Thursday, January 30, 2014

a long awaited departure

And finally, what I have been waiting for for several months patchwork retreat. I am allowed (I am allowing myself) a one weekend retreat with the girls to sew my little heart out. No kids, no husbands, just the girls, our sewing machines, fabric and inspiration. I think we all are very exciting about it. We have been frantically getting our projects together to sew, and hopefully we have all of the supplies we need, because there is no turning back until we come back home on Sunday. I am still a little undecided about what I want to take, but I am pretty sure I am packing up the project I wanted to start for my niece, Nina. This quilt will be for her twin size bed and made from the fabrics she picked out. I added two fabrics to the batch to stretch the supply - but that is a surprise for another post. Maybe, I will even get the top finished on my retreat.

An QAL update: I now have all of my fabric for my "Welcome to the North Pole with Val Spiers" in my possession. I am ready & rearing to go and have already outlined my first two houses for the wall hanging. I think I will be doing two blocks at a time as one block. It isn't so important to me that I have fifteen different background fabrics. My background fabrics will be grays and not blues. I know I am always disappointed after I work with gray fabrics, but this time, I am positive it is going to be the right choice. I was thinking about the snow as well; since white is such a translucent fabric, I think I will be doubling the fabric and making subtle folds and hand sewing them down. It should also make a nice transition from one block to another. I really want my QAL to be cheery and friendly. A thought came to me last night about the windows and window frames as well. Why not just cut a rectangle for the windows slightly smaller than the window frame and cut into four parts. Just appliqué them down and you have your four window panes. A little less work involved. I think I will be mixing buttonhole stitch and a straight stitch to appliqué my pieces down. A raw edge could look very nice in some places.

That's all for now, I have more preparations before my long awaited departure. ;-)

Sewingly yours,

Friday, January 24, 2014

cathedral windows

I started a new project on my To-Be-Completed in 2014 List - Project 2: cathedral window pillowcase for my mother-in-law. As always...der Anfang ist immer schwer! It is always hard to start! Once I got going, I found it kind of fun. I dreamed of all the colors I could use in place of the green.

I know that traditionally, all of this is done by hand, but I prefer to use the sewing machine when I can. {I really try to avoid hand sewing.} The only thing I sewed down here by hand is where the corners meet. I used a simple cross stitch to secure them in place that I removed later. I sewed one row at a time which goes really quickly with a continues straight stitch.

I started with 8,5" x 8,5" squares. I sewed the sides shut and flipped them inside out to get 12 - 4" squares. {I have a tendency of mixing inches and centimeters.} Helga wanted a 40 x 50 cm pillowcase which is roughly 16 x 20 inches.

Here are some step-by-step pictures of the progress:

I debated whether or not to stop here and flip the corners backwards, because this is a panel for a pillowcase. It would allow me to add a border easier than if they are sewn down into windows. I decided against it, because this is a rather small pattern and the additional windows, even though they were white instead of green, continued a nice, subdued pattern.

If you would like to make your own cathedral window pilowcase, there is a really good tutorial from Angela Nash of My Three Sons at the Moda Bake Shop. I think I should have re-read it before I started my own project. I could have sewn the points down with the sewing machine too! ;-)

Keep on sewing and enjoy your weekend!

Yours truly,

Thursday, January 16, 2014

my projects to finish in 2014

Are you getting organized in 2014? I am trying too. I photographed some of my projects to show myself what I need to finish up. If I have a list, I might actually start checking things off. I like to have all of my projects tucked away neatly in the drawers - out of site. But, out of site means out of mind. Here are most of my projects that I want to finish this year.

    1.  My easypatchwork Sampler: it consists of twelve different more difficult blocks. I started this in one of quilting groups. Most of the blocks are spin-offs of theirs but are 12" instead of 40cm. That was just going to be too big of a quilt for me. And since I am not a quilter, I didn't want to take it on. I think I have six blocks finished. I really want to get this one finished this year. I will probably simplify some of the blocks. The sashing and sashing blocks are already cut. The binding already made.

    2.  Helga's Cathedral Window Pillowcase and Table Runner: Somehow I don't even want to start this one knowing that it is going to challenge me. I have very little experience with cathedral windows and have no great desire to make a pillow full nor a matching table runner full of them using just two colors. I like it bright. Oh, this is for my mother-in-law; a special request.

    3. Hospice Quilt - Rainbow over the Pacific:I started this quilt after my dad died. I had a jelly roll of rainbow batiks and wanted it to go quickly. I just had to sew to make myself feel better. I still have a lot of days like this. Sabine Feldmann helped me pick out the turquoise fabric to make it bright and cheery. It will be donated to the Hospice Facility of Winston-Salem, N.C. It is going to be so pretty in the end and comfort many people there.

    4. The Dotty Nine Patch: Can you see a recurring color here? Turquoise? I loved the color over the last two years. I can't stop of using it. I originally started making this one for a magazine, but I highly doubt it will ever get published. I am such a procrastinator and I don't know if I would sew the pattern together again. It will make a nice wall hanging one day.

    5. Chevron Color: Oh, and another project I started and lost interest. Sometimes I like to sew on foundation papers and sometimes not. When it becomes fiddle "Arbeit", I just don't want to anymore! One day I will get back to it. It really isn't very big; I think finished size should be around a sheet of office paper. This would have been a good one for the Kona Cotton Challenge.

    6. Block Lotto QAL 2014: This one is going to be very pretty. This is one that my daughter and I are making together. It is going to be very bright and cheery and around for many days to come. I picked up the fabric fall of 2013 at a quilt shop when I was visited my mother in Asheville. The yellow and turquoise are gradients.

    7. Nina's Choice: these very lovely fabrics I picked out with my niece, Nina. She really liked them and asked me to make a quilt from them. I am still thinking about a pattern. I found the matching owl fabric and thought it could go with the other three. My niece is still in elementary school, so it also has to grow with her yet be appropriate for her age.

    8. Retro Table Runner with Curves: I started this one to learn a new technique. There are a lot of rounded curves which are made by sewing an additional piece of fabric into the block. Why did I never finish this one? The colors are great and the quilting was easy!

    9. The Mariner's Compass: this was started two or three years ago when I wanted to learn how to make a mariner's compass. I had these really bright fabrics that I wanted to use. I managed to finish the foundation piecing...yeah!!! just not the quilting. I could jump on a long arm (rent) and practice a little. Oh, that sounds like a really good idea. Get some practice quilting.

    10. A Cardinal in Winter: Oh, how I love cardinals. This one is also really, really old. I miss seeing the cardinals in winter, so I had to make this one. I thought it would look good with the blue framing, but I don't agree with that idea today. It is missing a cute little eye as well. This could be a quick finish and a pretty wall hanging for winter.

    11. The Underground Railroad Sampler: has everyone made one of these?? I think this was one of my first samplers. It is using the smaller sized blocks too. This could have been sewn onto foundation paper, but it probably wouldn't have gotten finished. It just needs to be quilted and I bought all of the coordinating threads to do it. Again, in the to-do-drawer.


    12. My hubby's Anniversary Plaid: This one is fairly new!! It has to get done the beginning of this year, before our terrific ten! It is not made from old shirts but from homespun plaids. I want to use a flannel for the backing and it has to be big enough to cover his from head to toe.

    13. 3xo: I practiced this shape before I sewed OHO together. There is actually a technique where you don't have to pin the fabrics together when you sew the curves. This only works when you have non-stretchy good quality quilting fabric. This would make a nice table runner for anyone. Maybe I will finish and give away. Sounds great to me!

    14. Sew Kitschy! A new project that will finish in the year 2014!

    And there are a couple other projects, but I haven't even started them, so they are not going here until I at least have the fabric picked out. I hope you enjoyed my little show and tell. If you have project to-do-list yourself, I would love to hear about it. Maybe you can help me get more organized!! Please leave a tip or trick behind which can help all of us. Enjoy your weekend. No more blogging for me next week. I want to sew!

    Sewingly yours,

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

    because retro is so now

    I am psyched up for the new year! I am feeling good. I cleaned my sewing room and straightened up my fabrics. I put my most current projects (WIPs -Work in Progress) or UFOs and we call them here into plastic bags - I save them from the Fat Quarter Shop and reuse; I am so Schwäbisch! ;-) I met with a friend to talk about our projects and sewing together for more motivation. Can you feel the energy radiating?

    Next on my project list for this week, now I have to think in weeks and not monthly posts, is/was Sew Kitschy. A German friend of mine asked me how "kitschy" translated into English. I think she was a little disappointed when I told her it was the same word. Okay, so the block of this month is that so adorable pot holder and oven mitt. What I really, really like about this BOM is the simplicity, and the retro, the red/turquoise, and only nine months! When I started laying out the fabric for the block, I wanted to use a big retro print for the background. All of the fabrics I have, are medium sized direction prints which started to present a challenge, but I mastered it. It can be done with a little patience. I did get this finished in one day (with other appointments and kids homework on the side). If you like the look of retro and want to use a larger print in the background, go for it! It is worth the effort.

    And I wanted to share with you one of the preludes to Linear Refraction. As soon as I heard about the blog hop, I wanted to use some off these really fresh colors and mix them with brown. I have yet to complete this rather small foundation mix. I threw it away yesterday in the cleaning sparade. But oh, the lovely things you can do with Kona solids.

    Enjoy the rest of your week. Soak up the sun rays whenever they poke through. And keep on sewing and posting!

    Sewingly yours,

    Monday, January 13, 2014

    new challenges for 2014

    Wow! What a response to my Linear Refraction 60° Triangle and Parallelogram Quilt. Thank you so much for your support and warm comments. It really made my day and felt wonderful! I think everyone knows just how much it means when you receive a little recognition every so often. And with that in mind, I have joined several BOM (Block of the Month) programs and a block lottery. I was so inspired by reading all of your comments and visiting YOUR websites, I didn't want to miss out on all of the fun!

    My first new program for this year is Cattinkas Hasenbach Challenge. I wanted to participate last year, but it filled up before the first week of enrollment was over! (or so I have it in my memories) Katrin organizes this program every year! I now her in real life as well, and she is really nice and has a great sense of humor! We are going on a weekend quilting retreat at the end of the month together with our patchwork group.

    In this program, it is not set in stone what you have to make each month; it just has to be from one of Claudia Hasenbach's foundation pieced patterns, basically. I used to do a lot of foundation piecing in the past, but got a little bored with it after a while. We will see how long it keeps my interest. You can learn more about the challenge by clicking the picture below.

    My second new challenge is a program with a lottery!! Yeahh! I might actually win something...lots and lots of blocks...the next best thing to winning fabric. ;-) This caught my attention, because there is no obligation. You can participate one month or not. You may donate blocks if you want and just watch the lottery. There are some regulations such as a particular color scheme to keep all of the blocks unified. That's clever! I not only will make blocks for the lottery, I decided I would make one block in the colorway of my choice to keep and make a BOM as suggested by Jean-sophie. My six year old daughter and I sewed together the first blocks on the weekend. She did a really good job!

    You can read more about the block lottery by clicking on the picture below. Here are my first blocks for the Lotto!

    Next up is the North Pole QAL (Quilt a Long) with Val Spiers. This actually started last year, but Katrin twisted my arm and is making participate in this one since I already had the book and all. ;.) I saw this pattern several years ago (when I was in my foundation craze) and bought it. Everything in the book is appliqué though. So it got put on hold. I worked out a version that was horizontal rather than vertical. We'll see how it goes. I am excited about those Christmas colors again. You can learn more about it by clicking the picture below.

    And last but definitely not least, the Sew Kitschy BOM!! I think there are quite a few of you out there that are extremely excited about this one! I am not sure what turned me on so much the simplicity or the kitsch! I love retro! I think that's what did it. You can even purchase the entire pattern collection via Craftsy if you want in advance and skip the BOM. I am going for the monthly free foundation patterns. I am going to let the others sew first to see exactly how I want my blocks with beautiful retro fabrics. Oh, and if you were wondering what the fabric were at the top of the post, they are more than likely going to be my pick for Sew Kitschy!

    You can learn more about the BOM by clicking the picture below.

    Quiet Play

    That is it. Four new programs for 2014!! I have made the commitments. It is time to get down to business. In the next couple of weeks, I hope to have my list of WIPs (Work in Progress) that I would like to complete this year. I am a bit of a slacker and envy my colleagues who are soooo organized. I generally just jump in with arms and feet swinging everywhere!

    Stay tuned and thanks again for all of your support and wonderful comments!!

    Yours sewingly

    Thursday, January 9, 2014

    linear refraction

    Guten Morgen ladies and gentlemen! Thank you for joining me today along the "Wake Up to Kona" Color Essentials blog hop presented by ! Sew We Quilt and sponsored by Amanda Murphy, Robert Kaufman and Aurifil. This is a very exciting day for me since this is my very FIRST patchwork challenge! Please don't forgot to stop by and explore what my fellow colleagues (for-the-day) have made. You will find a link to their sites at the bottom of my page, so please read on.

    Right now, I am on a 60° triangle craze. I am always dreaming of different possibilities with what I can do with this shape. There are two typical quilts to make with 60 degree triangles - the 1000 Pyramids Quilt and a one patch triangle with varying hues, saturation and fabrics. I wondered what else could you make when you add a parallelogram to the design. What other designs and patterns show up?? That was my starting point.

    I work a lot with EQ7 when I design quilts. You can see some of my creations at the EQ Gallery. I like to see how everything is going to look beforehand with maybe just a slight change or two. My first challenge was adding the parallelogram into a pattern. EQ7 has the option of making a one-block quilt, but I wanted triangles and parallelograms! How do I make the parallelograms? Duh...just make a one-block strip drawing exactly the shapes you want to include in the quilt. I drew seven different strips with the shapes I wanted. That simple! Here is a preview of the first strip:

    I love to work with solids, but I never worked entirely with them, because I don't want my patchwork to look "Amishy". Today, bright and fresh fabric choices are readily available especially in solids. I am very excited when you tell me that you discover solids and are starting to use them in your own quilts. I love to use lots and lots of different fabrics or colors, but I limited myself with this design to just four colors and an anchor. My color choices usually reflect my mood, the weather or a new trendy fabric collection. And with this challenge, I decided to go with the weather. I had winter on my mind. I picked from Kona Chartreuse, Lagoon, Windsor and Crocus as well as Snow to anchor and put them all together.

    Are you curious to see what I created? I think I am more excited to show you!

    It was a little bit of a battle to get the measurements right, but if I had just printed out the rotary cutting instructions from EQ7 like I was used to, I could have saved myself a lot of seam ripping from the get-go. I did not have any major problems after that. As long as you sew the rows together in opposing directions, and let the seams nest, it will sew together in a snap. I actually spent more time quilting it than sewing it together.

    Here it is without the binding:

    I really wanted to make this patchwork come to life and designed it with a colored, alternating strip binding. I was almost in a pickle getting the fabric, because I ran out of the chartreuse green. It was on back order, so I ordered it at a second online shop - Quiltzauberei. Thank you for getting it to me so quickly! I applied the strip binding rotating the quilt always to the left for a really special effect. (It is not a continuous binding.)

    When it came to quilting, I didn't want to over-do-it. I like the quilting to hold the patchwork in place but not overpower the design. There can always be a second design created when you quilt and I did want to achieve this as well. I quilted 3/8" (0,80cm) on the inside of the white/purple sections and I,5" on the insides of the colored triangles. It makes a secondary pattern in the quilt and turns a couple of triangles into diamonds. And yes, I actually used five different threads when quilting and tied the ends before I pulled them through - no backing stitching! And here she is all finished up:

    The colors are gorgeous - much more vibrant than pictured here. I love the layout including just one entire row of triangles in the middle. My hubby asked me immediately who was going to receive this little beauty. I quickly replied and told him this was my show piece; it stays in the collection. And it will be staying on my wall for the duration of the winter. I like to think of the sun reflecting off solid ice in the middle of the day and in the evening when the light changes - linear refraction! How many different patterns can you see?

    I really enjoyed planning and sewing this quilt - a wall hanging size of ~98 x 98 cm or 38.5 x 38.5 inches. It is a great little piece to show off what you can do. It isn't always easy to get those points lined up the way you want too.

    If you would like to make this quilt, I have the free pattern here for download. (There is also an alternate fabric way if you prefer a warmer look.) Donations are welcome via PayPal to but are not required.

    Please don't forgot to stop by and explore what my fellow blog hop colleagues have made. We are counting on your support! Leave a little love or just a comment will do.There are so many great quilts, large and small, that you have to visit each and everyone's site. They will knock your socks off. When you finish with this little list, go back to ! sew we quilt and look at all of the particpants!!


    A big warm thanks to Carol at Just Let Me Quilt and Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt for organizing and cheering us on but most importantly, for inspiring us to inspire YOU!

     Thank you for dropping by. Karen

    Wednesday, January 1, 2014

    happy new year 2014!

    Greetings everyone from sunny Germany. Yes, the sun is shining today with an average temperature of 0°C/32°F. It is wonderful soaking up the sun rays. The winter months are always very gloomy here since we live in somewhat of an overcast region. Winter can get quite depressing at times, but not this year!

    The holidays were great. Everyone seemed to have gained a few more pounds with all of the great food we ate. The kids are ready to go back to school, at least the parents are. ;-) I think they had too much Christmas - staying up late, getting new toys, and not having a regular schedule.

    And I am gearing up for my WAKE UP to KONA Challenge. I worked just a little bit more on it last week. I got a little distracted on Monday, because I went to use one of the threads for quilting (the green spool on the post below), and couldn't find it anywhere! I had to drive into Neu-Ulm to get just the one spool. I would be ready to put some binding on it too, IF I had all of the fabric as well. It is currently on back order but luckily not in Customs. I was smart and lucky enough to order fabric locally this time. Kona is readily available here in Germany. I ordered my solids from Quiltmania which has a large supply of Kona as well as Moda precuts.

    I am really, really excited to show you a sneak peek, but I think I have already given away more than I should. The quilt will be debuting on January 10, 2014, here on my website as well as on the Sew We Quilt Blog Hop starting on January 7th and lasting through January 21st. Please join us and see what we have made with Kona solids.

    I will have the full pattern FREE for download here at my site.

    Enjoy the rest of your week!

    Kind regards,