Saturday, 28 June 2014

Finally getting there

Right. I finally did it - I started quilting the pheasant quilt. It has no deadlines, so I probably will be having fun the whole July over it but who cares - I started it. 

It's not a show quilt, it will be tested by dogs and cats, so I'm not afraid of rough environment while making it - it must be ready for spinning in washing machine instead of gentle "dry clean" only approach so as it was a nice sunny day,  I got my sunbathing gear on and voila! Birds singing, butterflies passing and right beyond these little pines is sea.
Here, see - it's a proof! I do take holidays seriously, you know. 

Sometimes (only sometimes) life can be sooo good!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Free motion quilting

While in general I’m still doing nothing, there are others working hard for me. Yesterday I studied a bit of free motion quilting.... by sea. 
 I must admit, sea is an expert and creates some fantastic stuff even without a long arm machine. 

Look at these beauties!
So it is rather difficult to open the sewing machine still - competition is too hard! 
There are so many distractions – all around here is pine forest and as I have discovered, the first chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius) of the season are out! Yay! They are gorgeous in cream sauce. 

Och, and then there was the Summer Solstice to celebrate which we do all night long (the next day is public holiday here). Big bonfires, a lot of singing and dancing with ocassional beer and BBQ on the side... One must have time to recover after that, right?  
So I’m spending more time lurking around and watching the Nature doing all the jobs.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Medieval drawings

Holidays or not, I can’t sit all day long, contemplating my navel so I took few things with me on the camping trip, including my belowed sewing machine LOL.  
 I haven’t started jet but the big plan is to quilt the Pheasant quilt without usual rush and dedlines. I’m determinate to get quilting into my fingers.  Just imagine sitting at your sewing machine in sand dunes, overlooking the sea!

But for the interim I started playing  with the idea I was brewing for few years but never really had time for it. I admire Medieval paintings and drawings very much, especially the early period.
I have a quilt in mind to play with some Medieval style application. I definitely want to play a bit with needle turn applique and give hand quilting a try. I think all these things fit well together – Medieval art, needle turn applique with a bit of rough embroydery and hand quilting. 

For the beginning  I need a bit of medieval style to get in my fingers so I started with a rough copy of one of the Bestiary’s animals, just for some practice. It took me three days (and two seasons of Downton Abbey LOL) to go so far which probably means a block in two weeks. Maybe at the end I will run out of time and it will become my first lurking UFO but it has been a good fun so far.  

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Zen of doing nothing

This is what I call a rural beach. Look to left, look to right... Nobody. Nobody at all. Only sea, the fragnance of Platanthera bifolia, commonly known as the Lesser Butterfly-orchid, and ecstatic dogs zooming around.

At night I fell asleep, listening vawes crashing. Weather is not exactly the best but desolation is fantastic. Life is good. 

Right now it feels that art projects can wait for a day or two... or eternity LOL. Nature does it all and much better than me. Zen of stones and sand, music of sea, fragnance of orchids... Heaven for a lazy bum like me!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Whoop – whoop! Vacation time!

Yesss, that’s right. Tomorrow I’ll finish the last bits and then I’ll be off! Vacations! 

I can’t say that I’m jumping up in the air because I’m too tired right now but yes, holiday spirit is in the air.

Today I finished my last job before the overall laziness starts – tidied up my sewing room. You know – the off cuts hanging here and there, scrap bag full and shelves stacked with different bits and pieces. I really am not the tidiest person.

leftovers of leftovers went into the back, 
nothing left hanging around
So I just put all the off-cuts together yesterday and did the fast and very basic quilting today (appalling, I know), and now the room is much tidier and dogs will have a new settee cover to stretch out. Win-win situation except the blisters. 

After yesterday’s marathon of sewing I woke up this morning with three huge blisters in my right palm. After a thought or two (I’m not very good at that early in the morning) I come to conclusion that the blisters appeared because of ironing. Never ever had ironing blisters in my life (remember, I’m not the housekeeping goddess). 

For my holiday laziness I am planning to take with me few pieces of fabric and a needle – I’m planning to play around with some appliqué but you know how it is with holidays...

So in general I can officially admit that this is my last quilt until autumn.  Right now it's happily rolling in the washing machine and that's it then. Summer!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Tutorial for my H2H quilt top

This is actually a very easy pattern.
First of all, I buy fabric by metres, usually one metre or so. The standard width approx 160 cm.  My favourite tool for measuring/cutting is 1m metal ruler, 4 cm width. 

For this pattern I used 5 colours, cut in stripes 2:1:2 (the red stripe is 4 cm, the rest – 8 cm in width, the length is approx 160 cm for this fabric) . 

So I sew 3 strips together, leaving the red in middle.

Then I measure the width of the sewn together strip – approx 18 cm in this case.

Next step – I make a paper square, 18 cmX18 cm. Using the paper square, I draw lines and cut the stripe in squares (8 squares out of one stripe in my case, about an inch leftover). 
For my quilt I made 4 stripes of gray/beige and 4 stripes of grey/green, keeping the middle stripe the same red. 

So now you must have 32 squares of one colour scheme, and 32 with another. (If you are a precise cutter, that’s it, if you are like me, then I recommend to go over the cut squares by another paper square 16X16 cm for more precise job, and cut the uneven bits off. Oh, and ironing, of course!). 

Divide squares of each colour scheme in two, then cut 16 squares diagonally one way and other 16 – the other way.   
Don’t cut all the squares one way – remember, half one way, half – the opposite! 

Now just decide which combination you like and sew the diagonal cut together. 

You must end with a square something like this. 

The rest is easy – join the blocks by 4, using the same narrow red stripe, then new, large blocks again by 4, still using the red stripe for joint, and voila – top is ready.

When you are at final 4 large blocks, you can also decide to change orientation and end up with a centre orientated pattern, if you like.

Monday, 2 June 2014


My after-after-wedding recovery is over and the top of my H2H quilt is done. Why only top? There are two major reasons - shipping costs and my quilting skills.

First of all, quality of my quilting is still very poor. Yes, it is improving, but still far from bearable. I believe that giving a crap as a present is totally wrong - the people who will be recieving H2H quilts, have had enough troubles in their lives already, I do not want to add one more. So Sarah agreed to do the quilting from the beginning which I'm really thankful for. If not such offer to help, I wouldn't dare to participate. I know my limits.

The second is shipping costs.  The full quilt would be way over 50 bucks by snailmail from here to US and for me it's not reasonable. For that amount I can buy one on Etsy for H2H project right in US but then there would be no fun for me.

So... It's only a top which will be turned into a quilt on American ground. Because of this (only half of the project is mine) I'll let Sarah decide which charity it goes to.