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

Friday, 5 May 2017

Cosy Comfort - My first finished Bee Quilt

My first ever Bee Quilt is finished!


The blocks were already made as I was Queen Bee in January/ February 2016 and it took me until now (over a year later... aham) to finally get it finished.

I picked the beautiful Amsterdam quilt block designed by Holly DeGroot for Cloud9 Fabrics and let my Bees do what they wanted. Here is the free download link for the pattern.


I added sashing in low volume fabrics, quilted in loopy loops with beautiful Aurifil 40wt in colour '2600 Dove', which always works so well when you have lots of different colours in a quilt.  And I finished the quilt with this quirky orange/ green stripy binding.


For the back I opted for a very colourful fabric with floral prints. I had asked my Bees at the time to include a white 3" square block with their names on it. I framed each of the name blocks in a different solid colour and added it in the back of the quilt.


I love this quilt so much and will keep it. My aim is though to give all other bee quilts away, either to friends or to charity. But this very first one is a keeper!


Thank you so much, Quilty Circle of  Bees, for all your beautiful blocks!
 Alison, Claudia, Magda, Melanie and Yara

 

The quilt finishes at 1,26 x 1,80m (50 x 70") and has the perfect lap size.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Giant PLUS Quilt

I love to make quilts for other people. Especially when they can appreciate the time, love and effort which goes into making  a quilt. 


My best friend and rowing partner of 25 years Betty is one of those people. She knows all my quilts and has always admired them. One day last year she had asked me if I could make her one.


This quilt was on my To-Do-List for the year. Betty didn't have any requests as to what design or colour the quilt was to have. The only request she had was that the back of the quilt should be from fleece. She trusted me with everything else. She's a good friend!


I had a colour combination in mind very quickly. And I also knew that I needed big blocks. When you have fleece back you don't want to have dense quilting, because the fleece should remain nice and fluffy.


So I opted for a giant plus design. The individual squares are 6x6", the overall size of the quilt is 55x77" (approx. 1.40 x 1.95m).


I wanted to stick with two colours, turquoise and red in different values, but I felt that the quilt needed some extra splash of colour. My husband suggested one yellow plus block somewhere in the quilt, but I didn't agree. But yellow binding, yes! That works so well! My husband is s genius!


And that's one tiny little detail on the back of the quilt which I love. The two birds from Lotta Jansdotter's fabric 'Tipu', that's Betty and me. Sitting in a boat behind each other. I first wanted to write something on it but I know that Betty will get the meaning behind it the way it is.


I gave it to her today and she loved it, and that makes me very happy! 

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Finally: a finished Super Tote!

It needed a visit to QuiltCon to finally convince me: I need to make that Super Tote!


There were so many quilters with self made beautiful bags! Actually I started this bag immediately after I was back home.


I purchased the pattern by Noodlehead already two years ago but never dared to make the bag. I am only sewing since four years and mostly quilts, and this is only my third bag I made, like ever!

I had some difficulties putting the bag together but I blame my inexperience with sewing bags for that. The pattern is actually really easy to follow. 


As I bought the beautiful 'Maker' fabrics by Art Gallery Fabrics (also I guess about two years ago) I saved them for this bag. I never knew how much fabric I needed in order to make this bag, so finally the remaining fabrics can go in my stash.


The Super Tote is bigger than I thought. I divided the inner pockets in two parts on one side and in three parts on the other.


I opted for a dark grey zipper which suits the fabrics really nicely.


The sides (or gusset as it's called in the pattern) I made with a shot fabric in brown, the one side of the handles and also the piping at the front pocket is made with Carolyn Friedlander's cross hatch fabric in mustard.


Now that it's finished I don't know why I waited so long to make it! I'm actually thinking of making another one! The bag is just too nice not to make another one, or two...


I used beautiful Aurifil thread for all visible seams, also in mustard. That detail at the sides is just so gorgeous!


The back of the bag has just the simple brown fabric. All in all I think the colours go really well together.

I'm a bit proud of myself that the bag turned out so nicely, bags and zippers though are still challenging for me. But as with everything: practice just makes you better.

Linking this to Finish Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts
Modern Patch Monday

Friday, 31 March 2017

Broken X

I am a month late with the February challenge of the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club. But I can blame QuiltCon for that, and that is not a bad thing.

The February Challenge by Emily Herrick was the X- Block. I immediately had a design in my head that I would just not finish all the blocks but have them halved, quartered and three-quartered. Very quickly I had a name as well: Broken X.


I chose Robert Kaufmann Essex Linen and a very bright turquoise solid from Michael Miller Cotton Couture. The colours are just so vibrant and the fabric feels so good, too!

The individual blocks are 4" square (unfinished) and Broken X is 24 x 24" big, or rather small I should say. It's wall hanging in my new sewing corner now and I love how the grey quilt and the grey painted wall harmonise!


I actually combined the February and March Challenge in one quilt. The March challenge was all about quilting with your walking foot by Jacquie Gering.

I opted for an X in the centre of the quilt and then echoed the lines in. The challenge actually was to mimic shashiko stitches but I had difficulties enough with these straight lines.
The pressure foot pressure on my machine cannot be adjusted and that causes me trouble since quite some time. First I thought the puckering and fabric shifting issues I'm having was me and due to improper preparation but believe me it's my machine. Very unfortunate that is, actually.

Anyhow, the quilting did turn out ok, but puckering appeared and the fabric shifted slighly. It could have been a lot better. (Obviously I only took photos of the good looking parts of the quilt... you can see it slightly at the X in the photo below)
I don't think I can do this design with a bigger quilt.


The quilting stitches are 1/2 inch apart and I used beautiful Aurifil wt40 thread in colour #5005. The thread really stands out on the Essex linen and matches the turquoise solid perfectly.


I really enjoyed the challenges and will attempt shahsiko quilting another time.
Can someone just please tell me I NEED that Juki?

Linking this to Finish Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts
Modern Patch Monday

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Bee blocks for Magda

Madga is our Queen Bee for the months of March and April and she picked a beautiful traditional log cabin block. Magda always wanted to do a low volume quilt with peachy colours so she asked her bees for a little help.


The colour request did come with some challenges as the four fabrics I used are the only ones in peach I own, so lucky me :0)


The low volume were to be very light, the contrast achieved is great that way!


And that's all four blocks I made together. Magda asked for 2 of the same blocks. I was unsure first but half way through making these blocks I absolutely love the colour combination!

The finished size of one block is 10" square, the square in the centre is 4x4" and all strips are 2" wide (unfinished).

I'm a month early with my finished blocks. I selected the fabrics while creating my sewing corner in our living room and couldn't wait to start the blocks. I hope Magda likes the blocks as much as I do and I can't wait to see the finished quilt.

Linking this to Let's Bee Social

Sunday, 12 March 2017

QuiltCon report PART 1

I'm back from my first QuiltCon. It was such an amazing experience that I guess I needed a bit of time to let it all settle.

My journey began with a train ride to Frankfurt Airport, continued with a stop over in Washington DC to the final destination Savannah. I was traveling with Christiane of the Modern Cologne Quilters, which was very relaxing and fun!

But actually our QuiltCon experience began already at the departure gate at the airport in DC. We could identify the first QuiltCon visitors by their beautiful self made bags already. We got to talk to two lovely ladies from Denver, CO. and we spotted Amanda Jean Nyberg aka Crazy Mom Quilts!! So she got a bit of an entrance from probably 15 excited quilters as she boarded the tiny plane. That's what happens when you meet your first quilting hero!!

Once at Savannah airport we were greeted by this:


We also met our house mates Seven and Derek, who flew in from Dublin, Ireland. So good to see them again after they moved from Germany to Ireland late last year.

DAY 1

Much to my surprise I received a goodie bag filled with loads of quilty goodness for being under the first 1.000 people who registered for QuiltCon. How cool is that?


And this is where it began: The award ceremony starting at 8am with some stats:


Wow, Tammie, and I though we traveled far from Germany!!

I was amazed by all the award winning quilts in all the different categories, but I think the quilt that took my breath away (and I was not the only one in the audience) is this one:


Inspired by a princess cut diamond this is 'Bling' by Catherine Jones won Best in Show - so well deserved!
Here you can see all other award winning quilts! 

Upon entering the show room we heard some very loud cheering coming from the Art Gallery Fabrics booth.  And there they were: Mathew Boudreaux aka Mister Domestic and Pat Bravo having some real fun with giving away gorgeous fabrics that feel so damn good!!!


And will you believe it, I won this awesome fabric bundle! 9 yards of gorgeousness in my favourite colours! 


I also really loved their booth and the stickers on the floor!


That basically was the first impression of my QuiltCon experience: by just the first 15 minutes inside the show room I did feel the difference. There was such a positive and happy energy from just everyone I met. And that feeling continued throughout the entire duration of QuiltCon.

And then there were the quilts. Oh the quilts!

Here are just SOME of the amazing quilts that stood out to me. There is no particular order or category, just simple beauty.

'Made in GDR 26' by Emily Doane

 
 'Making All The Pieces Fit' by Stephanie Skardal

'Bertha' by Melissa Curly

'Min Mid Mod' by Kim Simpson

And then we met Amanda aka Crazy Mom again, who was chatting with loads of people and giving away some of her beautiful pin cushions.

In the background 'Leftovers #4' by Debra Jalbert

I cherish this little pin cushion so much!

Every famous quilter I've seen and even briefly talked to was so approachable. First I was very hesitant to talk to all of my quilting heroes because it felt like stalking rock stars or something, or like I was taking up too much of people's time. But it actually was the complete opposite. Everyone was so happy when you told them that you love their quilts or their fabric design. And also that we came aaaaalll the way from Germany especially to go to QuiltCon. 

That's me and Giuseppe aka Giucy Giuce at the Andover Fabrics booth. I'm a big fan of his work and was probably a little excited hence the shaky photo... :o)

 More quilts! 

'Skewed Symmetry' by Katie Pedersen

Two weeks before QuiltCon my husband got invited to come to Seattle and instruct a McGuire Course. As he said 'I'm going to Seattle, wanna come?' I couldn't contain my excitement, of course I wanted! Before we even booked flights I booked a work shop with Katie of Sew Katie Did where she will be teaching the technique used in her quilt above. I am one lucky girl!!!

'Yay or Nay' by Debbie Jeske

I know Debbie of A Quilter's Table from social media involvement since quite some time now and adore her quilts. It was great to see one of her quilts in person!

'Caged Bird' by Juli Smith
After I've seen the first quilts I calmed down a little. I did not submit a quilt myself because I was afraid and unsure. I haven't seen that many quilts of other people and I had difficulties to judge whether my quilts are good enough for such an amazing show.  But seeing that almost all quilts have little bits which are not perfect I began to understand that perfection is not what I should be aiming for and that I also should not be so overly critical with my own work. All these beautiful quilts brought my own work into a different perspective though. I had difficulties understanding the different categories as well. Now I know where my quilts would maybe fit into.
So QuiltCon West, I'm going to submit a good few quilts, that's for sure. Whether they get selected is another story but at least I am confident now that the quality of my quilts is similar to what I've seen in Savannah.

I had a full lecture pass and went to several very interesting lectures.

But there was also time for getting to know people and enjoy the sun outside.


There were several other German girls attending QuiltCon e.g. my fellow quilting bee Vicky, who I met for the first time in Savannah, how crazy is that? Or Carola, who only lives like 50km away from me. Nico currently lives in the States but was happy to meet some fellow Germans.

All in all a fantastic first day!

Linking to
Modern Cologne Quilters
Let's Bee Social