Sunday, 29 March 2020

Sugar Rush - MQG Mini Quilt Swap at QuiltCon 2020

As the mini quilt swap by the Modern Quilt Guild was announced I signed up immidiately. Since I was going to attend QuiltCon in Austin, Texas I was looking forward to exchanging mini quilts with my swap partner in person.

And this is such a great experience! It's my second time taking part in the swap and I really love it.

So this is us, Audrey and me with big smiles on our faces. Audrey made me this awesome 'Indigo Radial' mini quilt with her stunning design. I absolutely love it! It's hanging in my studio now. The pattern is available from her website, go check it out!

Just like my first swap in 2018, the moment my exchange partner was announced I was in a state of total excitement and panic, all at the same time. I mean, I would get a mini quilt from Audrey Esarey of Cotton and Bourbon, how cool is that!!!! But in return that means, I would have to make her one too. And that's where I probably put too much pressure on myself.

Audrey loved the colours in my log cabin quilt, 'The Blue One' and asked that I make her a mini quilt in these colours.

And she wanted something Improv. Ok, I started to make one quilt top and didn't like it. I started another one and that was worse. The mini quilt Audrey received was actually the third attempt.

This mini quilt taught me so much. It taught me to TRUST. THE. PROCESS. I've read this quote so many times but it's hard to get out of this stage of feeling failure, feeling of too much pressure and not having fun at all.

Improv is challenging. And every now and then it gets overwhelming. I finally was able to let loose and play. And, oh, I was having so much fun!

Everything fits together, the colours, the shapes, the straight line quilting. I was amazed by the fact that there are two quilts, that are made from the exact same colours but yet look so different. I called the new mini quilt 'Sugar Rush'.

The best part was that Audrey really liked the quilt! We had so much fun during the quilt exchange and over the course of the four days of QuiltCon. #makeaminimakeafriend - so true!

This is my favourite photo ever!

And by the way, the first mini quilt attempt didn't turn out that bad in the end, in fact I really like it. I actually brought that one with me for Audrey to have her pick, but she went for Sugar Rush, my first choice for her.

Having Audrey's Indigo Radial quilt in my studio and seeing it every day makes me very happy! And it reminds me of days where we were able to travel and to hug people. Even though QuiltCon is only 5 weeks ago, the world has changed dramatically since then due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The quilt also gives me hope that there will be days where all of this will be possible again.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

The Blue One & The Green One

I've always had a thing for log cabin blocks. The third quilt I ever made was a log cabin quilt and since then I've grown very fond of this versatile block.

For my exhibition in September I wanted to make two mini quilts that complemented each other. What is better than two minimalistic log cabin quilts?

Both quilts are a modern interpretation of the classic, traditional log cabin block where a red square in the centre was the starting point and dark and light fabrics formed a diagonal line in the overall block.

I made The Blue One first. I have new favourite blues and used five shades of it. The orange in the centre complements the design so nicely. I match- stick quilted with light blue thread, I wasn't sure whether that would work on the white and beige fabric but I really like it.

The strips are all cut without measuring leaving them in different widths and slightly wonky, I love the uneven zig-zag that this is creating.

I liked the blue version so much that I made the The Green One right after. This time with a pink centre as an elongated rectangle in the centre. 

Again I used light green quilting thread and it worked well on the white and grey fabrics.

They are now hanging behind my desk, so every time I have a Zoom meeting or a Skype call these two provide a nice backdrop and I love it! They're both approx. 24 x 26" (61 x 66cm).

The exhibition was a success and many liked the lovely pair. My Mom loved The Blue One especially since she has a blue couch, and oh, this would make a great pillow.

So I made my Mom a pillow for Christmas and she was over the moon. It's 24" square (60 x 60cm) and fluffy and suits the blue couch perfectly.

There will be more of these blue tones, espcially with the Pantone colour of the year being Classic Blue! So stay tuned!

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

2020 - quilty goals

Traditionally the year end round up is followed by this post: the quilty goals for the next year!
I like to have these goals because they are a bit like a to-do-list, I keep on going back to this post throughout the year to check progress.

1. Pantone Quilt Challenge with the new colour of the year: Classic Blue

The Pantone Quilt Challenge has become a tradition, it will be the fourth time taking part and I'm really looking forwrd to working with this beautiful colour!

2. MQG Mini Swap
I'm taking part in the mini quilt swap organised by The Modern Quilt Guild and I will exchange quilts at QuiltCon in Austin/ TX in February! I have a super great swap patner: Audrey of Cotton & Bourbon. Her quilt for me will be truly stunning as all of her work is! I have an idea for her quilt and fabrics are already selected. I will start the quilt this week before work gets in the way again.

3. Finish Christmas Quilt 'December'

I have actually started to quilt this quilt twice, and I didn't like it. The first time I ripped all the quilting out and started again (I had quilted the bottom two rows of trees approximately.). I started to quilt it a second time, and I again don't like it... so it's laying there at the moment, quilt stitches half way removed, and it's waiting for a third time.
Well, I guess these things happen. I just hope that when I quilt it t third time then it's turning out the way I want it!

4. Biene's adventure quilt 

This project is so dear to my heart and it's so much fun! I have 15 blocks so far and need a few more to have the quilt top complete. Actually I have settled on a quilt layout and now the quilt is determining where we go this year! We need to go to the beach once, go swimming twice and have a couple of nature walks in the forest. How cool is that?

5. Bee quilts

This one is from 2018 and I still need to finish it! But I have a great one from 2019 and I'm very eager to finish this one as well.
I'm continuing my bee in 2020 and looking forward to what my bee mates come up with!

6. Improv, Improv, Improv!!!
I have so many ideas and I can't wait to get started!
I also actually got a new book, it's 'Inspiring Improv' by Nicholas Ball. I really like his stuff and want to dive into his methods.

I hope I get as much sewing done as I like to. Happy New Year to you, all the best for your own creative endeavours and thanks to everyone who is stopping by my blog and leave a comment. Every one of it is highly appreciated!

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

2019 - a round up

Even though I have neglected my blog a bit this year, the round up at the end of the year is tradition and I don't want to break that habit.

The year started off with 'Purple Haze' being at QuiltCon in Nashville/ TN, unfortunately I was not able to attend QuiltCon this year. But I have seen many photos where my quilt appeared and that made me very happy!

I finished a baby quilt that was long overdue in February and took photos in the snow:

The yearly Pantone Quilt Challenge has developed into one of my favourite challenges. In 2019 the Pantone colour of the year was 'Living Coral' and I made a quilt that is called 'Fade To Grey':

I liked these improv log cabin blocks so much that I made a smaller version in just black and white. I loved the effect of disguising the actual block and the very graphic appearance of the quilt, I called it 'Define Gravitiy'. 

Both 'Fade To Grey' ad 'Define Gravitiy' have been selected for QuiltCon in Austin/ TX in February 2020 and I couldn't be happier! 

I also had my first solo exhibition in a small gallery in September and that was so exciting! 

I had 12 quilts on display and I was very happy to meet so many people and talk quilts! Thanks again to everyone who came to see the show, I'm still filled with a lot of gratitude! 

This lovely pair I made especially for the exhibition and I love them so much I could do a whole series with just log cabin quilts!

I was also taking part in a modern quilt challenge here in Germany where the topic was 'intuitive colour & design' in red and turquoise. I worked with a directional print in an improv quilt for the first time and I liked it!
I called the quilt 'Poppies In The Sky'.

I have been making bee blocks but I'm terribly behind with posting pictures of all of them. There will be a separate blog post soon!

And of course I continued with the blocks for Biene's adventure quilt! I actually love that project so much that I don't want it to end! I have 15 blocks so far and there are only a couple of blocks more to make up the quilt top.

I also made some small projects like these following zipper pouches. I especially like this one:

Or this one:

And this boxy pouch:

I have also made a divided basket, but never blogged about it.... a friend of mine had triplets, yes, triplets. All boys!

And I thought a mother of triplets does need all the help she can get so a practical divided basket and soother bands will help.

I made these soother bands following a tutorial from my friend Barbara, it's in German but with a lot of photos.

I picked boyish colours for the basket, when the boys don't need nappies anymore my friend can still use the basket for herself.

The pattern is by Noodlehead and you can find it here.

Sewing wise it was a bit of a slow year because I was busy doing something else: Das Quilt Kollektiv! I set up a platform for modern quilters in Germany with two amazing women I am happy to call my friends and business partners. I have held two quilt workshops this year and will continue to do so next year. This is very exciting and I'm very much looking forward to all there is to come!

I have also been appointed as the ambassador for The Modern Quilt Guild in Germany. We are still developing strategies for the ambassador role but I'm also very much looking forward to working on bringing the German members closer together. Here is a screen shot from the MQG website:

Pretty much an exciting and busy year I have to say!

Linking up to Cheryl at Meadow Mist Design and her Best of 2019 Linky Party!

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Biene's adventure blocks #10, #11 and #12

I still have a lot of catching up to do!
I continued to make Biene's adventure blocks and took them with me on our tours. Biene has grown so attached to us that it feels that she has been always with us.

We went on several day tours and lovely walks during this year, so here is just another scrappy tree block in the woods.

Biene is eight yers old now and her face is getting very white now. Even her feet turn white. But she is as active as ever and sometimes she still behaves like eight months old!

During another hot summer we went swimming at my rowing club. Biene loves the cool water and she can't get enough of that ball.

I pinned the whe water quilt block to our garden shed that is painted in blue and provided such a great backdrop!

Here's another improv pieced tree block at another hot day in the forest.

Biene is so incredibly photogenic! And she looks as happy as she makes us!

Friday, 27 December 2019

Poppies In The Sky - A mini quilt challenge

I have to catch up blogging about my projects before this year is over!
In July I was taking part in a German mini quilt challenge that was organised by Ursula, who always has an international quilter to judge the quilts. This time it was Jean Wells.

Each year the quilt judge chooses a colour scheme and a method as to how the quilt is to be made. This year the method was 'intuitive colour & design' and the colour scheme was red and turquoise.

I liked the topic and the colours so I played along. I picked two shades of solid turquoise and a graphic print and combined it with a bright red solid. I have always wanted to try out how a directional print works in an improv piece so this was a good opportunity to test this out.

I think the directional print gives the quilt a lot of movement and adds interest to the piecing. I made slabs in different sizes to disguise where a block starts and where it ends.

The simple straight line quilting complements the design and is 1/2" apart.
'Poppies In The Sky measures 27" square.

This is Jean Wells' statement on my quilt:
I am guessing the poppies are reaching to the bright summer sky. The red and white printed fabric is so essential in making this complete. Great fabric and color choices.
I'm happy enough with that! 

Here you can see all entries and prize winners. All entered quilts were exhibited in Ursula's quilt shop in northern Germany, here is a video she made of the exhibition.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Modern Quilt Exhibition - my first solo show

I had a pretty exciting week! I had my first solo exhibition in a small atelier house in my home town.

Quilts: Define Gravity, Emerald City Quilt, Regatta, Regatta II, Fade To Grey
My best friend Eva is a founding member of Gruppe 11, which is a diverse group of artists. The group has an atelier house in which they also host exhibitions by their own members as well as regularly by external artists.

My husband and I love the atelier house and go to exhibitions on a regular basis. Early this year I was asked if I would like to exhibit my quilts. Wait, what? Me??? That was my first reaction, that was quite quickly followed by a Oh yes, why not?

Purple Haze                                                                                Define Gravity
Coming up to the exhibition date I had my doubts. Will people be interested in quilts? Are my quilts good enough? And will I have enough quilts to fill the exhibition hall? That actually was my main concern. I wanted to show my best work and work that was truly my own. But with only maybe 20 large quilts in total since I started sewing the choices were very limited.

The Blue One                                                  The Green One
These two mini quilts were made just a couple of weeks before the exhibition. They are called 'The Blue One' and 'The Green One' for the obvious reasons. The log cabin block is currently a real favourite and to interprete that traditional quilt block in a modern way was so much fun.

Quilts: Define Gravity, Porcupine Playground, Connected, Four
In total I was showing eight large and four small quilts. Enough to fill all walls, yay!

It took me a while to figure out how to hang the quilts to picture hooks. After a long search I've found a tutorial here which I adapted a bit.
So all quilts had a 4" sleeve, some just temporarily fixed with pins like the one in the photo above. And then I used a 20mm square timber profile where I srcewed a little hook in. The remaining nylon band was rolled up and put into the sleeve, so no fixing was visible from the front and all quilts hung nicely.

The exhibition was on for one week, respectively two weekends and one week day. I was present at all opening hours and explained to really curious visitors what a quilt actually is, how it's constructed  and the design idea behind every quilt. First I was not sure if people wanted a tour, but everyone enjoyed to hear about the design process.

I also explained what the difference is between a tradtional quilt and a modern quilt. That's me and my October quilt, made from the traditional maple leaf quilt block in typical autumn colours and in a very traditional and geometric arrangement.

I also had everyone to touch this quilt. The quilts exhibited were not to be touched but I knew that there were a lot of people who had never seen or touched  a quilt. And I think a quilt is such a tactile experience, so I thought that was great and everyone truly enjoyed that.

I had descriptions up for every quilt and then a colleague of mine suggested, after I told him that the backs of the quilts are actually also really nice, that I put up pictures of the backs of the quilts. So the next day I printed photos of the backs and put them up and that was a really good idea.

In total there were 82 people visiting the show. I kept a record of it because I was curious how many would come and also how they heard about the exhibition. A good few people came because of newspaper articles, my flyers and Instagram posts and stories.

Quilts: Four, The Blue One, The Green One, Fade To Grey, Splinter, Purple Haze
I had a great time talking to new and experienced quilters, people who had never heard about quilts and were just curious and friends and colleages who knew I make quilts and wanted to see what I'm actually doing.

The best thing actually was an 83- year old patchworker who came and listened to me talking about all my quilts and also shared her experiences. As she left she said to me, that she was so happy that she visited and that she goes home now all inspired and filled with new ideas. I think there is nothing better than your work inspires other people.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and to everyone that came to see my quilts. I first wasn't sure whether that was a good idea or if I would do an exhibition again since there is a lot to do and to organise but it was so worth it. I called this post 'my first solo show' because of I'm asked again, I'll definitely do another!