29 December 2008

Disappearing Nine-Patch

I needed something to brighten up my day mainly spent on post-Christmas-clean-up ... despite my not wanting to start this right away, I just couldn't help myself.

There will be nine blocks of red and green, mainly purchased at my favourite local shop. I need to cut another 31 squares ...

23 December 2008

End of Year wrap-up

I've been quite busy this year, what with
  • 6 finished quilts

  • one finished crocheted blanket

  • two scarfs

  • 8 coasters

  • These are the things I didn't get done:
  • potholders

  • place mats

  • both in Christmassy fabric. Maybe I should do these asap and store them for next Christmas while I' still in the mood?

    Now I'm trying to decide what to do next ... a disappearing 9-Patch? Finish my night on the tiles? Work on Carola's sampler? Maybe I should work on the sampler, get it done and use the urge to start a new project to motivate me to finish? I think that's a good plan!

    17 December 2008

    PIF: on its way to California

    Yay, after much to-ing and fro-ing I managed to get one PIF on the road to California. For the other one, I'm still awaiting a postal address and then that shall be on its way too ...


    Since September, the list of upcoming projects has changed to:
  • Coasters - working on it

  • Potholders - on my mind

  • long-term project: my first and only sampler quilt

  • Night on the Tiles

  • Done:
  • PIF

  • Stashbuster Quilt for my God-Daughter, well, sort of: used the fabric and finished the quilt

  • 2 quilts in a day for new babies

  • Edited to add: PIF No. 2 is also on its way, also to California.

    16 December 2008

    12 Days of Christmas

    There are people around me who use terms, of which they do not know the meaning. I find them incredibly annoying. Yet I had a hunch that I am one of them ... and alas, I was correct. I thought that the "Twelve Days of Christmas are twelve days leading up to Christmas Day (especially given that on Boxing Day, most of my Northern English neighbours packed up Christmas to be ready for the New Year). Boy, was I ever wrong.

    Wiki says: "The twelve days of Christmas in the song are the twelve days from the birth of Christ (Christmas, December 25) to the coming of the Magi (Epiphany, January 6, or the Twelfth Day). Thus, the twelve days are December 25 through January 6. (...)

    Twelfth Night is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities and observed as a time of merrymaking."

    5 December 2008

    Famous last words: I don't have time for this

    which is exactly what Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom quilts said when she presented the first glimpse of a new Christmas Quilt. Based on Candy Bar Road, it uses charm packs and jelly rolls. And might just be the ticket for my Dandelion Girl loot this summer.

    Edited to add: it's done, go have a look at it here.

    3 December 2008

    All Christmassy, all the time ...

    A lot of my Advent decorations are up, much the same as last year ... and I am finishing up my coasters, looking forward to doing my potholders and needing to work on other assorted Christmas jobs.

    2 December 2008

    Moda Fat Layer Charms

    I'm itching to spend money despite my drive for down-sizing ... I think Christmas is leading me into temptation and I am collecting links again:

    25 November 2008

    Assembly line-style coasters

    In September, I stumbled across these lovely panels at my favourite German quilt shop, Patchcom and just had to have them. Thankfully, they went really well with fabric I had bought there the previous year but never got around to using.

    So I figured I'd make quickie coasters by sandwiching sections of the panel, machine quilting a detail or two, cutting them into two strips of four sections each, attaching long rows of binding, cutting each strip into four sections and attaching the rest of the binding. Now I'm hand-finishing the individual coasters before spraying them with fabric protector.

    There will be eight.
    Then it's onto the potholders.

    Mock Log Cabin for my potholders

    Moving along with Christmassy items, I have been looking for a good log-cabin-esque pattern idea for potholders:


    Now I wonder if gold-coloured decorations on the fabric make that fabric a bad choice for potholders ...

    Anyway, the goal is to have a good number of small things to hand-finish over the weekend to keep myself busy (read: stifle boredom) when visiting my in-laws.

    24 November 2008

    Flea Market give-away

    You can really tell that Christmas is around the corner by the amount of give-aways going on. I almost feel cheap not doing one myself!

    Here's one for Denyse Schmid Flea Market Fancy fabrics: http://littlebluecottage.wordpress.com/2008/11/23/flea-market-fancy-stash-a-little-giveaway/.

    21 November 2008

    All bound and ready for a pre-delivery wash

    The binding has added another 160 minutes to the count - and is all done. While I was working on it, I found myself getting increasingly worried as to the well-being of the intended recipient. We knew the baby would make its arrival in early November .... and we already were weeks into the month.

    Therefore, I am glad to report that Baby Samuel and his parents are doing very well and are ever so pleased with one another.

    I myself am pleased as well, with myself for guessing the gender correctly, finishing the quilt "in a day" - approx 640 minutes plus washing, ironing, wrapping, packing and shipping. Ten hours forty minutes does qualify as a working day, a short one, around these parts.

    19 November 2008

    Fabulous idea for scraps

    This doll quilt idea has been flying around my head and I think I'll make a few during the holidays. It also seems to be a good opportunity to use up random kids's shirts decorated at parties that are too large to be worn or too cute to be washed.

    Potholder et al Give-Away

    Check out this cool give-away: http://www.filminthefridge.com/2008/11/18/100-posts-lets-celebrate-with-a-giveaway/

    Quilting finished: Zig-zags showing up nicely

    Another 160 minutes on the clock ... argh, I was slow the past two evenings - paying too much attention to the Brothers & Sisters Season One DVD set.

    Now onto the binding ....
    480 minutes on the clock.

    14 November 2008

    Sails of a Thousand Ships

    I am making good progress on the quilting and another evening session should see the rest of it finished plus the binding started. The top is a bit wavey where I pulled to reveal corners, but there is notably less bunching and pulling than in the previous one.

    320 minutes on the clock.

    13 November 2008

    Chirstmas is near!

    I found this brilliant idea for potholders on flickr ... and now know what my mum will get for Christmas. She always "demands" self-made gifts and her potholders are getting tatty. However, I suspect that the ones I make will only be displayed, which might call for using some lovely Christmas fabric.

    a Thousand Ships Sail the Sea

    My quilt in a day top is done, quilt sandwiched and what I didn't manage to snap a photo of last night: one half is almost completely quilted in a pin-striped inspired pattern.

    200 minutes on the clock.

    11 November 2008

    Quilt-in-a-day 2 in production

    Minutes after gift-wrapping and packaging QIAD 1 to be sent to England, I started my second one. I made really good progress on it and after 1 hour 20 minutes had quite a lot done, not least thanks to this brilliant tutorial: Zig Zag Tutorial.

    10 November 2008

    Finished and ready to be shipped

    Yay, my "quilt in a day" is finished! It'll be shipped this week and I'm quite pleased with it.

    I learned to not scrimp on backing fabric!

    Now onto the list of upcoming projects:
    1.) PIF - not done yet, sorry
    2.) Coasters - not done either ... but then there's always Christmas
    3.) Stashbuster Quilt for my God-Daughter, well, sort of: used some of the the fabric and finished the quilt -> the rest will be turned into the ragged squares quilt.
    4.) 2 quilts in a day for new babies: finished no 1, working on No 2
    5.) a Big Zig quilt, based on Denyse Schmidt's pattern for yet another baby: on the backburner
    6.) a long-term project: my first and only sampler quilt was meant for my first-born and to be ready when she starts school. She's in second grade and the thing still looks the way it did in November 2003. Yikes. I have plans to rework it and finish it off eventually. I will not hand-quilt and it will not be the size shown in that post dated January 2005.
    7.) A Night on the Tiles in Manchester: started.
    8.) Crocheting Madness

    5 November 2008

    In the final throws of binding

    The Quilt-in-a-day is ready for the final spurt of hand-stitching. And I love my binding clips! As a finishing touch I will add a little bit of hand quilting to the back where the hearts are in the front. And then the thing gets shipped and I will make another one, just in a different colour scheme for what I think will be a boy.

    2 November 2008

    Oh, the work we create for ourselves

    at least me for myself. On the other hand, this is a sign that I am learning as I move from project to project. My main mistake here: being too much of a cheapskate. I cut the backing too small and then didn't pin it enough. Oh well, won't happen again ... then again, I have done this before.

    But it is looking good so far:

    26 October 2008

    24 October 2008

    First Look: "A Night on the Tiles in Manchester"

    It's my first Quilt Retreat and this is what I am working on the ENTIRE weekend:

    The Retreat was really good fun and I am going back next year. Once I've downloaded the photos off my camera, I'll post more.

    23 October 2008

    Calculating and cutting fabric

    I've been very excited about going on my first quilt retreat and it certainly did not disappoint! IN faact, I liked it so much, I will go back next year.

    The accomodation was befitting, the food nice, and the quilting inspirational!

    This is how I started out on the first evening:

    Calculating and cutting ...

    22 October 2008

    Downsizing my life

    I have become increasingly aware that I am nearing a complete burn-out and need to re-assess my current life situation. The stress I submit myself to is affecting both my physical and mental health at a rate that I can no longer justify.

    This along with a down-turn in the economy is increasingly motivating me to cocoon and use up what is there - to stash-bust. Quilting and crocheting have proven to be therapeutic to me in the past and I will try to focus more on those.

    I am hoping that making things will help me get in touch with my feelings for the people that I make them for and also give me a much needed sense of accomplishing and connecting.

    Looking forward to going through this, I am hoping (see? all that hope?) for more clarity in terms of how I want to shape my life going forward with it.

    Could this be a mid-life crisis? After all, I will be 40 next spring ;-) Maybe not so much this but the end of the baby phase in my life and the sudden realisation that if I don't actively shape my life, no one will.

    In the spirit of making: I'll attempt this to use up my left-overs from Hannah's Christening Quilt: AmandaJean's Ragged Squares Quilt tutorial.

    8 October 2008

    Always three steps ahead

    While I've been making the Quilt-in-a-Day for Natalia, I was pondering a gift for the newly born baby girl of friends of ours. To keep things appropriate (size/effort vs value of friendship - I am so material!), a doll quilt seems a good choice.

    But what is a doll quilt exactly. One google later and I knew from reading the doll swap blog and checking out Flickr pool.

    Main criteria:
  • SIZE: from 12x12 inches to 24x24 inches … any size or shape in between. So that's 30 to 60 cm square. And I'd stick with square.

  • MATERIALS: natural fibers/cotton, wool, linen. I'd stick to cottons because of washability and because my stash is FULL of cotton and nothing much else.
  • 7 October 2008

    Loaded and ready to go

    I'm making good progress on the quilt of which the name is a mockery, really. It's called "Quilt in a Day" which I suppose were right, had I the entire day to spend on it.

    But it is a pleasure to make, very simple, and progress is easily visible. Just the way I like it. To speed things along, I switched my machine from slow to fast (the only two settings available) and zoomed right a long, up and down the sandwich ... until the needle broke.

    I guess after six years of drudgery, it was allowed. Now I need to find a replacement so that I can finish my little project.

    5 October 2008

    It's growing in both length and width -

    guess which one is unintended. Yikes! I'll have to see that I can somewhat limit that trend to the current damage. I was so afraid that the blanket would slim down during progress that I apparently was a bit too zealous at the edges.

    Gotta love Lagerfeld

    "C'est jaune, c'est moche, ça ne va avec rien mais ça peut vous sauver la vie ... it's yellow, it's ugly, it doesn't go with anything but it may well save your life."

    Lagerfeld lent his fashion cred to a French campaign raising awareness for road safety vests. Read more here and here.

    4 October 2008

    All dotty and all done

    Only roughly three and a half months past its deadline, Paula's Princess II Bed quilt is finished. I used IKEA toddler bed linen and a fleece baby blanket for this project.

    I threw my back out trying to load laundry into the washer and got to spend the majority of Saturday cuddled up with a hot water bottle while finishing this project.

    It feels good to move on to the next one.

    Lessons learned:
    1.) Piping is not so difficult to make.
    2.) Ironing is a good thing.

    More impressions on Flickr.

    Frog Blocks


    Flickr be praised, I found a lot of frog quilt blocks and inspirations for when - one dark and rainy evening - I will teach Tiffany how to patchwork and quilt.

    Tying up loose ends and getting ready

    I'm finishing up Paula's Princess quilt and mentally preparing for my retreat project.

    It is inspired by this tiling from my favourite local pub in West Didsbury, Manchester (England), the Metropolitan on Lapwing Lane.

    I will substitute the blue for green, there actually is another hallway tiled in that colour scheme. My biggest challenge will be deciding on a size and planning the size of blocks for it. This will hopefully be finished before I leave on October 23.

    In the meantime, I also plan to complete Natalia's Quilt-in-a-day which I hope to be shipping from England when I visit in two weeks' time.

    30 September 2008

    And another idea

    This time from Pink Chalk Studio: She calls it Hopscotch Table Runner and I think I might make a variation of this for Christmas.

    29 September 2008

    Upcoming Projects

    I need to keep reminding myself of pending projects because otherwise - with all these ideas in my head - I will be losing track.

    Since mid-July the list of upcoming projects has changed to:
  • PIF - not done yet, sorry

  • Coasters - not done either ... but then there's always Christmas

  • Stashbuster Quilt for my God-Daughter, well, sort of: used the fabric and finished the quilt

  • 2 quilts in a day for new babies: working on No 1

  • a Big Zig quilt, based on Denyse Schmidt's pattern for yet another baby: this one has gone on the backburner after my cousin sadly miscarried

  • a long-term project: my first and only sampler quilt was meant for my first-born and to be ready when she starts school. She's in second grade and the thing still looks the way it did in November 2003. Yikes. I have plans to rework it and finish it off eventually. I will not hand-quilt and it will not be the size shown in that post dated January 2005.

  • And then there are: the WIPs and my Retreat Project. I am always itching to start a new project and have a million ideas in my head. Especially when work is tedious - like right now.

    28 September 2008

    Finished and presented

    Wow, this is the quickest quilting project so far: I started on September 2 and spent roughly four nights per week working on this. It was quite the hit with the recipient's family.

    Hannah was christened this weekend and I am hoping that this quilt will accompany her throughout her life.

    Fabric: Moda, Quilt Pink range plus Makower Pink Spray for the backing and vichy checks for the border.

    Filled with Freudenberg 100% cotton wadding

    26 September 2008

    I just had an idea ...

    Again, Mrs MonkeySuit gave me an idea. She posted a fairly simple quilt, a variation of Crazy Mom Quilts' Quilt in a Day. And I will pick it up while also putting my failed attempts at Repetition to good use.


    25 September 2008

    Almost there ...

    With the binding attached, using a zig zag stitch and a relatively unconventional approach of ironing and pinning down, then zipping around the binding by machine, adding a nice zig-zaggy embellishment, I move on to the last and least favourite job: cleaning up all the loose threads.

    Half an evening to go! Delivery scheduled for tomorrow.

    How can you tell I'm bored at work?

    I fiddle with my links and trawl the web for new patterns such as this lovely little gem: Fig Leaves.

    I've been hunting for a nice leaf patterns for the longest time! In 2003, just before we moved away from my beloved Manchester, I purchased a set of fat quarters of autumnal fabrics - see UFOs and fabric addictions. Now I know what to make of it.

    24 September 2008

    Zig Zag quilt tutorial

    Wading through Flickr-com groups simply because I am bored, I stumbled across this Zig Zag quilt tutorial. This will be an excellent guideline for babyquilt no 3.

    23 September 2008

    Awaiting the final touches

    There it now sits awaiting the finishing of its binding. We shall see how well that works. It will involve a LOT of pinning, that's for sure.

    Two evenings till deadline!

    22 September 2008

    Finished quilting

    I finished quilting in the ditch and am quite happy with the simplistic results. Considering that not all corners lined up perfectly, the quilting is still relatively even.

    21 September 2008

    All loaded and ready to quilt

    I basted the quilt and to my dismay noticed that I have mismeasured the wadding, drat! Now I need to work around this tonight - not that I really have the time for that ... it'll teach me, I hope.

    Also, this is my first attempt at quilting in the ditch while using my walking foot. I have noticed that quilting yarn does not appear to be a good choice for this exercise and will switch to regular yarn after I've quilted around all the blocks.

    Counting down: 3,5 evenings till delivery!

    20 September 2008

    Backing, Binding and Top

    I've stopped fretting, decided on binding and backing, purchased wadding and am now stalling ... today I'm hoping to get started with attaching the binding to the front and then sandwiching the whole lot in order to bast and get ready for quilting

    19 September 2008

    Quilt-in-a-day for Natalia

    As mentioned, I started working on a baby quilt with no particular deadline. This is an incredibly stupid idea given that another project needs to be finished by next Thursday night.

    Christmassy loot

    I *plan* on making table mats and coasters for the Christmas Season this year - operative work being *plan*.

    Also, today my grandfather would have turned 105 today.

    Tiffany's Froggy Quilt

    Somehow Tiffany is under the impression that I'd make a good quilting instructor and she wants to make a frog quilt. I had seen cute blocks but neglected to save them to "Favourites", sigh:

    http://www.quiltdesignnw.com/ForKids.htm - scrool further down.

    But none of these are the one I saw. Does anybody else have a good link for frog blocks, please?

    17 September 2008

    Simultaneous Engineering

    While I scare myself half to death with deciding the border for Hannah's Linens, I've started the first of two baby blankets based on Crazy Mom's Quilt-in-a-day. So far it's living up to its name, thankfully.

    I'm using Kaffe Fassett scraps that I selected while prepping my ill-fated Repetition class project, its background fabric might also find its way into this quilt.

    All of this necessitates a trip to my favourite fabric dealer in the area patchcom.de for wadding and such, all in preparation of a Friday evening luxuriously spent by myself at the sewing machine while hubby and my aupair are out on the tiles, separately, mind you!

    16 September 2008

    Lay-Out 8: Finally decided on a lay-out

    This time around, I have been relatively good about measuring and cutting and ironing!

    Once I assembled each block, I ironed it and pressed the seams this way and that. Then the dreaded lay-outing began again and I noticed that my earlier plan of lighter blocks in the middle column didn't work too well.

    But with the help of my "design wall" - two insulating boards taped together and mounted on an easel - I finally arrived at a solid lay-out. It only took me eight attempts ...

    The two middle rows have already been sewn together, leaving me to increasingly fret about the border fabric and design.

    You will notice that the photos of the lay-outs are not so great in terms of quality. In this case, it actually helped see which blocks are more contrasting than others or lighter or darker. Then again, I want to arrive at a point where I take reasonably good shots of my progress. Not using my phone camera might help with that ;-)

    14 September 2008

    Close-up of Hannah's Fresh Linens

    I watched Lipstick Jungle last night and did some sewing. Now I need to re-juggle the lay-out.

    Not all seams line up perfectly which I blame on the absence of a non-dull rotary cutter blade a while back. But that way you can tell it's a one-of-a-kind home-made quilt - nothing like some good explaining-away ;-)

    11 September 2008

    Repetition Class

    Despite my early enthousiasm and all my good intentions, even taking the project on holiday with me, I have decided to give up.

    There just isn't enough time or brain power to go around here these days and I have three quilts on a deadline as it is. I will disassemble what I have done so far and put the hearts away for another project / use. Thankfully I didn't do a lot of cutting yet so that I can re-assign the fabric to new projects that will surely be upcoming.

    To re-cap, these were my goals for the next few months as posted in July:
    - PIF
    - Coasters
    - in progress: Stashbuster Quilt for my God-Daughter
    - fabric selected and lay-out decided: 2 "quilts in a day" for new babies plus a Big Zig quilt, based on Denyse Schmidt's pattern for yet another baby

    9 September 2008

    Now I realise why

    many US quilters machine piece and consider paper-piecing complete lunacy! It took me two evenings to assemble all my strips and squares to blocks of 4 strips and one square.

    Tonight the fun begins when I have to cut them to size for further assembly. Last time, that didn't go so well.

    Next on my mind is the quilting, I think I will just quilt in the ditch and be done with it. Also, binding and wadding are issues. I need to check whether I have enough wadding left for the job and it the fabric I planned on using for the binding will actually match. The backing will probably be some of the large-polka-dot fabric I purchased a while ago.

    7 September 2008

    Debating suitability of border fabric

    I'm quite happily crocheting along, usually when my mind is too numb to care about much else than this and a glass of chilled Riesling. I'm making good progress and am pondering a border fabric. This swirly paisley of sorts was picked up on a whim at one of the Traverse City stores recommended by my lovely readers. I'm just not entirely sure whether it matches the pinks stripes ... a good excuse to get some more fabric.

    I have been asked about the projected size of this piece and my best answer is: I'll stop when I run out of yarn. I never sat down to calculate width and length and will just have to go with the flow.

    2 September 2008

    Contrasting or Tonal

    I've decided to go with tonal and this will be the colour scheme of sorts. I wasn't sure if contrasting the different pinks would make the entire thing too busy without adding any real contrast to the design.

    Sewing begins tonight with a deadline of September 25 midnight.

    21 August 2008

    New Project: Hannah's Fresh Linens

    I'm plowing ahead full steam these days with projects in all stages:

  • Paula's Princess Bed quilt is a lot nearer completion than my last post lets on

  • Mindless Crochet Blanket has progressing well. I think I even found nice marbley fabric for the binding

  • and now Hannah's Fresh Linens: The pattern is from a booklet I bought in Charlevoix and the fabric is a pack of fat quarters of Moda's Quilt Pink.

    Currently the blocks are contrasting but I might change them to tonal to dial down the busy-ness. Off to the design wall I go.

    19 August 2008

    Rotary Cutter Question

    I'm in the process of cutting fabric for a new quilt and thought I'd be a good girl for once, using my cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler. But it is driving me to despair because my blade is so dull.

    My question is how often do you renew your blades? One per project?

    7 August 2008

    Not too pleased

    with my progress and the whole thing in general: my piece for the repetition class is not shaping up as well as it should.

    This is partially due to the fact that while on holiday, the only quilt-related thing I did was shopping. And giving away my latest work. But I already posted about that.

    So this is it:

    Essentially I've tried to use different paper cut outs for different shapes, then decided to just cut free hand, then changed my mind again and had my kids cut or draw a shape for me to cut.

    I've also gone back to one of my earlier posts (here) for inspiration. And I think I will continue dragging my feet here ...

    5 August 2008

    Favourite Quilt Shop

    We did a day trip to Charlevoix, MI, and I stumbled across what is now my favourite quilt shop:

    Hearts to Holly
    107 Mason St.
    Charlevoix, MI 49720
    Phone: 231-547-2729

    It is a quilter's paradise with a wide selection of fabrics and super-friendly staff. It took a lot of restraint on my part to not just buy up the whole place. Instead I got my first ever jelly roll. And lots of ideas in my head.

    29 July 2008

    Presenting the finished Friendly Dragon Quilt

    It's DONE!!! I had about four hours of sleep before leaving for Michigan because I desperately wanted to finish off my Friendly Dragon Quilt for my Cutest-Sweetest-Godson-Ever. And here it is:

    And this is where it all started: July 2007. It's been a year.

    Just click on either of the photos and you'll be taken to my new Flickr account that will hold all things quiltey-craftey. I've fed up with having to upload photos to my server and this way I can also join pools and groups and such without having to mix my photography photos with my crafty stuff.