Thursday, 12 August 2010

UFO, why and why not?

OK, now everything has been moved from around the house in to one big room. That is a very good thing, but it also shows all of my UFOs...
I do envy those that don't have UFOs. They must have either discipline or a lot of work in progress.

I have been wondering about these UFOs, why do I have them and why shouldn't I have them??
In some cases it is because I made a mistake somewhere and I don't know how to fix it. It can also be that I can't find the right fabric. Those two reasons of having UFOs are sort of OK! LoL
Then there are all those blocks around. Some of the log cabin blocks in the picture are from a swap. I couldn't decide how I wanted the layout, so they became a UFO...
Other blocks I wanted to make in to pillows for the daybed. No idea why I left them! I do want lots of pillows and I have 3 blank ones so no excuse there!

There is one pile of blocks from the Orange mystery a while back. I didn't like they way my blocks looked, so they are waiting for the quilt fairy to inspire me.
I have one last category of UFOs. They are where I think a project is just too ugly to finish! Have no idea what I was thinking when I use some fabrics together. LoL

That was about the WHY, now to the WHY NOT.
I am embarrassed that they are that many, but I don't mind having some UFOs. So what if I have some things I didn't finish! I am my own boss and if I don't like the way something is going I can just put it away. If I see something exciting I want to try, I will do it and then what I am doing can wait. I am fine with the fact I have some blocks I didn't used. If I need a present in a day, I can make a table-runner fast.
Or am I just making excuses in order to calm my bad feelings about having UFO???
But I do promise myself that I will try to have some of them done by Christmas! LoL

Monday, 9 August 2010

New and bigger sewing room

It has been a while but now I can show you my new, bigger and better sewing room.
My "old" sewing room was fine but I wanted more space and one more table. At the same time I have this big living room so the logical thing to do was to switch them around. Yesterday morning I decided enough with thinking about it and just go ahead!
At one point looking at the mess and rubbing my sore muscles, I did question my sanity. But I continued and the result is more than good! Some things may be moved along the way as I start quilting, but I am really happy I did it.
Like always I just use the home furniture's. They are already there and works fine for me. The sewing table is in the centre making it easy to use from both sides. I have my treads and a book-case with solid fabrics behind. It also holds projects I am working on and UFOs I am determined to finish!

Next to that is another table I am going to use for cutting, layouts and so on. I use dinner-tables, they are big and have a nice height when you are working. My chair is an office-chair because it has wheels that will allow me to move easily.
I don't have anywhere else to put the daybed, so it had to be near the window. I can use it to lay out blocks and see how a layout will work. Some of my solids are next to it in a metal frame with big baskets I can just pull out and put on the table.

Next to the daybed is a book-cases with prints, books, magazines and patterns. Some of my UFO are in the white book-case.

I have my computer and a TV in the room also. The plan is to connect them so I can watch quilt-TV while I am sewing.
That was it about my new sewing room, I am exited about being able to have a big room just for sewing!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Hand-quilting or English paper piercing

When I started to quilt I didn't have a sewing machine. As a matter of fact I didn't LIKE sewing machines! LoL I can thank a teacher in school for that... I just couldn't get things right and I supposed she got tired of me. As a result of her impatience with a student, I never dreamed I would use one of those monsters that always made a mess of what I was sewing. Little did I know that quilting is really just a straight line. LoL
But it was hand quilting... I had no idea it was called English paper piercing. My mother tried to make a quilt once and she did it using small pieces of papers. So that was what I did too. Since I normally are clueless about all the tools and helpful things you can buy, I just cut shapes out of cereal boxes. When I finally years later stepped in to a quilt-shop I did buy some of the pre-made but I must admit I like my cereal-shapes better! LoL I use them over and over and just love the fact they make me be able to sew shapes I can't on a machine.
Here are some of my shapes and one unfinished little pillow.

I sew the fabric to the paper and then I sew the shapes together with small stitches at the edge.
Here is one I made in that early beginning.

It is a bit funny to look at this more than 20 years later. I haven't changed in the way I only use a few different fabrics. I normally use more solid colours than fabrics with a pattern. The reason is simply that I am very unsure of what goes with what! LoL I do love those quilts that are having many different printed fabrics, but when I lay out a lot I just convince myself they don't go together.
It is so much easier with solid colours, here is one where I used 7 different.

One quilt artist I admire is Jinny Beyer. She has no limit in how many colours she is using and she is letting us use some of her patterns for free. Here is the link, do pop around there and have a look.
I made this using one of the patterns:

I had to make all the shapes and they very small! But it was fun to use so many colours.
In this next one I used fabrics from the same serie. Today I would use another border, but you can always find things you would like to change.

Sometimes people ask me why I sew by hand. There are 3 reasons, I need something to do when watching TV, it is fun to sew shapes I haven't learnt to sew on the machine and it is very satisfying to know I made everything by hand! If you have never done it, you should try just a small project. I even made a small handbag just to see if I could!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Stained glass log cabin, my way.

Hello again.
We finally got some rain to cool down the hot weather we have been having.
I jumped in to my sewing room and played around with the stained glass log cabin. I do apologise if somebody has the copyright. Do let me know and I will remove the post! I did look for a pattern but the only one I found is this: It is beautiful, but very different from the two I made.
Here are mine:

I used 2" strips and centre and 3/4" black strips. The finished blocks are 12" and 9"
In the 9" block I just alternated between the two different sizes strips.

The other one I only used the narrow strips on two sides before using the wider strips.

Maybe this picture is better:

I finished with the 3/4" strip so it looked like the other. This was just a test, that is why I only used 2 colours. It is fun to play with the log cabin block. I am still amazed how many ways it can be done.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Words of wisdom?

Fabrics insulate the cupboard where it is kept.
Buying fabrics helps to keep the economy going.
Buying fabrics are cheaper and more fun that psychotherapy.
Fabrics don’t need to be kept cool and don’t need to be cooked in order to be enjoyed.
Fabrics are not immoral, illegal or fattening.
Fabrics calm the nerves and satisfy the soul.
Fabrics are good in order to cover empty spaces like the ironing-board, dining room table and the guest room.

Fabrics satisfy your hunger after beauty and inspiration, at least 5 times:
1. When you fondle it in the shop.
2. When you buy it.
3. When you look at it.
4. When you sew a quilt out of it.
5. When you cuddle under the wonderful quilt you made.

Fabrics are cheaper than car-parts, golf and fishing.
The one that has more fabrics wins.
You ARE allowed to buy more fabrics, you deserve it!
These are just few of the defenses I have found on my way...

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Work- process for a quilt

We all go though the process of creating differently. I thought I would show you how I do it. I don't have the time, nor the energy to make a quilt A-Z in one go. So if you want to peak over my shoulder, you will have to come back into my sewing-room again. I will be posting in this post as I go along, hopefully every day.
1 Juli: I made a big mistake when I started this. I told my brother I were going to do this and without asking for measurements I just went ahead and made a drawing.
The pattern is by Darlene Zimmerman. The colours he gave me were: blue, red, yellow and white.

He liked it, even if the blue colour went lilac and the mistake I made... Now I got the measurements, it had to be 100 X 50 centimetres. (39.37 X 19.69 inches) As you may have noticed the pattern is a square, but I could fix that! Hopefully..
Then I suddenly realised that the triangles were going to be so small I just knew it would be a mess! Heaven; WHY do I get in to these things??
But my sweet brother told me I could get more space on the wall! Back to the paper and pen. The layout were the next thing and get the colours right. So that became this:

I still have to figure out if I will use white anywhere. I also have to look though my fabrics, but that will be in the daylight. My eyes are not what they used to be. But what is where it used to be in my body?. Things have moved south that used to stay at north... I can't understand why Newton needed the apple. All he had to do in order to see the effect of gravity, was to look at the difference in a young and old woman! hehehe
Second part.
Today I felt like the little girl that went to visit the 3 bears. I had to work out the measurements, and that turned out to be one too small, one too big and the last just right! hee hee
Darlene Zimmerman that made the pattern uses inches. I can use both inches and centimetres. But why make it easy and just use inches? No, not me I can fix this in order to match the measurement my brother gave me! Famous last words... But here is the final pattern with measurements. I off course keep this together with the other drawings of the pattern. That way I have it if I want to use it again.

I always try a new block just to see how it looks and check if my measure is ok. Those blocks are not made in the fabric I want to use. Just because printed fabric is expensive and if I mess it up it doesn't matter. That block I can use with other test-blocks for a pillow, tablecloth or a sample-quilt. I could just sew one row to check the size, but where can I use one row? I need a star-block and a centre-block for this quilt. I made the centre block first and it was ok. The first star-block was a little runt compared to the other. The next I turned one point wrong, but it was too big so I didn't even rip it. Too late to swim in the rip-it rip-it pond! But the last one turned out to be ok. The reason why I just couldn't figure it out is because the centre-block has the squares "on point". That makes a difference in the size of the two squares used in the two blocks. Here are the test-blocks.

Now I mess up my table big time! Out comes the baskets with fabrics:

I know I could keep it more organized, but it is my creative mess! hee hee hee
My brother wanted white, blue, red and yellow. It came to a bit of a compromise, the blue has tiny white flowers. This is what came out of messing around:

Next step is to cut the fabrics and sew the blocks, just a bit boring to watch, so I will wait until I am sewing the 3 layers of the quilt together. I am sure my way is not the way most people do it. I only had a picture of a finished quilt when I made my first quilt. Had no idea how it was done, so I just did it. Later it turned out it is nothing like the way it is supposed to be done! But that is me, always going my own way, tripping over tings on the path, but I get there in the end!
Happy 4Th of July USA!!
Almost there!
As you may have read I didn't have any directions on how to quilt. One picture with an finished Amish quilt forced me to come up with solutions. I have since learnt that some things I do very differently. This is a chance to show you all, you never know you may get a good laugh! So hold on to your sits, here we go.
When ever I am going to decide on what border to use, I will lay everything out on the bed and go and do something else! I will then come back several times, just to see if the colour I want is ok.
The first one was one of those YIKES!

The next one were much better

I added the same yellow as one more border. I like to have a big mitered corner so that is what I normally do.
I don't put my quilts together like most people do. I didn't know how, so I just did what I thought was good. I sew everything together in one go. I put the batter down first, then the back-fabric and then the top facing down. Pin everything and sew all around leaving a gap to turn everything.

After I turned everything I use the iron on the edges, trying to fold everything in where the gap is.

All that is left now is to figure out if I am going to do a very simple stitching om the machine, or find some patterns and sew them by hand.
Finally done! It has been so hot it was difficult to do anything. But today it was a bit cooler so my needle could turn on the turbo. I decided to do the stitching by hand. I am not good toin quilting free hand so I use stencils. I cut them out in soft plastic and pin them to the quilt. I don't really trust any of the marking pens and this way I just move it around. I sewed four small hearts in the centre of each star. Then I sewed straight lines around everything else. One of these days I will pull myself together and practise "proper" quilting on my machine.

Since I put my quilts together the way I do, I like to have mitered corners. I mark them by sewing a line on each side.

Here is what the centre looks like finished

So, that was my work process for a quilt. I know I do it differently than many others, but I am still learning.
I hope you liked the peak and you didn't fall off your chairs laughing at my way!

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A new quilt on the way!

I am going to visit my brother soon in his summerhouse and I want to make a wall hanging for him. I got myself in to some problems at first. But don't I always?? giggle More about that later.
I will write all about my work-process getting this quilt done in another post. If you want to follow that or just follow my fumblings around in the Quilt-world, you can push the follow-button on the right side-bar.
Otherwise I am slowly learning/playing around with the layout of this blog. I can fix a car-engine, but for the life of me I have problems learning about this design, layout, HTML and whatever everything is called! hehehe But it IS fun although I am cheating a bit out of fear.... I started another "training" blog just to see the effects of what I do. That way I don't mess up this blog and have to start all over!
The post about the new quilt will start tomorrow...

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Dreams and plans

We all have both dreams and plans about quilts we want to sew or patterns we want to try. For me there are so many patterns, I would need till the end of time to finish them. Most likely even then I would be shouting: Oh wait, I just need to do this one...
I like art that has some kind of theme. Not that my quilts are art, but I thought it could be fun to make a series of quilts that follow the same theme.
I have started two series and do hope I will finish them before somebody drags me away from my quilting! hehe
The first finished quilt in a 3 quilts series called Africa's Treasures is this one:

I am going to use the same pattern, but different coloured fabrics in the 3 quilts.
One is about the monetary treasures we find in Africa. The second will be the culture and the last one will be nature.
I just find a fabric with a lot of colours where they "slide" in to each other. I cut long strips, making sure to keep them in order as I go along. Sew them together with a black fabric and cut. Then it is pinning and sewing, moving the rows one square up.
Then the fun starts!

I sewed the outline of Africa in black thread different places to symbolize that we call it the dark continent. Circles in gold thread is off course the gold we take. "Pearls", "crystals" and real garnets were sewn in each corner of the squares as a symbol of the gems being mined.
I did find the fabric for the one about culture, but I am still finding the things that will symbolize the culture, like wooden beads and so on.

The other series with a theme is the four seasons of the year. The first is Autumn because I just happened to get fabrics in those colours:

Nothing difficult in that pattern, just strips of fabrics sewn together with black frames. The others will be the same but off course in colours of that season.

That was it, nothing fancy and simple patterns. But if will be fun to see the end result. If only I didn't get side-tracked by other things I want to sew! hehehe

I completeley forgot I already finishes 3 wall hangings withe the same colour-theme!
My brother challenged me to do a quilt in blue, black, gray and white. The idea was that it was for him of course! Before I was finished there were 3 of them. Very strange since I didn't really think I would ever find a way of using those 4 colours together! giggle
The first one I used Disappearing 9-patch. (a woman posted a tutorial, if you want to see it go to: I know it is still there, even if she is no longer blogging. )
But here is mine

The next one were just playing with triangles, that were the one I like the most!

But my brother like this one best, so that is the one he got.

My sewing room

I don't know about you, but I love to see where other quilter create their beautiful quilts. I don't think I only make beautiful things. Boy, there are some ugly duckies created in my sewing room!! But, I claim they are there to learn how NOT to do it, and I am so sticking with that explanation! hehehe
Way back in the beginning when I didn't have too many fabrics ( will you ever have TOO many?) it was fine to have everything in a bag. As my passion grew it was boxes and more bags around the house. Sewing was done in the living room or kitchen. At one point if you came for a visit, the first thing you would see in the hall, was my desk with my sewing machine! A hall is not the best place I must admit, but I was happy there among coats and shoes. hehehe
And then came the day when I could enter paradise! I got a HOLE room just for sewing. No need to pack everything, keep the space tidy or move wet gloves if I wanted to sew. A door to close and just disappear in to the quilting... Sure you can quilt anywhere and people create the most beautiful things in a kitchen. But a sewing room MUST be the ultimate dream for a quilter.

My sewing room is a mixture of furniture's you can find elsewhere in the house. I use a big kitchen table because it gives me space for the sewing machine, cutting-mat and fabrics. Just next to my machine I have a tiny cutting-mat and a mini-ruler. My chair is a simple office-chair. I love the fact it has wheels and can turn without me getting up! When I am sewing I have the ironing board set low beside me. I use a ugly metallic-frame with big baskets from Ikea for my solid fabrics. It is normally used in a tall cabinet for clothes. But it is perfect to put a basket on the table and see all the nuances of one colour. I found an old printers draw, used for all the different letters. That have all my sewing treads in and it is so easy to find the one you need. It sits on a small book shelf with the current project-patterns and small rulers.

I have some cabinets with glass doors for the printed fabrics. They are good not only to keep silly cats that love to sleep and dig into fabrics out, but also to keep the fabrics inside from falling on the floor. Next to that is cheap bookshelves, again from Ikea, I use it for quilting book and files with patterns.

The last thing is a daybed with a quilt I won in a lotto in one quilt group I am a member of. It needs more pillows, but it is so nice to sit or lay there and just looking at my little quilting world!

That was it for my sewing room. Don't even for one minute think it always will be looking so tidy!! The photo's were taken on a day furniture's and all the stuff was put in place. I hate clutter, but do "suffer" from the quilting-virus. I hope I will never recover from that virus!!

New day and more fun in the blogging world!

Well until now it is going OK. I still have to figure out how to post the blogs I like. I am also wondering if I can load more pictures that are together like in a folder... But, baby steps, baby steps.
Anyway, I thought I should tell you a bit more about my quilting-background.
I am very interested in religion and the sects that are isolating themselves. The Amish is one that is a big success, apart from some medical issues. I don't know why but it fascinates me how and why they need to be apart from the world.
Anyway, in books about the Amish you will always see these wonderful quilts! I didn't have a sewing machine and really was not good in sewing. But more than 20 years ago I decided to try and make one small quilt. I had no idea that there were quilt-patterns or books out there. So out came paper and my sons colouring-pens... Today I know the technique I used is English-paper-piercing, but I cut shapes out of cornflake-boxes... I didn't know about the wonderful world of quilting-fabrics so out came old shirts and dresses. Later I realised I could buy plain coloured cotton and started using that. From then on I am like a child in a fairground with a free pass to try everything!!
To get my first sewing machine ( a very old Husqvarna that were transformed to use electrics) was like a trip in the highest fastest roller coaster. Not to mention the rush of the cutting-mat and knife.... I found a quilting-shop in another town years later, candy for the soul is the only way to describe what I felt! Up till then I had only used solid colours and now I found small printed fabrics and books with patterns. What a paradise!
I could go on with getting Internet and all the pages of inspiration, but the best thing ever were to find groups with the kindest people that didn't think I were asking stupid questions and even like some of the quilts I make!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Ok, so far so good, the last thing today is to add a picture.
It will be a small tablecloth using the Cardtrick-block.
Everything crossed? Here we go...

How do this work?

OK, I have done it! Stepped in to the world of today and got myself a blog!
Great idea, I have no clue what I am doing... giggle

But I suppose if I just give it some time, I will learn what it is all about and how to do it.