zaterdag 14 september 2013

Hi, remember me?

Wow, it's been a long time since I last blogged... so much has happened, there's no way to tell you about everything. And I'm sure you wouldn't want to read about it all, either - LOL!

I'll just give you some of the highlights: in April of 2011 I had gastric bypass surgery. Everything went smoothly and I lost over 55 kilograms (or 121 lbs). Life sure feels a lot lighter these days ;-)

In October 2011 I visited Houston and the International Quilt Festival. I had a blast! It was huge and the quality of the works in the show was just amazing. The Quilter's Market was really good, too. It was hard, but I didn't blow the budget. Yes, I'm still proud of that!

About a year ago, I changed jobs and moved house. It was a hectic time, but so worth it. I'm enjoying my new job and home. I have much more space now and have been able to take in a second cat, Douwe. He's quite shy with strangers, but very sweet and he and Bennie get along swimmingly. I'm so glad about that!

For a while, with the new job, the move and DIY-projects, I hardly had time or energy for quilting. Lately however, I have managed to get in some quilting time. I figured the best way to get back in the groove would be to start a new quilt! I chose a simple pattern from Quiltville: Bricks and Stepping Stones. The top took me only a couple of weeks to make and today I layered the quilt. Here's a sneak peek:

Because of the wet weather, I couldn't take pictures outside and the light inside was crappy. So the colors in this picture are really washed out. Hopefully when the quilt is finished, I'll be able to get some better pics. That should give me some time to wait for better weather - LOL!

Did you notice that wall in the background? It's a DIY-project stuck in UFO-status. Luckily I'm in no hurry as this is just the attic :)

However, this project is no longer a UFO. Last weekend I finished my Sleepy Hollow-inspired quilt. I started it almost three years ago (and blogged about it here). I think the quilt turned out very well. Plus it's wonderfully drapey and warm because of the 90% silk batting. As for size, I haven't measured the quilt after I washed it, but the triangles are almost 4" high.

I hope to get back to blogging more regularly. A couple of times a month should work. Thanks for dropping by and happy quilting!

vrijdag 11 februari 2011

Westouter double drunkards ninepatch quilt

Last time I showed you the quilt I have chosen for the challenge and promised to tell more about this project. Bonus points go to Yvonne, who recognized it right away!

This quilt is special to me for several reasons, one of which is that it started at a quilters retreat I have had the pleasure of attending almost every year for eight years or so. Katrien hosts this very friendly yearly gathering of some 20 quilters from Flanders (Belgium) and the Netherlands. There's a block lottery every year, and in 2007 I was fortunate enough to win a goodly stack of scrappy fourpatch blocks:

(wouldn't you know it - I couldn't find even one picture of a real single block... so I used ElectricQuilt)

The six inch blocks all had a light background (off-white to a dark-ish ecru) and colored ninepatch units. Colors of all kinds: brights, tones, mingled, color co-ordinated blocks and totally scrappy ones. I was thrilled to win these lovely blocks!

And then I entered the process of figuring out a layout. I wanted to make a quilt no one from the retreat would have expected from the blocks I won. Here's an abbreviated, rather oversimplified version of my design - and thought process as I remember it.

Nice and simple, but where have my fourpatch blocks gone?

Pretty good, lots of room for hand quilting in those plain blocks, but a little too predictable for me.

Maybe a bit better, but I have some doubts. These EQ5 blocks behave well because they're all the same. How can I make those different blocks pull together in real life?

Let's see what would happen if I threw in some curves?

Hey, I like this! I'm off to the quilt shop to find a good blender fabric for those quarter circles. I bet that would help tame those madly different scraps!

In the shop, it became clear very soon that because of the wide range of colors in the scrappy blocks, the quilt could go in any direction colorwise. It was great to see the scala of possibilities. In the end I chose a blotty purple, red, pink and golden fabric for the pie wedges. I sewed the top, getting more and more enthousiastic about my choice.

I chose to keep the border very simple, so the quilt center would stand out. Choosing the border fabric was a snap: Merel had this wonderful batik with lots of color variation, that picks up so many of the different colors in the quilt!

That was about three years ago and I'd better get on with the hand quilting, or I'll never get this one done. Oh, and I don't want to forget to tell you about the batting! It's 90% silk and 10 % polyester. It's sooo smooooth to stitch through! I'm sure this will be a wonderfully warm quilt, yet it's also really light.

Wouldn't it be great if I could take the finished quilt to show and tell at the retreat next autumn?

zaterdag 5 februari 2011

Finally labelled, Geese progress and a Challenge!

Last November I finished my purple squares quilt and asked for your help in finding a name. I appreciate your suggestions. I liked both Purple Rain and Hip to be Square, so it had to be one of these two. I finally decided on Hip to be Square (after the 80's hit song by Huey Lewis & the News) and made the label last night:

Thank you Irene for your suggestion, it's a winner for me! I've always enjoyed that song :-)

After attaching the label, I decided to get out one of many still unfinished Dolly Quilt projects, Geese Around the World. I like my colors, nice and bright against the mostly black background.

This is a paper piecing project. I have a love - hate attitude towards paper piecing. I love the accuracy in piecing, but I don't much enjoy the tedious work involved. Still, for some projects, it works. But I can hardly wait to get the top done. Hopefully sometime this weekend!

Today, I went to Birdblocks quiltshop to help Merel teach this month's edition of Sarah Fielke's Dolly Quilt project. However, there was only one lady to teach, so the workshop was finished very soon.

So I had lots of time to chat with Merel and Judith. Merel happened to mention that she had not done any more quilting on her flannel log cabin quilt for weeks or even months. Judith and I suggested that a challenge might help to get the quilt done and onto Merels bed at last. It wasn't long before it was decided that a challenge was a good idea.

Judith has made some blocks for the Sylvia's Bridal Sampler quilt years ago and wants to work on that project again. She has committed to making two blocks every month. I think we've decided to report monthly on our progress in the challenge.

Of course I, too, had to pick a project to work on each month. There are certainly enough to choose from, more even than my WIP-list on this blog shows... In the end, I have decided on my double drunken ninepatch quilt, which has been in the hand quilting stage for over two and a half years. I don't actually think there's any such pattern name as double drunken ninepatch, but I wouldn't know what else to call it. I made it up myself, though I realise I may not be the only quilter to have done so. I'll snap a picture of the quilt as it is now soon, but here's a picture I made when I finished the top:

This is actually one of my favorite quilts, for several reasons. Next time I'll tell you a bit more about it.

dinsdag 25 januari 2011

Workshop fun

Today was a treat. Guess who was in Amsterdam to give a workshop at Birdblocks quiltshop?

 Yes, it's Sarah Fielke! She's in the Netherlands to promote her Dolly Quilts project and today she was here in Amsterdam. Sarah must have had a very busy week, but she didn't show it. She's a very sweet lady. And she was a guest blogger on the Birdblocks blog today!
Thank you Elly for taking and sending me the above picture!

The workshop today was a dolly quilt called Geese around the world. I'm not a fast paper piecer and I probably chatted a bit too much, so I didn't get very far. I'll try to finish the top soon, as I'm very eager to see how my round of geese will turn out.

This quilt is actually a project from Sarah's new, soon to be published book: Quilting: from little things'. The book showcases 10 quilting techniques. For every technique, there will be a small and a large quilt pattern. This way the quilter can try the technique on a small quilt first and see if she likes it enough to make a big quilt. This sounds like a good idea to me and from the few pages I've seen, I think this book will be a great addition to my collection. Sarah's quilts are always so full of color and whimsy, and I enjoy the inspiration.

Tomorrow, it's back to work for me. Today, I had an absolute blast. Let's do this again soon. Very soon.

zondag 19 december 2010

I've been handed a baton...

... or in Dutch: een stokje. I get to share 10 thoughts with you on my blog and then pass the baton to three other bloggers. Yvonne has whacked me over the head with the baton, exhorting me to blog more often. OK Yvonne, I'll do as you say - this time!

1. My first thought is for my mother and stepfather. Today is their 25th wedding anniversary. We had planned to celebrate this special day with a family outing to a hotel in beautiful surroundings on the Veluwe. However, due to the weather and traffic conditions, the trip has been postponed. It's been a great disappointment to us all not to be able to spend this weekend together. So, I send my love and congratulations to my mother and stepfather. We'll have our family weekend sometime soon!

2. Lately we've had a lot of snow in Europe. In the Netherlands, the snow has led to major traffic problems. Of course, there are snow scenes to view everywhere. This is a panorama shot from my balcony:

Unfortunately, there was no sun when I took the picture, while it was very sunny a little later when I was at the indoor shopping center. Oh well!

3. Little things can make a big difference. It's strange how often I forget that! Yesterday, I finally removed a green computer cable that had been nailed to the skirting board. I have always disliked the thing because the green color made it very noticable. For over half a year I've had a new wireless router, so this cable was no longer necessary. Now that it's gone, I love my sewing room even more than before. And all it took was 'just doing it', which took only about five minutes of my time :-)

4. Cats. I just love them! They are such experts at making themselves comfortable. It's an enviable skill. Here's Bennie in his most recent favorite spot, probably the warmest place in the house:

5. I enjoy doing cryptic cross word puzzles. There's a very good one in one of the news papers that I love to do (Scrypto by J.J. Steenhuis in NRC Handelsblad). This week, it's a double sized puzzle and my mom, sister and I co-operated to solve it. We had fun!

6. Did you wonder how far I would get without mentioning quilts? Only half way through this list! I hope you don't mind ;-) Last week, I tried to do some liberated piecing.

The letters came out OK, but the sashing is not to my liking. There's too much black, and probably too much of the black and white stripes. The thing definitely needs a lot more color! So I've decided to rip most of it out and try again. I'm not sure when I'll get to it, because I have something else I'm rather enjoying working on right now...

7. I'll be spending the Christmas weekend with my father. We still need to figure out the menu. Christmas dinner for two, and we have no desire to spend all day in the kitchen preparing food. It's as well that we love simple things. So I'm thinking Brussels sprouts, a nice cut of meat (we're considering venison or maybe ostrich), a fresh salad, some sauteed potatoes, and a rich chocolate mousse for desert... Oh, and I must do some stewed pears, too! Yum!

8. I wonder what Merel is up to. Today is the first day of her two week vacation. I imagine her curled up on her couch with a book (or several books more likely), quilts and cats draped around en on top of her. I hope you'll be able to enjoy your free time and relax!

9. I enjoy watching movies, especially ones with Johnny Depp. And I love spotting quilts in movies or on TV. In the movie Sleepy Hollow, there are some bed scenes (nothing racy, it's all very modest, more's the pity! LOL!) In any case, Ichabod Crane, portrayed by Johnny Depp, is seen to lay in and on a bed with a quilt. I've been planning to make my own 'Sleepy Hollow Quilt' ever since spotting the quilt in the movie. I took some screen shots from the dvd:

It looks like the quilt is an old one, because the fabric of some of the triangles has almost completely disintegrated. But what a wonderful, simple quilt!

From these picture, I have roughly estimated the height and width of the triangle units. I have adapted them somewhat to make them easier to cut using a ruler already in my collection. I think I'll want to eventually quilt this one by hand, using a very simple all over pattern. The one in the movie was quilted in a simple diagonal grid.

Here's some of my effort so far:

I think I like it!

10. Wow, I'm really making too much of this list. I've been trying way too long and hard to track just one more 'bloggable' thought... so this is it! I give up, this is my list and it's good enough for me.

I would like to pass the baton to Creatieveling Elly, Inge at Chevremont (both are Dutch language blogs) and any reader who would like to join in! If you do, please leave a message with a URL. I'd love to read your thoughts!

zondag 5 december 2010

Quilting forever, blogging whenever?

It is strange.
I like blogging.
Then why don't I?
Hmmm, could it be that I have way too many shoulds?
I feel I should blog three times a week.
I think everything I say should make sense.
Like every picture I show should be perfect. And so on and so on...

Is it any wonder that blogging starts to feel like housework? I don't want it to be a chore, I want it to be FUN! I will try again to let go of some many of my shoulds. I know I'm not the only blogger who ever expressed this. I do hope that getting it off my chest will help me go on - whenever and in whatever fashion I wish to.

Let me show you what things quilty have been keeping me busy lately!

My purple squares quilt is finished, only the label is still to be added. And there's the catch: I can't think of a name for this one! Purple Squares is very descriptive, yet as a name I find it a bit too simple. Can you help?

Then I've been busy with Sarah Fielke's Dolly Quilts at Birdblocks quiltshop in Amsterdam. I've been working my way towards my own 'wall of quilts'. I'm not quite there yet, but here's a peek at the dolly quilts I have finished, pinned to my designwall:

To give you an idea of the size of these little quilts: the crazy quilt one is 12.5" (32 cm) square. Yesterday I finished Peppermint Pyramids (bottom right). Now I'm quilting the first in the Dolly Quilt series, Colour Me Happy:

I'd love to finish the machine quilting and then put the binding on today. That's not going to happen though, because I need to do some 'work' on the next DQ. It involves liberated piecing. I'm afraid I'm not a liberated quilter. In fact, I'm a fusspot when it comes to straight seems and matching points. So liberated piecing will be quite a challenge. But stalling on that project has helped reduce my UFO-pile!

zondag 26 september 2010

Catching up

It's been a while (a long while) since my last blog entry. My perfectionist side insists that I should catch up with the blog, which would involve writing about all that I have done in the past two months. However, doing that would be way too time consuming - for me and you as readers. And probably not very interesting, anyway. So, I have decided to catch up by posting a few pictures and short comments on the relevant events.

On July 14, I tripped and broke my ankle in two places. It was quite painful and my injury kept me from work, driving my car and operating my sewing machine for six weeks. I'm better now, so let's not dwell on the subject ;-)

It was a bit uncertain whether I would be able to go to the Festival of Threads in Birmingham (August 19-22). The doctor had warned me not to walk very much. However, some clever thinking resulted in the plan to rent a mobility scooter for getting around the venue. This worked out very well, as you can see above. Thank you Sommeke, for taking this picture!

And here's part of my festival purchases. I also bought three wonderful books. There were so many vendors, it was absolutely overwhelming! Amazingly, I managed to stick to my budget. It was hard, especially because I was sorely tempted to buy a new sewing machine (Juki TL-98P). This machine feels very solid and has a much larger harp than my regular sized Pfaff. When I'm machine quilting my bed sized quilts, I frequently wish for that extra space. However, budgetary sanity prevailed - this time!

As often happens, Merel and I both saw and loved the same quilt and wanted to do something similar. This time, it was this quilt by Rita from Red Pepper Quilts blog. I was stuck at home and, lo and behold, Merel came around with a stack of solid purple fat quarters. Before long, I had cut several hundreds of solid purple squares and just as many different colored ones in printed fabrics. After my foot was released from its cast, I started sewing and pressing.


doesn't look like much to me.

looks like I'm getting somewhere finally. This weekend, I have been pinning (yes, I've found that pinning greatly improves my piecing precision), sewing and pressing almost non stop. It's time now to clear my design wall, so I can arrange a total of 108 blocks in preparation for assembling the top. I hope to be able to show more soon!