Friday 26 December 2014

Thinking of Holland 2 - Haamstede

A few months ago a Dutch friend who lives in Sydney asked if I could make a wall hanging for her husband. She had seen my Thinking of Holland quilt and wanted to know if I could do a piece featuring the lighthouse of Haamstede, a place in Holland where her husband has spent many happy days.

I have never visited Haamstede, but I was familiar with the lighthouse, because it used to be on the 250 guilders note, before Holland switched to euros (not that I had that note in my wallet very often...).

I started by making the lighthouse, and then (during the retreat last month) auditioned fabrics for the background - the sky, the sea, the dunes...

After piecing the background together I was ready to quilt the piece, using mainly my favourite Aurifil threads:

I used different quilting patterns for the different layers. I really like the sea and the sky:

This is the back of the quilt:

I am planning a third Thinking of Holland quilt - featuring the Martini Tower in my beloved city of Groningen :-)

Saturday 13 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Photography by Colin Bushell

Tomorrow we fly to Indonesia where we will spend two days in Jakarta before we travel on to the Netherlands, to celebrate Christmas with our family - for the first time in seven years! I am so looking forward to this trip.

I made the curvy Christmas table runner with matching placemats for my mother-in-law - it is a project in the current issue of Down Under Quilts (168). The wall hanging on the cover was made by Charlotte Scott from New Zealand - isn't it gorgeous?

I'm taking my laptop with me and will try to blog when we are in the Netherlands. I don't think it will happen before Christmas though, so I would like to wish you all Merry Christmas (or happy holidays, if you prefer). Thanks for reading this blog - I hope you will continue to do so in 2015!

Take care,

Saturday 29 November 2014

BVAC Pop Up Shop

Last weekend I took part in the BVAC Pop Up Shop at the Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, together with fellow Queensland Quilters Mel (in photo above), Jane R, Jane W and Chris. It was great fun - I sold quite a few things (mainly  pencil rolls and postcards), it was nice and cool in the airconditioned room, and I got a lot of my Christmas shopping done!

We are going home to the Netherlands for Christmas - I had planned to make presents for family and friends, but just didn't have the time, so buying handmade presents is the next best thing, right?

Friday 14 November 2014

Quilting retreat!

A week ago I was packed and ready to go on a quilting retreat! My friend Rens picked me up and we drove via Gatton (where there was a Christmas craft market) to Edmund Park, near Thornton in the Lockyer Valley. This was the view we had over the Great Dividing Range:

It was the same place as three years ago, again organised by Julie. It did look a bit greener then...

The beautiful jacaranda was in bloom again...

And there were still lots of wallabies:

Here is Rens, working on a quilt for a friend:

Apart from the Dutch post bag that I showed in the previous posting, I worked on three projects:

The blue squares are scraps of my favourite fabrics. There weren't enough for a quilt, so I made a cushion. I love it! (and so do the boys)

Remember the pencil roll I made last year from a kilt I found at the op shop? I gave it to a friend after she told me loved it (yes, if friends or family tell me they love my stuff there is a good chance they end up getting it!). I still had most of the kilt and one more clasp, so I finally made another pencil roll - had been planning that for ages! Think I will keep this one myself :-)

The third project I worked on is a quilt I am making for a friend. I will show it here soon in a separate posting.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

PTT Post Bag

I am very happy to be able to show you this bag! I finally found the courage to cut up the vintage Dutch post bag that my best friend gave me when we  were in Holland in 2012:

(The text above the Dutch tricolour says 'property ptt post' in Dutch, the text below 'post netherlands 84' in French. PTT used to be the postal service in the Netherlands)
I adjusted the Alice Book Bag pattern that I used to make my mail bag(see previous post) to include the Dutch text and the tricolour on the flap, and the French text on the back of the bag:

I made two large exterior pockets (for sunglasses and hand cream) using a piece of coloured fabric:

I lined the bag with... another polka dot fabric!

And created lots of interior pockets - for wallet, keys, mobile phone, business card case etc:

I made the strap from the remaining fabric and broke a few needles trying to attach it to the bag...

I showed it via Skype to my friend (who is living with her family in New Zealand at the moment, we are planning a visit for Easter 2015!). She loved it and asked if I could make one for her as well!
Umm yes... - maybe I can buy another bag when we are in Holland in December...

I made this bag last weekend at a quilting retreat  - did I tell you I was going to a retreat?  No, I don't think I did... I'll show some photos of the venue and the other projects I worked on in the next posting!

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Mail bag

On the weekend I finished a new quilt. I can't show it here yet, as it is a present for our new niece or nephew who will be born in December, when we are in Holland! So exciting. As usual after finishing a quilt I felt like making a small item, so I made this bag.

It is the Alice Book Bag by Betz White - one of the patterns I won in her Sew-Long Summer Sew-along. I used this gorgeous fabric that a dear friend gave me the last time we were in the Netherlands, and lined it with a red polka dot fabric.

I changed the pattern a bit - I didn't use grommets for the strap and put the exterior pocket on the front instead of the back.

It was a quick and easy make - Betz' patterns are well written and easy to follow. Now I want to make a similar but larger bag with the Dutch post bag that my best friend gave me, so stay tuned!

Saturday 25 October 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival Fall 2014

Amy from Amy's Creative Side is once again hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival. In 2013 I entered my favourite quilt, Cycle of Life, in the Art Quilt category. Now I have a new favourite, so I am entering this one, Fly Away!

Regular readers of this blog have seen it here recently, for I made it only a few months ago. It is inspired by a photo of my eldest son Hugo (11), taken at the Australian Gymnastics Championships in Melbourne in May 2014, by a photographer of WinkiPoP Media (you can see the original photo here).

This is the largest art quilt I have made so far - it measures 95 x 131 cm (37 x 51.5 inch). It was densely machine quilted on my small Janome, which was quite a struggle!

The image is made using raw-edge appliqué on a whole-cloth background. For a detailed account of how I made this quilt (including all the unpicking I had to do!) click here.

This is Hugo with the quilt:

He started doing gymnastics in 2009, when he was 6 years old. He is now training six times a week and this was the first year he was selected to represent Queensland at the national championships in the Under 12 age group (the youngest category). I'm so proud of him! Here is a video of his rings routine - the photo was taken at the dismount:

Do check out the other quilts in the Art Quilt category and don't forget to vote for your favourite in the first week of November!

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Friday 17 October 2014

Lavender bags

A few weeks ago I received some lavender branches when I bought something at a market stall. I dried them and digged up some of the leftover squares from my Lilac Baby Quilt (which has been sold to a customer in Canada, how exciting is that?!). Using plain calico for the back, I made some lavender bags:

They smell divine and look so pretty!

Sadly I've now run out of lavender. May try to grow some in our garden!

Meanwhile there is a lot of purple everywhere you look in Brisbane at the moment, as we are in the middle of the jacaranda season. Here is a collage of some photos I made in the last few days. Enjoy!

Thursday 9 October 2014

The making of Fly Away

Today I visited the Queensland Quilt Show, and was thrilled to see my quilt Fly Away hanging there!
I promised to write a bit more about the making of this quilt, so here goes. As you know, it started with this photo, made by the photographers of WinkiPoP Media at the Australian National Championships in Melbourne in May 2014:

I enlarged the photo using Block Posters and printed it:

Then I traced the different parts of the image and searched for matchings fabrics in my stash:

I used fusible webbing (Vliesofix) to iron the fabric pieces onto the background fabric:

With all the pieces fused in place the quilt was ready to be sandwiched. No sewing done yet!

Choosing the threads - I always use Aurifil threads for quilting:

And finally the sewing machine gets a workout! I started on the leotard:

Next some heavy free-motion quilting on the hands:

And on the rings:

Hmmm, not a good idea to do a lot of free-motion quilting before the surrounding area has been quilted.... Here a lot of unpicking was done:

After quilting the body and the rings I started on the background quilting. Again some unpicking was in order:

But finally I got it right:

I had been putting off quilting the hair as I didn't really know how to do that. Finally it couldn't be avoided any longer, and after another good look at the photo I decided to use two fabrics, to depict the light falling on Hugo's hair:

I am quite happy with the quilting I did here:

After finishing the background quilting (which took many, many hours) the quilt was ready to be cut to size:

A facing finish and a hanging sleeve were added:

Finished! Or not?

I wasn't happy with the the body and decided to add the sign on the back after all. I cropped the photo and printed the image below on fabric:

I cut out the sign and fused it to the quilt, then quilted it. I also added some more quilting to the body.