Friday, June 30, 2006

It's all about WIPs here...

I have been a lazy blogger this week. I have some excuses, though...

We started a summer project at my favourite quilt shop last week, a summery table cloth. The lovely ladies at the shop had made kits with all the fabric we needed for the top - perhaps not the ones I would have chosen, but the most important thing for me was the social aspect - to me that's one of the most important things about this hobby: like minded people getting together, stitching a little, sharing ideas, knowhow, chocolate and laughter. We spent a whole evening cutting triangles with the TriRec ruler and our homework was to stitch them together to make blocks. "Piece of cake" I thought - "I'll do that in no time at all"... Weeeell, needless to say, things didn't quite turn out that way.

I decided to finish my Café-quilt top first as I'd have plenty of time to do those triangles... Somehow that took a lot more time than I had imagined, and I found myself stitching well into the night to be ready for the next step at the quilt shop on Monday. I did manage to finish all the blocks, although those plaids were a nightmare! Never before have I used fabric that created so much lint and left loose threads flying in and around my sewing area. I actually had to stop twice to clean my sewing machine!
On Monday amid fun and laughter with the girls I managed to stitch the blocks together. We had a great time, but there was still a lot of work to be done. By then I had decided that this was not going to be a tablecloth after all - it was much to bright and colourful, even for me - a lap quilt to use on my balcony during warm(ish) summer evenings would be a better idea, and I remembered that I had a green polar fleece blanket that I might use for backing. Great, I'd just have to add the borders, spray baste the top to the blanket and machine quilt it just enough to keep the two layers together - "I'll do that tomorrow" I mumbled to myself as I drifted off to sleep that evening.

It was not to be. On Tuesday I came home from work and realized that the maid (me) had been off duty for far too long and there were piles of dishes to clean, floors to mop and all (knowing that "dust bunnies are just a sign of people having had too much fun to clean" was no consolation, something had to be done!) And boy, was I glad I did, because the moment I'd finished, the doorbell rang, and there was a friend of mine who was passing by and had impulsively decided to pay me a visit. Several cups of tea and quilting magazines later I waved goodbye to my friend and went to bed. "I'll finish that quilt tomorrow" I thought as I drifted off to sleep.

The next day we had a minor crisis at work, so I was late getting home. I had just finished dinner when the phone rang - another friend who wanted to pay a visit. Another great evening with tea and sympathy and no quilting...
Thursday was the day for our monthly quilting bee, and here I am on Friday, piles of washing up again, and no progress on the quilt. Mind you, I'm not complaining! I feel truly blessed to have so many friends who want to spend time with me, and all those evenings chatting about our lifes and plans and inspiring each other are part of what life really is about, isn't it? But tomorrow I might get some work done on that quilt - or maybe not...

Friday, June 23, 2006

WIP coming together

I have added another photo to the WIP pool. I have been busy this week - I only have the top and bottom border to add and the top is finished! However, my back didn't agree with me about spending more time at the sewing machine, so the rest will have to wait until tomorrow. I had made very little progress on the quilt until last Friday, but joining the WIP group really spurred me on to do something about this project, so thank you Fiona at hop skip jump for creating the group :-) Now, if only I could find out how to make my photos visible for everybody - it seems you have to be logged on and a member of the group to be allowed to view my photos in the group pool, even though I've marked them as public. I must go and explore Flickr some more, I think... Here's a close-up of the floral fabric. As I was photographing it, it occured to me that although in my mind this has been my "Café de Paris-fabric" ever since I bought it, those words are nowhere to be found on the fabric. There are several French-sounding café-names, though, but my mind seems to have played a trick on me - oh well, I could just call it my café-quilt, I suppose...

The blue fabric I have used as a background for the hearts looks very bright in this picture. It is actually more like faded denim and goes well together with the soft florals, I think. I will add the final borders tomorrow and then it's time to get my backing fabrick out of hiding. I only hope it works as well with the rest of the fabrics as I think it will. Or maybe my mind has played another trick on me... ;-)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Little feet

I've come across the sweetest little felt shoes at Martha Stewart Living. Unfortunately there are no babies among my circle of friends at the moment (we might be getting too old...), so there's no one to make them for. Unless I make a new family member myself... No, don't get any ideas! That's not what I meant!

A few years back I made a couple of teddies, and of course, as it is with all new crazes, I started building a stash of fabric, patterns, joints, eyes etc. with every intention of making more of these sweet little things. There is a serious SABLE situation going on here (Stash Aquisition Beyond Life Expectation) - how will I ever get round to making all the things I want to make?!!
In one of my books there are some photos of an adorable little teddy girl in baby shoes and that's the kind of thing I had in mind. Maybe this summer I'll dig out all that stash and make some sweet little stuffies, and then I'll have the perfect excuse to make some little shoes, as well. Hmmm could I have some more time please?

Friday, June 16, 2006

WIP friday

This is one of the projects I'm working on at the moment. I fell in love with (can one fall in love with fabric?) the Café de Paris print in the foreground with flowers and café signs - very romantic! - and bougt several yards of it. I'm making a lap quilt with six blocks with big appliqué hearts set on point, alternating with blocks of the café print and with sashing in between that will give the effect of a trellis lying on top of the blocks - sort of a 3D effect - I hope... I have only one heart left to appliqué and then I'll start stitching the whole thing together.
I have a great fabric lined up for the backing as well - one with French (?) windows and doors that will be great with these florals. I'm very particular about my backing fabrics these days - they should form a harmonious whole with the fabrics on the front, I think. This is especially important with lap quilts where the backing will be on display as often as the front. In my first years of quiltmaking I used whatever I had on hand for backing: old duvet covers and curtains in hideous patterns - anything big or cheap enough - and those quilts really make me cringe when I get a glimpse of the backs now. It just won't do - if I spend a lot of time (and fabric) making a quilt top and quilting it, I owe it to myself to use quality materials that are pleasing to the eye, throughout, I think. Sorry to make such a big song and dance about it, but that's my "humble" opinion, anyway ;-)

I have other projects lined up as well. Here are most of the fabrics for my house quilt. It also needs some brown and golden bits and pieces, but I trust my huge scrap bag - I will find what I need there, I'm sure! This is going to be my summer project starting tomorrow. There, I've said it - no excuses now, tomorrow it is!

These gems arrived last week. Isn't it funny that mere fabrics can give you a happy feeling and make you want to sing? I can hardly wait to do something with these beauties. Something autumnal (is that a word?) I think, with maybe a dash of turquoise for contrast. I'm thinking maple leaves here, but that seems rather obvious, so maybe not. Something more abstract, perhaps, something with big pieces so the beauty of the fabrics will play the main part. No doubt I'll spend some time playing with the colours and different patterns in EQ during the next few weeks to try to decide...

These are some glimpses of what I'm planning at the moment, but only some of them. What a good idea to use Fridays to show off our plans! It will give a good incentive to get something done so one can show off one's progress a week later, I think :-)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The solution

I told you I would come up with something ;-) This is how I ended up finishing the cross-stitch piece. It is to go in an album, so a frame wouldn't do, and if I were to mount it in a card it would be too big. So I ended up making it into a postcard by ironing it on to a piece of Fast2Fuse, adding a muslin backing and satin stitch around the edge. Not perfect, but finished! To show off the stitching properly I put it in my scanner, which makes it look a bit paler than it really is. And if the background looks a bit blotchy it is actually because it is stitched on a piece of hand dyed evenweave from Jayne's Attic. Lovely fabric, you'll just have to take my word for it ;-) Enough excuses for now - I'm quite pleased with it, and there's no turning back, as it is already on it's way to London... This means I can get back to my quilting. I have been out and about so much lately that my sewing machine is gathering dust where it sits neglected and sulking in the corner. Poor thing, it needs some company! It's not for lack of fabric either - I got some lovely loot from my latest trip and I have gathered all the colours I need for my house quilt, so I' ll start making small kits for myself to bring along wherever I'm going this summer. There is quite a lot of applique on this one, but one block at a time, and I'll be there eventually... I also bought some beautiful fabric in autumn colours that I can't wait to start using, but I'll have to come up with a pattern first. Something simple to show off the fabrics I think, hmm... must go and browse through some magazines and books .......