Challenge 2020 – not a 25th Anniversary

November 1, 2020 at 10:12 am | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 2 Comments

A couple of weeks from now, there should have been my local quilt group’s 25th anniversary exhibition. But since it’s 2020, this will obviously not happen. Last year around this time, as we always do, we set ourselves a challenge for this exhibition, and since I won’t be showing the result in real life just yet, I thought I should at least post about it.

There were three different elements to the challenge this year: a silvery holographic fabric, silver ornaments (a rosette and a star) and a reference to the number 25. The silver is referring to the use of silver in connection with a 25th wedding anniversary. The size of those is standardized to 40x40cm, so we can use the same hanging system every year.

When thinking about a design for the quilt, one thing was immediately obvious for me – the 25 is going to be a 5-patch block made of 25 squares. I was going for a checkerboard effect using light, dark, and the silver holographic fabric. Around this, of course it had to be a celebratory rainbow, since I still haven’t worked out my fascination with rainbows from last year. A fairly short time later, I had this:

checkerboard 5-patch with light and dark/silver squares, surrounded by a rainbow colourwheel radiating out.

The finished quilt is pretty similar, since I decided to keep the quilting minimal – I just used straight lines in the middle of all the pieces using a silver thread.

Finished 2020 Challenge quilt - silver/black and white checkerboard 5-patch with asymmetric rainbow colourwheel surrounding it.

So, that’s two of the three elements – the holographic fabric and the number 25. So, where are the silver ornaments? To be honest, I don’t think the quilt needs them, and I probably will attach them for the exhibition and remove them later. But it’s still a good question where to put them. My original idea was putting them on the black squares of the checkerboard, but I’m currently leaning more towards something like this, emphasizing the diagonal of the quilt:

Possible positions of the silver ornaments along the diagonal of the 2020 Challenge quilt.

I’ll probably even go a bit more random with the positions, having a wider path in the upper left on the yellows and fewer in the lower right. But I have a whole year now to make that particular decision, so I’m not worrying about it right now.


Quilt Show 2019 – My Year in Quilting

November 13, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 6 Comments

Last weekend brought around our group’s annual quilt show, which is as good an excuse as any to look back on what I did quilt-wise this year.

First, the community project. As usual, I helped put together a beautiful quilt to raffle off for charity. This is this year’s edition:

Lucky Stars Raffle Quilt 2019

Love the quilt, as well as the long-arm quilting which fits the pattern very well. The money we raised goes to Herzkissen München together with almost 200 pillows we also made this year.

Second, our yearly challenge. I’ve already posted about my contribution, here it is again:

Challenge 2019 - Finished

And here’s the whole wall with everybody’s contributions:

Lucky Stars - Challenge 2019

My personal quilts all ended up on the same panel, which was not very surprising since it seems I had quite the theme going:

My quilts 2019 (and an extra)

The quilt on the upper right is very beautiful, but not by me, but by a fellow group member. It does fit well though, since it was made for the same exhibition as mine on the lower left. The one on the upper left is the one I wanted to make for said exhibition, but didn’t quite pull off at the time. And the one on the lower right is my scrappy colour wheel.

Since I was pretty busy this year overall, this is quite a good haul, I think. My next project is on the table, waiting for me finding the courage to actually start it. It will be a challenge, for sure – more on that when I actually have a better idea of what I’m doing.


A Scrappy Colour Wheel

October 27, 2019 at 7:57 pm | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 5 Comments

In an attempt to make some space in my scrap box, I started to make 1-inch hexagons and rhombs a while ago. After I finished going through the box, I was unsurprisingly in possession of a rainbows worth of hexies. So, I started playing with possible arrangements for them. Hm, how about making a colour wheel? This is what I came up with:

Colour Wheel

I tried to go from lighter hues in the middle to darker ones outside, but since I was working with whatever I had available in my scrapbox, it’s far from perfect in colour distribution. I do like the overall effect, though. There are quite a few memories to projects past in there, as well. This is the last project that I’ll be showing in our yearly quilt show in a couple of weeks, and everything is finished and prepared. Off to new adventures, more on which soon!

Finished? – Finished!

October 6, 2019 at 8:49 am | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 4 Comments

A few weeks ago, I showed you my colourful find while cleaning up the craft room. A few days later, I did indeed have a finished quilt, as promised:

Fraunhofer Lines - quilted

I used simple horizontal lines for quilting, reminding me of early pictures of solar spectra that often have lots of thin grainy lines. At that point, the quilt had a tunnel and a label, and was technically finished. But while this treatment was intentionally much simpler than what I had initially planned, I felt something was missing.

So out came the beads and sequins, and during the last couple of weeks, I added them, and am much happier with the result now:

Fraunhofer Lines - beaded

Here’s a detail:

Fraunhofer Lines - detail

The beads remind me of the sparkling you get when sunlight is broken up by a prism or crystal. I also think it makes the asymmetric layout of the quilt work better than before.

Fraunhofer Lines

September 14, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 3 Comments

There was a Worldcon in Dublin, and among other things, I re-found my long-lost quilting bug there! What happened? Basically, I spent a lot of time before and at the convention looking at the fabulous convention art created by Iain Clark. At some point during that time, the idea that Green Woman needs to be a quilt got into my brain. In Dublin I finally managed to meet Iain (given the size of the convention, it took some coordination) and asked him whether I could use his image as inspiration for a quilt, and he kindly said yes. So, of course now I’m itching to start.

First step: bring the craft room into a condition that will actually support a new start. During clean-up, I found a piece of fabric I had abandoned last year when working on my contribution for my local quilt shop’s anniversary competition. I already wrote about the quilt I actually entered here.

My original idea was very different to what I ended up with. I painted a solar spectrum on some fabric and wanted to show the Fraunhofer lines – black lines that appear on the spectrum, their frequencies indicating the existence of certain elements in the outer layers of the sun. I wasn’t happy with how the colours came out – too muted for my taste. So I threw that piece of fabric into a corner and ended up doing something completely different.

While cleaning the craft room, I found that piece of fabric, and for the life of me can’t remember why I was unhappy with the colours. Sure, they’re not as brillant as can be, but if you look at a solar spectrum that’s created by a prism, you’ll see quite a muted rainbow as well. So I decided to run with my original idea and finish this up before starting anything new. A day or so later, I had a top:

Fraunhofer Lines - top

The lines are a flat cotton yarn sewed down using a zig-zag stitch. The sides are a very dark blue batik I bought for this project last year. I like the circles and dots – they remind my of stars and planets, fitting for a quilt about starlight. Here’s a detail:

Fraunhofer Lines - detail

By now, it’s already basted and quilted, and my guess would be there’ll be a finish posted to this very blog quite soon.

Challenge 2019 – Music!

December 29, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 6 Comments

Every year, my quilt group issues a challenge to make a small 40×40 cm quilt using specific materials. We show the results in our yearly exhibition. Here’s what I did last year.

This year we got this fabric – black with gold. Challenge 2019 - Fabric

The theme to go with it is, unsurprisingly, “Music”. This was not going to be a problem, and sure enough, one day I got hit by an idea. An additional constraint I give myself for these challenges is to make them out of my stash, if at all possible. So, here’s what I pulled out:

Challenge 2019 - Fabrics

I already had this nice cream and gold fabric, and added some solid black and cream. A very short time later, there was this:

Challenge 2019 - Pieces

Here’s the finished top:

Challenge 2019 - Finished Top

Quilting added some more sparkle, and as I usually do with these challenges, I finished it into a pillow cover:

Challenge 2019 - Finished

Wouldn’t this make a great decoration for a music room? This project went from idea to completion in a couple of weeks, which happens seldom to never for me.


Another Rainbow Quilt

December 15, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 7 Comments

I’m just now getting around to write about the quilting project that slowed down my embroidery for a while this summer. My favourite Quiltshop was celebrating its 20th birthday with a competition titled “Feuerwerk der Farben” – hard to translate, but approximately “A fireworks of colours”. The task was to create a quilt 45cm wide and 70 cm high fitting the theme. Anybody who’s been reading here for a while knows that I love making things in all the colours of the rainbow, so of course I had to play.

My early ideas were very ambitious and didn’t quite work out for one reason or another, so my design got simpler and simpler as time was starting to run out. The relatively small size requirement didn’t help, either. That was the point where I started collecting all my not-quite-solids and cut squares out of them. Here’s one of the earlier layouts:

Early design with diagonal squares.

I really liked this one, but couldn’t quite nail down a harmonious layout, and the construction would have been fairly complicated. So in the end, I went for a very simple layout:

Rectangular layout of quilt.

After that decision was made, the actual sewing was fairly easy. I went for a stained window look with black strips separating the tiles. Here it is proudly hanging in the exhibition:

The exhibition has been over for quite a while, but you can see what everybody else came up with on the shop’s website. The colours were much more vivid in real life than in the pictures, though!

Seven Sisters – a leftover challenge

April 16, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 4 Comments

Last year, our quilt group went away for a weekend retreat for the very first time, and we managed it so everybody could come! To mark the occasion, one of our members, who tends to end up with all the leftover material for our raffle quilts, collected all the leftovers, made 14 nice packages out of them, and we drew lots to choose from the packages. I got a pretty early number, and from all the packages still there at that time, here’s what I chose:

Seven Sisters - the Leftovers

I immediately fell in love with the paper-pieced stars and the colour scheme. But, what to do with them? The challenge was to use our package to make something for this year’s exhibition, coming up in November. After a while of having the pieces laid out and thinking back and forth, I decided to make a tablerunner. I’d have to add a few stars and quite a bit of background, and I was lucky again that the same friend who set the challenge still has about half a bolt of the background fabric, so I could get some from her. Otherwise I’d have had to be very creative. As it was, it just was quite a bit of work, since I wanted to mix the differently coloured stars up, so I needed to disassemble the blocks first before I could sew them together again. I learnt quite a few tricks about English paper piecing that way – and the fact that there are quilters that sew so densely that it’s almost impossible to get the pieces apart again, while with others you just have to look at the seam sternly and it will fall apart on its own.

So, here’s the table runner ready for this year’s exhibition (I even already attached a tunnel):

Seven Sisters - Finished Tablerunner

I decided to quilt spirals in the dark hexagons, so the stars could pop out even more:

Seven Sisters - Detail with Quilting

Oh, and you’re interested in how the original raffle quilt looked like? I was as well, since this quilt was from 2005, when I wasn’t yet involved with this group. It took quite a while, but after repeated asking one of the members found a picture she took back then, so here it is, and you can see exactly where my leftovers came from:

Seven Sisters - Original Raffle Quilt (2005)

After the Finish – Documenting the Project

September 18, 2016 at 7:19 am | Posted in Patchwork, Quilting | 3 Comments

So, once a quilt is finished, in this case my Mexican Bird, the work tends to be almost, but not quite completely done. At that point of time my worktable tends to be a mess: left-over fabric, design sketches, photographs I’ve been working from, and samples all lying around. There’s way too much work in there to throw it all away, and those are the physical artefacts of making this particular quilt. So, what do I do with all that stuff?

First, the samples:


They still have raw edges that need to be cleaned up, which I take care of with zig-zagging around the whole thing. To put them away in a folder, I take a strip of strong cardboard, fold it in half and catch the sample beween the layers, attaching the cardboard to the fabric with enough space to punch a couple of holes in the cardboard:


Now I collect all the paper, sorting out what I want to keep:


There’s the photograph I took, the original tracing on transparent paper, and the smaller copies of that I used for working out the colours and other details.

All of this goes into an A3 folder, where it lives happily ever after together with all the other finished projects.


I’m now free to clean everything else away and start with whatever’s next!

Finished? – Not quite!

July 17, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Embroidery, Patchwork, Quilting | 5 Comments

My Mexican Bird project is progressing nicely. In fact, I took a picture a couple of weeks ago that I could easily sell as the finished quilt:

Mexican Bird with Binding

The machine quilting is finished, and a nice pink binding added, but I’m not quite there. If you look at the picture of the painting this is inspired by, there’s lots of white highlights:


I’ve added the tiny feathery lines with machine quilting before binding the quilt, and I’m now working on the stronger lines in some of the leaves and the dots between the stems and the leaves:


The spiral on the leaf is worked in chain stitch, the dots are done in French knots. Here’s another area where you can see both:


While the effect is subtle when seen from a distance, I think it really makes a difference, here’s an area where the dots are still missing for comparison:


I’m also thinking about highlighting the centres of the petals of the pink flowers, since they are a bit flat currently. Lots of TV stitching ahead!

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