Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Spoken Like a True Quilter

Recently I called my aunt, who has been quilting for as long as I've know her, to tell her some really exciting news. Over the last several months, she has received countless phone calls peppered with questions about techniques, how-to's, thread choices, machine settings, and of course lots of chatter about various on going projects, fabrics, and other sewing related news. But the purpose of my last call was to announce that I had finally finished my very first quilt! As I could hear the excitement in her voice about the big news, she then followed up with the obvious question of which quilt had I finished?....

Sheepishly, I had to admit with a laugh... neither... I started a totally new one!

Ever since Cotton & Steel announced the collaboration of five top, well known designers at the 2013 Spring Quilt Market, I've been waiting their release this summer. With strong colors and modern yet classic designs, all that coordinate within the collections, it's no wonder why the quilting scene has been all a buzz.

Since the fabrics have such large designs and really speak for themselves, I wanted to use a pattern that would show them off. This free pattern, Lap of Luxe by Quilt Dad, as featured on the Art Gallery Fabrics blog, was a perfect match for this collection.

 For the backing I used strips from an all time favorite of mine - Basic Grey's Grunge series. (I could literally eat this stuff by the bolt!)

I was very back and forth how I wanted to quilt this, but decided in the end, that simple straight line stitches worked with the quilt design the best, as well as letting the fabrics shine. Simple, I know, but one must start somewhere, right?

So... after my aunt had given a hearty, but all too knowing laugh about my starting two quilts and finishing a completely different one, she simply replied... "well, Ally, that was spoken like a true quilter." To be continued...

Fabrics, of course, found here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Taste Of What Is Yet To Come

To say that I've been sewing with a vengeance this past month would be quite the understatement. Too many projects have been running through my fingers these days... almost too many to keep up with. But it's all in preparation for our show this weekend.

With me quiet always equals busy. But even though it's been quiet, have you noticed that I've already posted almost twice as much as what I did last year? With two little ones, one really could consider this to be an accomplishment, even if it is a small one... but I still have some time, right?

So, how about a pre-show pre-view?

If you simply can't wait to see what I've made with these gorgeous, long-awaited Cotton & Steel fabrics, then stop by our booth at the Kreativ-Hamburg this weekend.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Matter of the Heart

They say that home is where the heart is, and while there is much truth in this, for me such a statement does not consider the reality of living abroad.

While driving recently, an old familiar song came on the radio that funnily every German seems to know word for word. The irony of it is that it is an old country song by John Denver, that actually has more meaning to me now that I am on the opposite side of the pond than when I was on the other side... "country roads, take me home, to the place I belong"... 

 Being somewhat annoyed with myself for having teared up while singing along, it was very much a confirmation that my heart ached for family and that familiar place that I once called "home". Living life in a different country is very much a fine balance between letting go of what once was, and embracing, blending, meshing, and creating a home in the new. 

So, I would assume that you have noticed that things have been very still around here, but with good reason. This summer has been about seeing my family, nestling in for a while in that old familiar place with no demands, and just being me. One cannot imagine the kinds of challenges one faces functioning daily in a language that you did not hear your own mother speaking to you from birth on.

But as I soaked in the flavors of the past, I felt a still in my soul. The place of my roots, the place where I feel connected to, and where I long for when I am away. My missing home should not be misinterpreted as discontent, quite the contrary. I have found my home here. Some time ago, a friend of mine said it best... "when you live in foreign country for a long time, you find that there is always something missing... no matter where you are."

My heart is in TWO places, and I call them both home.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


So, I'm trying more and more quilting techniques and I have to say that I really like the process. Some parts are more exciting than others, but cutting squares all day long wouldn't get me very far either. Ultimately it's the end result that's the most rewarding.

I can really see the plus side of making mini quilts, especially as a beginner. It gives you the satisfaction of a quick project and something to show for sooner rather than later. As you can see, I'm still working with the Bonnie Christine fabrics, and wouldn't you say that it's more than obvious why?

I've just fallen in love with Camille Roskelley's "Swoon" pattern. This is just one square, so you can imagine how lovely this would be as a whole quilt! All in time, all in time... gotta start somewhere, right?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

WIP and a Giveaway!

I have to say that it's been a little hard to resist working with the Sweet as Honey fabrics from Bonnie Christine, and it's not hard to see why. This fabric collection is absolutely divine! So as usual I have lots on my plate, and even more on my cutting table. Some things I can show you now and some things have to wait a bit until it can be "officially announced".

... here's my latest work in progress (wip)... almost finished.

...and as for the giveaway, be sure to stop by Jolijou's blog for all the details and leave a comment with her to win a "Sweet as Honey" Fat Quarter set. Trust me, you'll have a great time working with these fabrics and you don't want to miss out on your chance to win:

So what's on your cutting table or has the nice weather kept you outside and away from your sewing machine?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Patchwork Inspiration

For my Enlgish readers - Since this blog post is about a German quilting magazine, I thought it made the most sense to do this post in German:

Ich war ein bisschen unsicher, ob ich dieses Magazin kaufen wollte oder nicht, denn es war in Folie eingeschweißt und ich konnte es nicht mal eben durchblättern. Risiko beiseite, ich habe es dann doch gekauft und ich muss sagen, es hat sich gelohnt!

Als Quilting-Anfängerin (aber nicht Nähanfängering!) suche ich Quilting-Projekte, die vielleicht ein bisschen schneller gehen, als gleich ein ganzer Bett-Quilt, die aber trotzdem schöne Designs haben und sich für moderne Stoffe eignen.

Und in diesem Magazin gab es nicht nur Projekte, die man sich für moderne Stoffe vorstellen konnte, sie waren sogar schon mit modernen Stoffen genäht!

Dieser Quilt hat mich z.B. für mein eigenes Projekt inspiriert… wie Ihr wisst, liebe ich Knöpfe! (Mehr dazu in Kürze...)

Außerdem gibt es jede Menge Tips und Tricks zum quilten, und sehr gut gezeichnete Schritt-für-Schritt Bilder und Anleitungen. Alles was man zum quilten braucht.

Und noch dazu gab es sogar noch einen Bonus... Stecknadelen kann man nie genug haben, oder? Sind die nicht süß?

Kennt Ihr Simply Kreativ Patchwork & Quilting bereits? Kauft Ihr häufig Patchwork Magazine, oder eher Magazine für normale Näh-Projekte? Was sind Deine Favoriten? 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Starting Small

So a while back I shared my grandiose plans of quilt after quilt, knowing that everyday life, children, work, and general creative distractions might be a challenge for their completion. While today is not the big reveal of those started quilts, I have been working with various quilt patterns and techniques in the meantime. In fact I have two other quilt projects in the process in addition to my first two! I know, I know, not the best way to start out, but I have made significant progress with all of them.

This pattern is from fabric and quilt designer, Camille Roskelley. If you are looking to start quilting, let me highly recommend her patterns... simple and straight to the point without a lot of unnecessary text. 

So, the original Spools pattern, as you might guess, is a lot bigger and obviously has more spools, but I liked the idea of a quick little mini quilt.... getting to know the process and more practice before I tackle the big ones.

  What a cute little mini wall decoration, right?

Recognize this sweet little fawn nestled in a bed of flowers?

Fabrics: Sweet as Honey by Bonnie Christine.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Zakka Style

According to Wikipedia, "Zakka has been described as "the art of seeing the savvy in the ordinary and mundane". Or as fabric designer and founding member of Cotton & Steel, Rashida Coleman-Hale defines it in her "Zakka Style" book, "it has grown to mean a style that embodies a kind of simple charm and uniqueness - something handmade that is useful yet pleasing".

However the style is defined, what I see repeating in Zakka style projects are a combination of a simple basics combined with unexpected pops of color and often what some might consider"kitschy" novelty bits and pieces.

I've been having fun with these new Zakka trims, which aren't just for sewing projects. Perhaps 
birthday presents with cute little accents…. 

... add a little pizzaz to a simple storage contaier with wrap-a-round cozy...

 ... and of course, thank you cards.

So, what about you... do you make Zakka style projects too? Anything in the making?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Freezer Paper Applique

I've hinted a few times towards a couple techniques that I've been working with a lot recently. Freezer paper applique has long been used by quilters, but I just can't seem to get enough of it, and not just for quilting either. Combining fabric and paper really is a love of mine, and I've not been able to get enough FPA lately. (yeah, kinda sounds like PDA, but better!) So, here's an easy little project with the how to:
Ich habe ja schon ein paar Andeutungen über einige Techniken gemacht, mit denen ich in letzter Zeit häufig gearbeitet habe. Die "Freezer Paper Appliqué" - Technik ist in der Quilting-Szene eigentlich schon lange bekannt, aber seit ich so richtig weiß, wie's geht, kann ich gar nicht mehr genug davon bekommen - und zwar nicht nur zum Quilten! Hier ist also ein kleines Projekt zum Selbermachen - super einfach. Probiert's aus!

Trace template onto paper side of freezer paper. Cut out. With a dry iron, iron wax side down onto the wrong side of the fabric.
Schneide die Appliqué-Form in Originalgröße aus Freezer-Paper aus und bügle es mit mittlerer Hitze auf das entsprechende Stoffstück auf. 

Cut approximately 1 /4 inch ( cm) from the edge of the design.
Schneide das Applique nun aus und lasse dabei einen ca. 5mm breiten Rand um das Freezer-Paper stehen.
Using a glue stick, lightly apply a small amount close to the edge of the paper.
Bestreiche den überstehenden Stoffrand um das Freezer-Paper herum leicht mit einem normalen Klebestift .

With scissors, or other turning device, fold paper over the glue line and finger press in place.
Faltet nun den überstehenden Rand nach Innen auf das Freezer-Paper, so dass es dort anklebt. Mit der Kante einer Schere geht das z.B. sehr gut.

Do this also with any corners and overlap as needed. (note: for a curved template such as a circle or leaf, etc. fabric should be clipped as if clipping on a curve)
Die Ecken können bei einer eckigen Form einfach überlappen. Bei einer runden Form müsstest Du den überstehenden Rand in regelmässigen Abständen einschneiden, damit er sich gut umfalten lässt.

For this particular project I trimmed the edge off because I would like the design to run off the edge of my project.
Für dieses spezielle Projekt habe ich eine Seite des gleichschenkligen Sechsecks dann noch etwas eingekürzt, um später einen "Off-Center" - Effekt hinzubekommen.

Trim and finish gluing last edge in place.
Also Freezer-Paper an eingezeichneter Markierung abschneiden und die letzte Kante auch noch einfalten.

Posistion on cardstock and stitch around the entire design as close to the edge as possible. Here I used Kraft paper. This technique can obviously be used on fabric using a blind stitch and invisible thread.
Positioniere das Appliqué auf einer festen Pappe (Bastelladen) und nähe es so nah am Rand wie möglich auf. Die gleiche Technik kann man natürlich auch auf Stoff anwenden, mit einem Blindstich und unsichtbarer Naht.

Mark around the edge of the sewn on design for stitch mark placement. Here I marked ca. 1/16 inch.
Jetzt noch mit Bleistift die Markierungen für die spätere Schmucknaht aufzeichnen...

Using an awl, or other punching device, lightly punch holes in the paper making sure to have padding under the project.
... und diese Markierungen dann mit einem spitzen Gegenstand leicht durchstechen (am besten mit einer weichen Unterlage).

Using a coordinating embroidery thread, stitch around design, tying off at the end.
Mit einem passenden Stickgarn dann um das Appliqué herum nähen.

Clip both top corners at an angle.
Nun noch die beiden oberen Ecken der Karte winkelig abschneiden...

Mark top center for grommet placement and using a hole punch, make a hole.
... und oben in der Mitte ein Loch einstanzen.

Place grommet in the punched hole, and use a grommet press to secure in into place. I used a 7 mm grommet for this project.
In dieses Loch presst man dann mit einer Ösenzange eine passende Öse (in diesem Fall eine 7mm Öse)

... and your finished with your hangtag!
Und fertig ist dieser tolle Anhänger!

 Reynold's orignial freezer paper can be found here:
 Reynold's orignial freezer paper findest Du hier:
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