Friday, February 27, 2009

Back on track

The days getting lighter and finishing a small project seems to have helped, and I'm back on track, quilting my Sunflower quilt again. I had the day off from work today and spent my morning quilting. I have five big blocks and the borders left to quilt, so I'm getting there...
I'm not making any bold statements about how much I will do during the weekend or anything - I usually end up putting a spoke in my own wheels somehow whenever I do that. So let's just say that it is all about enjoying the process and not about finishing - OK ? At least that's what I tell myself whenever I stray from my plans ;-)

This afternoon my sister and I went on a shopping spree. I bought some great cups and mugs, all black with these stripy saucers that almost make you dizzy looking at them. They didn't have small plates to go with these, only dinner plates (!) but I saw some nice white plates with black flowers at IKEA on my last visit (which I didn't buy then, because they didn't have cups to go with them).

Some lovely roses also made their way into my cart along with some scented candles. The pizza is almost ready and the wine bottle is open, so we're all set for a lovely evening here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


So I promised to tell you more about this fabric collage thingy, didn't I ? Well, I've finished it, so it's time for show and tell!

I used the red piece for covers, and the purple and green pieces were made into two pockets each. The covers were lined with fabric paper and the six pieces were bound together with perle cotton, using a stab stitch. Some eylets, buttons and strips of torn fabric and it all ended up as a little book.

I got the idea from Belinda Spiwak's fabric book in Cloth Paper Scissors (jan/feb issue) , but I made mine a little larger (5 x 5") to make it roomy enough.
So what is it for? Well, even if making it was half the fun it does have a function - it is a place to store all those coils of cable neccessary to charge batteries and connect in this cyber world of ours. So I might just remember to bring them along on my next trip... More pictures here.
And another good thing - working on this little quick gratification project has left me all energized and ready to tackle the remaining quilting on my Sunflower quilt - or could it have something to do with February drawing to a close...?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Frayed edges

This is where my layering of scraps has taken me so far. All the different sized pieces were layered onto pieces of felt and have been quilted down with wavy lines, ragged ends showing. I really like the texture of this - I seem to be very taken with texture and the feel of textiles lately.

I started out as a traditional quilter, and I suppose part of me still is, as I constantly feel the need to explain that, yes, I do know how to sew. I do know that you are supposed to hide raw edges inside neat seams, quilt and embroider neatly and bind off with a double fold binding with perfectly mitered corners. But I choose not to. OK? Some of the time, anyway. I will still make "proper quilts", but I also want to explore other paths and work more freely.

Now I don't know why I'm going on about this here to you, because this is where I find people who actually understand and feel the same way. The thing is, in "The Real World" - among fellow quilters that I actually meet at guild meetings and in shops and classes, I increasingly find that I have to explain myself and justify what I'm doing and why. "But what is it for?" people invariably ask when I show something new and exiting I'm working on. "Where are you going to keep it?" is another one. "Isn't it going to fray?" is what I'm expecting to hear when it comes to this project. Because I have actually got answers for the other two this time.

So what if it frays? - I really hope it does! I'll use it until it falls apart and then I might make another one! I still have to fight an urge to finish off things too neatly when I'm trying to tear myself away from The Rules of Quilting, but still, it is very liberating and I'm getting better at it. So what is it for? Wait and see, I will tell you :-) Although I know you totally understand the need for frayed edges too!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Having fun again

Amazing... the rise in temperature outside....

... gets my creative juices flowing!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More inspiration from France

I got hold of the spring issue of Marie Claire yesterday, and it is full of inspiration. Just look at that fabric covered (I think) chair on the cover. And the knitted veg - radishes on the cover, but also cauliflower, tomatoes and carrots. Now if only I were able to read a french knitting pattern!

And look at the details in this picture - a picture printed on fabric with added embroidery and some of the clothes are done in appliqué - reminds me of those postcards people used to send home from holidays in Spain when I was a kid, with those wonderful flamenco dresses appliquéd on.
And there is a wonderfully bright quilt. I love the effect of those yo-yos scattered all over.
And there are aprons, wonderful aprons with cupcakes and ruffles, and this pretty little thing with triangles along the edge which reminds me of bunting. Quite the festive little thing, isn't it?
Clever ways with ties as well. I particularly like this simple little bag with a pretty tie used to, well to tie it together, I suppose. It is threaded through big eyelets around the edge, which is another thing I can't seem to get enough of lately. If only I could find those big ones somewhere...
Well, all this inspiration seems to be working, I can't wait for the weekend and some serious stitching time. The fact that the outside temperature is rising might have something to do with it as well, I suppose - I wasn't made for cold weather ;-)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It looks kind of pretty though, doesn't it?

The view from my balcony last night. It was really a jolt to the system to go out there to take that picture though - it was so cold! But a warm duvet and my copy of "Where women create" was waiting for me in my bed, and one of the first things I read was how such a jolt to the system before you go to your creative place can really wake your muse. What with the quiet time I've been enjoying the last week and all the fresh inspiration I've soaked up, my mind is brimming with ideas of things I want to make. But first I'll just make (yet) another attempt to get my workspace sorted. There must be goblins or something around, making a mess whenever I look the other way...
The magazine is providing me with lots of ideas about how to organize my space though, and I'm feeling really fired up, so I'd better strike while the iron is hot. I'm off to my craft corner. It is certainly too cold to venture outside today - apart from getting the occasional jolt to the system, that is!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lovely inspiration

Look what the postman brought! A lot of inspiring magazines! I'm taking advantage of the snowy season and using it to gather my forces. My creative forces that is. So what if I'm not quite up to making stuff at the moment, at least I can gather ideas and get all geared up for a rise in temperature that will hopefully make my sewing area a tempting place to be again. What can be better than to get inspired by other people's craft rooms and blogging endeavours, so I can start shaking things up around here.

I'm enjoying some quiet time watching DVDs and doing some hand stitching. You might have spotted this in the background from time to time - I have been working on it for ages it seems, to the utter bafflement of my quilting friends... Why sit and stitch parallel lines on a piece of batting sandwiched between two layers of fabric? Well, it seemed a good idea at the time - I have been increasingly fascinated by texture lately, and just wanted to try my hand at making something simple where creating texture was the whole point.

And the good thing about the last couple of quiet evenings is that it is finished. I have quilted it with a deep turquoise silk thread in big uneven stitches. I just used a 1/4" quilter's tape to guide my stitch line, and stitched happily along, creating slightly wavy lines all across. It looks a bit primitive and simple, but I like it. I have a tablecloth in the same deep turquoise, and I'm planning to use this as a table topper. If I had been more fastidious, I would have centered the motifs on the fabric and all, but I just used the whole length of fabric that I had, and it turned out the way it did. Kind of an experiment really. And I'm fine with that.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

And then there was cake

Another way to fight the February Funk: Make a cake and invite a friend over for a stitch'n'bitch session. The cake is a chocolate fudge recipe from the latest Ideal Home Magazine, but with apricot marmalade and whipped cream instead of the fudgy filling. Delicious!

Some ham-and-cheese muffins provided sustenance before we tucked into the cake. And hours of chatting, knitting, hand-stitching, looking through magazines and books and sharing inspiration, reminiscing and laughing gave sustenance of it's own kind and made for a lovely afternoon.
And, if the last couple of posts have left you thinking that I'm in the midst of a deep depression: it isn't quite that bad, and I am in fact managing to get a little work done, albeit slowly slowly. The zigzag top is almost complete, more pictures soon. Or not. It's not a time for making promises about progress, but I will get there ;-) And in the meantime I'm soaking up inspiration from all those books and magazines, sketching and taking notes for future projects. So maybe taking things slowly for a while isn't such a bad thing after all.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

February as an excuse...

A cold and dreary February morning is the perfect excuse for indulging in a warm and comforting Latte.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Not quite according to plan...

Here I was tucking my camera into my bag before I left for work. The icy streets told me that taking the bus would be a good idea, so no photos on my way to work. And then a friend gave me a lift home, making me forget all about my photo plans until I came home. This blurry shot of my honeysuckle plant will have to do. It is a small promise of spring, after all, with it's tentative little green shoots, but it was too dark to get a good shot by the time I got home. The lack of proper daylight is, when I come to think of it, one of the reasons why February feels so dreary. I might have to pop out during my lunch break to snap some pics.

I'm sure there are birds in the trees, for instance. Like these sweeties on a paper napkin I snagged from my mum's last Sunday. So pretty - I wish I could have some fabric with this pattern! I might find some kind of craft project to use them in, though. Any ideas?

Monday, February 02, 2009

February Funk

I should start this blog with a picture of a dreary day or something, to illustrate what I'm on about. But I won't. Amanda at SouleMama was writing about February Funk today and I know just what she's talking about. It doesn't make sense, February being the shortest month and all, but it really gets me down. It might be something about the happy glow of Christmas having faded into nothing and of being plunged back into everyday life again, knowing that winter has only just begun, but I just don't seem to be able to gather the energy to do anything creative. Spring just seems so far away, the days are busy at work, and I only want to huddle under a quilt in my favourite chair when I get home and read and snooze. I keep fighting it, though, and I do manage to get a few things done, but it is apparently not a time for any major effort on my part.

Maybe that is the way it should be. Maybe I just need to take time out to relax and let my imagination run around on it's own and let some ideas stew for a while before I actually do something about them. I think I'll do just that and not beat up on myself for being lazy. But poor February, it isn't all bad, so this year I'll follow Amanda's example and make an effort to find the positive aspects of this month. Starting tomorrow I'll be carrying my camera to work and try to find something positive to document every day.
The pictures are of the little "Art piece" I tried my hand at, combining fabric paper and quilted fabric, a way back. I added some more layers, a bit of embroidery, some buttons and beads.
I think it is done now.