Wednesday, 7 October 2015

2015 Finish Along: Q4 proposed finishes

  2015 Finish-Along

My projected finishes for the last quarter of 2015 are:

1.     Modern Maple throw 

is pieced and assembled and waiting for quilting.

2.     Mini Quilt

pattern: "Drawn Together" by Sarah Fielke

The top is finished and waiting for quilting. This will be hand quilted with Yli thread, and Aurifil 12 thread to accentuate the stars.  

3.     Sew Together bag

Sew Together Bag
pattern by So Dememted; photo: Craftsy;
This has been on my list before, and the only thing preventing me from starting is that I need to buy fusible interfacing that is firmer than the type I have now. I need to make a trip to the city (which isn't far - that's no excuse!) and REMEMBER to buy it. Having written this the battle is half over!

4.     Mola cat 



Started in a workshop in September, I need to finish the sewing and devise some use for it. It rather depends on the latter whether  or not this gets finished.

5.     Origami flower

I started this in a workshop in August, and the same goes for the origami flower as for the Mola cat. Really it's finished except for finding a use for it, or a way to display it.

6.     Poinsettia table topper - Drunkard's path 

Drunkard's path QAL at SpringLeaf Studios
I have two of these 16" blocks made and another two to make, assemble and quilt.
Deadline: Christmas!

This all looks achievable within three months doesn't it?

I'm linking up with Adrianne On the Windy Side so click on the link to see what other projects should be finished before 1 January 2016.

Happy Sewing


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

UFO Emma

I started this three years ago, before I started blogging, when it was a BOM in the Dutch quilting magazine "Quilt & Zo". I posted about it several times at the beginning of  2014, but never showed a photo of the whole thing, as far as I'd got.

Well, to remedy that here it is after two years of solitary confinement in a cupboard.

Emma (the Queen Regent of The Netherlands one hundred years ago), crumpled straight out of the box.

It should be square. It looks square enough. But it isn't as I discovered when I sewed on the next border!

These four pieces (the star border)  have been on and off twice, and I don't know what's happened to the sashing pieces. They are probably still rolled in the box.
In desperation I tried to trim the completed section to square it up: BIG MISTAKE! They still don't fit, and what's more, they are no longer the same width.

The previous border (lozenges and triangles) didn't fit properly either, and had to be forced to meet in the corners:

the diagonal corner seam does not hit the outer corner!
So why after all that hard work English paper piecing and appliquéing is this a UFO in the first place?
  • I didn't pay attention to the quarter inch seam
  • Something was wrong with the tension or the needle or the thread (but I still use that thread) because at the end of every long seam the top fabric stuck out beyond the bottom by a good three quarters of an inch. So what did I do? CUT IT OFF! I was too inexperienced to recognise and fix the real problem.
This was all so discouraging that I had to put it aside and move on. Either that or remain stuck with this problem and never touch patchwork again.

Now, as Val asked about UFOs, I dug it out and had another look. I still don't have an answer, but maybe one of you does!

Please Val and linky party guests, give me some ideas.

I'm linking up to 
Val's Quilting Studio
Click on the button to see more UFOs, 
and give some encouraging suggestions for making UFOs into WIPs!

Happy sewing


Saturday, 3 October 2015

RSC 15: week 40: Farewell to Orange

Each month Angela at Soscrappy posts a colour and block patterns for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler. September's colour was orange.

Whirling Blades - the last orange block
I made this block to go with the other two orange sawtooth star blocks, and also the two alternate blocks which go between them. I haven't yet done the outer alternate blocks in the row. I didn't take any photos of the other blocks, I'm afraid.

We are experiencing an Indian Summer here, and took advantage of the warmth and sunshine to visit Zeeland (the Old one, not the New!) with two of our grandchildren. The purpose of the visit was to see the Storm Barrage at the mouth of the Eastern part of the River Scheldt.

Oosterschelde stormkering - East Scheldt Barrage Dam photo taken from the sightseeing boat
The construction was finished in the 1980s, but before the work proper could start an artificial island called Neeltje Jans had to be constructed in the middle of the channel to serve as a works site. Here the concrete piles were built and then towed out into the channel and fixed in the seabed - all 66 of them. Last time I was on the island, in the 1980s, it was a construction site, with a small visitors' centre, a necessary PR stunt as the project was slurping tax-payer's money!

Now the island is no longer an island as it is connected by the barrage dam to two of the real islands in the Delta. It has been turned into a water theme park with a variety of attractions for young and old:

art work from washed up rubbish - mostly plastic; here a giant jelly fish suspended from the ceiling

performing sea animals: here sea lions
which are so quick they're difficult to photograph!

and a water discovery area with different water management systems made simple

brother and sister "managing" water!

No rides as in most theme parks, but this wonderful hands-on learning experience, so children can learn about the various systems used to keep our country dry. As most of us live 2 to 3 metres (about 9 feet) under sea level, managing water concerns everyone.

The most spectacular aspect of The Delta Experience is a semicircular video screen with a reconstruction of the disaster of February 1953 when the dykes in Zeeland proved inadequate to hold back the North Sea during a north-westerly storm. The 10 minute film focuses on a farmer and his wife who are filling sandbags to raise the dyke next to their house while their daughter is in bed. They survived, but hundreds didn't. This disaster led to the resolve of the authorities to raise the dykes and construct new dams and sluices to prevent another such disaster. This barrage dam in the East Scheldt was the last link in the Delta Works - the major project to be able to close the Delta from the sea during a severe storm.

Not so much sewing in this post, but I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of our modern Dutch heritage. We're not only windmills and clogs, you know!

I'm linking up to 
RSC 15
Click on the badge to see other orange goodness.

Happy Sewing


Friday, 2 October 2015

Modern Maples throw - top finished

Last weekend I finished the top of my Modern Maples throw. The pattern is by Amanda Woodward-Jennings, and was the first pattern I downloaded when I discovered the Internet was full of quilty stuff! I posted about it earlier here and here.

The next step is to quilt it on my Bernina 440 QE. I have decided to quilt maple leaves in the centres of the white space squares and was wondering how to do this when I read this post from Debby Kratovil.

I drew the shape of the maple leaf block roughly on freezer paper, ironed it onto the first block - bottom right in the photo above - and started to sew around it with a 3mm length stitch and the appliqué foot. Debby was using a long arm machine in the tutorial with a free-motion foot, but I was nervous of ironing the paper onto a quilt that had already been sandwiched; wouldn't the wadding loose its puff?

using the appliqué foot for better sight on the sewing line.
I'm not sewing the paper, just roughly around it, to make a perimeter line of the leaf for when I start free motion quilting the shape of the leaf. A washable pen would function as well, except their lines tend to disappear before you're ready, and sometimes not to wash out completely. These large stitches will come out easily, I hope, once the quilting has been done. This started off fine, but by the time I was half way round it looked like this:

the paper had come loose, and I had to pin it before  I could finish the shape:

the maple leaf outline, a little puckered  but no worries it's soon to be quilted
Debby's method is great if you are making a fairly small project which manoeuvres easily through the sewing machine and are doing FMQ. My adaptation didn't work!
My lesson learnt: next time I should sew the outline onto the 12.5" square before I add it to the top.

My solution to the problem was to cut a pattern from dressmakers' tracing paper, of which I have masses, and which, unlike freezer paper, is readily available here (and cheap!), and to pin that to the squares and sew round them. The freezer paper template I'm keeping for now, to use for another project I have in mind.

I'm linking up to
so hop over there to see what else has been achieved this week.
Happy sewing


Sunday, 27 September 2015

A new Technique - Mola (at least new to me!)

Actually Mola is probably a very old sewing technique; it is practised by the Kuna people in South America, and used to decorate their clothing. I hadn't seen it until the end of August (too late for last month's link up!), when I attended a workshop, and had thought it was the same as reverse appliqué. Apparently it isn't, so now I have to investigate reverse appliqué as well.

 Update Sunday 16:02 h
Dasha at Patching  Pixies commented below that it looks like reverse appliqué so I checked with Linda Clements' publication "A Quilter's Bible" and she gives Mola as an example of reverse appliqué! The teacher at the workshop had said the Mola is worked from the front and reverse appliqué from the back. Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

The workshop project was to make a representation of a cat:

Mola work in progress

Everyone was asked to bring two fabric squares of at least 15cm (6") of which at least one should be a solid.
We cut out a paper template and then drew round the stylised outline of a cat onto the plain fabric.
Next we tacked the two pieces of fabric together about 8mm on either side of the drawn line.

I was too busy during the workshop to take many photos, but did manage to take one with my phone:

the start of the Mola work: you can see the drawn line and the tacking

The next step was to carefully cut through the top fabric along a small length of the drawn line and to fold the edges under and sew them down with an invisible appliqué stitch (or as near invisible as possible!)

The green fabric is folded back to reveal the purple flowered print and dark green solid underneath. In the photo it looks as if the print is on top of the green, but it is really peeping through.

The following step was to insert another piece of fabric between the two layers to make the vertical lines on the cat's body. For this two cuts had to be made in the top layer and a piece of fabric (here dark green) pushed and pulled into place between the two squares. The pin in the second photo is holding the fabric in position while I was sewing down the edges of the vertical splits.

This was an interesting afternoon learning a new technique, but I'm not sure how I'm going to apply this to anything I'm likely to be making soon. I haven't finished the piece yet as I still have to make the eyes; that will be the real challenge as sewing round the inside of a small circle is more difficult than a straight line, and look what a mess I made of the vertical lines (they are meant to be the same size!). If I finish it this side of Christmas I'll post again about my progress!

I'm linking up with Celtic Thistle Stitches for
Click on the image to see what's new to some other bloggers.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 26 September 2015

Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2015 - Still basking in an orange glow

This month Angela at Soscrappy is giving sampler blocks to be made in orange for the Rainbow Scrap Sampler quilt. These are 6" sampler blocks, surrounded by a Sawtooth Star, and in the final quilt separated by an Irish Chain type of block echoing the colours of the adjacent Sawtooth Star blocks.

This is the star I made this week:

Twirling 4-patch in a sawtooth star
I also made a few orange 9-patches with my smallest scraps - they finish at 3".

I'm sure I had three, but one must have slipped under the sewing machine cabinet!

This week I shall try to make the third orange star (which Angela posted earlier this week), and the orange and red alternate blocks.

I made little progress in assembling my maple leaves quilt, but I just have to sew one long seam to connect the last two rows. Then I can move onto the quilting.

I'm linking up with
RSC 15
Click on the image to visit more RSC15 sites 
and admire more delicious orangeness.

Happy sewing


Monday, 21 September 2015

Camera Challenge 8: Using natural light indoors
Each month Katy at The Littlest Thistle sets a camera challenge, with a follow-up post showing what we should/ might have discovered, a link up and some very helpful comments. The challenge this month has been to photograph a small group of objects in different positions indoors, firstly in different locations with good natural light - near windows.

I warn you this is a post with an awful lot of photos of the same thing. Not exactly super interesting, but bear with me.

1 Sunrise

My first set was taken within twenty minutes of sunrise:

Don't you like the IKEA trolley: now available in anthracite and cream?

All photos were taken with ISO 800 and aperture value 4.5 on an overcast morning.

The two photos on the east side of the apartment were taken further from the window, but when I tried to repeat that on the south side I discovered that, although I can hold my breath for one and a half seconds, I can't keep still! Of course I could then have changed the ISO to 1600, but that would have upset the experiment.

I found it interesting that the shutter speed became faster over the ten minutes. Clearly in response to increasing light as the sun rose. (Not that it was visible from the ground!)

What really surprised me, however is the time difference between the 2nd and 3rd photos (on the east side). When I'm at the sewing machine the trolley is immediately behind my stool, so between taking the photos I simply picked up the tray, turned through 180°, and put it on the trolley; no walking involved. The tray was, however about 15 cm (6") lower in the second photo. Personally I prefer the result with light from that angle. All in all I prefer the lighting in the fourth photo:

Just after sunrise: south side of the apartment has the best light,

the east side has the least bluish colouring, but all are blue.  

 2 Midday

All the photos were taken with the same ISO setting (800) at about our natural midday - 13:40. The weather was heavy cloud and rain.

good colour; less glare than in the early morning

Midday: good colour but probably different effects on a sunny day

but don't expect a repeat!

Late afternoon

ISO was still set at 800, and Av at 4.5. The rain had stopped, but the sky was still overcast.
good colour, but had the sun been shining there would have been interference from glare (hence the net curtains)

I think all the late afternoon photos have good colour. It was too early (around 18:00h) for the "golden glow" we were looking at last month, but there was little prospect of actually seeing the sunset that day.

Late afternoon: good colour, 

differences would probably be more marked in sunny weather

And now for the big


At least, this I had not expected:
as far from the windows as I could get
At midday; ISO 800, shutter speed 1/13th second: perfect colour.

I should add that living on the ninth floor with a lot of windows and no other tall buildings close to cast shadows, and certainly no trees this high, I have a lot of light to work with. 

And now for something completely different!

Sometimes  we can witness strange weather phenomena too. Such as this photo just after sunset during a thunder storm on 26 August, just too late for last month's challenge.
The setting sun illuminating the underside of thunder clouds. The second of three photos.
The sun had just set over to the right, but incredibly had been visible for a couple of minutes, following two hours of torrential rain and thunder and lightning. Then the last of the sunshine lit up the underside of the thick cloud cover and bathed the whole landscape in gold. I've never seen this before and found it impressive. People living closer to the ground hadn't seen the sunset, were worried and called the police!
photo 1: through the glass, when I was playing safe

photo 3: the effect is already less.
I took all three photos within one minute. The second two with the window being held open by my husband so that this crazy woman could tempt fate and stick her head out of the window at about 50m during a thunder storm!

Thanks for reading so far; I hope all the photos of the tray with coffee stuff weren't too boring for you.

I'm linking up to
so click on the image above and hop over there to see other photo studies using natural light indoors.

Happy snapping