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

Monday, 5 June 2017

My first (and possibly also my last) rosette

I've been admiring all the different versions of the La Passacaglia quilts which have been popping up all over the Internet for the last couple of year or so. I have not really been tempted until I saw the quilt which Willyne Hammerstein calls "Ballet with Kaffe" in her second Millefiori book. I started to collect fabrics and ordered the papers and templates. I had the first shock when they arrived, as somehow I wasn't aware how tiny the different pieces are. And then I started to sew and had another shock as it took forever to make just one rosette. I think it took me about 25 hours to prepare and sew all the pieces together. Not really for the fainthearted and definitely not for someone who is impatient like me! I think I'll keep going, at least for a while. Maybe I wont ever make the entire quilt, but I can always use it in some other ways. 

And just when we are enjoying the first real summer days, I'm sewing away on some winter blocks, Scandinavian Christmas by Lynette Andersen to be precise. I've had this pattern for a few years now and every Christmas when I would be in the mood to stitch something Christmassy I usually don't have the time. So I decided to just get it started. I'm enjoying appliquéing  the whimsical characters and stitching the embroidery. 

I also pieced some blocks as I recently read about a lady in Guernsey (UK) who collects blocks which she then puts together into quilts for children's homes in Africa. She wants each block quilted individually as she then sews them together with the quilt as you go method. If you are interested you can read more on her blog here. A brilliant way to use up any fabric scraps or even make a dent into your stash. 

Although I'm a few day late, I'm going to link up with pomegranate and chintz for 17 UFOs in 2017.
Vreni x

Saturday, 25 March 2017

My first finish of the year!

We are almost at the end of the first quarter of the "new" year, can you believe it? I finally finished the sewing kit I started about two years ago at a workshop with Sue Spargo.

The inside with the bird pin cushion, the needle book and two zipped pockets, as well as some pockets for pens, scissors etc. The leather string can hold several thread spools.

Turned around and the back pocket is visible. A handy little bag and I'm happy to have it finally finished.

Talking about sewing bags; I bought some cosmetics recently and it came in this little box

which turned out to be the perfect size for my new EPP project. It even has a little pocket inside the lid for the scissors. 

But it does need some sort of decoration on it, don't you agree? So since I had my felt and embroidery paraphernalia out anyway, that's what I did! The hardest part was to sew the felt to the plastic rim, but I managed it in the end (pricking myself in the finger a few times).

So actually that's two finishes. I hope to get 17 UFOs and other projects finished this year playing along here.

Happy weekend.
Vreni x