25 February 2006

All done!

It's finished, done, over!

I gave away the Monsoon quilt this past Saturday. When I started the preparations for this quilt, I had wanted it to be a Christmas present for my mum. Because of our move, frequent travelling and a rather deep slump in motivation, it didn't get done in time. So it became a birthday present. And a Thank You, because when we still lived locally and I was first pregnant with my second baby and then had two babies to juggle, my mum was an endless source of energy and help. She always puts herself last and I wanted to let her know that I really appreciate all her support.

The back side complete with its label.

The central pattern somehow sticks out a bit with all that machine quilting around it. Had I had more time, I might have added something in the middle but I didn't, so I didn't.

Having come into quilting under the tutelage of a determined hand quilter, I first struggled with the concept of machine quilting. After I took a class about ten months ago, I always wanted to practise more but never did. This quilt though completely sold me on machine quilting. It was very good fun and also incredibly EFFICIENT!!!

My next project will be a baby quilt for my soon to be Godson Harrison. (And not the square quilt but I will do that eventually too!)

20 February 2006

Getting way ahead of myself

All this reading of blogs and seeing how fast some of those quilters work got me motivated. Well, their speed and the sudden realisation, that quilting is not a spectator sport, at least not when it should be fun. So, in that spirit, this is the general lay-out idea for that "quadrature" quilt:

I will use up some of the old shirts my husband donated, the central section being the darkest, the top the lightest and the bottom the "mid" selection. The back will be all white but mirror the front design. I think I'll either quilt in the ditch or a few mm from the seams.

In addition to that I'll need a "hand" project, something to do when sitting on the sofa. This will probably be a baby quilt using the African animals and matching fabric I already have.

19 February 2006

Show and Tell Sunday

Last night I finished hand-quilting the lap quilt for my mum. D day is next Friday, which means I need to be done Thursday night. The fact that I am out Tuesday and Thursday nights isn't really helping. Oh well.

The reverse, complete with label saying "Especially for you, with Love from Dorothee"

Now it just needs to be machine-quilted in swirls. This by the way is my first attempt at machine quilting, dating back to March 1995. And no, I've not practised since :-(

It's a doll quilt made of left-overs passed down to me from a class-mate from my first quilting class in Manchester. The colour scheme will give anyone a head-ache. But the pink organza on top of the yellow and pink fabric complete with hippos worked quite well and gave me something to quilt around.

And then, this is my next project: Remember all those shirts I collected? I will make them into a bed spread using this squared square. It's a mathematical mystery showing the minimum number and size of squares needed to form a bigger square.

14 February 2006

A bunch of flowers for Valentine's

I am contemplating joining a quilting circle but thus far, none have really convinced me ... so I have to plow on solo. But at one of the groups, a lady was showing her floral appliqu├ęs that I found quite impressive.

and my fave, the poppy.

13 February 2006

My first question ;-)

A few days ago, I received this eMail:

"I recently discovered your blog online and was thrilled to see the most recent post - the burgundy quilt with the contrasting quilting thread. The pattern is beautiful so far - I hope you keep posting pictures as the project progresses!

I'm new to quilting. I'm working on my first quilt top, a simple block design that I'm hand stitching (my sewing machine is about 5000 kms away at the moment!). I haven't started any actual quilting yet, and for this project I'll probably do very simple quilting following the lines of my blocks to learn to stitch evenly - but I have a question! I hope to do more elaborate quilting patterns in the future, like yours, and wonder how you plan your quilting design? Do you draw the lines you'll follow on the fabric with chalk, or what?
How do you make sure it's centred and even on all sides? I'm learning on my own so there's no one here to ask for advice (I'm living temporarily in Halifax, Canada, and can't find any local quilters, alas)."

First of all, thanks for asking little old me! As for your questions: I didn't really "plan" this quilt anywhere beyond this stage:

This is a shot of all the little images cut from two or three returns of the Monsoon fabric placed onto the backgroud fabric with the border fabric laid to the side.

Looking back I've been quite speedy in applying all these little quadrangles because this following shot is dated July 1:

and this was taken on July 26

In the meantime, I had chosen a design from a book on (traditional) Indian designs:

As you can see, the design is not square. I managed to find a way around that by copying an eighth of the whole design to make myself a quarter. Huh? Imagine a clock: I took the part from noon to 1:30 o'clock and copied it, traced those line on the reverse side of my copy, cut out that new "piece of cake" and attached it to my first part so that it became 1:30 o'clock to 3 o'clock. This quarter I copied four times on a copying machine, taped it together and had my "master plan".

Out of this I cut the centre piece:

traced this using a quilting pencil - but I've been told that regular coloured pencils work just as well. Some use slivers of soap which wash away, obviously. But the pencil fades too, so no worries there.

The outer part of my design gave me a heart-ache when I started making the stencils for tracing. So I gave up on accuracy and just "went with the flow". It is reasonably crooked but, hey, this is hand-made. It doesn't need to be exact and square. It won't be anyway.

This was the most difficult part: giving up on exact lines and succumbing to the hand-made look.

So far, it's coming along nicely, I'll just have to finish the centre piece and then do a bit more free hand swirly loopy machine quilting. I hope to have it completed by February 23 but I'm not holding my breath.

To go back to your original question, I don't really plan my quilts so far. I have a faint idea of what I want to have and just plow ahead. To me, quilting is a lot about the process itself. I have two small children and a very busy life, quilting to me is luxury, unwinding on the sofa and relaxing while still seeing a result. Also, some quilts need wonkiness, such as these:

- a quilt made by Tonya - or this one:

- the Stargazey Cuppaz quilt by Jan.

If you click on those photos, the link will take you to Tonya's and Jan's blog to check out their other works, too. I can only recommend that ;-)

9 February 2006

Because my progress shots ...

didn't turn out well at all, I thought I'd at least post this:

It's a snippet of a Klimt portrait and I love the different patterns that seem to almost interlock.