Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Swaps are fun!

Today I received my portion of the charms we swapped in the Flickr group 
 Texty Charm Swap.   
Wow, they are going to be fun to use, whenever I dare cut into them!

Here's a peek:

 There are sewing themed, typeface, words of encouragement or diary page type prints, letters, postmarks, newsprint, ledgers, and one map charm!

The next swap is going to be maps, layer cake size, in September.
 Can you just imagine the cool tote you could make with different map prints?  Info to follow later in the summer at the Flickr group..... 

Lizzie in Sweden

PS  I do not know why, but my page seems to be loading oddly, with the comments and side bar sections gone and back again.  Seems to work if you refresh the page, but I will be changing templates shortly to try to fix it.  Sorry for the inconvenience, I like to read comments!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Aum-Ines Equals Happiness!

If you've been reading the last few weeks, you've seen I have started sewing along with the Zakka Along 2.0, hosted by Lindsey of LR Stitched and Debbie of a Quilter's Table.  The projects all go along with Ayumi Takahashi's lovely book Patchwork Please.  And for me, they spell pure happiness.  

Each project centers around making functional and fun projects, with plenty of teeny tiny details, but not necessarily teeny tiny stitches.  Only if you want to!

Week one had special bell pepper coasters or hot pads, and a sweet intro from Sew Take a Hike.

I made a pepper family :D

Pepper family 
 Week 2 had the second project in the book, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Towels with a super intro by Maureen Cracknell Handmade.

I changed mine and re-drew the appliques to make tomatoes, fruits, bread, and a cake on a cake stand for my towels, and I changed the lettering to Swedish.  It is so cool here usually that we can keep the food on the counter top without it going bad, but it's pretty to cover it!  (And it keeps out any stray fruit-flies ;)

Towels in Action
Kitchen tea towels, with quilter's cotton from Pink Penguin on Etsy, Fat Quarter Shop, Westwood Acres, Fabricworm, and Linen and linen-hemp blend bought right here in Sweden
This past week was the lettered tea cozy with a little tea wallet pouch to go with.  Noodlehead showed her version. I had a blast playing with colors.  Before I knew it, I had made a rainbow.  I started out with the color range of some lady slipper flowers near my house, and the idea that we usually drink more tea when Fall comes.  So I chose stronger and bright colors. And, I took out the special shot cotton to give it a try-- Yay, worth it!

Tea Rainbow
Tea Cozy and wallets with Oakshott cottons, quilter's cotton form Pink Penguin, and Hexie fabric from Blossom heart Quilts Etsy, and Vintage buttons and fabric from my stash


That's the really fun thing about the Zakka style, you get to really pay attention to all the little details and make it "just so."  No hurry, the journey is just as important as the destination.

ZAL 2.0 3 Weeks 

 I've been practicing applique and satin stitch, drawing patterns, and I learned how to make and use my own bias tape!  And I've enjoyed a lot of feedback and chatting at the Flickr group too, including a little with Miss Ayumi herself :D

I think summer is a great time to try new things after all.

I'm joining up with Heart of Charnwood's Let's Get Acquainted link-up.....

Happy Monday!

Lizzie in Sweden

  I do not know why, but my page seems to be loading oddly, with the comments and side bar sections gone and back again.  Seems to work if you refresh the page, but I will be changing templates shortly to try to fix it.  Sorry for the inconvenience, I like to read comments!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fabric Petting


Sounds kind of creepy, doesn't it?  I think it does.  I think it sounds like preening, or counting what you have just for the sake of counting it (she who has the most toys wins kind of thing.)
I think it's just supposed to mean fabric playing, and that's what I did yesterday!

Rainy day antidote 

We had rain and more rain (Surprise!) and it was an indoors kind of day.  We even had a fire in the fireplace to take off the chill.
I've been working on the next project for Zakka Along 2.0, which is spiffied up kitchen towels.

Rain, rain, go away 

I did spend a bunch of time figuring out my layout, and fixing the letters, and working with colors and prints, but what I did first was just play with different fabrics.  Of course, there was a plan and a task, to figure out what would work for the towels, but that doesn't mean I went directly to it.  I'm usually thinking about several projects at once, even when I get down to working on one (or two) at that particular moment.

Evolution of a palette

Part of the creative process for me is taking out what I have, and laying it on the table.  I might mix ten fabrics together, or twenty.  By color, by size of the pattern, by theme. Even based on how much I like or don't like the fabric.

Evolution 2
 I'm looking for a certain balance of all those factors that makes the design work, and look a little different.  I think it's very much like painting a picture, and I can easily imagine painting pictures based on these fabric arrangements.  But that might take longer than simply deciding a fabric palette.

More fabric playPlay

Sometimes adding or taking away the smallest detail makes a big impact. 

 For me, taking the time to play with fabrics before I jump into a project is just as important as the actual sewing that takes place later.  Even if I don't sew that day, I have fresh eyes for what I'm working with, and that makes the next time that much more fruitful!  There's always something going on in the background that makes it come together in unexpected, but somehow planned for ways.

How about you?  Do you make fabric arrangements too?  Do you use them?  

Happy Friday!
Lizzie in Sweden

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Not good at practicing

I never was!  I prefer to make something that will really be something.  I learn while I'm going, and hope for the best.  

So last year, when I started the Fat Quarter Shop's Designer Mystery Block of the Month club, I let the blocks languish on the shelf.  I just wasn't ready to sew them, and possibly ruin them.

Block 1 

But now I finally got up the nerve to try one...

Block 2 

... and another

Block 3 

       ... and another

Block 4 

...and still one more!

At this rate, I'll be done by Christmas! 

Four so far  
 You just can't pull on the flowers to make them bloom.  

It sure is fun to just sew for sewing's sake though, and not have to come up with the design, or figure out the yardage.   Just focus on doing a good job.  It's kind of exciting to sew one step at a time and see the block emerge.  I think I'm learning some stuff on the way too.

Happy Thursday!

Lizzie in Sweden 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Modern Mini Quilt Challenge

Pale NYB
Swedish Scrapper's Pale New York Beauty. Approximately 12 x 12". Materials:  Quilters cotton and linen, polyester batting.  New to me:  Using a paler palette, letting the corners not line up perfectly, using a subtle solid binding

  I decided to enter this mini-quilt I made at the end of May in Ellison Lane's (second annual?) Modern Mini Quilt Challenge
High time to gather some neat little doings together in one place for us all to take a look!  Thanks Jennifer!  Last year's quilts were really fun to see, and I'm sure these will be wonderful too. 

I made this New York Beauty mini late in May, after a long slump in sewing.  It was a departure for me to use softer tones, and to not worry so much about the edges all lining up.  Best of all, I made it just for us, to hang in our front hall.

  Pale New York Beauty 

I chose the colors and the linen border to accent the curtain I had just made for the front door.  I love its quiet presence.


Not only did I have fun sewing again, I had a blast taking pictures of the process.  I've been trying to describe to my father how paper piecing works.  I also just love to take pictures!  He taught me that.

Process Pic

NYB Process
Yep, that's my special postcard that I use to fold the papers over when I trim the seams

Sewing New York Beauty
I love the Noteworthy line of fabric!

I made my New York Beauty mini inspired by last year's NYB Quilt Along, over at Sew Sweetness.  I fetched the block from Ullas Quiltseite, where she graciously has 9 different NYB's available for free download.  She also has a Block of the Month quilt along and other patterns. 

I followed the quilting used by Lee at Freshly Pieced, and she was in turn inspired by Katy at From the Blue Chair.  (Whew, that's alot of links to keep track of!)

I enjoy that this quilt is a mark in time for spring 2013, and that I took the time to snap a few pictures along the way, even the songs I heard on the radio while working.  It was a great way to get back into sewing, with a classic block revisited.

New York Beauty
 Process picture  

If you want to enter your modern mini quilt to Jennifer's challenge, go on over and link up!  And don't forget to check out the others!

Lizzie in Sweden

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday Doings

Today I'm...

Follow the Thread
Follow the Thread

...straightening my grain,

Considering Cats
Considering the cats...
More to consider
More to Consider
Pulling fabrics for the next sewing...

Got the curlers on
Got My Curlers In

And these are waiting for me whenever I'm done with all that!
Hope you're having a great Sunday!

Lizzie in Sweden 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sunshiny Days

The Week

Projects from Patchwork Please, and from Art Gallery Fabrics Creative Blog/Fat Quarter Gang

Oh!  What a long spring this has been!  I've been "under the weather" to say the least.  When the sun is shining, I'm shining too, and when it isn't, well, it's really hard.  Just to clear the air, I'll say here that I get pretty depressed at the end of winter.  It may be Seasonal Affective Disorder, or may be plain old depression. 
I don't know, and it doesn't matter which one it is.  Just that when it comes, it's like swimming in molasses to get out.  Hmm, or a fly on a sticky strip.  

The treatment doesn't always help right away.  It can take a while to get a good fit.  Sometimes it takes more than a nice walk or a fantastic view,  loving family, or beautiful fabrics to seep through the haze. However, I have a new treatment that makes me less sleepy, and less complacent, and the sun is shining again, so it's good I think.  Best of all, I can enjoy what I really do enjoy, like this beautiful hazy day we had recently.  Depressed, this view is nothing but gloom and doom.  Feeling good, it is vibrating with possibility!
Dawn comes late    
Thanks to everyone who's sent out a friendly hello now and then to see how I've been doing.  That really means a lot to me.  It's good to know you're not alone, and I really love the online quilting community for adding to my family in unexpected ways. 

Frog and pepper

Back to business!  I'm sewing again and I have a few things to show.  I won't bombard you with photos, but there are a few neat things to see.  One is the Patchwork Please book by Ayumi (Mills) Takahashi of Pink Penguin.  I love this whole book!  The projects are fun and they really invite you to use your stash and the tiniest of scraps in creative ways.  That's heaven for this lady who used to follow lint in the sunlight as a child! (It looked like rainbows to me, really :)

Pepper family

I am quilting along in the Zakka Aong 2.0 that uses this book, organized and hosted by Lindsey from LR Stitched, and Debbie from A Quilter's Table.  Last year's sew along was so fun I knew I'd take a second chance if it came again.  I'm glad it did!

This week's project was Ayumi's Bell Pepper Coasters, and they were a blast to make.  I love putting little bits of fabric together and these are seriously addictive.  I made a whole pepper family, coasters and hotpads.  

Four Peppers

I even sewed up a pepper to go with my favorite cookbook, Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery.  It's almost camouflaged, but I like that look sometimes.  I just adore that kitchen print!

Retro cookbook pepper 

Yes, that's an Easter cactus bowing down over them.  That's just how late spring came this year!  I'm glad the sun is out again.
There have been more doings and sewings, but I'll save them for next time!

Lizzie in Sweden