Friday, 29 December 2017

Quilting goals for 2018

Quilting Jetgirl is once again holding her:
click on the image to join the party

for which I am very grateful as it gives me the opportunity to step back and look around my sewing room.

Seeing posts on goals for 2018 reminded me that I made such a list last year too; 😔 what was on it?

  1. Tidy my sewing room
  2. Make a planner.
  3. Continue trying my hand at improv.
  4. Decide which of my WIPs are really UFOs, and make, or join in, a system for resurrecting  UFOs.
  5. Linked to no. 4 above: try harder to resist the temptation to start something new!!
  6. Try to find other, preferably "modern", quilters locally (area of The Hague, Netherlands) who would like to sew together with me on a regular basis. At the moment the world wide web is my quilting community, and much as I love you all, some face-to-face contact would be welcome.
Unfortunately only 3. and 6. have borne any result. The improv "Floating Squares" is a completed top. and I'm mulling over ideas for the backing which I wrote about here. There is now a Dutch branch of the MQG and that has provided some interesting online contacts over the last eight months, but I have only actually met two of the other members.

So what is my list for 2018? 

It's exactly the same as for 2017! 

with the addition of: 
  1. doing some of the Craftsy classes I've already paid for! and 
  2. pulling myself together and getting these quilted:
RSC 2015: (no completed photo!)
RSC 16



Quiltville mystery 2016
along with my Quilty 365 circles quilt which is now almost being hand quilted, and "Floating Squares", now waiting for backing! 

They are really all too pretty to stay packed in plastic boxes.

Is it realistic?

Yes! I'm due to finally retire on 30 April (I retired once before and was promptly asked to come back) but this time it's for real, so I should have more time to spend on hobbies.

OK, and now to put my best foot forward and achieve some of my goals starting with a mega clean-up!

I'm linking to
 Click on the button to see the other guests!

Happy sewing


Monday, 18 December 2017

On Ringo Lake part 4

"On Ringo Lake" is Bonnie Hunter's 2017 Mystery Quilt, now in its fourth week. Clue 4 was posted on Friday, but it was Saturday before I got started. So far I have 56 units made, and a few half made:

I stopped when I ran out of the right-hand wing triangles.

In the past I have found this a very difficult unit, but it's going more easily this time. Vireya has pointed out that Lorna McMahon at has a tutorial for making this block .  Anyone having difficulty in finishing with a straight line hypotenuse might find using Lorna's pattern a good idea. You don't need the complete Happy-go-Lucky block obviously, just these triangles. It's best to read both these posts as Vireya gives some hints on using Lorna's pattern in this context.

It's tempting to try to guess the final layout, but that is still a mystery.

I shall be linking up later today to: 
so click on the button to see more winged triangles, 
and not all aqua and brown!

Happy sewing


Monday, 11 December 2017

Marly: On Ringo Lake part 3

Part 3 of Bonnie Hunter's 2017 Mystery was posted on Friday and I spent most of Friday evening trying to work out how to cut the diamonds without loosing triangles. Unsuccessfully! On Saturday I worked out how to cut with the Easy Angle Ruler; the diamonds are good but I couldn't avoid making a large number of (waste) cut of triangles. I haven't thrown them out though; I already have plans for them, small as they are.

Work in progress

already completed: 50 rectangles
I'm only making half the number of blocks at the moment, so I should manage to complete part 3 by the end of this week.

Later this afternoon I'll be linking up to 
Quiltville's Quips & Snips
so hop over there to see more part 3 progress.

Happy sewing


Monday, 4 December 2017

On Ringo Lake part 2

This Year's Quiltville mystery is "On Ringo Lake" ; click on the link to read all about this project.

On Friday Bonnie Hunter posted the second clue setting off a cutting and sewing frenzy round the world. My weekend was quite busy so once again Monday is here and I haven't nearly enough pieces, even for the half size I'm aiming for.
a fraction of the number of geese I need

These look like orange geese in the photo; in fact they are an orangey-pink. I tried adjusting the brightness, but none too successfully! I'm afraid the colour distortion caused by a warm glow light bulb is irrepairable. I couldn't take photos outside yesterday; it was too wet.
Now back to the sewing machine to conjure up more geese!

I'm linking to the Quiltville linky party.
If you'd like to look in on the gaggle of geese just click on this photo:

 Quiltville's Quips & Snips

Happy sewing


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Floating Squares is a top ...

or maybe a backing.

Floating Squares: score 1 in The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood

Don't get me wrong; I love how this has turned out, so why it's a backing will depend on how you look at it! (literally). I'd rather think that this will become a double-sided quilt. I was ready to start quilting in the middle of last week, except I couldn't find suitable backing fabric in my small selection of yardage. It is all too regular, too traditional, and didn't seem to be a worthy partner for this as a top. I hope you understand what I mean.

I could buy a solid fabric, and that's sold locally. I have decided, however, to continue with the scores in Sherri Lynn Wood's book and use the next one or maybe two combined as the other side of this quilt. Who is to decide which side is the top and which the backing?

Anyway, now something about the process and what I learned.
  • Firstly, setting the limits in each "block" was not difficult, and nor was cutting freehand or inserting filler fabric. I rather enjoyed not having to worry about matching points, and, in fact, after a few seams neatly pressed to the dark fabric I scrapped that and pressed everything open. After all there's no knowing what is going to be joined on next!
  • Secondly, instead of following the score which was simple, I decided, after making about a quarter of the quilt, that I wanted the colours to flow across the block edges, so there are no defined blocks. This was a decision made on route, as it were; not part of the original plan, but a spontaneous decision made during the process. Unfortunately, from that moment I lost the playfulness, I started thinking too much! 😔 and worrying, and that held me back. This project was spontaneity over months! and that's impossible, right?
  • Thirdly, it's never too late to change! Having been searching for the way forward on this project for months, I thought "What the heck!", cut a few squares and went on. The last quarter of this was done in two days, including joining all the separate "blocks" and getting it more or less rectangular. Those two days I really enjoyed!
  • Lastly, and this flows out of the previous observation, there seems to be a sort of improv fatigue, a variation of writer's block: a point where ideas dry up and where transferring to another creative project posing other problems, asking for other decisions can enable you to return later with rested eyes. From this experience I think it's unwise to fight improv fatigue, or writer's block for that matter; it's just "check", not "checkmate".
To conclude: I enjoyed the experience, didn't really suffer from redefining my limits partway through, and am totally satisfied with the result.
That's the end of my lecture!

Some quilt statistics:-
  • 59" x 42"
  • all Bella solids
  • all pieces cut freehand with a rotary cutter - although is it really freehand when the cutting mat has squares printed on it?! Hmm! 
  • Machine pieced. 
  • I'll be hand-quilting it with 12 wt. thread in an all-over pattern, probably Baptist fans. But I'll quite likely change my mind when I have the other side!
I'm linking up to 
Grab button for AHIQ
Click on the button to see more amazing improvisation.

Happy sewing


Monday, 27 November 2017

On Ringo Lake: Quiltville mystery part 1

I fell for it! Once again I've succumbed to the temptation to take part in Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt along! Looking through my scraps over the last month made me realise there were nowhere near enough browns so I took advantage of the quit show in Nieuwegein, near Utrecht to add to my stash, and not only browns!

The first clue came Friday lunchtime so cutting time began on Friday afternoon and the first brown, teal and neutral 9-patches rolled from the machine on Friday evening.

Not many 9-patches, but I do have a few strips joined

and more strips waiting in the wings.

I should be getting all 50 finished by the end of this week, in time for clue number 2.

Click on the link to see more of Ringo's 9-patches!

Happy Sewing


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Some Improv, some foundation piecing, and some mindless sewing.

To start with the improv piece I'm making following the first score in Sherri Lynn Wood's "The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters". Although I've been working on this for what seems like ages I haven't posted a photo since July; other projects got in the way, the fabric in a particular colour ran out, or my inspiration dried up! This week I added the section on the right, most of the part with navy in it and I'll be going further when I've finished this post.

Improv lap quilt following score 1 from The Improv Quilters' Handbook
Improv should be spontaneous; it should grow as you work and just develop within the limitations the quilter has set. I don't think months of deliberation are part of the picture.

Foundation piecing, on the other hand is strictly organised. To start with there's a pattern so designed to ensure perfect points - forget that in my case. At least with this pattern from Make Modern magazine  I didn't make my usual errors of cutting the fabric back to front. That's something I always do at least once, which would be fine if I wanted to use the back of the fabric!
4" Rainbow pincushion top: pattern by Angie Wilson for Make Modern issue 18
There are some missed points, all in the final joining stage; the sections themselves are fine. Does anyone have any tips for keeping the presser foot on track when sewing through so many layers of fabric and paper?! It was like a doing a skid course! In spite of the points I'm satisfied with the result, and it was a good learning experience.

After all that concentration I was ready for some mindless catch-up sewing in aqua which was February's colour for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Each month from January to November Angela gives a colour to work with. This month's colour is brown/black, so I'm taking the opportunity to catch up on my projects.

I still have to do green, yellow and orange. If I don't manage to sew them this year there's always next year!

I am linking up later today to 
grab button for SoScrappy
Click on the button to view other catch-up and finishing projects.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 28 October 2017

Modern Pink

Each month Angela at Soscrappy gives a colour and a lot of quilters focus on using their scraps in that colour: the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. October's colour is pink.
I've made two pink blocks this week for the "make a block a week challenge" for the Dutch Modern Quilt Guild.

The block patterns have all been submitted by guild members. Some are traditional but most, I believe, have been specially designed.

These are both foundation paper pieced, and far from using up scraps, generated them! I'm useless when it comes to foundation piecing! Enter Mr Murphy and his famous law: it can go wrong, and it does!! So for all the fabric you see in the photos there's an equal amount reclining in my lovely new pink basket!

I made some progress on my improv floating squares quilt this week too, until I ran out of navy solid. Not only did I run out, but the LQS had also run out! That's life! Fortunately they agreed to give me a call when it comes in, so I'll be spared another trip for nothing. No recent photo yet of the floating squares quilt which is approaching lap size.

I'm interested to see which colour is coming up for November. I've got way behind with my sewing this year, and I really need to catch up with the missed colours, so maybe I'll be concentrating on them.

I'm linking up to the RSC link-up where there are already a lot of pink beauties to admire.
Click on the button to join the party.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 14 October 2017

Starry pink

October's colour in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is pink.

Cutting 2" squares to make this generated some more scraps for making the basket. As I still need to make a blue version of this block I also cut blue squares and started joining them in pairs as leaders and enders while I was assembling this one. I'm learning!

This week I also decided to cut a 2" strip and a 2.5" strip from every FQ I buy, as these are the strip sizes I use most. I'm not sure that this is a wise step; I don't want to find myself running out of fabric partway through a project! Only time will tell!

And here, finished this afternoon, is my pink basket:

I love seeing all the baskets lined up, and they are SO useful! How did I ever manage without a scrap saving system?! Finally I think I'm getting organised!

I'm linking to
 grab button for SoScrappy
Click on the button to see more pink delights. 

Happy sewing

Saturday, 7 October 2017

September was the orange month ...

... in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and I have just caught up with two of the rainbow projects I started in January.

I showed the orange basket last week:

and this week I finished an orange 7x7 patch with wonky star.

I made a few at the beginning of the year but work got very busy in the spring leaving me very little time for sewing. I shall be picking up the projects in 2018 and hope to have more success.

I also made an orange wonky star for the Dutch Modern Quilt Guild block-a-week project. (I'm way behind with that too!)

In the meantime pink (October's colour) has now taken over my sewing room. I'm heading off there to start sewing my pairs of 2" pink squares together for the next 7x7 patch.

I'm linking up to 
grab button for SoScrappy
Click on the button to visit Angela where everyone else is in the pink!

Happy sewing


Sunday, 1 October 2017

Orange basket

 September in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge was coloured orange.
 Last week I showed my few orange scraps:

 I  started by joining the little pieces together:

This was the result, although one or two (for example bottom right) still needed to be straightened. It's definitely easier to join the larger  patches when they are all some sort of rectangle.

The next step was to sew the pieces to the wadding and batting, starting in the middle with a couple of "uglies" which won't be seen as they form the base of the basket. Then I went round log-cabin style adding strips of made fabric and strips from stash. On the left of this picture you can see all that was left of the pile of scraps in the first photo; these are the really smallest pieces, and now reside a polythene bag in the finished basket waiting to be used for appliqué.

basket fabric before cutting (two outdoor candles defying the wind and holding down the corners!)
Having cut out rectangles to form the base, joined the side seams and then the base seams, made and added the handles and added the binding, I had this:

Finished basket: pattern by Fiona at BubzRugz
This time I cut the binding at 2.75" which fitted more comfortably under the walking foot, especially when stitching across the handles where there is three times the normal thickness. I also reduced bulk by pressing the side seams open; just visible in this photo:

I'm linking up to
grab button for SoScrappy
so head over there and see what else has been made in orange this September.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 23 September 2017

September is orange ...

in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and see here, what a lot of orange I've used!

EPP hexagons with 1" sides
When Angela announced the colour for September I was on holiday, and although I had fabric with me for making hexagon flowers, I didn't have enough orange for even one flower! Now I'm back home I went through some sorted orange scraps in a small zip-lock bag and found these:

orange scraps, mostly the ends of 2" strips
They are not enough to make one of these:
unlined scrap basket - pattern from Fiona at BubzRugz
There are probably more lurking in project boxes, so I'll get searching over the weekend.

This is all I have to show for September on the sewing front. Let's hope October proves to be more productive, especially as in addition to orange I still have to make an aqua and a blue basket.

I'm linking up to
so head over there to see more (much more) orange delights.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 26 August 2017

Neutral storage

The colour for August in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is Neutral. My scrappy project thie year is to use my scraps to make scrappy storage baskets and at the beginning of this week I was able to add another basket to the row.

All are in use, but have themselves depleted the scrap supply - what I wanted, of course - and are squishy and falling about. Maybe placing the quilting lines even closer together would have given more stability; maybe another type of wadding would have worked better. I have used what I had and the result tends to fall over somewhat when empty. Tough!

This basket has less "made fabric" than the others and more ends of strips and and long pieces from trimming backing. What all the baskets have in common though is that all are unlined. That's what drew me first to this pattern from Fiona at BubzRugz; it is quilt-as-you-go and then the sections are joined in the usual way for a bag with a flat base, with the backing serving as the lining. It's not as neat as it could be, but I'm not selling or even giving these away, they are solely for my own use and I'm not bothered about a lining; in fact I'd rather do without the hassle of turning the whole lot through a small hole in the lining.

I'm linking to
Click on the above button to pop over there and see more projects with scrappy neutrals.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 19 August 2017

Neutral basket in the making

Neutral is the Rainbow Scrap Challenge colour for August. I didn't think I had enough neutral fabric for a basket, and I didn't! Not strictly neutral, at any rate. Some of these look decidedly brown, but are a mix of beige and grey, and some are ecru and grey.

I deliberately avoided any other colours, even though I have a lot of "neutral" with some other colours left from making Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilts. By her definition "neutral fabric" can have other colours in it, as long as they amount to less than 50%. This does give a more dynamic effect than solid white as here below where the neutral features orange hens, brown sewing notions, red lines, multi coloured polka dots and ecru buttons.

So my neutral bag will have some other darker shades in it, I could say for effect, but in fact without them I wouldn't have a neutral bag at all!

I'm linking up to 

so hop over there and see more neutral projects.

Happy sewing


Saturday, 12 August 2017

Catching up with green and yellow

For the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) Angela at Soscrappy sets a different colour every month and for several years I've tried to make something in each month's colour. May's colour was green and June's was yellow. Here are my green and yellow scraps. Very late!

scrap baskets: pattern by Fiona at BubzRugz
When my laptop packed up in April this year salvaging what I could from it took a lot of time; time that otherwise would have been spent sewing. Instead of interesting sewing I was moving files to an extension drive or to the recycle bin. How boring! One thing that initially couldn't be salvaged was my camera software; officially it has to be reinstalled from the CD. An impossible task if your laptop doesn't have a CD drive! Fortunately my husband found a way of extracting the software from the old computer, but that was the last he did before wiping the laptop clean towards the end of July. So now I'm able to post my rainbow progress, such as it is.

Now I am no longer struggling with software and data I have time for sewing again and am now only two months behind with the RSC colours! I have no more Jacob's Ladder blocks to show, and no more wonky stars; to be honest I've been using scraps faster than generating them. I think those will have to wait until I've made more projects, but first I have more quilting to do

On Saturday I'm linking up to
grab button for SoScrappy

and on Sunday to
Quilting is more fun than Housework

Click on the buttons to visit there and see lots more beautiful scrappiness.

Happy sewing


Friday, 4 August 2017

Allietare! finished, at last

I have a second finish to report this week. This one was really a UFO, as it was the Quiltville mystery from December 2015 of which I finished the piecing well over a year ago. It took me another six months to get the borders done.

After my frustration while quilting Star Light, Star Dark I decided on simple all-over "circles-on-a-string" in the centre section which was so easy (but still with the odd pointed bit in a circle here or there!) and on a vine with leaves and bunches of grapes in the corners (a nod to Chianti here) for the outer border.

I could have used any colour thread on the border but because my quilting often has those erratic hooks in it I decided to match the thread to the border fabric. Have you ever tried sewing black on black? Well mistakes certainly wouldn't have been noticeable; when I finished the first leaf I couldn't see where it had begun. When you sew white on white the stitches have shadows; you can't see the shadows on black. It's a shame about the Chianti but it was not to be! More unpicking, and then I quilted "tramlines" with the walking foot - easy and .... boring!

Tramlines! Alas no Chianti!
I was really happy to have this finished and ready to be used this winter.

Fabric: assorted from stash, mostly scraps
Thread: Aurifil light grey (
Wadding: cotton from my LQS
Size 1.75m x 1.75m

I'm linking up to 
So pop over there and see what else has been finished this week.

Happy sewing