Wednesday, 30 December 2015

My finishes in 2015

So here is my little summary of projects from 2015.

I was able to finish 3 quilts, 3 pillows (one whole cloth pillow is not shown below) and a few smaller sewing projects. At first this 'outcome' seemed very disappointing to me. I have so many ideas and projects I want to make but I simply don't have the time. Considering I work full time, I do enjoy spending time with my husband, friends and family and I do a lot of sports this is all I can do. And I have come to terms with that. I admire other quilters who have several full days per week where all they do is sewing... I'm dreaming about that alright, but sewing, quilting and blogging about it is just my hobby. I have to be realistic with my goals otherwise I am disappointed by my own non-progress and that's not good. I have figured out that I'm able to make 3 to 4 quilts a year, and that's ok. I want to make good quilts. Quality is better than quantity, right? 

And looking back to what I have worked on in 2015 made me realise that I don't particularly like working on commissioned quilts.... the one I made felt like a job that needed to be done, because that's what is was. The sewing time for myself is so limited that I've made the decision to not make another commissioned quilt in a long time. I felt exhausted after I finished that quilt and I didn't do much sewing afterwards. Small sewing projects brought me back on track though.
I loved making the pillow covers, they are quick to make and a great way to try out new blocks or a new quilting style and for using up scraps.

Now to the finished quilts from 2015:
Most viewed is my 'Head over heels' quilt, which I linked up with the Bloggers Quilt Festival in May. 
I really like the dark sashing in the quilt as the colours and log cabin blocks do really stand out.This was also my first commissioned quilt.

I'm most proud of my 'Plus One' quilt which I finished in February. This is also the second most viewed blog post on my blog. I so do love the fresh colours and the crumply touch of the straight line quilting.

The free motion quilting really made my October quilt very special and I'm super happy how my quilting has improved.This is the blog post with the most comments.

And I am also very happy about my quilting bee, which I started this year. It will be my turn in January/ February and I'm all excited about it!

I have also joined Pinterest, a happy place but also a time trap which I'm aware of and use it carefully.

I'm linking this to Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs, she's holding a link up party with all finishes of 2015, go check it out!

Monday, 28 December 2015

Scrappy pillow

Too many scraps make me nervous. Seriously. My space for scraps is very limited in these jars, and I tend to put bigger pieces of fabric back with the actual yardage and sometimes I ask myself when is fabric scrap?
Anyway, I had a few smaller scraps of the beautiful '2wenty Thr3e' fabric by Cosmo Cricket left over from my October quilt and I juts needed to make a pillow out of them.

I added lots of beige as I had tons of little strips left over too. I did straight line quilting in beige and mustard and also added a mustard coloured piping, that just gives the pillow a nice frame.

I'm not that happy with the piping though. I chose a very thick cording and it was very difficult to make nice corners. Also the structure of the cording is kind of visible... hm, will not do that again.

Instead of this pillow I had actually planned to make another Christmas table runner, but that didn't happen. 
And I learned that when creativity strikes you have to give in and just do it.

This is my last project for 2015. I'm working on a quilt right now but I don't think I will be able to finish it this week. This will be on my To-Do-List for 2016!

Linking this to Crazy Mom Quilts on a Monday! 

Saturday, 28 November 2015

I have joined Pinterest! This is my happy place

I have recently joined Pinterest and love, that I now can pin quilts, blocks, patterns or whatever inspires me including the link to the actual blog post or website.

Within three months or so I have accumulated over 2.3000 pins in 41 boards... wow. I also have 73 followers!

I have structured the boards into e.g.  modern solids, plus quilts, quilts from men's shirts, QAYG, paper piecing, Irish chain... and so on. All the tings I want to try some day.

Of course there is my own board from block M quilts, too.

And quilts I cannot put into any of the above categories I just add into my 'Gorgeous Quilts' board.

There are also random sewing ideas, useful things, crochet inspiration, food, selfmade soap, jewelry, travel and dogs.

Here is the link to my profile.
When you're not signed up they don't let you see much though..

I have also added the little 'P' button on my blog with the same link.

I have found this advice for beginners by the German blogger 'Loloveshandmade' very helpful and I think that got me started.
Try it out, I really like it. Oh, and follow me!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Christmas mug rug swap

After my Christmas mug rug inspiration mosaic I was looking at how my own mug rug was supposed to look for my partner. She wanted something a bit extraordinary and non traditional so I thought this lovely fabric selection was the right choice for her:

Unfortunately I cannot name the designer or the manufacturer as I only bought 8 inches of each fabric and none of them had something written on the selvages. The cross hatch fabric is by Carolyn Friedlander.

So I went ahead and did a super simple mini Christmas tree which I've seen on 'Sew me something good', I just loved the simplicity of it and had to copy it. My squares are 1.5 inches big (unfinished).

I did irregular straight line quilting in three different colours, green, pink and grey. The mug rug is approx. 9 x 10 inches, big enough for a big mug and some cookies.

I have used this super tutorial on 'how to bind tiny things' by Crazy Mom Quilts (which actually is shown on a similar mini Christmas tree block).

This swap is in line with the German Flickr group 'Swappen auf Deutsch' which you can find here.You can also see what everyone else did.
I am very curious which of the really nice mug rugs up there is for me. I'll keep you posted.
I hope my partner likes what I made for her!!!

Linking this to Crazy Mom Quilts finish up black Friday :0)

Saturday, 24 October 2015

QuiP# 6 - I can't really tell what it is yet!!

I am working on a new quilt!
It's a birthday present to my husband and it's all a bit 'hush hush' so I can only show the fabric selection:

Very manly, very dark, very minimalistic. Enough said :0)
(shortest blog post ever)

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Christmas mug rug inspiration mosaic

I am taking part in a Christmas mug rug swap, my second mug rug swap this year! My very first mug rug I did for Carmen in line with the MQG mug rug swap in May this year.

This swap is in the German speaking region and 21no. modern quilters are taking part.

Everyone is to make a mosaic on Flickr to give their partner some inspiration of what you like. Here's mine:

These are just o few of my many favourites I have on Flickr.
Sources from top left to bottom right as follows:

1. lovely pillow by Aylin-nilya, who is also the organiser of this swap
2. very simple tree quilt by Christa Watson, I love the quilting on that one!
3. star bee block by Brandy, love this block
4. wonky Christmas trees as a pillow by Cottilello 
5. star block made by Debbie, love how they gel together in the centre!
6. gorgeous Christmas tree quilt in such lovely colours by Lynn Harris
7. straight star block by Wombatquilts, paper pieced gorgeousness
8. minimalistic Christmas tree with star by one of my favourite quilters: Emily of Quilts by Emily
9. great star block by nonsensiclese

It's a secret swap, so I know for whom I am making the mug rug, but I don't know from whom I'm getting one.It all will be revealed at the end of November!
I'll post my mug rug and also the one I'm getting once they have been exchanged.

Monday, 12 October 2015

I have started a quilting bee!

I am super excited to let you know that I have started a quilting bee!
I was looking for modern quilters in Germany who are not involved in a bee already and found some super nice ladies!
(The logo was a collaboration with the amazingly talented graphic designer and illustrator Imogen Oh of Oh Hey Friend.)

Meet the bees of the 'Quilty Circle of Bees' (in alphabetical order):

Allison of Campbell Soup Diary
Claudia of Machen und Tun
Melanie of Melanie's Kunstraum
Vicky of Veni Vidi Vicky
Yara of Qvilted
 and me of course :0)

Yes, you counted correctly we are only six members but that is exactly what we wanted.
We have two months time to complete the blocks for the queen bee and we also pause for the months of November and December. We also sew with our own fabrics and only send finished blocks around. Stress free.

Claudia was the first queen bee for the months September/ October and requested paper pieced feather blocks. She did sent us some backgroud fabrics (yes, we make exceptions as well) and a lovely post card which I used to fold the paper. Great!

This was the first time I ever done paper piecing. I was happy that I could play with my scraps again. Luckily the background fabrics matched perfectly with any of my scraps.

I have to say that the paper piecing did come with some challenges for me, I don't know how often I ripped out seams of the first block... sewn in 1.5 mm... no fun!

But I really liked how it turned out. The tutorial for the block is by Blossom Heart Quilt.
The second block was better, but again I had to use my seam ripper - a lot.

Then I was all ambitious to do one block without ripping out seams and this time is almost worked perfectly. I had oddly shaped scraps and that made the piecing in diagonal lines of the feather somehow difficult.

All in all I'm happy how they turned out and I hope Claudia will  as well.
As mentioned before we pause for the next two months but it's actually my turn in January/ February.
I am really happy to be involved in this bee and I'm looking forward to some exciting blocks and quilts!

Linking this to Scraptastic Tuesday and Finish up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Friday, 9 October 2015

How to - hem a pillow filled with feathers

Two years into sewing and quilting I feel confident enough to give a bit advice on how I do things. For a long time I was the one, who needed guidance and input from tutorials and other quilters (and I still do).
But I have decided that I am adding a section to my blog called  'Tips & Tricks'. I don't dare to call it 'tutorials' (yet).

So, here's my first tip: what to do when you just finished a beautiful pillow case and your pillow is too big?

I was really disappointed as I realised that fact and thought, oh no, I need to find a new pillow. I searched the internet and all I could find were pillows in the size I had already.
And then it suddenly dawned on me: I can sew! I can hem the pillow... can't I?

Well, mine was filled with feathers but that didn't stop me.
So, that's what you need to do:

1. Establish by how much you need to hem the pillow. Mine was 65x65cm/ 25x25 inches and needed to be 60x60cm/ 23.5x23.5 inches.So that is 5cm/ 2.5 inches on two sides too big (e.g. bottom and right side)
2. Shake the feathers away from the two edges you want the pillow hemmed.
3. Mark the pillow at e.g. 5cm/ 2.5 inches from the two edges.

  4. Place pins another 1cm/ 1 inch away from the marked line (this is in order to fit it into your sewing machine).

5. Sew along the marked lines all the way at both sides securing the stitch at the beginning and the end. 

6. Get your vacuum cleaner. This is where it gets a bit messy...
7. Cut the hemmed fabric with scissors at approx. 1cm/ 0.5 inches away from the marked line (Do not use your good fabric scissors, you will cut through some remaining feathers). I would also recommend doing this on the floor, and not, as I did, on your cutting mat.

8. Now vacuum clean the feathers away making sure you clean out the cut fabric of the pillow.
9. Sew along the cut fabric using a cross stitch. Ta-da, finished! 

The reason why I left 1cm/ 0.5 inches over besides the marked line is that I thought anything smaller will feel hard when it's hemmed due to the dense stitching. That way the left over bit is soft and just folds inside the pillow case.

The pillow looks quite 'stuffed' due to the same amount of feathers in a smaller pillow but this pillow was a gift to my Mum and she really likes having this pillow in her back while sitting on the couch. All good.

I haven't tried hemming a pillow with a polyester filling, but I guess that kind of works the same way.

So, I hope you enjoyed my little trouble shooting advice.

Linking this to Crazy Mom Quilts - Finish up Friday  and TGFF

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Modern maples quilt October - finished!

Well, the QuiP blog post of this quilt is only 2 weeks ago and today I have 'October' already finished! What got me going was Debbie's inquiry to have the quilt featured in her newsletter 'The scrap basket'. Of course I wanted to show the finished quilt and not only the quilt top or a few blocks. So here it is:

I'm really happy how it turned out in the end, I like the fabric line Twenty Three by Cosmo Cricket and the mix of blocks with and without the dark stem.

Half way through piecing the quilt top I thought this quilt is going to be too light and too beige and I had doubts if I should not have done the sashing (also in beige) but the quilting kind of connected all the blocks and it came together nicely.

I quilted in loops and swirls, just like leafs do when they fall off the tree. This is only the second time I did this quilting stitch but I felt so much more confident. I used Aurifil 40wt in beige.
I used different batting as well, normally I use 100% cotton batting but this time I tried out 'warm and natural' from the Warm Company... and that was a dream to quilt!

I have not washed the quilt yet, the batting will only shrink by 3% but I think the quilting gives the quilt already a nice crinkly look and I hope that after the wash this will even increase a bit.

For the back I used two left over blocks, which I found too light for the front, and used left over strips of fabric and for the left half of the back probably my favourite fabric from the line, the cameras.

I do love photography and I took these photos in the botanical gardens. I had hope for more coloured leafs... I guess it's still too early in the autumn. But you can see nature already changing.

I caught the last bit of sunshine that day and I just love how leafs change their colour, just as if nature wants to show off its beauty before the bleak winter sets in.

I also found this old stem of a tree covered in mushrooms:

How cool is that?

So, back to the quilt. Here it is again in all its beauty!

Thank you, Debbie, encouraging me to finish the quilt and for having me on 'a quilter's table'!

Also linking this to Crazy Mom Quilts - Finish up Friday and TGIFF!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Modern maples pillow

It was my Mum's birthday recently and I had told her, that I wanted to make her a pillow. So I had asked her what style she'd like.... and she said: 'Oh, I love these maple leafs, but can you make me some in green and turquoise?' Me, obviously humbled by that request, replied:' Of course!' and got to work.

It's a big pillow of about 60x60cm / 25x25 inches and I made the blocks from the same pattern I used for my 'October' quilt. The blocks are 12.5 inches each. I used assorted printed fabrics and combined it with Kona cotton 'bone'.

I added a red block as well, which I thought goes well with the greens, blues and turquoise. I quilted with a simple meandering free motion quilt stitch, which still needs a bit of practice.

I opted for the concealed zipper again using this tutorial, which I like very much.

You might notice that the pillow looks quite 'stuffed'. Well, that's because I used a block design which turned out to be smaller than the actual pillow... so I just hemmed the pillow! Yes, with the feathers coming out and everything!

But more about that later, I thought a do a separate blog post about that.
Here's the link to the post! 

Linking this at the last minute to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish up Friday! 

Friday, 11 September 2015

QuiP #5 - Quilt in progress - Modern maple quilt 'October'

Remember these first two modern maple blocks I made last year?

I tried these blocks out and posted them in line with my turn of the around the world blog hop tour in November 2014.

Well, my aim is to have 'October' (that's how I named the quilt) done in October this year.

Meanwhile I have all blocks done and I'm really looking forward to have it finished! For the blocks I followed this tutorial by Amanda Woodward-Jennings. 

Besides the beautiful fabric collection Twenty Three by Cosmo Cricket for Moda I have used some autumn solid colours and used three different beige tones for the background. The beige tones are very equal and there is only a slight difference but I like it that way.

The quilt top is almost finished and I also know how the quilt back is to look like. I have an idea for the quilting as well so it shouldn't take that long.

So, off to the sewing machine now!

Linking this to Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday

Friday, 28 August 2015

My first pillow!

I am still in my 'easy fixes stage' where I need quick results. So I made a pillow.

As I've seen the beautiful fabric by Joel Dewberry 'Antler Damask' for Free Spirit I immediately knew I had to make a pillow out of it. I did some fussy cutting in a big scale.

Since the pillow is only made from one fabric I thought I give it a bit of 'pep' with bright red piping.

For the back I used the cross hatch fabric by Carolyn Friedlander in curry, a real favourite of mine right now! I followed this tutorial for the invisible zipper, that worked quite well.

The pillow is 25 x 25 inches big and my husband has occupied it for himself. That's fine with me, I love it when self-made things get used a lot.

Linking this with Crazy Mom Quilts 'Finish up Friday'!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Scrappy key lanyard

I have made another scrappy little project: a key lanyard for my niece!

My niece is 11 now and uses her own key from time to time, so I made her a nice key lanyard she can wear as little, useful accessory.

I picked one of my favourite fabric scraps and cut them into even widths (3 times as wide as the metal clip thing). I used fusible batting as an inlay and folded the fabric edges in to the required width and quilted in straight lines.

My niece loved it and I will make one for myself when I go over to the US to attend QuiltCon in February 2017 in Savannah!!