Friday, 24 February 2017

Enchanting



I've started on a new, portable knitting project: the Enchanting scarf, a free Ravelry pattern by Marika Lundgren. I'm using a soft Australian merino wool and love the tilting blocks that are emerging.



My sister-in-law asked if I would like to make a wall hanging for their living room. Of course! I've purchased fabrics in the colours she wanted and am now starting to cut them up. We'll be visiting the Netherlands again this year (woohoo!), in July, so I have a few months to finish it.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

New pattern: Mercator Messenger Bag



I'm happy to introduce my latest pattern: the Mercator Messenger Bag!



A roomy bag, large enough for documents, books or magazines, with handy pockets for small things such as keys, sunglasses, passport...



I decided to cut up this (Pacific-centred) world map panel for the bag. It has been in my stash for years, waiting to be used in a quilt for my youngest son. I used one for the back of an I Spy quilt for my middle son in 2007, and another one in 2009 for the back of the Aussie quilt for my eldest son. We have a world map hanging on the wall now, so it isn't a big deal ;-)



I sewed the bag together with pink Aurifil thread (no.2440) - it matches the lining fabric and nicely contrasts with the main fabric:



I named the bag after Gerardus Mercator, the Flemish cartographer who in 1569 created the world map projection that made navigation much easier. It became the standard projection for centuries, but has in recent years fallen from grace because of the serious distortion issues (you can read more about this interesting subject here).



The pattern is now available in my pattern stores on Craftsy and Etsy.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Sydney



In August last year we heard that at the end of the year we would have to move from Brisbane to Sydney, where my husband had found a new job. Understandably, our sons (13, 11 and 9 years old at that time) weren't happy at the thought of having to leave their friends, schools and clubs behind. They had never been to Sydney (1000 km south of Brisbane), so in the September school holidays we took them there for a family vacation, while also checking out areas to live.
The boys loved Taronga Zoo, which is situated on the shores of Sydney Harbour, and this photo of the giraffes with their fabulous view over Sydney became our favourite of the holiday (I showed it here on the blog in October).



Last year SAQA put out a call for entry for an exhibition called Textile Posters. I love vintage travel posters - here is my Pinterest board full of them - and decided to make a Sydney poster based on the photo of the giraffes. Chances of getting into a SAQA exhibition are very small, so I wanted to make a quilt that I would love to have hanging on the wall anyway!



And indeed, I heard last week that my quilt wasn't selected. I was a little sad at first, but it's hanging over our dinner table now and we all love it. Here are a few detail photos - as always, I used Aurifil 40wt threads for piecing, appliqué, and quilting:



The font used for the letters is Broadway - love the art deco feel!



For the tails of the giraffes I used black yarn:



I bought the giraffe print fabric at my local quilt shop, but all other fabrics are from my stash. I've shown the back here already, it's a funky Ikea fabric:



Here is the quilt hanging in our dining room. It measures 32'' x 48'' (81 x 122 cm).

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Denim Doorstop - Tutorial



In January I made two doorstops - one for the living room and one for my eldest son's room - and now my youngest son asked if I could make one for his room as well. Of course! This time I decided to use fabric from old pairs of jeans, and to write down the instructions and share them here for those of you who would like to make one as well.

You will need:
- six 6'' (15 cm) squares of denim or another heavyweight fabric
(for the previous doorstops I used 5'' squares, but here 6'' was needed to be able to include the pockets)
- matching thread
- sewing machine (a walking foot is recommended for sewing through layers of heavy fabric)
- filling - I used a layer of cat litter (clay) topped up with scraps of batting. You could also use sand, rice, beans etc. (although I would worry about mould and pests when using edible materials as filling)



I cut two plain squares for the top and bottom, and four squares with a pocket for the sides.



Start with sewing the side squares to the bottom square, right sides together, using a 1/2'' (1 cm) seam allowance. Start and stop 1/2'' (1 cm) from the corner and back stitch a few times at the start and end of each side. Make sure the side squares with the pockets are positioned correctly.



The top square will need a handle. I found some baby overalls in my denim stash and used the straps:





Alternatively, make a handle by cutting a 5'' x 4'' (12.5 cm x 10 cm) rectangle of denim and sewing a 1/4'' (6 mm) seam on both short ends. Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise, open again, fold both sides in towards the fold in the midline and then fold in half lengthwise again, so you have a 4-layer strip that is 1'' (2.5 cm) wide. Sew together along one side, then sew both short ends to the top square.

Sew the top square to one of the side squares as shown below:



On the right side it will look like this:



Now sew the side seams together one by one to create the cube:



Sew two sides of the top square to the side squares, leaving one side open for turning and filling.



Clip the corners and turn the cube right side out. Insert a plastic bag and fill the cube for about one third with a heavy filling such as cat litter or sand. Tie the bag closed and push it inside the cube.



Fill up the cube with a soft filling such as scraps of batting:





Handstitch the remaining side closed. I use bulldog clips to keep the edges together while sewing:



Finished!



Here is my collection of doorstops. The one made with Dutch postbag fabric is still my favourite:



Do let me know if you have any questions, and if you make a doorstop, I would love to see a pic!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Another finish



Another week, another finish! You may remember Mondrian's Lone Star, the little quilt (16'' square) I made for the Quilt Alliance Contest last year. At the time I said I would like to make another, larger version of this quilt, and so I did. This one is almost 1 metre (39'') square, a colourful modern baby quilt. I'm not showing the full quilt here yet, just a detail... More will be revealed soon!



This is Poinciana Seed Pod, a small art quilt that I made back in 2013 for the 2014 SAQA Anniversary Trunk Show. This show has now finished touring the world and during the month of February, all artworks are for sale. You can find them here - there are some great pieces available! (my quilt is part of Trunk F)

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Finished!



After quilting for most of the day on Tuesday, I finished this art quilt yesterday and submitted it for an exhibition 30 minutes before the deadline! Sadly I can't show the front here yet, but here are a few sneak peeks:







Mysterious, hmm? I will show more as soon as possible! I'm really happy with this quilt and the rest of the family love it too, so it's hanging over our dinner table now.

This week the boys have started at their new schools and hubby at his new job, so it's very quiet at home. Perfect for quilting while listening to audiobooks.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Physalis scarf



With the Australian Open (tennis) currently on, I am getting a lot of knitting done! The other day I finished my Physalis scarf. I love the pattern (by Anna Kuduja, available for free on Ravelry) - it looks complicated but is actually very easy. Very happy with the scarf as well :-)



Now I have picked up my Baby Blocks blanket again. It's about two-thirds done, but progressing very slowly. The baby I had originally intended it for was born in November, I gave her the Lone Star Baby Quilt instead ;-)



I have also started a new quilt! Can't show it here yet, but it's very exciting to finally work on an art quilt again. I needed some fabric for it so searched for my local quilt shop and found it in Daydream Street; how appropriate is that?!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Pattern Scrappy Lone Star Mini Quilt now on Etsy and Craftsy



Remember the Lone Star Mini Quilt I made last year? I'm happy to announce that the pattern is now available in my Etsy and Craftsy shops.



This little beauty measures 8'' square, so this is not a project for the faint of heart, but very satisfying when it is done!



In the meantime we are having a great time exploring our new hometown. Yesterday we visited the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Royal Botanic Gardens, then took the ferry back to the Northern Beaches. Here's a pic a friendly lady took of us:



:-)

Friday, 6 January 2017

Hold the door



When we moved into the new house, it soon became clear that we really needed  some doorstops - there are a few doors that just don't want to stay open.



In the first weeks we used whatever was on hand to prop them open, but a more permanent solution was called for. Of course you can buy one of those ugly wooden wedges, but why not use some stash fabric and make a nice one?



For the first one I grabbed the cow fabric that I bought in Holland in 2012 and used in 2014 to re-upholster an op shop ottoman.



For the second one I dug up the scraps of fabric left over from the Dutch vintage post bags that I used to make messenger bags for myself and two friends in the Netherlands.



I filled the doorstops with some cat litter (clay) and topped it up with scraps of quilt batting.



The hardest part was hand-sewing the last seam closed!



But I'm really happy with these two small projects. I had hoped to start on an art quilt this week, but didn't have the fabric I needed in my stash. In Brisbane I could cycle to at least three different fabric shops, but here they are all quite a bit further away! I've ordered some fabric online and hope to start on the quilt next week.



In the meantime I am still knitting my Physalis scarf. The Australian summer of tennis has started, so it's progressing steadily!



PS The title is a reference to the sixth season of Game of Thrones, that we finally got to watch! (we've had the DVD for months, but the DVD player was in storage!)