Sunday, 25 November 2018

Book binding and box making

Ever since I took classes in French cartonnage I've been enjoying making boxes in various sizes and styles. I have recently started taking classes again, this time including book binding. 

Look at this huge board cutter! I was scared stiff at first but after careful instructions and some practise I'm now quite blasé woking on it and it makes cutting card board effortless! 

With this monster on the left books are cut on three sides after the pages are first sewn and then glued together.  And the one on the right is of course a binding press. 

Here a few pictures of the process of making a book. 

The finished book and a few more. 

I also repaired a book belonging to my husband. I forgot to take a picture before I took it apart, but this is how the covers looked

and here the repaired book. I'm quite please with how it turned out and so is hubby. 

Then I made a couple of note books, a different process and much faster than a regular book

and a big folder. The hardest part (at least for me) is glueing those huge pieces of paper straight and without too many air bubbles, preferably non!

I also made a couple of boxes. As our instructor is a professional book binder, she does things sightly differently to how I was taught. But it's always good to learn something new. 

A fabric covered box. I had to line the fabric with a thin paper first, in fact making it into book cloth. I'm not convinced that this extra step is really needed as the result is more or less the same as when the fabric is glued directly onto the box. 

And a letter stand I bought as a kit a few years ago at a lovely stop in Den Hague and I'm glad to finally have made it up.

I'm really enjoying my three hours every Monday evening. I've met some really nice people in my class, the oldest a 85 year old gentlemen. And you should see the work he produces, quite amazing.
I've also made some Christmas gift, but I won't show you those yet,  don't want to spoil the surprise. I'm knee deep in Christmas preparations; I just took the first batch of Christmas cookies out of the oven. I always make Basler Laeckerli first as they last for a long time since there's neither egg nor any or butter in it. It's a sort of ginger bread cookie but better, you'll find the recipe here.

Vreni x

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

The "Aunt" is back and other stories

When I say "Aunt" of course I really mean "The Aunt's Quilt". I've finished the top a while ago and I had it hand quilted in the Philippines through a quilt shop in Singapore. As always the quilting is exquisite, something I would never have the patience nor the inclination for. 

Another quilt top which has been laying around has finally been quilted as well. I've free motion quilted it and my new machine has delivered on its promises. I have not one broken thread nor any skipped stitches to report.  In short, it sews like a dream. Hurrah! 

Then there's this little baby quilt I made for a new baby girl. I forgot to take pictures before sending it off to Australia and only have this wonky phone photo.  Once again I found the idea on Pinterest.

I also managed to finish block 3 and 4 for my Scandinavian Christmas quilt. I'm now in the process of making the small blocks to go around although I'm not sure yet how I'm going to put the quilt together.

Recently my husband's cousin celebrated a big birthday and her wish is to go whale watching, so I made her this card

and I also tried my hand on making a small fabric landscape for another birthday card. It needs a bit more work, some more embroidery I think. 

Then there's a tiny bit more progress on the "Ballet avec Kaffe" project. Still not sure if I want to preserver, although I've started a new way of sewing the pieces together and I think I like it much better. The stitches are less visible and it feels more comfortable doing it too. You can find a short demonstration about the process here.

I made a tote bag for a friend

and another friend gave me this little beauty. Thanks Kerry, it's been very useful on our many road trips this summer. 

So that's about what has happened in my sewing room over the last few month. As we helped our daughter move from Milan to Frankfurt over the summer and we've been going back and forth a few times, I didn't touch a needle and thread for weeks on end. But now normal life has once again resumed and hopefully I'll pop in here a bit more often (one can hope)!

Vreni x

Friday, 22 December 2017

Second half of 2017

It seems the second half of 2017 has just whizzed by and I've been very remiss in posting. I don't really know why and I have no excuses either. 

Well, let's see what I've been up to in the last few month. I went on my very first quilt retreat with a few friends from my former quilt group in Singapore. We went to Cullen, Scotland, you can read all about the location and venue here. We had a wonderful time and got spoiled with home cooked meals, had the use of a well appointed sewing room and the bed rooms were charming and very comfortable. I would go again at the drop of a hat, the problem is that they are usually booked out a year or more in advance. 

While I was there I worked on a quilt I started  almost 4 years ago in Singapore when I took a class with Kaffe Fassett (you can read about it here).  The original has a border made of  big half square triangles, but unfortunately I've run out of fabric - I had to recut a lot of the pieces. I don't think that introducing new fabrics at this stage would work. I do have enough scraps to make a border using the small half square triangles, but I'm not sure how that would look. Of course it doesn't have to be a pieced border or has to have a border at all. Must think about it a bit more.

I made made a start on another quilt I've been admiring on Pinterest. It's by Bonnie Sullivan which is called "Over and Down Under" and I tried to copy it. I used batiks I bought a few years ago in Bali and I quite like the result. Mine turned out slightly smaller than the original with 53 inches square. Perfect for a lap quilt.

These two tops will now join the big heap of other tops patiently waiting to be quilted. Well, I really have no more excuses not getting them done. I've always wanted one of those sit-down longarm quilting machines and done a lot of research, looked and tried different machines like the HQ Sweet 16, the Juki TL-2200 QVP as well as the Bernina Q20. In the end it was a matter of space.  However I tried it would have been a squeeze to put one of those machines in my sewing room.  In the end I decided to replace my Bernina 820 with a Bernina 750QE. As you might remember, I've been moaning about the 820 for a long time, especially when free motion quilting. I read all I could about the 770 QE online and talked to a couple of different Bernina agents and it seemed that I have the best of both worlds with this machine as it's a great for piecing as well as quilting. I decided to buy a cabinet which gives a flat and flush sewing area which will no doubt help with the FMQ.  I can also lower the machine completely into the table and close it, which is handy as sometimes my sewing room is used as a second guest room. So far I'm really happy with my new baby, although I haven't done a lot of free motion quilting yet. I'm still not sure what to do with my 820 as both Bernina agents weren't interested in a trade in, which goes to show how much they value these machines!!!

The second block for my Scandinavian Christmas is also finished. I'm now working on block three (out of four).  Maybe next Christmas the quilt will be finished or the Christmas after ;)!

I ordered the pattern and papers for a quilt called Ruby May by the talented Kellie Wulfsohn. I decided to have a little trial run and make a pillow first. I used fabrics from my stash and only had to buy the cotton yarn for the crocheted edge. I've not crocheted for years and was amazed how fast it came back - I guess it's like riding a bike, ha. 

We did a bit of travelling during the summer (Lake Como in Italy and a week in London) and I also spent a few days in Trier, Germany, where I met up with two other quilting friends who came from the Netherlands. We rented a house and quilted, crafted and of course laughed a lot together. We hope to do it again next year.

A few weeks ago I took a workshop to learn how to make an Advent wreath as well as a Christmas door decoration. I like the wreath but I'm not so sure about the decoration; a bit too modern for my taste!

Now Christmas is almost here and I've written the cards, made or bought and wrapped the gifts, decorated the house, made the cookies and stocked the fridge. The only thing missing is snow but according to the weather forecast it doesn't look likely.

I wish you all a Wonderful, Cozy and Merry Christmas and for 2018 happiness and hopefully lots of time for stitching.

Vreni x

Friday, 30 June 2017

Another UFO bites the dust!

I'm on a mission to finish some UFOs this year. One of those is the Blogger's BOM, which were offered for free through the Canton Village Quilt Works blog from September 2011 to August 2012! I made all the blocks but then lost interest in this project until now! Most of the fabrics are Westfalen as are the small printed panels which I bought years ago at the Quilt festival in Tokyo.

 I decided to finish it with the quilt as you go method and first quilted all the blocks individually. There are different ways to QAYG and if you google it you'll find lots and lots of tutorials but I used a method I learned in a Crafty class called Quilting big projects on a small machine with Ann Petersen.

The next step involved cutting the connecting strips for the front and the back. 

A detail picture of how it looks from the front, once the blocks are sewn together. 

and from the back. As you can see I sewed the strips down by machine (similar to sewing down a binding) but of course it could also be done by hand, probably resulting in a neater finish. 

The borders are added in a similar fashion but I used the same fabrics for the connecting strips so they won't be quite as obvious. 

The quilt turned out to be 41 inches (105 cm) square, perfect for a baby or kid's quilt. 

 I really enjoyed the quilt as you go process and will definitely try it again.  Now one more UFO can be crossed off my list, but there are lots more where this one came from...ha!

I'm linking up with 17ufosin2017 again. Wow, we are already halfway through the year!

Vreni xx