Sunday, 21 January 2018

My Bee blocks for February/ March

It's always my turn at the beginning of the year to pick a quilt block for my 'Quilty Circle of Bees'. I had my eyes peeled at the 'Rocky Mountain Puzzle' block for quite some time. It's a very traditional block but with a modern colour palette I picture a very beautiful quilt. Like this one, or this.

I have a thing for chartreuse/ mustard and have gathered quite a lot of fabric in that colour. I paired it off with some light turquoise and rose.

As a background I chose a variety of black/ white prints. I like the lively appearance, but I hope it won't look too busy. I might add some solid white and use white sashing. I'll decide once all bee blocks have arrived.

The pattern can be found for free here. I opted for the 12.5" block size, there are three different sizes available.

I don't really have a plan yet what I'll do with the finished quilt. I might give it to charity where someone is in need of a cuddly quilt. Yeah, that's sounds good.

It was so nice to work with those colours during these grey, dark and cold winter days!

Monday, 1 January 2018

2018 Quilty Goals

After a year end review it's always good to look ahead and plan new things for the new year 2018. I've had a good few ideas in my head for quite some time which I finally want to start.

But first there are two WIPs to finish, yes, I only have two. That's about the number I can deal with.

I have a finished quilt top that is waiting to be quilted. 'Playground' was a big learning curve for me. It's the first quilt I made using only prints with a challenging colour palette. You can read about the process here. I made it work though and I have a beautiful wide screen print by Tula Pink as a back and I also know how I will quilt it.

I have also started a Christmas quilt in early December 2017 but so far I have only cut some shapes, nothing sewn yet. Here's the yummy fabric selection:

Oh, I can't wait. I'm planning to make a Christmas quilt for so long, actually since I've made this Christmas table runner in 2014. I think I will just start early this year to make sure this is really finished by next Christmas!

It was just too busy and we also got a family addition in early December 2017: Biene, a 6-year-old female Viszla dog which we gave a new home.

She keeps me busy but I'm so looking forward to adventures and new things to discover!

I am taking part in the Mini Quilt Swap organised by the Modern Quilt Guild. My partner is Anne Sullivan of Play Crafts with whom I will exchange our minis at QuiltCon in February in Pasadena CA. Here's the fabric selection I picked:

I have started to play around, there will be an update soon.

I'm also super excited about the Pantone Colour of the year 2018: Ultra Violet. There will be Pantone Quilt Challenge later this year and I'm definitely taking part in this.

One of my best friends had a baby boy late last year and I want to make a baby quilt with these gorgeous fabrics here:

I have an idea for a design, nothing definite yet.

And there's my Quilty Cirlce of Bees of course. We are currently decreased in numbers but I hope to find more participants and keep it going, it's so much fun!

We will move house in March 2018 and my husband and I will have a large room all for our work, we call it 'Creative Space'. There's gonna be two large sewing tables for me, a design wall, fabric compartments and a cutting and pressing station. Oh, heaven!

I may have another pattern which I will keep a secret and see what I do with this. But it's very exciting!

Other than that I just want to put some ideas into life. Play with colour, shapes and thread.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 a round up

I can't believe this year has come to an end already. So much has happened, so much has changed.
I give you a little insight first: I made 4 large quilts, 3 mini quilts, 3 bee quilts, 2 pillows, lots of bee blocks and finally a Super Tote and a Sew Together Bag.

But quantity was not what I was aiming for.

My year started with the second Regatta Quilt I made in January 2017 following the pattern release at the end of 2016.

I still can't believe the success this quilt pattern has and how many people love both quilts I made. I was surprised and really happy to learn that Roseanne of Home Sewn By Us is hosting a Sew along starting on January 1st 2018. Roseanne did such a nice write up on the quilt and the pattern that I still feel flattered. So if you would like joinimg the quilt along get in touch with Roseanne!

A highlight this year was definitely my visit to QuiltCon in Savannah, GA that took place in February 2017. It was my first time attending QuiltCon and it will not be my last. In fact I'm going again in February 2018 to Pasadena!

Amanda Jean@crazymomquilts gave away two of her gorgeous pin cushions to Christiane @misssewing  and me!
To me QuiltCon was about the quilts of course but also about people and their generosity, kindness and willingness to share knowledge. QuiltCon gave me the feeling that I have found my tribe.

Over excitement meeting Jacquie Gering!
Also seeing so many beautiful quilts up close and personal gave me confidence to enter my own quilts for QuiltCon 2018. I entered three quilts, one has been selected to be in the show. I am so excited to be there when my quilt 'Splinter' will be exhibited.

I think Splinter is the quilt I am most proud of. I finished it just before the QuiltCon submission dead line at the end of November 2017. It's on its way to the States already, hope it arrives save and sound.

After QuiltCon 2017 I set up my own little sewing corner in our living room, having sewn at our kitchen table for almost 4 years.

I see my fabrics every day now, have a different mini quilt on display ever so often and have my sewing stuff readily available. So much better!

My first mini quilt of 2017 was 'Broken X', which I made in line with the February Challenge of the Might Lucky Quilting Club.

  I also got a new sewing machine in June 2017! It's a Juki QVP mini and I love it. 

Here I am free motion quilting my second ever bee quilt. An improv quarter log cabin quilt which I made with the help of my Quilty Circle of Bees.

I am having so much fun with my bee, we actually made another secret baby quilt in July 2017 for one our members Yara and her baby Ella.

Therefore that we all sew with our own fabrics the quilts always have a very cohesive design.

Like my very first bee quilt I started in 2016 but only finished it in 2017:

My 'Cosy Comfort' quilt following the 'Amsterdam Quilt' pattern by Cloud 9 Fabrics is still one of my favourites.

Another highlight was my workshop in May 2017 with Katie Pedersen in Seattle, WA.

I signed up for the psychedelic baby block/ improv strip piecing workshop at Katie's beautiful design studio.

And that's 'Emerald City', one of my favourite quilts to date and the result from Katie's workshop. I finished it in November 2017.

The fourth large quilt I made was this Giant Plus Quilt:

It has a snuggly fleece back and was a gift to a dear friend.

2017 was the first time I joined the Pantone Quilt Challenge. The colour of the year 2017 was 'Greenery' and I entered 'Nature's Neutral' into the mini quilt category.

I'm all excited about the Pantone colour of the year 2018: Ultra Violet. I will definitely take part in the Pantone quilt challenge again!

I also took part in a mini quilt swap. The topic was HST (half square triangles) and I had fun making 'Play Cube'.

The quilting was done with my old sewing machine... While I really liked the quilt it also taught me not to take photos in the blazing sun.

I learned a lot this year. The lectures at QuiltCon for example opened my mind in regards to design and how other quilters approach their quilt making process. I learned to hand stitch binding to a quilt and bags and pouches don't scare me anymore.

Most importantly I learned to embrace my own design process, to play with fabric and shapes and to bring the ideas I have in my head to life.

Linking to Cheryl at Meadow Mist Design Best 2017 Linky Party. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Bee Blocks for Vicky

I love my Quilty Circle of Bees! We are such a diverse little group of quilters who always manage to get me out of my comfort zone.

Either by the sewing technique used (in two years we had everything from paper piecing, curved blocks, improv and precise piecing.. hm, just noticed there wasn't any applique yet, I'm counting on Allison on that one!) or by the fabric selection.

Vicky was our queen bee for October/ November and she picked a paper pieced version of a courthouse step block.

The colour scheme was caramel, tangerine, light blue and purple. I didn't think that would go together but the colours look so good!

The great thing about my Bee is that we sew with our own fabrics. In the blocks I receive for my quilts there is just such a great variety on colours and fabrics because so far my fellow bee mates always nailed it!

Vicky's request was to have a white solid square as the center square and then play around and don't stick with the traditional layout.

We were also only to use four different fabrics in one block and repeat the fabric choice in the next block with only little alteration.

By doing that all the blocks get a very cohesive look. This quilt will be so good, I really can't wait to see this finished!

Thursday, 30 November 2017


I feel very proud today. Proud of my self.
I think people, including me, are so overly critical with themselves and their work in particular. So today I feel very proud of myself because I have reached a goal I set for myself and accomplished it beyond my expectations.

This is Splinter. My best work yet.

With Splinter I wanted to create great tension between very precise vertical and horizontal piecing as opposed to improvisational diagonal piecing.

The improv pieced vertical off-centered 'splinter' is to divide the black and white fabric with what seems like great force. The name was quickly found.

I revisited this design after I made a back of a triangle quilt with left over half-triangles in a similar arrangement. 

With 'Splinter' there was a lot of editing and careful arrangement of colour and shape placement to achieve a high visual impact of negative space with indistinct edges. 

I quilted straight lines with white Aurifil 50wt thread first, creating diagonal lines from top right to bottom left. 

I then added dark grey thread in the opposite direction. Seams of the same colour never overlap. With having the seams in random angles they create this beautiful secondary pattern of the 'improv spikes'.

For the back I used a lot of orange solid fabric and arranged other left overs from the front in an interesting off-centered design. 

Even on the back the quilting looks so good!
I recently bought a Juki QVP 2200 Mini. Before that I was never able to quilt like this. I could never adjust my presser foot pressure, I had severe fabric shiftings. I could only dream of overlapping quilting seams like that. 

I did have some difficulties with the Juki though, it took me ages to get the thread tension right. But now I think the Juki and me are ok. 

I played with different coloured binding as well. The design of the quilt is extending into the binding which I like a lot. 

There are exactly three seams of orange thread in Splinter, one going through every orange fabric of the quilt. 

I hand sewed the binding again and really love how this turned out. 

The reason I feel that this is my best work yet is that Splinter is definitely the quilt with the highest visual impact in terms of simplicity, overall design and quilting.  The workman ship from start to finish is also the best to date. There is absolutely nothing I don't like or that could have been better.
So I cherish that feeling and be a bit proud of myself. Something we all should do more and be more gentle with ourselves.

I am entering Splinter into the 'Negative Space' category for QuiltCon 2018.

Here is a link of how I actually made Splinter. 

Saturday, 25 November 2017

QuiP #8 - Splinter

Remember this quilt?

Porcupine Playground Front + Back
The back of my 'Porcupine Playground' quilt just never ceased to amaze me. I knew that someday I would have to revisit this design and make an actual front out of the back I initially designed. So the upcoming QuiltCon submission was a good opportunity to do so.

My plan was to achieve high visual impact with contrasting colours. So I opted for black and white solids, mixed with the ever so amazing cross hatched fabrics by Carolyn Friedlander and the same orange solid I used in 'Porcupine Playground'.

For the back of 'Porcupine Playground' I used left over half-triangles for the off-centered vertical strip. I now improvised the piecing for that dividing strip. I used this tutorial by Debbie of 'A Quilter's Table' to make 'improv spikes'. First back ones.

Then white ones.  My aim was to use a lot of negative space beside that vertical strip of spikes and have indistinct edges, so basically you don't see where the black fabric ends and where the white fabric starts.

I repeated the idea of having little orange areas in the quilt as focal points to add a little interest.

Whereas the back of my 'Porcupine Playground' quilt was to use up scraps and left over fabrics there was a lot of editing and careful arrangement of colour and fabric placement this time round.

I quilted straight lines with white Aurifil 40wt thread first and wanted to quilt with black thread as well, but that didn't go according to plan. I don't know of you have ever tried to sew with black thread on white fabric, but it just doesn't look good.

I spent an entire weekend trying to figure this out. I thought it's my thread tension (which was a bit off) but it seems as though a lot of people had similar difficulties. Apparently the loop from the bobbin thread is so visible on the white fabric that it just looks odd.

So I used dark grey thread instead, and I was so happy that I did. Black thread on black fabric is invisible. Not so the dark grey, it created a such nice texture. Exactly what I wanted.

I used a lot of orange solids for the back. The different coloured thread looks so good on it!
And I applied the binding again by hand. Three evenings. That seems to be the standard time frame for my size of quilts. This one is rather big though with 60 x 84" (1.52 x 2.33m).

I just finished it in time for the QuiltCon submissions. Fingers crossed that it gets accepted!
Stay tuned for the full reveal of  'Splinter'.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Emerald City Quilt PART 2

I started this quilt in a workshop with Katie Pedersen in her beautiful design studio in Seattle. You can read all about it here.

I couldn't be happier with this quilt. I love the colours and the interesting contrast they create.

The improvisational/ wonky piecing and what looks like random colour placement makes it very vibrant. Katie referred to this as 'controlled chaos' and that works so well. I think there is just so much to look at in this quilt.

I opted for straight line grid quilting to create interest and almost a bit of visual tension between the piecing and the quilting. I also used three different colours of beautiful 50wt and 40wt Aurifil thread, I love to play with colours!

I had originally planned to make the quilt one row longer but that looked somehow out of proportion so I scrapped that idea. I instead cut up the excess blocks and created a zig zag with these smaller blocks which also works well for the back I think. The quilt finishes at 55x70"(1,50 x 1,95m) which makes it a nice lap quilt to snuggle up.

I love to mix solids with some graphic print fabrics, I used the 'Squared Elements' print also for the binding.

Oh, that binding! This was the second time I ever hand sewed a binding to a quilt and the first time to a large quilt like this one. I never thought I would do that! It took me three evenings to sew the binding on while sitting on the couch enjoying the process. 

Katie and Marla were so kind to show me how hand stitched binding is done after the workshop. I have honestly been converted to be a hand binding sewist, seriously, it looks so much better!

That quilt will be forever cherished. It holds those happy memories of our trip to Seattle, but it's not only that that. I also associate quilty friends with this quilt and this awesome community I can proudly say I am part of.

Seattle is also called 'The Emerald City'. I didn't need to think long how to name that quilt. In the photo above the quilt is in a beautiful bag I got in Seattle (fabric shopping) with kind of a similar colour scheme. Go figure!