Monday, April 27, 2015

Portrait Quilt

I just wanted to remind you that I am now blogging at . Here is a recent post - please come and visit me there.


I'm really struggling with blogging at the moment - I hear others say the same - but it really is a time sucking sport. I seem to have a lot of quilt requests at the moment which makes me more than aware of the time I'm spending away from my ever 'speeding to adult hood' little bunnies. This quilt however really deserves a little narrative.

I never thought I wanted children. Children plain scared me. When I fell pregnant with my first child I was petrified. I remember crying in check ups. The ultrasound pictures scared me. I remember standing in prenatal yoga and being asked to touch my belly and 'be at one' with my unborn child - to feel lucky - I didn't feel lucky I felt purely petrified. I barely made it through prenatal classes - in fact I turned to my husband at one point and said 'if I have to watch one more video I'm going to cry'. I didn't know what it was to have a child. I didn't know how it felt. I didn't know that the moment I saw her that I would fall so deeply in love that the past 9 months of petrification would melt away into pure awe. I didn't know that having her would be so much, mean so much. Since this little bundle arrived I've become addicted to the little people. I have 3 beautiful children whom I couldn't adore more - despite their tantrums and their insistence that my cooking is 'yuck'. I'd love to have more (i.e. read 'begged until all dignity is gone) but my husband insists that that shop is now shut!

So finishing this quilt which I have been saving the pajamas for for 6 years now (although I have only used the first 3 years of pj's in this one) marks something for me. Love - for sure - but also a strange confidence that I finally found to know that I could cut up theses precious things and do them justice. And sadly due to my mean husband that there will be no more little people coming along to dress in these cute clothes.

Can you spot Tinkerbell?

There was some distress from Bunny#2 when she saw her favorite Ariel Pj's had been included!

A huge thank you to my hugely talented friend Luke Haynes who taught me how to construct portrait quilts.

A huge thank you to my new equally as talented friend Karen McTavish who told me 'don't not do something just because you are scared' ... I will be taking that mantra to my grave.

And a big thank you to Michelle Jackson who's wonderful work I fist saw in my favorite Machine Quilting Unlimited and she showed me a different way to quilt portraits with tiny bubbles. I love the effect Michelle - thank you!!

I love this quilt.

And I love this little girl.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Rachael has moved

Hello to everyone. Thank you so much for following Rachael Rabbit for so many years. I want to let you know that I have moved this blog and will now be posting at . Please come and visit me there. You can also find me on Facebook  or Instagram .

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Memorial Quilt: Fallen Soldier

I have been working on a memorial quilt for the daughter of a Colonel who lost his life while serving in Iraq. 

When I received the box of clothes I was more than moved at the items that I had been sent. Included in the box was his favorite shirt (a red, white & blue Ralph Lauren cotton shirt), his camouflage jacket, a blue polo shirt and his dress uniform - in which he walked his daughter down the aisle when he gave her away at her wedding (black dress jacket & blue trousers with gold ribbon stripe.)

The quilt pattern is a Lone Star - which I think can be a very majestic pattern.


 There are feather swags between the points of the stars.

Each star point is made from the gold ribbed ribbon that went down the side of the dress pants. 

If there were any fabric remains the family had asked for a pillow or a doll. We had enough fabric for both. The pillow has many of the patches that I took off the camouflage jacket. The doll is made from some of the camouflage jacket and shirt material. Her hat is made from a cuff from the camouflage jacket and I added some gold buttons from the black dress jacket. My girls were cuckoo over this doll and kept coming to ask where the doll was, to stare at her AND asking when they would get a doll too.

The backing is flannel and the batting is wool. Even with the dense quilting the quilt was not stiff. Here is a shot of the back of the quilt for those of us who are obsessed with seeing the back of a quilt too!

Once the quilt was folded up ready to go home it looked so regal - I felt quite overwhelmed. I do hope that the family love it.

Monday, February 16, 2015

If you buy one thing this year ...

... it should be a couching foot.

Save your pennies or sell an arm or a leg. This thing is so much fun it should be outlawed!! (And yes this is a non smoker, non drinker, passionate free motion quilter talking - so I have a pretty low base to what 'fun' is!)

I went through my sketch book and tried pattern after pattern.

Monday, February 9, 2015

'What not to do' Quilt

Before I start ranting about this quilt I also want to say how much I have learnt from this quilt. Despite really struggling to finish it - but finish I did. I'm still not loving it - but I'm concentrating on the fact that it was a big learning experience for me.

Monday, February 2, 2015

February Lesson (& Giveaway): Thread

Don't forget to also check out January's Lesson: Beginners Guide to Free Motion Quilting.  But now onto thread.

I'll talk a little about thread below - but I also want to state my opinion about making things - it is very important to make something you like in a way that you like to make it. I don't believe that there is a right or wrong way. Personally I feel that it is the enjoyment of creating something that is important. It is important to stay open to learn new things - be open to new ideas too - be open to change the way you do something - be open to allow your way of thinking to change as your creative journey continues.

When you start exploring the world of free motion quilting it is important to use a thread that you AND your machine like. Choose a color that makes you happy and that you think is pretty. I found that when I was starting the bright Coats & Clark multipurpose threads I found at JoAnn's worked really well (I hear a collective gasp of horror!) It really doesn't matter what the thread is - what you are practicing is to relax enough to enjoy the process (this was the hardest thing I found to do) and how to repeat the same movement over and over again - worrying about what sort of thread you are using is pretty low on the spectrum at the beginning of your FMQ journey.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Cold Weather Kids Activities: Surfing Competition

It was snowing - too cold to play outside.

We found some cardboard and cut them into surf boards. The kids painted them (which was a surprisingly lengthy project.)

Monday, January 26, 2015

January Lesson: Beginners Guide to Free Motion Quilting & Giveaway results

First for the results. Julie's comment from Better than I deserve! was selected by the ever faithful random number selector. 

Julie said: I like doing free motion but need more ideas and practice!!. 

Congratulations Julie - I hope that this book helps you with ideas and pushes you to practice, practice, practice!!!!

I loved all your comments from the January Lesson & Giveaway post - I wanted to answer some of the comments/questions.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

C- in Social Media (continued)

I seem to be working on a lot of things I can not yet share with you so here are some recent pictures I have taken with my phone & probably failed to post them anywhere ....

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cloud 9 Cirrus Solids

I'm sure you have seen this advert for Cloud 9's range of Cirrus Solids. They are GORGEOUS colors and fabrics to touch. I was really taken with them when quilting this top - soft and vibrant.

Monday, January 5, 2015

January Lesson (& Giveaway): Beginners Guide to Free-Motion Quilting

During 2015 I hope to push myself further along the free motion quilting path and also perhaps teach a few people some little things (I keep being asked - eeek!) Teaching sort of terrifies me - because I'm pretty shy and I often worry I'm not qualified enough to impart useful pieces of information. So to warm myself up to the idea I'll be putting a little lesson out once a month accompanied by a little giveaway.


Years ago I took a lesson on free motion quilting way before I could do anything (even try anything) that resembled free motion quilting on a quilt. The lesson terrified me and I never did a drop of free motion quilting again for over a year. I then completed a very very small project (a small zippered pouch) that somehow gave me the confidence to do more quilting. It has been a long journey with many doubts and dips but over all there is only one thing that has helped me improve and that is the really boring word of 'practice'. I know I have said this over and over again.

And so to encourage someone to take the same leap as I did and push through those doubts I want to start a series of lessons and little giveaways in 2015 - that will be focused on giving you that extra little push to drop those feed dogs on your machine and get quilting.

My tips for beginning free motion quilting are: