Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Small quilt works

 Whenever I need a bit of inspiration I sit down by the machine and stitch a few scraps together, cut and stitch again, until I have pieces big enough for some mug rugs. I always have a pile of batting scraps and some larger scraps for batting at the ready, and before you know it there is a finsihed pile of 6 x 8" mug rugs ready. Handy little presents to have at hand.
My sister has a thing for owls, and I made this little card  with a pocket for her birthday money on the back, inspired by this.
I made this little wall hanging some years ago, but it felt a bit dull. It is supposed to be a stylized rendition of an Art Nouveau town, but something was missing. After reading Art quilt collage by Deborah Boschert, I decided that embroidery was what it needed. So I added some doors and windows in the Art Nouveau style to give it some more interest.
I'm not entirely sure that it was enough, but we'll call it progress, why don't we...

Pouches and buckets

I made some Open Wide pouches as gifts for summer visitors. I have made several of these over the years and I really like them because the extended zipper gives you a good view of what's inside. 
While I was at it I also stitched up some fabric buckets - one for my mother and the big coffee teamed one to store my tubes of coffee capsules. I've had those fabrics lying around for ages, and it was great to find some use for them.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Knitting in 2018

 2018 hasn't exactly been a year for blogging, but I haven't been totally idle. There has been quite a bit of knitting, for instance. My first finish was this scarf, Cinder, pattern by Brooklyn Tweed. It's not easy to take pictures of a long narrow scarf, but at least you get an impression of the pattern.
 The vis-a-vis cowl was a challenge I couldn't resist. I found the pattern on Knitty. Starting with a picking up stitches along a zipper was something I'd never tried before, but I didn't find it too hard. I ended up with a cowl that can be used either open like a looped scarf or zipped up and used like a cowl.
 Then there was the Hitchhiker, a pattern that I have been hearing about for years. It was quite a success in this soft variegated yarn and an easy knit.
And finally the Islington, found on the Loop blog. I loved both the starry borders and the lace bit.

More details about the different projects on my Ravelry page.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Not in hibernation

From my last post, you might think I'm still in hibernation. Unless you follow me on Instagram, that is. There has been a bit more action there, although not that much. This spring has been a very busy one for me: my mother had to go into a nursing home just before Christmas, and it was soon clear that she couldn't go back to her flat as it was too small and crowded for her to move about in. She is confined to a wheel chair and needed more open space. That meant moving her to a new flat and getting rid of a lifetime of acquired belongings, and it was down to me to arrange for all this to happen. So I have had my hands full. She is happily installed in her new home now and well on the way to getting out of that wheel chair, so all's well on that front. But there has been very little sewing.

I did manage to finish this quilt, though.It's inspired by one in Jane Brocket's wonderful quilt book, but I had to adjust the borders to get the most use of the fabric I had to hand. Some of the fabric I had wanted to use, didn't work because I had to little of it, but I put it to good use on the back.
I'm quite happy with that, as I ended up with very few scraps, putting all the fabric I had set aside to good use.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Marching on

Finally, that's February over with. I think maybe I should have been a bear in winter, because I tend to go into a kind of hibernation.Once Christmas is over with I look around and find everything dark and dreary, I don't deal well with the cold, and although snow looks pretty on postcards, having to trudge through the wet and slushy stuff in town or trying to keep upright on icy pavements... nah, not my kind of thing.

I don't seem to get much sewing done, unless it's by hand and tend to end up snuggled under a blanket with a good book or some knitting.

Once March makes it's debut things start to lighten up again. There might still be snow and cold - "the beast from the east" is still causing trouble - but the days are getting longer, and with more daylight I also find my way into the sewing room. So I'm back in the saddle again and have spent a lot of this weekend by the sewing machine and made a lot of progress on this quilt. Just two borders left to quilt and I can add the binding.

With more daylight hours suddenly my head is full of ideas, but I have ambitions to finish three more quilts before I start a new one. And it's not just because I feel an obligation, I really want these to get finished soon.

And then I have plans to get to grips with all my scraps. I have them sorted by colour, and I have some ideas, but I bet they wont make more than a dent in my scrap pile... we'll see. at least the inspiration to sew seems to be coming back, and that feels good!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Scrappy mats

I tend to work on several projects simultaneously and of course my sewing table tends to end up in a riot of colour with half finished lengths and left over scraps everywhere. When I had finished a quilt top I have yet to share here I started sorting through the scraps and found that I had cut too many squares for the flying geese. I had 35 squares left and laid them out in rows, 5x7 and realized that this would be just the right size for a placemat. Before I had finished the thought I was sewing and in no time at all the placemat was there.
While I was at it I also stitched the remaining narrow strips from that project together, adding a few extras and ended up with four mug rugs. Now that's the kind of tidying up I like!

Grey and yellow tablecloth

As I was sorting and folding fabric one day I noticed that I had quite a few pretty yellow ones that went well together and I started pulling them out and looking for other colours that could go with them. I decided on that true and trusted combo of grey and yellow. I ended up with a pretty stack that lay on my table for weeks while I waited for inspiration.
I picked a length of Kona Snow to go with them and eventually cut squares from all the vellows and grays, adding a wedge of white to each square, stitched on at varying angles. I tend to find improv quite challenging, but this was not too bad and I quite liked the finished result.
I thought this would make a nice tablecloth, so I quilted it in big loose curls, using a thin batting to give it a nice drape. I had a piece of grey with a pattern of yellow dots that worked well for the back, and just needed a bit of the unexpected to finish it. After searching through my stash for ages and not finding anything, my gaze fell upon a strip of leftover pink Bali from another quilt I'm working on and that proved to be just right as a finishing touch.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dotty purse

I found this Jelly Clip Purse frame from Lecien at a show a while back, and one day I just decided that the right time for using it was now. It came with a pattern and in no time at all I had cut the pieces, stitched the darts and stitched the pieces together. It took a bit of poking to glue the purse into the frame, but it wasn't too difficult. The most complicated parts were in fact choosing the fabric and deciding to start, which just proves that one should just do it!
And that goes for quilting too - I have been quiet here for a while, but there might be more sharing now, just wait for it...

Open out

I had to try my hand at the Open-out Box Pouch by Aneela Hooey a while ago, just forgot to share the evidence. I must admit I struggled a bit with the zipper, ripping and restitching a few times, but after basting it in place before stitching I finally succeeded.
I really like the design, though, as it works as a tray with easy access to your sewing gear while working and closes to a flat pouch, so I might make more of these now that I know how.

Friday, July 07, 2017

The naming of a quilt

I always try to give each of my quilts a name of their own. Sometimes the name is clear to me before I even start cutting the fabric, at other times, I really have to work on finding that name. The names can be quite straightforward, for example when I fell in love with Amy Butler’s collection Ginger Bliss and made a quilt using that line, it became the Amy Quilt. OK, but then I made another quilt using Amy Butler fabric I couldn’t use that name again now, could I? Most of the fabrics in that quilt were from her line Daisy Chain, so that one came to be known as The Daisy Quilt.
At other times I use fabric from a lot of different sources, and the name needs to be something that sums it all up. The quilt I made with fabric that reminded me of holidays in Italy became Italian Dreams. My previous quilt contains star blocks and one of the fabrics reminds me of space stations or satellites, so the name came to me as I was sewing: Stars and Satellites.

My current quilt has been a challenge to name, though. I tried stating the obvious: “The Triangle Quilt”. Meh, didn’t like it. I looked at the colours, blue and green, a cool, yet refreshing, group that made me think of water. I looked for other words associated with water, aqua, hydra, pond, pool, refreshing, fresh, cool, but nothing stuck. I looked at the shapes again, thinking that triangles could be trines, trigons or pyramids. The darker blue ones stand out from the rest and I nearly went with “Blue Pyramid” until I googled it and discovered that it is a variety of marihuana plant (all the things you can learn from google…), so that didn’t seem appropriate.

The idea of water stuck with me though, especially after I started quilting it, using big spirals reminiscent of rings or ripples in water.  I started looking into symbolism, how water is interpreted in folklore, dreams and so on. After a while I came across an old acquaintance: “The Lady of the Lake” from the Arthurian legends. I remember devouring stories connected with this era some years ago, and in particular Marion Bradley’s Avalon trilogy. There are different versions of the legends and the Lady of the Lake has several names, Vivien being one of them. This is a name associated with wisdom, and according to the urban dictionary it also means: “The girl you meet in your dreams and can't help but to fall in love with. The love of your life. A strong, independent, beautiful woman at heart, as well as to everyone she meets. One you never want to lose. She looks to be realistic, true, and cares so much about what she wants in life. To have her is a gifted responsibility; a true priority number one. She may turn away from you at times, but if you say what you mean, you will always be there for her. She lives to care and love. You don't mess with her feelings, you play no games with her. She'll leave you right quick. And it'll be the biggest mistake of your life.”

A bit too much, perhaps? And giving the quilt a woman’s name like that would mean having a lot of explain to do. No, not quite there yet. But as I was preparing the binding it suddenly hit me: Avalon! Avalon is the name of the mysterious world of Vivien, only reached through the mists of the lake and with associations of water, mystery, healing, refreshing etc. Perfect! And thus a new quilt was named.

Stats: Inspired by this quilt by Patchwork n Play. I had no pattern, but picked fabrics from my memory of what that quilt looked like (without consulting the photo) and what I had in my stash, except for the solid Kona Limelight which I bought especially and also used for backing. I cut strips and used the 60 degree line on my standard ruler to cut triangles and made a preliminary sketch in EQ, trying to place colours randomly. I sorted my triangles according to colour, but mixed them up within each colour and picked randomly from the piles as I was stitching the rows together. I quilted using free motion spirals, making them as big as I could without losing my grip, before I moved on with smaller swirls to a new area and starting a new large spiral. No planning, I just let the quilting happen along the way, but I think it kind of works, and as I said earlier, it all reminds me of ripples in water when I look at it from a distance. The binding is that dark blue/turquoise that nearly ended up giving a name to the quilt, and is a favourite Tilda fabric I bought several yards of some years back. I still have a little left.

So there you have it. Avalon. My favourite quilt at the moment. It’s a keeper.