Monday, May 31, 2010

Authentic 2x4

I finished quilting my Authentic 2x4 quilt today. The name is just a silly little play on the fact that my patches are 2 x 4" and all the fabrics are from the Authentic fabric line - I just cut one piece from each strip in my Jelly Roll. Now I had thought I'd stick with the linen for the binding as well, but is that too boring? Should I use a black and white, for instance?

I'll enjoy some freshly baked cookies and a bit of Miss Marple, and decide tomorrow...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Coming along nicely


Coming along nicely
Originally uploaded by crafty mathea
My Authentic sampler is coming among nicely. I'm glad I went with the linen - it goes well with all the fabrics, I think.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wonky Wednesday

It's Workbook Wednesday again and I took the opportunity to do a bit of wonky piecing - yes, I have cheated a bit and skipped a few exercises and dived into chapter 5. That seemed just right for today, but I will go back and do the collage and the photo inspired piece, I just need to mull it over a while longer.
So today I did some curved piecing - I have tried that before, but it is always good to get some excercise in, right? I also did a piece with inset strips, and last, but not least, this wonky log cabin. Well, that's what I started making, but I don't know: there's something about me and log cabin - I have trouble sticking to it for long... It's all that pressing and trimming along the way, I think. And because I insist on keeping my ironing board in another room in order to get up from the sewing machine ever so often, working on just the one log cabin block means that there is more walking than sewing. So I called it a day when the block was just over 9 " and added a few wonky strips at the bottom so I ended up with a 9 x 12" piece. Maybe I can use it as a background for one of the quilts in this series? It's been a while since I did any wonky piecing, though, so that was fun. And as usual I'm ending up with lots of new ideas for things to make, and that's part of the fun, isn't it?

Now have a look in the Workbook Wednesday pool and see what Lisa and the others are up to.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sampler


Sampler
Originally uploaded by crafty mathea
I bought a Jelly Roll of Authentic by Sweetwater a while back, and thought I'd use bits and pieces of it in collages and whatever. I just love fabric with words printed on them, and this line has several of those. As it often is with these things, I found myself reluctant to start cutting into it, but I wanted to "get to know" all the different fabrics, and while reading Jane Brocket's new quilt book and what had inspired her to make her sampler quilt, it dawned on me that I could make a sampler of my own. I worked it out in EQ, and decided that if I cut the pieces 4 1/2" for a finished size of 2 x 4" and used 1" sashing, I would end up with an almost square quilt when I chose a layout of 5 by 8 blocks. Once I finished stitching the blue top together this morning, (more about that later) I got to work, cutting my pieces and getting them up on my design wall (which is just a fancy term for a flannel sheet with grommets in two corners hung from two hooks at the top of my wall!).
I've been moving them about for a while, and I quite like the layout, but now the big question is: what colour sashing should I choose? Initially I thought some sort of neutral like bone, cream or grey would be good, but some of the fabrics might get lost by blending into the background too much, I think. I have a solid bright blue which goes well with all of the colours, but it might be too dark. Any suggestions?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

I thought I’d share my Amy quilt for Amy’s quilt festival ;-)
The name refers to a different Amy though – Amy Butler - and the quilt is made entirely from her fabric line Ginger Bliss. I usually name my quilts, but his one has just remained my ”Amy Butler quilt” all along, not getting a name of it’s own. This is one of the first big quilts I have made that I kept for myself, and I don’t think I could bear to part with it, to tell you the truth. Just looking at it gives me a happy feeling.


I first became aware of this fabric line when it was on its way out, being replaced by her next one, and supplies were dwindling in the shops. I was bowled over and ended up on a mad shopping spree, buying pieces of all designs and colourways I could find on different websites around the world. After a few hectic weeks I had amassed a sizeable pile of fabric and just knew I wanted to include all prints in one quilt, and that to give the fabric the starring role, it would have to be a quilt in a simple design. I found one I liked in this book, a simple four-patch design with large squares. This was quite a departure from the way I had been working up till that point – no templates or intricate blocks, just speedy cutting and stitching together. Until then I had also made it a point to mix fabric from different lines, and come up with my own combos.

There was just something about these fabrics that told me they had to be together. And to tell you the truth, there weren’t all that many fabrics in my stash that would have gone well with these, as most of my fabric until then was very bright or saturated. I did think that Kaffe Fassett’s Lotus Flower print in pastel might work as a companion, and ended up using that as a border on the pieced backing. Yes, there’s a pieced backing too – the first time I went down that road as well (a lot of firsts here!). I wanted to use as much of the fabric as I could in one quilt, having bought so much of it, and I had also wanted to try the “stack and slash” method, so that’s what I did for the backing. The quilt is heavily quilted in a spiralling rose pattern with light pink rayon thread, emphasizing the floral theme. I finished it off with a teal binding fabric.
So what is it about these fabrics and this quilt that I love so much? I know there is a childhood memory in there, but I’m a bit fuzzy about the details. It all has to do with my grandparents’ big trip to Italy when I was four. I still remember the day they came home. It was a big event, and the whole family went to the station to meet them. I seem to remember my grandmother in a new floral dress, and this being the late sixties; there might have been a resemblance to this in the retro style of the fabrics in my quilt. I also remember being given a wonderful pink straw hat, which was put on my head right there, at the station, so they must have been carrying it in their hand luggage, eagerly waiting to give it to me. There was such a happy feeling to that day that it has stuck in my memory. Part of it was being reunited with my lovely grandparents (they lived in the same house, so I was used to seeing them every day). Come to think of it, this was also probably their first holiday abroad together – my grandfather was in the merchant navy, so when he came home, they preferred going to their house in the country on my grandmother’s time off. They had apparently had a very good time, because I remember them as being very happy and almost radiant – maybe it was like their second honeymoon (or actually their first, since they were thrown straight into a demanding everyday life when they married in 1928). My grandmother’s taste in fabric and colour sense might be part of the mix too. As I said, I can’t pinpoint the exact thing, but somehow, looking at this quilt evokes memories of glorious summer days, my grandparents and Italy. Italy has always seemed like a magical place to me, and I have visited the country several times, and the fabric also reminds of these trips. Hm, I’ve just thought of a name for it – I think I’ll call this my Italian Bliss quilt, now how about that?

PS. That same day at the station also inspired another little project – it must have been an awesome day…

Friday, May 21, 2010

On my wall

I haven't been doing much stitching lately, but when I have, here's a glimpse of what I have been working on.
On one of my visits with my sister and my nephew (aged 13 3/4) this winter I found him huddling under a much too small knitted blankie in the evening. I didn't comment, but realized that the quilt I made for him some years ago has become too childish for a young man - not very cool when friends come by, you know! This has been in the back of my mind for a while, and I decided to make him a quick utility blanket - a pieced top lined with fleece. I came across some orange fleece, and decided on a colour scheme of blue and orange - the colours of his favourite sports team. I started pulling blue fabric pieces from my stash and managed to assemble a sizeable stack from my ever growing stash of blues. Originally I had thought I'd make a top from 8 " squares, but I realized that there were too many skinny strips, jagged edges and akward shapes among the pieces I had assembled to do so. After mulling this over for a while I just started stitching the pieces I had together into larger pieces and then into strips of varying widths. I have made enough strips to cover the 60x80" piece of fleece now, and have started stitching them together.
I'm not entirely sure I like the effect yet, but we'll see what happens once I get them all together and can look at it from a distance. Maybe it will work?
At least it will keep a young man warm and cosy on chilly evenings, unless that too is uncool - you never know these days... ;-) 13 3/4 is a seriously challenging age!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Wednesday on a Friday

I know, it's called Workbook Wednesday, and today is Friday, but it's been a crazy week. I managed to upload these pictures to Flickr before I went to bed on Wednesday, but that was it.

I have quilted the two small quilts I showed last time. The first one is the one where I played with different shapes, and placed them in different relations to each other. I couldn't decide, and eventually I just slapped them down with the iron. The red piece reminded me of a sail, and I quilted lines connecting it to the other two pieces. Now when I look at it, it looks more like a pair of bikini bottoms hanging on the washing line... ;-D The quilt also looks a bit plain and "open", but I'm just leaving it as it is until I get to the chapter about embellishments and finishing techniques and we'll see what I come up with...

I trimmed the pear piece and added some borders before quilting. This one also needs some kind of binding or edge finish, but I'm leaving that for later as well. I'm quite happy with it so far, though.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Do you EQ?

I have found the computer programme Electric Quilt a great help for designing quilts since I bought my EQ4 ten years ago. I've used it, and later versions to plan my quilts, decide on sizes of blocks and borders, colour choices and much more. And of course I design all sorts of fanciful quilts I know I'll never actually get round to make, but that's half the fun. Much better than any computer game, if you ask me!

Different stages of my kite quilt in EQ - see the final version here.

I'm working with EQ6 now, and wouldn't you know it - they are releasing a new version, EQ7, just to tempt me into another upgrade. My first thought was that I'm fine with what I have, but one look at all these new features, and I must admit I'm tempted...

Different versions of my X-block quilt in EQ - see the finished quilt here.