Feeling Blue...

... in more ways than one! The new year brought with it a rejuvenated sense of sewing mojo, for which I've been incredibly grateful. Truth be told I had been finding it quite hard to sew since losing my mum a few months back, so it's been great being back at the sewing machine for long stretches of time and actually enjoying it. I also did manage to get an incredible amount of design work done over the last several months, both in the way of new fabrics and some cool new patterns - lots to look forward to in 2020!


My first sew for the new year was a blue version of my Desert Windmill cushion, which is one of my oldest patterns, dating back to 2015. The original version (below) was pink, and I wanted to see how it would look in a different colourway. The blue prints from Rhapsody worked pretty well! You can find the cushion pattern here, there is also a matching quilt pattern.


The second reason I've been 'feeling blue' is because of the horrific bushfires in every state in Australia - the whole continent is literally on fire!! The beautiful illustration below is from @melanippe_art on IG - it's so beautiful and sad at the same time. We are incredibly thankful that there have been no fires immediately near where we live in South Australia, so we have been safe so far - and in a bit of a blissful ignorance too if I'm honest. But last night the wind changed direction and the smoke from the bushfires on Kangaroo Island (over 100 km away as the crow flies) descended on our area. Oh boy. We woke up coughing at 2 am with the bedroom full of thick, rancid smoke. After running around and ascertaining the house wasn't on fire we hit the internet to discover where the smoke was coming from. It was suffocating, and we were SO far away - I can't even imagine how bad it must have been in the actual fire zones!


To do my little part for the bushfire relief and recovery effort I've made personal donations to the following two organisations. There are so many different fund raising efforts all over Facebook / the internet right now, and it's hard to know which ones would be the best to support!  I've had a lot of followers from overseas contact me asking where they should donate to, so I wanted to share these links with anyone else who may also find them useful. There are obviously many other worthy relief efforts out there, these are the two I have chosen.

Red Cross Australia (disaster relief & recovery fund) ----> donate here
WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue (for animals / wildlife) ---> donate here

Also as every little helps, I made some silver plated bookmarks with those cute sewing machine charms from my last post, as well as some initial charms I had. I've popped them all in the shop - I will be donating all proceeds from the sales of these to Red Cross Australia. These were made following a tutorial from An Enchanted Life blog.

Sewing machine charms ----> buy here
Initial charms ----> buy here


Till next time, dear friends, and please keep Australia in your thoughts and pray for some rain!

'Rainbow Swirl' Mini Quilt in Rhapsody

Gosh, it's been an absolute age since I blogged a project! I've been busy with magazine commissions and some other secret sewing, as well as putting the finishing touches to a new collection coming out in 2020. Gone are the days when I could just sit down and sew something on a whim... just because. I guess that's the price you pay when your one-time hobby turns into a full time career - business commitments and design deadlines take over, and there is literally ZERO time for leisurely sewing - not that I'm complaining!  But anyway, I finally have a project that I can share with you, and it feels so good!


My Rhapsody bolts arrived a while back and I got to cutting some Fat Quarter and Fat 8th bundles straight away (which you can find in my Etsy shop for a fabulous price by the way - including free delivery within Australia). My cutting table was so cheerful that I was inspired to remake one of my oldest patterns: my 'Rainbow Swirl' mini quilt. And because I know you will ask, the little sewing machine charm is from Etsy. You can also get the Rainbow Swirl pattern here.


I pieced this mini on my Brother Luminaire (aka 'Lumy'), and quilted in 50wt Aurifil thread in a spiral fashion using straight lines - just following the pattern really. I love it so much - and my little quilt-holder-in-training did such a good job too, don't you think?


Oh my goodness, my kids are getting so big - STOP GROWING! As you can tell from the pics we are in the middle of summer here in South Australia, where Christmas day is typically 40C and many people celebrate it on the beach (still cray cray to us Brits, even though we've been here 10 years now!). Anyway I would like to wish all of you a very merry Christmas and happy new year (and new decade!). As a final note, I wanted to share my 2019 #bestnine on Instagram - so many great quilty memories here!

See you next year!

Backyard Chicks QAL - Week 6 (FINISH)

It's the last week of the Backyard Chicks QAL! 

Wow, didn't the last five weeks just fly by?! I blinked and this QAL is almost over already. I've loved seeing all the finished quilt tops this week - so many fabulous finishes and such a lovely array of fabric choices.

The winner of the week 5 prize is @offthepincushion! Congratulations - please email me at sedef@downgrapevinelane.com (or DM me on Instagram) to arrange delivery of your prize.

In this last week of the quilt along we will be finishing our quilts, by quilting and binding them. So there's quite a lot to do! I know some of you prefer to send your quilts to a long armer for the quilting process (as I do from time to time) so please do share your quilts on Instagram once you get them back - I would love to see everyone's finished quilts! 

Week 6

  • Finish your quilt top if you haven't already done so.
  • Piece your backing, following the pattern instructions, and make a quilt sandwich
  • Quilt as desired - I straight quilted mine for a superfast finish. Trim off excess fabric.
  • Bind your quilt, following your preferred binding method. Remember that the cutting instructions are for a binding that is 2 1/4" wide - if you prefer to have a wider binding cut your strips accordingly. 
  • Share your finished quilts on Instagram tagging them with #backyardchicksQAL, and you may win the grand prize!!

Grand Prize:

On Sunday evening I will pick a winner from all the finished quilts on the Instagram hashtag #backyardchicksQAL. The winner will receive:
  • Bundle of 5 fat quarters of quilting fabric (from my own fabric collections)
  • A Zakka notion set carefully curated by me
  • 5 patterns of your choice from my pattern collection
Thank you for joining me in this fun quilt along, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Please do come and join me again at my next QAL, which I will be announcing soon!

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Backyard Chicks Quilt Along Details

Dates: 16 September - 27 October 2019 (6 weeks)
Block size: 10" finished
Finished quilt size: 60" x 80" (throw)
Experience level: Beginner

    Schedule

    Week 1 - Planning, fabric selection, cutting
    Week 2 - Make 16 blocks 
    Week 3 - Make 16 blocks
    Week 4 - Make 16 blocks
    Week 5 - Sew the quilt top together (+ catch up!)
    Week 6 - Quilting and binding

    Materials

    Here are the fabric requirements for the quilt:
    You will also need the pattern!

    Follow Along

    • You can follow the QAL via my Instagram account here. Use the hashtag #backyardchicksQAL to post pictures of your progress and to see how others' quilts are coming along.
    • Sign up to the weekly QAL emails here
    • I will share a new blog post every Monday so feel free to check my blog each week for updates. 

    Backyard Chicks QAL - Week 5

    It's Week 5 of the Backyard Chicks QAL! 

    We are almost at the end of this quilt-along! This week we are sewing our quilt top together. Congratulations to all of you who have finished all their blocks last week. If you haven't, hopefully you can finish them all this week, and finish sewing your quilt top also.

    The winner of the week 4 prize is @lmm3417! Congratulations Lisa - please email me at sedef@downgrapevinelane.com (or DM me on Instagram) to arrange delivery of your prize.

    Week 5

    • Catch up - finish all blocks! You should now have all 48 blocks finished (for throw size). If you fell behind go ahead and sew those final blocks up now.
    • Plan final block placements, if you haven't already done so. You can download the printable colouring page if you would like to plan on paper rather than on a design wall / floor. Make sure you follow the quilt diagram in the pattern carefully to make sure all blocks are oriented correctly.
    • Sew the quilt top together. Sew the blocks in each row together, pressing seams in alternating directions, and then sew the rows together. Your quilt top is ready!
    • Next week will be a busy week with quilting and binding, so if you are an overachiever feel free to go ahead and get a head start on the quilting! Remember, your quilt needs to be finished by the last day of the QAL (27 October) to be in the running for the grand prize. 
    • Share your finished quilt top (or any other progress) on Instagram tagging them with #backyardchicksQAL, if you want to be in the running for this week's prize! 

    This week's prize:

    On Sunday evening I will randomly pick a winner from all the entries on the Instagram hashtag #backyardchicksQAL. The winner will receive:
    • 3 fat quarters of quilting fabric (from my own fabric collections)
    Next week is the last week of the QAL where we will be finishing our quilts. It's going to be a busy week! Looking forward to seeing everyone's finished quilts.

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    Backyard Chicks Quilt Along Details

    Dates: 16 September - 27 October 2019 (6 weeks)
    Block size: 10" finished
    Finished quilt size: 60" x 80" (throw)
    Experience level: Beginner

      Schedule

      Week 1 - Planning, fabric selection, cutting
      Week 2 - Make 16 blocks 
      Week 3 - Make 16 blocks
      Week 4 - Make 16 blocks
      Week 5 - Sew the quilt top together (+ catch up!)
      Week 6 - Quilting and binding

      Materials

      Here are the fabric requirements for the quilt:
      You will also need the pattern!

      Follow Along

      • You can follow the QAL via my Instagram account here. Use the hashtag #backyardchicksQAL to post pictures of your progress and to see how others' quilts are coming along.
      • Sign up to the weekly QAL emails here
      • I will share a new blog post every Monday so feel free to check my blog each week for updates. 

      Backyard Chicks QAL - Week 4

      It's Week 4 of the Backyard Chicks QAL! 

      We are more than halfway in this quilt along already! This week we will finish making our quilt blocks. I have been enjoying seeing everyone's blocks on Instagram - so many different colour and fabric choices!

      The winner of the week 3 prize is @sewsayshelley! Congratulations - please email me at sedef@downgrapevinelane.com (or DM me on Instagram) to arrange delivery of your prize.

      Week 4

      • Make 16 blocks. This week we are making our final 16 blocks. Same as in the previous weeks, we are using four different fabrics, 4 blocks from each fabric. 
      • Finish all blocks! You should now have all 48 blocks finished (for throw size). If you fell behind hopefully you can put in some extra time this week to finish them all as next week we will be sewing our quilt top together.
      • Share your blocks on Instagram tagging them with #backyardchicksQAL, if you want to be in the running for this week's prize! You can share your photos on Facebook with the same hashtag if you wish, but I will only be selecting winners from Instagram. Reminder - I pick an account randomly from Instagram from everyone who posted their progress that week, regardless of whether you have completed the week's tasks or not! So feel free to post any and all progress you make, even if you are just joining the QAL for instance, and you will still be in the running for that week's prize. However to qualify for the grand prize at the end you will need to have finished and bound your quilt by the finish date of the QAL, which is 27 October. 

      This week's prize:

      On Sunday evening I will randomly pick a winner from all the entries on the Instagram hashtag #backyardchicksQAL. The winner will receive:
      • 3 fat quarters of quilting fabric (from my own fabric collections)
      See you back here next week, below is a recap of all the details for the QAL!

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      Backyard Chicks Quilt Along Details

      Dates: 16 September - 27 October 2019 (6 weeks)
      Block size: 10" finished
      Finished quilt size: 60" x 80" (throw)
      Experience level: Beginner

        Schedule

        Week 1 - Planning, fabric selection, cutting
        Week 2 - Make 16 blocks 
        Week 3 - Make 16 blocks
        Week 4 - Make 16 blocks
        Week 5 - Sew the quilt top together (+ catch up!)
        Week 6 - Quilting and binding

        Materials

        Here are the fabric requirements for the quilt:
        You will also need the pattern!

        Follow Along

        • You can follow the QAL via my Instagram account here. Use the hashtag #backyardchicksQAL to post pictures of your progress and to see how others' quilts are coming along.
        • Sign up to the weekly QAL emails here
        • I will share a new blog post every Monday so feel free to check my blog each week for updates. 
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