Friday, 19 August 2016
Yesterday I realised that it had been more than a month since I last touched my sewing machine! I could clearly hear it calling out to me, and decided to whip up a quick project: this cute Kombi van pencil case, made with a funky home dec fabric that I bought last year (couldn't resist it of course!).
I've added the case to my Etsy shop and hope to take my place at the sewing machine again soon. I am trying to master Adobe Illustrator to use it for designing patchwork quilts, and have just created a design that I would like to create IRL... Stay tuned!
Meanwhile I am also still knitting (and watching the Olympics) - the baby blanket is progressing steadily; about one quarter is done now.
And what have you been up to these days?
Monday, 15 August 2016
Welcome! I am happy to kick off the SAQA Oceania Blog Hop 2016.
SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) has a Benefit Auction of art quilts every year, and this year 36 Oceania members contributed a piece: the Oceania Collection.
The Auction starts on September 16th, and in the weeks leading up to it 16 Oceania members will show how their quilts were made and what inspired them to make them in the SAQA Oceania Blog Hop 2016. A full list of all participant artists can be found here on the SAQA Oceania blog.
This is my Auction piece, Colouring In:
I love the current trend of colouring books for grown-ups and have quite a pile of them:
When I was thinking about my contribution for this year's Auction, my eyes fell on this pile and I decided to quilt a colouring page. I started with plain white fabric. My favourite colouring-in books are the ones with geometric patterns, so I quilted a triangle grid using black Aurifil 50wt thread:
For the pencil strokes I wound a bobbin with Aurifloss embroidery thread and turned the quilt around to sew from the back. For the top thread I used a matching Aurifil 50wt thread.
I then used fabric in the same colour to appliqué a pencil shape:
Initially I had planned to use only one colour, but I decided that that wasn't enough, so added another one:
And then a few more:
And some more pencils:
Then I decided it was enough, and I finished the quilt with a facing finish. Here is a close-up of the colouring-in:
And the view from the back:
This is my fifth Auction quilt! Here are the four previous ones, clockwise from top left: Balance 1 (2010), Balance 3 (2011), Black and White #3 (2013) and Escape (2015).
Don't miss the next posting in this Blog Hop by Dale Rollerson on August 17th!
Thursday, 11 August 2016
I am still in knitting mode (perfect during the Olympics) and last week at the library I took out all the knitting books I could find. In one of them, Stitch Library by Claire Crompton, I found a pattern that looked familiar:
Baby blocks! It's one of my favourite quilt patterns, although I haven't dared to try it yet - too many Y seams... (I have made Baby Blocks trivets with felted wool though). I knitted a sample in this pattern and made it into a pincushion:
The pattern is really simple and I like it very much, so I've started a baby blanket for a baby that is expected in our family at the end of the year:
That'll keep me going for a while! I have also knitted my first beanie, for hubby. It's only a little too large...
Thursday, 4 August 2016
After my posting about knitting with t-shirt yarn last week, a few people asked me how I make yarn from t-shirts, so I thought I'd post a short tutorial. It's really simple!
First of all, obviously, get a t-shirt - one without side seams, so you will get yarn without seams. Old, well-washed shirts work best, so raid the closet or visit the thrift shop. Avoid shirts with large prints as the printed area usually does not curl up well (the print on the shirt in the photo below had almost disappeared and did not pose any problems). Also, make sure the shirts are made from single-knit jersey, as this fabric stretches easily and will curl when it is cut. Double-knit or interlock jersey will not curl, so will not yield the typical t-shirt yarn. (Ask me how I know)
Next, trim off the bottom hem and the top part of the shirt from armpit to armpit. To do this, I fold the shirt in half as shown in the photo below, leaving about 2'' (5 cm) uncovered:
... and, being a quilter, use my rotary cutter and ruler to cut off these parts. Of course you could also use a pair of fabric scissors.
Discard the bottom hem and the top part of the shirt. You now have a seamless tube of fabric with one side folded towards the other. Make sure you leave about 2'' (5 cm) uncovered. Cut the tube into strips that are 1-1.5'' (2.5 - 4 cm) wide, but stop cutting about 1'' (2.5 cm) before the end (where I have added the dotted line):
Now you need to unfold the tube and cut diagonally from one strip to the next to make continuous yarn. To do this, I find it easiest to hang the tube over one arm:
... and cut across as indicated in the photo below:
Cut the first strip to the edge of the tube to make the beginning of the yarn:
Let this strip drop and cut the next strip to the first one at the back, as shown below:
Continue like this until you have cut all strips
Now stretch the yarn to make it curl up:
... and roll it into a ball, ready to use for knitting, crochet or braiding. This medium-sized men's shirt yielded almost 20 yards (18m) of yarn!
Questions? I'm happy to help! Leave a comment (but don't forget to enter your email address so I can reply - it won't be visible to others) or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, 1 August 2016
I am very happy to present my latest quilt, Colourful Pencils!
Last year in November I discovered this original design from Harper and Charlie, a Melbourne-based graphic artist and illustrator (they are on Etsy as well, and have a fabulous Luna Park print). My first thought was that it would make a great pachwork quilt! I contacted them to ask their permission to make a quilt inspired by this design, and luckily they said yes!
I bought a rainbow roll-up with 18 5'' strips from Polka Dot Tea Fabrics:
After piecing the top using a neutral 50wt Aurifil thread (no. 2314), I heavily quilted it with lots of different 40wt Aurifil threads, in colours matching the fabrics. I love the effect on the quilt:
I have used Aurifil for quite a few years now (and built up quite a stash!) and am really happy with these threads. The colours are gorgeous, with a beautiful shine, the thread is very smooth, there's hardly any lint so they are a pleasure to sew with.
For the binding I used a lovely striped fabric:
The backing is the famous Britten Nummer fabric from Ikea, that I've had waiting in my fabric cupboard for more than a year:
The boys love the 3D effect of the quilt, and now that his Fly Away quilt is off to America, Colourful Pencils has taken its spot on the wall in Hugo's room:
I have written up the pattern for this quilt - it's quite simple, just squares, half-square triangles and appliquéd ovals. If you want to make your own version of the Colourful Pencils you can find it in my Craftsy pattern store.
Sunday, 31 July 2016
My knitting mania is still not over! While browsing knitting websites and blogs I came upon this pattern (in Dutch) for a cushion made with t-shirt yarn (also known as tarn). I realised I still have a basket full of t-shirt yarn after my braided rug project in 2013 (still not finished...) and began knitting with white tarn. When the first ball was knitted up, I dug through hubby's white shirts and cut up two old shirts. When those were gone I went to my local op shop (thrift shop) and found another one. Now that one is all used up as well, and I'm still only halfway!
I visited another three op shops, but none of them had any white shirts without side seams. It's winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, so op shops don't have many t-shirts on sale at the moment...
So I've put this project on hold for now and picked up my Josephine shawl in rainbow colours again:
What I love about knitting is that it's so portable - I can take it with me when my middle son has his acting class, and knit in the car while waiting for him. And at night I can knit and watch tv, or listen to an audiobook. Perfect!
Tuesday, 26 July 2016
Last year I made a Modern Lone Star quilt using the iconic Unikko (Poppy) print in nine different colourways. Unikko was designed by Marija Isola for the famous Finnish company Marimekko and became one of their most succesful fabrics - even though Marimekko's founder had sworn never to print floral fabrics!
After showing the quilt on my blog and on Instagram, quite a few people asked if I could publish the pattern. It took me a while, but I am happy to announce that it is now available for sale in my Craftsy pattern store and in my Etsy shop.
The back of the quilt is another gorgeous Marimekko print called Hetkiä (Moments), designed by Maija Louekari:
I quilted this Modern Lone Star (affectionately known as Starimekko) in straight lines through the diamonds, ½” from the seams, continuing in the white spaces outside the star, using a walking foot and white Aurifil 40wt thread:
It has a thin cotton batting, so it's a spring quilt - not warm enough in winter. Here it is on our bed last year - oh, I do love this quilt!
Monday, 18 July 2016
It's been cold and wet here in the past week, and the boys have all been sick, so I have been at home a lot and done a lot of knitting. My youngest son is very much into Harry Potter at the moment and asked if I could make him a Gryffindor scarf. Of course! I started it on Friday and he was overjoyed this morning when it was ready for him to wear it to school.
Hubby needed new slippers so I made him some with a blue and white yarn that I bought in Holland before we moved here. It was meant for a jumper for me, but I'm sure that will never get finished...
I decided to make some slippers for myself as well with 100% wool and felt them (in the washing machine). I'm really happy with how they turned out!
Now I can go back to my rainbow shawl:
I've been thinking that I really need a knitting needle case... Hmm, might go and see if I can find some nice fabric in my stash!