Tuesday, December 28, 2010

improvisational quilting

This could very well become my first completed quilt. All four blocks of it. (Not counting the wonky star block on the back.)

I was about to cut some orange, red and pink striped fabric for the binding when my son freaked on me. "It doesn't go!" And so it will be a boring blue binding for this teeny tiny mini-quilt. But at least it's doable, which is more than I can say for the other, near forgotten one.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Now that I have caught the quilting bug I can't stop thinking about design and fabric and piecing techniques.

Sadly, I put away the quilt I started because I'd been looking at it so long I couldn't stand it anymore and the white fabric I bought for the sashing is wrong, all wrong. I couldn't decide between white and off-white or even whether maybe it would be fun to use a color or a pattern, but I ended up just going with white because it seemed like the simplest solution and I would definitely be able to make use of the scraps.

It looked awful. Really, really awful, even after just sewing two strips between the three blocks in the bottom row. At least the white will come in handy elsewhere.

G says to use an off-white, but I feel like that would be so dreary and also make the quilt look dirty. I am thinking a pale green, like Kona celery (and again, I don't know because I've only seen it on the computer screen), but that would mean buying more fabric and I am not buying anymore fabric at least until the fabric I've already bought arrives. If I don't draw a line - no exceptions! - my purchases will spiral out of control.

So, the blocks have been folded away until I reach a decision and buy more fabric. I have a feeling though that when my new fabric does make its way to Italy, other projects will take priority, like the little Birch Organic car quilt I promised my son and the Art Gallery quilt I have been busy designing.

I think I am a little obsessed.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

done and done

We spent a lot of the weekend at home and everything was so nice and quiet I had plenty of time to spend in my sewing room.

The tablecloth was so so easy and I love the way it looks even though it is in the local mountain style, tirolese which is not usually our thing. A lot of people around here, especially up in the mountains, have fully embraced it, and the fabrics are beautiful and in a very soft cotton weave that I do find appealing, but I don't think I could do all my upholstery, curtains, linens, etc. all in the tirolese style. We don't really have anything that traditional but I think for Christmas it works really well and this fabric is so bright and happy. We will use it for our Christmas day brunch.

I also made this little book mouse for our babysitter's mother, who is a librarian. She is French and visited us a few months ago. When she saw the animals I was making for the school market, she asked if I'd make one for her. So here she is, complete with a book in her pocket.

These are from Kata Golda's "Hand-Stitched Felt" and they are so easy for me to make now - I can do them in a little over an hour from start to finish if there are no interruptions. That has yet to happen, of course. But still, they are fun and sweet and I love how each one is different. I hope the recipient likes hers.

Friday, December 17, 2010


  • Elf hats for the school Christmas pageant: done! (but not pictured because I finished them about five minutes before I had to take them to the school)

  • Stockings for my sons: done!

  • Holiday tablecloth: more than halfway there.

  • Stuffed animal requested by our babysitter's mother months and months ago: not even started.
And once I get all that done, I can finally get back to my neglected shabby chic quilt. I am hoping to spend some quality time with it this weekend, Christmas shopping permitting. And only if my little helper will let me:

Here he is hiding in the sewing room closet, right where I used to keep the batting.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the dangers of online shopping

The fabric I ordered in November arrived last week. 

It was a lot like a surprise because I wasn't sure how much it would actually resemble the little pictures on the website. Ordering fabric online is a little strange that way. It's hard to get an idea of the size of the pattern and how do you know if the your monitor is off and you're seeing the wrong colors?

You don't.

But it all worked out regardless. I love the fabric. I love it so much in fact that it only took a few days for me to begin to lose my self restraint and go back to see what else was available.

First, I promised myself I'd only browse. But I really don't have much of a fabric stash since I just started out with this sewing obsession hobby. Before I knew it, I'd decided on a few more fabrics and was placing another order.

And then another.

And then there was that one last order last night before going to bed. I couldn't help it. I found a Sherbet Pips charm pack on etsy even though they weren't supposed to become available until the spring. It was so whimsical, so sweet. I had to have it. But no, I shouldn't. Then I watched while one of the two packs listed was purchased before my very eyes. That was it. I nabbed the other.

Now that I have more fabric on the way, I have a bunch of new projects to think about! A quilt for my sons and I already know who is getting the lovely red and aqua quilt I'm planning to make out of last night's impulse buy. Oh, I can't wait for all those packages to arrive!

And in the meantime I am not allowed to buy any more fabric.

name change

I realized there is another blog with the same name. Apparently I'm not as original as I thought.

So I will be moving everything over to a new blog, to be known generically as My Other Blog until I can think of a name.

Updated: OK. The deed is done.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Wouldn't you know it. About two hours after I complained about having to wait so long for that fabric to arrive, it did. And it is so lovely.

It is very different from the Italian fabric I am using now. The colors are brighter, the patterns more modern, and as tempting as it is to put away the blocks I've done and start something new and fresh, I am still prodding along with the Blimunda quilt.

The blocks have already been ironed and I have been playing around with them. I had them arranged like this temporarily when my husband came in to see what I was up to. He ended up switching everything around and it looks so much nicer now that I think I will keep his arrangement.

At this point the quilt is much bigger than I initially thought it would be. It is going to end up big enough for a single bed or to fit all of our small family snug on the couch. I bought some white for the border and backing, along with batting. I am going to do thin strips of white around the blocks and a white backing with one 12-cm strip (or two?) all the way across the back made up of my scraps from the blocks.

I am thinking I will quilt it in a grid through the blocks. I like the way the squares will look when the quilting lines run on each side of the ditch, about one or two centimeters away from it, almost highlighting the points where the different fabrics meet. And then once I've done that, I might do some handquilting around each block in yellow, orange or green Perle cotton thread because I think that would look pretty and sort of be in keeping with the shabby chic look I am going for at this point. Actually, I am really looking forward to the handquilting part.

Not that I haven't enjoyed this whole process because it is so relaxing, but also exciting at the same time. I love the way the fabrics look next to each other once they are sewn and pressed.

And then I think I might pick up some more of that orange fabric for the binding. My husband says to use the pale green stripes, but I wouldn't mind using that bright orange. It's not gingham, but almost, and has a faint green line running through it which I just love. I could handstitch the binding on with green thread and it would be a very sweet way to close up my sandwich.

But that is not going to happen anytime soon. I have yet to finish the stockings and my son's teacher has asked me to sew the gnome hats for the Christmas play, which of course takes priority over everything right now...

Friday, December 10, 2010


As I slowly (but surely!) piece together the top of my first quilt, I am beginning to think about a border, backing and binding. I have been to a couple local fabric stores to browse, but I haven't seen anything very promising and the prices are so expensive. The cheapest cotton quilting fabrics are at least €18/metre! The ones I favor are more than that, and I don't even care for those all that much.

And then on top of that I am having mixed feelings about my quilt. It's the color scheme, mainly, which is all over the place. (What was I thinking?) I am beginning to toy with the idea of adding a small off-white or tangerine border all around the squares. Or else just around the outside. Maybe that would tie it all together? Or, quite possibly, make it worse. And it would just add to the amount fabric I need ...

In the meantime, I am still waiting for my beautiful fabric to arrive from the US. I ordered it in November and it was supposedly shipped on the 20th. The cost is a small fraction of what I would have paid for anything remotely similar here, but the wait is long.

Monday, December 6, 2010

two felt bags

for two young girls.

These are for our babysitter's cousins in France, aged eight and ten.

my first mistakes

I have cut all my squares for the blocks and I really like it! So I might not be in love with the color scheme and I can see where I could have chosen fabrics I like a little bit more, or just bought more of my favorites and left out the ones I don't care for so much, but I think it will work out anyway.

Also, I calculated wrong and made my squares too big! They will end up 12 cm instead of 10. The blocks are much bigger than I had planned for!

Oh well, it will be nice to have a larger quilt anyway.