24 December, 2008

holiday wishes

...and to all a good night......


23 December, 2008

on a friday night...

One friday night, a few good old movies and 3 motifs done!
This sampler is just zipping along now, and has progressed in the past two days, but there's been no time to photograph an update.  This has been the most enjoyable sampler I've worked on so far, and don't ask me why, it's just falling into place now, and so much fun!

18 December, 2008

for new ideas and inspiration...

Just wanted to share some recent members of my quilting library.

16 December, 2008


I don't know what it is about this sampler, or perhaps it's just the state of my mind lately. I've been tired, trying to get through a mountain of back-logged things that need to get done around the house, the holidays are coming, and the very thing that is supposed to relax me has gotten my head in my hands.

Take a look - perhaps you more experienced stitchers will see the mistakes.
I did have friends take a look at it and it took them some time to discover them. Perhaps that means I could leave them in...

Regardless, I decided to continue to plod on, and give myself the choice of fixing the error or just leaving it in, on the basis of the "I always leave a mistake in my work" clause, or the "now my work is unique" clause.

Its still a fun sampler to work on ... /me smiles.....

05 December, 2008

a quick update

Hi Ho!
Finally managed to make a little time to quickly post some things. It's been very busy here lately and time has been scarce to be behind the computer. So without further ado, here's what I've been up to:

A table runner made up of left overs and scraps from a tryptic made a while back.  I decided to just start sewing, put the pieces together and see what happened.  Not an easy thing to do and had to change my mindset because I've been working on projects requiring accuracy, but so relaxing letting it all go but the brain in neutral and just let the fabrics to their thing!  

Sorry about the funky looking color, but after many, many moons I've picked up the knitting needles up again to finish this UFO, a pair of bright orange socks, a very basic pattern, destined to become a Christmas gift.  It had been such a long time since I had the needles in my hand, but really, it's just like, as they say, riding a bike!  It's tempting me to start knitting more regularly, even pull out the spinning wheel to spin up some fine wool, but "sigh" - there's lots more to finish first before throwing more projects on my plate!

Last but not least: a start on Hannah Beeby 1816.
I'm doing it in the recommended DMC colors, because I just didn't want to spend the extra money especially since I'm trying to maintain my stash diet, use what I have and only buy what I need, not want.  At first the diet was only intended for my fabrics, but I've extended it to all my crafts.  Besides, it'll free up lots of extra change to buy that digital reflex camera I've set my heart on: a Nikon D90.

I have the feeling I'm forgetting something, but oh well, it'll have to come another time.
Now it's back to the needles again, this time sewing on wayward buttons, patching jeans and waxing jackets..good fun!  


27 November, 2008

We'll be celebrating on Saturday....

The silver is polished and the glasses shine, so now it's time to begin preparations for the big dinner. I even managed to make a table runner for the occasion! ( to be photographed and posted when lighting conditions are better ). Since it's not a holiday here in Holland, we'll be having the turkey on Saturday.

To all my friends, family and readers,

A very happy Thanksgiving - there's much to be thankful for!


17 November, 2008

a slow build: House #4

This weekend was spent doing lots of stuff around the house, but also sneaking in stitches here and there, together with longer bouts of stitching while "watching" or well,  listening to Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot solve murder mysteries.

I finally seem to be picking up a rhythm in this piece, and getting used to stitching big blocks of color so it is going much faster. Starting to "see" the pattern, if that makes any sense to you.  It's also the first time I've got a bent needle! Haven't changed to a new one yet, this one has adopted the form of my hand and I've gotten used to it. It made we wonder if any of you stitchers keep the same needle or if you change to a new one if the current one gets bent?

It has also put me to thinking about one of those stitch remover thingies - I've been using the needle to do that and that may have contributed to its current form..lol!

Time has also been spent working on a quilt project, but that I can't post yet as it's a gift. Due to certain circumstances, this project however simple, has become an emotional drain, and it takes every bit of self-coaching to get myself working on it. What once had me so encouraged, now has me dragging my feet. Every had that? This is a project that should have nothing but love in it, and I even tried to change the design, to give it a freshness, but to no avail. The worst part of it is it's a baby quilt.

What do you all do when you face something like this? Normally I'd put it away but in this case there's a dead line. End of the month. Any insights, ideas, would be so much appreciated!

have a happy monday!

15 November, 2008

a favorite toy...

Remember this?  

I used to have one and my daughter had one - don't ask me where it is now, but it brings back lots of fun memories.  Fiddling with the knobs, trying to get smooth curves, and the sound of the sand when shook to start over again for the umpteenth time.  
Try your hand at this virtual version you can find here:

In the meantime - I'm off to do some stitching and promise to post on my progress soon.

Wishing you all a good weekend,

04 November, 2008

picked up the stitching again...

and decided to get a start on the Houses of Hawk Run Hollow.
It's a change from working with only one color, and with these Au Ver A Soie silks its a pleasure! Here's a quick picture of the start. I'm beginning with house #4.

You'd think it was an easy pattern, the houses are pretty much square, a nice change of pace from the more fiddly bits of the Quaker and sampler pieces I've been working on, but no. Counting long rows of stitches once, twice, maybe three times takes time, and doesn't guarantee it's right! After a few false starts, I've finally gotten it right and have found a rhythm.

At least I'm doing something again. Life has been busy and I've been de-cluttering again, which has taken up much of my time, leaving little to quilt or cross stitch. Adding to that, Blogger has been very unkind, frustrating my access to my own blog and to leave comments on others! Today after a few attempts I was finally able to post today.

On a happier note, I picked up some goodies a few days ago, and can't wait to share them with you as soon as I have better lighting (it's dark and misty today). Also, a new little quilt is finally in the works - I'll be cutting the fabric today I hope and share that with you as soon as possible.

On this Tuesday, Election Day, I bid you happy stitching!

22 October, 2008

a lesson in boutis

Yesterday I had a wonderful day of learning and meeting new quilters at my favorite quilt shop,
 't Quiltgebeuren in the picturesque Brielle.  It's been a while since I've taken a class, and for this one I've waited more than 2 years to be able to learn under a student of Francine Born, a master of boutis.  Carla Erwich was our instructor, a lovely lady and a wonderful teacher.  Willy Alers, the shops' owner, was, as she always is, a wonderful hostess.  She made sure that everyone was comfortable, had everything they needed, and gosh - great lunches!  

Our small class of eight learned how to do boutis,  a 17th C technique from the French Provence.  It basically entails the assembly of two fine pieces of fabric ( cotton bastiste in our case) that are stitched together using a very fine quilting stitches, following a particular motif. Parts of the design are filled using thread (cotton, wool or a blend) to create a high relief.

The design is first drawn onto one layer.  Then the second layer is added underneath and the two are basted together.  The design is stitched through both layers using very fine stitches, and then filled with cotton or blended yarn.  The result is a high relief.  It's a bit of a fiddle at first, as the batiste is not very soft, and the design we had, quite intricate and small.  No fear, Carla our teacher was there to help us every step of the way, with patience and guidance.

Tracing the design onto the bastiste

Stitching over the design - very fine stitches are needed to prevent the filling from peeping out from between the stitching

A moment of silence and concentration....

Filling in the design - how fun it is to see it come alive!

Oh THAT's how you do it!

One of the examples that Carla brought along to show - beautiful!

I really enjoyed this class. Learning something completely new and different always energizes me.  Already, the creative wheels are turning and who knows how this experience will translate through my fingers onto a piece of fabric in perhaps a new way?  I guess you and me both will have to stay tuned to find out!

20 October, 2008

a place for snippets

It's been a while, and it's been very quiet on my blog, but behind the scenes I've been sewing like a demon!  That, and well, helping to build a chapel and plan the music for a virtual wedding in Second Life for a good friend.
In between the larger quilting projects that I've been working on, some time was put aside to make some quick things, as you do, to maintain the feeling of accomplishment.

Here's a quick shot of a snippets dispenser made last week. My quilting buddy An and I get together on Wednesdays and once in a while, when the mood strikes us, we try out a new pattern. After making a paper version to check if we understood the directions, we each made one in practically no time at all! Now mine is hanging off the back of the couch, right in the spot where I love to curl up and sew.

Here's the Texas Star UFO that's next on the list: I finally found the right backing fabric for the sober, simple look that I want.  The "shot cotton" from Kaffe Fassett is a very nice compliment to the central star and points of this block.  As soon as the log cabin is done, this will be next in line - it will be hand quilted.  A nice cozy thing to do on winter evenings!

As for other news, I'm really excited about finally (after a 2 year wait!) taking a course to learn Boutis.  Perhaps one day I'll realize my dream of having that white on white quilt adorning the bed, a beautiful family heirloom.  I'll promise to do my best and take pictures to post to share with you!

...and thanks Heidi for the poke to post!  I was surprised myself that time had gone by so quickly, but I'm back, and will be with more regularity.  It's very nice to know I was missed...lol!
It's just that sometimes I get caught up in my projects, with total focus, and forget about the blog...it's that groove thing again!

have a happy Monday all!

01 October, 2008

half way there!

It's the half-way point for this quilt top.  18 blocks made, 18 to go.  Thought it time to have a look and see what it would look like...
It's darker than I thought it would be now that I've thrown some blocks on the floor  -  so I made make some lighter blocks to add in the mix.

Oh, and don't pay any mind to my blue sock and black sock.  The tootsies are warm, and on this stormy and wet day - that's all that counts!

27 September, 2008

a quick gift

... of coasters in the colors of her home, made for a friend of mine - for her birthday, along with some other goodies tossed into a basket. These were made from Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts : my first attempt in trying to make things other than quilts with my fabrics!

It's early evening here and the sun is that beautiful golden color that gives Fall that rich color - forgive the odd color of the photos....

I also picked up my backing, batting and thread for the Texas Star shown in the previous post, but will show a picture of that when the lighting is better - the sun is so golden that it looks like I'm on some planet in Star Trek, the glow is so odd! But pretty.

Anyhow, off to get ready for the party. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

26 September, 2008

UFO Confessions...

It's a good thing that Heidi suggested that together we do a post on our UFO's. For me it was not only a way of going through my stash closet and re-organize, to be reminded of what I already have, but to be faced with projects that once made my tail wag and for some reason or other got pushed aside in favor of a newer and shinier project.

Most of these are from my early days as a quilter - not that I'm a seasoned one, it's been only 4 years or so since my daughter asked me if I would make a quilt for her bed, as I was sitting at a spinning wheel. I was surprised by the request since I didn't sew at all, and up until then only knitted and spun wool. But a quilt she got, after I had taken a private class in a tiny quilt shop found by accident whilst on summer holiday in France during a terrible heat wave. That started a love affair that continues to this day with bits of fabric, colors, textures and forms.

Here a list of projects that are calling out to be completed:

As I mentioned before, I've been a knitter since knee-high to a grass hopper and a big fan of Kaffe Fassett and Rowan knitting patterns. Only natural for me to have his book, "Patchwork" as the first of my quilting library. This quilt is for Ro. It's practically finished but riddled with mistakes ( I have to add fabric to the back as I didn't know then that the backing and batting had to be larger than the top) but the quilting is nearly done.

Sampler blocks from my first quilting class. Here it's clear there was lots to learn about lights, mediums and darks in fabric, which work differently than when knitting a sweater! It's been laying about because, again, it's got plenty of mistakes, and I lost the yellow silk needed to complete the border along the baby blocks, but miraculously, when I went back to the store where I had originally purchased the fabrics, the owner, crawling around on hands and feet, found a box with the exact piece of silk that she had left over! No excuses now, huh?

Another bold project: and blocks for an ocean waves quilt, one of my favorite patterns next to the log cabin.

36 tiny star blocks for yet another ambitious project. For a while I carried the tiny pieces around, piecing them in the car, on visits, while waiting somewhere. Why can't I just make small quilts? Why must they always be queen size? I'm learning....LOL!

And now, an applique project. Four blocks completed. I think I stopped because although I loved doing it, I always had to sit at the table to work, and it was much more fun to join the rest on the couch in the evening and stitch. It's a wonderfully simple design I'd love to complete.

Paper-pieced flowers: painstakingly slow to make, but fun nevertheless when the pattern emerges. I just got tired of drawing, cutting the tiny paper diamonds and triangles needed that fit between the flowers. Who knows if this will ever become a quilt, or something else?

Teeny tiny hexagons, just shy of a 1/2 inch in width. Don't ask. I must have had a moment...

Last, but certainly not least, is one of the projects I'm most proud of, my Texas Star. The star itself is made from Indian woven cotton, of which the warp and weft are different colors. This gives the effect of the colors changing as you walk by the quilt. The background is textured Japanese fabric. The reason I'm so proud of this quilt is that it laid flat after holding my breath as the last stitch of the background went in. It's made completely by hand, and this one is next in line to be worked on. It's been in the closet purely because I didn't know if I wanted to add anything to it such as an applique. Now I want to get is sandwiched, and that will be my quilting project this winter.

Phew! Well, there you go. My confession.

25 September, 2008

warm feet...

Still in the groove, but had to rest the sore fingers from working last night and all day today stitching the binding to the back. My "Winter Garden" is done!

It was already in use before it was completed: last night, I had finished sewing the binding on, came downstairs with the quilt tossed over my shoulder, sewing box in hand, ready to begin with closing the quilt. I dropped the quilt on the couch, went into the kitchen to do the dishes, and when I came out, the quilt was gone. In the midst of wondering aloud where it went, I turned and found the man and the dog under the quilt, "watching" the football/soccer game with their eyes closed (how do they do that? I always seem to miss things when I do that...). It took some maneuvering, but I managed to get my feet under a little bit of it and begin sewing.

No doubt this will be a hard working quilt that will see lots of competition footie, or weekend movies. At least our tootsies will be warm and cozy...

Ok, back to work - don't want to lose that groove.

21 September, 2008

still here....

Gosh, has it been that long?

No, I didn't go anywhere, I'm just in a groove right now, full-speed ahead sewing, making blocks for my triangle quilt, and knotting up the baby-rib quilt at night and finally catching up on those podcasts that are still from 2007!
Have you ever had that? Just got to work on something, you're in total rhythm, feeling the project, got it in your fingers, and don't want to stop? I got it now.

10 September, 2008

I went to the Quiltersgilde in Arnhem..

held in the Eusebiuskerk in heart of this beautiful and historic city with my friend Diane and not only did we enjoy the wonderful quilts by fellow members of the guild, but I brought back some souveniers/goodies (of course! ) as well:

some fun fillers for the stash collection......

and some cool taupes....

The works were wonderful, the quilts varied in styles, sizes and colors, and I was personally pleased to see a bit more traditional quilts hanging with surprising twists that made them refreshing and memorable.  It was good to see familiar faces, meet and chat with new ones. How easily we laughed with fellow quilters!  

The day was refreshing and inspirational and  while I should have been exhausted and weary from pain, I felt charged and energized, inspired by what I saw and the conversations I had.  It's also  made me consider the question that has been asked of me - when I would submit a quilt of my own, but I'm a bit scared to do that as yet.  

I really did try to take some shots of the event to share with you, but many just didn't work out the way I wanted, but here are a few....

The last one is my favorite!  The fountain was glowing and sparkling and kids were playing in it in their underwear.  Not very wordy today - still tired from the long but wonderful day I had and my sewing room, which I started to re-organize ( and to dig up and photograph some UFO's for the blog- a promise I intend to keep to Heidi) is still waiting for me, plus not a stitch has been made yet either for a quilt or cross stitch project, so I must say "adieu" and get on with it!

see you next time!

05 September, 2008

01 September, 2008

not much stitching goin' on...

on a lovely sunny Sunday, the last of August.
First, a walk in the park with Ro and Darwin. Ro is now allowed to stretch his legs and walk a little with help of his crutches.

Football season has begun and there they were, warming up for the first game of the season.

The new artificial field has just been put down and hasn't been used yet - just had to sneak up and feel it. Ro had told me that although it looks pretty, it's no fun to play on. It's hurts and burns when you make a slider, and for the goal keepers and the gymnastics they have to sometimes perform (or forget to perform) to keep the ball out of of the goal, they end up with some admirable bumps and bruises.
What literally caught my eye was the incredible glare that bounced off the field. That didn't seem very practical either. Still looked tight though - as new fields do....
Here's what it looks like close up:

Hey! wait up for us!

After a settling Ro back for lunch and a rest, it was time to go back out again, this time with my friend Chantal to take Darwin out for a swim. After taking a wrong exit and heading towards The Hague (north) instead of Zeeland (south), we finally arrived at the Grevelingen Meer.

The sun shone, the water was perfect, and Darwin was in his element.

It was a fine feeling to walk kneed deep along the shore in water of perfect temperature and play with him. He loved that we were with him in the water, and so we walked along the beach, tossing his dummy for him to catch.

Good boy!

It is so wonderful to watch him happy and in his element!
I told Chantal that I would really consider getting one of those high-waisted pants that fishermen wear, just so that I could wade in the water with him during the colder season.

So, that's why there's no guilt this weekend for done not a thing as far as handwork is concerned. I figure there'll be plenty of grey and rainy days to play catch up, no?

27 August, 2008

while waiting...

I'm about to go and visit my friend Mieke and give her the two quilts for her birthday.  Another quilting friend An, is joining me, so while I was waiting, I decided to try something new and play a bit with a new program another friend in Paris told me about.  Fun, playing with my computer!  So much to learn!

This is a thank you to my friend Chantal who loves Darwin and took me and him to a new park this past weekend.  She took all the photos while we were there using my camera, so I made this as a "thank you".

It was really a great day - I just can't get enough of those beautiful Rembrandt clouds.....

Click to play A day with Chantal
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Edit: Just wanted to let you know that "Winter Garden", the baby-rib quilt and the Knuffel Quilt (cuddle quilt) are with their new owner who burst into tears when I gave them to her.  It feels really good that she's happy with them...


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