Dienstag, 3. September 2013

Monday Morning Star Count

Admittedly I haven't much to show you this Monday. Not because I didn't do something - on the contrary - but because it gets more and more difficult to show you without a photo.

What I accomplished: I squared the top up, basted the backing and started to quilt. As for the quilting, a sketch will have to do. Doesn't it always?
This is what I plan.(and partially already made)

I'm not certain yet, if I want to quilt the "piece of land" that comes in from the top in some way. Maybe I'll do something angular.

Even though we don't have any more Monday Morning Star Counts this year, I will keep you updated via WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced, and via TGIFF. The "Big Reveal" will take place at the beginning of October.

Donnerstag, 29. August 2013

Thoughtful (Technique) Thursday - The Papers (sewing templates)

By now, I have the feeling of having gotten acquainted with the blogging world. Seeing that many EPPers struggle with problems I know only too well from my mainly self-taught history, I thought, I'd spend some Thursdays to share my thoughts on techniques and material, design and quilting.

Let's start with the base of all EPP: The Papers.
You could think, there was nothing much to say about Papers. I think, actually, that this is one of the more important things in EPPing since it influences how the entire piece handles.

What possibilities do you have? There are a lot, actually.

- Newspaper. The cheapest solution, often sewn through.

- "Normal" printer paper. Definiely the easiest solution when using shapes off the Internet, from incompetech or other sites. (Try out http://www.kunstundmarkt.com/schablonen.html, it's German, but I like it a lot since it's got almost every shape you might ever need and you can save the pdfs to print again and again and...)

- Thin cardboard. With a grammage of about 120g/m² most modern printers can use it, it's resistable and my fave for self-made papers. Many die cut papers (paperpieces.com and prettyanduseful) are from paper of this grammage. Re-usable for several times, depending on the size, the shape and how you handle them. I'd say ten times is the minimum.

- Coated paper. Used by Patchwork with Busyfingers it is very good for the glue-basting method since the glue easily will separate from the paper.

- Mylar. Also known as Quilt Patis or Brandy's pieces, these are almost indestructible. Unfortunately they're thicker as most cardboard and don't bend well. Personally, I don't really like them.

- Overhead transparency. Never heard of that? I didn't find it on the internet, but I tried it myself. You can print on those transparencies, they are easily cut by scissors, feel about as stable as thin cardboard and are not thicker. You can bend and even fold them and they are re-usable beyond belief. Oh, and if you use the laser-printable variety, they even stand ironing.

Myself? - either I'm using thin cardboard (die cut where available, I'm lazy) or laser printable overhead transparencies for my works. I do have some of the Patchwork with Busyfingers papers and as long as I'm glue-basting I'm okay with them. I don't like them for thread-basting, though, and that is my preferred method of basting.

What I found out really fast is, that as long as you cut along the lines, the self-made templates are as consistent as die-cut ones. The tenth-millimeter you are off on your self-cut ones? Ignore it. The fabric will be thicker in the end :D

Dienstag, 27. August 2013

Tuesday morning Star Count

I didn't get it finished on Monday Morning. Not even on Monday evening when I'm honest since last night was spent at a phantastic concerto instead of sewing. When the MD's secretary comes in waving four tickets to a Prokofieff and Dvorak concerto, for free, "It's just, it starts in two hours..." Who'd say no? I didn't. And spent a great evening. Not sewing.

But: I only have to close one seam and add six pieces, then it's done. Since I easily will do that tonight, here's what I managed. 111 pieces pieced as today, if I take the picture below we're at 117 pieces and finished.
Now you should have all the pieces in the puzzle to put the square design together. Admittedly, due to fabric constraints (ten fat quarters are more than enough for this, but you have to make colouring compromises if you've sort of over-used one colour. Which I did in my design.) I had to rework the exact colouring scheme on where to use which colour.
When I'm done piecing tonight, I'll have almost three weeks left for the quilting. I think, that'll be enough for a 24" x 24" thingy. Even though I plan this to be my first real attempt at Trapunto quilting. Naaah, nothing as complicated as stuffed feathers. I merely decided to stuff the fifteen namegiving patches so they don't only stand out colourwise.

See you next WIP Wednesday?

Mittwoch, 21. August 2013

WIPs galore...

Isnt't that every quilters destiny? For every finish there's at least two new WIPs. I finished one of my Birmingham "children", the little mug rug, but there's still some more to do. The Mystery Project, of course, which is going rather well and hopefully completely pieced by this weekend.

Then, there's my first art quilt, started under the tutelage of Sophie Furbeyre who has a solo exhibition at Val d' Argent this year.

This one - when finished - will be my Holiday Memories Mini Quilt, since it will remind me of the great day working with Sophie. Presently I plan to add a little more red and to cut back on the black tulle with a soldering iron.

Life sometimes running in strange ways, maybe, one day I'll teach Sophie how to tat :D She wore a waistcoat during the class whose ornaments strongly reminded me of tatting. I asked her if she ever tried to combine tatting and patchwork and she told me she didn't know how to tat and found it rather difficult. I promised her that I would teach her how to make the first ring within one hour and she told me that she might try that promise one day...

But back to my WIPs... there still are two cushion plates to finish from the Sunday morning workshop with Karin Hellaby - Curvaceous windows.
This one is done so far, it only needs a border to be finished.

 Rather than being curvaceous, these are sew simple attic windows.

Playing around with the possibilities Karins technique offers, I started on "fabrigami" and folded wildly around. We all liked this variety very much.

 It needs a a button in the middle, and the horizontal and vertical red lines will be curved in. There also still is a border to be made, but I'm not entirely sure how I will do that in the end.

Hope to meet you all at WIP wednesday at Freshly Pieced to see, what you have under the needle at present.

Montag, 19. August 2013

Post-Birmingham Monday Morning Star Count #4

Seems like I've still got soooo much to tell you about the NEC exhibition at Birmingham, but vacation's caught me up and I don't think that there will be more than some pieces whenever I've got a finish or something pops up in my mind.
First of all, the quilt I entered, you remember?  This one:

First of all: we did get judged, yeah!!! And won three "Excellent", quite encouraging, don't you think?

During our stay, I wrote something about our workshop with Paula Doyle. I managed to turn the little sample into a mug rug, using the binding-less backing technique she described to us. Here it is.
 I just quilted a little in the ditch... Too glad we got a pattern for a handbag and Paulas book... I will have to do that again :)

And now, last but not least, the Monday Morning Star Count to be liked with Life under Quilts - which to be honest is to be a "monday evening star count" since I'm only now done...

 A little teaser first... this is my "workbook" with a lot of pre-cut pieces showing the "true colours" of my little project.
 And here's what I managed to sew during the last two weeks. Yes. I know. I wanted to be done. But reality caught up with me and I needed the time during the holidays to just plain relax.
114 pieces done, which brings me up to 230 pieces done, with 117 still to go. I'm convinced to be finished with the top by next week's monday.

Donnerstag, 15. August 2013

That last day at Birmingham and all the remaining vacation days...

I know, I promised you some more Birmingham stories. But actually, this post is just a quick "I'm still alive".

On the fourth day of Birmingham festival we took a class with Karin Hellaby on "Curvaceous Windows" where we learned to do a lot of things with the good old Attic Windows block. I managed to almost finish two cushion size tops which I will have to show you next post... the "good" camera doesn't go with my tablet.

After that, we did some final shopping, got our quilts back and then stayed the last night at Birmingham. The next day we drove to Shrewsbury (a must-see for all the Brother Cadfael fans out there...) and from there to Welshpool, where we took quarters in the most amazing of farm B&Bs you can imagine. Tynllwyn farm is sited on a hill out in the (almost) nowhere and the perfect place to just relax.

Of course we did some trips starting there, visiting the Welsh Quilt Center at Lampeter, enjoying a Steam Train trip in Llangollen and traipsing through Powys castle. Too sad, the vacation's over and we return to Germany tomorrow. I'll embellish this post with a lot of pictures then. Promise.

Samstag, 10. August 2013

Two more days at the festival of quilts

Saturday evening. What???? Already?
Yes, it is. Yesterday I spent all day in class with Sophie Furbeyre, an art quilter of a certain fame here in Europe. She actually managed to overcome my prejudices on the genre and I happily worked on my first art quilt in her class titled "Paint and draw with fabric". And that's what we did. First we painted on Tyvek, then we applied the heat gun to quite a number of different artificial fibers and then we combined all this on top of a piece of white fabric. Along the way I made my first experiences on free-motion quilting, since that was how we were to sew the quilt together. One more WIP...

 It still needs some serious quilting and addition of further pieces of red. And, of course, batting and backing.

On our third day on the festival, we "only" had the plans to attend two lectures. The first one in the morning was with Marti Michell, "Quilting in Sections". We learned quite a lot and after this lecture I think that we'll be doing 99% of our quilting ourselves since she told us about so many tricks that make elaborate quilting possible on a domestic machine.

We went for a quick lunch and were moving through the exhibition, when we recognized another face sitting behind a table. Tula Pink was presenting her quilting and autographing her books. A chance we couldn't let pass by, don't you think? We bought some of her SaltWater collection fabrics in the turquoise colourway and Ellen got herself a book.

Wandering around, we passed by the booth of Margaret Beal (for the n'th time...) and I finally fell completely in love with her fusing and cutting processes. End of the game? Even though I hadn't planned on it, I'll fly back to Germany with her book, a soldering iron and a handfull of rulers. Not to forget the fabrics.
Enough for one day? Hmmm... yeah, that's what I would have thought, too. We went to the lecture of Kaffe Fassett, "Glorious Colour" - and enjoyed it hugely. I expanded my view on colour quite a bit and gave me the good feeling that simply following one's gut feeling isn't the worst idea when designing quilts.

Of course you can't just leave after such a lecture without a handfull of fabrics, above all when they're so attractively priced. I started out with one fabric, as I do most of the time and started combining suitable ones. When I had a bunch of five chosen fabrics, a male voice asked from the side "Can I help you?" Not thinking of anything since there were so many shop assistants running around the Cotton Patch booth that I simply voiced my thoughts "I'd like something violet-ish to go with these." Only then I turned to see that the question had come from Brandon Mably. I gulped. But he simply nodded and took a closer look at my selection. For a short explanation - the three on the left were my choice. I had a green and a blue shot cotton to go with them. His first suggestion was to let go of the shot cottons and replace them by the rightmost fabric. I liked that much better too. Then, for the violet, he suggested the second fabric from the right which has quite some violet, even though you don't really see it on this picture.
Here you are with today's "Designer Approved" selection of Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics that will make a gorgeous Japanese Folding Technique handbag.

You know what's the best? There's one more day to come! And... I wouldn't bet what adventures this one might bring.