Thursday, 21 May 2015

A house for every season

Last year, for our 25th anniversary, our guild issued a challenge. During the year each member would receive 4 pieces of fabric of which we were to make “something blue, something green, something yellow and something orange”. The quilts were to measure 50*50 cm (20” square) or several being stitched into that format.

As I was quite a bit obsessed with houses last year, it would hardly surprise anyone that I made houses. Although the challenge had no seasonal theme, the colours still worked – one colour for each season.
(Almost done)

The simple layout was born early in the year with the challenge fabrics to be on the right side, but I did not start making them before months later when three fabrics had been handed out.

The design was meant to be very simple, but at the end of the day I started adding stuff. I used puff paint and silver fabric paint to make the windows pop.

I added seasonal themed quilting designs, changing thread colours for the sky and houses: snowflake




(quilting stencils..)

I added white vertical quilting lines, and finally words on top of those:
sparkling winter

budding spring

amd the last two says sunny summer, and colourful fall.

Each quilt measures 25cm*50cm and is finished with invisible binding and a sleeve. They were stitched together two and two for the exhibition at the anniversary meeting and dinner. Getting them to hang perfectly flat post stitching was quite a challenge, but at least they did meet the 50cm*50cm requirement.

One of our board members at the time photographed all the contributions and made them into a photo book. I got my copy yesterday and am looking forward to have a closer look at all the beautiful quilts.

I’ll be adding this post to the Blogger’s Quilt Festival.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 18 May 2015

How does your garden grow

I understand that many quilters also are avid gardeners, which actually happens to be true for many of my quilting friends. Here, however, there is not much happening in the void which once was our garden. Not that we ever had a beautiful one, but there was a big patio and a lawn and a trampoline and a slide and soccer goals; you get the picture. We need some new concrete walls, a little more dirt, some grass seeds, a dumpster for all the building debris, a week or so for husband to build the new patio, preferably on this side of summer, and some new furniture for all of us, and we’ll be set for the summer. It will be great. It will be our kind of garden.

In my studio however, things are blooming.

These flowers will never need watering or weeding, and no lawn mower will ever need to be worked around them. That’s my kind of flowers.

Thursday, 14 May 2015


Our favourite young man is eight years old today. Eight years since were up for 46 hours waiting for him. What a rush that was.

On top of his wish list was referee cards.
(Grandma gets a red card)

Accompanying the gift from my sister’s family was The All Time Card – a Liverpool card playing You’ll never walk alone. Big hit. For someone who previously never had any interest in soccer, his love of the game has won me over. I most certainly look forward to taking him to Liverpool, or Barcelona for that matter, to watch a home game when he turns 13.

He celebrated with his friends on Tuesday at the soccer stadium. It was a lucky onetime only chance and he and his friends were so excited. He got a team shirt with his name and autographs from the team on the back. Lucky boy indeed.
(Picture borrowed from my daughter)

I helped setting up the room early as I was working that afternoon. I love planning children’s parties, they are so much more fun than grown up parties. I don’t know how it is where you live, but here it’s more and more common to have parties at play centres, bowling alleys and such, making it extra fun to set up a few old fashioned party games.

Instead of putting the tail on the donkey, we taped two big soccer goal printouts onto a door and prepared one football with each boy’s name and taped them on a glass door. Super simple, they were just copied onto regular copy paper and cut out with scissors; no cost at all and a big hit with the boys. The same size footballs also made great place cards so that everyone could keep track of their plate and cup.

Not a bad view from any room I’d say.

Today is a holiday here in Norway and the sun is out. I have some work to do so I’d better move on, but first of all I have a carrot cake to frost..

Happy birthday, young man, we are ever so proud of you!

Monday, 11 May 2015

String block layouts

We are doing a scrappy string block swap at my guild, and I have made a few suggestions on how this type of blocks can be stitched together. I thought some of you would like to see them too, so here they are. These are my first EQ7 layouts:)



 Vertical zigzag

Horisontal zigzag

On point

Adding solid fabrics will calm down and tie all the colours together. This will also make it easier to piece the blocks together with regards to all the seam allowances. 
 Diagonal with sashing

 Straight with setting squares

Diagonal with setting squares

Have fun:)

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Unloved, Anorexian Fiesta

The second unloved which I finished revamping was this table topper, “Anorexian Fiesta”.

A year into my daughter’s illness, many many years ago, I took a class and was thereafter part of a support group with two other mothers and a husband. At the time this group was very important to me and as it came to an end, I made a quilt for each of the other group members. I brought pieced Ohio star blocks to a meeting and had them and the group leaders sign the blocks.

This is the one I kept of the four quilts that I made. They were all made from the same fabrics, but the other three were a bit smaller. It has been stashed away ever since. For one, I don’t use a lot of table toppers, and the colours were a bit on the dull side.

If you are thinking of doing something similar, I can recommend taking a picture of the quilt and zoom in on different parts. It may give you ideas on how they will look on their own. I often use my iPad to take pictures which makes it easy to zoom in and take screenshots like this.

I cut the quilt into four pieces and trimmed them down to an appropriate size for place mats, making sure that the placement of the half stars was the same on all 4. 

To brighten up the somewhat subdued colours of the thrifted table cloth that I had used for a big portion of the quilt, I added a bright striped binding.

Now we have a set of 4 matching place mats, different but yet the same. You can see how they fit together

and how I cut them down to size.

That was it; the un has been taken out of another unloved. Super easy and rather cool I’d say.

Thanks for stopping by:)

Friday, 8 May 2015

The Unloved series

As I was going through the process of storing my quilts as described in yesterday’s post, there were a few quilts with which I did not quite know what to do. You know the type; the quilt that you made for that challenge and the quilt that turned out a little huh hum and the quilt that you made in class and on and on. Not really bad quilts as such, but never loved and never used.

I sat on my bed looking at the pile of quilts on the floor and realized I could throw them away without any regrets. In fact, we still had the building dumpster in the yard and I would never miss them. Then my mind started wandering as it often does, and I thought of the Unloved quilt which I finished with so much delight. Why couldn’t I do the same with my own quilts?

I blame it partly on my thrifty side, partly on the quilting vacuum in which I was struggling at the time, but before I knew it I was deep in ideas. I would recycle the quilts in different ways and make them into something new. The worst thing that could happen was that I ruined them, but as they had never been used anyway, it would make very little difference.

The first project I worked on was this little quilt. 

I made it in one of the three quilting classes I have ever taken and never cared for it even though I enjoyed the class very much. I’m giving you a fair warning here; such projects are not for the faint hearted. Cutting into a quilt is, well, exciting.

I went to work with a rotary cutter, chopped off a little here and a little there, and started putting the pieces back together, basically making the quilt shorter and wider.

As the project would not get a lot of wear and tear (like a hand bag would), I simply zigzagged the pieces together, raw edge to raw edge. Taping the pieces together with masking tape made the stitching much easier.

Now I have a fab handwork basket sitting next to my spot in the living room. It went from unloved to useful and quite good looking I’d say. 

The appliqué and free motion embroidered centre looks great on the front. 

The Liberty of London borders 

that did my quilt no favour, looks rather dashing in their new positions on the back and bottom. The black lines are the zigzag stitching.

The lining is the recycled pillow case from this post. The creases would not come out, so it’s in there, creases and all.

Working on this project was very liberating. Allowing one self to move on from something which does not work to something that does, sparks lots of creativity. Not long ago I read a post on Facebook by someone who wanted to use her first quilt as a starting point for a bigger quilt, and wanted suggestions on how to do so. I thought it was a brilliant idea and was a bit surprised by all the comments, each and every one saying not to do it.

Do we really need to keep everything that we have ever made in exactly that state? Don’t get me wrong, I am as sentimental as they come. My husband teases me that I have kept every scrap of paper our daughter has ever made a mark on, and it’s not too far from the truth. I get that, but wouldn’t it be lovely to have your first quilt gracing your bed instead of being stored away in a dark place never to be seen? That particular quilt on Facebook only needed some wider quilt as you go borders in neutral colours and it would have been  used and loved every day. See, my mind starts wandering off just thinking of it.

How about you; would you consider reworking one of your unloved??

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Storage solution

Over the years I have been asked the same question over and over again – what do you do with all the quilts that you make? My answer has always been the same - aah uuhm, I give quite a few away and the rest is stored here and there throughout the house. Storing all those projects did not bother me one bit as we had the space.

The situation changed after moving into the new house. Storage has become a huge issue, and when all the quilts were gathered in one place, there were Oh so many. I looked at all the storage solutions I could imagine, and got 4 of the biggest bed rollers I could find. Then I started sorting my quilts. Small quilts. Art quilts. Big quilts. Class samples.

The bed rollers worked just fine for the small quilts and art quilts which are quite flat, but not so well for the big, more voluminous ones which filled up the box rather quickly. The roller lids do not sit tightly all the way around, so you cannot stuff things in them as the lid will come off.

I had a look at the internet to see if vacuum sealed bags would be suitable for quilt storage, and I found that they would work just fine but not for long time storage. Not quite sure where the line between short time and long time storage goes, I decided to give them a try with the big quilts. IKEA had some big and really cheap ones for storage of bedding.

If you haven’t used these bags before, you may be surprised by the weight and rigidness of the end result. I bet you could knock someone out with those quilts, and there’s absolutely no way to adjust the shape. After a few trials, I found that keeping the bag in the roller while putting the quilts in and sucking the air out was the key to make them fit into the rollers. I have smoothed the quilts out as much as I could, but I am sure there will be creases. I can live with that. One roller fits twice as many bed size quilts using the bags, which was all I needed for now.

The 4 bed rollers contain the big quilts (in sealed bags), the small quilts, and my ever growing collection of art quilts which should never even be folded but there you go. The class samples are stored in a bag on a shelf and quilts to be gifted or sold in another. 

The bags open and close easily, and are also useful for keeping dust away even without sucking out the air. I need to take the quilts out and refold them a couple of times a year which will probably happen around Christmas when I go looking for my holiday quilts anyway.

Now I’m curious, does the very thought of storing your quilts in plastic bags make you cringe? Do you make only small quilts so that storage is no issue? Are you one of the lucky ones to have a spare bedroom where you can store everything flat on the bed?

I am seriously thinking about moving on to quilted potholders myself..