Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Think I might have caught something that I heard is highly infectious...

...and while I'm actually battling another cold right now (yes, am also currently on vacation, as it seems I always start being sick one week before my work holidays start...), I don't mean a bug as such, I'm actually talking about something far more severe...

You know, when you try something new and crafty and you just can't seem to stop?

Let's say it all started rather harmless... with the Dumpling Pouch Swap hosted by Mari-Ann on Flickr. Now the word swap alone stands for something severe with some sewists, as swaps can be highly addictive... but while I love swaps, I know I have actually been pretty good withstanding that one addiction ;)
The thing is, that my partner in said Dumpling Swap loves English Paper Piecing (EPP) and while I know how Foundation Paper Piecing works, I had never done the completely different EPP. But I aim to please and I like to extend my abilities/try something new, at least if it comes to sewing and being crafty. And I also have a huge role model in terms of EPP, Karen of Faeries and Fibres. She does amazing arty quilts with all her different EPP techniques, so go give her a visit for some fabulous tutorials.

But not getting side tracked now, like I said I like to try and meet my swap partner's expectations, so I had to give this EPP thing a go...

And that's kind of how the whole disaster started...

And I am being entirely sarcastic when I speak of a disaster, because I realised I quite enjoyed handpiecing... and I usually hate anything that has to do with handsewing...

So I used 3/4" hexagon templates that I received in a swap once and pieced and pieced and pieced away until this little Dumpling pouch was finished... First time ever EPP project finished, tadaa!

But don't think I stopped there... 

Because I also signed up for the Bee Still My Heart Swap hosted by Deanna on Instagram... 
And since honeycombs are hexagons/hexies, I of course needed to make some more...

These were put aside for now though, as I had to work on yet another swap with a deadline much closer than the Bee themed swap. 

I'm talking about the Four Seasons Pillow Swap hosted by Karen on Flickr. I've already been in the Spring round and received a gorgeous EPP pillow (no pun intended at all!) from my friend Tammy, also known as OmaTam. And while I've been doing a foundation pieced pillow in the spring round, I was striving to do something different in this round. Plus, it happens that my partner likes EPP and decided that my idea of doing a tumbling blocks pattern suited her well. 

The plan was to use rainbow colours and low volume, and so I kept making diamonds for a while...

First in low volume, then in different shades of colours to create rows...

Then more colours...

And more rows...

Until now a few days later I have almost the whole pillow top pieced. I took the following picture last night. I have all the shapes done now and only need to sew the last pieces together, then connect the final few rows.

I honestly never thought that doing this would actually be quite so efficient and quick - also it's super relaxing as you can just put your feet up and watch TV while sewing your EPP pieces together. I started working on the colour rows properly last Wednesday evening and since then have been sewing on it pretty much nonstop. So I guess being sick and on holiday from work does help a bit...

Also, I'm already wondering which might be the next EPP project that I could do, but hey, after this pillow is finished, I still have the Bee Swap item to do and that should keep me busy for another day or two ;)

That's it from me for now, do you have any sewing techniques that you are addicted to/can't stop/enjoy way too much? Do tell, I'd love to hear!

xx Lia

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fabric Scrap Swap Announcement!

Hi all!

Looking for a fun and easy way to get a bit of diversity in your scrap bins? Then you may be interested in joining the current round of the Fabric Scrap Swap.

The dates:

Sign-Ups for this round will be open until Saturday, the 11th of April, 2015.

Partners will be sent out no later than Tuesday, the 14th of April, 2015.
All packages need to be shipped no later than Thursday, the 30th of April, 2015

The fine print:

You are required to send scraps of fabric that equal 1 yard (36" x 36") when laid out from end to end and side to side and are no smaller than 2.5" x 2.5" inches, unless your partner requires otherwise. It must be quilt shop quality fabrics and not come from JoAnn Fabrics, Hancock Fabrics, Hobby Lobby or any other big box retailer.
If unsure about the weight and amount to send, 4 FQ's of quilting cotton fabric for example have a weight of about 160g / 5.64 oz. Anything up from that amount will always ensure that you're on the safe side.
You are not required to send any handmade items or extras, but of course are welcome to add extras if you want.

International participants are welcome, but please note that this is a Flickr only swap, so you must have a working Flickr profile to be able to join.

For a full list of rules and guidelines as well as the sign-up form please check the Flickr Group for this swap.

Hope to see you there! :)
xx Lia

Monday, April 6, 2015

My Project Quilting Recap

Hey all!

2015's Project Quilting is now over, 12 weeks of brainstorming, sewing and prize winning. And the 6 challenges posted in this season were more successful for me than I could've hoped or wished for. In fact, I was left surprised quite a few times, which is why I wanted to do a little recap of all my 6 entries that I made for the challenges.

Some were really a bit challenging as I needed a moment to figure out and decide what to make, some were created with techniques I had not used before, some turned into pieces that I really love and adore now and am proud of making. And that isn't just because all of them ended in the top 3 of the viewer's choice votings of each challenge week. That part only made me more proud of having come up with something that other people enjoyed just as much and I'm truly thankful for everyone who took the time to vote! Thank you!

Here is my recap of season 6 of Project Quilting and all my challenge entries, including the votes and places they received in the public voting. If you want to read the stories about how I created these, simply click on the project name underneath the pictures and you will be forwarded to the originals posts.

1st place in Viewer's Choice Voting with 146 votes

2nd place in Viewer's Choice Voting with 226 votes

2nd place in Viewer's Choice Voting with 99 votes

3rd place in Viewer's Choice Voting with 125 votes

1st place in Viewer's Choice Voting with 164 votes

3rd place in Viewer's Choice Voting with 129 votes

That's my recap of this season and it was a really successful one in my books. I learned a lot about myself and my workmanship in these challenges, tried new things I've not done before, and also learned from a couple mistakes. 
I'm definitely looking forward to next year and joining in again. 

There were also several nice prizes that I won. Two small boxes of Aurifil, a calendar from our host Kim Lapacek, several patterns from the Quilting Gallery and a gorgeous keyring. Not bad, so the hard work payed off! ;)

Now it's onto new sewing adventures and of course a few swaps, as I can never seem to resist.
Speaking of swaps...check back for a swap announcement later as I am currently hosting my quick and easy Fabric Scrap Swap again. 

Talk soon!
xx Lia

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Summer Garden" - Project Quilting Challenge 6

It's done! I finished the final challenge of this year's Project Quilting! Whoop! I admit that I was having a really tough time deciding what to make this week, though.

The challenge itself was called 'Isn't that Charming?' and you were supposed to use at least 20 charms of 5" size on the front of your project. The actual challenge description first had me slightly confused, but our host Kim soon cleared up any confusion, which still left the indecisiveness about what I wanted to make. 

My colleague at work recently voiced that she wanted me to do something with flowers and bees or a big bee on a flower, since she is a hobby photographer and has taken several pictures of this kind. So, I was trying to figure out how to work those two things together.

The final product of that fusion is my "Summer Garden", which had me using a total of 54 charms, that all originally started at the size of 5", like it was asked for in the challenge. 
I guess I could've gone the easy way and just piece a couple charms together and make something simple, but as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I like to use these challenges to actually challenge myself and my thinking and I always try to tell me that Project Quilting mantra 'think outside the box'. Personally I think that I've really done that this time as it was definitely a very non-traditional  and different way of using charm squares. 

I've also documented my constructions steps to proof how I used the charms and how many, so I apologise in advance that this blog post will be a really long and picture loaded one, but I do hope you all will enjoy my creative process and my thinking behind this idea.

Of course the whole thing started with a bunch of charms, there are 18 in this picture, 6 for the outer petals, 5 for the big inner circle of petals, 6 for the small petals in the smallest circle and 1 for the middle of the flower.

I cut circles out of all those charms, for the big petals I used 4.75" circles, for the small ones I used 3.5". Then you have to cut each of those cirlces in half and sew the straight ends together. All of the flowers were made using a tutorial by Angela of Cut To Pieces, that I found while searching the interwebs for fabric flower ideas.

After the construction of my first flower I started to contemplate the background. I didn't want a large project, so decided to make the background no bigger than 10" square. Since I wanted to use small charms for the background to make it more patchworky, that meant that I needed 25 small charms. 

So I cut 7 charms of 5" size out of some Ikea childrens duvet cover that I had bought a while ago - couldn't pass it up as it has a wood theme with loads of animals - and then cut those into 2.5" charms, then assembled them randomly.

You can see that I mixed the order up a few times, because at this point I decided, that I wanted to use more than one big flower, so I moved the white flower on the background fabric further up, so that later on it would look like a flowery field of sorts. 

Now it meant to make more flowers. The two other flowers are slightly smaller as the yellow one and not as filled, so I needed less charms. 

For the orange one I cut 6 light orange charms for the inside petals and 5 dark orange ones for the outside petals, once again needing to cut circles out of all of them, cut them in half, sew them up, etc. I also used another charm for the middle again.

The exact same thing happened with the pink flower. 6 light pink charms for the inside petals, 5 deep pink charms for the outside petals and one charm for the middle of the flower.

After assembling the flowers, I added a bit of embellishment. I used a string of golden pearls and stitched them around the flower centers to give it a bit more depth and make it look more like there was actual pollen there. The reason for that will be explained further down in this post. 

I actually banged my head at some point here, because I didn't have enough of this pearl string and came a good inch short on the final flower. Thankfully a sewing crazy friend of mine - who I originally got this pearl string from - had some more in her stash and saved the day - and the whole project, lol!

Since I didn't just want to leave the flowers bare, but wanted to embellish some more, I decided to make an origami butterfly made from fabric. I used 2 charms for that and created it following a tutorial by Michelle Patterns

It ended up the perfect size for my flower and I hope it resembles a blue morphp butterly at least a little bit. I just love the blue colour against the yellow background. It's such an eye catcher.

The next idea was some bumble bees to profit from my earlier created pollen. I was contemplating back and forth how to make these, but then decided to cut up 2 empty paper spools of thread and glue some black and yellow striped fabric around it.
I forgot to take a picture of that charm as I was quite certain that I had already done that with the batch of yellow charms for the first flower, but when I uploaded the picture, I realised that I was mistaken. It can be seen in the background of a few of the above pictures, though, even if not fully.

My paper spool bumble bees received fluffy bums and heads, the latter being parts of a black pipe cleaner and their bums being made by deconstructing a fluffy white pom-pom. I had lints of that still in my nose hours later since I obviously had to trim the pom-pom down deliberately and give their bottoms an even trim. That part definitely wasn't so nice. Not for their bums needing trimming, but for all the lints tickling my nose. ;)

They also needed wings. Those I constructed out of two charms of light blue organza and a layer of soluble stabilizer, then embroidered my wings onto that. After washing the soluble out, I immediately ironed the wings dry on low heat, which made them really stiff and great to cut and glue to the little bumble bee bodies. 

I think they turned out super cute and several of my friends have already exclaimed the same sentiments. So let's see how far this one will bring me in the final Viewer's Choice voting. 

Which immediately brings me to my final words for this week...


Because you made me win 1st place in the Viewer's Voting for Challenge 5 with my entry "Beneath a Silver Light" with a whopping 164 votes. That was almost double the amount 2nd place got, so whoa!
I can only say it once again, thanks so much for all the support in these votings, it really, really, really means a lot to me! Thank you! :)

I hope you will all enjoy my "Summer Garden". What a great and inspiring couple weeks it has been :)

Lots of Love!
xx Lia
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