vrijdag 12 januari 2018

Valentine Swap - colour options

I'm participating in my first Instagram swap, #sendalittleloveswap2018. It's by #madaboutbags and it requires me to send my partner a heart-themed craft of some kind, and some heart sweets or trim, accompanied by a card. I started sewing something before partners were assigned. Something about having a "commission" gives me a lot of creative energy. But after seeing my swap partner's Instagram feed, I feel she might prefer a more bold colour pallet. So, I pulled another fabric selection from my small but wonderful stash and am offering her the choice of these two options:

Option 1: "HAPPY" Bright and cheerful rainbow colours!

Option 2: "ROMANTIC" Dusky pink with pops of red and purple.
I like both, so I think I'll make the same pattern in both colourways, and keep one for me. What exactly I'm making will remain a secret until my partner received her package. We don't want any spoilers.

zondag 7 januari 2018

Quilting is my therapy!

I've been home for almost a month now, and am starting to feel stronger again. And quilting has been (part of) my therapy. Being creative is always healing to me, whether it's quilting or gardening, baking or playing the clarinet. But when I'm stressed or tired I sometimes forget to devote time to these things. In the past few months that wasn't the case. I kept playing clarinet, jogging, and doing those things that usually recharge my batteries, but it didn't seem to work. In the weeks before my colleagues and my family doctor made me see that I desperately needed a rest, these things, which usually give me joy had become just another thing on my to do list. I just kept going, even trying to fit in more clarinet practice, more yoga, more sewing, in a desperate  attempt to recover, to feel better, to find peace. It didn't work. Turns out what I needed what just rest, a break. It's a lesson learned (the hard way). So, after a good rest (in the sofa, no sports, no sewing, no clarinet), I've started sewing again, with the same pleasure it used to give me, to my great relief. After some really simple things (potholders, anyone?), I'm now designing and making a sampler for Easter. I'm having fun picking colours, creating designs and sewing of course: cutting, piecing, doing some appliqué, and starching and ironing! I love the smell of spray starch!

This is what I've done so far:

I designed the 12 inch flower block myself, using the templates from "Happy Flower Quilts" for the central dresden. The three 6 inch pieced blocks are also from "Happy Flower Quilts", although, apart from the "spring sun" they are very traditional blocks. I'll  be getting on with a pieced tulip block I and an appliqué block with bunnies, both designed by me. I'm having so much fun!

woensdag 3 januari 2018

Lone Star Quilt Top

I made this quilt top out of six of my husband's old shirts and a worn duvet cover. The shirts had worn collars and cuffs, so I took off the buttons and cut them up to re-use. And decided to try a lone star. It went quite well. The top is not 100% flat, but I'm sure a bit of starch and a hot iron will set that right. I intend to add some borders using the same fabric and there will be enough of the duvet left for the backing. I intend to try free motion quilting it. It's very freeing to make something out of something that would otherwise be destined for the bin! I will buy the batting, of course, but all the fabric will be free. I do wish I'd mixed up the reds and blues/whites more, instead of grouping them like I did, but it's too late now!

Trying this pattern with free fabrics gave me the courage to go for it!

woensdag 27 december 2017

More Potholders

Once I got started, I couldn't stop. So I made some more potholders! They are are a fun way to work up close and personal with cherished scraps, and an opportunity to practice free motion quilting on something that doesn't really have to be perfect (potholders get used for a year, and then they are usually ready for the bin).

This cupcake duo was my sister-in-law's Christmas gift (we don't really do gifts for Christmas, but something small, handmade, or for charity is ok)

I picked colours that go with her kitchen: fuchsia and "appelblauwzeegroen", which is a colour in between green and blue, that, in Flemish we call "blue as an apple and green as the sea". (although our sea is mostly grey, truth be told!)

Close-up of number two.

The cupcake fabric was the starting point, of course, ...

... and I enjoyed free motion quilting on and around these sweets!

I made sure not to quilt over the darling little deer.

Not too bad, for a total beginner!

I love the tulip fabric.

The scrap with the pink flowers is a leftover from a gym bag I made for my daughter. It has beautiful white horses, with windswept manes and even a little barefoot girl riding on one of them. It's absolutely gorgeous. i wish I'd bought more of it, just to keep it in my stash and look at it from time to time, and feel like a little girl again, with wild dreams of freedom and adventure ... what a scrap of fabric can do...

Cheery bird on  Spring Street.

Made with love!
I made hanging loops in the corners (I have a dress in that fabric!)

Look, here I am, wearing said dress, surrounded by my four bundles of joy in our back yard at Easter. (I also made Marieke's dress, and all of my boys' shirts!)

These were for my mother-in-law, she has more subdued pallet in her kitchen!

I didn't overquilt the panel, but still got some practice.

Beautiful backing fabric

Long hanging loops

Also made with love!
 I really enjoyed the free motion quilting. It was easier than I thought, despite the fact that I can't lower the feed dogs on my machine, and I don't have a darning foot. I am considering doing a course on free motion quilting, and buying a machine that is better equipped for it (with a walking foot, a darning foot, and a longer arm). On the other hand, I already feel stressed for time to spend on all my hobbies (quilting, dress making, gardening, knitting, playing the clarinet, ...) I'm a bit worried that investing time and money into this aspect of quilting will make me feel obliged to do more of it, and guilty when I don't. Then again, it would be fun to finish quilts faster, if I don't have to hand quilt them all, even by just quilting them with straight lines. I did do some straight line quilting before, but between polyester batting and no walking foot, I wasn't very pleased with the result (although still glad the quilts were finished and usable!). Any ideas (get another machine or not, and if yes, which one) are very welcome. I have also never bought a sewing machine. I use an old Husqvarna my mom gave me, and an even older Singer, which used to belong to my grandmother's sister, who was a dressmaker by profession. It's a good machine, on which I can lower the feed dogs, and it has an open foot. Also, it's sunk in a table, which helps maneuvering the quilt. But it's pedal powered, which I usually love, but which is a bit tiring to do at the fast pace required for machine quilting. And since I disconnected the electric motor (because I love machine pedaling, it has such a nice rhythm to it), I don't have good lighting for it. Maybe I should just get a good light for it and start practicing more on the old machine before I buy a new one. But on the other hand, I found that with my Husqvarna I had a lot less skipped stitches, so maybe the fact that I don't have the proper tools is really holding me back on this machine quilting thing (and the Singer doesn't have a walking foot for straight line quilting either)... okay, it's decided: I want a decent machine for my birthday! I'l just ask everyone who wants to give me a present to chip in to buy the machine!

woensdag 20 december 2017

Cat Potholders

I saw these cute cats in several quilty projects on pinterest and decided to make some potholders for my sister-in-law. i'm giving her a cooking book for Christmas and thought that was a good excuse to make these and get to try FMQ on a little project.

Cute pair of feline friends.



Free motion quilting fun!
 I made these using a bit of cotton "Warm and Natural batting" and the free motion quilting went so well! I'm never going back to the polyester "Polydown" they stock at my local shop (we're in Belgium, there aren't many quilt shops). The cotton batting is so stable, it doesn't stretch like the polyester. And I wondered why the borders on my quilts always came out wavy?

I used natural linen for cat #1...

... and grey linen for #2. I also used different colours thread for the machine embroidery on this one. I like it better this way.

More FMQ, and birdhouses.

I love the sprinkle fabric in the foreground.

Made with love ...

... by me, for you!

A loop for hanging on the back.

Pretty things...

... to decorate my music stand before I wrap them.

I'm a godmother!

At the beginning of December I became a godmother again, to a girl this time. I already made her a little quilt. It's so nice to have this special little girl in my life, ánd have the energy to make her pretty things (I didn't do a lot of that when Marieke was little).
So for Christmas I made her a tiny outfit. I designed and made the tunic, knit the sweater and embellished the jeans I bought.
This is the whole outfit, with the sweater for a chilly day.

And without the sweater, the tunic is the star of the show! (I'm sure once my darling goddaughter is wearing it, no one will notice the outfit at all, because she is gorgeous!)

Front view. I designed this myself, I took a simple sleeveless dress pattern (for size and arm scythe) and narrowed it, added the fold in the front, and the little ruffle. I used two fabrics because I only had a few scraps left over from her quilt, but I think it looks really good, too!

Back view: simple button closure. They are just cheap plastic buttons. I wanted to use matching mother of pearl buttons, but what I wanted more was to get it finished and posted, so I used what I had lying around.

A little embellishment on cute baby jeans (they are very stretchy and soft, so perfect for babies, by FILOU, a belgian children's clothes brand, that makes really good quality pretty things)

The arm holes on this were not easy, but I got there in the end. I used the same buttons, not the prettiest, but they'll do the job.

Detail of back closure.

This was knit using soft baby cotton by Lang. The texture is so lovely!

Couldn't resist adding another picture.

I always add my heart label: made with love!

The whole set.

I even found some matching stockings ...

... with glittery hearts!

A little pile of baby girls clothes ... it makes me swoon!

See how the colour of the print in the onesie matches the outfit? Lucky coincidence! And it says "because we love you", too cute!