Week 22/2018: What did I buy?

I recently joined the Dutch Modern Quilt Guild. I had somehow missed that the MQG now has a Dutch guild, probably because I had other things on my mind last year. On Sunday, I am going to my first gettogether which is very conveniently held in Leiden!

We will be having a workshop to work on a charity quilt for Quiltcon 2019 so, naturally, I want to bring my sewing machine. I got myself this very neat Tutto Machine On Wheels to carry my machine! Even though I haven’t done much more than unfold it and put my machine inside, I am already pretty chuffed about this trolley. I got size M and as you can see my sewing machine fits nicely inside, even with its hard cover. There are also plenty of additional pockets to bring tools and supplies. My small cutting mat even fits in one of the side pockets so I think I’ll be able to bring everything I need in order to have some quilting fun this weekend.

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I am looking forward to some shared adventures!

 

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Completed: Sewaholic Belcarra blouse

180527_1We are having some warm weather and I wore my first (unblogged) Sewaholic Belcarra blouse this week. It made me realize that I would like to have another one because the loose fit makes it very comfortable to wear when it’s hot. Because I had already made this top once before the construction was quite straightforward and I was able to complete it in a weekend.

For my first version I had made a muslin (size 8) and on my traced pattern moved the shoulder seam forward, which is a standard adjustment for me, and made a horizontal slice above the bust to drop the front a bit to reduce draglines.

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Because the shoulder seams have a curve I folded the front sleeve to remove some width and sliced through the back sleeve to add the amount that I removed from the front.

The fabric is the sacred seeds Mojave fabric from April Rhodes Wanderer collection for ArtGallery. I really like this colour and the subtle V-shape pattern. It’s a colour I don’t wear often so it also adds a bit of variation to my (very blue) wardrobe.

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The wide neckline is also not something I wear often, I considered narrowing it, but after trying on the muslin I decided that I could live with the occasional bra strap peeking out. If you can’t, there is a tutorial on the Sewaholic blog on how to narrow it.

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The blouse was sewn on my sewing machine and the seam allowances were finished with my overlocker. I did have one mishap when I overlocked the seam of one of the front sleeves as I caught some of the sleeve fabric. Luckily I hadn’t yet overlocked the seam of the front so I could easily remove the sleeve, cut a new one and continue. I do feel so stupid when this happens.

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I am not the only one this happens to, right?

 

The only real downside to these tops is that they really need to be ironed before I can wear them and even then I don’t get them completely wrinkle free, but that’s probably mostly due to my ironing skills…

Completed: Ombre equilateral triangle quilt

180407_3When Vannessa Christenson from V and co. released her first fabric collections for Moda, I was intrigued by the ombre fabrics in her lines, so I bought a yard of each of the 7 colourways. It took a while before I dared cut into them.

For my first quilt with these fabrics I used chartreuse, plum, blue, orange and grey and combined these with 2 flowery prints from my stash that I thought fit with these colours.

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Front, quilted but unbound.

I cut a whole bunch of equilateral triangles from each fabric using an equilateral triangle ruler (really, if you want to make something like this get yourself a dedicated ruler, it makes your life at least ten times easier). At first I just threw the triangles onto my design wall and didn’t really like it that much because it seemed a bit too messy. When I placed them in a diagonal dark to light gradient I started to like it a whole lot more and cut even more triangles to achieve the effect that I was after.

The assembly of this quilt was no walk in the park. I had to unrip it several times because I realized I had made some mistakes in the layout, certainly learning a lesson about being a bit more patient when I am making something and letting the design sink in first before I run to my sewing machine.

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Can you spot the differences with the final lay out that you can see in the next picture? Do you also see that the left part is already pieced here?

Unripping is not something I enjoy so this caused some quite extensive delays. I knew I had to do it because the mistakes bothered me too much but I kept putting it off. The unripping probably also caused some of the triangles to stretch out a bit because in some parts it became quite difficult to match the corners.

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The sun was a bit too harsh when we took pictures of the finished quilt.

For the back I kept the piecing a bit simpler. I didn’t have anything in my stash big enough that I liked, but I still had quite a bit of the ombre fabrics left and decided to make a jelly roll race quilt. Instead of cutting 2.5’’ strips I cut mine 3’’. It turned out slightly too small so I added a strip to the bottom and top to make it tall enough.

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Back, quilted but unbound. The quilting lines are easier to see on the back.

Batting is Hobbs Tuscany Wool/Cotton blend and I quilted it with a light and dark grey Gütermann Sulky thread following some of the patterns that I saw in the design. I quite like how this turned out. For the binding I used a light grey fabric with a subtle print.

It took a while to get this quilt done but I am glad I persevered. It has already been given to a sweet little girl.

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Week 20/2018: What’s on my design wall?

I am now much happier with this quilt backing than I was last week. The changes that I made are not huge but I think they make a difference. I cut some fabric from the left side and sewed that to the top. Last time I had a partial improv border at the bottom that is now less high and I also added it to the left side. I am going to look at it for a couple more days but I’m fairly certain that this is what I’ll end up using for the quilt. Next up: basting, auditioning of threads and picking a quilting design!

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The beginning of a knee hole mending journey

I try to mend my clothes if they still have some life left in them and if the repair ends up almost invisible. Items can be left on the mending pile for quite a while though because creating something new generally appears far more exciting than mending something that is already there.

I’ll have to change my tactics though. My daughter currently crawls faster than her shadow and as a result the knees of her trousers get a good workout. A couple of weeks ago she came home from daycare with her first hole in a pair of trousers. Since she’s still growing quite quickly, leaving something on the mending pile for say, a year, isn’t really an option if I still want her to wear it afterwards.

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The offending hole.

I debated whether it would be worth to try to fix these trousers and last weekend I gave it a try. I didn’t think I’d be able to mend a hole this size in a knit fabric invisibly so I went for a patch. I don’t really like to use patches on the outside of my own clothes, but for kids clothing I think it can be fun.

I cut a heart shaped patch from a scrap of red jersey fabric that was attached using a running stitch using a very strong Gütermann upholstery thread. It didn’t take long to create this patch and she has already gotten one extra wear out of these trousers. I have no idea how durable this method of mending is.

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I considered adding a patch to the other knee as well but that would have more than doubled the repair time since I would have had to carefully place it in exactly the same spot on the other leg.

So, my knee hole fixing journey has started. I expect there will be many more repairs to come in the next couple of years. I plan to try different methods of mending to see which methods work best and to keep things interesting for myself. Do you have any tips for durable mending methods?

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Inside view of the repair. The edge of the patch is a bit closer to the hole than I would have liked, I think the fabric shifted when I sewed it on.

Week 19/2018: What’s on my design wall?

After auditioning some different border colours in Photoshop for my Cherrywood project, I decided on dark blue as that appeared to maintain the energetic feeling of the pieced part best. I am now waiting for the fabric to arrive, so time to start on something else!

A while back I finished a baby quilt top but it still needs a backing before I can start quilting. It’s not coming along as smoothly as I would like. I am not so sure that I like what I have so far.

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My very first quilt or how I started quilting

My first quilt never made an appearance on this blog because it was made before I started blogging. Since I am doing some catching up right now I figured I might as well show some pictures of it. This quilt has lived on our couch ever since it was completed and it still makes me happy when I look at it. 180502_6I started sewing after taking a beginners sewing class in 2009. At first I mostly made clothing and bags. Quilting I associated with old-fashioned, a lot of hand sewing and a lot of brown and drab unappealing fabrics (the latter may have had something to do with the quilting fabrics that were available in The Netherlands at the time?).

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The quilt top was made by creating nine 16 patch blocks using half-square triangle units.

At some point in the autumn of 2011, however, my interest in quilting began. I had started reading more blogs and came across really beautiful bright and modern quilts and thought “Wow! Quilts don’t have to be drab and boring!”. I still thought it would be difficult to make one but I read (a lot) more blogs and watched YouTube videos on how to make quilts and at some point I realized that I wanted to give quilting a try.

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The back is not as purple as it looks in this picture. The binding in the pictures of the front give a better representation of the true colour.

How to start though? From all the reading and watching I had done I realized that I would definitely need some new tools before I could begin. At Christmas that year I received some money from my parents and in-laws and I knew what to spend it on! During a shopping trip with one of my sisters I bought a large cutting mat, 2 rotary cutters, 2 rulers, marking pencils, pins, a large piece of batting and quite possibly several other items that I now no longer recall. Anyway, the owner of the store probably had a good day because of my visit.

In a second-hand bookstore I had found a book by Katharine Guerrier called Scrap Quilt Sensation that looked really interesting so I brought it home and after looking at all the projects I decided to make a scrap quilt. I didn’t have any quilting fabrics, but this was easily remedied by buying several sets of scraps from a webshop. Most were 4’x4’ and some pieces were a bit larger and I cut them down to 4’x4’.

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Two books I used to learn more about the quilting process.

It took ages to decide what kind of design I was going to make. In the end I followed Sew Katie Did’s Value Quilt Tutorial for making a value quilt using half square triangle units, but instead of making a quilt with a single design I made 9 different 16 patch blocks inspired by some of the quilts in Katharine Guerrier’s book.

I had a lot of fun deciding how to lay out the 16 patches and I love how I managed to make some of the designs continue into the next block. I started with 6 blocks but quickly realized I would end up with a super tiny quilt and added 3 more. It’s still a small quilt though; it measures less than 40’’ square.

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Detail of the front.

So, at some point I had a quilt top and still needed to quilt it. I bought a walking foot, a spool of Gütermann Sulky variegated thread and a book on machine quilting by Maurine Noble. After some practice swatches I very carefully basted my quilt with safety pins (which I now no longer do because it is a pain to remove safety pins when you are quilting). For the backing I used a fabric from my stash because I liked how the colour looked with the fabrics on the front. Batting is Hobbs 80/20. I didn’t do any marking on the quilt and just started quilting somewhat following the shapes that were created by the different values.

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On the back you can really see how crazy the quilting is.

I had just enough fabric of the backing left to create the binding and attached it by machine, folded it to the back and then sewed it down by hand. To my surprise I even liked the hand sewing part.

It felt really great when I finished this quilt. Every other quilt I have made since completing this quilt is no longer in my possession, but this one is not going anywhere. It shows me that if you are willing to invest some time to learn a new skill you can end up with something you truly love.