Thursday, 13 October 2011

What it takes to get me quilting...

... a sick friend, apparently.

So it was time for a cheer-you-up little quilt, the motif was chosen based on an insider joke of ours...

I don't think I've done a scene like this before, but it was fairly basic.

I sketched my scene, then layed out scraps of fabric that I had at hand until the image worked for me:

Next, I ironed the small scraps to heat'n'bond and laid them out as I wanted them, as a final check of fabric choices. The larger pieces I cut to size but didn't heat'n'bond them:

I then sewed the background layers to a foundation piece of muslin, ironed the small heat'n'bond pieces on top (I always have a hard time getting them to stick to the base... I might heat them too much when I attach the paper to the applique piece. When the backing paper is removed, the glue is supposed to look milky, and it doesn't always do that, even though I have the setting on silk and only count to 2 seconds as per instructions. Maybe I count too slowly!). Then I outline quilted things like the palmtree leaves, the sun, the umbrella, person and beatch towel. The palm trunk, sand, ocean and sky received matching patterns and the sun got some extra rays:
It finished at around 8x12" which fits perfectly into a large brown envelope with 2 chocolate bars another little gift and a long letter. Started the quilt on Friday, worked on it again Sunday and had it in the mail on Tuesday - hopefully some of the rays of sunshine will reach my friend!

I've been doing a *little* bit of other quilting too. Days are getting colder and darker outside! More about that some other day, I've had enough of slow internet for one day!!!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Triangles and squares

Playing with some charms (Moda Wonderland) to make an easy-peasy quilt. Sometimes easy does it.

The rest of the charm pack (all the pinks and browns) are going into this HST-quilt. I think I have enough charms in the right colour-line. I'll just have to get creative if I don't. They're sewn together, but I have to press them, and I seem to be very reluctant to pull out the old ironing board! :) Funnily enough, I posted about these HSTs before, when I had "decided" on a layout :) So times change...

That carpet, by the way, is horrific. I miss my old hardwood floors dearly, but that's what you get when you rent ;) Not sure how I'll baste my next big quilt, I've never done anything other than tape them to the floor during basting... a first for everything!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

On the workfloor

I started quilting one of my galactic wall hangings (the set of 3); I just checked an older post for the actual name: Triple Constellation.

I'm trying to blend the 'incomplete' circles so that it looks like a full circle. Have a couple of additional layers of thread to go to blend it better:

I also pulled out a project I started earlier this year - or maybe late last year. I think I called it Warm & Fuzzy because of the burgundy/wine colours. I'm still making matching green blocks; my plan is to lay them out checker-board style, but if that doesn't look good, I'll do something with the individual colour combos...

Let's see how much time I'll get to actually work on these projects. Having them laid out on the living room floor should be enough of an inconvenience, I mean, incentive to get quilting, eh? :)

I'm just updating my side-menu. The Chicks&Elephant baby quilt in white is out of my hands. I gave it to a colleague of mine who had a very difficult pregnancy and basically was prescribed bedrest starting in month 2 of the pregnancy. I was hopping that on her good days, she might be up for making a special quilt for her little one, so I basted the quilt for her and gave her husband instructions on how to hand-quilt since she wasn't up for receiving visitors at the time. No idea if the idea worked, but the baby was born in great shape in July, phew!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Hooray, it's working!

Thank your for your advice about google reader! It's much easier to follow my favourite blogs now, though as was pointed out to me, I still have to load the blogs to comment, so please forgive me if you don't get many comments from me anymore!

I've worked on a couple of pieces recently:

1) finally started the quilting on Free As A Bird (see sidebar). So far, I'm doing the brainless stitch-in-the-ditch (with brainless, I mean that I didn't have to think about what to do, it's pretty obvious, no marking or designing required :) I still think it's one of the most difficult quilting methods - it's so easy to slip out of the ditch and then it looks pretty sloppy!), but I ideas for the large grey triangles are brewing...

2) I used the rest of the drunkard's path blocks to make 3 wall hangings (they're just stuck together on my make-shift designwall right now. It's not so much a design wall as a 'get things off the floor' method, since my floorspace here is much more limited than before... I think I may have shown pictures of these wall hanging triplets before (pre-sewn together).

Well, my quilting output is still not up to pre-move-levels. There's just so much other fun stuff to do here! Come winter, it'll probably pick up again :)

Bear with me, and happy quilting!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

This is the new style

... of my blogging life. Gone are the days of a post every 2 days. Ah, I never treasured wireless internet as much as I should have while I still had it!

I'm not livng out in the boons, working with a mobile internet stick since there is no affordable faster version here. The next village is supposed to get glassfibre cables maybe this year...

So as I read pages of books while waiting for a quilting blog to load, my patience for uploading my own pictures wears thin. (can someone tell me if using google reader means that all the latest posts of blogs I choose show up in one place, rather than having to load each individual blog with the many photos that come with it (including from old posts which I've already read)... I'd really like to catch up in my blog reading, but right now, it's just not doable! Help!)

On top of the internet handicap, I've just not been quilting as much. The area around here is beautiful, so I spend more time outside than I used to. Maybe that'll drive me to handquilting ;) I did some applique today, out in the sunshine.

I only did that because I had to sew some really weird curved shapes together that I couldn't do by machine, and the reason I had to do that in the first place was to finish this small quilt top:

It's made from two UFOs, my Sunset on Water convergence experiment and my Drunkard's Path experiment. For some reason, this quilt made me think of planets while I was working on it, so it's my Solar System quilt now :) The drunkard's path blocks measure 5.5" finished, making this about 38" square.

There are 4 odd blocks in this quilt top, e.g. the 3rd block to the right and also the 3rd block up from the bottom left corner in the outside row. I was 4 drunkard path blocks short and had used all my fabric, but I still had 12 of the cut out pieces from making the drunkard's path blocks, so I picked the 3 neighbouring fabrics to my 'gap blocks' and cut the pieces up and sewed them back together to make a 6" square. The fabric was *just* enough! No room for mistakes there!

I think this will be a good small starter project to get me going on quilting again. But either way, the days of frequent blogging are over until the internet speeds up around here...

Thursday, 5 May 2011

I Found A Quilt Shop!

I was exploring the area in northern Germany, where I live now, and almost missed this quilt store (the only one around, as far as I can see online). I had, in fact, already walked by it, but noticed the huge patchwork scottie and thought, hey, I need to take a photo for my blog readers!

Then I wanted to see what type of store has a giant patchwork scottie out front, and lo and behold! it's a quilt store :)

I went inside, where a young South American looking/sounding guy was working behind the cutting table/cash register, who said I could take photos if I wanted to - great!

They had a lot of ribbons, buttons and embroidery stuff, and a nice selection of fabrics, though as always, much more expensive than I'm used to buying (would be around 24$Can/meter, incl. tax), yikes!

I only bought a panel, which was about 1/2 or 3/4 yard of the Duck Duck Goose fabric. I already had two prints from that series, blogged about a long while ago, and never new what to do with them... Now I know :) I dredged up the photos of the old fabrics:

I live in the countryside now, and everything is already in bloom here! Check it out, true spring, not something piddly like the one week I used to get in PEI! It's heaven :)

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Now Broadcasting From A New Location

Hello quilting friends! My cross-Atlantic move is done (my part, anyway, all my fabrics, sewing machine etc. just left Canada... what a long wait that'll be!).

After a bit of a stay at my mom's place, I've now moved into my own apartment in the country side. In 3 days, I start my new job at a publishing house 4 km from here, it's a beautiful bicycle commute through green fields and forests in the distance.

Since I have nothing new to show in recent quilting, I present you instead with what might well be my actual first quilt, if you can call it a quilt (it's missing a crucial quilt feature, namely, the quilting!).

I must have made this blanket at a time when I had heard about the art of patchwork.

My mom had bought a sample patch from an upholstery store (you know all the different swatches). I basically laid those out and sewed them together, put an old towel underneath as 'batting' and used some other denim-like, black material as backing and fold-over border/binding. The thread guaranteed was polyester, and I have no clue what fibres are in the swatches... some cotton, but the rest?

Points are not too bad, though, eh??? I have no idea what type of seam allowance I used. Certainly not 1/4"!

Now, if you've ever sat there and scratched your head about how to do binding and borders, do not despair. Just do something, it'll work, as this blanket proves:

The corners are certainly mitered, but I have absolutely NO clue how I did that... let's call it 'unique', shall we?
Here's the back, and you can see: it's not quilted. I guess I didn't know that part about quilting.

If I'm bored one afternoon at my mom's place, I might tie it. I've never tried that before. You just take wool and poke the needle through and right back up again, then tie the ends, right? Might make it a bit more usable. I'd use grey wool, I think, to make it blend in...

Well, unless I find another old project (I have some photos of recently (i.e. March) finished tops floating around somewhere...) to report on, that's it until my stuff arives (3 weeks or more?). I've heard horror stories of container goods being delayed for months because of customs, but worse, someone mentioned yesterday that "containers often have problems with vermin and bugs... perfect conditions in there!" - except, what do they eat??? My fabrics are all well packed, so I'd say nothing can get in there, but I won't say that because of Murphy's law - my one superstition :)

You guys quilt some quilts in my stead, okay?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Quilt Raffle Winner!!

Today was the big day of the quilt raffle draw! I was set up at the Farmer's Market by 9am, sold another 60 or so tickets before 1pm which brought me to a grand total of $1565 raised, awesome!

My display at the Farmer's Market - I managed to get the same wonderful spot again, right by the entrance!

Good thing I started folding the 900+ tickets early, it took about 2 hrs and a young woman from the cheese booth next to me helped out :) (she also took all the photos that have me in it)

A lot of tickets...

The manager of the market, Roger, agreed to draw the winner at 1pm. Here he is shaking the tickets up.

No peeking while he drew the winner

Here it comes... Roger drawing the winner of the raffle quilt

And the winner is... someone named Angela, who according to my records bought her tickets at the market 3 weeks ago. I can't believe someone I don't know won the quilt, after so many of my tickets were bought by people I know! I can't believe that our former summer student, bought 100$ worth of tickets, didn't win the the quilt!

A shot for the memory book!

Calling the winner with the good news... I got an answering machine!

So hopefully, I can track Angela down soon and get the quilt to her! I feel bad for all the nice people (known and unknown to me) who bought tickets but I'm very happy to send 3x more money than I had hoped to Doctors Without Borders on Monday!

I've updated the Raffle Quilt blog if you want to see the final progress of my fundraising!

I'm not sure what to do with my life now... I have no more tickets to sell, I feel lost. Oh well, as soon as I get home the cardboard boxes will remind me of what to do with my life :)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Jen's Tree All Grown Up

It was a big project, now it's a big quilt and that means this will be a big post! Lean back and enjoy :)

The quilt was presented at my March guild meeting, but unfortunately, I didn't get any good pictures from that, so what follows was taken at night, on the floor of my apartment :)

One thing I will point out is that I changed some things from this photo: 1) see the zig-zag line to the left of the trunk? I didn't like the look of that falling leaf, too unnaturally straight, so I took it out and did a softly looping float-to-the-ground line. 2) not/or barely visible on this photo, there was unquilted space around the crown of the tree - I filled most of that in and even quilted over the edge onto the border and am happy I did - I didn't want batting to float around the edge in 5 years!

On my home floor it looks like this:

To start the story at the beginning, my friend Jen asked for this quilt and picked some photos of the net, one of which happened to be a wall-hanging from Anne of Film and Thread, one of the blogs I love to keep up to date with. I used her tree shape and the fallen/falling leaves as inspiration but chose a different (simpler) leaf shape since I appliqued instead of Cherokee printed, and I added a border. Anne had pebbled the ground around the tree trunk, and I knew I needed to pebble something because when Jen first asked for a quilt, it was in reaction to my Mossy Monkey Mechanic, which is pebble-central. So to not copy Anne entirely, I pebbled around the leaves/crown of the tree. Oof, lots and lots of pebbling (I calculated that I used roughly 1.5 km of plum thread doing the pebbling, based on the # of bobbins I used (I went through 1 and a half spools of 1200 m thread of the plum colour alone, but that includes other quilting and some piecing).

I knew from the beginning how I wanted to quilt the trunk:

Next came all the pebbling - a loooooong time quilting those! My foot got so hot from the pedal some days, I had to stop because it burned even through the sock (luckily, no meltdown of wires in the pedal!)

I quilted in the ditch around the squares in the border and it looks really puffy when you bent down to eye-level (does a quilt have an eye-level??) - more so than in this photo!

I was stumped about what to quilt in the empty space between leaves and ground. I considered flowers (too cheesy), a mountainous horizon (too clichee) and ended up putting in what I consider the best compliment in the world: "Stay as you are"
To not have that be too cheesy, I made the letters organic, so to say, by having them sprout leaves, flowers of different shapes, have roots penetrate the ground etc. I figured it wouldn't be quite so obvious and would have to be pointed out to most people, so it's a little code-compliment to my friend. Plus it gives her something to discover everytime she looks at the quilt (though I stopped before I started having raccoons poke out of the letter A or woodpeckers chopping away at the T... :)

Then I had some leaves falling, either quilted or appliqued, also inspired by Anne:

The leaves are rough-edge appliqued, and I bet they would look a lot nicer hand-appliqued since I like clean edges, but I figured rough edges are more natural and I would still be appliqueing leaves now if I'd done it by hand.

The backing shows the quilting nicely in the eggplant-coloured space, and the leaves puff out against the pebbled background.

I used up almost every scrap of fabric Jen gave me! Hence the patch-worked, random backing :)

I delivered it last Friday and wow, was she happy! That's the best about quilting, next to finishing a quilt... when the recipient really really likes the quilt and appreciates the work and shows interest in how it was done... makes me absolutely happy :)

So, between this quilt and the raffle quilt (I'm at 1364$!!!!!!!!!!!), I've been busy, and on top of all that, I'm moving across an ocean in less than 2 weeks, so my fabrics are packed and there won't be any quilting (or a bare minimum if I manage to squeeze a small project into my hand-luggage) for the next 6 weeks (shipping things by freighter takes a long time!).

Please stay tuned, I'm sure I'll come up with something to blog about :)

Oh, and I know someone will ask: I think it's around 75" x 100", which is supposed to fit a queen-sized bed with 1 foot overhang all around. I used polyester batting to get the fluffyness - I always buy the thick/high loft stuff and tear it in two. This is my first quilt using Connecting Threads thread for the whole thing. I had a lot of breakage and was warned correctly that this thread is very "dusty", but I do love the many colour choices. The breakage got less when I slowed down a bit... my my, you should see me pebbling, I'm just zooming around in circles! :)