Monday, April 28, 2014

new pattern sneak peek

Oh my goodness. I survived Easter vacation alone with the kids! If today is your first day at home without the kids too, can you feel with me? It was very nice having a bit of morning time back for myself. I did manage to work a little on a new pattern that I hope to upload to Craftsy by the end of this week. Here is your exclusive sneak peek!

Back in January 2014, I participated in a quilt challenge called "Wake me up to Kona - Color Essentials" using just solids. I seldom use just solids or just prints in my quilt designs, so it hurt just a bit to stay within the guidelines. I came up with an original quilt using 60° triangles and parallelograms called Linear Refraction. The pattern is for free and you can find it on my download page. All in all, it was a very rewarding experience for me.

This new design was inspired by that challenge. I know you are going to love this one just as much as I do. It falls in line with my philosophy - simple, easy, practical. Stay tuned, because this one is HOT!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

doll quilts throughout the year

Last year I joined up with the Doll Quilt Monthly club where I was allowed to make little quilts for a great group of ladies. Every month we were given a theme. You could roll with it, or not. That all depended on your partner. So far, I have had very easy-going, uncomplicated partners that have made some very stunning quilts.

I wanted to share with you the beauty and warmth I have received. Here are a few of my favorites!

 Lynn - "Diamonds are Forever"

"Citrus" from Julianne

"Pieces of my Heart" from Sher

"Through my Window" 
from Paula from Mud, Pies and Pins

"Stars and Stripes" 
from Vickie at Creative Notions

These ladies really deserve a great round of applause! They made some very fantastic quilts that I will cherish forever! Thank you!

Now, I would like to hear from you. What do you like and dislike about quilt swaps? Please share you thoughts with us!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

sorting your fabric

In preparation for Project: Sewing Room, I cleaned up my own sewing room and sorted out my fabric. I usually sort it out once a quarter or every six months. In the beginning, it is so nicely folded and organized. Do you know what I mean? When I start to dive into my sewing projects, sometimes (just sometimes), I get lazy and just start to throw things back in without folding and color coordinating. My fabric cabinet has doors for a reason! Out of sight, out of mind.

How to sort fabric? I have sorted by color, by size, by project, by collections. What is the best way? Honestly, I haven't found it out yet. I have read books about it and didn't really understand why one would sort out by color. I usually sew in collections.

Every time I sort, I seem to do it different to see what works better for me. The last time I sorted, I folded everything nice and neatly into about 3" x 8" fabric-fold stacks. This optimized my cabinet space to fit a lot more in and stayed relatively flat instead of towers of fabrics. This time, I folded my fabric into quarter bundles. I put all of my colorful fabric on the top shelf, where I will see it and use it more often. I also put the contrasting colors in front, because I like a lot of contrast. The neutral blacks, white, brown, grays got put on the middle shelf. I hardly use these anymore.

I keep the larger pieces separated - pieces 1/2 meter and more go into their own groups. You can see these at the bottom. I will usually use these for backing fabrics.

Honestly, it doesn't look like I have that much fabric looking at this picture! But I also sorted out fabrics for special projects I am working on. My Hasenbach, North Pole, Kitschy, and Mod/Mod Block Lotto all got new project totes. I bought these at our local home improvement store - Bau V-Markt; they fit great into my cutting table shelves. I also have a few smaller collections of fabric stored in plastic bags in the other cabinet. I store my scraps, other projects, batting and notions inside that one.

Now, I really don't think I have a lot of fabric, but who ever really has enough? How do you organize your fabric and why? I would love to hear from you!

Monday, April 14, 2014

a new quilt for teddy and friends

I was pretty excited this month; time permitted me to sew a few blocks for the Block Lotto. Depending on how difficult the blocks are and what colors are being used, I might or might not participate. In the end, I want to receive the blocks I will be making. And if I have a difficult time making them, everyone else probably will too.

This month's block is a Triangle in a Square. easy block. I can do this one and my daughter can help. (That was one of the reasons of joining the group - that my daughter was going to sew along with me.) We followed the directions and cut everything out just as described in Method Two: making eight blocks at once. I like making more at a time. Es rendiert sich! Silly me, I picked up the smaller squares to make the smaller triangles. (I really should read more carefully and not sew in the evenings. This always seems to cause a problem.) I sewed according to the next section and voila! My inner blocks were 1/2 inch smaller than they should be. Huh?? I remember reading on the website that someone else had also sewn the blocks together, and they were smaller. Where's the problem? Oh course, I got confused and picked up the wrong square. I needed the larger square for the smaller triangle and the smaller square for the larger triangle. Sound logical. At that moment, no.

Well, I trimmed them down and found a great use for them - a new quilt for teddy and friends! I let my daugter arrange them. Pink had to go in the center; it is a girly color. And even though teddy is a boy, he has to share with the girls as well. It will get quilted within the next couple of days with a really nice flannel backing so teddy and friends stay nice and cozy. I don't know if there is a block name for this layout. If there is not, we're going to call this teddy's block.

The next morning, I was on a mission to get it right. After re-reading the directions, everything seemed logical to me. I cut new colored patches slightly larger than the directions as before, because when I am sewing on the bias and cutting, I always like to have a little extra. That works for me. Everything went easy cheesy, except my daughter didn't want to help anymore.

This time I eliminated the red and substituted a light pink. The red was probably better, a little brighter. These are getting thrown into the lotto pot. Maybe I will win a collection? If not, it was fun working with my bright colors again --- so nice and cheery.

Thanks to a mix up of the mind, my daughter has a new quilt for her teddy and friends. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever made teddy bear quilts? What do you like about making them? If you have, I would love to hear about it. Please post in the comments section. I love to receive your comments! Until next time, happy patching.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

wrist pin cushion for sewists

Recently I received an email from a reader about my linen sewing pin cushion that I made after my weekend retreat at a convent.  The very friendly, Ann from Australia wanted to know where she could get this pattern. I designed it myelf to the exact measurements of my own medium-sized wrist. The pattern is now available to you at Craftsy!

As I do with most patterns, I want it to be correct. So, I made several of these cushions tweeking the pattern to get them just right. I tried out different lengths of the elastic band and different materials that I filled the pin cushions with to get the exact feel that was comfortable and functional. It must hold the needles snug but the needles must also go in easily. A cotton filler might make it fluffy, but doesn't hold your needle. Risotto rice doen't work that well either. It is a nice medium sized grain that holds your needle, but dulls it as you push it in.

What is really great about this wrist pin cushion is the total comfort! It does not slip and slide. The elastic does not cut into your wrist either. It takes on the warmth of your hand from the soft texture of the linen. I added a plastic guard as well, so the pins would not ram into your arm for that bitter shock. Ouch!

If you like to keep your pins close to you especially on your wrist, this is the perfect pin cushion for you! It is simple, easy, and practical!

Thank you for dropping by. I would love to see your creations, so don't forget to upload them to Craftsy!

Monday, April 7, 2014

cattinka's hasenbach challenge 2014

I am very fortunate to join up with a great group of ladies over at Cattinka's Blog for her annual Hasenbach Challenge. What is this challenge about? For those of us who like to sew in a virtual group, it allows you to sew a block from any of Claudia Hasenbach's patterns and display it at an ever growing gallery she posts the last day of the month. It is like walking into an art exhibit without leaving leaving your home!

Cattinka's Blogspot has grown this year and has an incredible amount of participants - 43. Can you believe that? I do not know how she manages with such a large number!? She cheers us on and makes sure we have our blocks finished by the end of the month. Thank you so much for your support and organizing the group! We couldn't do it without you, liebe Katrin!

I thought I would share three blocks with you that I have finished for this year's challenge. In the beginning, I wasn't sure what I wanted to make, so I found a nice landscape scene reminding me of the Carolina Fall I so deeply miss. It looks totally different since I put the borders on it. I think I will make it into a sofa pillow that will go great with my darker colored living room.

Then, Katrin nudged me along to help me find a complete wall hanging that was achievable. I am going with the Apfelernte or Apple Harvest and using the muted earth tones from the fabric collection above. They always make me feel warm and cozy inside. The blue is the wackiest color in it. Again, I miss that Carolina blue sky! I had to have some color!!

After I knock my green apple blocks out, then the reds will come more into play. I personally really like the wacky green apple here. It makes it come to life against the subdued colors and more interesting to look at. The apple tree above will get some french-knotted apples when I get around to it!

Oh, so many SAL/BOM this year. I bought some more plastic totes to get better organized. I also sorted out and refolded all of my fabric over the weekend. My husband thought I was crazy and asked if he go to his shop and sort out his screws. That was a good comparison, but I think I have more fabric. ;-)

Please come join us the last day of each month for a gallery showing of patchwork-artwork at Cattinka's Blogspot.

Happy patching and thank you for stopping by!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

project: sewing room

Hello my very dear and loyal readers! Today I would like to share with you my sewing room and a few ideas I have about it. If you are coming to my site via IkeaHackers to take a look at the customized sewing room cutting table, you will be very excited about this new project.

I first uploaded "how to make the cutting table" almost one year ago and had big ideas for the rest of my sewing room. But as things usually go, the day-to-day gets in the way. Now that I am working in the room, I see room for improvement and desperately need to make some changes.

My project is to improve and vitalize my sewing room with (new) ideas that are very functional for the 20-ten patchworker! I will bring out a post (once a month) giving tips, ideas, or little projects that will "WOW" your sewing room. Now, I know we all have our own style. Some like dark wood, some black, some cherry, some beech (Buche) wood. I like it "modern rustic." For me, that means the look of old wood combined with white. I love color, believe me I do! But in my sewing room, I want the room to be my canvas. My sewing room will stay within this theme, but you can tailor the projects to your style and your space. I will even talk a little bit about ergonomics in the sewing room.

I am very fortunate and thankful to have a medium sized room with lots of light. It is used not only by me for sewing, but additionally as the "ironing room" where I get the laundry back into order as well as the place where the kids do their homework. So, this being said, it has to accommodate these things as well.

The essentials are already set up - cutting table, sewing table, storage. I have a wonderful cutting table (100x140cm) made by my Schatzi. I am using an older Ikea table (80x120cm) with adjustable legs which gives me the perfect height I need to sew. The table is turned perpendicular to the wall, because I want to look around my room. Otherwise, I would feel like I were in a jail cell looking at a cement wall. It also allows me to quilt larger quilts and let them hang off the table. Last year, I also bought double cabinets for fabric storage and a tall book shelf with drawers for unfinished projects and additional storage.

My room looks a little messy right now, but I wanted to be candid about it. No one is perfect and nothing is ever 100% clean and organized all of the time. My room is in a working condition, not a museum.

First up on the To-Do-List is to get my sewing room back on track and do some spring cleaning...sorting out projects, fabrics, and some general cleaning. I found a good article about it here.

I hope you will join me once a month for a post on project: sewing room! Please feel free to leave a comment about ideas that have helped you in your sewing room/space.