Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Was 2020 so terrible?

I see on Facebook and other places that people were relieved to see 2020 come to an end. Some described it as the most terrible year ever. For quilters, I am sure the year was a gift in many ways. Although we love socializing with our quilting friends it does take us away from our projects. Being forced to stay home one had the possibility get more done than other years.

Due to the accident I had at the beginning of the year, I could not use this "gift" fully. A lot of my time was spent going for physiotherapy, Aqua Physio, and acupuncture with my Doctor in Chinese medicine. In the end, the time paid off with a pain-free month in December. I can also sleep- and sleep quite well without the aid of a sleeping pill, hitting three and more hours of deep sleep per night. I started swimming when the Gym open and although this is still painfully and without full mobility, I am swimming up to 1,2 km per session.

 Before the accident, I attend the first class of the Cosmati quilt from the Bella Bella Quilts book by Norah McMeeking. Alta from The Fabric Contessa was hosting the class. I completed the compass ring and the outer border before the accident.

During my recovery, I sewed the ring of Flying Geese together. I used the paper piecing method I learned from Judy Mathieson where you sew next to the freezer paper. I made the individual units on freezer paper and then pieced it together fitting and pressing it to a quarter ring of Freezer paper with the paper marked with the Flying geese units. I knew I had to work very precisely otherwise the sharp points will not be sharp once fitted into the next ring. I thought if I keep it in quarters and only sew it into a complete ring once the pieces on either side were sewn, that I will have less difficulty for this to lay flat.
The centre still need to be hand appliqued

Alas, this is the problem with circular designs. To get it flat and fitted is very, very difficult. Well, in the end, I got it fitted, and the little bulge that formed will be quilted out-or that is my belief! My colour choice was a big disappointment- the Flying Geese ring is too light and almost disappears. I was once again reminded how important it is to do sample pieces and view it on your design wall from a distance. A lesson I seem I never learn? Now I just need to complete the applique piece in the middle and add the outer border.

I believe I will get things done in 2021. I choose Love over Fear- Fear for projects that I haven't worked on and now need to figure out what is the next step, fear to start quilting because I do not know how I will quilt it, etc. I will stop procrastinating and tackle my projects.

A productive 2021 for you too.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Long time gone

Yes I know! It is also the name of the new quilt I start working on. This is a design from Jen Kingwell. I fell in love with irregular sampler quilts. Once one start to focus on things, Pinterest pick it up and give you more and more of those.

What attracted me to Jen Kingwells quilts was the jolly colours she use (in Afrikaans it is "Vrolik"). I have a collection of Tana Lawn fabrics (Liberty of London fabrics- with flaws) that I bought at a fabric shop in Somerset West. Intended for use in clothes- with the flaws it is more suitable for patchwork- one can cut around the problem areas- or even include it. This fabric is lightweight cottons with a silky feel. Many of them is busy prints and not fabric I would usually purchase or use.

The last couple of years I start to move away from the dramatic pallet that I used, influenced by Jinny Beyer, to a more "lighthearted" fabric choice. I saw how vibrant big dots can  make a whole quilt sparkle. I have realized that careful combination of busy prints with more peaceful prints is the perfect combination to brighten your quilt without creating such a busy top that your eye have no place to rest.

Long Time Gone consist of blocks that are repeated to form "mini quilts" These are grouped with other blocks or mini quilts into 6 bigger units(with a variety of block patterns) and they are spaced with sashings. Jen built this up like a puzzle- as her website say- this is a signature of her designs.

When this one is completed I have her Circle Game to play with as well. My Small Town and Gypsey Wife might also be on my list if it does not get overshadowed by other things that Pinterest dish up for me.

I think I went a bit overboard with some of the blocks not getting good contrast. In working with this fabric I developed a feel for it. I will definitely make a few more quilts with these but I will be more careful as to which fabrics I use next to each other. I do love the whimsical look of my blocks for this quilt and I think this is how Jen also approach the combination of fabrics. So I will have the best of both worlds- using this happy fabrics but a bit more reserved and closer to a style I feel more comfortable.

This was a most enjoyable quilt to make and I will post more as I combine the blocks in units.

Enjoy 2019 and may it be full of quilts

Friday, October 6, 2017

Some completed quilts

I and my sister, Carla, went to visit my brother, Andries and his wife Twiny, in Vancouver in September. I wanted to complete a quilt to give them, in the end I was able to complete two quilts. I had to sew the binding while I was there to completely finish it, but here is the photographs of the washed quilts while it was on the heated tile floor in my kitchen just before leaving for Canada.
Rose Quilt

Kaffe's Triangles

This quilt was from an idea in Kaffe Fasset's book. I made the triangles a bit larger (17,5 cm squares). I just ditch quilt the larger blocks. Then I quilted the blocks on the embroidery module. It came out lovely.

Digitized quilting on the embroidery module

I had the opportunity to visit several Quilting shops. My brother stopped at 4 shops on Vancouver island when we went there to visit friends. I had 10 minutes in each to shop and I made fully use of the oppportunity.

We went to the Rockies and I could shop in Canmore at Sugarpine Co. I was also fortunate to meet Katja Marek in her quilt shop in Kamloops on our way back to Vancouver.

Me and Katja

I am back home and busy with my projects. The wonderful holiday will stay with me though and the beautiful mountains and waterfalls we saw and the lovely swims in Lake Pyramid and the 5 lakes will be memories I will always treasure.

Enjoy your projects.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cinco de Mayo

I bought the Karen Stone book and program from the Electric Quilt Company many years ago. (It is an EQ5 program and I am currently working for several years on EQ7. Luckily I could import the blocks into EQ7 and did not have to figure out how EQ5 works.

I always thought one day I will tackle her version of the New York Beauty pattern; Cinco de Mayo, When our Boland Gilde announce that our year project will be a variety of New York Beauty blocks, I knew the time has come. I first make two of the suggested blocks. That just wet my appetite for this project and I was getting enthusiastic.

So I analyzed the 36 blocks that Karen designed. As she explained herself, she designed 6 different blocks and then use them and design variations of each one. I grouped them to determine how many repeats of certain design elements need to be made. I print the different blocks and the paper piecing patterns.

My brother brought me a huge role of freezer paper years ago from Canada. So I made stacks of 6 layers of freezer paper and stapled the printed pattern to it. I then sew on the lines without thread, to punch small holes in the paper where the sewing lines would be. Then I cut the paper stacks apart so that I have every arc separate without seam allowances.

Then the fun part starts. For every arc you just focus on the two or three fabrics that you need for this specific arc. I start by just making one or two different arcs. Once I have that completed I start building my blocks. The first arc do influence my fabric and colour choice of the other arcs,  In the end I can still swap it out with the arcs in the other blocks if I am not completely happy.

What amazed me from this project is how much I am enjoying the whole process. I first thought that the project is to big, to many fabrics are involved and the sewing is complicated. I love choosing fabrics for a project but usually this fun part is right at the beginning of a new project and then one just work with the chosen fabrics (In a sampler quilt one do have the decision making process of which fabric to use where- that is why I love samplers) In this project one get to choose and combine fabric all the time. If one choice does not proof so successful, you learn from your decision and try to make a better choice. In the big variety a poor choice just disappear and there is no need to resew anything.
The first 6 blocks

I also love the whole piecing process. I chain piece the paper based pieces, then cut the chain apart, press the fabric to the freezer paper and fold the freezer paper out of the way to serve as guide for the next seam. This is a method described by Judy Mathieson in her Mariners Compass book and DVD, If one make sure that you sew right next to the paper fold you can achieve very precise results. This is very important to achieve nice sharp points on the arcs. One do not sew through the paper so there is no difficulty in removing the paper and you can re- use the freezer paper.

To combine the arcs I first start with appliqueing by hand. I realized that this would take to long and also use some valuable time that I need for my other hand sewn projects. I changed to appliqueing by machine using a small zig zag stitch. I want to use invisible thread but after several attempts with my Bernina not cooperating I decided to use a thin grey thread that will blend in with most fabrics. When it was showing up on lighter colour fabrics I look for a more matching thread.

Blocks of another variation
This is really a wonderful challneging but satisfying project. I look forward to start working on the next six blocks.
Enjoy your quilt challenges

Monday, May 1, 2017

My Wedding Sampler

When I started to look at a lot of Sampler Quilts in Pinterest, I knew I had to do something fast, before I start another quilt again- I need to complete 60 quilts by June next year and has to focus on my half completed or just started projects, not start another time consuming project.

A Sampler quilt is a project with lots of tasks. Every block has a lot of decisions to take, templates to make, a cutting plan to devise and planning the sewing of each block. That is why I love it so- it stay a challenge throughout the process!

I have fallen in love once again! But I shouldn't!
Timeless Tradition--good layout:
Timeless Tradition - A Pattern featured in Bitsnpieces, website 

So I quickly dig out my Wedding Sampler. I started it in October last year and was quite well on track. This is a project where I work on my embroidery machine (digitizing some of the stitching and modifying some), I sew by machine and I do some handstitching. This complicate matters and once I put it away temporarily it leads to procrastination. Again I started to fear my own project.

But I have learned to be brave. (My 60 project is a real character builder). So  I unpacked my project. I am still in the process to determine what needs to be done, but I have already made some templates and mark and cut some fabric for handpiecing.

I have 8 blocks in different stages of completion, 2 completed and did the last bit of stitching on a third block last night to complete that as well.

A problem I discovered was that my small templates was not well marked. I use a plastic (that are sold by Pep Stores for place mats) and one cannot write on it. So I got some small circle stickers and cut it to make it small enough so that I could write the measurements on it. This will make it easy to reuse the templates if it is the correct size needed in another block.

When I want to start a project again (after a long absence) a reason to procrastinate is that I know I will have to figure a lot of things out again. Well this time it wasn't a problem. When I started the project I took a 20 page flip file and have a lot of the info in it. I am so proud of myself when I do not repeat the same mistakes over and over again but indeed learn from past mistakes. (I give myself a pat on the shoulder!)

Some more blocks got completed since I started writing this post.

I also completed a block with machine embroidery
My project is well under way now,  I just must not stop. There is so many reasons to stop because I am working on other hand projects as well. So I hope scheduling and not putting the project away will help to keep it moving to completion.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Be Brave

If it was my aim yesterday to work on this quilt today, I would not have entered my sewing room today. People think I am brave to swim from Robben Island (my second crossing will be on Saturday 8 April) but it is working on old forgotten projects that really needs bravery. As a master procrastinator the fear can become so big that it is easier to just not go there at all.

The problem with this project is that I do not have the templates anymore. I have made the decision to fill in the triangular spaces on the sides but how to create the template was the thing that was halting any progress.

Yesterday I tried to look in old EQ5 and EQ6 projects to see if I can find it. As far as I can remember it was a Judy Martin project on the internet, but I usually redraw things like this in EQ. I found the project this morning but after printing out the templates, I saw it was not quite right. I made adjustments and when that worked and I had the correct templates I immediately proceed to cut the fabrics before I could have second thoughts. Luckily I already selected and made the decision of what fabrics to use.

It is my 60 Quilt project that inspired me to really work on my UFO's and not just take it out to look at it and then put it away again as I have done before. Every time I do something that is so difficult to start, I am always amazed at how easy it actually was. The fear for the project escalate out of proportion the longer I delay tackling it. Then like with this quilt it was actually so easy that the fear dissolve instantly and it become quite unreal that I was actually scared of my own project?

So now I must just carry on with the knowledge that no project can be to difficult to handle.... till the next long standing UFO scares me again!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Distracted by An Antique wedding Sampler Quilt

You know how easily I can get distracted? Well once again when temptation knocks, I stepped right in. When my book order from Quilt Mania arrived, I knew I had to make a quilt in one of the books and my choice was Di Ford's Antique Wedding sampler.

This Quilt was originally made by Charlotte Gillingham in the early 1840's. It was a wedding gift to her fiancé and they were married in 1844 by which time the quilt was completed.

Original Wedding Sampler made by Charlotte Gillingham
There is some more examples of the original blocks in this quilt close up on the Quaker Quilts bog.  Di Ford's quilt consist of 25 blocks only. Because Broderie Perse was used as applique technique the applique blocks and triangles on the edge of the quilt look different than the original.

I selected several large print fabrics to use in my version of the quilt. I auditioned them on my design wall. Applique is not my strong point and none of the fabrics is really suited or interesting enough to use as Broderie Perse. I decide to use the large print at the back of the other pieces as the triangles. I will fussy cut some of the other fabrics to use in the blocks where Broderie Perse was used.

Large Prints selection

One of my favorite parts of starting a new project is to decide and make my fabric selection. As a quilt proceed some more fabrics are added and I do not necessarily use all the fabrics selected. Here is some more of the accompanying fabrics, I selected.

I made photocopies of the completed quilt. I decided to re- arrange some of the blocks so I cut the photocopy apart and stick the blocks in their new positions. My plan of action is to work on 4 blocks at a time, blocks equal distances from the middle.

The first four blocks that I cut and marked for hand piecing is the blocks with the little triangle pieces. These blocks will stay in the original positions that they were in Di's quilt but I will change the colour and fabric choice.

I did not draw the smaller blocks inside the two upper blocks. There will be four Ribbon Star blocks in the four corners of the left block and a eight point star in the center of the other block

Seeing that I am not so good at applique and do not have fabrics really suitable for Broderie Perse I decided to incorporate some machine embroidery (who could have guessed that!) in my blocks. In the Ribbon Star blocks there are many places where I can replace the applique with embroidery. These 4 blocks will be around the centre as in this EQ developed middle of the quilt.
I embroidered the background patches

When one work on  four blocks at a time it is easier to make sure that the blocks relate well to each other or at least then those diagonally opposite to each other in colour and value selection.
I used designs from the Floral Brocade set from Graceful Embroidery.
I stabilised the designs with a piece of flannel for best results.
I turned some of the designs to get the correct placement and then loose the original effect the designer planned for the embroideries and realise that only to late- I should have changed my fabric placement, not rotate the embroidery
 I have completed all the embroidery of this four blocks. Some of the sub parts of the blocks is very small stars and those will be hand pieced once the first four blocks are completed. The first of these four blocks are completed.
The first completed block surrounded by some chosen large prints

This block is partially assembled, small stars need to be completed for the corners. I used my Scan n cut to cut the fabric for the middle part. I am still quite scared to use it, but decided to just try it out and if I cannot get it right I will just cut by hand. After a bit of effort and "reading the instructions" I succeeded.

I plan as I go. So I will now look for other embroidery designs that will go wll with the Brocade set to use in the next four blocks. I do plan to do a little Broderie Perse though- I think the rose print to the left of the first block might be suitable.

I am a regular reader of Lori Kennedy's blog, The Inbox Juant. In her latest blog she talk about her Quilters Notebook. She introduced it in 2014 before I start reading her blog. I started such a book for my Crochet because I got confused with all my projects and CAL's. Over the years I use different systems to keep myself on track with my projects. I will definitely apply her suggestions in this blog post and the previous ones,  as I am sure it will work for me. Hopefully when I see how many unfinished quilts I have I will be more cautious before starting a new project. To my credit  I can say that I have already completed 4 old quilts this year, as well as made and completed 2 new children quilts. I have also started and completed two quilt tops. Once the old quilt now on my Simply Sixteen frame is quilted, I hope to complete these two new quilts in this year as well.

Hope you have new and old projects to delight you and keep you quilting!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The start of the Flower Basket Quilt

I regularly purchase embroidery design sets when they are on sale. I have not started my planned "In the hoop" project yet, although I selected the fabric for it. I still need to do some digitizing. I purchased a longarm machine, Simply Sixteen. So my Bernina machine that was on the Bernina frame is now set up so that I can embroider on it. (Dedicated for this task)

I embroidered some Redwork for a red and white quilt and that really got me going. So when I complete that project I searched for something to embroider and plan how to use it in a quilt, I decided on the Flower Basket set from Cuddle me Crazy. I have this set in three sizes but decide to make the largest variety, I do have a jumbo hoop. The design is about 25 cm big.

Although one can get secondary designs when you arrange 4 identical designs in a circle, I prefer not to stitch four of the same designs out- specially not when it take 50 minutes and 20 colour changes for one design. In this set is 4  different baskets but I can keep the colour of the flowers the same, That will unify the designs. I plan to have a slender star design between this four designs.

Once I have completed the central star and baskets, I will plan further. I love to let a quilt design evolve as I go on.

I had to search for a suitable background fabric and is very satisfied with this one. I do however realize that I should shop specifically for this.

The second basket design is slightly different as you can see here.
I just wanted to share my excitement. Hope you will enjoy this journey with me.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Sundial Quilt

I love old quilts. I have reproduce some old Amish quilts and is busy with a Dear Jane quilt. (The Dear Jane is a modern version not a reproduction.) Two Quilts in the Victoria and Albert museum is on my list to make. I started with one; The George III coverlet. I only made three blocks. I still plan to make that quilt but got involved with other projects.

The Sundial quilt is a lovely medallion quilt consisting of an inner part with a Sundial as centre piece with  smaller blocks around it. A border strip divide it from the wide border consisting of larger blocks. The distinctive element in this quilt is that every block is repeated four times. So each quarter are repeated in a mirror image on the other side. This change this quilt from the sampler appearance where one sometimes have difficulty to balance the quilt in a pleasing overall design. This produce a very elegant quilt with a more formal and less haphazard appearance.

Until I have permission from the Victoria and Albert museum in which care this quilt is to display one of their images on my blog I must refer you to this site for some

I decided to make the inner blocks 9 cm and the "border" blocks 15 cm. I think in the original quilt it might be slightly smaller but I does not want to work that small. The quilt itself will be 285 X 315 cm once I have finished it.

I draw the blocks in EQ7 and could construct this image of a quarter of the centre of the quilt:

I tried to colour the blocks as close as possible to the original block (as I can determine from the photographs that I am using).

I have started to make some of the blocks, I am not working very sistematically, the following blocks is  the bigger blocks in the outer area.
A Nine patch in a square
I also completed 4 of the circles blocks, There is two sets of blocks that are repeated in a slightly differnt colourway. The circle blocks is one of those. This is the one version of this blocks:
The quilter of the original quilt made mirror images of the block. I realised that to late, my blocks are all identical in the arrangement of the coloured circles. I am not very good at applique, as you can see in the positioning of my circles, now that I have the photo in front of me I can see how skew my placement was. I am not going to unpick this- there is four more like this, I will try and do a better job with them.

I was amazed at how many fabrics I had that I could use to give a reproduced look to my quilt. Over the years I bought many bolt ends or packets of fabric. This older reproduction type fabric was in many such bundles and I have more than enough fabric to produce this quilt. In fact I am cutting fabric for my friend Rita so that she can also work with me and make a quilt with this pattern as well.

Hope to have the center ready in a short while. I am not sure what I will do in the place of the Sundial centre. I will not attempt the lettering in the original quilt but have not decide yet with what to replace it.

Carolyn Konig do have this pattern as a block of the month project available. I like to draw my patterns in EQ so I am doing it myself. If you would like to make this quilt her pattern may be what you need.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

In the Hoop Quilt

It is time to design another quilt to be completed in the hoop. With my quilt "Russiese Inspirasie" I digitized all the piecing, embroidery and Quilting myself. That was a daunting task. I am not skilled in digitizing embroidery and it isn't really my interest. Over the years I have bought a lot of beautiful embroidery designs that I would like to use in my quilting.

For my new project I first had to decide what designs to use. I selected a beautiful set "Vintage Chic" that I bought from OPW and it is designed by Riani a South African woman. The designs are relatively big so I first had to plan how I will be able to use it. That would determine the choice of patchwork blocks.

There was not really a design that was suitable on its own as  a central design. So I select and combine two of the designs to use in the central square of the middle block.

Then the next step was to design a quilt that I could piece in the hoop, then do the embroidery, add the batting and backing and proceed with the quilting. With my previous quilt I struggled with the thick seam allowances and realized that I will have to design with sashing strips dividing the blocks.

I like to work with colour and very seldom make monochromatic quilts. I decided that working in a monochromatic colour scheme will be a real challenge for me. So I will try and do this in blue greens.
Now I have a framework and I can start digitizing the individual blocks.

This is how the block look in my Bernina Software. I will work in my Large hoop that will give me a work area of 24 cm. I will load a soft vilene as a stabilizer in the hoop. I have digitized a 24 cm Square that will sew first to give me an indication of my batting placement. I will cut a square of 25,5 cm and will place it on the sewn square so that it overlap evenly on all sides. (I could not digitized and sew this line as a placement indication because it is outside the stitching area.) I will then sew the square again to anchor the batting. I can print templates of the fabric pieces from my EQ7 design program and will use that to cut the fabric. I will then add the middle fabric and the digitized seams of the two triangles will then sew. I have imported the embroidery design that will fit in the area and contribute to the overall design of the quilt. The design will now sew colour by colour.

When I add the backing fabric (I will secure it with pins outside the work area and pinned from the top) I will be able to start the quilting that is already digitized for the open areas. Once this is complete I will have a completed block.

I have already digitized three blocks and can start this project. What I like most about piecing in the hoop is that I can place the embroidery exactly where I want it without any difficulty. I still struggle with design placements and really is a novice embroiderer. I like techniques that disguise my lack of abilities and piecing in the hoop is one of my tricks to do that.

Hope to show you soon what I have achieved.

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