F2F: March blocks

Today the King’s birthday is celebrated in the Netherlands and what better way to participate than by posting some orange quilt blocks? Or the holiday meant I had some time to finally write this blog post, which could also be true.

March1

Fabric strips of different widths combined by cutting organic waves.

While the Netherlands are definitely strongly associated with orange, I’m not a huge fan of this colour and you’ll rarely see me wear it. Orange is a strong colour and can easily become too much. However, when this colour is used in moderation it can also add a dynamic touch to something that might otherwise have been a bit bland. I hope the latter is what I managed to do with this month’s blocks.

March2

Equilateral triangle, that reminds me a bit of a danger signal.

March was Claire’s turn to receive blocks and she requested, brown, red and orange with a cream/beige/tan background. A palette that reminds me of autumn.

March3

In this block I particularly like the light orange ray that brakes the frame. Without this strip of fabric the block was a bit boring.

 

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F2F: Let’s go green!

This month it is my turn to receive quilt blocks in the F2F swap. I’ve chosen green in any shade as my colour scheme and so far everyone has included at least one block that’s a bit on the modern site. It looks like I’m ending up with a great mix of modern and traditional blocks, nicely tied together by all being completely green!

Six sets of blocks have already made it to the Netherlands which is half of the blocks. Each time a set arrived I’ve put the blocks almost immediately up on my design wall so I can look at them as I am working in my sewing room. Until now I’ve kept them organised per maker, but in the final quilt top I will definitely mix things up.

green blocks

A great variety in style and shades of green!

The complete set of 36 blocks would make a (in my opinion) huge quilt, that I’m not really sure I have a use for and that is certainly way too large for me to quilt comfortably. I think I’ll select 4×8 blocks to make a quilt that we can use to cover up the bed in our guest room when it is not in use. The remaining blocks will then be used in the backing, or perhaps I can make a reversible quilt so we can vary a bit with which side is showing. This quilt will certainly brighten up the guest room as apart from putting in a bed and a night stand we haven’t really done anything to it yet.

I still have to receive 4 sets from fellow participants and make my own blocks to complete the quilt top. Pat passed away a little over a week ago which is why I am making 6 blocks instead of 3. We were able to complete her quilt in time for her to see it though. If you’d like to see how it turned out please visit Kate’s blog.

I’m looking forward to receiving (and making) the last blocks and I hope I’ll be able to show you some progress on this quilt in the next couple of months. I just love green…

F2F: May blocks and virtual quilt

Pat1fromEmmely

You now probably think I’ve gone crazy in the head as I seem to have skipped January through April. The reality is a much sadder story.

Pat2fomEmmelyPat, who would originally have received her blocks in May was diagnosed with ovarian cancer prior to the start of the F2F swap. She still wanted to participate because it gave her a goal and something to look forward to. Unfortunately, her condition has recently deteriorated rather quickly and it is very likely that she will not make it till May.

Pat3fromEmmelyWhen we found out it was quickly decided that the swap would be rearranged immediately. So last week everyone dropped whatever they were doing and quickly made up some blocks in tan and teal (the colour of the Ovarian cancer awareness ribbon) and shipped them off to Sue.

Pat4fromEmmelyI made 5 blocks since Pat can no longer make her blocks and 36 blocks are needed to complete the quilt top. In a frantic sewing session I completed 3 and ¾ block in a single evening and completed the 4th and 5th the next morning. Pictures were taken in just minutes and the blocks were shoved into an envelope before I rushed off to work. Let’s just say it’s a good thing my job doesn’t require me to clock in at a specific time.

Pat5fromEmmelySue will do the piecing and binding of the quilt top and the quilting will be done by her son who has a longarm business. Hopefully, Pat will receive her quilt in time to enjoy it for a little while. Eventually it will most likely be donated to the Ovarian Quilt Project where it will be auctioned to raise money to educate the public about the risk factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Since it takes some time for the blocks to reach Sue and the piecing and quilting will then take some more time, Kate already made a virtual quilt from all the pictures that we took of our blocks.

Pat's Virtual Quilt

Because I’m a scientist and therefore like facts and numbers I looked up some information about ovarian cancer. In the Netherlands around 1200 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer annually. Most women are diagnosed when they are 55-80 years old, but it can also affect much younger women. Especially women that carry mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have an increased risk of ovarian cancer and are advised to have their ovaries removed when they are 35-45 years old as a preventive measure. You may already have heard of BRCA1 and BRCA2 before because mutations in these genes also increase the risk of breast cancer.

One of the nasty things about ovarian cancer is that it can remain undetected for a very long time as the disease is usually asymptomatic in the early stages. When symptoms finally develop they are usually vague and could also have many other causes. Symptoms include a bloated feeling, feeling full or difficulty eating, nausea, pelvic or abdominal pain, frequent urination and severe constipation.

I got my information from kanker.nl (a Dutch platform where patients can find information about cancer and interact with other patients to share experiences) and the website of the Dutch cancer institute (both websites are in Dutch).

F2F: December blocks

In December it was Christine’s turn to receive three blocks in her chosen colours dark grey, turquoise and coral. She also likes scrappy, so where for other people’s blocks I would have repeated certain fabrics a bit more, for these blocks I tried to use as many different fabrics as possible, even though I don’t have a huge collection.

For my first block I started with a square and inserted narrow strips. It was then cut wonky and framed in two other fabrics. Quite simple, but effective I think.

December1

For my second block I pieced strips of different widths and then cut the resulting piece into columns of increasing width that were framed and connected using narrow strips.

December2

For my third block I started with a square that was then framed in a wonky border. Somehow this reminds me of a tv, I know I’m a bit weird. I think this may be my favourite block this month.

December3

As usual the blocks that were made by the other participants of the swap can be viewed in the F2F gallery.

F2F: Catching up with October and November

The blocks that I made for the October and November F2F participants arrived ages ago, the December blocks have been mailed and I’ve already received one package of beautiful green January blocks. Definitely time to catch up!

October

October was Lynn’s month and her chosen colours were grey, turquoise and coral.

October1
For my first block I made two strip pieced triangles that were sewn together so that the direction of the strips in the second triangle was rotated 90 degrees compared to the first triangle. While some people might be tempted to make both pieces exactly a half square triangle, I didn’t. I think this is visually more interesting.

October2

For my second block I made half a log cabin using strips of different widths. This is a variation I hadn’t made before and I like it, but I think it is quite safe to say that I’ll like most things that are somehow log cabin related…

October3
For my third block I got a bit more improvisational and made some opposing triangles. It is quite a simple block but has an interesting visual impact that I’d like to experiment a bit more with.

November

November was Avis’ month and her chosen colours were bright blues and purples. Avis likes symmetry (so I refrained from doing any wonky stuff), small prints and solids.

nov1
For my first block I pieced long strips of fabric, cut that piece in four parts and then reassembled the pieces to resemble a windmill. I am from the Netherlands after all.

Nov2
For my second block I did more half log cabins, but this time made 4 and pieced them together with a narrow cross in between. I really like this effect too.I also really like the birds that are sort of peaking out.

nov3
The third block has to be my favourite. I simply love, love, love how this turned out! I think this design would also look great on a pillow.

triangle block in progress

Even though it was late at night I remembered to take some progress pictures that more clearly show how the block was created.

To get this effect I first made four identical triangles, starting with an equilateral triangle and simply adding strips at two of the sides. When they were large enough I used a 12.5’’ square ruler to cut the top point to 90 degrees instead of 60 so I could piece the four triangles together to make a square. At this point make sure that you cut the four triangles in exactly the same way! Use the markings on the ruler to align them. Finally the block was trimmed to 12.5’’. If you want to try this block just make sure that you are generous with the size when you cut the four triangles, you can always trim the block when it turns out larger than 12.5’’ or whatever size you’re making, if it is smaller all you can do is add a border to make it fit and I think that will ruin part of the effect of this block. The only tricky part was that the center point where the 4 pieces meet turned out bulky from all the seams that meet at that point.

As always the blocks that were made by the other participants can be viewed on the F2F page.

F2F: September blocks

Sometimes you make something and just know that what you made is good, that it works. That’s what happened to me when I made Sue’s blocks. Her colour scheme was white, black and a bright colour of our choice. These blocks were a joy to create, they made me happy, they put a smile on my face when I looked at them. They belong together. I love them so much that my boyfriend asked me several times whether I wouldn’t regret mailing them off to someone I never even met in person. I do somewhat.

Next to eachother on my design wall.

Next to eachother on my design wall.

What I love about these blocks is that they look modern and vibrant. I believe I managed to dose the bright colours enough to make them pop. I love these blocks even more when they are put next to each other as I think they truly are a set.

I started by picking three bright colours that I liked together and combined them with several white, black and white/black fabrics.

For my first block I was inspired by this string pincushion from V&Co and the fractured quilt from the book Quilting Modern by Katie Pedersen and Jacquie Gering, two quilters that I greatly admire. Katie mostly for her use of colour and Jacquie for her bold, well thought out designs.

Fractured Quilt from Quilting Modern by Katie Pedersen and Jacqui Gehring.

Fractured Quilt picture taken from “Quilting Modern” by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen.

To me the wonkiness in this block results in a suggestion of movement. It was foundation paper pieced and I took pictures while I constructed it, so if anyone is interested I could do a quick tutorial.

F2F_September1For my second block I was inspired by a mini quilt from the book Scrap Quilt Sensation by Katharine Guerrier, although I decided to not make my block wonky.

Picture taken from

Picture taken from “Scrap Quilt Sensation” by Katharine Guerrier.

I created four log cabins that were connected by a single cross and then sashed these in more white. The white (and some of the black) fabrics read like solids from a distance, but when you get closer you’ll see that they’re very subtle prints.

F2F_September2For my third block I thought it would be nice to incorporate details from the other two blocks to create a coherent set. I used the narrow strips from both blocks, the wonkiness from the first block and the log cabin from the second block. The entire block is created as a wonky log cabin, but in such a way that you can follow either the black or white strips in a spiral from the centre to the outer edge of the block like a labyrinth or maze. One of the white/black fabrics was used as black and another one was used as white to create additional interest. The yellow fabric was also used as white.

F2F_September3As always, the blocks created by the other participants can be viewed on the F2F page.

Inspiration: Portuguese tiles

Last week I was on holiday in Portugal and photographed tiles. Many Portuguese houses are decorated with tiles. Sometimes they cover the whole building, but more often it is just the lower floor or the upper floors or just one band across the building. I thought it was brilliant. My boyfriend started to go a little crazy because I wanted to take a picture of almost every tile we came across, but hey, can you blame me? Just look at them! I think they’re very inspirational and I can see some of these turning into a quilt block or two.

Portoguese tiles 1I just love the variety in these tiles.

portuguese tiles 4Some are multi-coloured,  some have borders.

portuguese tiles 5

Some have a very simple design, others have a design that only really works when you put multiple tiles together to create the pattern.

portuguese tiles 3 They can be well maintained, faded or cracked. Most are only painted but sometimes you come across one that has texture.

Some of you might be wondering whether I bought any fabrics during our holiday and I didn’t because 1) We tried to travel light and buying yards of fabric didn’t really fit in with that, 2) I sort of already have a lot of fabric that maybe I should use first and 3) I was on holiday with my boyfriend so I thought it would be nicer to do things that both of us enjoy doing, which sadly excludes fabric shopping. I did spot some fabric and yarn stores though, so for those of you planning to visit Portugal in the future that do want to spend some time fabric or yarn shopping I can give you some advice! Tecidos means fabrics, so stores selling fabric will usually display this word on the outside.

Lisbon: While waiting downstairs of the Elevador de Santa Justa (simply brilliant, it is a public transport elevator from 1902!) I spotted a fabric store across the street on the left side. Another fabric store is located on the left side in the street that the 373 (to Castelo) and 714 (to Outurela) busses leave Praca da Figueira from (I tried to find the street name on the map but I am not sure which one it is). We did enter this fabric store but I thought it didn’t have very interesting fabrics so we left quickly. A bit more down this road there is also a yarn store.

Coimbra: There is a yarn store in the R. Joaquim Antonio de Aguiar. When you come from the Largo Da Sé Velha it will be located on your left side.

Viseu: Simply walk down the R. Dr. Luis Ferreira and you’ll encounter at least 3 stores selling fabric (two of these also sell other things but they clearly had fabric displayed in their windows) and 1 store selling yarn.

And I’ll leave you with some more tiles to ogle. These are probably my favourites. I found them in the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velho in Coimbra. They are at least several centuries old. In the early sixteen hundreds the part of the monastery where these tiles are located flooded every year. They even built another floor in the church and turned one of the upper story windows into a new door so they could continue using the church for a couple more decades until they build a new monastery a bit higher up a hill. Considering all that, I think these tiles are still in pretty good shape!

Portuguese tiles 2