Saturday, 29 September 2018

Biene's Adventure Quilt block #7

After this super hot summer we're having an amazing autumn. Sunny, not too warm but with beautiful blue skies and sunshine. We decided to spend a few days at the Dutch coast again, time for long walks and relaxing evenings.

I made another adventure beach block and got Biene to sit beside it in the sand. Not an easy task when the dog has nothing else in mind but running after that ball.

It was still warm enough for Biene to dip her feet into the water and trying to be faster than the seagulls.

Here's the block I made. Pretty simple beige scraps for the sand, wavy print for the water and a blue solids for a clear blue sky. With the recent adventure blocks I'm tending to keep the block design horizontal to achieve a cohesive overall look. I hope that'll work out.

Oh I love this coastline so much. The minute I reach the beach I have a feeling of deep relaxation. Walking along the shore is almost therapeutic, there's nothing better than listening to the crashing waves, the wind and being in great company. 

Another rare selfie of the three of us in the dunes. The only way Biene would sit still is waving the ball in front of her face. 

Even when we had a break from chasing ball she could hardly sit still. If we wouldn't play with her she would play by herself, hiding the ball in the sand, only to dig it up again a few moments later. Even though Biene is already seven years old, at the beach she behaves like a puppy. 

Biene seemed to enjoy herself most wen she was absolutely covered in sand. That's what I really adored about her playful behaviour. Have fun, no matter what. With her at the beach it's a bit like: play like there's no tomorrow. Doesn't matter if you're getting dirty, if you have sand all over your face, it's the moment that counts.

In these few months since we have her Biene has taught me so much. A dog doesn't want much of you. Whether it's going for a walk, belly rubs or playing ball: A dog wants you to be present. It actually is that simple.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Is it worth it to block a quilt?

And will it actually work?
That question was in my head for about three months. I was debating with myself whether to leave the quilt as distorted as it was and just live with it or try to go the extra mile and block it. 

After my 'Purple Haze' quilt won 1st place in the international entries of the 'quilt top only category' in this year's Pantone Quilt Challenge I was very eager to start quilting it. I noticed some fabric shifting during the process but did not expect the outcome of it to be that bad!

In the space of 15.5" the quilt was out of shape for almost 1". That continued to be about 4.5" by the end of the quilt (see first photo above, quilt folded in half). I'd never have such a distorted quilt. I asked the quilting community for some advice as to why this happened.

Curved blocks apparently are a bit tricky and are prone for fabric shifting during the quilting process. I didn't know that, that's the first curved quilt I've made. And on top of it I opted for diagonal straight quilting lines... bad combination.

Deadlines are always a good motivator. As I've seen that the Bloggers Quilt Festival is due I just decided to give blocking a go. I've watched a good few tutorials and people used their carpet for blocking quilts. Since we only have timber floors I used my recently purchased insulation boards as base to pin the quilt into. By coincident the boards have a lovely lilac colour that suited the quilt very well. The boards are actually to become my new design wall, I still need some flannel to cover them.

But first the question: do I bind before or after the blocking process? And what will happen with my quilt when I wash it without the binding? I have heard that people blocked their quilts with and without the binding and had equally good results. Since my quilt was so badly distorted I decided to wash the quilt without the binding but sewed along all edges to secure the quilting stitches beforehand.

I washed the quilt in the washing machine for a bout 10 minutes at a very gentle cycle and only put the spin on for about 30sec. I was so afraid that the quilting would rip apart but it was all good. Some people put the quilt in the bathtub, I guess that works as well.

It actually wasn't that difficult to pull the quilt into shape. I used the perfect 90degree angle of the boards as a guide and started pinning the quilt in place. I marked the boards with tape to indicate the shape the quilt should have and left the quilt in place for 1.5 days to dry out.

I'm so happy now with this quilt! I just applied the binding today and will make this a last minute entry into the Bloggers Quilt Festival.

Unfortunately we have terrible rainy weather here today so I could only take indoor photos. I'm planning  to take better photos outside and will do another blog post soon. But here it is, nice and square! 

The result is better than expected. The quilt still is not perfectly square but I am totally happy with the way it turned out.

Before I blocked the quilt I had asked some quilty friends: so what happens with that blocked quilt when I wash it again? Will it loose it's shape again? Do I need to pull it into shape every time I wash it? Most people only block their quilts when it's a wall hanging quilt or to be issued for a show and basically never to be washed again, so no one really could answer that. If you have some experience with that please leave a comment!

I think I'll hang 'Purple Haze' up for a bit and enjoy these happy colours and I guess time will tell how the shape behaves after washing again.

So was it worth it to block the quilt? Definitely yes! Did it work? Surprisingly yes! Will I do it again? Well, I hope this doesn't happen that often but yes, I would definitely block a quilt again and next time I'm not waiting three months to do it!

I'm linking to the Bloggers Quilt Festival hosted by Amy Ellis. Go and see some amazing quilts!
Also linking to Finish up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Open wide zipper pouch

I just made another open wide zipper pouch. I just love these little projects! It's the middle size of the free pattern by Noodlehead.

A quilt sometimes can feel overwhelming, little projects like this are very satisfying.

Especially if they are a gift to a person, who loves it. That green print by the way is one of my all-time favourites!

This pouch I made for a dear colleague who is off to an adventure in South America, with a backpack and a one way ticket. Since I know how messy a backpack can get I made her that pouch to hopefully avoid any mess!

Friday, 7 September 2018

Biene's Adventure Quilt - block #6

We enjoyed the last bit of the hot summer days in August with Biene and went for a swim. Well, Biene did, we just had fun watching her.
As with previous water blocks I opted again for a nice wavy print to represent the water.

Biene loved the water and the welcoming coolness of it, no wonder she kept hopping in an out.

Give that dog a ball and she's happy!

The excitement was big and it was hard to have her sit still. She would lay down for just a few seconds, not leaving the ball out of sight.

And that's Biene in what used to be green grass. This heat wave has burned all the grass that Biene now is pretty much camouflaged.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Bee blocks for Allison

I just realised that I never showed you the bee blocks I made for Allison in July!

Allison is making a two colour quilt in mainly yellow and white but also with some chartreuse.When you're making a big quilt it's always good to get some help of your quilty bees!

Allison's quilt design includes these beautiful star blocks that accompany applique blocks, that Allison is doing herself.

I used a variety of yellow prints and made one block in chartreuse. The blocks are 8.5" square.

Here and here you can see the progress Allison is making with her quilt. This is going to be a beautiful one!

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Boxy Pouch made from scraps

I had a lot of oddly shaped scraps left from my Pantone quilt 'Purple Haze' so I decided to use them straight away. I love that colour combination so much anyway.

I have been admiring these boxy pouches by Katie of SewKatieDid and I thought I have enough scraps to make one pouch. Because you can never have enough pouches!

That were the two panels I made. Mostly all strips were individually pieced with tiny scraps. Not the quickest way to do it but what can you do when you have small but lovely scraps?

And this one is really large! I first made it more squat but didn't like it so I adjusted it to make the shape of the pouch more square and I like it better that way.

While adjusting I also added a second strap, there's one at each end now which makes it easier to handle when zipping and un-zipping the pouch.

This lovely pouch is a great way to use up scraps or, what Katie suggest, using orphan blocks.  I'll definitely make another one!

Linking to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Biene's adventure block #4+5

We're having such a hot summer here in Central Europe that we are not able to go on long walks during the day. Temperatures between 30 and 37C (86 to 99F) left us with longer walks in the mornings and evenings and only very short walks during the day.

Nevertheless we went into the forest at weekends, that was the only place we could actually stick this heat. Biene had fun no matter what. I didn't do much sewing either, when you have temperatures of 26 to 29C (79 to 84F) inside the house you do not turn that iron on!

However, I made another tree block, improv pieced, in turquiose this time. Who said that trees need to be green all the time?

We have the feeling that in the forest Biene is her most natural self. Very alert, very active, always searching. A true hunter. A very beautiful one though (and not hunting at all, we would not have her run free if she would).

Here's another improv pieced tree block in the forest with a very playful Biene, having picked up every stick along the way.

This tree I made with small scraps and pieced them randomly together until I had a form that kind of looked like a tree. Variety is good!

And that's Biene seeing if we really, really do not want to play with that sick laying in front of her.

Temperatures are suppose to drop in the next two weeks or so, I guess the quilty summer adventure is turning into a year long project which I don't mind because we go on adventures with Biene all year round!

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Looking back to QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena CA

We moved house just one week after QuiltCon 2018 and it took us a long time to get everything organised. There is still some chaos and things to be done but we're getting there.

I've only downloaded the photos I took during QuiltCon 2 moths after the event. I just couldn't find the time.

Pasadena Convention Center

But maybe that was a good thing because now I think I have processed the whole experience of having a quilt in the show.

That photo says it all! One happy girl an her quilt!

Splinter in good company

I have to admit I was super excited and also very proud every time I walked by my quilt which was in line with so many great quilts.

Interesting for me was also the judges comments on Splinter. I wasn't sure whether that would be included but as I unpacked the quilt the judges' comments and the presentation sheet were included.

But enough of my own quilt. I want to show you some of my favourite quilts which are not award winners, for the award winners please see here.

I especially liked this quilt by Carolina Oneto, such a great use of colour and shape.

I'm a big fan of Kari Anderson's work and her 'Mama Bear loves to dance' quilt is no exception.

Once again I was drawn to simple, graphic and colourful quilts like this one by Debra Jalbert, that play with colour is so good.

Very cleverly arranged triangles by Nicole Kroesen in her quilt 'To the point'.

And Jacquie Gering... what can I say. She has a big impact on my own designs and I'm always in awe of her work. With her quilt 'Champ' Jacquie explores minimalistic design combined with strong light and dark contrast creating maximum visual impact.

I love subtle colours like the ones Paige Alexander used in her 'Positively Transparent' Quilt of the Month August 2017. Beautiful thread colours too.

I loved that neon pop thread Carson Converse used in her 'Passage' quilt.

I was absolutely stunned by this quilt by Tara Glastonbury. Her quilt 'What's your time worth?' represents the back of an Australian 50$ note and is a critical statement regarding female textile artists trying to make a living while others undervalue their hobby making it especially hard for artists to earn above the national average wage. This quilt had such a great texture, I wish I could have touched it.

These two quilts from this years Charity Challenge were my favourites. LEFT: Original pattern design by Alane Davis, made by the Lake Superior MQG; RIGHT: Designed by Holly Anne Knight, made be the Greater Atlanta MQG (Funny that they both have the light/ dark colour gradient from top to bottom).

This year Carolyn Friedlander was the featured artist at QuiltCon and she had a special exhibition of her work which I loved. I'm a great fan of her architectural fabrics and quilt designs with great colour choices.

Her work was beautifully presented. How cool is that couch?

Also these quilted maps are so good. A different kind of whole cloth quilt.

And there were so many more. I have noticed an increased quality of the mini quilts presented in the show, but that would be too much to show them here.

One highlight for me was the exchange of the mini quilt the Modern Quilt Guild had organised.

My swapping partner was Anne Sullivan of PlayCrafts and her work is amazing. I absolutely love the mini she made me! And how coordinated are our quilts? We even made the MQG News letter with our minis!
You can read more about 'Three', the mini quilt I made here.

I once again opted for the all day lecture pass. Sometimes the less obvious lectures are the best and are surprisingly good.
I only took one class and it was the advanced photography class with Kitty Wilkin and Michelle Bartholomew. Thoroughly enjoyed the class, learned a lot and could have actually done a whole day!

Exploring depth of filed

Once again I truly enjoyed the whole QuiltCon experience and being among like minded people. It was so great to meet quilters in person I have been in touch with via social media.

Today the registration for QuiltCon 2019 opened and unfortunately I will not go next year. I will make QuiltCon an every other year event. 2020 in Austin it is.