Ali Wilkinson

On the Design Wall

needledownnz_long_time_gone_3_ 1

The flamingos have landed! Oh how I love this medallion ring, those pinky corals, and the way the entire medallion is building. The Cirrus Solids are so delightful to work with and I am thrilled with the colour rate so far.

Next up is a checkerboard patterned ring using these purples and pinks:

needledownnz_long_time_gone_3_ 2

The pink on the right is similar but different to the pale coral from ring #2. The actual design is still brewing in my imagination, and what I know so far is that the 6″ wide ring will comprise edge to edge checkerboard of a series of nine patches all joined together, so that each coloured square will be 2″ square finished. As with previous rings I will “weight” the corners with the darker shade and I think I will mix up the three shades so they ombré to a lighter point in the centre of each side. Still thinking, so watch this space!

This last weekend I also remade the Long Time Gone month 3 blocks for my Liberty edition of the quilt. You might recall that I was a bit unsure about them when I made them last month, and the more I have thought about them, the more I have concluded that there was way too much pattern and colour clashing going on. So I remade them with the low volume backgrounds and I am much happier:

needledownnz_long_time_gone_3_ 5

These get trimmed down to (I think) 4″ square. The experience has made me decide to use more low volume in the Liberty edition than Jen Kingwell uses in the original edition. Month 4 block pattern and fabrics came last week and are very busy once made up (see image below), so I will definitely be including lots of low volume to add some calm for the Liberty edition.

needledownnz_long_time_gone_3_ 4

Making up this block I realised that although my points are mainly fine, there is a wonkiness to the block that I am not overly thrilled with and I had to do some easing to get the block to finish at the right size. I am wondering if my 1/4″ foot is a little on the generous side, so will be doing some checking and adjusting if needed before making the next block.

Ali Wilkinson

Modern Medallion Ring #2 WIP

needledownnz_medallion_ring#2_ 1

I do like to chain piece from time to time, and especially flying geese which are so satisfying to make and quickly turn into something quite cool. These geese are ombré coral coloured and inspired by the beautiful flock of flamingoes I was lucky enough to observe and photograph in Cuba earlier this year. Here’s a wee pic from that trip – aren’t they just wonderful?


This medallion’s Ring #2 has flamingoes (not geese) flying around the ring with a few dark red posts in the corners and mid-points of each side for them to land on and perch. I’ve made the sides and the corners but assembly will have to wait til later this week. Here’s what they will look like:

needledownnz_medallion_ring#2_ 2

I am so pleased with the way this ring has finished up, and it is exactly like I imagined – a feat many will know does not always come to fruition!

I didn’t assemble this ring because I got distracted…. By the need to make another Noodlehead Divided Basket to corral all the random laptop and device charging cables and separate them into types (laptop chargers, USB chargers in case you were interested..). I do love this Cloud 9 Koi fabric.

needledownnz_medallion_ring#2_ 3

So what have you been making lately?

Ali Wilkinson

Long Time Gone Liberty Edition

needledownnz_long_time_gone_liberty_3_ 3

Here are the Liberty edition blocks of the Long Time Gone BOM. I confess to being a bit undecided about them. I worry that one or two (or all in combination) have a scrap vomit aura. So I think I will remain on the fence until it comes to quilt assembly and I can see what is in the same area of the quilt and how it all looks.

They get put together in the quilt in two units of three blocks set vertically, but apart from that I don’t have much else to go off. I have only two photos of the quilt, so from this I can see that one unit has low volume background fabric bars in between each block (middle left of the image) and the other (top right of the image) seems to show them set next to each other. This setting might prove critical to the overall impact and also which I put next to each other.


I would really like to have a better full picture of the quilt than the one below, or a schema of the layout, as that would help me choose colours and fabrics. I have asked and been told that more photos will be provided in due course.


While making these blocks I noticed that one of the fabrics that I had previously thought of as little dashes of colour was in fact teeny tiny horses (or similar animal)! Check this out – so cute! Those ponies remind me of the cartoon books “Thelwell” that I used to read when I was a child – if you missed out on that experience, here is the Facebook page of the Thelwell group.

needledownnz_long_time_gone_liberty_3_ 1

This weekend I also made a few flying geese for the next ring of the medallion. I am experimenting a little with the size of these and so far have made them in a smaller size. This version will then have two strips of background fabric either side of the geese thus setting them apart from the previous and next rings, both of which fill the entire 6″ width.

needledownnz_long_time_gone_liberty_3_ 2

Isn’t that coral so pretty? I used the blunt triangle method using the Fons and Porter flying geese template ruler. I used that on a previous quilt and find it to be the best for precision whilst having zero wastage. Do you have a preferred flying geese method?

Ali Wilkinson

Long Time Gone BOM #3


It’s month 3 of Jen Kingwell’s Long Time Gone BOM and as usual I was super excited to receive the wee fabric and pattern package, and found it hard to stay concentrating at work for the rest of the day! I really ought not to have future subscriptions sent to work in future…

This week Jen had us making “English crosses”. Being British born I do take issue with her description. First off, the English flag is a St George cross, which looks like this:


Secondly, let’s assume she meant to have the block looking like a Union Jack flag (which also strictly speaking for the pedants around here is called the Union Flag…!), well even then there’re elements missing as each 1/8th triangle has a further triangle within. That is because the Union Jack is made up  of three flags – the George Cross (as above, red cross on white), the St Andrew’s saltire (blue background with white diagonal cross), and the St Patrick saltire (fine red diagonal cross on white).

But hey, who’s being picky?! I am not hung up on this at all, despite how it might seem (!!) but hope my little diversion there was interesting at least.

And so, back to the BOM. These blocks are so cute and come in at 4″ finished, and I was surprised how quickly they came together. I have to say that I am somewhat nervous about the extent of work to come in this BOM as after 3 months we have still got a significant number of blocks left to make and only 9 months remaining. I am wondering if we will find ourselves at the end with lots and lots of blocks to make.

Next weekend I’ll make the Liberty edition. It’s so hard to choose which of those yummy fabrics to use!


PS did you spot the cute pandas in the block top centre? So cute.

Ali Wilkinson

Getting Cross with a Medallion

needledownnz_cross_the_medallion_ 1

When I was ready to make the next ring for the medallion I realised I had bought a slightly different shade of pale turquoise than I had used in the exploding star at the centre. This presented a bit of a dilemma – do I proceed knowing the colours were not the same but were so close it could look like a mistake, or should I reorder more of the correct colour. Or least acceptable of all, do I remake the exploding star with the newly arrived fabric.

The latter was eliminated before I even considered it. I don’t mind a small amount of unpicking, but an entire block is just too much for me! I decided to press ahead with the fabric I had to hand and to check what I thought after I had made a few crosses. Even after making a couple of crosses I was not too convinced it would look OK, but I think that was compounded by my struggles with how to actually make these crosses.

At first I used home-made paper piecing templates, but as I had hand drawn these they were not as successful as I had hoped. Next up I tried making oversized corner blocks and trimming them to size but that was a bigger disaster. In the end I went back to the old tried and tested method similar to making snowballs for each of the “legs” of the cross and then sewing these legs together. So having wasted a few hours mulling over fabric and methods, I chain pieced like a mad woman and rattled off the 16 crosses for this next ring.

needledownnz_cross_the_medallion_ 2

I am so pleased with the outcome and now I see them all completed I don’t think the slight difference in colour is a problem and in fact looks quite deliberate. The emphasised corners will be a theme for this quilt and I intend them to be either darker or larger or otherwise slightly different to the rest of the ring.

The next ring is going to be flying geese in these coral colours, with the darker shade in the corners as diamonds (square in square):

needledownnz_cross_the_medallion_ 3

I have also been a bit busy making a wall hanging organiser for my sewing room using the free pattern on Svetlana’s website. I have an ever increasing collection of plastic templates that I used to corral in the piano stool I use for sewing but the stool is stuffed full of patterns and I prefer to have the templates closer to hand. I am hoping this will do the trick and I think I will make a second narrower one for the quilting rulers I have.

needledownnz_cross_the_medallion_ 4

I used Cotton and Steel’s Tokyo Train Ride fabrics in my two favourite prints, and backed it with some Kona paprika solid. Svetlana uses Soft n Stable By Annie for the pockets and the entire backing but I wanted a little more rigidity so I replaced this in the backing with Peltex (Pellon 72F). It has been quite a success and I will definitely use it again. All that remains is the addition of the hanging grommets in the top corners and for that I will need to buy a grommet fixer – perhaps that will be my mothers’ day present tomorrow…!

needledownnz_cross_the_medallion_ 5