Christmas in July

In an attempt to spend less time on the computer, I am trying really hard to… spend less time on the computer. It’s been working somewhat as I have finished 2 quilts! No posts yet though. I’m still working on my post for one of them, and the other I actually submitted to Moda Bake Shop so we’ll see how that pans out (nail biting).

My plans for A Lovely Year of Finished this month was to finish my Gypsy Wife filler blocks for June and July’s quilt along schedule. Welllllll, not happening. On instagram (I’m @riddlinghwimsy!) Liz from Shush… I’m Quilting has been posting her own Gypsy Wife progression from working in sections. So, I maybe decided that I want to make some sections too (I’m a copycat).

Riddle and {Whimsy} Gypsy Wife Section 1 & 2

This is sections 1 and 2 joined together, which makes the top right hand corner of the quilt. I had to make a few additional blocks since I hadn’t had any pre-made from the quilt along yet for this section, and boy was it in a pain in the you know where to try and figure out which blocks I needed for where. Sure it’s nice to tell me that a pinwheel goes there, but when the pattern needs 23 3″ pinwheels and a million 4″ pinwheels and 500, 000 2″ pinwheels, some guidance on which size fits in that very particular spot would be nice. It took that very slow mathematical part of my brain a few minutes to figure it out by manually adding up the sizes of the strip placement and hopefully I got it right.

I found working on the pattern this way motivating as I could actually see how the quilt starts coming together and I could start cutting extra fabric for the strips as I go. Now I’m worried I’ve cut too many strips though, ha. There’s nothing specific in the pattern that says “you need X amount of strips” so I’m having to wing it. A couple of the strips in this section I changed up because they were supposed to be 1″ and I thought pfft I’ll just cut one strip bigger instead. Hopefully that won’t ruin me when I get to the bottom section.

Because I love Christmas fabric, this is not the only Christmas quilt I’m working on. I actually started this one weeks ago, made a few blocks, started cutting out all of the fabric so I could chain piece, stopped while I waited for some extra fabric to arrive and now that it has I’m starting it back up again.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Frosted Cheerios first blocks

This one is Camille Roskelley’s Cheerio pattern. I thought it could pass for Christmas Wreaths and I had a fat eighth bundle of Aspen Frost by Basic Grey so BOOM, new quilt idea (like I really need another). I’ve been ogling 25th and Pine though so I held back on progressing further with this, thinking about and dreaming about those yummy navy prints. Fat Quarter Shop had 25% off Moda last week, so I nabbed a few of the new line so I can work some navy magic into this. Now that that has arrived I’m itching to get cutting and piecing.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Frosted Cheerios

The background fabric I’m using is a metallic gold one from Robert Kaufman which I bought way back earlier this year when Christmas fabrics were 50% off (I’ll need to find a selvedge to remember what specific line it’s from). I knew stashing so much would come in handy! ;)

Maybe it keeps me high

Border 3 on my Threadbias Improvi Robin Round has been completed, and I’m ready to send it along for its fourth border!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Improvi Robin

The original centre is the paper pieced star. Border 1 comprises of the orange triangle sides to put the star in an on-point setting, along with the scrappy purple border around it.

Border 2 is then the Batik print and chevrons down the side (Charwirfs — who sends to me — is setting a trend because she did a similar border on the last centre I had added onto!).

I have to admit I prefer the look of this style star in this orientation. Turning it to its original setting (to make it look like an X) gives me the creeps because it reminds me of a spider that sits that way in its web. I’m not looking for any pictures to link for you to specify what I mean because I will have to run and hide under the bed afterwards. Off the top of my head I think it’s called a St. John’s Cross spider. I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR SPIDER INDUCED NIGHTMARES IF YOU LOOK IT UP :)

With all the different prints in in this I felt it was getting a little busy and decided to use some solids in the same colours to break away from so many prints. To separate the colours from “touching” (eg. purple solid next to the purple border) I added a white border all the way around which also helped with sizing up the centre as it was a weird size at about 26″. With so many different triangle-based shapes, I also wanted to continue with some triangles for some consistency. But what kind of triangles ?! Since buying my half rectangle triangle ruler I’ve been obsessed with HRTs, so HRTs it was!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Improvi Robin Border 3

I love these bright, colourful solid HRTs and now I want to make a whole quilt out of them! (Maybe I’ve already started and have made a top. Maybe I haven’t).

The final round of the new Blogger Blog Hop Introduction posts are up this week so check out the bloggers below! If you missed my introduction post, I posted last week!

Serena @ Sew Giving (fellow Possum!)
Deborah @ Sunshine Through The Rain
Jane @ Where Jane Creates (fellow Possum!)
Jennifer @ A Quarter Inch From The Edge
Carla @ Granny Maud’s Girl (fellow Possum!)
Jenny @ Jack’s Room
Sharon @ Color Girl Quilts
Carmit @ Quilting Rainbows
Jehn @ Jehnny And The Boys
Elli @ Lovelli Quilts
Sharon @ Motherdragon’s Musings (fellow Possum!)
Cynthia @ Cynthia’s Creating Ark
Sally @ Wonky Patchwork
Bee @ Pink Almond Quilt
Debbie @ Quilting Makes My Heart Sing
Leanne @ Devoted Quilter
Karen @  Capitola Quilter
Marcie @ Marcie’s Quilt Therapy
Jane @ Jersey Jane Quilts

A memory guilded in (blue)

I am so super duper excited about my most recent finish that I can’t keep it all to myself (I even forgot about my lunch heating up in the oven as I was too busy uploading photos…). You may have seen me working on this quilt on instagram over the last week (I’m @riddlingwhimsy) Yep.. I finished a quilt over a week, what?!

I love Kate Spain’s fabrics; so much so that when Ms Midge announced she was hosting a charm swap, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. While waiting for all the charms to be received and sorted and sent back, I started poring over the swap group’s Pinterest page on Charm Square ideas, and went hunting around for my own to add for inspiration. Then I found it. A Quick and Easy Layer Cake Pattern by sweetjane. It helped that one of the examples was made from a Kate Spain collection, so it made it easy to visualise what my quilt would look like.

This quilt was so easy to put together; even with figuring out the quilty maths myself. Usually I’ll work on a project and stop for a while; giving enough time to whip out my camera and take some proper shots, but nope. I was pretty much doing this and only this all over the weekend. When I get stuck into a project I don’t want to stop!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Spanish Chains top vertical

I cannot wait until I can paint this stupid ugly wall

My quilt maths led me to needing 120 charm squares. The charm swap provided 112 charms though one fabric ended up repeated, so there were 111 different prints, so I pulled 9 other prints from my stash to use in the quilt so that there would be 120 different prints!

From my own stash I added some In from the Cold,  Serenade, Verna, Sunnyside, Good Fortune and Central Park . All I’m missing in this quilt from past Kate Spain lines is Joy and then the most recent Solstice and Horizon. If I had another 50 prints, I would have been able to make the top bigger (I would have liked the four patch ‘chain’ blocks to be in all corners but I could only do what I had enough fabric for! :( ). The quilt is nicely sized at what it is though.

The light blue background fabric is a crosshatch from Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander, and I had enough of that in my stash to use up for the squares, and the borders as well! (see — sometimes buying up large cuts in advance comes in handy! /stash enabling). I gravitated towards a light blue background because I thought being light, it would help set off all of the dark bold colours, and the blue seems to contrast and compliment the colours too. The crosshatch also gives a nice textured look that a plain solid would not, but the cross hatch doesn’t show up in photos, really.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Spanish Chains in a tree

I almost stepped on a snail when taking this photo, so I hope you appreciate it!! (the photo, not the snail ;) )

I made all of the four patches first, just so after I trimmed them, I would have the right finished size to cut down all of the other charms to be used for the 9 patches. The finished size of each 4 patch ended up being 4″. It took a while to do all of the trimming, but I sat in front of the TV and watched a movie with my husband at the same time, so it wasn’t too bad! I was impressed with myself as I was piecing as my points match up nicely, and I figured out how to to the whirly-middle seam thing to reduce bulk in the centre where the seams meet up.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Spanish Chains Nine patch quilting detail

Choosing the main thread colour was easy. A light aqua-blue 50wt Aurifil (#2805) blended into the blue cross hatch nicely but stood out at the same time. The blue also blended, but stood out, against all of Kate Spain’s different prints and the vibrant colours. Choosing a quilt design was tricky though! Originally I wanted to kind of echo the squares by doing loop-squares but it wasn’t working right. So I decided to do wavy lines to fill in the large squares in alternating directions, but I left the fabrics which formed the “cross” unquilted (the four patch squares and the middle square between them).

Riddle and {Whimsy} Spanish Chains Four Patch Cross quilting detail

Through the four patches, I then used various 28wt Aurifil to add a bit oomph in varying colours of pink (#2530), yellow (#2214) and green (#1231) and just used my walking foot to straight line quilt through them. My FMQ wavy lines gave the quilt a dense texture in those areas, so I wanted part of the quilt to also feel more relaxed and soft.

If there’s one thing I could do over, it would be my border quilting. I don’t necessarily think it’s bad it just doesn’t look like what was in my head! I’ve been trying to force myself into making larger shapes — my loops, and practice pebbles, are always small when I think they look better when they’re larger so I need to get the rhythm of that.

This is why I’ve never really added borders onto quilts. I’ve done it once before, and I also did loops for the quilting because I used it as an all-over design but wasn’t fussed – I probably should have learnt from that that loops don’t look ‘right’ in borders (when done by me). I think I would have preferred something to be more standalone and consistent. No idea if that makes sense, but I’m thinking of more of something ‘column like’ rather than something higgeldy-piggeldy.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Spanish Chains border detail

To “cover up” the original loops, I decided to do some feature loops in the 28wt aqua (#5006) thread across each corner of the quilt to try and draw away some of the attention from the rest of the border. It sort of helped, but I didn’t think it was enough. So I pulled out a hot pink 50wt (#2530) and made little waves, like in the blocks between the stop and start sections of the thicker aqua loops, along each side of the quilt. Swimming on their own in the middle of each border, they seemed “lost” so then I joined up each wavy section with some more loops in the corners. I think the pink is more what I would have gone for, design wise, as it’s less busy. I do like my decision in using a pink thread to “fix it” so it at least becomes the standout where your eyes are drawn so the rest of the quilting isn’t as noticeable there…

How do you like to quilt borders? Any design tips or references? I’ve been liking adding borders onto my recent quilts as a quick way to size them up, but of course that means I’m stumped on how to actually quilt them.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Spanish Chains back and front

Originally for the binding I was going to use the red-orange print from my recent Fandango purchase but before I could actually get cutting, we had a blackout. While I pottered around trying to find things to do in the dark, I looked at all the Sunnyside flower strips that were left over from the back after squaring up the top. Then I trialled that against the top to see what it would be like as a binding. So I changed my mind and used the same print for binding as the back, busting some scraps at the same time (since those off cuts would end up in the scrap bin). In what must have been a twist of fate, Fat Quarter Shop blogged about various binding techniques and I liked the one by Edyta Sitar with the 1 3/4″ strips, so I tried it! It was a little fiddly to fold everything over since one of the edges isn’t stitched down but I managed and I love how it looks compared to the usual 2.5″ strips.

The backing is made up of a floral Sunnyside print, as well as some of the scraps from my charm square trimming. I pieced the small 1″ scraps into a rainbow formation and then used it to separate the join for the backing. I’m starting to like doing this — using the front scraps to add for the back join. I’ve also done backing this way on my Adorn, Scrappy Trip Around the World and Triangle quilt. Beats trying to make the backing look seamless and I think it brings a bit of consistency to both sides without being crazy :)

Riddle and {Whimsy} Spanish Chains Back join detail

This past week I received a pair of Machingers that I had won from Michelle. I tried them out on this quilt and probably quilted half of it wearing them and half of them not to test them out. They are definitely grippy; I noticed that difference right away but I found them the most useful when doing quilting within the same small area — such as the wavy lines within the one square.  I found it difficult to move the quilt when I wanted to quilt over a large area where I needed to move the whole quilt around (like the loops on the borders). Perhaps I just need to get used to them, or this is where a Supreme Slider would come in handy to make it easier to move the quilt; though I have no major issue with moving the quilt when quilting bare handed. A bonus of them is that they sure did keep my hands toasty warm in the freezing winter weather! I hate it when my hands are so cold I can’t pick up a thread and pull two pieces of fabrics away from each other!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Spanish Chains Quilt inspector

No quilt is officially complete until a quilt inspector has had a look

Despite my slight disappointment with the border quilting, I am happy to call this quilt “my favourite quilt I’ve ever made”. By the way, if you have a stash of Kate Spain charm-sized fabric around that you haven’t used yet, then get to using because Ms Midge is holding a Kate Spain Charm Along, with prizes as incentive (including one from Kate Spain, herself!!)! I’ll be linking this quilt up in the final linkup!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Memory Cat #17

Memory Cat/Quilt #17 !

And of course, I have a memory cat! That extra repeat charm came in handy for this! And then I used a few 1″ strips from the trimmed squares to make the large rectangular piece for the chin to add a bit of variety since I’m using so many fabrics for this quilt. Too bad it would be too much effort to add all 120 prints into the one cat…

Riddle and {Whimsy} Spanish Chains top horizontal

I was also chased by a bee while outside

Quilt stats

Pattern: inspired by A Quick and Easy Layer Cake Pattern by sweetjane (I made up my own measurements).

Name: Spanish Chains (it reminds me of an Irish chain, and Spain is a country of Spanish people like Ireland is a country of Irish people, so… I’ll show myself out)

Size: 50″ x 60″

Fabric: All of these lovely Kate Spain charms plus a few extra from my stash, Architextures (Carolyn Friedlander)

Backing: Sunnyside (Kate Spain)

Binding: Sunnyside (Kate Spain)

Thread: Aurifil #2805 (Aqua-blue) 50wt, #22530 (Hot Pink) 50wt and 28wt, #5006 (Aqua-blue) 28wt, #2214 (Yellow) 28wt, #1231 (Green) 28wt.

Thank you to everyone who has been commenting on my Blog Hop Introduction Post! I’ll start replying to all the comments over the weekend when I can sit and make some decent replies!! If you haven’t seen my post, check it out to learn more about me and to find some new blogs to follow!

Let’s Get Acquainted!

Hello, and welcome to current followers, new followers, blog hoppers and anyone in between! For the last couple of years, Beth from Plum and June has hosted a New Blogger blog hop. I missed out on sign ups last year and anxiously waited for 2014 to roll around so I could join the fun, and today is my scheduled day on the hop!

My name is Joanna, and I also go by Jo. I don’t mind either; it amuses me when people ask my permission to call me Jo as if I’ll be offended. Nope. But! Do not call me Joanne because I will plot to cut up your quilts into tiny pieces so I can dance under them like a shower of confetti. The easiest way to remember my name is via Disney.

So, my name is Jo but what you probably don’t know is that my husband’s last name is King. Hahahahaha, I’m actually  joking. (Actually I’m  technically not because I kept my own name and didn’t change it when we got married. HA the joke’s on you!). Anyway, I’ve started using ‘joke’ as an internet moniker but it didn’t feel quite right on its own for a blog name. Out comes the handy thesaurus and “riddle” is listed somewhere around joke, or at least amongst a synonym for another synonym of joke. The Whimsy? I just pulled that out from where the sun doesn’t shine.

I am Australian, currently living in Perth, in the state of Western Australia but I was born and bred in the “Eastern states” in New South Wales, where I lived for 20 whatever years. I suppose you could say I moved to WA for “true love”?  My sense of humour is random. I’m sarcastic, I like stupid jokes and the occasional rude one, and I enjoy the odd internet meme (Socially Awkward Penguin  is my life). If you know of the Myers-Briggs personality test I am INTJ but sometimes also score INFJ as my T/F sits along the cusp. Both write ups fit me fairly well.

Riddle and {Whimsy}: First quilts

The first two quilts I completed were baby gifts for co-workers
Scrappy Zig AlongNine Disappearing Mermaids

A few years ago, around 2009/2010, I was inspired to start quilting as I needed a hobby where I could actually be productive. I played a lot of computer games, but was starting to spend more time fixing my game or downloading pretty clothes for my sim families than actually playing and it just wasn’t fun anymore. My mum has been quilting for 95% of my life so  I was lucky to be already familiar with the processes and most of the technical jargon so I had a rough idea of what I needed to get started. So, I bought some fabrics and a dinky sewing machine from Spotlight (a Toyota Quiltmaster that was on special). It took me a while to get into it because things didn’t work out how I was wanting to and I gave up a lot, but eventually it all “stuck”. The sticking took a while — my first quilts that I actually completed were finished only last year! I did spend the couple of years prior stashing fabric though. I used to buy fabric for my mum and had fun doing it, but boy is it more fun buying fabric for ME!!!

I’ve now branched into making cushions, participating in quilt alongs, joining bees and swaps and I even upgraded my machine to  a fancy-to-me Janome 6600. I’ve also been getting into blogging a lot more, and finding more blogs to follow and getting to know other quilters.

You can find all of my finished projects listed in my menu bar! I have projects from 2014 and from 2013. I like to prompt discussions, share my mistakes and talk about issues while quilting as well as making updates on my WIPs! I just wish my WIP rate would be equal to my finish rate… ;) I also have a tutorial list, which include both some tips by me and those by others that I like and use.

Riddle and {Whimsy}: Anna Maria Horner printss; Nocturnal Fields

Nocturnal Fields: A recent finish

Besides quilting, I like watching TV shows — The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are my current fave (I’ve also read TWD comics and ASOIAF books so I know all the spoilers and tease my husband about telling him everything that’s going to happen and I’m on the R+L=J train, if you know what I mean winkwink). Other TV favourites of past and present, include American Horror StoryDexter, The Americans, Daria, Supernatural, Once Upon A Time, Community, Big Bang Theory, HeroesTrue Blood, Futurama, Seinfeld, Boy Meets World, Vikings and I’m so excited for the Sailor Moon reboot!

Can’t say I really have a favourite movie. Which movie I like, or want to watch, depends on the mood I’m in but I can always agree to watch animated Disney (most of the time…). My music tastes are rather eclectic, so I can only point you into the direction of my account which has been recording what I listen to for 8 years(!!).

As long as I block out the pesky teenage and school years, I’m rather nostalgic for the 80s/90s. I used to work in a department store’s toy section and I couldn’t decide if I was happy or sad that so many toys I had as a kid had been ‘reinvented’ (was there seriously anything wrong with ponies that didn’t look like Bratz dolls?). I may own a Cabbage Patch Doll that has my birthday on its birth certificate. I may also have another Cabbage Doll that has my mum’s birthday. There are a million Care Bears (overestimate) in my guest bedroom and I am still bitter about the time I lost a bid on ebay for one. I also have a soft spot for Disney, especially the classics that no one else remembers and of course, the 90s TV cartoon versions. Sing it with me! Ducktales! Woo-ooo!

Fun random fact: I find strawberries sour, and I can only eat them by dipping them into sugar (preferably icing sugar, or a really fine sugar). That probably says how sweet my sweet tooth is when sweet things aren’t sweet enough…


I made a quilt for my mother in law before my own mother.. shame on me! More info

Now, some tips from my own online-quilting-and-blogging experience, for you!

Quilting Tip

Know when to step away

Getting tired? Stop sewing, you’re only going to mess something up, whether it be big or small, and go to bed! Your project will still be there tomorrow!

Getting frustrated? Stop working on your project and move to something more mindless to get your mind off it and have a break. If you still want to be crafty, how about trimming some scraps or folding up some fabric a bit more tidily? Clean the lint out of your machine! I advise against working on another project because if you’re feeling that frustrated with one thing you’re quite likely going to take it out on your next project and get frustrated with that one too!

This week, I’ve also learnt to add “getting hungry” to this list since the hunger can stop you from thinking straight. As I write this, I’m currently brooding over quilting I’m not happy with because I didn’t stop for a lunch break to think things through before jumping into it!

Blogging Tip

It’s your blog so write what you want to!

Just because That Famous Blogger says they only like reading short posts when you tend to write long ones, or Your Favourite Blogger says they don’t like reading personal stories when you like to add personal moments in your posts; who cares!  Your blog reflects who you are and is supposed to be “your voice”, so use it in a way that you are happy with. Write long posts if you want to. Write short ones if you want to. Write about your family, or yourself, or don’t! It’s your blog, so blog how you want to! Blogging to just make other people happy will turn blogging into a chore and it won’t be enjoyable.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Possum Magic Round Robin centre

My Round Robin centre for Possum Magic: A group of Aussies and Kiwis from the Blog Hop have started up their own Round Robin! More info

Now I have a question for you!

How do you label your quilts? Do you even label your quilts? I have a bad habit of not and I want to change!

I’ve looked at various tutorials to get ideas but they all seem to have different pros and cons. Personally, I like small unobtrusive labels, like these from My Fabric Relish or these labels from Ikaprint but the shipping takes around a month from Ikaprint and I’m too impatient for that when I have quilts to label in the meantime! (And yes, I know the time I’m taking to be indecisive is taking just as long :D ). With these methods, as much as I like the small unobtrusive labels, I feel like I’ll miss out on being able to put on extra information (like quilt name, date, a message).

Then there’s the Triangle in the corner method that Pat Sloan recently posted about. This seems to be the best in terms of size and space for writing additional information. But then I have to write on it myself with my own writing! Sometimes I can write messy! Sometimes I’m too much of a perfectionist and I think one single letter looks out of place so I will write it again, and again and again, ahhh.

I have also seen this amazing idea that Marcia at Cozy Capatiller uses — personal QR codes! I like this idea because you can include a huge personal message in such a small space, or if you prefer, a link to your blog or etsy site!

As I schedule posts, sometimes I forget what I’ve written, and in one of my latest finishes, I asked there about quilt labelling (and was confused when I received a few tips in the comments until I re-read my own post lol!). Some suggestions from that post included

  • Spoonflower printing
  • Handwriting
  • Printable fabric
  • Embroidery

All these ideas, and I still don’t know…

So. Yes. How do you label your quilts, and what do you use to write on them? Do you have any pros and cons about the above ideas I’ve mentioned? Is a thinner fabric marker better than a thicker one (I think mine is too thick…). Do you write it out in pencil and write over it nicely? Do you even embroider on it, or use the alphabet on your machine?! My many unlabelled quilts beg for your help!

Plum and June

This wouldn’t be a blog hop without other blogs to hop to so hop on over to these awesome blogs listed below! And for even more blogs to check out,  previous schedules have been posted by our blog hop hostess, Beth of Plum and June!

Shauna @ Shauna’s World
Pam @ Sewing Wilde
Wendy @ Wendy’s Quilts and More (A fellow member of Possum Magic!)
Jan @ The Colorful Fabriholic
Carole @ From My Carolina Home
Lin @ Lin’s Quilts
Helga @ Green Mill Vintage
Kate @ Thread Everywhere
Cheryl @ Texas Quilting Gal
Jenn @ Sew Crafty Jenn
Heather @ QA Creations
Cornelia @ Pieced With Love XOXO

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll stick around! Happy hopping!

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Gypsy Wife Repeat Goals

There’s only a few days left to link up to A Lovely Year of Finishes with July goals, so I better set mine!

Last month, I failed my goal. I planned on making all of my June Gypsy Wife Quilt Along blocks. I managed to only do the main block.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Gypsy Wife June Block

Crazy Anne

I struggled in finding interest for the fillers. I just wasn’t in the mood for the tiny pieces! So I’d ended up working on the July main block instead, with the intention that I could do the June and July sets in June and be super productive.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Gypsy July block

Star block

I think it was dealing with this star block that put me off attempting the fillers. It really made me wish that I started making practice blocks before actually jumping in for the real thing. With this one, I then would have realised that I didn’t need to cut out 55467678 triangles, and I could have just made a set of HSTs, some of which could have been turned into quarter square triangles to make the block easier to piece >:( then when I finally got it altogether, it didn’t look right. I checked the one in the photo of the quilt in the pattern booklet and I couldn’t tell which one it was. Except there was one there that looked similar, yet different. Turns out, the instructions for this block are wrong wrong wrong, so make sure you have the updated errata before proceeding with this star block! I had to unpick my rows because according to my printing, the shading made it work this way:

Had I known that before making my block, I would have made a few fabric placement adjustments.

July Goal

So I don’t get too far behind in the Quilt Along, I’m going to make my goal for this month a catch up to complete the June and July filler blocks!

From June: Square in a Square (4×3″), Bordered Square in a Square (3×5”, 1×7” )= 9 Blocks

From July: Square in a Square (5×4″), Bordered Square in a Square (1×6”)=7 Blocks

Off To The Races

Finally, I managed to finish the Quilt of Frustration.

My husband’s younger brother and his girlfriend are expecting a baby boy… sometime. I’m not a fan of my in-laws for a multitude of reasons so I’ve not seen them to ask them myself and my husband can never keep track of these kinds of things. I have nothing against a baby though (since he didn’t choose his parents) and how can a quilter pass up the chance of making a baby quilt for a new baby? Because I’m not a fan of the parents I didn’t want to use any extra special fabric, and wanted a basic pattern. I did consider plain old boring patchwork squares, but I think that would have looked too obvious that I wasn’t “trying”. So I chose triangles.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Road Rage

This is my second triangle quilt, so I figured I’d be a pro at triangle piecing now.


This quilt. I wanted to burn it. Throw it away. Give up. Absolutely typical that I don’t want to put much effort into it, but pretty much had to anyway considering how much I was failing while trying to put it together!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Road Rage

I chose the backing first. It’s a fun town/road print that I found at Spotlight forever ago. My husband’s family are car people, so I figured a car theme would be suitable for the upcoming boy. Then I found a fat quarter of the green car print in my stash. For some reason I was drawn to the Pezzy Prints, as the colours in the fabrics were similar to those in the backing fabric – blues, greens, yellows, oranges, reds. Then I chose a few Bella solids that matched. After cutting the triangles out I laid them out and decided I needed a bit more contrast, so added a few more triangles in dark blue, the navy/white spot and the purple solid. Instead of a plain white, I found the thumb-print paintings from Sarah Jane’s Let’s Pretend which matched awesomely as the thumb prints are all the same sorts of colours, and then have cute little drawings on them to boot to make it more fun.

Then I laid them out again.

And again.

And again.

I don’t know what was wrong with me, but I could never keep my layout straight. I even took photos of it before picking everything up! I still didn’t get it right the final time, which is why two of the car prints make a diamond shape. By then, I’d given up and just wanted it done.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Road Rage

For the quilting, I chose the 3-stitch zig zag. I thought it looked fancy and fun. On the front I used white Aurifil, and then a grey on the back so it would blend in. I want the back to shine. I love the back. I like it more than the front. Maybe I should have gone with my lazy idea of just giving them a piece of fabric.

The binding is left overs from the second quilt I ever made. Way back when I was new to fabric buying and knowing how much I needed for the various parts of a quilt. 3m for a binding sounds like enough, right?!

Because of the car theme, and the madness I was driven to in the process of making this quilt, I have titled it “Road Rage”. I’m waiting for my husband to write a label for it before it’s officially finished to welcome our nephew, but apparently he doesn’t know what to write. Which isn’t helpful because if he doesn’t know what to write than what am I supposed to write?! I don’t even like these people! And obviously I can’t officially call it “Road Rage” on the label…

This was quilt #16, which means I can add another memory cat!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Road Rage Memory Cat

Quilt stats

Pattern: n/a – just equilateral triangles

Name: Road Rage

Size: approx 40″ x 40″

Fabric: Unknown car print, Pezzy Prints (American Jane), Bella Solids (Moda), Let’s Pretend (Sarah Jane)

Backing: Unknown car print

Binding: Merry Mermaids from Ack! (?)

Thread: Aurifil #2024 (White) 50wt, #2605 (Grey) 50wt

Sunday Stash #22

My recent destash prices discussion post reminded me that I haven’t shared one of my destash purchases!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Sunday Stash 22

Yep, that’s Fandango. One of Kate Spain’s previous lines. Did this layercake cost an arm and a leg? Nope! Just $40. You know, the price of a layer cake at most online stores. I nabbed it from Stephanie at Quarter Incher. I didn’t just stop with the layer cake though!

Riddle and {Whimsy} Sunday Stash 22

How could I also turn away from 3 matching yard cuts?! Obviously, I couldn’t… and not for the reasonable price of $10 a yard!  The only thing that cost an arm and a leg was the shipping but that’s to be expected. Thanks, Stephanie <3

Turning up in my letterbox this week was the ledger print featured underneath the Fandango.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Sunday Stash 22

I fell in love with this print from Architextures when it was included in a text bundle I bought forever ago from Pink Castle fabrics, but of course by then buying it separately was impossible. Until it was recently reprinted. Westwood Acres was running preorders so I decided to buy a few yards to have on hand for wonderful, beautiful low volume text background on a project I have yet to decide needs a wonderful LV, text background. I completely forgot about when to expect it, and there it was! Happy Days!

By the way, if you have an opinion on destash sales and the ridiculously high prices, please add to the discussion! (And don’t be scared to disagree :) )

FMQ tension followup

Last week, I posted about my annoying free motion quilting troubles.

I left my FMQ for the week, and haven’t done any since, until last night. Normal piecing is just fine. Tension set  to 4 as normal. The only problem that may be an issue, unless it’s just me being crazy, is I have been noticing it seems like the bobbin might be too tight, because it often looks like a straight line, rather than separate stitches.

Carla of Granny Maud’s Girl, who actually has the same machine as I do, suggested in my last post to change the bobbin tension, which is a teeny tiny screw on the bobbin case. In my hunt to figure this out, I came across a Yahoo group for the Janome 6500/6600 and it has some helpful information in there, such as this:

Only adjust your bobbin tension if the needle tension adjustment doesn’t improve your stitches and/or if it creates additional stitch quality issues. For example, if you’ve tightened the upper tension all the way to 9 and the needle thread is still getting pulled to the back (“eyelashes”) when you’re free motion quilting, that’s a strong signal that you need to loosen your bobbin tension.

That’s my problem! I had tension to 9 and still had eyelashes! So Carla is spot on. I still haven’t actually tried changing the bobbin tension yet (I actually need to find the right size screw driver that tiny) but in another search last night when I started FMQ again, I came across another random forum that had a suggestion of cleaning your top thread tension discs.

I had a problem once and they had me loosen my tension all the way, as loose as you could get it. Then take a piece of heavy thread and run it through the tension wheel on the inside of the machine. You can do that without taking anything apart. Just hold the ends of the heavy thread and pull back and forth. There may be lint or thread lodged in there and you need to get it out.

Then put your pressure foot in the down position and turn your tension wheel to about 4. Rethread both the machine and bobbin and try again.

Since this seemed easier than figuring out where the screw drivers are, I gave cleaning my top tension a go. I set my tension to 0, lifted the presser foot up and found some thick thread to run through back and forth in the tension disc area.

Riddle and {Whimsy} Clean your Top Thread tension discs!

Pin there just for size (I didn’t find that in the machine ;) )

Well, that was a surprise! A whole dust bunny was living in there! Of course, after finding this, I had to see how much it improved my FMQ.

This is the bobbin side, with tension set down to 6! Which is much better than it being set to 9, and there are no eyelashes! Of course it’s not perfect but I still want to test a few more things. Firstly, the needle size. I’m pretty sure I have a 70/11 needle in at the moment and I want to try a 90/14 for quilting to see if that helps the look of the back stitches. I still think they look a bit tight because they look too much like a straight line to me rather than individual stitches. Depending on how this works, I’ll then try out the bobbin tension, screw driver depending.

It also got me thinking on a few things, like thread quality. As I had mentioned in my previous post, I had been using up some random threads. I had used some of these in my machine before for quilting but after thinking on it, I don’t think I’ve used them for free motion quilting; only with my walking foot. There is faster movement with FMQ which may have made those threads shed lint amongst the tension and because I had not used these threads like this before, is why i had never had this issue before. (Lesson learned: Aurifil only hehe. But since I’ve used up those random threads in this annoying debacle it won’t be a problem anymore lol!).

Because I did only start having this issue after using these random threads, it explains why my first set of pebbles looked like this:

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 11.38.42 am

Yes, the back of this quilting is not perfect. But this is the first lot of pebbles I made last week before I started having issues. These were made with Aurifil thread top and bottom, and my regular FMQ settings. No eye lash craziness like I ended up with. So after I went from here, I used up more random bobbins and thread that I had available and the stitches became worse.

Hopefully changing the needle helps with the stitch quality more, and if not, I’ll go to the bobbin tension. My fingers, toes and everything are all crossed that this means I can jump into actually FMQ the quilt tops I have lined up without making craziness on the back!

Edit: I’ve played around a bit more and ended up with better looking “normal” results” on the back! My settings to achieve this were:

  • Quilting with a 90/14 needle
  • Feed dogs down
  • Tension at 5-6
  • Loosened bobbin tension from the 2′o clock position to a 12 o’clock position
  • Aurifil thread!


Destash or decash?

Let’s have a discussion!

Something that has been bothering me for a while now are destash sales like the ones that pop up on instagram. Specifically the prices people put on some of their fabric. I’ve just had a bit of a rant over on instagram because I came across a destash sale for Tula Pink fabric, in which someone is asking $60 a yard for an out of print fabric. Yep, $60 a yard. More than what a piece of Liberty of London costs! Almost the price of a brand new fat eighth bundle of ~40 separate prints!

This past weekend, there was a high profile destash sale that had jellyrolls selling for $65+. A jelly roll.  To be honest, some of the  items also made me wonder if they were actually purchased by the seller and were not just gifts from being apart of the “biz”, in which case, that’s a nice little profit bonus there! That said, I did notice that some items also seemed to be underpriced, as if selling older fabrics at a higher cost would make up for the new ones selling for ‘under’. But I still don’t agree with the high prices.

Who are we helping here? Certainly not the fabric designers and certainly not all of the fabric stores out there. If people are going to charge $60 a yard and get it, then maybe the fabric stores should put up their prices. Oh, but that’s not a good idea, because people already complain that the prices of fabric are too expensive already and their prices are 1/6th of that!

These destash sales at these prices are solely benefitting the person selling the fabric. You did not buy your freaking jelly roll for $65 and you did not spend $60 for that yard of Tula Pink that you never got around to using! So why are you trying to make a profit on something as if you’re trying to charge rent money on the space that fabric has taken up in your stash just because you didn’t get around to making a decision on what you’re actually going to use that fabric for?!

Don’t get me wrong, I like destash sales and have purchased from them before. But I refuse to pay exorbitant prices and I will make sure that the items are worth it. A few extra dollars profit I can deal with — it does take effort to get around to going to the Post Office and for listing the items etc. but $50 more than what an actual yard costs and then to add insult to injury, shipping is going to cost even more again?! Please.

If you’re happy to pay these prices, then that’s certainly up to you and I envy you for being able to afford fabric at this price! But for $60, I know I’d prefer to purchase 6 yards of fabric, or 12 half yards, or put it towards a fat eighth bundle and get more bang for my buck. Even Liberty being so expensive, at least has good quality behind it.

Don’t you think it’s interesting that we underprice the actual items we make and intend to sell, just so they will sell, yet we don’t think twice about overcharging each other for the fabric to make the said items we underprice?

Fabric isn’t an antique collectible, no matter how much we love and favour and hoard our precious favourite bundles.

Feeling hot, hot, hot

This last week, all of the blocks on my design wall have been staring right back at me. I’m running out of room to add my Gypsy Wife blocks, so I needed to do something about the other random ones taking up room. I had been planning on keeping my random blocks to make a “kitchen sink” sampler, but when I was at my actual kitchen sink earlier this week, trying to find a clean hot pad to put my saucepan on and couldn’t find one, I knew I had to start making some more. It’s been a good time to practice some FMQ, so down came all my random blocks.

Riddle and {Whimsy} FMQ Practice pebbles

Not too shabby for an early attempt :D

Somehow, pebbles “clicked” with me this time! I’m also working on feathers which are a little trickier as I’m trying to learn their structure. I’ve been posting a lot of my progress on instagram (I’m @riddlingwhimsy. When I remember, I try and share them on my (new) blog-facebook as well)!

So, my front pebbles looks okay, but what about the back?

Riddle and {Whimsy} FMQ Pebble Practice


All those eye lashes! (Sidenote: I find the look of the threads like this really creepy. I don’t know why but they give me the heeby-jeebies and I can’t stand looking at them, especially when they get super long — see below).

An earlier pebbling attempt I did on one of these hotpads worked out just fine but I wasn’t paying attention to what i was doing since it was working (like the settings, speeds) so I haven’t been able to replicate it! The only time I’ve been able to make the eyelashing look not-so-bad was when I went fast and had my tension set to 9. Yep, 9. Like super duper high, 9. I have never had my tension set so high; not even when FMQ before.

Riddle and {Whimsy} FMQ Practice

Crazy eyelashes are with tension on 2; the rest I changed periodically along with my speed. Still get best results on fast + tension 9!!

When making my random block hot pads, I’ve also been trying to use up the extra random threads I have around. Like the almost empty spools, the last half of a bobbin etc so my thread usage has been a little random with the combinations in my FMQ. Which of course, has made things a little frustrating when trying to get my quilting to look right

Riddle and {Whimsy} FMQ pebbling practice

The front still looks fine though a little awkward since I was going so fast

I’d just like to note the following, because these always come up in troubleshooting:

  • Use a quality needle like Schmetz — I only use Schmetz anyway and use quilting or universal needles, depending on which I buy at the time. The ones I’ve been using here are a quilting 70/11 and a 90/14. I interchanged them but didn’t have different results.
  • Use quality thread — 99% of the time I use Aurifil (but as mentioned above I was using up old random threads, so some was Aurifil some was not. I really didn’t want to use up quality threads on something that’s only going to get grotty in my kitchen)
  • My sewing machine is a Janome 6600
  • Since my last FMQ issues due to spray baste, I now only pin baste and haven’t used spray for a while. For these hot pads I didn’t actually pin since they were so small.

Instead of going out first thing this morning like I had planned to run errands, I played with different FMQ settings using actual batting (and not insulbrite) but still ran into the same issues. I switched threads to be 50wt Aurifil top and bottom, still had eyelashing. Swicthed from feed dogs up/down, still had eyelashing. Changed tensions, foot speed, machine speed, needles. Still had eye lashing. Cleaned out the bobbin area. Still had eyelashing.

The one thing I haven’t tried yet, which I am going to do for now is just give up, and have a break from getting mad at it and do some regular piecing and then come back to it. The best thing I probably need to do is take my machine in for a service, but who has the money for that :o I’m really hoping I get this kink worked out because I would like to start quilting some tops soon and my quilting was doing this even with simple FMQ, such as a stipple :/

On the brightside, I now I have  10 brand new hotpads for my kitchen (can’t complain I can’t find any now!) and I have a whole bunch more empty bobbins to fill up. Does anyone else buy more bobbins because you don’t/can’t unwind the ones you’ve already used? :D