Patchwork Picnic Sew Along

Today I'm joining the sew-along for my fellow Riley Blake designer Gracey Larson's new book 'Patchwork Picnic', published by Martingale. This is a super fun book containing 30 'outdoor inspired' blocks, each coming in two different sizes - 6" and 12". You can create a fun sampler quilt featuring all 30 blocks, or just choose your favourite block and turn it into one of the seven companion projects!

I chose the acorn block and turned it into a potholder - which was one of the seven projects included in the book. This sweet pot holder will make a lovely thank you gift for a dear friend who has been a pillar of support for me during the last two weeks after my mum's passing. My friends, family, and of course my beloved sewing machine have all been great sources of comfort for me during this tough time. Sewing really is the best form of therapy!

The Patchwork Picnic sew along is currently taking place on Instagram - follow the hashtag #patchworkpicnicsal and join in on the fun!

New Quilt Patterns!

It's June, which means my Rhapsody collection for Riley Blake Designs is about to hit the shelves! So it's finally time to release the two new quilt patterns that I designed to accompany this line. First up is 'Floral Rhapsody' which is a fat quarter friendly pattern that requires 20 fat quarters for the quilt top, and is traditionally pieced. Finished quilt measures 70" x 87.5". Fast, fun, and easy!

My second pattern 'XOXO' requires 18 fat quarters and finishes at 56" x 76". This quilt contains half rectangle triangles, which are super easy to make once you know how! The pattern contains clear step-by-step illustrations to make both the HRTs and the angled binding.

Wait! There's more. For one week only when you buy one of my new patterns you will also receive my new baby quilt pattern, called 'Pinkylicious', as a free bonus pattern! How's that for a good deal? This quilt was named after my daughter's nickname as a baby, and is the ultimate super-fast baby quilt as you can cut, piece, quilt, and bind it in a day - easily. The perfect pattern for a last minute baby gift! Special bonus offer ends 8 June.

I hope you love my new patterns as much as I do! If you like the Rhapsody fabrics I've used in these three quilts look out for them at your favourite fabric store. Not long to go now before you can add them to your stash!

Leaf Coasters - A Free Tutorial!

I think you all know by now how much I love anything 'zakka' - I even wrote a book about it! Today I'm a guest blogger on Amy Smart's blog Diary of A Quilter, where I'm sharing a tutorial to make these quilted leaf shaped coasters. Pretty, and useful - that's the essence of 'zakka'.

I love these sweet floral 'pops' of colour on the table - perfect for summer parties or as a thoughtful gift. The black quilting in 12wt Aurifil thread adds an interesting decorative dimension as well as giving the coasters structural integrity. If you would like to make them too you can find the tutorial here.

The fabrics I used for these coasters are from my Rhapsody collection for Riley Blake Designs, which will be available in stores any day now! Look out for it at your local quilt store, or your favourite online fabric store. I also have a new Aurifil thread box which accompanies this collection, and contains a lot of my go-to designer colours - a must-have for anyone who is a fan of my fabrics.

Thanks for visiting today and if you make these coasters please tag me @downgrapevinelane on Facebook or Instagram as I would love to see them. Happy sewing!

New cutting table | Crochet makes

My incredibly talented husband built me a fantabulous cutting table and I cannot be happier with it!

It's based on these free DIY plans by Ana White - though hubby changed the dimensions for me to the precise size I needed for my space. I bought these white containers from Kmart Australia which are a steal at $4 each, and I love how neatly they fit into the shelves. There is more shelving and white containers on the window side of the table, and the opposite long side is empty in the middle so I can use it as a sewing desk when I'm quilting a big quilt. It's also on castors so I can move it out of the way if I need the floor space. This desk is seriously a dream come true - it's transformed the way I work already!

When I shared the pics above on Instagram yesterday it broke my all time record in terms of number of likes and comments received by a post! Everyone loved it! This morning I told my husband: 'Oh my goodness, they like what you've made more than they like what I make!". He replied: "It's understandable - they're only human." Oh he does have a cheeky wicked sense of humour sometimes - seriously though, he is a keeper!

To show you the other side of the room, I have a long desk that's a computer desk on one side  and sewing desk on the other. The desk and drawers are from Ikea, so are the glass cabinets on the other side of the room. This picture was taken a few months back whilst I was still using the desk for cutting too - the mat is now on my new cutting table in the middle of the room, and I've moved the sewing machine to the middle of that leg space on the right. So much room now for everything, and I can just scoot on my chair between my computer and sewing machine as I need. The chair is white leatherette from Freedom and about 2 years old, and still looks brand new! It's wearing so well even though I'm on it most of the day, every day. Any stains wipe clean and no sign of yellowing - highly recommend.

I love how white and clean the space is - and very minimalist (though of course it doesn't always look as tidy as this!). I realised that as a designer I work much better in a neat and clean environment with as few visual distractions as possible.  A big contrast to my old sewing room where the walls were covered in mini quilts. It was sad packing them up into storage but they simply had to go! The only decorations adorning my walls now are a framed watercolour picture and my Scandinavian style wall clock (both from Temple & Webster).

In other news, I realised there were a couple of crochet things I made recently that I haven't had a chance to share here on the blog. I discovered the whole world of crocheting with packaging twine, thanks to Wendy @sewknotcrochet on Instagram. I simply had to drop everything, go to the hardware store to buy some twine (cotton variety, not the rough jute variety), and make the same basket and bag that Wendy had made!

Wendy has now published the pattern for the basket which you can purchase from her Etsy store. The bag pattern is from a YouTube tutorial by Fiber Spider - I made my handles longer to use it as a market bag. The basket and the bag both cost just a few bucks each, and they feel so strong and sturdy, and I'm sure will last a long time.

Thanks for visiting today and hope this post gave you some sewing room and crochet inspiration! 

Aurifil Designer of the Month

I'm so proud to share the news that I am Aurifil's Designer of the Month for March 2019!

Each year Aurifil hand picks 12 designers for their prestigious 'Block of the Month' programme, with each designer coming up with an original block design following a central theme. This year's theme is 'Traditions' - we were asked to use red and white fabrics to create a block inspired by a tradition.

Where I live in Adelaide, South Australia, March is harvest time (think September for those of you from the northern hemisphere) and that’s the tradition that keeps us busy! As well as wine grapes a lot of different varieties of fruit and other crops are grown in the surrounding farmland – this region is often referred to as the ‘food bowl’ of Australia. March is vintage time for all the vineyards surrounding us and for a couple of weeks every year the town comes to life at night with most of the grape picking taking place at night. We are talking hundreds of thousands of tons of grapes, so it’s all hands to deck time! We ourselves have a 50 tree fruit orchard on our farm where we grow lots of different types of fruit. Our fruit picking starts in March and continues through till April and May. I designed this block to represent our newly adopted tradition of joining in harvest time with the rest of our town at this time of year.

The fabrics I have used in my block are from my 'Summer Blush' collection for Riley Blake Designs, which is  available in stores worldwide.

Visit the Aurifil blog where you can download the free pattern for my 'harvest' block (as well as all the other blocks published so far) where you will also find an in depth interview with me about my home life and my work! Here are some of the images from the interview.

There is also a challenge you can take part in to win a 12 large spool box of Aurifil thread - just make my 'harvest' block above and share it on social media.  I'm told only 25-30 people enter the challenge every month so the odds of winning this awesome prize are pretty great! You can find all the details on how to enter on Aurifil's blog. Good luck!

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