Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Placemats

 My best friend needed some new placemats. She is one of those people I love making things for because she really appreciates it and the set I made her a few years back are frayed at the edges from having been used so much - I love that!
Coming up with ideas for placemats is always a bit difficult for me, for some reason. Making a bed sized quilt: no problem. Making a table setting sized one: a challenge! And then you have to make at least three more...
Pinterest to the rescue, and I found some quarter log cabin ones I had pinned earlier for inspiration. The dark blue fabric with houses would do nicely as a backing fabric and I used that as a starting point for my fabric selection.
I chose some houses and trees and supporting fabrics from Sweetwater's line Road 15, added some map and landscape motifs from other series and used some blue/grey to tie it all together. Straight(ish) quilting lines and blue binding and some late night sewing and I was finished just in time. The only thing I didn't get to do was to take some daylight photos. But it is January, the days are short and I was pressed for time, so this will have to do. She loved them, though and that's the most important thing!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New year, new... calendars

Let's skip the cliches, shall we? I have been a bad blogger lately, but I'm not alone in that respect. Instagram has taken over, but sometimes a longer, reflectiv blog post is in order. And summing up the year we just stepped out of before embarking on a new one, might just be such an occasion.

2015 has not been my most productive year since I started blogging, but looking back, I did make a few things, after all. Three large quilts, two quilt tops, some bags, boxes and pouches a bit of knitting and embroidery and a giraffe. That's about it, I think. But still, this collage represents a lot of hours of work, doesn't it?
The truth is, I have felt a bit uninspired for a while, but the new year has started with an urge to create, so I might do better in 2016. Or maybe not. This isn't a competition anyway, but I'm going to roll with this new urge. First of all I have started a set of new tablemats for a friend of mine. She mentioned just before Christmas that they use the ones I made for her a few years back every day, and they have been washed so often that they are becoming frayed and faded. Such appreciation for my work must be rewarded with a new set, right?
Some recent fabric purchases have inspired me to start something new as well, so I have two new projects lined up in addition to the triangles quilt I'm working on, and which I just realized that I have forgotten to include in the collage above:
It feels good to have that urge to create again!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

In progress

I have spent my spare time redecorating and organizing stuff lately - a never-ending story, it seems...

I finished this quilt top before I started, but I was all out of batting, so I had to leave it for a while. Now there's really no excuse - my batting has arrived, my living room is painted and almost everything is sorted, so it's time to start quilting.
This one is for my own bed. Yes, that's right - I have been quilting for 25 years or so, and I still haven't got my own bed quilt, so it's about time I think...
The pattern is from an old issue of Quilt Sampler. I'll follow up with close ups of the courthouse step blocks and more information when it's done.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A bit of this and that

I've almost finished summing up all the stuff I've made during the first part of the year by going through my photos. Here are a few bits and pieces. The first is a whatchamacallit to rest the sewing machine pedal on to stop it from sliding out of reach. I was in danger of disappearing under the table when sewing as the pedal kept slipping away, but I came across an idea on Pinterest that was easily copied. It's just a piece of that material you put under rugs to stop them from slipping with binding all around. At one end I added a "sausage" of fabric filled with batting to stop the pedal from skipping off the mat. A very simple idea, but I'm happy to report that it works! So there will be no more of that laid-back sewing here in future...
My teddies needed something cushy for their slidey bums, and I had just the right teddy fabric for a little throw to drape over their bench. A cushion with ruler marks and stenciled numbers (an idea from Marie Claire Idées) finishes the ensemble.
So here they are, ready to welcome visitors.
I've had some wooden letters lying around for a while, with a coat of white paint they make a positive demand on my sewing room wall.
And since there can't be enough open wide pouches in the world, I made another one for a young friend. These are fun to make, and quite addictive, it seems!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The cats in the bag

- or on the bag, actually!
I bought a medley from Keepsake Quilting som years ago, featuring some fun cat prints, but I have been at a loss as to how I could use them in something where they could be shown off in all their glory. A friend and I keep swapping interior design magazines and she tends to carry her loot home in plastic bags with handles that will cut into your hands if you carry too many mags in one go. She is also a cat lover, so I came up with an idea of making her a tote bag for her magazines, with soft padded handles that would make it a joy to carry those mags home.
I used the cat panel one one side. On the other side I cut a square of four cat images and stitched borders of the companion fabrics around it.
The panels were quilted lightly with straight lines. Boxed corners and extra padded handles makes for a sturdy bag that can carry a lot.
A light green lining with text about dreams and inspiration finishes the bag. 
I realize now that I should have taken better photos, as the colours seem a bit off, but the bag is in full use by my friend, who loves it, so these will have to do.

Friday, September 11, 2015

S'mores or mug rugs, as some call them...

In between projects I like to take some time out by grabbing some bits and pieces from my scrap bag and sew them together. I cut and stitch again building the pieces up to at least 7 x 9". I keep a bag of batting scraps and larger fabric scraps for backing at the ready, so I can start quilting right away.
The quilting is done with heavy thread in different colours and fairly close lines. Since I can't quilt a straight line to save my life, I make them deliberately wavy. I really love the texture that this gives, and the heavy thread lines also helps bring the patterns and colours of all the different fabrics together, I think.


Once a piece is quilted I cut it down to 6 x 8". Starting out with a larger piece gives me some choice for the finished look, since everything up to here has been completely random. I usually find something from my jar of leftover binding pieces to complete each mug rug.
These mug rugs are so much fun to make that once I get going I can't stop. I work on four or five pieces at a time, and once I finish them the thought is there: let's make some more... The last time I sat down with a bag of scraps I ended up with 15 of them. So maybe we should change the name - not mug rugs but call them s'mores? Very healthy s'mores even though they're addictive, right?

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Flower boxes


I bought a roll of Kaffe Fassett Collective fat quarters in purple and teal at a show a while back, and thought they needed to be cut into rather large pieces to shine. I ended up with a bento box variation with small and large "boxes". I used Kona snow as a contrast. Once I started laying out the blocks, I discovered that at was all a bit meh... I loved the colours , but they needed something more to make them shine. After an audition with members from my stash, I ended up with a couple of yellows and that seemed to do the trick.
Once I had assembled the top and had a good look, I realized that one member of the cast wasn't pulling his own weight. he fabric in itself was lovely, a light blue with pink polka dots, but there was just too little contrast to the white. I ended up with making four blocks with a bright pink, unpicked the bland blocks and inserted the pink ones. Ah! Much better!
I quilted this one with wavy lines through the blocks, creating large petal shapes, using a petal shape cut from thick paper as a guide. In between the petals I used a tight meander to make the petals stand out.
The back is a lovely chrysanthemum print by Philip Jacobs that I just couldn't bring myself to cut into. Here it comes into its own and brings a smile to my face every time i look at it. A triangular label sewn into a corner an purple binding finishes the quilt.