Monday, September 29, 2008


It must be the stormy weather we're having and the crisp autumn air that has turned my mind towards another world, because all of a sudden witches seem to pop up everywhere. I have all sorts of ideas about new things I want to make, and I see witches, broomsticks, cats and moons everywhere. Ideas of spooky castles, wise women, herb lore, spells and the like are everywhere: In books and movies, magazines and among the fabrics and patterns in my stash that grab my attention.
You might say I'm haunted by the images, and I'm not quite sure what's brewing, but there is a project or two lurking in the shadows I'm sure!
Ghoulies and ghosties and longleggety beasties, and things that go bump in the night are on my mind, and I'm sure October will take me on a creative ride down a mysterious lane. I'm going to have fun with it, I'm sure - starting with this "Haunted house" kit which has been left languishing in my stash for far too long. Then we will see which witch is next... :-P

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quiet evenings

So I've started another project :-) Not a very big one, though, I'm just making six small stitcheries to go in this quilt - or rather a much smaller version of this quilt. Just the right sized project for now, while I'm waiting to be overwhelmed by the urge to finish a much bigger quilt... Maybe this book can help me get my quilting mojo back - there's lots to be inspired by in there! And a very familiar name among the contributors...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


There are wicked people about, luring me into their shops with special offers on chocolate and candy...
Now if I just take a few and put them in this pretty little bowl, maybe the rest will stay peacefully in the cupboard?
Or not...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


So I went ahead with one of my ideas. I stitched some pieces of denim together by machine and used those narrow strips to form a lattice on top. I didn't use more than 5 strips either way, not the original 6, because I want to leave enough room to do something in the squares showing through the framework. I have just stitched it all together with a running stitch in white cotton so far. I'd like it to have a more frayed and worn appearance, so it's the washing machine next, I think...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fooling around

There hasn't been much quilting going on here since I finished the Olympic quilt. Maybe that's just the way it should be - that I need to allow some time after finishing a big project for my mind to explore other options and not just dive into another quilt project right away, although I have several on the go.
I have been very inspired by Jude's whatiffing for quite a while, and after seeing this, I went to the trash bag and pulled out some denim strips I had just thrown out, thinking I might do something with them instead. I have lots of bits and pieces left of this fabric, and I just love the colours in it: along with the faded denim blue there are uneven stripes of white, darker blue, teal and purple. I'm thinking of stitching pieces together into some kind of crazy patchwork thing, adding a grid of cut off selvedges on top and doing some kind of embroidery through the layers. Don't ask what it is for - if it's for anything it is just for fun, I suppose :-)

At my guild meeting a few weeks back, there was a demonstration of different ways to use Paintstiks, and I made this rubbing on a piece of batik. It was great fun and very easy to do - you just place the rubbing plate underneath the fabric, rub the stick over and voilá, you have the pattern on fabric. I'm thinking I might just have to get some paintstiks of my own to explore this further.

Hm, I just realized that the paintstiks are actually the same kind we used in the eighties, when adding stenciled motifs to our walls was all the rage, so I might just have an old one in the basement, come to think of it...
While I was trying to find curtain fabric for my living room last year, this was one of the options. Luckily I had the sense not to buy the actual yardage, but I bought a table runner, just to see how the colours would work with what I had (and they didn't!). I came across it the other day, and have been playing with ideas about what to do with it. I like the funky flowers, but somehow, the idea of adding something to them, like embroidery or quilting or some other kind of embellishment is tempting.
And then there is this. Remember that fabric paper I made a while ago? I fooled around with it some more, cut some pieces, and stuck them to a piece of quilted fabric I had discarded from a handbag I made a few years back. It was quilted first, and then I managed to cut it into the wrong size, so I had to make a new piece. I loved the fabric, so I just couldn't bear to throw it away, and now I decided to incorporate it into a new piece of something or other. It needs more stitching and embellishment, but I don't actually know what yet, so I'm just fooling around with it to see what I can come up with.

So that's all I have to show for my long silent period - although to my defense, things have been really frantic at work lately. But with all the preparations done, I managed to make a success of the three-day conference I hosted last week, the hired speakers did what was expected of them, and all the participants from near and far seemed well pleased with the outings I had arranged, so eventually I was able to let my shoulders down and breathe normally again, and actually enjoy myself. And now, after a quiet relaxing Saturday I'm here, ready to play, and what can be better than that?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I'm done!

Yes, I did it! Finished the quilt last night, that is. So here it is in all it's rippled glory. I really need to device some kind of method for hanging my quilts up for photographing them, so I can show them off to their best advantage - it isn't actually as rippled as it looks, although the dense quilting on the green strips and the looser curlicues on the floral strips won't let it lie completely flat. Never mind, it is to be a lap quilt to snuggle under on the sofa during the winter to serve as a reminder that there is such a thing as summer.
Here it is draped across the sofa for a closer look.
Remember I was inspired by the scroll pattern used as part of the Olympic design themes, but for continuous line machine quilting that pattern wouldn't have worked, and it would have become too dense, so the quilt would have lost its softness and drape, so I went with a much looser spirally pattern instead. I quilted alternate floral strips in red and blue thread, and did the green stripes in green thread, to provide some interest on the back as well.
This is the way I'll see it most, I suppose - as a rolling landscape of hills covered in flowers and grassy paths in between. I think I'll enjoy the view :-)

I have used a pre-washed Hobbs Heirloom Premium batting (80 per cent cotton/20 per cent polyester) which is a delight to work with and makes the finished quilt nice and soft. I know some people shy away from washing batting before it is actually in a quilt, but I have had no problems with it. I just put it in the machine, wash on a gentle cycle, pump the water out, run it through the spin cycle and let it dry draped over my drying rack, making it nice and fluffy.

Friday, September 05, 2008

- miles to go before I sleep...

- but I'm getting there. There hasn't been much time for sewing lately, but I'm doing the final lap on my Olympic quilt now: sewing on the binding and I'm determined to finish it before I go to bed. Pictures tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Oh, there's food on my blog!

I really enjoy it when other bloggers share their favourite recipes, but somehow it rarely occurs to me to get my camera out to document the things I make in my kitchen. But this plum tart I made last Sunday was so delicious that I just had to share it, so to speak. It was really scrumptious served with whipped cream and a pot of strong coffee.

Plum tart
I used my ordinary recipe for pie crust:
1 1/4 cup of flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
100 g (3 1/2 oz) of butter (the original recipe calls for unsalted butter, and then you are supposed to add some salt - I don't see the point, so I just use ordinary butter and no extra salt and it seems to work just fine.)
3-4 tablespoons of water.
Mix the dry ingredients and crumble the butter into the mixture by hand, or use a food processor. Add water one spoon at a time, adding just enough to make it all stick together. 3 spoons is usually enough. Place the dough in the fridge for at least an hour. I usually make mine the day before I'm to use it.
Roll the dough out with a rolling pin and line a pie dish with it. Pierce with a fork all over. To keep the dough from bubbling and rising too much, cover with foil and fill it with dry peas or beans. Bake in a 425F/220C degree oven for 10 minutes, remove peas and foil and bake for another five minutes. Take out of oven and cool on rack.

Meanwhile it's a good idea to prepare the plums. I used slightly less than 1 kilo - you have to sample some before you start and while you are slicing, you know... Halve plums and remove the stones. Slice. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and spread about a third of the mixture in the pie crust. Arrange the plum slices in a nice pattern inside and sprinkle the rest of the sugar/flour mixture over. Bake for 10 minutes, lower heat to 350F/175C and bake for another 30 minutes or so. You will know when it is done by the bubbling froth along the edge and the nice jammy smell in your kitchen. Make sure you wait for it to cool down a bit before you serve it. Fruit burns on your tongue are not very comfortable... I bet it would be really great with vanilla ice cream instead of the whipped cream - I must try that next time...

And to add some quilting content: enjoy tart with some quilting TV. Hm, I must get one of those X-block rulers...