Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"Spring Messengers" - Project Quilting Challenge 1

Project Quilting is back for the 7th season and while I have repeatedly thought about it last year, it actually hit me by surprise when I saw the first challenge posted on Sunday.
For some reason I thought the whole thing would start maybe one or two weeks later in the month, oops!

But since my work schedule is quite empty at the moment, I thought I might as well give it another shot, seeing how good the last season treated me in terms of wins. Let's see how this one will turn out, shall we? ;)

The first challenge is called 'Confetti' and the first thing that came to my mind reading that, was the confetti patchwork technique.
I have seen countless mini quilts and wall hangings using that technique, but had never tried it myself before, so this challenge was the perfect time to change that.

It took a bit of deliberation, but I quickly knew hat I wanted to make and dug up the fabrics for my project, as well as printing out photos for reference.

The picture above is probably rather self explanatory, especially since this post has the finished project as header as well, but I decided to go into the Spring direction and use a flower pot full of pretty hyacinths for my inspiration.

So I started building the actual flower pot, fusing on different parts of white fabric, one for the back and one for the front of the pot, and added two layers of thin white lace to give it actual detail. 

Then I started to cut up scraps of green fabric, to create moss for the inside of the pot. I mostly used solids and batiks to do this, as they have colour on both sides, meaning you can mix them up as you want and you always have colour to show, no matter which way they point up.

I also used different greens to make the stems and leaves for the hyacinths and started to build them up, by fusing on the different parts, then securing them with applique. My lines are pretty visible in this picture, I know. I usually use a thread colour that matches the fabrics as close as possible and sew on each part seperately, but you could call melazy this time. 
Instead I used "The Bottom Line" by Superior Threads in silver (# 623). It honestly must be my new favourite thread for applique (and handsewing as well) as it's so thin, that it's barely visible. Also, hyacinth leaves always have this silvery sheen to them, so in the end that kinda worked as well, I suppose.
But anyway,after attaching my leaves, I added my mossy bits of fabric. 

Since confetti quilts are secured by a layer of thin tulle (I used fly net as it was impossible to find some tulle here), I decided to go with black for the earthy moss and appliqued it in place over the confetti fabric, then added another little rim on the pot, using more lace ribbon.

After that I spent a good hour or so cutting up fabric to make my actual hyacinths. It actually felt like an eternity and my bad wrist totally didn't like me for it...

But the end result was totally worth it. Mixing a few lighter colours in with the actual flower colour, made it look like I had cut up hyacinths in my little bags already. At this point I got rather excited that I had decided to make a full pot and not just three flowers, like I originally had in mind.

I didn't take as many pictures from the actual making and building of the flowers, as I did from the steps before, but I think the following will explain how it's done, or at least how I made this confetti mini quilt.

Basically the fabric confetti is sprinkled onto your project where you want to sew it in place. But before you do that, you place a layer of thin tulle over it, which I needed a bit of practice with at first as bits kept falling out when I moved it.

Then you sew around the outside to secure your bits of fabric to ensure they can't fall out anymore. And then I just machine quilted over it repeatedly in a swirly motion to secure the tiny bits. That way it finished off even more looking like tiny blooms.  

The downside of doing this technique is, that it completely dusts up your machine. And not only that, I feel like my nose is full of fluff as well. ;)
I should have probably used a dust mask as I'm actually asthmatic and have a blocked nose now for working on this all afternoon, so in case you wanna do this, be prepared for lots of fabric dust and dust bunnies in your machine, on your needle and sewing foot.

Above and below are more close ups of the quilting as well as the details of the pot. As you can see, I really just used random swirls and lines on the flowers. The important part was to just secure the confetti bits of fabric. I also used a lint roller after each flower to make sure that I didn't mix my colours or accidentally had some transfers. 

Finally I added one more bit of lace ribbon to the pot to give it more depth. I have a thing for white ceramic flower pots, all of mine are actually white, so maybe that is why I did this, I'm not really sure ;)

I do hope that you enjoyed my creative endeavour for this challenge, though. I'm certainly buzzing for the next one one already!

Until then, happy sewing!
xx Lia

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A year full of finishes...

2015 has been filled with lots of sewing time, especially in the first half of the year.
I've also been part of many swaps and a few challenges, as well as sewing charity blocks, hoping to do more of the latter in the new year.

Here's a mosaic of everything I've made during the year. 

There are already several plans swirling through my head of things I want to make in the new year, as well as a couple ideas, so let's hope there will be enough time to sew!

Wishing a very Happy New Year to all my readers and followers!

Take care
xx Lia

Monday, November 2, 2015

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas...

At least if you're counting the last swap of this year that I have joined and just finished sewing and packing up.

It's the 4th and current round of the Four Seasons Pillow Swap, which is going underway on Flickr, and also the 4th time that I'm taking part in this swap.
We are sewing pillow cases for every season of the year, if you didn't already catch that from the name of the swap that is ;)

So far I have received 3 amazing pillows (which you can see below) and can't wait for the last one to complete my seasonal collection, although the ones that I have so far, I have used throughout the year. 




While the swap group is basically devided between people who like the winter colours such as blues, greys, and low volumes and people who like the more traditional approach of reds and greens,  my partner in this round was really specific that she wanted the traditional Christmas colours of red and green and she also seemed to have a soft spot for several patterns, including birds. 

That was the point when I decided that I either had to find a cute paper-pieced pattern or an applique pattern and what better way to do that then to ask Google. Luckily I found a cute chickadee applique pattern in the Quilted Treasures online shop.

Since black-capped chickadees are often used in winter-themes, I decided to go for it and thankfully my partner has since approved of my choice. 

Picking the fabrics was rather easy. The fiddly bit were all the numerous parts that I needed for the bird. I'm not sure how many parts the actual pattern has, but since I live overseas, am not a US resident and the pattern only comes in in physical form, I picked the 'easier' way of just printing out the picture in the size that I needed and redrawing the actual bird parts onto paper using carbon paper.

So yeah, I had many small parts that were ironed on with double-sided fusible web and appliqued with transparent nylon thread. You can also call it invisible thread and I love using it for applique like this, because you don't have to change the colour of your thread a million times, which sometimes can be really unnerving, especially when you have applique with many different parts in different colours/fabrics. 

It all came together rather quickly once I had started to work on it, but then I was super unsure what to do around the actual block as I didn't want to take too much focus off the chickadee. A couple of my Quilty friends had to deal with my indecisiveness via private messages over on Instagram and Facebook as I just couldn't decide what to do (thanks to Betti, Mara and Tammy for letting me yap away lol!). They tried to give advice, but I went down a different road in the end. I knew there had to be a border, but couldn't decide which colour, until I realised I could use both red and green. 

The fabrics I used for the borders have the same colours of greens and reds that are in the fabric that I picked to become the back of my pillow, also a must have since there are birds printed on it.
After that everything fell together and I'm happy with the outcome, now hoping that my partner will be, too.

As a little extra and eye-catcher I made a beaded charm for the zipper pull, then packed a few extras together and started to wrap everything up, as you can see in the first picture at the start of this post. 

I always love receiving packages that are wrapped in lovely paper, it's so much more personal, because you know someone put a lot of thought into creating your package and putting it together. 
Giving away what I made is always the hardest part, though. But it's good, because I feel like you know that you made something good or special, when you struggle to give it away, because you want to keep it for yourself.  And it's even more exciting when the recipient is overjoyed in receiving it. ;)

Right now this is the last swap that I have joined this year. I tried to keep it down and haven't joined as many as I have in previous years, but that's down to all the awful things that have happened in the swap world, with so many 'bad apples' only signing up for their own benefit and cheating many nice swappers in the process. 
So you get vary at some point and it stops being fun when you see that friends, who are in the same swaps, end up needing angel packages because some idiot didn't pull through. It's just sad and not very rewarding or pleasant anymore.

My friend Karri has repeatedly taken it upon herself to clear things up on her blog. She finds a funny way - although it's actually less funny and more a sarcastic approach - to report about all the dramas in swap-land and has a couple really great posts about swap-etiquette
Do give her blog a stop by and her posts a read if you're interested, especially if you're a swap-mama or swapper yourself. The good swappers among us need to stick together after all! :)

Until next time, folks!
xx Lia

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

EPP Results

In my post from late April I showed you the EPP projects that I was working on. Now that my Four Seasons Pillow Swap partner has received her summer pillow, I can finally reveal the whole thing to you.

As you can guess, the whole top was handpieced together and it took me quite a while, although I was sewing away on it every day, doing a bit here and another bit there as I found time. 
The back was done in a much easier way, and I used the (under quilters really popular) Britten fabric from Ikea. 

I love how the colours blend in together and it's my interpretation of a perfect rainbow, so I'm really happy how it turned out. 

The Summer round of the swap is currently coming to an end and the most gorgeous pillows are showing up everywhere. I can't wait to find out who I will be receiving from and am patiently waiting and stalking the postman every day ;)

Another finish for a swap, which shipping date is a couple months off yet, is a Sew Together Bag that I made. I've had it completely finished for a while now, but don't want to reveal the whole thing yet, for the fear that my partner my actually be watching my blog. So here is only the EPP outside panel for your viewing pleasure.

More of that will be revealed later in the year.

That's all from me for now!

Have a great day,
xx Lia
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