7 December 2005


I read few blogs on a daily basis, Fibermania is among them ... and I struck gold today! Mrs Mel is talking about her new sketchbook and showing drawings from her old one. I'm a bit obsessed with sketch books myself, though I am not using them much at all. I even bought a book on artistic journal keeping: "Drawing from Life: The Journal as Art".

But when I saw the old sketches, I realised that I was "medium" blind in one of mine. I had attempted to paint our old house in a rather more abstract way. It looked naff (and rather like the MSWindows logo). Now I know: it calls for a quilt!

I'm pleased and now have another project waiting to be begun. That's a "yay" and a "not-so-yay" all rolled into one.

30 November 2005

19 November 2005

Everybody's knitting, I'm scrapping instead!

I'm happy to say that scrapbooking and quilting are complementary hobbies. Why? you ask. Because you can use Fiskars cutting mats for both! This is as good a reason as any for me to talk about scrapbooking here.

I've just picked up my albums again and really need to crack on with them. I have about four years of photos to put in - and that's those four years when I seriously got into photography ... sigh. So I attended a scrapbooking event at my local International Women's Club. It was excellent fun and got me started again. Ever since though, my massive bag is sitting right where I dropped it when I got back from said event late at night.

To help with my scrapbooking, I decided to take an art class that sort of deals with calligraphy. It's more about old fonts and proper handwriting. But it will hopefully come in handy once I journal in my albums. Can you believe that after SEVEN years of marriage, there isn't a single word written into my wedding album (here, we don't get them done professionally by the photographer, but do them ourselves)?

Off to my "to-mend-basket" so that I can pick up my quilting again tomorrow. I'm already terribly tempted to buy more fabric. That's all I ever do, it seems. Buy fabric, squirrel it away and then not do anything with it. I need my own sewing table!

Spammers beware ...

because my blog now has a new feature to keep automatic comments away, let's see if it works.

3 November 2005

Moth balls!?!

The question I actually meant to put out there - just before my mind side-tracked me - is this:

how does everybody deal with moths? Do they even exist where you are? Do you use artificial moth repellents? Sandal wood? Lavender?

I have my own fabric to think of and then my husband dropped the last two metres - ever! - of vintage upholstery fabric for his vintage (dare I say it?) Porsche in my lap. It's a gorgeous tweed and needs to be stashed away for future car seat maintenance. It must not under any circumstances become moth fodder!

Any thoughts?

Getting back onto the horse

I'm slowly, ever so slowly getting back onto the horse with quilting. Googling my local town and nearest big city in connection with the term quilting has churned out an excellent online and offline shop (needless to say, I've already placed an order at Patchcom.de as well as a few leads on local quilting groups. The largest, The Black Forest Quilters at this time unfortunately does not accept any new non-military members, which seems to have something to do with quotas and what-not for their being accepted as an official guild. And then, the inimitable Mrs Mel pointed me in the direction of Kristin LaFlamme, who lives a lot closer to me than to most of you out there. We're actually less than two hours away from each other and I will start campaigning for a non-military personnel class of her's before she ups sticks and moves away.

But for now it seems that I will have to make do with local German quilting groups, which is just as well.

Furthermore, I've traced the next sections of my embroidery design onto paper for it to be transfered onto fabric and stitched at some stage. Because one day, this shall become a present for my mum.

I have now not done any quilting for 2 1/2 months and I am feeling the emotional effects of it. I only realised this recently but quilting - the fact that at night I do something I love that is pretty much purely hedonistic, yet creative in the literal sense of the word - has become a sort of medication to me. It helps me keep my sanity. And because it is something none of my friends or relatives (can) do, I gain a sense of accomplishment from it that is enormously beneficial to my somewhat shredded sense of self (-esteem).

Once I get the "den" (a.k.a. basement a.k.a. office) in shape, I also hope to be able to continue painting. I am full of ideas but lack the work space. How I long for my own creative space!

27 October 2005

Alhambra Impressions

On a recent visit to Spain, I've been to the Alhambra in Granada. I don't think I have ever seen anything this beautiful. We had a fabulous guide who took the time to explain the idea behind the building as well as all the little architectural intricacies. During its hey-day, the Alhambra was the centre of pan-religious understanding, a liberal place that brought together Christians, Jews and Muslims to further their understanding of one another.

I've been especially taken by the intricate tiling, which all dates back roughly 650 years:

What a nice way to divert from the fact that I haven't made a single stitch in two months.

15 September 2005

The state of things ...

I don't think I've quilted since my last post. We moved house in late August and I also went to Shanghai. Then we got a new au pair, our first, from Iowa, she's lovely! Having Laura is quite a relief to me but having moved means that I spend my spare time struggling with boxes. The den is in the process of getting into shape. My office desk area looks horrendous and needs to get sorted really quickly, otherwise I'll be receiving many angry letters asking for money long over-due. Then there are all those boxes filled to the hilt with fabric, yarn, batting, paints, canvasses, photos, scrapbooking supplies, inspirational items, mementoes, diaries, more photos ...

Deadline is early next week when my best friend comes to stay for one night on a business trip - the den doubles up as a guest room.

I did empty 18 boxes today, that's good, isn't it?! Now I need to go to IKEA to get some more shelving. ...

11 September 2005

How to make an American Quilt

This is what my quilting has been reduced to recently: telly! But at least the theme was spot-on! I had read the book eons ago and didn't really warm to it at all. Now I came across the dvd at a very good price on Amazon so I thought I'd get it. Well, the story's still kinda flat but I liked the sections on quilting, the process, the old lady's lecture on composition and the dynamics of the quilting bee. Too bad we don't have that here!

19 August 2005

Ha! Sorted ...

I finally found a good way to blow up and contort the original design into the size and shape needed. Photoshop and black felt tip pens were the tools of choice here.

Then I made templates and cut them out to trace with my quilting pencil and then the quilting began. I'm quite pleased with the results so far.

11 August 2005

Tracing the design

I've emailed with Susan Druding of About.com fame. She's been incredibly helpful. Based on my initial thoughts and her invaluabe input, this is my current game plan:

I’ve managed to size the template using Photoshop, now it’s just a bit crooked. I’ll redraw it and then I’ll decide whether to just tack through it in order to trace it with tread or to cut it up and trace around the edges with coloured pencil. We shall see.

In the larger areas, I’ll just do a swirly design, I think. Or I’ll appliqué scraps taken from the cut-off of the border fabric. I’ve got elephants and jewels to choose from. Another “we shall see”.

1 August 2005

Pins, pins and more pins

I spent all of last night on my hands and knees - thank you lovely Persian rug for making it a bit more comfy - pinning the border to my quilt top, the wadding to the top, binding and bottom, cutting said wadding to size etc. It's now ready for further assembly ... with the help of my trusted Janome.

(And yes, the most crookedest appliqués will be redone, sigh)

31 July 2005

Centre piece design

This is the design I chose from that book of Indian Designs as a centre piece for the now-assembled quilt.

Needless to say, it's warped, does not have the dimensions I need and I have no idea how to transfer it properly ... sigh.

But I asked Susan D. for help so let's see ;-)

26 July 2005

Next: Machine Assembly

All appliqued (shouldn't it be "applied"?) so I'm really to assemble ... which means I will have to break out my sewing machine. I always dread that and then I don't want to return it to its case. Schizo, I know.

And while I work up my courage, I'll better check out the designs for the centre of the quilt.

24 July 2005

Being results-driven

I spoke to my cousin yesterday, she's not actually my real cousin, instead she's married to him. But I've known her for more than half her life and a lot more than half of mine.

She's a professional musician (piano) and music professor. She's also mother of two children. While she gets some flac for her mothering ways, she's indisputably great at music. I never fail to be amazed by her performing persona. And I enjoy discussing creativeness/art/music with her.

We spoke about my quilting and I said that I enjoy (in fact crave and neeeeed) quilting because it leaves me with a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day that I do not get out of motherhood. To me, my mothering is marked by my contemplating my shortcomings. I constantly question myself and find areas in dire need of improvement. This in combination with the lack of input caused by Alex's absence during the week, makes my days a tad tough.

I long for a time when I'll be able to interact more with adults and when I have more time for my "art". I shy away from that term in connection with my creations as art should be of a higher value than what I produce. But to hell with that, I *enjoy* what I do. Contemplating new projects gives me energy and drive. At times, it allows me to fall asleep when I'm battling insomnia caused by being overly stressed.

While I set up this blog in order to keep track of my projects, it's nice to just write down thoughts and motivations without addressing anybody in particular.

22 July 2005


This isn't really related to quilting but the instructions are really interesting: The FunkyC Way of Tie-Dyeing as well as instructions on knot tying. The result is really scrumptious:

and reminds me of an old tee I have that may find its way into the planned tee shirt quilt.

To count to 30 is not an easy feat!

Apparently I hadn't prepped all 30 patches for my Easter hols and completely forgot that there were more than 20. Which I'd already ironed, folded, pinned etc. All of a sudden, when looking at my layout, I found out that there were another ten. Oh well ...

I think I also need to rework the design a little to accommodate for seams, something that escaped me earlier. Which makes fusing sound like a much more practical choice. But it's a lap quilt to be used frequently - or so I hope. So sewing it is. Plus what else am I to do in the evenings with hubby being away MON-FRI?

6 July 2005

Mighty pleased!

My appliqué is coming along nicely, I've got 8 of 20 complete already. I'm really very pleased with my progress, especially considering that when I first did appliqué in class, I hated it. In fact, we all hated it, the group had never been that belligerent about their little project as when we did our fl*ming turkey tracks (that have since become a UFO).

3 July 2005


Now that I've finished my baby quilt (including the mandatory bragging ;-), I'm wondering how to label it. I know what needs to go onto the label but I don't really want to hand-embroider it. I guess I'm looking for a lazy and faster, neater way to do it.

Any ideas?

1 July 2005

One down, 19 to go

... and granted: it's crooked too. But I can always correct that during assembly.

And this will be the lay-out of the end result, hopefully, with the quilting pattern still to be selected.

29 June 2005

A Cultural Creative is what I supposedly am ...

... though I don't have a lot to show for it.

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com

26 June 2005


It's finished ... yay, about nine hours before Birthday Girl woke up!

It's only taken me five months, I'm rather pleased ... I had counted on this being finished in something like five years, hah!

30 May 2005

Almost done!

I've almost finished my little girl's playmat:

This is the top ... and close up:

This is the back - which I never thought would look this good when I started struggling through the rather thick wadding.

and close up:

I just need to finish a wee bit of quilting on the top, then I need to cut the wadding to size and finish the border which will be attached via blind-stitching to the back.

3 May 2005

Lots of new links

I've added lots of new links ...

How to Print onto Fabric

Remember how intrigued I was by print transfers onto fabric. A lot of more knowledgeable quilters do it. I've asked a few and among them, Lynne Heller was kind enough to respond and tell me this:

"The way I print onto organza is to iron the organza to some freezer paper (sometimes referred to as butcher paper). It has a slightly waxy side that temporarily holds the fabric in place to the paper. I then cut it to the width my printer can print but I make it as long as I want, like a banner. I then feed it through my inkjet printer then I remove the organza from the freezer paper and wash it. If you would like a stronger image after washing then try to track down a solution sold in North American as ‘Bubblejet’. It helps set ordinary inkjet ink so not so much of it washes away."

Now, Gerrie also prints onto fabric, but honestly, it sounds like quite an intellectual challenge to me: "I printed on fabric three different ways. The easiest is to soak in Bubble Jet Set. After it is dry, cut the fabric and piece of freezer paper to 8 1/2 X 11. Iron the fabric to the freezer paper and print. I also do Citrasolve transfer. You need a bottle of full strength Citrasolve ( I get mine at a health food store) Print the text from the computer, then make a copy (in reverse) from a carbon based copier. I am lucky to have an old Cannon copier. The new digital copiers don't work so you need to test. Any way, place the reversed copy over the fabric. Daub on some citrasolve in a small area and rub with a wooden or metal spoon to transfer the copy. Work in small areas. It is a good idea to tape everything down. Third, I have a thermofax and sometimes make a screen and screenprint text with textile paint."

This is the way I originally did it:
In class back in England we sometimes used really cheaply printed paper bags, like those from sweets shops etc. We cut the shapes we wanted, placed them onto the fabric, printed side down and ironed as hotly as the fabric would allow. Then, you could quilt around the shape printed. Naturally, with each "print", the template became weaker and the result less visible.

I may get around to finding the sample I made, if I do, I'll post it.

2 May 2005

The Loot

I've received all bar one shipment from my ebay dealings and am busting at the seams with ideas!

This is the loot:

A lot of what you can see is Bassetti fabric that I will turn into plaids. I've bought fleece blankets and bed linen as wadding and backing. Now all I need is a big table to get to work.

At the right hand side you see mainly decorative silks used for curtains and cushion covers. I'll use some of that as background for my first art quilt. There's also some embroidered silk fabric, also meant for soft furnishings, which I will use for whatever. And then plenty of green organza. I originally wanted soft pink / rose coloured organza so we shall see.

28 April 2005

I'm getting closer to obtaining a "studio"

or rather a work space. We will be moving this summer, hence there is a work room in my near future. A finished quilt? Not so much!

20 April 2005

Sucked into the vortex ...

as I am awaiting delivery of fabric purchased through ebay. I'm already toying around with layer ideas based on the lay-out I found. Gerrie's Eighth Sin quilt was a great source of ideas. Her posts on how she actually created the quilt have been insightful and inspiring.

I now am thinking about where I source the rest of the materials and how/where I get photos transfered onto fabric. And I'm wondering whether or not I should toy around with design ideas on paper or not. I'm reluctant to at the moment because I think I'll hinder my creative "juices" by getting too definite. So I think I'll stay away from that. All I have at the moment is a b/w print-out of Lynne Heller's quilt.

All I need now is a studio ;-)

18 April 2005


Check out Crazy for Fiber, Gerrie's blog. It's very inspiring. I have already picked up ideas for my art quilt and will keep my trap shut until I have actually started work on it.

Hopefully, Gerrie will shed some light onto how she does this and that.

Progress is being made ...

While I'm happily stitching away on my baby quilt / play mat, I'm also awaiting shipment of silks purchased for my artsy quilt project that I hope to have finished much more quickly than the others because I will be using my sewing machine mostly.

17 April 2005

"I'm going slightly mad ..."

is what Freddy Mercury said while he was on AIDS medication. Apparently that's what it does to you at times ...

With me, it's ebay or more specifically Italian Bassetti fabrics on ebay. I'm bidding and bidding and bidding and just cannot get enough.

On page 123 it says ...

"Back when I got into photography, camera dealers tried to sell camera buyers a normal lens with the camera body."

Taken from "The complete Idiot's Guide to Photography like a Pro", second edition.

Instructions found on the Crazy for Fiber blog owned by Gerrie:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what's actually next to you

11 April 2005

Infected by the Art Virus

... and here I am, with neither the time nor the space to do it. But I recently came across Lynne Heller's site and quilts and now my head is full of ideas for a "history quilt" based on this one called

"... there has been order in this house"

(c) Lynne Heller

7 April 2005

All for nothing!

So here I am, back from my hols, with a stuffed up head, clogged nose, no voice to speak of ... and no quilting done whatsoever. Considering the hours I put into preparing swatches of fabric, washing them, ironing them etc, this is rather disappointing.

Will get back on track once this bug has left

18 March 2005

Some things were not meant to be ...

which is why I have uninstalled Haloscan. Quite a short life cycle, that! But the blog looks cleaner and I will just have to live with the non-speed and (in)availability of blogger commenting.

17 March 2005

I have installed TrackBack

and have to confess that I have no idea whatsoever what TrackBack actually is. HaloScan's FAQ is down too, which isn't exactly helping. Also, I find that I don't exactly like how it's looking at the moment. Do I have to lose my old comments in order to make it look somewhat more respectable?

I will therefore turn to things about which I know a *little* bit more ... quilting ... and my new hand quilting frame. Drool!

But if anyone passing by this post knows what TrackBack is, please enlighten me!!!

14 March 2005

I'm speechless!

Look at this, this is a *quilt*!!!

It was made by Debra Danko. Have a look at her other works, they are fab!

11 March 2005

Mel's Fusing 101

Thank you for posting your Fusing 101 including the action shots. Unfortunately, I cannot comment at the moment, some blogger.com problem.


7 March 2005

The lay-out's done!

The individual images will be applied to individual patches that will then be patches together according to this layout. In the middle there will be a quilted "centrepiece" in an Indian-of-sorts (as in the country, not the Native Americans) design which I have yet to find. There will also be quilting around each applied image. So no sashing ...

Update: I've hopefully found a source for the centre piece:

I already have their book on Art Nouveau designs and though it is quite slim, it's packed with designs for all kinds of purposes. All are just black and whites therefore ideal for quilting and loads of other endeavours.

I will now have to iron it all so that I can take the patches on "hols" with me.

4 March 2005

Back from washing ....

This is it:

one return of Makower Monsoon Range as well as border fabric, the dark red originates from a VIP range of fabrics. It matches almost perfectly.

I think I will hand-applique the individual images from the return onto squares of the red fabric. When assembling I may use stripes of the border fabric as sashing, we shall see. I will begin the cutting of the return tonight so that I can spend the next week fretting over the layout before cutting the red fabric into squares.

This will be a lapquilt for my mum's 70th birthday in 2008 (yes, early, but this way I'm getting it done!).

3 March 2005

"Travel Quilt"

I've decided to prep a quilt top to take with me on holiday in a few weeks time so that whilst my in-laws bicker, I can hunker down and do some stitching. That should also take care of another one of my UFOs.

And I shouldn't forget washing the fabric this time around as it is the same red stuff I used in my delectable mountain design!

Off I go to wash, iron and cut to pieces.

That does not mean ...

that I've stopped working on the other quilt. I'll still do that in the evenings as a de-stressor!

26 February 2005

Moving right along ....

I am relatively pleased with the way this is turning out, though I anticipate that the recipient will have graduated college by the time I finish.

I've again added a few links, some of which I found through Kate's Perspective, which I love reading.

18 February 2005

Sick of the old lay-out

I quickly grew sick of the "old new" lay-out and am back to the original one now. Also, I picked up my quilting again last night. Sure sign that I'm on the road to recovery.

17 February 2005

Anna knits (I don't at the moment)

but since I refered to her, this is the site:
Anna Knits

Getting back on track ...

now that I've been ill for a week (have not been ill for a week for as long as I can remember, seriously) and to demostrate my getting-back-on-track-ness, I am posting photos:

Ta dah: my first ever quilt:

And the pile of fabric for my next project:

Now I'm planning on introducing progress bars à l'Anna knits. We shall see when I'm getting that accomplished.

24 January 2005

Off to a new project:

using 100% cotton fabric, all from IKEA, I will make a baby quilt for my second daughter (not that first daughter's bedspread is anywhere near finished but she will not need it until she is much older whereas this one is meant for playing on so will be used now).

I'm using a floral on cream pattern together with vivid stripes for the border and fabric from old bed linen as the backing (detecting a pattern here? bed linen?). There will be no patchworking in this project, just quilting along the pattern using a light blue yarn. The assembly will be done using my trusted Janome because I cannot be asked to sew so many straight lines.

I'm really excited about this project as I love the vivid colours of the fabric. Will add pictures as soon as poss.

20 January 2005

It's finished!

Yay, late THU night I finished my first all hand-made quilt. I will post a picture as soon as I can download the software needed for this (my usual laptop being sweeped for a virus so maybe I should stop the downloading but anyway ...).

It is a table cloth made entirely of Makower cotton fabrics, hand pieced over paper using 100% cotton Gütermann yarn and then hand-quilted using 100% cotton Gütermann quilting yarn. I am mighty pleased with myself and so is hubby.

19 January 2005

Oh, the addiction!

My new drug: not books, not CDs, no, fabric! I am currently into buying bed linen as it is much cheaper than "proper" patchwork fabrics and usually 100% cotton. Now I'll have to pray that hubby doesn't find my stash. I may therefore have to alter my list of un-started projects but time will tell.

Next job is to find out about flame-retardant wadding/batting. The one I saw yesterday goes up in flames in a literal instant. Not suitable for a baby blankie ... sigh! Plus it could be fluffier.

13 January 2005

Show Time ;-)

This is my first quilt, well, the first top I ever did. It's a sampler made entirely of 9 and 12 patch blocks in cotton fabric, solid yellow, blue check and red check (do I need to point out that the red fabric *bleeds*, argh?).

It will be a 1m * 2m bed spread for my elder daughter.

Edited to add: I will re-attempt to hand-quilt this monster, purely because I was hoping to receive wadding in the post but didn't which means I cannot start a new project but must finish an old one. Thankfully I went out the other week and got myself some sunshine yellow quilting yarn. So maybe it will be a joyous experience.

11 January 2005

My confession of the day:

... the number of unfinished - no, unstarted! - projects!

(1) all white fabric, samples from my FIL's job as a sales representative, to be turned into a star quilt, all machined probably.
(2) jungle animals and grass pattern to be turned into a baby quilt
(3) a selection of jewel design and colour fabrics to be turned into a lap quilt
(4) IKEA fabric to be turned into a baby quilt
(5) a finished top 1m by 2m of sample blocks to be turned into a bed spread
(6) a ton of men's shirts, all in different blues and different or no patterns
(7) a selection of Noah's Arc design fabrics to be turned into a baby quilt.
(8) a set of bed linen with blue-green stripes and matching floral design to be turned into a quilted-only quilt
(9) a set of bed linen with pink and red stripes and matching floral design to be turned into a quilted-only quilt

(Maybe I should start recruiting god-children in order to find owners for my quilts ...)

I thought I needed to start logging my projects

... so here you go:

I am currently finishing my first all-hand-made quilt. It is a "delectable mountain" with extensive hand quilting, all in Christmas-sy colours. I said I'd finish it for Christmas when I started it in early 2004. And I will finish it for Christmas - question is: which one. I dread washing this quilt as I have made the very stupid mistake of not washing the fabric before paper-piecing them. As I am using a dark red Makower fabric which bleeds excessively, this may also be my first ruined project.

I'll post a photo after I've finished the quilting and before the washing. Meanwhile I'm praying to the Laundry God that glo care's fabric protector sheets will protect my handiwork from bleeds.