A Textile Jaunt through the Netherlands

June 9, 2014 at 7:17 am | Posted in Museums and Exhibitions | 1 Comment

I’ve been traveling again, and it has become a habit that I’m selecting my vacation destinations by the existence of textile goodies to see. Makes me end up in places with lots of other interesting things as well, so that tactic has served me well so far.

My goal this year was the Netherlands, and I definitely had lots of fun there. Despite being very touristy, Amsterdam is a city not to miss. I spent three days there and didn’t even scratch the surface, there’s so much to see. For textile enthusiasts, I recommend the charming Museum of Bags and Purses, located in one of Amsterdam’s beautiful houses along the canals.

Museums in the Netherlands

A totally different place is the Museum Catherijneconvent in Utrecht. Dedicated to Christian art and culture, there are many different artifacts to see, ranging from the medieval period to the present. Beautiful textiles are naturally a part of the exhibits. The museum is situated in a former convent building that gives a fitting frame for everything that’s inside:

Museum Catharijneconvent

Here’s the page from my travel sketchbook I created at the museum:

Catharijneconvent sketchbook page

The beautiful ticket is on the left and an initial from one of the manuscripts on display on the right. Prices are in Euros, and yes, museum tickets in the Netherlands tend towards the expensive.

On the last day of my vacation, I visited the Museum de Kantfabriek in Horst. Located in the building of a former lace factory, it now has displays of local history as well as a very nice collection of working lace machines, with an emphasis on machine-made bobbin lace, which they also sell through their shop:

Museum de Kantfabriek

And the chicken flies to …

April 20, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Posted in Patchwork | 1 Comment
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I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for how the chicken saga continues. I didn’t want to make you wait any longer than necessary, so I found myself a random number generator and it determined that the chicken goes to Wanda Dotson! Go check out her fabulous blog, and make sure to follow her since she’ll probably be doing a chicken giveaway soon!

Chicken -- Back View

I think it was this picture which gave Wanda the idea for the chicken’s name:

I’d call the chicken Lucky Stripper since you showed her backside in public. She’ll be flying to the United States, the Commonwealth of Virginia, to strut her stuff.

So, I’ll make sure to point her into the right direction as soon as the post offices reopen after the Easter holidays on Tuesday. Have fun with her!

The Chicken Run Continues

April 8, 2014 at 9:06 am | Posted in Patchwork | 17 Comments
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After receiving my chicken, of course I had to go ahead and make mine immediately. Those are just too tempting, and quick to make! When choosing fabrics, I got inspired by the black and white chicken from Granny Maud’s Girl, which I tried to win but didn’t. So I combined a black and white scrap with some binding strips left over from another colourful quilt I made last year, that looking back at my blog I’ve never posted about. I promise to remedy that soon!

But back to the chicken, here’s what I ended up with:

Chicken -- Beauty Shot

And because she insisted, here’s the view from the backside:

Chicken -- Back View

Before we get to the giveaway, while making my chicken I came across a few things that may be useful to future chicken makers that I’d like to share:

    1. When making the log cabin blocks, it is useful to secure the seams in the last round, especially at the side where the tail will be inserted. I didn’t, and it was quite fiddly to get the seam allowances turned for where the tail goes without half the seams falling apart.
    2. That tail seam is one of the places where I found it useful to hand baste the seam before sewing. I tried without that first, and ended up with the tail attached to the upper part and a gaping hole where it should be attached to the lower part. So, after spending way too much time taking out the seam again, it didn’t take me more than 5 minutes to hand-baste that seam:
      Chicken - Basted
      After having that in, it was very quick to machine sew the tail into place, this time without any gaping holes.

So, now you know the tricks I found useful to make my chicken, it’s your turn!

If you would like to win this chicken, you need to do the following:

  1. Agree to make a chicken of your own to give away, so the Chicken Run can continue. If you have a blog, you can do the giveaway there, while linking back to the originator of the Chicken Run, Avis of  Oh Sew Tempting. If you don’t have a blog, you can still play, and Avis will be happy to host the giveaway for you.
  2. Make a comment to this post, telling me how you’d call this chicken if you win it, and which country it would need to fly to to reach you.

The giveaway will be open until Saturday, April 19th. After that day is over in all timezones, I will draw a winner from all valid entries. I’m looking forward to sending this on its way!

 

Look who’s landed on top of my mailbox!

April 1, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Posted in Patchwork | 7 Comments

Sunnygirl

Look who I found resting on top of my mailbox when I came home yesterday! Isn’t she pretty? Sunnygirl made her way all the way across the Channel from Squarebird. Check out the other posts on her blog as well, she’s got lots of interesting things going on.

The idea of the traveling chicken comes from Avis over at Oh Sew Tempting, and after having won this pretty one the next step will be to make a couple more of them and to host a giveaway here. I’ll be pretty busy the next days, but they do look fun and quick, so watch this space for the giveaway! I wonder where my chicken is going to live!

TV Sewing

February 16, 2014 at 11:33 am | Posted in Patchwork | 2 Comments
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So, there’s the Olympics going on in Sochi at the moment, which is one of the few occasions where I will spend an extraordinary amount of time in front of the TV. And since I’m incapable of holding my hands still, the long-running hand-sewing project I posted about a few weeks ago is making more progress than expected. Getting some traction there was my official plan for the Olympics, so I did some preparation beforehand:

I finished up the sample I made so many years ago:

Finished Sample

I appliquèd the pattern pieces to the original background fabric I will use on the big piece. I was unsure if that would be successful because of the pointy edges, but it went surprisingly well. I also tried out the yarn I found for quilting. I’m using the old couching trick again, with a black cotton knitting yarn that has some added sparkle. The effect is nice and subtle.

Then, at the last weekend at the studio with my quilt group, I tried to finalize the arrangement of the pattern:

Crumbling Beauty - Layout

When I got home, I plunked down in front of the TV and got to work. To my big surprise, I just took the last stitches on assembling all the pieces, with the Olympics only half over! Things do sometimes go faster than expected, although the usual case tends to be the other way round.

So, the next step will be to appliquè the big piece onto the background. I’m thinking to remove at least part of the paper in the middle of the piece first, in order to see how it really shakes out and to avoid puckers. Question to the experts: good idea, or bad one?

2014 Challenge – Quilting and Finishing

February 2, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Posted in Patchwork | 2 Comments
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So, last week left us with a finished top. Next step: quilting. As I wanted to replicate the strong graphical pattern of the original fabric, I knew a simple black machine quilting line would not give me the effect needed to achieve this. So, I remembered a cone of ribbon yarn a friend gave me quite a few years ago:

Black Couching Thread

The yarn forms a narrow, flat strip, perfect for couching. I’ve done something like this in another challenge project, so I knew I could get the effect that I wanted using this. I consequently started to quilt my top, using a zigzag-stitch to sew down the thread. I added some additional lines, and then quilted all the lines of the pattern:

2014 Challenge - quilted

Here’s the back, so you can see the quilting pattern a bit better:

2014 Challenge - Quilting from Backside

And finally, here’s the finished project:

2014 Challenge - Finished!

Here’s a detail so you can see the quilting a bit better:

2014 Challenge - Detail

That was a fun challenge, for sure! I’m currently working on a couple of very different projects, so I think I’ll dive into one of those for next week’s post!

2014 Challenge – the Patchwork

January 26, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 5 Comments
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So, looking at the strong graphical patterns of the fabric, I though it would work out well to use a magnified section of the pattern as a patchwork block. Some drawing and fiddling later, I had this:

Test Block for 2014 challenge

Since I liked what I saw, I started making the other eight blocks needed part by part. Starting with the easy things, the quarter-sqared triangles:

2014 Challenge - Quarter Squared Triangles

Followed by the squares made from irregular triangles:

2014 Challenge - Triangles

You can already see that I had to be pretty economic in my use of the black and white fabric, since there was so little of it, but I managed somehow.

The half circles:

2014 Challenge - Half Circles

And from that, the completed half blocks:

2014 Challenge - Half Blocks

Combined with the smaller squares from above, I got eight blocks:

2014 Challenge - Blocks

Adding the test block back in makes 9 blocks, which can be arranged into a 3*3 pattern:

2014 Challenge - Center

Looks pretty dramatic and captures the fabric well, I think. Since this ended up being a bit smaller than the required 40*40 cm, I added a narrow white border:

2014 Challenge - Top

It’s now a bit too big, so some of the border will be cut off once it’s quilted. We’ll look at that next week I think, this post does have enough pictures already!

Quilt Group Challenge 2014 – The Challenge

January 19, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | Leave a comment

It has quickly become a tradition that my quilt group does a challenge each year for the next exhibition. During our yearly exhibition in November we’ll choose the parameters of the challenge, and then we have time till the next one rolls around to come up with something. This year, my challenge quilt was finished less than a month after the exhibition, I just couldn’t help myself. I even remembered to take a few pictures of the process, so I’ll share those with you during the next weeks.

But for today, the challenge. We each got a piece of this fabric:

Challenge Fabric 2014

The piece as shown is about 15*55 cm in size, which is all each of us got to work with, since the seller of the fabric didn’t have any more than that.

Additional parameters:

  • Finished size of quilt: 40*40 cm
  • Additional fabrics allowed: plain black, plain white and one additional colour.
  • The challenge fabric must be clearly visible on the front of the quilt.

I have to admit that I was very happy with the choice of fabric, and I was part of the small group that chose it. I’ll show you what I did with it next week. So, what would you do with it? Any ideas?

For inspiration, here’s some previous years’ challenge quilts of mine:

2013:

Fassett Challenge - Finished

2012:

Challenge 2012 - Finished

2011:

Rhododendron

2010:

1001 Nights full view

They’re quite different from each other, I think. So how will this year’s look like? Find out next week!

Patchwork the Slow Way

January 13, 2014 at 7:03 pm | Posted in Patchwork | 3 Comments
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Way back in 2010, I wrote about my samples using an islamic pattern taken from an object in the V&A collection. With the dark blue quilt long finished, I haven’t written anything about the paper pieced quilt since then. It has not been forgotten, but I did run into a couple of snags on the way. Apart from that, hand-sewing is slow, and this has been almost exclusively a travel project over the last years.

But I’m slowly getting somewhere now, so, progress!

Crumbling Beauty 1

This is the currently finished pieces laid out on a tentative background fabric. The big circle in the upper left is already assembled. Very, maybe too colourful for a whole quilt, and I’m running out of the yellow fabric as well. So, plan B is in order.

The tentative title of the piece is “Crumbling Beauty”, and the idea is to not cover the whole area of the quilt, but let the pattern gradually run out towards the lower right, with smaller pieces here and there left, while most of the tiles have already fallen off, like a mosaic that’s slowly falling apart. I’m thinking of a very dark blue for the background fabric, but haven’t been able to acquire just the right fabric till now.

Looking for a Flower Garden

June 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Posted in Fiber Art, Lace, Museums and Exhibitions, Tatting | 2 Comments

Wandering around Greenwich on my trip to London a few weeks ago, I also ventured into Queen’s House, lured in by a poster that had of all things something fibery on it! And my eyes weren’t deceiving me. There’s currently an exhibit by Alice Kettle at Queen’s House, named The Garden of England. It’s still running till August 18, 2013, so if you’re in the area go ahead and have a look, it’s free! It’s a small exhibit, just four or five pieces, but it seems to have left an impression on me, since my mind has been wandering around making flowers lately.

Flowers have long been a favourite motif for all kinds of needlework, so I started to rummage in historical needlework books. First, my favourite source, Project Gutenberg’s Crafts Bookshelf. Since I want to create free-standing flowers, to be applied to a larger piece later, I skipped the embroidery books and landed on the Bath Tatting Book. On closer inpection it turns out that the first three doilys presented there have a small flower as their basic unit. Just what I was looking for!

I then realized that my last tatting projects were long enough ago that I had forgotten how to make the knots. Another favourite to the rescue: the Encyclopedia of Needlework has the clearest tatting instructions I’ve ever come across. Half an hour later I was up and running. Here’s what I made:

Flowers from the Bath Tatting Book

What I did not expect just from looking at the pictures and a cursory readthrough of the instructions, was that the flowers are actually three-dimensional. I started with the rose shown in the middle. Here’s the doily it comes from:

Rose Doily from Bath Tatting Book

On the left there’s the cornflower from this doily:

Corn Flower Doily from Bath Tatting Book

On the right is the sorry attempt at the chrysanthemum from this doily:

Chrysanthemum doily from Bath Tatting Book

I’ve currently given up on that one. There’s a lot of picots and not many double knots holding them in place, so they tend to turn round or vanish when you’re not looking. Even after looking closely, in the current round I’m never quite sure if I’m tying to the correct loop, since those are loops I already tied to in the previous round. And there’s lots more of that kind of stuff coming when creating the spirals on the outer edge of the flower. I think the result would be stunning, but I’m not quite sure if I can pull it off. I may try to pick it up again in a few days or so.

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