Tag: Quilting

Wedding plaids

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I know it’s been quiet on the blog for a while, but when I just saw that the last post was more than three months ago, I was actually a bit shocked! One reason certainly is that with Paul back at work after parental leave, it’s been harder to find the time for my beloved sewing projects. But in addition to that, I’ve also mostly been working on bigger projects (like quilts…) which is not exactly ideal for frequent posts either… 😉

Anyways… It’s my cousin’s wedding today, so I made a quilt for them. It’s a grey and navy blue plaid pattern this time, with thin golden accent stripes. I chose to stay away from patterned fabrics this time and only use solids, because I thought that would look nicer with the simple design of the quilt.

I didn’t take any pictures of the process this time, but all the steps were the same as with my last quilt. Well, almost… this time, everything was square – not just all the pieces, but I also chose to quilt in straight lines (as opposed to my usual wavy lines) to match the plaid pattern of the quilt top.

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And of course, I also “hid” a personal triangle in one of the corners of the back of the quilt.

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Here’s a close-up of the embroidery:

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On my previous quilts I always hand-stitched that little message, but somehow I never really enjoyed that process… So I decided to try to get my sewing machine for the job this time. I marked the letters with a fabric marker, then followed the lines stitch by stitch – litteraly! 😉 In the end, I don’t think it was a lot faster, but I really like how it turned out. No more hand-stitching in he future, yey! 😛

I only finished the quilt two days ago, so unfortunately, I couldn’t get it to the bridal couple in time, but I hope they’ll still like it with a few weeks of delay!

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Congratulations again, Laura and Dominik! We hope you’re enjoying lots of truly wonderful moments today and we wished we could be there today to celebrate this very special day with you! We’re thinking of you today!!! 💛

Twelve little housies…

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The bedroom is finally ours again, yey! 🙂

Please don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed sharing it with the little monster when he was a baby and found it so practical for nighttime feedings to have him right beside me in his co-sleeper. But when he started to constantly climb into my bed, I was more than ready for his transition to the kids room. While I remember this transition to be quite easy with the big monster at the time, it was a bit trickier this time around: TWO monsters, ONE room – problem! It took us a little while but somehow we figured out a way to make them both go to bed without waking each other up – at least most nights…

Anyways, the bedroom is ours again and while Paul and the big monster were visiting the grandparents for a week, I finally managed to finish the quilt for our bed. It seems like it took forever, but the timing made for a really nice surprise upon their return!

The first thing I knew when thinking about different design ideas for the quilt was that I wanted to somehow incorporate the leaves that I stitched onto our head board. Then I happened to find a light grey fabric with a beautiful leaves print that perfectly went together with its charcoal color. And finally, when browsing through Pinterest for more inspiration, I came across a quilt with twelve houses arranged in a square that I instantly loved. And since Paul really liked it too, that was a really easy decision. (I might be slightly obsessed with houses… I already have house-shaped display boxes in my crafts corner, then Paul made me this house shelf not too long ago and at some point I may also have suggested a house shape for the chalkboard in our kitchen…)

So I started with a sketch of the quilt and decided to fill the center and the corners of the quilt with arrow heads that I find look really nice with the houses. The colors that I used for the sketch are just due to the limited selection of pencil crayons that I have, not reflecting the color palette I really had in mind for the quilt…

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Then I figured out all the pieces and their dimensions that I would need to “build” my little village.

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When it came to choosing fabrics I actually found one that featured a grey bricks print (what better coincidence could you imagine?!) and decided to also use some yellow for highlights. After cutting all the pieces I made a numbered stack for each house which included all the little squares and triangles for the walls, the door and windows and the roof.

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I started by sewing subsections of all the houses, then ironed them and put them together to make complete houses.

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Here’s the whole pile of all twelve of them.

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As a final design check I laid all the blocks out on the floor and after one or two changes, I was happy with the position of all the houses: all neighboring houses different, not too much yellow in one area of the quilt etc…

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Next, I cut and assembled the pieces for all the arrow heads…

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… added the last few charcoal pieces for the background, and eventually joined everything to form the quilt top. Once ironed it looked like this:

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To prepare the quilt sandwich, I used the same spot on our living room floor as I did when basting my parents’ quilt.

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Two hours, 300 safety pins and a glass of wine later…

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In order to facilitate the quilting of that huge thing my favorite husband made me a quilting table! It’s a wooden board that contoures perfectly around my sewing machine and for an even larger surface I can “attach” our ironing board by slipping its tip between this board and the table underneath. So great!

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I started quilting the most painful part first, the dark square with the arrow heads in the middle. Again, as with my parents’ quilt, I chose to stitch wavy lines, but thanks to the raised surface of the quilting board, it was a lot easier to maneuver the quilt and especially to keep its weight of the sewing needle. So (almost) no cursing this time! 😉

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I also stitched wavy lines all over the houses and decided to add some leaves to the dark frame around the houses. Approaching one of the last leaves on the outermost quilting line…

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As the last step after trimming the edges of the quilt I attached the binding, using once again the grey leaves fabric that I mentioned at the start of this post.

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The stitched leaves did not turn out as perfect as I was hoping – a lot of them are a bit wonky and the stitches vary a lot in size -, but overall they look really nice together with the binding I find. Here is a closeup of one of the prettier ones:

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I also made a label again that I placed in one of the corners of the back of the quilt. Unlike my parents though, Paul did not find it until I gave him a hint… 😉

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And here’s a picture of the quilt on our bed. Taking a nice picture of a big object like this is not all that easy. I might give it another try in our backyard once it stops raining… 😉

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Lots and lots of pluses

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I finally fulfilled one long term ambition and made a quilt for my parents. They really liked the baby quilt that I made for the little monster, so they got one with a very similar color scheme. Actually, a few of the fabrics are even identical. Instead of triangles, theirs is featuring a pluses design though.

The whole project started with cutting the pieces, two little squares and one long rectangle for each plus. Doesn’t look like many? It’s just under 1000 pieces… 😛

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Instead of laying all the pieces out to figure out their exact positions, I created a cheat sheet and coded the different fabrics with numbers from 1 to 9. This technique had already proven very handy with the baby quilt last time, but was an actual necessity with the full size quilt this time around. We simply don’t have enough empty floor space in our house to put all these pieces down (and not have them attacked by little monsters).

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So according to this nifty cheat sheet, I prepared one little pile of pieces for each row…

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,,, which I then sewed together forming strips. You can see a few “editions” to my cheat sheet where I changed the position of a few pluses because I wanted to avoid the two brightest and the two darkest fabrics to have neighboring pluses, so they would stand out to each other more nicely. Below is a picture of a few of the finished strips – it was definitely a great moment to see all these strips of squares and rectangles come together to form the actual pluses!

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Another moment where lots of endorphines were released was after all these strips had been joint to one single sheet. After a good little while of ironing it looked like this:

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In order to assemble the quilt sandwich – I used a light polyester batting and a matching navy blue flat sheet for the back – I pinned the three layers together using safety pins.

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Then, I quilted the sandwich together with gentle wavy lines. It’s hard to see in the picture but I used a turquoise yarn that would stand out nicely against the navy background.

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And finally, after attaching an also navy colored binding, here is the finished quilt:

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As an additional surprise, I hid a little triangle in the back of one of the corners – which my parents found within only a few seconds 😉

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I’m so happy I managed to finish the quilt before my parents’ visit! The last stitches were only completed on Friday, the very day befor their arrival…

So, dear Mutti and Vati, I hope you’ll sleep well under your new blanket! I love you! 💛

A little phone cozy

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My phone finally got a protective sleeve! I know that there are a ton out there to choose from, but stupid me always wanted to make one myself, so I never got one… Consequently, it is too late already for my poor phone in a way – after a previous fall (or rather several… 😜) the front glass is beautifully cracked in one corner. But now at least I won’t have an excuse for any further damage…

A mini quilt

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There have been some more baby preparations after setting up a second crib in the kids’ room about two weeks ago. We still have basically all essentials from the first monster – except for a box of newborn diapers that I got earlier this week 😉 – but I really wanted to make something special for him. So I made a baby quilt!

After the quilt for my sister and her husband I had the strong feeling that this wouldn’t be my last one and got myself a few tools to make my future quilting life a little easier. Namely, those were a rotary cutter, a giant package of curved safety pins (you can see those awesome little guys in action in the bottom picture 😉) and – most importantly – a walking foot for my sewing machine. This last one was actually mostly coincidence. I had just mentioned to one of the ladies in the fabric store that I had found it a bit tricky to prevent the three layers from moving against each other while quilting the fabric and batting sandwich together, when she asked me why I wasn’t using a walking foot which was designed exactly for that purpose. Not that I hadn’t had this idea before, but during my own research I found out that Pfaff doesn’t offer one for my specific model of sewing machine. So I assumed that this was it and tried to find peace with that fact. But as it turns out, sewing machine accessories are sometimes more compatible between different manufacturers than I had imagined and my friends had a Janome foot for me that works like a charm with my Pfaff. It’s a bit of a noisy fellow, but it really was like making myself an early Christmas present when trying it out for the first time and now I just love its little “click click click”! 🙂

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And even better: my wonderful husband also made me a wooden cutting template (more durable than cardboard, but a lot cheaper than those fancy acrylic quilting rulers!) according to my specified dimensions.

I don’t want to say that making a quilt isn’t still a time-consuming business, but I really feel like I saved a lot of time with this one thanks to these little helpers. 😉 To be honest, part of it was of course just due to the smaller size of the quilt (about 1m x 1m) which made things a lot easier and faster…

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Do you like the little triangles? There are so many a lot more elaborate designs out there, but compared to the simple squares from last time, I felt almost a little adventurous. And I really like the combination of the lime and navy hues. Can’t wait to actually use the baby quilt!

A true quilt

When I made this baby blanket for Theo a few months ago, I remember mentioning that I wanted to make a “true” quilt one day. And here we are, not even too long after! My sister’s wedding was just the perfect occasion as it makes for such a beautiful and symbolic wedding gift! 🙂

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I already had such a great time at the fabric store choosing this set of eight fabrics! I almost put them under my pillow going to bed that evening… 😛

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I chose a classic patchwork design made of 7.5 inch squares, i.e. my pieces were by far not as tiny as for most of the quilts that I’ve been admiring on Pinterest etc., but this being my first quilt, I wanted to keep things simple. And it actually is a BIG one (90 inches x 90 inches) – the photo only shows a quarter of the whole quilt. Paul is hiding behind it while sitting on a chair holding it up for the picture. 😉 So despite the simple design, my sewing machine and I had some intense moments – a few quiet swear-words included – at least while quilting the middle section where I had to manoeuver a  considerable sausage of rolled fabric through the arm of my sewing machine on the right side of the needle.

I wanted the squares to be randomised, but still in a balanced way, meaning that I didn’t want to end up with too many dark squares in one corner for example. So as everybody else would have (right?! 😜), I sorted my fabrics from dark to bright, assigning them numbers from 1 to 8, then made an excel spreadsheet to visualize the layout. Then I played around until I had the same number of squares for each fabric in total and in each quarter of the quilt, and never having the same numbers in adjacent fields:

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I pinned this cheat sheet over my desk and for each row that I was sewing, I grabbed the 12 required fabrics from my eight piles of cut fabric squares. Sometimes I suppose I’m trying pretty hard to be as efficient as possible… but it worked pretty well, except for the fact the I still see a number 2 instead of a square with a flower pattern 😛

And this was after the front of the quilt was finished and ironed:

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As I didn’t want the quilt to be too warm, I chose a light batting. And for the back of the quilt I got a light grey flat sheet because I wanted it to be just one piece and most fabrics come only 44 inches wide. But I find the color goes really well with all the different shades of teal and makes them pop quite nicely. And I find the teal quilting seams also look really nice on the grey background. Anyways, I am more than happy with the result and now want a quilt for us, too 😉 I may actually already have bought the first few pieces of fabric… but that will be another story…

Congratulations again, Britta and Pete!!! 😘

A blanket for the monster

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Being quite happy with how this baby blanket for Theo turned out a little ago, I was thinking of making one for our monster as well and was so glad that there was just enough fabric left. So I did! I got some grey fabric with little dots for the back and went for a simple diagonal squares quilting pattern.

Technically, it’s not Yannick’s first blanket. He has another one that used to be his play mat before he was mobile, and which we still use for the stroller and in the car. This blanket though I want to keep in his crib. And don’t the forest animals just go perfect with the cloud shelves and the birch trees on the kids room wall?! 🙂

While I will continue to use his sleeping bag at night, I’ll start to use the new blanket for Yannick’s daytime naps. We’ve been “practicing” with his unzipped sleeping bag for a while now, so I think he’s ready for an actual blanket. And so far he seems to really like it – let’s see what he thinks when we get ready for his afternoon nap today… 😉

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UPDATE:

Ha! There we go! And yes, the stuffies may have been arranged for the picture… 😛

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Bears in trees

Last Friday, Paul took a day off. He and the monster had fun together all morning, so I felt like I was really the one on leave! 😉 I had some great hours in the guest room/crafts room, and I really enjoyed making something in one stretch once again. No attacks from the monster and no praying that the nap might be a long one!

So here is the result, a baby blanket for Theodor, my cousin Lana’s second little mister who was born today! So exciting! Congratulations and all the best to the whole family!! 💛

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I chose a plain brown fabric for the back and modified the quilting pattern I previously used for our headboard cover trying to resemble woodgrain, which I thought was perfect with the forest theme. And I believe I’m getting a lot closer to making a REAL quilt one day! You know, one that requires putting together a ton of tiny little pieces. But let’s not get too excited here – one day…!

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“Bears in trees”, this was actually the name of the fabric as it appeared on my receipt and I just fell for it. It is one of the treasures I got at JoAnn’s in Boston last fall. I can’t wait for my next chance to dive through their amazing selection! Which will probably be in July, as I already found out there is one in Sault Sainte Marie, literally just over the bridge to the US!

I also made a matching card, using the same brown fabric and kinda copying the acorn motive (It’s hard to see in the photo, I know, but there’re also a bunch of squirrels between all these bears and owls, and each of them is holding an acorn…). And who says you can’t sew a card?! 😉 I ironed some fusible interfacing to the back of the fabric scraps to prevent the pieces from fraying, then embroidered a little face and stitched the pieces onto the card.

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Now I just need to pack the little parcel and send it on its way to Vienna! 🙂

A quilted headboard cover

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It’s finally done! This headboard cover that’s caused me so many headaches is finally done!!

But I should maybe start my story a bit earlier: Shortly after we moved into our house here in Ottawa, we got a new bed. While I instantly loved the simple wood frame, I hated the leather headboard it normally comes with. The happier I was to find out that both could be purchased separately. I was totally enthusiastic about making our own headboard cushion, ordered a mattress topper as a filler, cut it to size and even bought some fabric, then… Nothing. For over a year. Until I made this little zipper pouch for my Kobo in order to practice quilting and more specifically to try out that leafy lines pattern that I figured would be manageable with a regular sewing machine foot and wouldn’t require free motion quilting.

So far, so good. I expected this project to be challenging, but I did not expect it to be that hard! Part of it was simply the size of it. Manoeuvring that heavy thing through my sewing machine while it tried to jump off the table more than once… But the worst part was the fabric itself, quite a nightmare! So slippery! And I have never worked with anything before that would fray only half as badly. Literally, just by looking at it, the fabric would already disintegrate! 😛

I admit having cursed a few times but I’m glad that in the end I didn’t let myself get defeated. Although I’m sure that I’ll be more careful with my fabric choices in the future!

Quilting experiments

For over a year I have wanted to make a cover for the headboard of our bed… Last night, I finally revived this project by finalizing the pattern and starting to cut the pieces. As a pretty detail I would like to quilt this cover. However, as I have never quilted before, I felt that a practice piece was needed. And as I didn’t want to just use some throw-away-scraps, I recently made this little padded zipper pouch for the Kobo that I got for Christmas and experimented with a leafy pattern that I think will look great on our bed as well.

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Can’t wait to scale the process up tonight when the monster is snoozing! Will keep you updated how my “real” quilting project is going… 😉