Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A group quilt

Today I want to share a group quilt we made for our first “Modern Quilt Guild Bielefeld Baby”.

We knew that our guild member and New-Mom-to-be  was expecting a girl but does not like too much pink and rose. So we picked a grey background and decided on wonky star blocks. Each of us made 2 or three blocks and I volunteered to put the quilt top together and baste, quilt and bind the quilt.

Here’s our baby girl quilt for little Leona:

Leona Quilt

I used a variegated red-pink Aurifil to free motion quilt stars and loops…

Leona Detail of Quilting

…and outlined the stars using a white Aurifil thread.

Leona Star Quilting

All stars are scrappy and some are multi-coloured and others are monochromatic.

Leona Star 2

I found a fabric with little stars in colourful circles for the backing and used a multi-colour-striped fabric for the binding.

Below you can see the baby’s name quilted in the top left corner for some extra little individuality.

Leona Name Quilting

During our last sew-in the little baby came along for the first time. Below you can see a snap shot of her on Brigitte’s arm with her new quilt. She was such a cute addition to our party. Napping in her pram or being carried around by other quilt members.

Leona Quilt Handover

You are most welcome to cheer us up with your little smiles and “uh-ohs” and we hope to see you again soon, little Leona!

So this was a long kept secret (we started sewing in October, I think) and I am glad I was able to finish the quilt just in time for her first visit.

Do you have a go-to baby-quilt pattern? I have to start another baby quilt soon, so if you know a good pattern, I’d love to read your advice!

Happy (secret) sewing!
Christine

Friday, March 7, 2014

Paper Lanterns – a baby girl quilt

The wife of my former workmate gave birth to their first child last week. A sweet little girl.

May there always be lights (and lanterns) to light your way, little Johanna!

Johanna Quilt top Kopie

Raw edge appliqué and free motion quilted black wires.

Johanna Detail of lamps

Double loops as background quilting…

Johanna Detail of Background Quilting

I quilted the baby’s name in the lower right corner.

Johanna Detail of quilted name

I used different designs within the lanterns.

Johanna Detail of quilted pink lamp

Johanna Detail of quilted orange lamp

Backing and binding. And my new name tag including washing instructions.

Johanna Backing and Binding

I am rather pleased with the result. A not too girly baby quilt. The process gave me some pains though. I had huge problems with tension and breaking threads. It was the first time I encountered these problems with my sewing machine. After changing needles twice, cleaning my machine, rethreading multiple times the problem was still the same. I was so disappointed and frustrated.

Ironically, my machine worked perfectly when I quilted on a test-sandwich. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I had put the wrong side of the batting up. Trudi explained last year that, when using needle punched batting, the side with the little knots aught to face downwards. Mine faced upwards. I need to remember this when basting my next quilt!

What do you do when you encounter thread breaks?!

Happy Quilting!
Christine

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Serger fun

We had the first snow this winter! However I took the products of my “labour” outside to take some photos. (Ha! that sounds like sewing tees is hard and a chore, doesn’t it?! And like I spend my spare time working…)

flashback tees2

Infact, sewing tees has been a mere enjoyment as I treated myself to a new serger. My first serger. And “treated myself” is rather wrong, because I spend my christmas and birthday money that I received from my MIL and my parents.

new serger

I sincerely expected some sighing and shrugging shoulders when I called my mom to tell her how I spend my christmas money but she was very happy that I had found something that I would love to use…

flashback tees

So I made some tees first. I bought Rae’s flashback skinny tee pattern and couldn’t stop at one…

flashback tees indoor

The pattern is easy to follow although my boys seem to be bigger than average. I first made a size 6 for my 6 years old son. It was too small in the armpits so I  shortened the arms to make it a perfect fit for my 4 years old.

flashback tee neck

Here are some details of the neck and the hem. I used a twin-needle for a more professional-looking finish.

flashback tee hem

In former times my boys have taken to their heels when I sewed clothes for them. It really helps to let them choose the fabrics and some fun iron-on patches.

This is my youngest with the first tee before I shortened the arms. It gets more and more difficult to get them pose for photos so I have to sneak in and catch them unexpectedly…

Flashback tee Rupi

Here’s the bunch of tees together. So much fun.

flashback tees3

Have you tried sewing apparel for your kids or nieces, nephews, grandchildren?
Do they love wearing handmade clothes?

Happy sewing and have a great new week!
Christine

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In the hedgerow – a quilt finish

I recently finished the quilt that I made for my mother in law. It is (almost) a wholecloth quilt and quilting this one took forever.

Hedge Quilt Kopie

My MIL loves nature, especially birds. But I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make a rather reduced quilt, not a “bold statement”. She has browns and blue-ish greens in her appartment and I didn’t want to add more colour.

Believe it or not: I tried some paper piecing! After Lynne’s class in London 2012, I only made on other block (during a Modern Quilt Guild Bielefeld Sew-in). And then I went crazy and chose this block:

Hedge Bird pp

A blue tit (pattern bought here). Let me just say, Lynne’s class helped a lot and despite of all those little bits and pieces, it came together rather smoothly. The seamripper came out once or twice but within three or four evenings I was able to complete the paper pieced block.

Hedge Bird Block

I later embroidered the eye in black DMC floss.

I “extended” that branch to both sides and added only white kona as background.

I then free-motion quilted leaves all over the background. I started with these easy leaves - until I ran out of this variegated (Aurifil) thread.

Hedge leaves 2

After some muttering and swearing, I chose another green-ish variegated thread and quilted some other leaves – a bit more difficult, I admit.

Hedge Leaves 1

I am sorry, but I found it very hard to take photos of that “light-green and white variegated thread” on white fabric. Here’s another shot of both kinds of leaves together:

Hedge leaves 1 and 2

For good measure and to add some interest, I added a dragonfly (in a gree-blue variegated Aurifil)… (inspired by this book)

Hedge Dragonfly

…and a caterpillar in the same colours.

Hedge caterpillar

I pondered on the bird’s quilting for a long time and in the end, I simply stitched in the ditch around all the larger pieces. That meant a lot of thread changes, though…

Hedge Bird Threads

I am however happy with the result. The stitches are almost invisible and the bird is crisp and radiant compared to the (almost) white background.

Hedge Bird

I used some white-brown-blue large scale print for the back and machine-bound my quilt in more kona white, stitching the binding down with a triple zig zag stitch.

Hedge binding and backing

Here’s one last shot where you might be able to see the scale of the leaves. I did not want to quilt it too densely and it came out of the dryer very soft and fluffy.

Hedge Bird from afar

I hope that this quilt brings some joy and comfort to my MIL who will have to undergo a major surgery in a few weeks. I am happy to report that she liked her quilt and I sincerely hope that she will use it often: she remarked that it was “too precious to use” (o:

Does that happen to you, too? And how do you persuade the presentee to actually use his/her new quilt?

Christine

Friday, January 10, 2014

DNA Quilt – a finish

This quilt was hand-delivered today and can now be revealed to you. It has been another long-term work in process. It began with a bunch of swap blocks from all over the world: In round 6 of the scrapbuster swap on flickr we made scrappy X blocks. I had to look it up, we made the blocks two (2!) years ago!!!

I began contemplating different layouts:

Scrapbuster Swap Round 6

While I loved the above layout (photo taken before swapping, with my blocks only), the finished quilt would have been too small. And making 60 to 90 more blocks was out of the question.

I opted for some randomly stacked blocks but wasn’t convinced either.

DNA Quilt WIP2

Then I put the blocks together in one long row and found that the layout reminded me of a double helix. Hence the name DNA Quilt.

DNA Quilt WIP

Once sewn together, I put it away because I didn’t have enough Kona Coal to finish the quilt. And time went by.

More Kona Coal arrived and was neatly folded. And put away. And time went by.

When in April 2013 Celine, our Queen Bee of Sew-Euro-bee-an asked for two scrappy X blocks, I seized the opportunity and made some more Scrappy X Blocks for this quilt. The additional blocks were safely stored with their sisters (brothers?).
And more time went by.

I finally finished it last December.

DNA Quilt Top

I echo quilted within those Xs…

DNA Quilt Echo quilting

…and straight line quilted the background by extending the diagonal lines of the Xs.

DNA Quilt detail of quilting_bb

I backed it with grey and white leaves (I think it is from Moda’s Shades of Black) and bound it with a grey zig zag print.

All pictures a pre-washing and you can still see those chalk-marks I used to keep the lines straight.

DNA Label Backing and Binding

I guess that quilt would still be an u.f.o. (unfinished object) if that stroke of fate had not happend.

A close friend (for more than 30 years) of my husband sufferd from two ruptured celebral aneurysms in October. Thanks to the quick reaction of her teenage daughter, the neurologists saved her life.

But her brain suffered from the hypertension and she was kept in an artificial coma for several weeks. She is almost hemiplegic ever since BUT her cognitive abilities are almost fully restored. Her longterm memories did all come back but her short-term memory does not work (yet). At first she conversed with pencil and paper, slowly writing down her thoughts and wishes. She is now able to speak and makes process with her movements. She really fights her way back into life.

My husband brought her this quilt today and came home shaken and very thoughtful. Our thoughts are with her family, especially with her three kids (her youngest is only eight years old). She still has a long way to go on her path back to (what we call) normality.

DNA Quilt Top flip over

Hopefully my little quilt will bring some comfort and love to our friend and her family.

Christine

Monday, January 6, 2014

Gifts received

During the last months I received some handmade gifts that I want to share with you.

My friend and sewing pal Verena made this heat bag for my neck and shoulders. I made several to give away but never made one for my self. Thank you, Verena! Since I own one I use it almost daily!

heat bag

I received this pincushion as a christmas present from Brigitte of Zen Chic. She used her newest fabric line for Moda: Sphere. Another fabric line I looooooove!

Sphere pincushion

And then there was a pincushion swap at our Modern Quilt Guild Bielefeld. I drew a wonky stars pincushion made by Verena. I love how she combined the colourful Kaffe Fasset fabrics with the blue solid. Makes the colours stand out even more!

wonky star pincushion

As a bonus, she gave me this little elephant that she didn’t think good enough for the swap. Whaaaaaat? I think it is the cutest pincushion I have ever seen. Next time she comes round for a nighttime sewing session, we plan to write down the pattern for this cutie. She made it up all by herself!!

Elephant pincushion

And here comes another favourite of mine: A handstitched hexie pouch from Brigitte of Zen Chic.

Comma hexie pouch

Made from my all time favourite fabric line “Comma” AND in my favourite colours: grey, white and mustard-y yellow.

Comma hexie pouch open

And last but not least, a pillow that is perfect for reading. It was made by another friend and sewing pal. Thank you, Meike!!!

Leseknochen

Thank you so much for spoiling me, dear friends!

Have a great new week!
Christine

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gifts made

Although I have not been blogging much lately, I managed to get some little things done over the last months. Here’s some of my secret sewing:

A fabric basket for my neighbor (she asked for berry as the main fabric):

DSC_0001

A keychain for my colleague:

Lanyard

A tote bag for our little neighbor turning 5 who is a huge fan of firefighters:

Tasche Julius

A coaster/ mugrug than can double up as potholder - for our friend’s birthday (Pattern from Sarah Fielke’s “All that and the hatter”)Potholder 2

Fabric baskets for my friends… (free tutorial here)

IMG_5741 

IMG_5756

4 Coasters for my friends in Québec, Canada, who love cats. (The free pattern was part of Elizabeth Hartman’s “Catventalong”). So much fun. One day I might make an entire cat-quilt.

Cat Coasters

And last but not least, I made another tote bag. This one is for my sister’s MIL:

Star Tote

Star Tote2

That variegated aurifil thread is my new favourite!!! And those FMQ Stars are way easier than I feared. I shouldn’t have procrastinated quilting that tote for so long…

Star Tote detail

If I can find a minute or two this afternoon, I might get a blog post ready for tomorrow with all the handmade gifts I received (o:

Have a great sunday!
Christine

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