Friday, February 20, 2015

"Love is Equal" - Project Quilting Challenge 4

This week's challenge of Project Quilting was called 'Have a Heart' and it didn't take me long to come up with an idea of what I wanted to do for it.

For this challenge I made a cushion cover with 12 paper-pieced hearts (original pattern by Cath from Wombat Quilts) and loads of low volume fabrics, as well as fabrics with heart prints. 

The challenge itself asked to have at least 12 hearts in the finished project, wether they be quilted, on the fabric or sewn. I think I'm coming to a total of 28 hearts that are completely shown, when I count the ones that are printed on some of my fabrics. 

As you will notice, not all my hearts are the same. I included a rainbow heart on purpose, as I find this week's challenge to be perfect to raise awareness for the LGBTQIA community.

While I know that this piece might be controversial for some people, I personally feel strongly about this matter and think that no one should be discriminated for their heritage, colour, religion, and most definitely not for who they choose to love. 

Love is love, it won't change, it will always be the same feeling, no matter who the person is you fall in love with. Love has no boundaries, love is equal. At least to me, and that's why I named this cushion cover "Love is Equal".

While I know that the hope that one day we'll all be living on this planet with an understanding and certain respect for each other's life choices is still a pretty long shot, it makes me happy to see how far humanity as already come in terms of awareness and acceptance. And I know that I would never try to change my very best friends, because I love them just the way they are. :)

That being said, this cushion will go to my best friend, who also gave her input on fabrics while I was sewing it up, thankfully she shares my obsession with rainbows, lol!

The finished cushion measures about 18" x 18" and for the pictures I stuffed it with a 20" filling to make it look nice and stuffed. 

Here are a few more detailed shots of a few fussy cut parts:


Last but not least I want to say another massive thanks for all the votes on my "Cupcake O'Hare" from challenge 3. It reached second place in the viewer's choice voting as well, just like my "Morning in the Moor" project from challenge 2. Thanks so much everyone! 

Also, it would make me extremely happy if you all vote for me again this week. Since I know that some of my readers will share different beliefs regarding my project for this week, I am not counting on it, though. 

But like André Gide said, "It is better to be hated for what you are, than to be loved for what you are not".

Much love to all of you out there, rainbow or not!
xx Lia

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Cupcake O'Hare" - Project Quilting Challenge 3 (and a major thanks!)

This week I'm back early. I can't believe I actually finished my challenge piece within the first day. That definitely is a first, but also a nice feeling, since I literally spent sewing every free minute of every day in the weeks of the challenges one and two. 

So without further ado, meet my challenge entry "Cupcake O'Hare".

Now upon seeing this, some of you may be confused or think 'what the heck...?', but I can easily explain this rather simple piece with the Easter vibe, so hang in there...

Challenge 3 of Project Quilting was called UFOs and Orphan Blocks, which means we had to go through our unfinished projects and pick out some of those unfinished blocks or other neglected projects and use them and/or make them into a finished new project.

I actually don't have many UFOs or orphan blocks, apart from a few paper-pieced blocks that I redid because they didn't look good, or from a few sew-alongs or BOM's for example. My UFO box is rather empty and tiny, but I had a few things in there, that worked together.

Most of the above picture shows parts for a Tilda Hare that I started several years ago when a friend gave me a companion of Tilda books and patterns for Christmas. I only ever finished one hare and a couple birds, then pushed off finishing this one for ages - until the challenge was posted on Sunday night.

In the picture you can also see an un-finished hashtag block that I made last December for the #SewingForSydney campaign hosted by Molli Sparkles, but that came out the wrong size due to me using the wrong foot on my machine, and a cupcake block that originally was made in May 2013 with the Summer Sampler Sew-Along hosted by Ellison Lane Quilts.

I didn't use the unfinished hashtag block in the end, but I used the doll parts for the Tilda Hare and the cupcake block, which means I merged a UFO and an orphan block together into one and out came a cute little Tilda bunny with a snuggly, little quilt to match.

As you can see I added some detail with free-motion to give the small mugrug sized blanket a bit of depth. It also feels like freemotion is starting to get a bit easier for me, so I really enjoy it. 

The backing of this little quilt is a pink fabric with a heart print (the one I used for the original hashtag block) and the binding is a bit of Aneela Hoey's Posey line. 

Isn't Miss Cupcake too cute with her flower hat? Oh look, she's blushing! ;)

I have added a string to the bunny's back and it's now hanging on my door as spring decoration. I really adore this little one and it kind of brought me in the mood to make more. I have tons of fabrics I can use and lots of Tilda patterns too. Might make one of the angels next, we'll see. Here are a few more details in close-up, such as the heart buttons and the embroidery on the dress and her little pants.

Now, I understand if this might not look like much to some people, but I'm glad that I finished these two and I actually asked Kim if it would be ok to do this as I didn't want to go against any rules. But she said yes and in the end I did what the challenge asked for: 
  1. - Used an orphan block and/or UFO and I
  2. - used at least one of the following, mandatory techniques: patchwork, appliqué, 3 layers stitched together by hand or machine.

Let's see where this one takes me. ;)

And here's where the thanks have to start, because last week I was speechless when my challenge 2 piece "Morning in the Moor" reached place 2 in the public voting with a whopping 226 votes! 

That are more votes than I received to win challenge one with my "Four Seasons" entry - in the same public voting. So thanks a million to each and everyone out there who voted. It means a lot!

I honestly doubt we will get anywhere that close with my entry for this week, but it surely makes me proud to know that I have a few fans out there, so thanks bunches!!

Enjoy your time and see you next week!
xx Lia

Saturday, January 24, 2015

"Morning in the Moor" - Project Quilting Challenge 2

Challenge 2 on Project Quilting had the theme Sunrise/Sunset and I admit that I needed a good two days to actually decide what I wanted to do for it, because I was unsure wether I should go with a sunset or a sunrise, the latter won in the end, after several hours of googling. Also, I have a huge love for the cloud fabrics of the Danscapes collection and it just happened, that I still had a piece of clouds with sunrise colours left in my stash ;)

So, here it is, my entry for challenge number two, which I called "Morning in the Moor"

First I want to explain why I called it that. I live in the very north of Germany in midths of marsh land and close to a moor where we always walk our dog. The mornings around fall and also this time of year are foggy, you often see crows flying and there are cattails here and there in the small water channels by the fields, so this picture pretty much represents home for me. 

As a sunrise gradually builds up as the sun goes higher on the sky, I started with the deep reds at the bottom and worked my way up into oranges and pinks, that lead up to the clouds in the blue sky, that is still etched with hints of pink and yellow.

This piece is a wall-hanging again, measures 12" x 19" and is backed with cardboard, which I actually sewed on. But I have an old machine that was used for industrial purposes and it doesn't budge on 1/8" thick cardboard. The actual project was sketched onto paper at first, then I went through my stash for matching fabrics and started to cut out the pieces.

I then used double-sided fusible web to iron these pieces onto a thin muslin. I admit that I use the cheapest Ikea cotton fabric that I have for this purpose, but it works best. I might add that I starched the heck out of all fabrics to make them smooth and sturdy before I started to apply them to my muslin fabric, though. 

After that I added one layer of batting and another simple layer of muslin as backing and started to secure my fused pieces by adding decorative stitches in thread that was matching the fabrics by colour. Burying all the threads took some time, but it was well worth it, I really like the look those stitches created. 

At this point I was unsure if I should go with my original plan to add silhouettes of birds and cattails, but I felt that without anything added to it, the project would've come out looking a bit boring. I actually rehearsed several different layouts in photoshop, then printed one out and cut out the details to then draw them on with my Frixion pen. 

The next part was something I never tried before. I was at a bit of a loss as to how to "fill in" my drawings and I didn't want to iron on more tiny parts with black fabric, as that would've meant more stitching onto those small parts and hey, the edges fray really easy even on bigger pieces. 
I started googling 'machine embroider on a domestic machine', as that is all that I own and let's be honest, you don't buy a fancy embroidery machine for one challenge of Project Quilting ;)

I found several tutorials on Youtube that described it for beginners. It's basically nothing different than doing free-motion-quilting (which I suck at honestly), you use your free-motion foot, lower your feed dogs, and you need a topstitch or embroidery needle since those have a bigger hole in them and the thread runs through easier. After work I went to the nearest store that sells machine needles and got them, then went straight to working on a test piece. It looked a bit wonky at first, but after a few tries I had worked it out and could start on my actual embroidery.

And that is the story of how I created "Morning in the Moor".

I hope everyone loves this one as much as the last! And speaking of... massive THANKS to everyone who voted for me "Four Seasons" wall-hanging in challenge number 1! 

I received 146 votes in the Viewers Choice voting and won first place! Woohoo! Not a bad start for the first challenge, so I definitely have high goals now and can't wait to receive the Aurifil thread that was up for a price for this category. Thanks so much everyone!! :)

Once again, all of the fabrics used were from my stash, so I'm still firmly sticking to the SewMyStash2015 challenge as well! 

See you with the next challenge!
xx Lia

Sunday, January 11, 2015

"Four Seasons" - My Project Quilting Entry for Challenge 1

It's January, which means it's once again time for a season of Project Quilting and every year it actually comes as a surprise to me, as January is usually a super busy month for me work wise.

This time isn't an exception since the last 2 weeks of this month will be spent with holiday coverage at work and I will have close to zero sewing time, which means that challenge number 2 might be difficult to handle unless I make it a really small project.

All of that aside, it took me nearly a week to finish my entry for the first challenge of season 6 of Project Quilting, which was simple called "Trees".

I already took part in Season 3 and 4, but since then have developed my sewing skills and gotten more confident and I like challenging myself to something new, trying out new stuff and new techniques I've not done before and these challenges are perfect for that.

This time around I was inspired by a picture I saw some time ago of a tree that showed all four seasons at once. I started brainstorming and decided that I wanted it to be an apple tree.

I am calling this simply 'Four Seasons' as that says it all, but I will show some more close-up pictures as there are many details that might go unnoticed on first glance.

I worked with 2.5" charms, 16 for every season and 80 low volume charms for the background. All the details were embroidered by hand, I also used buttons and KAM snaps for the detailling.
This project was ironed onto fleece with double sided fusible web, then was mounted onto the wooden backing of a picture frame with an additional layer of fleece to give it a little more padding. 

Originally I wanted to use a stretcher frame, but on an attempted last minute buy yesterday, I realised that nowhere in my little city I could find one in the correct size, so off I went with an electrical saw and cut the board of my frame to fit. The finished wall-art is 24.5" square. And the best part? There's a hanger already on it. ;)

But now onto the details. Let's start in the upper left corner with Spring.

This shows the apple tree in full bloom, pink blossoms in different shades. I got these flower buttons a while ago for no reason other than that they were pretty, but never got to actually use them until now.
I also added rain, because trees need rain and water in order to grow and spring is all about growth.

Next up is summer and my tree is full of red apples in different sized, just like on a real tree. The leaves are a rich green now and the apples are getting lots of sunshine.

As we reach autumn there are only a few rotten apples left, that no one picked, or that didn't fall down yet, it's gotten colder and the wind or storm is blowing around the leaves, playing with them. 

Finally we reach winter, the tree is bare apart from a couple squirrels playing in the branches, and the cold wind is blowing, whirling a couple snowflakes through the air.

This is my interpretation of the four seasons and since the challenge was called "Trees", I also added a few fabrics with small tree or leafy prints. 
On top of that I'm proud to add that all of the materials used are out of my stash. Nothing was bought to finish this piece, everything was taken out of my stash or was reconstructed like I did with that backing piece of my picture frame, which is another step within the Sew My Stash challenge that I wrote about in my last post. So, as you can see, I'm sticking to it. ;)

I hope you liked my interpretation of a four season apple tree and I will hopefully have another Project Quilting challenge piece for you in 2 weeks time.

Happy sewing!
xx Lia
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