Saturday, 15 July 2017

I made a Sew Together Bag!

I have always admired the Sew Together Bag but never attempted it as it looked... complicated.

But since I have set up my sewing corner in our living room while still cutting fabric on our kitchen table I have sewing tools in two places.

That really started to annoy me so I decided to make a Sew Together Bag to keep all my stuff together.

This bag is just genius! I have my very regular sewing tools in the open pockets so when I open the main bag they are readily available. My seam ripper is in the pink cross hatch pocket not visible. I also opted for a little pin cushion at the outer pocket.

I had so many left overs from my 'Playground Quilt' that I used these and bought zippers to match.

In fairness the bag is not easy to sew. And if it wouldn't be for Heather's Sew Along at QuiltBarn I would have never been able to make the bag. So thank you, Heather, for the very detailed blog posts with lots of photos!!!

I was looking at a lot of Sew Together Bags online for inspiration and found this blog post by Amanda of Crazy Mom Quilts and opted for little fabric pieces at the end of each zipper.

Not only does it add a little more colour it also is easy to sew. Since this is my first bag and I have not tried it without these fabric pieces but I would always do it again that way.

I quilted the outside panel of the bag in straight lines using three different Aurifil wt40 threads. This was actually the first time I quilted with my new Juki and I loved it!!
I also like that the bag looks so different at each side.

Inside the zipper pockets I have the less needed tools such as wonder clips, hera marker, measuring tape and small ruler, additional scissors and a finger hat.

I am currently making another bag as a present for my friends since I have a lot more scrappy strips left over to use for the outside of the bag.

I'm using the same fabrics again for the second bag apart from the pink fabric to the right in the photo. I realised that one open pocket in my bag is all in one colour (the mustard/white print) and to add a bit more variety I'm going with pink from the inside.

For the binding I used one of my favourite fabrics: Carolyn Friedlander's cross hatch in mustard.

I have also attached a little pink ribbon to the outer zipper, that is a little bit easier to open and looks good.

This will not be my last Sew Together Bag, I need at least two more in my house for various items to store. Also, this makes a great present!

The pattern can be found here and is by Michelle of SewDemented.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

QuiltCon report PART 2

So much has happened after my first QuiltCon in February 2017 in Savannah. So much has changed. For me. For my design process, the way I look at quilting and the way I feel connected to this awesome community.

In light of the upcoming registration for QuiltCon in Pasadena, CA in February 2018 here's the second part of my QuiltCon experience. The first part is here.

Let's start with the walk from our accommodation to the Convention Center.
Our house was located in the beautiful historic distinct of Savannah and only a few minutes walk away from the ferry, which took you across the Savannah River where the Convention Center was located.

Those timber clad houses are so beautiful! And the weather! So nice to escape the winter and be in the sun! Luckily we did have time on Sunday afternoon to walk through those beautiful streets but first: more fantastic quilts!

It took me all four days of the show to walk the rows with all the quilts. The ones which stood out to me where abstract, colourful, improv pieced and hand quilted (not necessarily all in one!).

I have great admiration for people who handquilt. That is one thing I can't see my self doing. Yet.
I have only recently started to hand bind my quilts, that's also something that changed after QuiltCon and something I never thought I would do. So I guess nothing is impossible!

Here's one quilt that stood out to me, not only because it's amazing but because I met the maker Marla Varner.

'Trestle Nestle' by Marla Varner
Those quilts deserve a closer look:

'Trestle Nestle' by Marla Varner

I was very happy to have met Marla in person after we had connected via social media in the last year. I can truly say I made a new quilting friend!

'Of Discontent' by Shelby Skumanich

This quilt by Shelby Skumanich won 2nd place in the handwork category. So well deserved!

'Of Discontent' by Shelby Skumanich

This is pure awesomeness!

'Forever tied together' by Jen Broemel
This quilt by Jen Broemel is hand tied.

'Forever tied together' by Jen Broemel

I can't even imagine how long that takes!! But it looks fantastic, doesn't it?

'Inner Monologue' by Anne Sullivan

I also really liked the quilts that were a combination of machine and hand quilting. Maybe I can start with that method?

'Inner Monologue' by Anne Sullivan

During the day there were so many things that happened at different booths. We joined Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic at the Moda booth for her presentation of her new book 'Zen Chic Inspired - A Guide to Modern Quilt Design'.
I volunteered to do a design exercise using a picture of someone's kitchen and coming up with a colour scheme and a quick design for a table runner.

If you haven't tried out the Moda Palette Builder yet, do! It's so cool! You upload a photos of e.g. your living room and the Palette Builder finds Bella Solids to match your interior. Tadaaa, there's your colour palette for your new quilt! Brilliant!

Brigitte signed a copy of her book for me, which is really beautifully put together. We also had coffee and a good chat with Brigitte during our lunch breaks, she's such a warm and fun person!

At the Michael Miller Fabrics booth I picked out four fabrics to make a block 6.5 x 6.5" for a friendship quilt. The quilts (I guess there will be more than one!) will be shown next year at QuiltCon 2018!

I have no idea for a block yet, but that's on my To-Do list now!

I picked up a few pins along the way (until they didn't fit on my lanyard anymore). I also purchased a pin of the Individual Members of the Modern Quilt Guild, which I initially helped to design.

I was very happy to see quilts made from prints. In fairness there were only a few, but that goes to prove that a modern quilt does not necessarily have to be made from solids only. In fact, you can even win a price!

'Scattered' by Jess Frost

This quilt by Jess Frost won 3rd place in the improv category.

'Quilt one half' by Sarah Lowry

I really liked this quilt by Sarah Lowry!

'Rescue Mission' by Stephanie Serrano
This quilt goes to prove that you can even make an awesome quilt with long forgotten blocks.

From the photos I've seen from previous QuiltCon Shows there are always quilts with strong messages.
Here are some quilts which really moved me:

'Speak Even LOUDER' by Kristyn McCoy

Quote by Kristyn McCoy: 'For every 1,000 sexual assaults, only 33 get reported; of these, 12 result in charges and six go to trial, where only 45% result in conviction.'
The quilting on the middle states: 'You are powerful and nobody can take this away from you'

'Todd's No-Baby Baby Quilt' by Chawne Kimber

Quote by Chawne Kimber: This quilt is inspired by a political blunder by Missouri congressman Todd Akin who insists that pregnancy due to 'legitimate rape' is impossible'.
Even more powerful if you imagine this quilt is lying on a bed...

I very much enjoyed seeing the quilts from 'Quilt Design A Day'. The versatility of quilts emerging from one inspiration was just amazing!

'Bend. Don't Break' by Karen  Foster

'City Squares' by Tiffany Baxter

'Structural Transparency' by Emily Doane

We have also met one of my absolute quilting heroes and one of our most influential modern quilters: Jacquie Gering.

I bought her book 'WALK' and went to the book signing. Look at all these beautiful quilting samples!

We briefly talked to Jacquie after her quilting presentation and I guess you can see our excitement...

Isn't that beautiful handwriting? And just so you know where you'll find Jacquie when she visits Germany ;0)

On our flight back home I happened to sit beside Sarah of Sariditty Handmade. She gave me this beautiful set of cards and a gorgeous pin.

I felt very empowered after QuiltCon and enriched by the kindness of people and the willingness to share experience and knowledge.

QuilltCon makes you feel you can do anything. It's a very powerful feeling. I felt so inspired by all these beautiful quilts and by all the people! What changed for me since QuiltCon is an ongoing process and I'm repeatedly realising the impact of all the lectures I heard and hope I can continue to transfer this it into my quilts.

Once you've been to QuiltCon it makes you feel you cannot miss another. I will register tomorrow. Will you?

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Play Cube - HST Mini Swap

This is only my third time taking part in a swap and it was a lot of fun. The swap is very well organised by Sharon, check out her Instagram profile, she hosts a lot of really fun swaps.

I signed up for the Half Square Triangle HST Mini Swap. We could choose between 2", 3" or 4" squares (unfinished), I opted for 3". The finished size was to be either 18" or 21" square using either 6x6 or 7x7 units. I used 6x6 units.

As it is a secret swap I cannot reveal my partner yet, but she likes cool colours so I opted for turquoise, gray, white and a little bit of green.

I mixed solids and prints and I think that worked really well.

I used double sided tape again and taped the quilt to a converted sea container, which is now an outdoor bar (pretty cool!).

I didn't have name for the quilt until that photo shoot. It just had to be 'Play Cube' taking from the stickers applied to the sea container. Some quilt names just fall into place.

Even though HST are not my favourite thing to sew (why is that squaring off process ever so tedious?) I really enjoyed working on that mini quilt. An I hope my partner likes it as much as I do.

I opted for diagonal straight line quilting with my favourite Aurifil 40wt  #2600 Dove but unfortunately some puckering appeared due to my ongoing problems with my sewing machine. And photos in the blazing sun show that off very clearly...

I cannot adjust the pressure foot pressure and that is causing the fabric to shift.
I am currently saving up for a new machine. All other quilts will have to wait, but this one had a dead line.

Partner, I hope you like the quilt despite the little flaws.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

A Quilt is not a Pillow

After I made this pillow for my friend I knew I wanted to make a quilt out of the fabrics I selected. The selection was challenging, but I managed to make the pillow look good and somehow the fabrics all worked together.

I was aiming for a strip/ coin quilt because I loved the look of the pillow but as I cut my fabrics and arranged them at the design wall I quickly became aware: A Quilt is not a Pillow!

What worked so well on a small scale just wouldn't look good in bigger pieces. I just didn't like the way it looked.

I wanted to even arrange the fabrics more randomly and in different widths but that didn't work at all. So I stuck with an even width of 12.5" for each strip.

I had the layout up on my design wall for quite some and stared at it. I remembered what I heard in the QuiltCon lectures and so I was identifying what I liked and what I didn't like and why.

I first identified the different types of fabrics I was using.

These are the high volume fabrics. All very saturated in different colours. The prints are sometimes very busy with stark contrasts.

These are mid volume fabrics but they are also very calming. There is hardly any colour difference in the print itself. I used these for some kind of neutrals in between busy prints.

These are the low volume prints (well, maybe apart from the second from the left). These fabrics are light in colour and low in volume despite the prints on them.

I have seen pictures like this in books before but I think for the very first time in my quilt making process I truly understood the use of so many different prints and the visual impact they have on a quilt. I guess you can read colour and volume theories as often as you like; if you haven't experienced it yourself you haven't truly understood it.

I also identified which fabrics didn't work in the mix:

I love those fabrics, but they are just too busy in the mix. The colour difference in the print is very stark and all in all too busy for what I was aiming for. I'm sure I will use these beauties in a different project in the future though!

So, here is a detailed before and after shot:

Before: Busy, too busy for my taste.

After removing the two too busy fabrics: Better! Amazing what a little change can do to an overall appearance!

After the photos I also removed the lovely turquoise/ white stripy fabric under the BlockM logo. Too busy.

I carefully selected fabrics for each row and there was also a lot of editing towards the end where I would take out strips and replace them with others to achieve a visually pleasing design.

The quilt top is finished an I'm very happy how it turned out. This quilt truly was a challenge but I have learned so much! I also had fun, so I came up with the name 'Playground' for the quilt not only because I used some of the beautiful fabrics designed by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics called 'Playground'.

I also love that now I look at the same fabrics than my friend when she looks at her pillow!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Pantone Quilt 2017 - Nature's Neutral

This is my first time taking part in the Pantone Quilt Challenge and I'm quite excited about it!

My first idea was a string quilt with very bright greens, yellows and blues. But then, one morning I looked at my Pantone mug and changed my mind.

I quickly sketched a block design which is inspired by this very iconic Pantone look:
A solid colour with the Pantone colour number in black in a white box below.

That was so much better than a string block!  

For the black colour numbers I picked four different graphic black and white fabrics. I paired each green with a different b/w fabric. 

To support this very graphic quilt design I wanted to quilt simple straight lines. My sewing machine gave me some head aches though as the fabric shifted so much and distorted the blocks that I decided to quilt it on the longarm.

I opted for a light grey thread colour similar to the solid background and quilted densely 1/4" apart. For the batting I used Quilters Dream Poly, which was in my goodie bag I got at QuiltCon. I normally use cotton batting or a cotton blend, but for this quilt I didn't want any crinkles so I gave the Poly batting a try. The quilt lays nice and flat so the little advertising in the QuiltCon goodie bag actually worked! I think I might use that again for similar purposes.

Since the topic of this year's Pantone colour is 'Greenery' I at least used some very floral fabric for the back. And you know what? For the very first time ever I hand sewed my binding! I have always sewed it with the machine, I guess it needed Katie Pedersen and Marla Varner who kindly showed me at my recent workshop at Katie's lovely Seattle studio how to do hand binding. So thank you, you two!! And surprisingly I loved it! Took me two hours for approx. 100" but that can only get better I suppose!

My husband recently spotted this awesome new graffiti at a tram station close to our home. I attached double sided tape to the back of the quilt and stuck it to the wall. Worked really well!

I am entering this mini quilt into the Pantone Quilt Challenge, link to vote here.
Voting opens May 29 2017.

Quilt stats:
Name: Nature's Neutral
Size: 29 x 21.5"
Solid fabrics: Kona Bella Solids in Peridot, Basil, Chartreuse, Grass Green and Silver
Binding fabric: Black/White cross hatch Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander for Robert Kaufmann