Awkward Paper Piecing Angles??

I love paper piecing and have been doing a lot lately. Previously, I blogged about some useful tips and lessons learned when paper-piecing. I have another tip, for those awkward angles.

You know those angles that the fabric starts off not in line with the shape you want to cover, at all. The one you can just cut a really big piece of fabric to make sure it folds over and covers the whole piece.

What about trying these few steps to make it easier.

1. Place fabric covering the shape you are piecing. In the photo I have the fabric, right side facing down and the paper template facing up.

2. Fold  the template and fabric carefully, along the line of the paper template that you will be stitching on. Press with an iron.

3. You will now have a crease in your fabric.

4.  Use that crease to line up your fabric with the template, readying it to stitch along the line. Note the fabric in the picture is now right side facing up, and is positioned in that awkward position. Hold in place (you can use pins or glue). Stitch along the template line.

5.  Trim excess (allowing for a 1/4″), fold over the fabric and press along the stitched line.

6. This is how my block finished up.

Let me know if you have any questions, or any trouble when trying it out. Linking up with Stephenie @Late Night Quilter for Tips and Tutorials Tuesdays.

New Blogger Series


In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle

Last year, I won the design contest that Sara Lawson @sewsweetness held for her Jungle Ave Quilt. I couldn’t believe it!! The design was inspired from Tapa cloths that I had picked up in the Pacific Islands, hence the name of my quilt “Jungle Ave Tapa”.


The prize included all the fabric to make the quilt and a chance to be published in Quilt Now. The fabric arrived and my first thought was OH NO (well actually sh*t) as I realized I now need to make it.

It was a long process for me to make this one as I had to work out how to turn it into reality, after a grueling 4 months it was complete. The whole secret sewing thing is like torture for me. I decided to get it quilted by Angela Walters as I wanted her style of FMQ to highlight and bring out the shapes. I love the quilting, Angela did a fantastic job on the first quilt I have ever sent out!!

For the big reveal, almost a year later, the quilt and the pattern is in this month’s Quilt Now magazine (picture from the magazine). (Happy Dance emoticons here!!).

We actually took it on vacation with us and had our own photo shot (the assistants maybe not have been always co-operative….but we got it done ;-)). This is my favorite sequence of photos;  my son, who was suppose to be posing for me and decided to hide instead.

The Hatteras Lighthouse grounds/backdrop made it a perfect location. It was purely by chance that the black, white and pink/red of the lighthouse correlated to the colors in the quilt.

The back re-uses the ladder shape amongst the city jungle of elephants and of course the hubby did a great job climbing in the shrubs for me!! (Ashley, if you read this…this could be us doing each others photo shoots…the hubby’s will be so happy).

By the time we got to do close-ups, I lost my models/assistants….but the porch chair made a great prop.



Name: Jungle Ave Tapa
Dimensions: 60″ x 70″
Design: Michelle Wilkie (does include paper-piecing the center strip.

Jungle Ave, Sara Lawson for Art Gallery Fabrics; Pure Elements Snow
Quilted: By Angela Walters

Anyway, that was so hard to keep a secret….only 1 more of the 5 secret sewing projects to go. Linking up with Alyce @ Blossom Heart  Quilts for Sew Cute Tuesday (see button on the right) and Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday.

QDAD: July

Lately, I have been so busy with other things that I have not spent a whole lot of time sewing/quilting or participating in Quilt Design a Day this month. I was lucky though ,to contribute the sparks (inspiration + color palette photos) in early July. Apparently, when I commit to doing the sparks, I can also commit to doing a design.

The sparks are all photos taken on various vacations, I have had. Have you ever taken a look through your photos and found quilting inspirations?? I have a different eye sometimes while on vacation….I think I am more open to see what is around me…so I see more design opportunities.

July 5: Moulin Rougue

Love the dark moody colors this photo gave as a color palette….and how can you not use red while in Paris. The design is a minimalistic impression of the windmill blades.

July 6: Ponte Sant’Angelo

One of my favorite photos while in Rome. I love the view of Ponte Sant’Angelo from Castel Sant’Angelo key hole brick. It offered a stark neutral kind of palette. I choose to keep a simple brick layered design, color placement was important.QDAD_06JUL2015_CastelSantAngelo(1)

The original design had color placement a little different and I found it to noisy and made it look more like camouflage material.

July 7: Rossio Square

I love this palette of dark greys, mustard, stone and red-brown. There was so much you can do with the design of the bricks in the photo but I had been flipping through a magazine and found the most amazing shelving units. I took what fascinated me in the furniture and turned it into this design.

July 8: Raglan

I love coastal color palettes. There is so much variety. I had an idea for a totem like design, inspired by the Maori sculpture in the picture and I had seen this great multimedia textile design which inspired the triangles and stripes.QDAD_08JUL2015_NZSculpture(1)

I also like this color way and couldn’t really decide between the brighter or darker versions.QDAD_08JUL2015_NZSculpture

July 9: Raglan Succulents

For those of us who started out when we were using design-seeds as the photo inspiration, we have a few subject matters that we just cringe at. Succulents can sometimes be part of the list. So, I had a great chuckle to myself for posting this. I do love the color palette. Not my usual as it reads a little pastel.

I was inspired by a few Bauhaus prints for this one and chose several different elements from a few of those prints to put this triangle design together.


I also love the darker palette with the plum as the background.QDAD_09JUL2015_Succulent(2)

July 10: Portugal Coast

I definitely have a thing at the moment for teals and coral colors. This color palette did remind me of a Lizzie House fabric line. I went with a simple design, again with lines of fractured color. This is not a bad design but with this color palette I would look at doing something different with it next time. QDAD_10JULY2016_LisbonCoast

Ah, that feels good to post some of the designs. I would love to hear what photo from your vacation inspires, or inspired any quilt design you may have made.

Please Note: If you would like to make or use one of my designs, please email me (ml_wilkie(at)hotmail(dot)com) or leave a comment below. I am happy to talk with you on options and provide the relevant measurements etc. or have you test out a pattern. Also, if you use one of my designs, please use the following text to credit me the design: “Designed by Michelle Wilkie @ Factotum of Arts”.


AMH Mini Quilt Swap Finish!!

I signed up way back in January for the Anna Maria Horner Mini Quilt Swap….and of course leaving it to the last-minute, I managed to finish and post on the last day (last Saturday). I had so much fun with this quilt.

I do not often use all very loud prints in my quilts and designs, but have admired folks that can pull it together. I knew that I wanted to try something similar with this swap and experiment.

I had created this design that I thought would be perfect for this challenge.


I loved my fabric selections, which I tried to split into warm and cool color palettes (two corners cooler and 2 warm). The inner square is based on a finished 1/2″ lines. I know kind of crazy.
I learned a couple of things that I would definitely recommend when I get around to writing this pattern, just shows the importance of pattern testing:

  • I loved using a log-cabin like approach for the innermost squares
  • The triangles that began the outer points of the center square, in the photo you will see I made those as actual triangles. Next time, I would leave them as squares and piece the larger out most triangles on and then trim to make sure you eliminate stretch or distortion.

I pieced the back from left over scraps from the front and used solids that represent the navy and crimson colored stripes. The quilting shows up way better on the back than the front as well as its less busy.

I am very happy, needless to say with the final swap item, even though one corner of my binding gave me so much trouble.

I plan to remake this pattern in solids and a much larger size. Linking up with Amanda-Jean over at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday.


Moorish Pyramids Pattern Release + Giveaway

I am so excited to announce that I have a new pattern – Moorish Pyramids available via my Craftsy store. It will be free for a limited time during the month of July.


Castle of the Moors in Sintra, Lisbon, is one of the most inspiring architectural buildings, I have ever seen. This quilt was inspired by the pyramid shapes and how the shadows are cast on the entrance way.


Originally, this is one of my quilt design a day designs. Art Gallery Fabrics provided me the opportunity to make this using the new line Imprint by Katarina Roccella. Moorish_Pyramids

The quilt measures 60 x 60″ finished. There are a lot of options to make this quilt your own by using different color palettes, color placement and your own quilt design. This finished quilt used straight line quilting with some angled lines, highlighting the pyramid shapes using Aurifil 50wt.


The quilt pattern can easily be modified to make a smaller or larger quilt by reducing the overall block size.

You can see other projects using Imprint, including this one, in the Look book that came out today.
Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 1.04.53 PM
[Photo Credit: Art Gallery Fabrics]

Give-away – CLOSED

WINNER: #7 Janet Moilanen – Congratulations Janet, I will send you an email shortly.

To celebrate the pattern release, I am giving away one Fat Quarter Shop Tokyo FQ Bundle featuring Pure Elements by Art Gallery Fabrics (I might sneak in some other AGF scraps that I have).
Open until July 19th 6pm EST, to enter just leave a comment:

  • Letting me know what colors you would like to make the quilt in
  • If you are a follower, leave another comment letting me know how you follow.

Good Luck, enjoy the pattern.

Q3: Let’s have some fun

Experimenting = Fun

I want this quarter to be about experimenting and doing some fun projects. To assist with that I am going to choose a couple of projects from “Handmade Style” (Anna Graham – Noodlehead book). I am thinking about doing either the Zip Top Tote, Make-up Travel case, Floor Pouf, Carry-all Pincushion or the Basket. There are so many choices in this book!!

Something New, Something Old

I am, also, wanting to finish a couple of last years WiPs….

1. Pushme, Pullme Quilt, 2. Rangers Station, 3. Bjorn the bear, 4. Spoonflower Sampler Quilt.

And finish up a couple of outstanding patterns. The something new are these two new designs….
QDAD_01May2015 QDAD_27APR2015


Project Dates Current Status
 Altitudinal Zonation  25 June  COMPLETE
 Pushme, Pullme  15 July
(ship for quilting)
 TOP (last-minute changes – adding a strip to top),
 Spoonflower Sampler  31 July  TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT (UNDERWAY), BIND
 Idea, Design, Create  31 July   TOP, BACK, BIND (Shipped for quilting)
 Bjorn the Bear  31 August  TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND
 Rangers Station  30 September  TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND
 Coliseum (NEW)  30 September  TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND
 NY – High Line (NEW)  30 September  TOP, BACK, BASTE, QUILT, BIND

Spoonflower Sampler will be my Lovely Year of Finishes July Goal. All of these and the projects from Handmade Style are part of my Q3 goals for Finish Along 2015.

Monthly Commitments

Lastly, I want to finish my Do.Good. Stitches  and my Sisterhood of the Traveling Quilt blocks on time.

Project Dates Current Status
 Do.Good.Stitches  End of each Month  Late for June
Can-Can Girls
(Row for Sisterhood of Traveling Quilts)
Bi- Monthly project
2 of 6 blocks complete
Curved blocks
(Row for Sisterhood of Traveling Quilts)
Bi- Monthly project
(31 August)
Received but not started

It looks like a lot but most of the projects are almost done, they just need finishing.

Linking up to Finish Along 2015 & A Lovely Year of finishes (see buttons on the right).

Crazy June

Crazy stuff has been happening here over the last month….and that does not include the lightning hit our neighbors tree just took.

I found out it’s actually possible for me to finish 3 quilts (two 60 x 60″, one 48 x 48″) and a quilt top + back (which is being sent of for quilting) all in 1 month. “It takes a village” was the only finish I had planned for, as part of Finish – Along 2015, this quarter.

The other two finishes were secret projects but here is a sneak peek, as both will be released this month with patterns.

I also, finally got around to doing my Anna Maria Horner Mini Quilt for the swap, last night. I decided to use one of my original design from a Quilt Design a Day.

That became this 24″ square quilt top, where the stripes are 1/2″ pieced. I love how all the busy prints work so well together.

I learned a lot as I was making the mini, that I can apply into making a larger version and into writing up the instructions.

Linking up with Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday and with Adrianne @ On the Windy Side.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side