zaterdag 14 januari 2017

January Mini

For Finish It Up Friday project: scroll down please (it's the mini). I also linked the mini to Can I get a whoop?, but feel free to whoop my other sewing projects, too!

I haven't even finished my Splendid Sampler top, and I'm already thinking of what sewing project to tackle in the new year. The Splendid Sampler was my first go at a quilt-along. I wasn't sure it would be my thing, because I'm a seasonal sewer. I sew quite a lot in winter and spring, when there is not a lot to do outdoors, and no big concerts coming up for my band (one of my many hobbies is playing the clarinet in a harmony orchestra). In summer I spend more time outside, gardening, camping, hiking and jogging, and in autumn I'm busy preparing for the band's most ambitious concert of the year, which is always in the beginning of January, so sewing takes back seat then. I was afraid that taking on the splendid challenge would stress me out, take time away from other hobbies and other sewing projects, and that I would be sewing because I had to, not because I wanted to. But I found that challenging myself to keep up, and to make blocks that I didn't immediately like actually fueled my creativity and boosted my confidence. Here's a few pictures to prove that I sewed other things than Splendid Sampler blocks!

I made this tunic for Marieke, it has a big pocket on the front, but it's so perfectly pattern matched that you can't see it! And that despite the fact that I made this with a coupon, and I even had to make the sleeves a bit narrower to get the thing cut. I bought the pants to match, since Marieke requested brightly colored pants for winter.

A small zippered pouch.

It's a Christmas gift for Laura, a classmate of Pieter. She loves horses.

The back is pretty too!

I knit 3 Christmas animals like this, 2 bears and one white rabbit. I gave this one to a colleague who is ill, Kris, and the other two to my godson Jan, and his brother Kamil.
I made myself a little make up pouch.

My new style icon!

I used leftovers from a quilt (as yet unfinished, just needs quilting), and did quilt as you go.


I made this label out of the self edge!
Once I had my block-tracking-system in place, I wasn't stressed out about lagging behind when I was focused on other things, like going camping, or hiking with my husband, or just doing some other sewing. But the challenge of trying to keep up did take me back to my sewing machine even when I didn't really feel like it, and often I would enjoy the sewing once I got started. So I've been looking forward to finishing the Splendid Sampler top, and at the same time fearing a big black creative hole at the end of it!

My January Mini, and a Cyclamen, on the window sill.

Lovely texture of hand quilting.
So I was glad and excited to see the first quilt of a Monthly Mini series at Sew Can She! I immediately made the January Mini, which is pleasing in its simplicity and beauty. The center friendship star contains two fabrics which I also used in my Splendid Sampler, the rest are random fat quarters I still had lying in my fabric cupboard. I plan to make 12 mini's this year, using only fabric that I already have on hand. I hand quilted it, and tried the binding method explained on the site. I added corners of the backing fabric for easy hanging. I put the little quilt up in our living room for now, but the walls here are already very busy with children's drawings, so I plan to give it a spot over the sofa bed which we will have in our music/guest room.

January Mini


On my mini-wall

See that wall to the left of the stove? Full of children's art work!


Tiny snail in the Lauren and Jessi Jung focal fabric.

Winter sun accentuating the quilting.

That will be a while yet, because at the moment that room still serves as the master bedroom. Willem and I have to paint the back room first, fix the skirting, put up the light fixtures, revarnish the floor, fix the curtain rod, put up curtains and then move our bed and cupboards there. Hopefully I will also be able to spread my finished Splendid Sampler over the bed! Once our bedroom is done, we can start to get the music/guest room in working order. If you know that we also have a built in cupboard and skirting to do in the living room, a bathroom that needs some new wall tiles and flooring, and a mudroom that still has no toilet or sink, you can guess that my mini might be staying in the living room for a while yet... Maybe I should do a monthly house finishing project instead of a monthly mini?

One more close up. Did I say I like the texture of hand quilting?

I just saw this Moda sampler block shuffle! That seems like fun, too, and mostly pieced blocks: my favorite!

woensdag 11 januari 2017

The Splendid Sampler™ - only 12 blocks behind!

Yes, I'm still slowly catching up! I don't think I'll cross the Splendid Sampler™ finish line on Valentine's day, but I won't be far behind. And then I plan to hand quilt the thing in the coming year.

Here are my latest blocks:

86- Unity Star

66 - Happy Thoughts

89 - From Colorado to the Midwest

75 - Stitch Crazy


60 - Hearts and Flowers (simplified)

57 - Starting Point

58 - Homeward Bound



53 - Whirling in Circles

59 - Circle of Friendship

85 - Flow


40 blocks awaiting sashing, 20 are already sashed and joined, another 20 lined up in my sewing basket, with the sashing cut and ready for sewing (so they are not in the picture because I didn't want to mess up the whole organization I've got going for that!)

I'm really looking forward to finishing the last 20 blocks and joining them for a huge quilt top. It was so much fun to be along for this huge quilt along. I have learned a lot, from sewing an accurate 1/4 inch seam to starching, from needle turn appliqué to reverse applique, from working really accurately to letting a few not so perfectly matched points slide, and much, much more! I've become quite confident in picking colors for my blocks, and more open minded towards trying something new and forestalling judgement, because sometimes the blocks that didn't appeal to me at first became real favorites once they were done. Or a technique which I thought I wouldn't enjoy (like EPP) turned out to be quite fun.

Apart from quilting this beauty, I have some other sewing plans in 2017. One is to sew some more clothes, for me, the kids, and my husband. And I'm considering sewing along with the Monthly Minis by Sew Can She.

maandag 26 december 2016

Winter Woodland Walk

We dropped the children of at my husband's parents, and went for a long walk.

In Flanders you find "kapellekes" (shrines or littel chapels) for Mary everywhere.
The interior of a little chapel.

Winter growth on the forest floor.

Brown can be pretty, when you take a closer look.

New life on a dead tree trunk.
Even at noon the sun is low in the sky, but it does create pretty cloudscapes.

Sun setting.



The local wildlife ...

... is curious!
Bright roosters.
Their creative home.

My darling husband looking good.

Afterwards we got Chinese take away and watched Downton Abbey, with the sofa next to the wood burning stove: cosy!

maandag 5 december 2016

The Splendid Sampler™ - only 19 blocks behind!

I've been doing a little catching up. I don't think I'll cross the finish line in February, and that's okay but I don't want to be too far behind, either.

41 - Sew South

39 - Balls in the air (got sick of the fiddly paper piecing)

43 - Pincushion Love

44 - Stitch in the Garden

49 - Summer's Gift

74 - Button Basket

77 - Prism

79 - Spool of Inspirational Threads

80 - Heartstring Star

55 - Dedication Rose

78 - Jersey

46 - Twirl Time

61 - Traveller

50 - Flights of Fancy
62 - Hen and Chicks

73 Plus Love

Catching up  little...