontal of this Union Jack Surprise quilt. I went outside to take pictures of it yesterday and nearly got blown away. I've been known to be called a friend of Dorothy, but not because of the weather! It's not normally this blustery cold in Sydney, so I'm blaming the Union Jack Surprise quilt for bringing this typical London weather to town.

I've already debriefed you on the Bee origins of these blocks, but in case you are new around here (:::waves!:::), three-quarters of these Union Jack blocks were made by bee-mates in two separate bees. I then made ten additional blocks for a total of forty blocks. The brief was simple: Go colour crazy! But the best part? They were all made from a tutorial that I created! 

The hardest part? Setting those flags on point. That was somethin' else, let me tell you! I'm so glad I did it though, because it really gives this quilt a point of difference, and a whole lotta movement. I wanted to ensure this movement was reinforced by the quilting, so when I went to my long-armer extraordinaire, QuiltJane, my brief was simple: "Jane, sweetie, baby, darling, honey pie, the quilting needs to be simple, simple, simple, with lots of ripple, ripple, ripple." 

Well, and did QuiltJane deliver, or what!? The contracting and expanding straight line quilting is called Modern River, and she used Aurifil 50wt, colour 2024 White. You'll be happy to know I pieced the quilt together with this as well. Aurifil me up, y'all! 

You've probably noticed the whole quilt is backed with Echino. For those not in the Echino fan club (yet), it's a cotton / linen blend made by Kokka in Japan. I have generally seen it used more as home decor fabric, and for pouches, bags, and the like. However, I had generated quite a stockpile from my few trips to Japan last year, and just thought, who better to use this rather expensive fabric on than my daughter?

Plus, she loves animals, she loves London, she loves purple, teal, pink, and orange. Seriously, could these Echino prints have been any more perfect for her? It was definitely meant to be! I put a call out to my Instagram friends (IG: molli_sparkles) to see if I was crazy using this as the back. Most were all like, "Gurl, you be crazy not to do it!" Well, that was all the incentive I needed!

See how well it plays with the colours on the front, too? I am absolutely thrilled with this combination. While the quilt feels heavier because of all that Echino on the back, I'm interested to see how its warmth factor will be with the cotton / linen blend. The batting is Matilda's Own (cotton), so I'm hoping it will still suit for year-round loving!

Oh, oh, oh! I almost forgot, the binding! Everything else about this quilt was scrappy, so I didn't want to break tradition. I made a scrappy binding to suit! It was really engaging to pick out a variety of fabric strings to wrap around this Union Jack Surprise. I hand stitched the binding down in one afternoon sitting. I never thought I would say this, but I'm really falling in love with hand stitching binding! 

So a final thank you to all the bee mates who contributed to this quilt, which turned out to be the most  magnificent gift for my daughter. It was gifted to her last night as an early birthday present, and she was most impressed! Now, let's just hope she stretches out some in the coming years!

Title: Union Jack Surprise
Size: 69" x 112"
Quilting: Long arm quilting, Modern River, by Quilt Jane using Aurifil 50wt, colour 2024 White
Binding: hand stitched with Aurifil 50wt, colour 2024 White
Backing: over-sized patchwork using six, cotton/linen blend Echino prints purchased in Japan
Favourite Part: Giving it to my daughter.

Linking up with TGIFF and Crazy Mom Quilts!

Sometimes you just call it what it is.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair 2014 - A Winner & A Recap

First things first, let's announce the winner of the rainbow fat quarter giveaway that celebrated my first exhibition show at the Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair 2014. Y'all know I love a rainbow about as much as I love that glitter in your eye, so I'm thrilled to be sending this Molli Sparkles bundle to:

You know what is so awesome about Kacey? She wasn't a no-reply blogger! Goodness gracious, great balls of fire, Little Richard and I implore you: How To Stop Being a No-Reply Blogger. (Yes. You, sitting there thinking, "Man, I wish I could have won this. I don't know what the hell Molli is talking about with this no-reply blogger stuff, but this bundle had my name all over it." Please, click the link!)

Kacey, I'll be in touch to get your deets! Air kisses, pixie dust, and confetti cannons for your win! Now, as for the show itself ... I just, I can't even. When you walk into a giant exhibition hall and the first thing you see is this:

How do you even respond? If you're like me, you respond by putting little sparkly, star stickers all over your billboard! Mmm hmmm! If you're like some others, you respond by saying, "Who the hell is Molli Sparkles?" Oh, and don't you worry, I let the world know who this piece of fabulousness is!

It took the better part of a day, but between myself, Mr. Sparkles, and my father-in-law (who is forever christened as "K.Spark") we set up my booth at the front entrance. I showcased fifteen projects in my six-by-seven metre space (twenty-by-twenty-three feet). I also brought along my Juki, my hats, and my glitter collections. I chose to leave the weaves at home because I didn't want any of the No Chintz ladies across the aisle to decide they needed to let their hair out!

The entire show was fantabulous of course! I spoke to so many engaging individuals, and even had a chance or two to give some Truth Tea to some not so engaging individuals if you catch my drift! (The Molli Sparkles booth is a Quilt Police exclusion zone, thank you very much!) Then one morning on my way to the fair, I was getting ready to walk out the door, last sip of coffee, and what do I see!? Um, the weather girl wrapped in a Molli Sparkles original?! No! It couldn't be! Yes! Yes, it is! Do you see her teeth chattering? Nope, she is all smiles!

Each floor talk I gave was well attended, with lots of questions and discussion afterwards. If you happened to be there, and have any follow up questions or feedback about them, feel free to drop me a line. I love discussing this stuff, so hit me with it. If you're wondering, "Am I a member of the Glitterati yet?" Girl, you're membership card is in the mail! For those that couldn't be there in person, I made a little three minute video to show off my booth. I hope you enjoy it!

Yes, it really was, WO-WO-WO-WOW! Oh, and if you think this is the tip-toe-tappin'-top of Molli Sparkles: you ain't seen nuthin' yet. (But, I might just need to take a very short nap first!)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sunday Stash #84 - Seeing the Future

I'm doing something a little bit different with Sunday Stash this week: I'm seeing the future! I've been waiting for the duration of the Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair to do some shopping, and at the end of today I am being let loose. You see, Mr. Sparkles has agreed to come into the show and watch the booth for a few hours (he may even sign a few autographs if you ask nicely) while I go prowling around the stalls. Just don't let him pass himself off as me using my snazzy, new business cards!

The only definite things on my shopping list are the Block_Loc rulers. They tempted me at last year's show. I was thiiiiiis close to buying them, but splurged on some fabric (that I still haven't used) instead. So this year, they are mine! I'm definitely getting the HST version, but will probably walk away with a flying geese one as well. If you've never heard of them, check out the video below, because I'm already a fan.

I'm sure there will be some other goodies fall into my clutches, and you'll just have to wait for a future Sunday Stash for those. For now, rest assured, this time next week, I'll be on a trimming spree like you've never seen!