This Easter weekend we’ve been visiting friends, learning to knit and eating lots of goodies. But I did get a lot done as well here at home. Come in for a peek of my sewing studio, which has had a Spring cleaning and has been reorganized.
Yesterday was my 36th birthday and so wanting to do something special I decided to go and visit my quilt shop near Winterthur. It is about a 50 minute drive each way, so I don’t get to go very often.
It’s located in a little village called Nürensdorf. I just love this one garden which I usually stop by on the way to the shop. The house and garden are both so cute.
I just think bleeding hearts are one of the most beautiful and unusual flowers out there. I’ve got to get some.
This time I didn’t get any pictures of inside the quilt shop, so you will have to make due with pictures of my purchases.
I bought lots of fabric goodness destined for the sampler quilt I am working on. Specifically, material for an appliqué block I’ve decided to do.
As the sampler quilt is a great way of learning new blocks and that is why I’m doing this particular sampler, I have decided to try out one technique I have always wanted to try, and that seems the most scary to learn.: appliqué.
I picked out this very large 20″ block from this book:
I figure this block will go in the center of my sampler.
It was a challenge but with the help of the lady who runs the quilt shop, I was able to pick out these fabrics to go with the few fabrics I already had for the block.
I just love this one, which my quilt lady found for me.
I also picked out this fabric which I just had to have for my stash. The lacy one I had just a few meagre scraps left of it and when I saw that this fabric was almost finished on the roll, I jumped at it. As for the polka dots: you can never have enough!
I also bought some notions I needed. We will see what a difference these little finger thimbles make for my hand quilting.
I love the embroidery guide, I already have one, but this one is going to a friend!
After collecting advice on how to quilt my Windy Days pinwheel quilt I decided to try out big stitch quilting, so I’ve got the supplies for that now too.
So those were all my birthday treasures. I didn’t get any time to actually make any blocks yesterday, but I was studying up about how to go about preparing my appliqué.
Lots of new things to learn and so little time!
Well I wish you all a happy Good Friday and Easter weekend!
Well it is high time for an update on my new sampler quilt project. So lets sit down for a chat in my newly cleaned and tidied little office.
Grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and then we can begin!
Day 4: The Churn Dash Block (April 5)
So this must be one of my all time favorite blocks. I made this block already for my husband’s sampler, but that was a while ago. I just love it’s tiny 6 1/4 inch size. I used this great tutorial from Generations Quilt Patterns.com which also gives a cutting chart for 3″, 4 1/2″, 7 1/2″ and 9″ blocks. Just click here to go to the tutorial.
Day 5: The Spool Block (April 6)
I am just so excited to show you my next block. Actually it is five because they are soooo tiny (each are 3 1/2″ squared), which I absolutely adore.
They were perfect to use up my tiny scraps. For this block, I used the instructions from Lori Holt’s Bee in my Bonnet Row Along Quilt, which is in her Quilty Fun book. Do I need to tell you how much I have fallen in love with this book. Lori Holt gives this great cutting instructions check list seperate to the instructions, so everything is much clearer and easy to read.
I loved it so much I just had to do another block from her book.
I can’t wait to do this row along quilt, now that I know I can follow her instructions.
Day 6 & 7 : The Friendship Star (April 7 & 8)
Again, how these tiny blocks came out, just made me so ecstatic (minus the little hiccup!) I couldn’t believe I made them, they are just so cute.
Day 8 & 9: The Hourglass Block (April 9 & 10)
Next up is another block I have been eyeing for a while. The hourglass block. This came together so easily. I was so scared to piece the triangles together, but there wasn’t any reason to be nervous (except for the machine eating my first one).
Again, I loved them so much I just had to make 5! I took the piece outside to photograph so you could see the fabric better.
So this week (passed) I’ve learnt 3 new blocks! That’s not too bad huh?
So what’s up this week? Well that is a secret. I’ve usually been deciding the night before, which block I want to sew the next day.
I can’t tell you how much fun this quilt sampler challenge has been so far. Of course there is sometimes a little stress trying to get blocks finished in one day, especially if I am doing 5 of a particular one. But nevertheless, it makes me pretty proud of myself every time I finish one and that is a great feeling!
So, what have you been up to lately. Any quilting or creative fun?
I hope to hear from you.
Till next time!
Ok sure it is not the official start of Spring but for me the month of April is it: the start of a new season. The gateway to a world of new opportunities and fresh and exciting experiences. At least that is what I was feeling on the first of April.
But first, how about a picture of the wall hanging I started and finished in March.
The pattern is called the Windy Days Quilt. It is designed by Sarah Meyer of Sarah B Designs and is free on the Moda Bakeshop blog, just click here.
So back to my latest project.
So on Sunday, after a weekend of good fun spent with friends and an invigorating walk in dandelion filled meadows, my fingers were itching to start the new project I’ve been planning.
You may remember the 3 Dutch Rose blocks (the largest blocks) shown here in this picture. They were from a quilt I started working on at the beginning of the year and only recently abandoned.
Well together with a few other orphan blocks I’ve decided to make a sampler, of my own creation. That means lots of different blocks, all different sizes and in different layouts, not the typical grid or row sampler.
For this sampler, I ideally want to make a new block for every day of the month. Of course this is unrealistic, there are days when I absolutely cannot be in my sewing room. But I will try my best to make one per day, throughout the month of April.
Why the rush? You might ask. Well I am just tired of watching everyone on instagram making all these amazing quilts. I want to challenge myself to make one block a day, so I learn new techniques and blocks and get rid of that fear that I have for trying new things, complicated things.
For the sampler I am using this little scrap of fabric, which I absolutely adore. It is called something like Antique …. Floral Collection, but alas I am missing the rest of the selvedge.
I am so mad I didn’t by more of this fabric.
So it is early in the game, but how is my progress?
DAY 1: Sunday, April 2nd
The first block up is the Economy Block, also known as the Square Inside a Square block.
I am thrilled how it came out. I used yet another favorite fabric together with the feature fabric, this rasberry colored polka dotted fabrics. I just love polka dots. I used this great tutorial from Amy Smart of the Diary of a Quilter blog.
Day 2: Monday, April 3rd
Next up was the equally basic block , the log cabin block. This came out terribly. I should have chosen a solid dark fabric, like the one in the tutorial, for the center block, but I chose a stripey one. This seriously needs a do-over. But it will have to do for the moment.
Day 3: April 4th
Finally, today’s block, the Woven block.
This block I am a bit unsure about too. I think it needs all dense colors to truly notice the weaving part. But again, it will have to do.
I am learning that using your scraps isn’t always easy. The background fabric is a bit dominant too, you might not notice though in this picture.
Another thing I wanted to share with you today is some purchases I made today.
I bought this mug which called out to me from the local stationers. I thought it perfect because it really represents the mood I am in these days.
Just as nice as the design itself is the message on the bottom of the cup. It’s from an Italian company.
In this picture you can also see the oil cloth table cloth that I splurged on, also from my favorite stationers store.
So hopefully I will be able to keep up the pace on my sampler quilt as well as keep you informed on my progress here on my blog.
So dear readers, do you have any wild and crazy plans, quilty or not, for this April? If you have read this far, thank you so much! Have a great one!
Some months ago I bought this lovely dark red fabric with these hearts with a typical rural Swiss scene depicted on them.
I fell in love and have been wondering what to do with the fabric. Last weekend I decided to make some placemats out of the thick decorating fabric. The only problem was I wanted something easy and fast.
Most of the tutorials I came across were for pieced and/or quilted placemats. As I didn’t want to buy any additional fabric or supplies, this wouldn’t work. I just wanted to get to it.
Luckily I found two tutorials that enabled me to figure out what I needed to make a simple front and backsided placemat. In a morning I was able to do three before I ran out of fabric and a few days later, after locating the same fabric I was able to finish 3 more. This was the perfect quick sewing project and a bonus that it would help me get ready for Christmas at the same time.
Measure and cut a rectangle 13″ X 19″ using two pieces of like or coordinating fabric . Place fabric right sides together and pin, leaving a 4 inch opening on a short side, to turn inside out once sewn.
Next , using a straight stitch, sew a 3/4 inch seam from the beginning of the opening to the end, being sure to backstitch when you begin and end your stitches.
Cut diagonally across the corners, close to your stitches to reduce bulk and get nice pointy corners. Turn the placemat inside out and using a pointy object gently poke out the corners. Press. Turn the seams of the opening inside so the folded edge lines up with the sewn edge and press that as well.
Next, topstitch around the edges leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Press again and voila, you have a placemat!
I can’t wait to use these for Christmas dinner!
I hope this has inspired you to give this tutorial a try, to whip up some placemats of your own. I would love to see yours if you do make some.
Have a great weekend!
Today I want to share with you my latest quilty project. I have been auditioning fabric for what I am temporarily calling the Dutch Rose Quilt as this is the name of the blocks I will be using in the quilt.
You can see this block I have already made for a quilt demonstration and which I will be using in the quilt.
The block is from the McGall’s Quilting website and can be found here , complete with a printable PDF which is very handy. In the original pattern, the cornerstones, or whatever you would like to call these 4 little blocks in the corners, were another fabric to those of the sawtooth star in the middle, but I wanted to use up that fabric I used as it is just so gorgeous. I think I will also do this in the quilt I am working on.
Did I mention that aside from the block instructions I have no other ‘pattern’ as such. I am just going to wing it. Which is bad, I know, but I figure I will never get started if I try to draw it myself. In any case, I plan a very simple design with background fabric the same all over, a pale blue swirl, which was too wrinkly to photograph…yes I will have to iron it eventually, I know… but leaving that until the last possible minute. Sashing in the background fabric and then possibly one or two borders. Depending on how I feel.
Unlike the above block I have decided to only use two kinds of fabric per block, not including the background, as I just didn’t have such well matched fabric and so it was just easier this way.
Now this is where I mention how important it is to audition fabric and spend time ‘playing’ with fabric. I can’t tell you how much fabric I rejected from my ‘wish’ pile, as in I wish it would match and go in this quilt to my ‘you’ve got to be kidding’/’you better not’ pile.
So I am guessing you’ve heard enough of my jabbering and want to actually see the fabric.
I should start in an organized fashion with the feature fabric first, the beige fabric. It is this beautiful nostalgic design by Tim Holtz for Coats. It’s from the line Eclectic Elements and is called #PWTH 021 Correspondence.
Next up are the light blues
And some pinks.
It is so difficult to get ‘honest’ colors when photographing fabric. If you would like a close up of any of the small pics just click on the photos.
You might notice that not all fabric goes perfectly with the feature fabric, but that is because I want my quilts to look like my quilts and that is scrappy. Not all the fabric are scraps but that is the look I am going for.
So next I am going to wash any unwashed fabric and get it all ironed up, but it might be a while until that happens and I can show you any progress, my house is feeling a little neglected.
So what about you? What’s your process when auditioning fabric? Did I miss anything?
Well I managed to finish my 12″ Dutch Rose quilt block in time for the day at the Textile Museum in St. Gallen. I am really happy with it and how it turned out. All that fussy cutting was worth it. .
The quilt making demonstration, with the block went smoothly and was a lot of fun, stitching away with my Halden Quilters quilt club ladies, each working on our own block to show visitors to the Textile Museum. Of course I didn’t actually finish the block I was making there but the visitors enjoyed meeting with us and asking lots of questions, which kept us busy.
As the museum had an open day we were able to visit the 6th European Quilt Triennial. This runs until June 26, 2016 and exhibits the results of the competition organized by the Max Berk Textile Collection in Heidelberg, Germany.
The exhibit presents 45 of the 168 quilts submited, and represents 10 European countries, many being from Germany, England and France.
Unfortunately I did not have my Nikon with me so the photos are very low quality with the light I was given.
Although the quilts were not the traditional quilts I love, the different uses of media was very inspiring.
If you would like to visit the exhibit at the Textile Museum in St. Gallen, you can go to their website here for further details.
I wish you all a great creative weekend, let me know what you are up to.
Ok, I have to admit I wanted to name this post: “Overwhelmed!” or “Over my head”. Or just simply “Help!” But maybe then you never would have opened it.
But yes my dear readers, this is how I feel right now and after messing up another block of my latest project, I have had to come and vent. I am hoping that someone will have that essential piece of advice or sympathy, that will kick me back into action and over this very small hurdle.
Now I know many of you would think ” What is she complaining about?” but I guess I just feel really busy lately and am feeling the pressure when it comes to my quilting.
First of all the Quilt Show, I have now been 3 times with different friends to show them around, and expect to do this one more time at least. It is a lot for a small show like ours but it is great for me, because I am new to the group and have seen so few of the quilts before the show. Now I get to take the time to inspect each quilt individually. I have to say though, aside from my quilting, I feel pretty inferior to some of these woman, and only have their age and quilting experience to offer some consolation.
But boy when I get to see quilts like this, it just blows me away!! The fantasy behind them and the ideas.
See the sea fan, that is made of lace which is appliqued on the starfish and fish too, if I remember correctly. There are more ingenuine additions appliquéd at the top too. Unfortunately such poor lighting, but I hate flash.
Similar little surprises await the viewer in this creation.
For more utilitarian style quilts I especially loved these two:
If you are able to visit and would like more information about the quilt show, please see my post here for further information.
Now back to my own quilting.
This Sunday, I will be helping out at the Textile Museum in St. Gallen where the 6th European Quilt Trinnieale is being held, you can read more about that here. To accompany this quilt exhibit, the museum has organized volunteers from my quilt guild to show visitors how to quilt, by showing them how to make different quilt blocks. (” You mean teach”, my mother would but in here.) Yes I guess it is teaching, even if I had never done the block before and am just learning. (Yikes!!)
Basically I have a week, which sounds like plenty of time. Although I have done the half-square triangles and flying geese units before, with the geese I managed to not follow the directions, and so used one of the wrong fabrics (despite all my organization). So I had to redo them all from the beginning!
And then, piecing the half-square triangles together by machine, the machine ate the corner. How frustrating.
My first thought was that it could very well be the needle. The machine I am using is a friend’s and I don’t know what needle is inserted. Not knowing anything about needles I decided to reach for my Essential Sewing Reference Tool book which is a lovely spiral bound book published by Stash Books and written by Carla Hegeman Crim.
I love this book and thought you might want a peak. It is just so practical to look up anything.
I love all of it’s clear tables, photos and diagrams.
So this afternoon I went to Bernina and they showed me a trick, which I had started using a while ago but then for one reason or the other decided it was probably the wrong way to fix the issue: lowering the needle into the corner manually. The lady also told me, aside from changing the needle to a more appropriate one, I could get a special switch plate, just for straight stitching, that is supposed to prevent that issue of the needle eating the fabric. So I have ordered it.
Meanwhile I will have to make do with simply the right needles, especially for quilting and piecing .
So if you have any smart ideas for easing my piecing woes, please let me know. Hopefully, I will survive my first quilt demonstration experience!
Wishing you all a creative and crafty weekend!
Last Tuesday, I finally got to go on another nice road trip including two of my ‘local’ quilt shops. Now, I am saying local, but in truth they are almost an hour away. Nevertheless I consider them local as I have so few options to choose from. My immediate area of St. Gallen and Appenzell may well be a traditionally textile region, where lace and fabric are still made today and people still indulge in different sewing and stitchery crafts, but quilting is not very popular.
The last one was my absolute favorite but it was a tough call.
So what did I come home with, you ask?
And something a little vintage…
I am so happy with all my new fabrics to add to my growing stash. Hope you enjoyed today’s post! Wishing you all a great week!