Ali Wilkinson

A Finish – Cruces de Revolución

needledown_nz_cruces_de-Revolucion_ 1

A quick post today to share my latest finish – Cruces de Revolución. The design was my own and inspired by the plethora of modern crosses I have seen over the past year. There’s no rocket science to this block – simple squares and rectangles sewn together to get good proportions. I wrote about it here.

needledown_nz_cruces_de-Revolucion_ 3

I used Kate Spain’s Paradiso range together with a couple of different Kona solids (Ash, Pewter and a couple of others). I like the lightness the two cream blocks give.

needledown_nz_cruces_de-Revolucion_ 2

The back was a simple piecing using four fat quarters from the Paradiso range and some yardage of a black on white scribble print that I am afraid I cannot identify any more as I misplaced the selvedge.

needledown_nz_cruces_de-Revolucion_ 4

Suzet Pont did the long arm quilting and made a stunning job. She used a lilac colour on the back which reads pink against the scribble patterned backing. On the front she used bronze, cream or the lilac. Each cross was quilt in wavy lines with one going horizontal lines and the next going vertical. The backgrounds of the blocks were alternated in either small pebbles (like bubbles) or meander.

needledown_nz_cruces_de-Revolucion_ 5

I got the quilt back yesterday and quickly made up binding using two fat quarters of Paradiso. I used the same design as the blue fabric in the bottom right of the above photo but two other colour ways with white background and either blue or pink/red triangles on it. I alternated the strips so the colours flow a little. I like very much using binding with “texture” created by dots or stripes or triangles.

needledown_nz_cruces_de-Revolucion_ 6

The quilt finished up at 60″ square and sits really nicely on top of a regular Queen bed leaving space for the pillows. I am really happy with this quilt and love the retro modern feel it has, enhanced by Suzet’s quilting.

Another finish for the 2015 Finish Along. Wot! Woot!


Ali Wilkinson

Noodle head Double Zip Wallet

needledown_nz_noodlehead_double_wallet_ 2

Another completed project from my Q3 2015 Finish Along list, this is Noodlehead’s Double Zip Wallet from her recent book.

Right up to the last step this pattern was really easy to follow and quite quick to put together. In fact, if I hadn’t had to go out to buy zips and magnetic snaps I would have finished this in under two hours. More about that tricky last step later.

needledown_nz_noodlehead_double_wallet_ 4

I used an old and beloved Tula Pink fabric from her Acacia range. I love this print and am so glad I still have the best part of a metre left as I think it will be awesome binding for a future quilt!

needledown_nz_noodlehead_double_wallet_ 5

The pocket linings and card slot trim are a basic off white linen, possibly a Moda one but without selvedge I can’t be sure. The centre lining where the card slots are is Kona Salmon.

needledown_nz_noodlehead_double_wallet_ 6

I am particularly pleased by the serendipitous coordination of the linen and the zips. Quite fortuitous really as the only colours I had to choose from in the amazing selection available in Spotlight (cue sarcasm) were cream, black, red, navy or bottle green. Hmm, bet you overseas readers are so envious of the zipper choice we have here!!

needledown_nz_noodlehead_double_wallet_ 7

In typical Noodlehead fashion the instructions are very clear and free of mistakes. I only got confused at the last step where the sides were sewn together as the entire unit is inside out and back to front. I have given much thought to this but I am not sure how I could explain it better than Anna already does without the use of copious photos and 3000 words. Suffice to say, if you remember that you need to create a tube with exterior fabrics right sides together as one half of a tube and lining right sides together as the other side of the tube, and then you remember that you are sewing around the tube at each side, then you won’t go wrong! (I hope that is helpful to anyone out there making the wallet).

needledown_nz_noodlehead_double_wallet_ 3

The other hot tip is that the fold over tab goes from the INSIDE side of wallet one to cover the zip of wallet two and fasten on the OUTSIDE of wallet two. If that makes sense. I had to double check the photos as my instinct was to have the tab cover both zips.

The only thing I am not happy about is the bumpy part by the zips along the right hand side. I should have made that seam wider than 1/2″ so that it was straight down like the left hand side. But hey, that’s just my perfectionism coming out and to be honest, would a man on a galloping horse notice?!

So I highly recommend this pattern. I think it is likely to be a go-to for gifts for the coming year, and I think I am going to make a longer one to use as a travel wallet. Watch this space!

Ali Wilkinson

Feathering my Nest

I’ve been working 70 hour weeks the past month whilst trying to get over a nasty cold. The two in combination are not the best. The cold seems to be gone now but the long hours will still be required for a wee while longer, so all the more reason for me to spend as much of the weekend sewing as a de-stressor and distraction!

needledown_nz_feather_my_nest_ 1

This is what I have been amusing myself with the last two weekends. The pattern has been on my to do list for what seems like forever since I first saw it on the cover of Love Patchwork and Quilting issue 9 and I have had it in mind to make in this Jennifer Sampou Shimmer fabric too.

The first feather required a little seam ripping until I worked out that joining the side triangles correctly required me to join them with 1/4″ dog ear overlap at the edge. (I should have recalled that from the Angled class I took with Rachel.) See this picture for an illustration:

needledown_nz_feather_my_nest_ 2


Once I got a rhythm going and had worked it out progress was quite quick. The pattern descriptions are quite good but I could probably have done with some additional photos as I found it hard to imagine what I was going to do when I read the pattern before starting.

I used Kona Bone as my background colour and an Oakshott shot cotton for the quills, which I will also use as the binding.

needledown_nz_feather_my_nest_ 4

Today has been cold and sleety, so not the most ideal for photo opportunities, so please excuse the shadow.

When I began assembly I realised that some of the tips of my feathers were a teensy bit too short. I was able to “bodgy things up” so it all worked out well, but if I made one again I would sew with very scant 1/4″ seams and not the true 1/4″ seams I usually use.

needledown_nz_feather_my_nest_ 3

I am delighted with the end result and will drop this off with Suzet Pont for quilting. I am tempted with a very full-on Angela Waters style.

The feathers were constructed by sewing strips of each fabric together to make a large panel, and then cutting the angled segments. Of course with this type of construction I ended up with lots of left over partial segments, which I have randomly sewn together to create large pieced blocks which I will use for another project (I am thinking a storage bucket or basket, but given how much there is I might get another hot water bottle cover too!). Watch this space for more on that!

And so, this is another project almost done for the 2015 Finish Along.

Ali Wilkinson

Indian Blanket is Finally Finished

needledown_nz_below_expectations_ 1

It’s taken a while because I have been distracted by other more pressing projects like hot water bottle covers and baskets and modern crosses and things.

I quilted using Aurifil 50wt in a taupe beige tone and using straight lines in random groupings of 1/2/3 lines.

needledown_nz_below_expectations_ 4

For binding I used leftover bits of fabric from the quilt itself as I was on a frugal mission! I love the effect it has on this quilt which I love because it is one of the very few quilts I have made entirely myself, including the quilting.

needledown_nz_below_expectations_ 3

I think once I wash it and it has gone crinkly I will love it even more.

My only regret? I wish I had made it bigger.

needledown_nz_below_expectations_ 2

And that’s another finish for 2015 Finish Along! (Going great guns! I have three in the bag already!

Ali Wilkinson

Cruces de Revolución off to the Long-Armer

needledown_nz_below_expectations_ 8

This is the first time I have made up a quilt as I went along and not used any form of pattern or instruction. Inspired by all the modern crosses quilts I saw last year and wanting something where I could see big blocks of the gorgeous Paradiso by Kate Spain, I came up with this.

My blocks were made up of:

Background – (4) 5″ x 5″ squares and (4) 5″ x 3″ rectangles

Cross – (1) 5″ x 5″ square and (4) 5″ x 3″ rectangles (fussy cut for directional fabric)

needledown_nz_cruces_ 1

I joined a background rectangle and a cross rectangle and sewed down the longest edge four times. Then I placed the 9 squares in the correct sequence and sewed them together first in rows and then the rows together. As the squares made from the two rectangles are larger than the cut squares I aligned the cross fabric tot he adjacent square, which resulted in the extra background fabric overhanging at the edge. I trimmed the blocks to 13.75″ square.

needledown_nz_cruces_ 2


Once I decided on placement I joined each row and then all the rows together.

Just a tip on placement. Sometimes you haven’t got a design wall or even the ability to step back a long way to look at colour and volume distribution. I find if I take a photo with my iPhone or iPad and then review the photo on a smallish screen, I get to see the entire quilt without my eyes moving around, and this enables my brain to work out what needs to be moved and what works well where it is. It’s not perfect, but it’s a really good help! (and a good reference in case you forget the order you wanted things in!

I have made a backing out of some Carolyn Friedlander Architextures and four fat quarters of Paradiso. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo so you’ll have to wait till this gets back from the long-armer before I can show what it looks like! I am undecided not the binding so feel free to chip in! My thoughts are: 1) random strips of all the different Paradiso fabrics, 2) strips of Paradiso focusing on a single colour way (but which one?), 3) strips of Paradiso using the same pattern in all the different colours, or 4) something completely different like a Kona solid (which could be the dark grey I used as background as I have lots left, or could be a colour chosen from the quilt itself, but once again, which colour?). Suggestions on a postcard….