I have had a great week - last Tuesday was my birthday and I spent the day with my nearest and dearest around me. It made me feel really lucky to have these people in my life and having them care enough about me to make the effort to come from near and afar to spend an evening with me. Later in the week there was the monthly get-together at the quilt shop, old and new friends of all ages sharing the same interests, being generous with their help and inspiration - crafters truly are wonderful, giving people!
On Friday my big sister generously spent an afternoon driving me around town shopping for a new hoover after the old one finally gave up the ghost the day before my party after weeks of having dust bunnies stuffed down its throat manually. On Saturday my friends gathered to celebrate my day. I made couscous salad with lamb and chocolate mousse for dessert - forgot to take pictures before the party, nothing left to photograph after.... - and we spent a great evening chatting, drinking wine and laughing so much that my stomach muscles hurt afterwards.
And now the whirlwind of a week has passed. There's still some fudge cake left, and my old camera does really not make it justice - it's sooo moist and "fudgy", almost irresistible, I must say, and it really tells a lot about my self control that there is so much left of it still... I also got to bring out that old turquoise cake platter that was always on the table at my grandmother's parties, so she kind of took part as well. The wine will keep until more company arrives, though , I was never one for drinking on my own.
The birthday celebrations also brought some cash rewards, so now I'll stop moaning about my blurry photos - I'll just have to decide which camera to buy - lucky me :-D
Monday, October 30, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
I did what I set out to do today, I finished my quilt top, and I like it! I was worried for a while because I thought all those florals might beat each other to death, mainly because everyone I have shown the fabrics to have cringed at the idea of using them all together. The more I thought about it the more I let myself believe they were right, and I put them aside for a while. But being a stubborn girl, I eventually got back on track, and I'm glad I did! This quilt makes me feel giddy and happy so who cares what "everbody else" says? I'll remind myself to trust my gut feeling in future, and not leave a project unfinished because the feedback isn't all I'd want it to be.
I pieced the other side a while ago, but that's a bit smaller, so I have to add a border to it. I'm not quite sure about that yet, but I'll have a few days to mull it over in the back of my mind while doing other things. My birthday is coming up and I have a bit of baking and cooking to do. I always use that day as an excuse to gather friends and family, and because I haven't got a lot of room, it means at least three days of parties - oh what fun!
Now I only have to decide on the menu, hm let's see, there is that raspberry torte, the fudge cake I used to make... mmm. Lets think of something else to give the old tastebuds a happy few days, something savoury for the girls' night... - I'm off to check my cook books!
Friday, October 20, 2006
I'm doing what I said I would for once... I'm spending quality time with my sewing machine! This is my WIP at the moment - the back of my Amy Butler quilt, or it might be the front...
I'm planning on making this a reversible quilt, so I can choose from day to day which side is the front. The fabrics (from the Ginger Bliss collection) have quite large patterns, so I'm making big blocks - this one is 14" square. I have all the pieces sorted and several stitched, so I hope I'll finish it on Sunday.
Tomorrow I have different plans - I am to teach a class in making fabric bowls at my local quilt shop.
I made some of these ages ago, and when I took them to my guild's show-and-tell the only responce was a polite, scattered applause. That didn't worry me at all - people have different tastes, after all - and I have been using them to keep spools, fabric pieces, etc in when stitching at guild meetings ever since. Lately people have started taking notice and asking about them, so I talked to my quilt shop friends and we decided to create a class this autumn, and would you believe it: it is full! I had to make a new bowl to remember the details, it has been so long since I made the last one, but I'm confident that I have the details down pat now and we'll have a fun day tomorrow!
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Well my quilt top finally is, anyway! Square, that is. This is an excercise in using curved lines and has been quite fun to work with, until this morning... I had pieced the center, but wasn't quite happy with it, so I took the four blocks apart and restitched them. Much better. But after adding the triangles it was impossible to get the piece to be square. I kept measuring and cutting and would have ended up with a tiny yellow piece if I hadn't stopped myself. I started wondering about using Melody Johnson's escape hatch finish, but I had carefully calculated that my last scrap of that lovely floral Kaffe Fasset fabric was just big enough to use for the binding and would give the perfect finishing touch, so I was not going to choose that route. Not this time, anyway.
The solution was to remove the black triangles, cut the square in the middle with straight lines and making sure it was excactly square before stitching the triangles back on. After all my "adjustments" (not mistakes...) two of the triangles were too small, so additional scraps were added, and here it is.
I should have straightened it out a bit before I took the picture, because it does actually lie flat in real life. Now I'm off to find some backing fabric, and prepare it for quilting, and then it's on to the next pile of fabrics, to finish that Amy Butler quilt:
I went on a wild internet shopping spree when I heard that her Ginger Bliss collection was discontinued, and I have gathered so much of it that I have decided to make a pieced backing as well,making it a totally reversible lap quilt. I really need to add a border or two to this, but I can't quite decide on what I'll do. I'll piece the backing first, and then see how wide a border I need before I decide. The problem is finding colours that match if I go outside her collection. I'll have to get back to you on that one, the fabric is calling me back to the sewing table...
Friday, October 13, 2006
Now you might be wondering where I got to. I have been rather busy, but I don't have much to show for it, I'm afraid. I started that piece with curved lines and was all excited about it, as you probably gathered from the previous post, but all of a sudden the air just disappeared and I was left on the settee like a deflated balloon. No energy and no urge to do anything "crafty", so I spent days cleaning and clearing up. But that was last week, and now the gremlins have been here so the place is messy again, but I have decided not to let that bother me this weekend, because the urge to create is back! It was helped a lot by the quilters' retreat I went to last weekend with some of my friends. We rented a cabin and had a great time, drinking wine and talking into the night. During the day there were classes, and I started this fabric collage.
Now, because of my creative slump, I didn't really want to go on this trip, but I had signed up ages ago and everything was pre-paid and non-refundable, so I thought I might as well go. And of course it turned out that it was just what I needed! Spend a weekend with 200 likeminded people and lots of beautiful fabric and quilts, quilts, quilts, and inspiration is your friend again!
On the first morning with a piece of batting like a blank canvas in front of me, I nearly walked away. But after having torn strips of fabric into pieces and started moving them about for a while, something clicked and I knew what I wanted to do. After a while I started wondering if I had piled on too much, but I decided to continue. I was just trying out new techniques after all, so I kept at it. After quilting the piece I cut holes into it and placed water-soluble fabric behind them before machine stitching grids to fill the holes. Now I have some more beads to add before I wash it and I'll take some close-ups. It's not exactly great art or anything, but it is a proof to me that I can work my way out of a slump by just going through the motions of cutting fabric and quilting different patterns, and that's what matters. The last couple of days I have been aching to sew, but haven't had time to do so, so this weekend is mine. Let the dust bunnies live; I'll be spending quality time with my sewing machine!
Sunday, October 01, 2006
You might think I was about to come out with some interesting tidbits about a hot date or something, wouldn't you :-D Sorry, that was just a teaser - I just had to share those great paper napkins I picked up at a clearance sale a couple of days ago!
Rather, my weekend has been spent in the company of this book by Japanese quilt artist Keiko Goke. I have had the book for quite a while, but was inspired to pick it up again after seing a quilt in the recent issue of Magic Patch magazine. The quilt reminded me of one of Goke's quilts, so much so, that there was no doubt in my mind that the quilter had been inspired by her work, although the article with pattern didn't mention this... I got the book out and found several quilts I had wanted to try out.
In particular this floral quilt which isn't too big and would give an opportunity to practice curved seams. I have been thinking about making something for my bedroom wall - I have two quilts there, but need a third to get the right balance. I decided to make one in similar colours to the ones hanging there already, and before you knew it, I was immersed in fabric and having lots of fun! The great thing about this approach is that there is no real pattern - I had the general layout and that's it. The rest is made up as I go along. The instructions (if there are any) are in Japanese, a language I'm not too familiar with... But I got the general idea, and have been walking back and forth between cutting table, sewing machine and ironing board all day (I keep my ironing board in the kitchen so I'll have to get up and move about now and then), completely losing track of time. I realized at some point that the yucky feeling in my stomach was due to not having eaten since breakfast, so I had to stop to prepare a light meal. Eating the slightly burnt chicken a while later (I couldn't just leave the cutting table in the middle of a block, now, could I?) I realized that I haven't had this much fun in ages!
Oh, it's great to have that creative vibe again after a rather lazy few weeks. Well, maybe not so lazy, but I have been telling myself that I had to clean the dishes/mop the floors etc. first, and before you knew it the day was gone. That won't do! I am getting my home organized little by little, but I need to schedule some more play time for myself, and that means jumping right in, leaving the dirty dishes in the sink. They won't run away, but my inspiration might!
And I really want to try my hand at something like this as well. Those curved seams are getting easier by the minute and I'm beginning to feel confident that I'll be able to do it!
This is how far I have got today, please ignore the wobbly bit in the middle; a slight adjustment with an iron, and it should lie flat. I'm going to add black triangles or borders tomorrow, I haven't quite decided. I was thinking triangles, but as my piece so far is rectangular, I'm not sure anymore. I could add a strip of blue at the top to make it square I suppose..., hmmm ..., now what if...
Oh what fun!