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!