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.

 

Advertisements

Completed: A Cuddly Baby Quilt

 

2016 will become the year of the quilt. I’ve already finished 2 quilts (to be fair, both were started before 2016) and I have 4 more in the making or planning stages.

160413_3A while ago our family was extended with the birth of a cousin. Almost four years ago one of the first quilts I made was for her older sister so of course I had to make one for her as well.

I started with nine 10’’ squares from the Urban Zoology collection by Robert Kaufmann. For inspiration I browsed the Moda bake shop and combined the looks of the Flower Girl quilt and the 9-Patch Posie quilt. The finished dimensions after washing are slightly less than 1m x 1m.160413_1The white sashing gives it a very fresh look, although it may not be the most ideal colour for something that could potentially get stained by baby spit. Although I suppose that’s what washing machines are for…

The batting is Hobbs 80/20. The backing was kept simple with a piece of purplish yardage and a strip of some fabrics that are also featured on the front sliced in.

160413_2

The quilting was done with the same Guttermann Sulky variegated thread that was used for her sister’s quilt. The quilting is mostly straight lines that more or less follow the sashing. Inside each flower I centred my six inch ruler and drew a square. Inside the squares the name of my cousin was quilted. It’s not too obvious but adds a nice touch.

160413_5

I printed the letters in 6 inch squares so I could center and trace them with chalk inside the squares I had already quilted.

The solid fabrics that were used for the centres of the flowers came from a jelly roll. These jelly roll strips were also used to make a scrappy binding. I guesstimated how long the strips should be cut to make a binding strip that was long enough to bind the quilt and I was off by half an inch! If I had cut one of the strips half an inch longer I would have been able to join the ends with a diagonal seam which has my preference because it is less bulky. But alas, I suppose I should be happy that I was able to join the ends at all with my obviously shoddy guess work.

160413_4

Just half an inch!

Overall I am very pleased with how this quilt turned out and I am certain it will be loved.

Completed: A fabric hug

160303_1This quilt was a very belated birthday gift for my youngest sister. It was supposed to be finished early January 2014 but was delayed several times.

160303_5

When my sister asked if I’d mind if she moved into the same building my boyfriend and I were living in at the time I didn’t hesitate for a moment. Of course I didn’t. I think we both benefited from the arrangement. She didn’t feel quite so alone when she moved out of my parent’s house to go to university at 17 and I got another person close by that could help me out when life got tough.

160303_4

A couple of years later my boyfriend and I moved to a house and while she was now a very short bike ride away instead of just a stairwell we still saw each other often.

This changed in 2013. She finished university, moved to a different city to start her first job and a bike ride turned into a train ride. As a result we don’t see each other as often as we used to and I miss that. So for her birthday I wanted to give her a special gift. One of the things we used to do together was watch Grey’s Anatomy huddled together under my very first quilt. This quilt is small, it measures less than 1x1m, but it can cover two sets of legs when two people in need of some extra warmth like each other enough.

160303_2So, a quilt it was to be. I devised this plan probably a week before her birthday. That was my first mistake. I do not make quilts in a week, I simply do not sew that fast and should know better. My second mistake was to sort of start sewing straight away instead of carefully thinking about the actual design of the quilt. My mind needs some time to figure out the best layout. This process can easily take weeks for a more complicated quilt but should take at least a couple of days so I can test out some different options. Sooo, to make a long story short, I had already pieced quite a bit of the top when I realised that the layout was completely wrong.

160303_9

I went through several design options before I picked the final layout for this quilt.

If you’ve been around long enough you’ll know how much I like unpicking… I considered to simply soldier on (and seriously I had to unpick everything) but deep down I knew I would regret not fixing the mistake every time I would lay eyes on the quilt. So, I did nothing. For a very long time.

160303_3

A year later I had another attempt at finishing the quilt in time for her birthday. I unpicked the lot and changed the layout. Then we bought a house and that took up a lot of time, but at least I got most of the quilt top completed this time. Only issue, I didn’t love it as much anymore, so things stalled again…

160303_8Then I bought two packs of ten squares from Cotton + Steel, Tokyo Train Ride and Mochi, and started playing with these. At some point I realised I should just turn this top into a quilt for my sister because I was loving it so much more than the abandoned quilt. And now it is finally finished, a quilt for my sister that made it into her hands a couple of days ago.

160303_7The top was made by first cutting the squares into triangles and combining these in light and dark pairs using the different values to create a pattern. This was the first time I used I Cotton + Steel quilting cotton and I love it, it is super soft. For the backing I used a confetti print that was combined with a column of 10” squares that were left over from piecing the front. The batting is Hobbs Tuscany Cotton Wool and Guttermann Sulky thread was used for the straight line quilting. The quilt was bound with a dark blue solid fabric.

Happy belated birthday little sister, it was a pleasure to be there when you turned into a woman.

160303_6

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.