Sunday, October 25, 2015

In progress

I have spent my spare time redecorating and organizing stuff lately - a never-ending story, it seems...

I finished this quilt top before I started, but I was all out of batting, so I had to leave it for a while. Now there's really no excuse - my batting has arrived, my living room is painted and almost everything is sorted, so it's time to start quilting.
This one is for my own bed. Yes, that's right - I have been quilting for 25 years or so, and I still haven't got my own bed quilt, so it's about time I think...
The pattern is from an old issue of Quilt Sampler. I'll follow up with close ups of the courthouse step blocks and more information when it's done.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A bit of this and that

I've almost finished summing up all the stuff I've made during the first part of the year by going through my photos. Here are a few bits and pieces. The first is a whatchamacallit to rest the sewing machine pedal on to stop it from sliding out of reach. I was in danger of disappearing under the table when sewing as the pedal kept slipping away, but I came across an idea on Pinterest that was easily copied. It's just a piece of that material you put under rugs to stop them from slipping with binding all around. At one end I added a "sausage" of fabric filled with batting to stop the pedal from skipping off the mat. A very simple idea, but I'm happy to report that it works! So there will be no more of that laid-back sewing here in future...
My teddies needed something cushy for their slidey bums, and I had just the right teddy fabric for a little throw to drape over their bench. A cushion with ruler marks and stenciled numbers (an idea from Marie Claire Idées) finishes the ensemble.
So here they are, ready to welcome visitors.
I've had some wooden letters lying around for a while, with a coat of white paint they make a positive demand on my sewing room wall.
And since there can't be enough open wide pouches in the world, I made another one for a young friend. These are fun to make, and quite addictive, it seems!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The cats in the bag

- or on the bag, actually!
I bought a medley from Keepsake Quilting som years ago, featuring some fun cat prints, but I have been at a loss as to how I could use them in something where they could be shown off in all their glory. A friend and I keep swapping interior design magazines and she tends to carry her loot home in plastic bags with handles that will cut into your hands if you carry too many mags in one go. She is also a cat lover, so I came up with an idea of making her a tote bag for her magazines, with soft padded handles that would make it a joy to carry those mags home.
I used the cat panel one one side. On the other side I cut a square of four cat images and stitched borders of the companion fabrics around it.
The panels were quilted lightly with straight lines. Boxed corners and extra padded handles makes for a sturdy bag that can carry a lot.
A light green lining with text about dreams and inspiration finishes the bag. 
I realize now that I should have taken better photos, as the colours seem a bit off, but the bag is in full use by my friend, who loves it, so these will have to do.

Friday, September 11, 2015

S'mores or mug rugs, as some call them...

In between projects I like to take some time out by grabbing some bits and pieces from my scrap bag and sew them together. I cut and stitch again building the pieces up to at least 7 x 9". I keep a bag of batting scraps and larger fabric scraps for backing at the ready, so I can start quilting right away.
The quilting is done with heavy thread in different colours and fairly close lines. Since I can't quilt a straight line to save my life, I make them deliberately wavy. I really love the texture that this gives, and the heavy thread lines also helps bring the patterns and colours of all the different fabrics together, I think.

Once a piece is quilted I cut it down to 6 x 8". Starting out with a larger piece gives me some choice for the finished look, since everything up to here has been completely random. I usually find something from my jar of leftover binding pieces to complete each mug rug.
These mug rugs are so much fun to make that once I get going I can't stop. I work on four or five pieces at a time, and once I finish them the thought is there: let's make some more... The last time I sat down with a bag of scraps I ended up with 15 of them. So maybe we should change the name - not mug rugs but call them s'mores? Very healthy s'mores even though they're addictive, right?

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Flower boxes

I bought a roll of Kaffe Fassett Collective fat quarters in purple and teal at a show a while back, and thought they needed to be cut into rather large pieces to shine. I ended up with a bento box variation with small and large "boxes". I used Kona snow as a contrast. Once I started laying out the blocks, I discovered that at was all a bit meh... I loved the colours , but they needed something more to make them shine. After an audition with members from my stash, I ended up with a couple of yellows and that seemed to do the trick.
Once I had assembled the top and had a good look, I realized that one member of the cast wasn't pulling his own weight. he fabric in itself was lovely, a light blue with pink polka dots, but there was just too little contrast to the white. I ended up with making four blocks with a bright pink, unpicked the bland blocks and inserted the pink ones. Ah! Much better!
I quilted this one with wavy lines through the blocks, creating large petal shapes, using a petal shape cut from thick paper as a guide. In between the petals I used a tight meander to make the petals stand out.
The back is a lovely chrysanthemum print by Philip Jacobs that I just couldn't bring myself to cut into. Here it comes into its own and brings a smile to my face every time i look at it. A triangular label sewn into a corner an purple binding finishes the quilt.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Bali pop

I bought a roll of Bali Pops - precut 2 1/2" strips of Bali fabric from a show a couple of years ago and have had a hard time talking myself into opening it up and start cutting. Instead it has been a colourful decoration on a shelf in my sewing room for so long I was worried that the outer strip would fade away. Eventually I got started, sewed the strips together in threes and cut them into triangles, using the 45 degree line on my standard ruler.
I started sewing the triangles together in pairs, using the same colourways opposite each other, but after a while I got bored and mixed the rest up so that nothing matched in order to get a bit more variety in the quilt. I ended up with 16 blocks in a 4 by 4 layout.
The leftover bits and pieces were stitched together and combined with some purple and lime green bali fabric for the backing. I quiltedit in a swirly pattern and added orange binding to add a bit of interest. So, the bali pop roll is no longer gathering dust on my shelf, and instead I have a colourful throw and not a single scrap left over!

Friday, August 28, 2015


When I found this pattern in Love Patchwork and Quilting I thought about my stack of fabric from the Road 15 line from Sweetwater - motifs like houses and trees and road names, what could be better for a quilt with house blocks? And quite boyish as well - perfect for the young man I had in mind.
Once I started making blocks I felt that the grey, blue, green, black palette was a bit flat, so I added some yellow and red from another Sweetwater line, Noteworthy. I was quite happy with my choices as I was working on the quilt, but once I saw the finished quilt at a distance, I thought the red and white looks too pink to be right for a boy's quilt. I added black binding, to toughen it up a bit, but I still fear it's too girlie for a 14 year old boy.
Nah,  I think I'll  keep this one and make a different one for the boy in mind. Luckily I have another eight months to make a new quilt, since I was planning forward for once - it obviously doesn't pay to have too much time!
Mind you, I love this quilt and I'm happy to keep it. It has what has become a recurring theme in my work: houses. The blocks consist of houses made of house patterned fabric, and would you believe it, it's also got an Ikea house fabric as backing - what's not to like? Since the blocks are made of groups of houses, the name gave itself: "Villages". It's quilted with my go to loose loopy, spirally design which makes for a quite soft and drapey quilt - just right for snuggling up with on the sofa during the winter.
My obsession with houses might make me see things a little differently, though: A friend of mine, upon seeing the quilt exclaimed: "Love those big flowers!"