2012 sewing

Fewer than it seems - can you spot the three quilts I'm showing from both sides?
Still no good photo of the wedding quilt, but I wanted to show it to you anyway, I promise it looks better in reality.

Smaller projects:
There might have been two or three more but I can't seem to find the photos.

Just the final versions that my sister and I wear.

On the whole not too bad and certainly enjoyable to make.

Happy New Year!


And now I can also show you...

...the gifts I managed to make just before Christmas Eve.  
(I'm not sure if all of you know that we get presents on Christmas Eve not on Christmas Day here in Poland). 

Both sides of the bag and the pouch for Mum:

I'm afraid you just have to believe me that the bag has a recessed zipper (my first one, but I used this great tutorial and it was quite easy). There also is a zippered pocket and a slip pocket inside, but the photos of the inside are just too awkward to show.

And the pillowcases made to match Grandma's quilt:

The bottom photo is just so you know what I used for the back.


Catching up too

And now I can finally show you the big thing I've been working on.
You've already seen the process here, now it's my pleasure to show you the result:

It's a quilt for my bestest friend and almost twin sister (I mean we were born just 5 hours apart and even in the same hospital). She lives far away now, but I'm so happy I managed to visit her and bring her the quilt last weekend. And, what's most important, she likes it.

And as this is my last post before Christmas, let me wish you a wonderful time, full of warmth, peace and love.

Catching up

If someone knows a method to slow time down a bit, I'd be grateful to learn it - it rushes much too quickly for me.
But as my Christmas gifts are almost ready (shh, they'll be ready by the end of the day today... especially if you keep your fingers crossed), I hope I can take a few moments to share what I've been up to.
Let's start with big luck and small things:

The December edition of the Giveway Day proved very lucky for me - won two prizes.
I can already show you the first one, from Rhonda:

It's the Gap Rainbow bundle Rhonda created for Cindy's (Fluffy Sheep Quilting) contest and it's a such a lovely, lively combination. And an additional prize is that apart from jade it's the first time I've seen these colours in person. Those of you who like me have to shop for fabric online only, will recognize the importance of this.

The second prize has not arrived yet, but is so lovely, too. I will blog about it when I get it, but in the meantime you can see it at Alison's here. Isn't it just perfect?

Apart from winning wonderful prizes I've also been busy sewing small things, like these:

and this red bunch:

The one in the middle is an owl, I assure you.


And in the meantime...

In the meantime our nephews finally got their quilts.

I wanted the quilts to stay very soft, so they were only lightly quilted around the squares and with vertical (the blue quilt) or horizontal (the green quilt) lines on the panels.
I thought about labelling them for a very long time but in the end decided to simply stitch the boys' names directly on the quilts.

There is still much room for improvement, I know, but I'm happy I decided to do it anyway.


enjoying the process

I usually enjoy every stage of quilt making (well, except basting, which is a bit of a pain).
But the quilt I'm making for my best friend might just be a tiny bit more enjoyable than usual.
So I hope you'll understand my need to share it with you.
I started with designing a quilt with blocks heavily influenced by the abacus block I'd seen here.  (Apparently there had been a tutorial, but the link was no longer active.)
I began in the cool modern way, using EQ7 to come up with three blocks:

and a way of combining them and arranging the fabrics so that after some adjustments it ended up as a kind of reflected rainbow: 

And then I proceeded to the equally cool old school notebook method, to note down all the sizes I had to cut from each fabric:

It's been fun to cut - especially the colourful pieces:

and to sew the blocks:

The quilt top is ready now, but I think that's enough photos for one post (not to mention that I still have to take at least a half decent photo of it).


Blogger's Quilt Festival - Fall 2012

Amy's Creative Side

I've enjoyed it very much from the time I first saw it, I even participated in the last two editions but this time... I almost missed it.
Almost, but not quite, luckily.

The quilt I'd like to show you today is the one I made for my grandma in the summer.
Those of you who visit my blog have already seen it, but I hope you won't mind looking at it again.

This quilt is very special to me, especially because it was a gift to my grandma and because she likes it.
Also, we had lots of fun with a little photo shoot - I took photos of the quilt and my sis of me and the whole scene. (And my husband was patiently holding the quilt, for which I'm ever so grateful.)
photo by my sis
As for some more quilty/sewy reasons for why this quilt is special, there are many of those, too.
It was my first 100% hand quilted quilt and I loved the process very much. It did take a long time but was very relaxing and somehow felt just right for this quilt.

It was also the first quilt for which I used Y-seams. It came out of laziness really. I didn't want to create long strips of sashing, so instead I used big triangles for the edges, and the way I assembled the pieces left me with no choice but to brave the Y-seams. They weren't as scary as I'd thought.
And finally, although at first sight all the blocks are yellow, the fabric arrangement in each is slightly different and I really enjoyed making sure that no two blocks were identical. 

Let me just add some technical details:
  • Quilt Measurements: approximately 50" x 84"
  • Special Techniques used, if any: hand quilting, Y-seams
  • Quilted by me
  • Best category: bed quilt, two colour quilt
(And my entry number is 550, woo-hoo)

And now it's time to get inspired by other festival entries


Keep calm


And if are not sure how to sing it, here is a little hint:

Coming back to sewing, the letters are almost ready, they just need lots of pressing, and the English paper pieced ones need some more background fabric to become full blocks. As you can see, I resorted to EPP for this K tooI find Ks rather tricky, and since my self-imposed challenge required no peeking how others dealt with them, EPP it needed to be. And a nice change it was, too. 
Now it's back to deconstructing shirts fabric cutting. I already have about a hundred squares

I just need... well... about a hundred more  


creak... swoosh...swoosh...ekhe...ekhe

Ok, now that I've removed all the dust and cobwebs, I can show you a bit of what I've been up to.
First of all, I'm very happy I managed to finish the wedding quilt for my little sister (cousin, that is)in time. The only thing I did not managed was to take a decent photo of the quilt. Still, I can show you some quilt details.

the dark side
the dark side - after it's been washed
the light side
and the binding is scrappy

Also, these plans I hinted at in the previous post stopped being a secret, so let me present you the beginnings of a quilt for my husband:

I started with EPP letters but then tried some improv ones and (don't laugh at me too much) I love the feeling of freedom that goes with this sort of piecing, so I'm sewing most of them this way.

Can you guess what the full text will say? (I assure you it contains no swearing).


when to sew

...if you have a busy week at work and no time in the evening?
In my case the answer is on the train.
Unless you can't find a place to sit or you fall asleep before you even take the sewing kit out. 
Anyway, the train rides this week have been sponsored by the letter k:

I have a plan and although I can't share it yet, I can tell you that it involves some more letters and this lot:

And I may be re-inventing the wheel, but since I want the letters to have random shapes and sizes and to be EPP friendly, I'm drafting them myself, so promise not to laugh to much at the final result.


the one with lots of brackets and a turtle

Apart from the standard piecing, results of which I cannot show you yet (although if you look closely at the photos below, you might be able to notice some pieces), I've managed to make a little gift for my godmother.
I generally prefer simple stitching but this flowery stitch looked so neat I had to try it out.

I used Anna's (of noodle-head.com) make-up pouch tutorial, with two small modification - I added zip end covers (a trick I learnt from Florence's tutorial) and an inside pocket/divider.
I didn't have any heavy weight interfacing that could make the pocket less flimsy, but my clever sister gave me a plastic mat (see the big pink flowers below) and it worked perfectly.

It was thin enough to cut easily, stiff enough to serve its purpose and flexible enough to survive the operation of turning the fabric right side out after sewing.
I think a couple more mats like this might be my birthday wish.

And before I leave for a short holiday in my home town in the mountains, I wanted to show you why my lovely new machine makes us laugh:

(look, it even has an eye and a mouth)


a world of difference

/*Warning: some of the following images may severely affect more delicate (or more skilled) quilters/

I've been trying to learn free motion quilting for some time now, but apart from some slightly wobbly clovers at the beginning of my adventure with quilting, every try would end up like this:
I tried adjusting the tension, lowering feed dogs or leaving them up, adjusting the speed with which I move my hands and the force with which I push the pedal, but I couldn't make it work. So I thought it was probably just one of those skills I could never grasp.

But today I tried FMQ on my brand new lovely beast of a machine (i.e. pfaff expression 2.0)
This is the very first try, from just a few minutes ago:
Clearly I don't have any control over the length of stitches yet, but I'm in awe anyway.
Now I'm starting to believe I will be able to learn.

And I'm even more happy about my new machine now (if it's possible).


summer stitching

It's funny how in winter I waited for the summer hoping for long daylight hours for sewing, but now that summer is here I don't sew all that much. Still, there are a few finishes I want to show you.
First - the granny squares quilt:
It's 100% hand quilted. You can see a bit of quilting here.
The backing is solid soft yellow :
Now it's only waiting for the recipient to come home. I hope she will like it as much as I do.

Second - a quick gift for my friend's birthday: (I might or might not have finished it on the train.)

It was so great to watch my friend when she realized it wasn't from a shop :) I'm so happy she liked it.

And finally, something for my EPP:

Sarah hinted she might prepare a tutorial for EPP sewing kit and I'm looking forward to it, but in the meantime I found Amy had a great one, too. I had to put the scissors vertically, as they are bigger than Amy's, so I need to think up a way of preventing them from slipping out of the pouch.

As you can see I finally cut into my treasured (and only) piece of Heather Ross fabric. I love this cotton/linen blend, it's nice and soft and easy to work with.


A big win and a small loss

... or how my last online order went.
When you order fabric online there's always a risk that the colours would differ much from what you see on the screen, so I was a bit anxious about the dots I ordered for binding of the twin baby quilts. Luckily they are all I hoped for - they look great with the quilts but also bring some variety as they are not identical to the quilt colours.
And they speak summer to me, look:
Originally, I thought about blue dots for the blue quilt and green dots for the green, but there wasn't enough blue in the shop, so I added the yellow and I'm very happy with it.

I also ordered some bobbins.
They were described as Singer, so I didn't look too closely at the photos. And when they arrived I discovered they were too big for my Singer, and also a bit differently shaped (the top and bottom holes are the same, while the bobbins I need should have the top hole smaller)
So, if you recognize them as something that would fit your sewing machine, I'll gladly send them to you.

This means that I still need some more bobbins, but I'm giving my sewing machine a bit of a rest anyway, to do some hand quilting:


summer not-much-sewing

If you combine hot, humid weather with lots of work at work and with a sewing machine that cannot decide whether to sew or spit out the bobbin case, the sewing situations gets rather tricky.
Fortunately for a sewing addict (and I just might be one of them) there's EPP.
As some of you might have guessed, I got tempted by the Retreat Issue of Fat Quarterly. I altered Brioni's pattern a bit, as I wanted something a bit smaller than a placemat, still I hope it looks OK:

(my machine even allowed me to quilt it)

This was followed by a bunch of  tiny hexies (well, not too tiny, they are roughly 1" across):

I will use them to embellish a small tote for my Mum.

And now I think I would love to make an EPP quilt one day (and maybe even with hexies, although not as small as these). I'm quite prepared to take it very slowly, I'm just wondering if there are any tricks to actually make it through till the end - any thoughts?


Lightly quilted

Not a "ta da" moment yet, but certainly a bit of "yay":

There are still some threads to hide and binding to be made but first the binding fabric needs to arrive (next week hopefully).
I'm also waiting for the batting for my granny squares quilt. So in the meantime I'm trying something new - English Paper Piecing.
This is two train journeys worth, to work and back home:

It's a very train-friendly project, so I can see more EPP in the future.
Now I just need a nice and functional sewing kit/organizer - do you know any good tutorials?

can't resist a mosaic

Cindy of Fluffy Sheep Quilting is having a mini competition involving Kona Solids, and here's my take:

The colours are: snow, bone, ash, red, tomato, coal, charcoal and pepper.

I'm sure you can guess what inspired my choice.


tusen vs WIPs - round 1 continues

Battling those WIPs is a huge pleasure with just an occasional struggle (more on that later), but it's a slow process for me.
Anyway, although I have the photos only now, these are the pervious weekend finishes:

And some Friday cutting and yesterday sewing resulted in the first top of the twin baby quilts:

The second will follow shortly, I hope:

As for the struggle part, I found the fabric for my sister-in-law's tova rather tricky to sew. After getting lots of skipped stitches and even a bit of chewed fabric I figured out I probably need a special needle for this type of fabric (shhh, don't laugh at me too much). Fortunately, there is one brick-and-mortar fabric shop I know, where the staff is very helpful. I went there with a piece of the fabric and got the needle, together with a clear explanation why I need such a needle and what it looks like (i.e. golden in colour).
I already tried it out and the difference is huge, so my SIL's tova will be finished too.
It's really a pity the shop doesn't carry quilting weight cotton, but there is some nice and soft solid cotton I might use for backing quilts.