Saturday, January 31, 2009


It is such a sunny day that I really shouldn't be cooped up indoors, but I just had to have a look at my zigzag strips before I venture outside. I just draped them all over the back of the sofa, and the sun is shining in through the window, so the strips in the middle look more faded then they actually are. But it is looking good. Quite good. Only I'm not quite sure about the second strip on the left.
I'm thinking that these two fabrics need a new friend. They are both quite busy florals, and might need a calming influence in between them. The aqua one has apricot coloured berries, and the geranium has red flowers with some lighter ones veering towards apricot, so I thought maybe that was the direction I needed to take, but I have auditioned the only apricot one I've got (my stash is rather limited in that area, it seems) and no, I don't think so! I don't want to add more green than I have already, and red would clash with the hot pink a few strips off, so I might have to have a little think here.
Maybe it's a good thing that the sun is shining, a walk in the sun might clear my head :-)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

We have lift-off!

After much dithering the zigzag-quilt is finally on it's way to becoming a reality. My quilt group had a sew-along this weekend. We spent a few hours yesterday learning a new technique (more about that later) and the rest of the time we just worked on whatever we wanted. So last night after I came home I cut all my triangles. And today I could just sit down and sew to my heart's content. And I did. I have actually stitched almost all the triangles into strips. I just have to find one extra fabric to go with the geranium one on the right, but I think I need to put it all up on the wall before I decide. I was going to add some more fuchsia/pink too, but didn't find one in my stash I could use, so I just went with what I have. Once I get it up on the wall I'll see if I need to unpick a row to insert some more pink somewhere.
I have had lots of positive feedback here after posting my choice of fabric, but it seems my friends IRL are a bit more hesitant: I got lots of remarks along the vein: "Oh, my you are brave, aren't you?" But that's OK - I like it!
Some practical information: I cut my strips 5" wide and used the 45 degree line on my ruler to cut triangles so the long edge is cut on the straight of grain. That way there is less risk of stretching the strips when stitching them together than if I were to cut squares diagonally and get the long edge of the triangles on the bias. It's looking good so far.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Autumn window finished!

Autumn window finished!
Originally uploaded by crafty mathea
- and up on the wall. The window frame of this quiltlet consists of three layers: two pieces of fabric with batting between, and is heavily quilted. I then cut away the four window pane squares and added a water soluble stabilizer before I put the branches (knitting wool) and the leaves (cut from a leaf fabric) in place and stitched them down. A branch found on last Sunday's hike serves as a hanger. More pictures of the process here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Autumn window revisited

The thing about tidying up is that you tend to unearth something you'd almost forgotten about. Remember this? There it was in a heap of unfinished objects, covered in fabric leaves stuck down with pins all over the place - so that's why my pin tin was almost empty!
After quilting all the sunflower blocks this morning, I went back to this and started stitching the leaves on. An do you know: it didn't really take all that long! I've also added some thin branches and twigs to fill in the open areas, and then some random green curls, because once I wash away the stabilizer (the white background) there needs to be something to hold the open areas together.
I think I'll add some small stitched leaves as well, but that will have to wait until tomorrow - my sewing machine and my back both deserve a rest. Hm, wonder what happens once I dunk it in the sink? We'll see tomorrow. I only hope I can get it to lie flat, and I will have to come up with some kind of hanging device. A traditional sleeve won't do on this one as the stitching is so dense on the frame that it will be agony to try to hand stitch it to the back.
Maybe I could use a branch to hang it from?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Early bird

Tidying up after the holiday season gave me the opportunity to change the wall decorations around a bit, so right now this little quilt graces the wall in my hallway. This must have been the first quilt pattern I ever bought, way back when I was starting out on this quilted road... I bought the pattern from Quilts and Comforts, and I should give credit where credit is due, but I'm afraid I don't know who the pattern is by, having thrown it out after I finished the quilt.
Anyway, when I got the pattern I realized that it was going to be a huge quilt. We are talking ceiling to floor height here - no way was I going to make a chicken quilt that big ! Back in those days I was a firm believer in sticking to the pattern as closely as possible and spent ages trying to find the fabrics used in the original, but eventually the pattern was just stowed away. Then, a couple of years ago a friend was hosting a stitch along just before Easter and everybody seemed to be planning on stitching chickens of some sort, so I got the pattern out again. Instead of using the pattern sheet, I took a photocopy of the picture on the front, traced it and enlarged it 200%, which made the size just perfect for a little wall quilt.The point of all this? Nothing really, except that I'm not feeling like an early bird in any way at the moment. The cold weather and long days at work makes me want to follow that little green worm's example - scuttle out at the corner and go into hibernation... ;-)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Will I, won't I?

Do or don't, zig or zag?

Who am I kidding, we know I will, right? Nine days in a row thinking about that zigzag quilt, there is really nothing for it, I have to make one! I have been sorting through fabrics, adding and subtracting for days now, and I think I have come up with the right blend. The first one was a bit heavy on the green on one side and on teal on the other, but this one seems more balanced colourwise - to me at least. So I'll start cutting fabric, once I work out how big I want those triangles to be. I was thinking 7 or 8" at first, but I did the math (I'm such an old fuddy-duddy...), and realized that wouldn't give me enough triangles to make an impact, so I'm down to 6 1/2 or 6". I am leaning towards 6 1/2 (the bigger the better), but I have a 6" ruler, so cutting 6" squares would make the job easier for me...

Yes I know - get on with it! If I used less time worrying about these things I'd get more done. I really need to tear myself away from all the rules and rulers and wing it more. But I'll just make the zigzag first! There, I've said it - new quilt on the way!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's very pink, isn't it?

I finished the rose quilt at last. I have had serious misgivings about this one, but told myself to get over it - it's just a small quilt after all. My sister wanted me to make this for her after finding a pattern for a lap quilt in this pattern and these rose fabrics. However, she only wanted a small wall quilt. I've been thinking that the pattern and fabrics would have worked better together in a big quilt. Whatever. It is finished now, and it actually looks better when you get it up on the wall than I thought it would. Let's hope she likes it.
And having finished this I can justify starting a new one, can't I? I just can't get that zigzag quilt out of my head, although I have kept myself in check so far this weekend...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Carried away...

All evidence of the holiday season has been packed up and sent out the door and now it's back to normal. Or what accounts for normal here... The first week back at work was a long and dreary one, but I expect to be back in normal work mode by next week. With all the meetings scheduled, I'd better...
But let that rest for now - it's weekend and time to play ;-) Not having to climb over those empty Christmas decoration boxes to get to my sewing machine and fabric stash is enough to inspire me to sew. I have just a little bit left on the rosy quilt before it's all done, and I'll do some more quilting on the sunflower one today, I think. But of course I can't get that zigzag one out of my head. I even had to pull some fabric out for an audition before I went to work on Friday morning. My sleepy brain had it all wrong, though, and as soon as I got home I saw the error of my ways and put those fabrics back where they belonged. But even so, they gave me some new ideas to play around with, so it should come as no surprise if I start a new quilt during the weekend! Can't wait!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

All good things come to an end

-and tomorrow it's back to work after an extended holiday season. So far I haven't been able to talk myself into it being OK, but I suppose getting back into a routine is good for you or something... Right now I'm feeling that there is a lot to say for not having to wear a watch, sleeping in and being able to decide that the weather is too awful so I'll stay in - I sometimes feel that what I'd be if given a choice was a bear during the winter and a teacher during the summer... (But then, how much crafting does a bear get to do?)
I'll stop grumbling now - going to work also means meeting up with my colleagues again, and getting back to that interesting workproject again, of course, and the workdays usually fly by and then it's meeting up with friends, guild meetings starting up again and all. Good stuff.

The rose quilt is coming to an end too, so to speak - I have just added the binding, and now I'll settle down in my cosy corner and watch a few episodes of LOST (I got season 4 on DVD for Xmas) while doing the hand-stitching.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


I visited Anna Maria's blog today and was inspired by this lovely quilt (and look at all that gorgeous fabric...)! I have seen a zig-zag quilt in one of Kaffe Fassett's books earlier, and had in the back of my mind that I wanted to make one at some stage. But I haven't really reflected upon what fabrics to use or anything. When I saw Anna Maria's quilts though, it hit me - why not make it a floral one? I have several beautiful floral fabrics lying in wait, and on my latest shopping spree before Christmas a few more were added. I just couldn't help myself - I had to bring them out and see if they will work together. And, do you know what? I think they do! I might need a few fillers in here, but I think I might make this work... Well, I had better mull that over in my mind for a while, while keeping up the good work like I have been doing today -

-on this one (remember it from last summer?) I have gone through a couple of spools of aqua thread so far, and will use a few more before I'm through, no doubt, but it is going well.

And then there is this one. I wasn't too sure about it, and the fabric I had used for the bottom border just didn't do it for me, but today I ripped it off and added the green one instead, and I'm much happier with it. That means that the top is finished, and I might actually get down to quilting it tomorrow. Or some day soon... better not tempt Fate here ;-)