Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Flower picture

Grow by crafty mathea
Grow, a photo by crafty mathea on Flickr.
I was inspired by a technique in Quilting Arts Magazine and had to give it a go. I used some Sweetwater fabric with appropriate words like 'sunshine', 'plant' and 'grow' for the background and quilted it with parallel lines before adding the flowers. They are just stacks of free cut fabric circles in different sizes with flower sketches stitched by machine on top in black thread. This was just a small experiment (8 x 12") so I finished it off quickly with a zigzag stitch round the edge.
I quite like the effect of the black stitching doing it's own thing with splotches of colour in the background, so this is definitely a technique to add to my toolbox for future use. Fun!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Laptop bag

I've been so busy visiting other bloggers lately, due to the Festival, that I have neglected to show you my new bag. Ever since I got my laptop last autumn I have been meaning to make a bag to carry it around in, but it took a while to find the right pattern. I found the right fabrics soon enough - bikes and buses seemed the right images for something that will be on the move a lot, so my Echino fabrics were my first choice, making this a very colourful bag. I had half yards of both bike and bus prints and of two polka dot prints in brown/aqua and aqua/brown. It turned out that it wasn't quite enough though, so I had to dip into my Ruby Star Rising stash as well, using the retro radio print for the inside of the flap and inner pockets. The fabric weight is the same, making it a good match.
I used the Cambridge Cargo Bag pattern by Lila Tueller for this bag, but  made it even sturdier by using two layers of thin batting and quilting all the outside pieces before assembling, making a protective outer layer.
The bag has two inner pocket panels, each divided into three, making six pockets inside in addition to the two cargo pockets on the outside, so I will get room for a lot of bits and pieces. While cutting the panels for the pockets I decided not to trim off the selvedges, but rather to keep them as a decorative element inside the bag. They might collect a bit of lint in the long run, but I'll learn to live with that, as I quite like the effect :-)
I took advantage of the differently patterned areas of the fabrics to cut separate pieces for the bag - for instance, I used one aqua/turquoise stripe to make the closure-strap,matching the stripe along the back of the flap. I also used a green polka dotted area of the bus fabric for the side panels, matching the greens squares on the bike fabric. All in all, cutting the different pieces and deciding what was to go where, and how best to utilize the fabric, took some thinking and planning, but that was half the fun of planning this bag. Now, the bag has magnetic closures, something I didn't give a second thought until it was nearly finished, but according to some intensive googling, bag magnets are considered too weak to do any harm to computers. Let's hope they are right!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quilt Festival time

Some of us can only dream about going to Market, and live vicariously through those who do, catching tantalizing glimpses of new fabric lines and patterns as they appear in various blogs and albums online. What a joy it is to be able to take part in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival for those of us who stay at home. Thank you Amy for taking the time to organize this again!

My entry this time is a quilt I named 'Authentic 2 by 4'. I managed to snag a Jelly Roll of Authentic by Sweetwater before it was too late, knowing the letters and numbers would be great in collages and as accents in quilts here and there. When I saw all the fabrics together, I felt that it would be a shame to separate them, and I kept wanting to sort them by pattern and colour. Rearranging precuts with their zigzaggy edges is very messy though, leaving you with lots of lint everywhere.
My idea for a sampler, using the entire line came from Jane Brocket's book "The Gentle Art of Quilt-Making". You wouldn't know it by looking at it, because her quilt is entirely different - all triangles, I seem to remember (too lazy to get up and check it...). It wasn't so much the quilt itself though, as her description of her inspiration for the quilt - samples from a haberdashery - which triggered the idea. When I was a kid we had a large department store in town with what I remember as a huge fabric and haberdashery department on the ground floor. You could browse through their selection of buttons mounted in squares on large boards. I used to love going there with my mum and my auntie, who was a seamstress, and browse furtively through the boards while the grown-ups were busy with their purchases. Funny how such memories can pop up from a hidden drawer in your mind when you get a little trigger such as Jane's description of her inspiration. Once I thought about that, I knew that I too wanted to make a sampler board. Knowing that my fabric strips were 2 1/2", I knew that triangles would be too small to show off the fabrics properly. I decided on rectangles, 2 x 4" finished size (hence the title) and used a natural cotton linen blend for the sashing.
I found a piece of rather loosely woven curtain fabric with a handwriting print for the backing and used parallell lines for the quilting. It is a fairly small and simple quilt, quite easy to make, but it has become one of my favourites. The neutral tones makes it fit in anywhere, and knowing that I have a sample of each and every one of the prints in the collection makes it much easier to cut into those strips in the remainder of the jelly roll and use them elsewhere.

That's my entry for the Festival, now make sure to visit Bloggers' Quilt Festival and see all the lovely quilts there! 

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

It's that time again

Project Spectrum is starting up again after a long break. I love that we are back to focusing on single colours this time,so we can scoot off in any direction we like.
I have no idea of what I want to make yet, but I guess it will be something quilt-related. I'm going to use some time to focus on the first colour - red - and gather inspiration first, and no doubt, an idea will pop into my head after a while. I love how such prompts as sticking to a certain colour or theme can take you off on paths you otherwise wouldn't have followed. What a perfect way to discover new things and learn something about your own likes and dislikes!

In order to keep track of the colours, I have made a simple little colour calendar - feel free to use it if you like. And the Project Spectrum logo in the sidebar will take you straight to the Flickr pool to see what everybody else is doing.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Little boxes

I needed to make some small sewing related party favours for my guild. Because I haven't got a quilt shop nearby and time was at a premium, the only thing I could get my hands on in time was spools of thread. That's fine, something every quilter needs, but maybe slightly boring, so I decided to spend some extra effort on presentation. I made origami boxes from 6 x 6" squares of scrapbook paper and came up with these little flowers to decorate them: circles in three different sizes with slits cut in them. I rolled the edges slightly over a pencil to shape the petals and used flower shaped brads and sequins in the center to attach them to the boxes. The boxes look sweet because they are so tiny, I think - they are only just large enough to fit a spool of thread from corner to corner.