Showing posts with label Applique. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Applique. Show all posts

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Please feel free to be as creative as you like

The Stash Bee Hive 4 October Block was a request for a Cowboy or Fishing or Man's themed Library Block in Autumn colours (no pink or purple, please!).

Queen Kim says: 'my 80 year old uncle is a vociferous reader of western paperbacks. When I mean prolific, I mean he reads hundreds of them yearly! He would be so tickled to have a western themed library quilt to use when he sits in his favorite chair on his front porch reading.'

Now, I am sure we can help out with this request.

Puppilalla, bookshelf quilt, library quilt, scrap busting

All the fun cowboy related paraphernalia you could have in your book shelf like potted cacti, mounted revolvers, photographs of Indians, are those cowboy boots on the bottom shelf (?), oh a sheriff star and look (!), there hangs a horse shoe on that shelf board. I really had to reign myself in on this one, given that there are a number of my own projects I really ought to work on.

Puppilalla, bookshelf quilt, library quilt, scrap busting

I allowed myself to put one item onto the future shelf. So here are my beautifully bound and embossed books all subtly playing on the theme of wilderness adventure and a cowboy hat applique. I suggest sprucing it up further by some embroidery but I will leave that decision to Queen Kim.

The block is wider than the requested 12.5 inches but as library quilts usually have some shelf lenght to cover, I am certain that Kim won't mind.

Puppilalla, bookshelf quilt, library quilt, scrap busting, Cowboy Quilt, Applique

The picture does take getting used to as I never usually have black backgrounds.  =)

This block officially concludes my bee year. It was a lot of fun and again, I enjoyed the experience. All that is left to do is to wait for the majority of the blocks that were made for me to arrive by mail. As much as I enjoy these, I think I will not join a quilting bee next year. Working full time leaves me little time for sewing and my projects keep stacking up. Therefore, it might be more opportune to continue the respectable list of WIPs I have accumulated, for example by the way of participating in bees, while I still have a mind to actually finish them.

I link up with Let's Bee Social.

Stash Bee

Up-date: Look what a beautiful quilt Kim made with this block. =)


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Robin Round One - Freddy Moran Style

Welcome back to the 'Rakish Needle Round Robin'. The first round has come and gone. I have worked on Ileana's starter block and now want to share a bit of the process here. Ileana, having been flooded out of her house twice (truly awful!), is currently hunting a new house to make home. As this is a big matter on her mind, she translated it into her starter block with the request to us to grow it 'Freddy Moran' style.

Browsing Freddy Moran’s work is fascinating to me. Her work is so colourful and warm and somehow life affirming. Normally, crazy colourful quilts make my eyes water and frazzle my brain but Freddy manages to strike a balance that keeps her work from being utterly overwhelming. I still would not want one of those quilts for myself but they are fascinating to study.

I am also quite pleased to firstly have been introduced to her work via this round robin and secondly have been afforded the chance to try my hand at piecing in her style. The latter is not as easy as it may sound. I am one of the quilters that always wants negative space to calm down a piece. I tend to shy away from placing colourful popping pieces right next to each other.

Thinking back, I so far always used a reduced colour palette, low volumes and/or white. The only exception are my ‘Double Square Stars’ that count as WIP and are currently on the backburner. Even there though the colours adhere to a pre-defined colour palette.

Ileana's House Hunt

Ileana on the other hand says, literally any fabric goes as long as you do not forget to include black and white along the way. In her starter block I made out the three primary colours Blue, Red and Yellow also often used by Freddy. Therefore, I decided to work from that basis. What else did I spy? Triangle shapes that led right to my ‘Flying Geese’ blocks. Ileana also asks for 'wonky-ish traditional blocks' and I decided to include off kilter ‘Churn Dash Blocks’ that would morph into flowers, which also can often be found in Freddy’s work. Here they were done in raw edge appliqué.

‘Churn Dash Blocks’ I had not done before. Also trying raw edge appliqué for the first time filled me with trepidation as, so far, I always had tucked the edges in and under. Phew! We live and learn. And my – what an amount of work appliqué is. =)

Cohesion how?

Generally, I aimed at maintaining cohesion of the overall piece, whilst introducing new elements my fellow sewists can pick up on. Please note the repetition of triangle shapes echoing the colour values of the starter on the left side. I also maintained the blue – lime green colour flow, as introduced in Ileana’s starter block, across the entire panel. Ileana's starter block worked with pictorial elements, which I re-introduced on the far right. I like how it looks. And finally, the repetition of fabrics. If you look carefully, you will notice that many of the flowers on the red ground already appear to the left in the triangles and the berry coloured border separating the starter block from the 'Flying Geese'.

    For the last side panel on the far right, I would have needed much darker greens but alas my stash is pretty much void of true blues, greens and reds. I have already asked the remaining robin members to add a smaller dark green tree applique on top of the first one to create more contrast.

    Freddy Moran, Puppilalla, Round Robin Quilt, Raw Edge Applique, Rakish Needle Round Robin, Quilt Panel, Modern Quilting

    So what do you think? Does it work for you? Has the panel the potential to look a little ‘Freddy Moran’ like? I immensely enjoyed working on the piece combining traditional blocks with liberated quilting ideas. It is all a bit off-centre.  =)

    Freddy Moran, Puppilalla, Round Robin Quilt, Raw Edge Applique, Rakish Needle Round Robin, Quilt Panel, Modern Quilting

    All that remains is to send the piece to Norway for Anita to take over.
    I link up with 'Let's Bee Social'.

    Monday, 27 March 2017

    The Rakish Needle - My Compass Rose Starter Block

    Puppilalla, round robin quilt, New York Beauty Block, BOM, Patchwork, Compass Rose block, wind rose, mariner's compass

    Well, what do you think? It is a bit on the whimsical side isn't it? Also fairly colourful. The inspiration for my compass rose came from Jennifer @ ‘Never Just Jennifer’, who made a compass rose starter block for the 'Round Trip Quilts' Round Robin she participated in. So yes, the blocks look very similar but then again not.

    Puppilalla, round robin quilt, New York Beauty Block, BOM, Patchwork, Compass Rose block, wind rose, mariner's compass

    Like Jennifer, I used some of the free ‘New York Beauty’ BOM block templates to make that wind rose. It was my first ever foray into curved piecing. The result is OK, I managed to preserve most of the points but the actual piecing of curves on foundation paper was not exactly easy. I regularily fell short and had to somehow gimick in add-ons to make the piece go around the other piece all the way. Subsequently, the blocks turned out wonky and had to be trimmed to shape, which in turn led to the loss of some of the acurate paper piecing. There you go, not exactly an odyssey but also not easy as pie.

    I had initially meant for three of the four compass points of the wind rose to be removed from the starter block with the space in-between to be filled with ‘Adventure at Sea’ ideas by my fellow sewists but then changed my mind. I then felt that to block would have lost cohesion had I gone through with that.

    Puppilalla, round robin quilt, Quilting, Patchwork, Applique shapes, Alphabet Applique, letter

    I did not have any templates to foundation paper piece the letters for the compass points but when in doubt have applique come to the rescue. I cut letters from old-fashioned cardboard and used a water soluble glue stick to affix the shapes to the fabric. Afterwards, I used needle and thread to pull the edges around the shapes and baste them into place. Anything with curves works like a charm. The letters 'W' and 'N' were a bummer though, too many points and sharp angles. These present a problem when you try to press the shapes to get sharp edges for the applique that is to follow. As I am not too fond of blanket and zigzag stitches on my applique shapes, I try to tug the edges in and under and just go around with with an unobtrusive straight stitch.

    Puppilalla, round robin quilt, New York Beauty Block, BOM, Patchwork, Compass Rose block, wind rose, mariner's compass

    Add some yellow compass needles and the block is good to go. By the way 'East' translates as 'Osten' in German, which is why there is the letter 'O' rather than the 'E' in the block.

    So this is what went into my starter kit to Ileana. The starter block, a fish block to be added at some point, extra fabric, the quilting journal and chocolate. Of course chocolate. I said it was mandatory after all. =)

    Next up

    While my starter block is travelling to grow into a quilt top, I am thinking of piecing the cutest seahorse and wonder how to go about translating the below atmospheric picture into a quilt block. I have an idea for the ship. If all fails I will just draw the ship with a permanent fabric pen right onto the background but how to go about the whale is a conundrum. Any suggestions welcome, cause I have no idea. Layers of applique from dark to bright?

    Doesn't the picture look dramatic? It would make the most awesome side panel addition to my quilt top.

    Saturday, 10 December 2016

    Death by Goulash - Farewell to an E-reader cover

    No, this is the new one =)

    when you were still new and almost shiny

    Oh beloved cover of my e-reader. Thank you for keeping my e-reader(s) free of dust, protecting them of scratches and impacts with blunt and sharp objects over the last four years. No other object, including my purse and set of keys spent as much time with me as you and by extension the e-reader you covered did. Whenever I wanted to while away an hour, all I had to do was to look out for your bright orange ribbon advertising the whereabouts of my reader. You have been to Cuba, Ghana, all around Europe with me and have seen all the bags I own from the inside. Stemming that spill of goulash you saved my reader for the last time and sacrificed yourself in the process. I will remember you with fondness.

    Last Saturday I visited my parents. They had prepared some goulash that day and kindly made me take some home. Unfortunately, the container leaked and a few items in my backpack got soiled. Among those was the lovely e-reader cover I had sewn about four years ago.

    Once home, I stuck the backpack and e-reader cover straight into the washing machine. The backpack that was permeated with Ghanaian red dust wanted washing anyway. It is black so stains don’t show but for the e-reader cover that was finally it.

    Actually, the cover had been coming apart for a while now. I wrote on November 4th last year that I would replace it some time soon with the intention to use the inky blue fabric that I had purchased at the fall fabric market in Potsdam. It does now line the new one. 

    Before making my way to my parents that day, I had been to the fabric shop to buy one-sided heat bond and could not make my way past the ‘From Porto with Love’ print by Cotton & Steel. So pretty. I purchased the smallest possible amount and by close play of Sunday evening I had sewn up a new whimsical e-reader cover. 

    May it last as long as its predecessor.


    Thursday, 8 December 2016

    Up the Ante #7 - I Could While Away The Hours...

    Before I write about my forward look for 2017 it might be opportune to stop and review at what stage my various projects currently are. 

    Quilt blocks, sampler quilt, Puppilalla, improv piecing, foundation paper piecing

    Like my 'Up the Ante' sampler project, which grows steadily although the process has become fairly random. When I started out, I wanted to do specific blocks from some Block-of-the-month Craftsy classes to learn new techniques. For a while I did just that but quickly began to construct whichever block took my fancy at a time. I am surprised just how many blocks I  already have stitched up this year, considering that it is not on my official 'want-to-get-done' list at all.  =)

    I put those blocks down as above for an IG snapshot when we were asked what we were currently doing with our scraps. I am getting excited about putting the blocks together to a quilt top at some point next year.

    So what's new? Last, as previously mentioned, I had slightly amended the 'Anne's Flower' block and the colours flow much better now.

    Anne's Flower Block, Puppilalla, Quilting, Sampler Quilt


    I also was constructing flying geese from triangle and other scraps only. These will be used as fill-in pieces on a need be basis. All blocks have completely different sizes and there will be plenty of gaps to fill in.

    Here I had not been paying attention. I had two pieces of equal size of that blue dotted Joel Dewberry print and I had wanted to use them both in a rather different block. I did not think of that at the time I made the 'Plus' block and just went with a fabric combination I liked. I still like it. Then however I saw the other fabric piece peeking out of the scrap pile remembering. Best laid plans right?  =)

    Quilting, Plus block, Puppilalla

    I had counted the amount of fabrics used up until now but now I cannot find just where I noted down that number. Ah well ... Anyhow, I very much like the relaxedness of that project and am looking forward to keep working on it.

    On a side note, I am very excited to read that Rachel Hauser @Stitched in Color will offer her Penny Sampler Class again in 2017. Her amazing design serves as inspiration piece and guiding principle for my own sampler quilt for which I intend to use Rachel's broken border approach. I am seriously contemplating to sign up but then again the quilty project plan for next year looks so busy already that I might not.

    Decisions, decisions

    I join up with 'Let's Bee Social'

    Sew Fresh Quilts

    Wednesday, 27 January 2016

    A Pillowcase - with a little help from my friends...

    The week before last, my best friend approached me with a request for assistance in making a pillowcase for one of those grain filled cushions that you can heat in the microwave for warmth and comfort. He wanted to send both, grain cushion and pillowcase, to his sister as a birthday present. I promised to help and asked him round that Sunday.

    My friend rummaged my stash, pulled out fabrics and looked to me for directions. So I showed him a youtube tutorial (always good to have a visual), explained my sewing machine and talked him through the rest, while working on my polaroids block tutorial. He sewed that pillowcase in 3 hours and I am as pleased with the outcome as he is. 

    The front of the pillow with a little fussy cut applied on top.

    Patchwork, Pillowcase, modern, Puppilalla, Applique, fussy cut

    The mouse applique with seam allowances folded and ironed to the back, ready to be sewn on.

    Patchwork, Pillowcase, modern, Puppilalla, Applique, fussy cut close up

    For the opening on the back my friend decided on a border of these cute critters. Works for me =)

    Patchwork, Pillowcase, modern, Puppilalla, Applique, fussy cut

    The only thing not so great is the quality of the above photographs. As my friend wanted to send the pillowcase off as quickly as possible, there was no time to take any daylight pictures. Even photo editing can only do so much with suboptimal lighting conditions. 


    Tuesday, 15 December 2015

    Up-cycled Table Runner Peg Bag - Praise to Interim Solutions

    This time of the year I should blog about the mobile phone cover or the pillow cases I intend to sew as Christmas presents, but as I somehow do not get to sit down to actually sew them, there is nothing to show yet. So let me share an up-cycling holiday project with you instead.

    DIY, peg bag, flower applique, embroidery, up-cycling, Puppilalla

    I spent a holiday visiting friends in Fleet, Hampshire in the Summer of 2014 and with time galore on my hands, took to playing around with my friend’s sewing machine. I had found an embroidered table runner, the likes my granny used to have, in a local charity shop and decided to free the bread basket of its existence as interim solution for storing clothes-pegs. When my friends moved back to the UK from Berlin said basket ended up as laundry aid in absence of a peg bag - merely as a temporary solution mind you… Well, we all know how these stories tend to go.

    Therefore, I decided to convert the table runner into a peg bag. Once I had decided the final size of the bag and where I wanted the opening to be, I looked through my friend's fabric scraps for suitable pieces to do a bit of flower appliqué and ‘thread sketching’ on the fabric.

    DIY, peg bag, flower applique, embroidery, up-cycling, Puppilalla, design process

    As the old embroidery was in good condition I decided to preserve parts of it. For the inner lining I used some white fabric with soft pink polka dots. Then I deposited a metal coat hanger in the airing cupboard and bend it, once it was thoroughly warmed, into the shape I required for the peg bag.

    DIY, peg bag, flower applique, embroidery, up-cycling, Puppilalla

    These are work-in-progress pictures. I am missing one of the finished product. Unfortunately, I had to leave before I could add some binding to the opening and before giving it a final thorough press, hence the crinkly looking pictures. My friends however liked my impromptu up-cycled laundry aid, especially as this one can be hung from the laundry rack.

    PS: The bread basket has been repatriated to the kitchen but I have no current information as to its subsequent fate.


    Sunday, 29 November 2015

    My First Quilt - A Good Effort

    We all started somewhere. And my first quilt came about in 2008 when my friend Tina became pregnant and asked me to be the child's godmother. Understandably, I wanted to present the baby with something extra special and personalized. Therefore, a baby blanket seemed a good idea even though I did not know the first thing about sewing, did not own a sewing machine and had no one in my immediate circle of aquaintances, family and friends who would have been able to advise me on the matter. 

    simple squares, beginner friendly, quilt, baby blanket, patchwork, Puppilalla
    This first quilt was entirely hand sewn, embroidered, pieced and quilted. I bought a book on quilting and muddled along without the faintest idea what I was actually doing or what techniques to employ in order to make the process as painless as possible and the resulting quilt as pretty as it could be. It took me 6 months to complete it and I would still call it a good first effort today.

    Babydecke, beginner project, quilt, baby blanket, patchwork, Puppilalla

    Unfortunately, it became one of those items that ended up enshrined rather than used. My friend loved it too much to bear using it. Bittersweet right?

    Tuesday, 10 November 2015

    Time-Waster! The unplanned Advent Calendar Odyssey

    Oh dear! Did you ever get caught up in a project that unexpectedly turned into a complete time waster? I just inadvertently got me one of those. Christmas time coming up, I wanted to get preparations for an advent calendar for my sister and her partner underway. With everything else that is going on however, I thought to go for the time saving option this year, which was, to buy the calendar in order to merely have to fill it afterwards. So far, so good.

    Thus, while running a few errands on a late afternoon last week, when it was already dark, I picked up a calendar that seemed cute judged by the picture on the packaging. When I unpacked it in daylight the next day however it turned out to be quite horrible. Yes, yes I know it is all in the eye of the beholder...  =)
    To me the colours clashed garishly, especially the pink seemed awfully offending. There was no way I would want to use it as it was. And here now, when I try to prove my point by showing you 'before' and 'after' pictures, the pictures do not do the real object justice. The tiny pictures refuse to convey an authentic impression. *sigh*
    DIY, Advent Calendar, Touch Up, Embroidery, Applique

    Furthermore, the entire thing was flawed design wise. The little rings that were meant to hold the presents in place, were all attached at the exact middle of each numbered panel. The calendar is of course meant to be suspended. So once it hangs, the thing called gravity kicks in and the presents tend to leave the upper half of the respective panel empty, while obstructing the panels below. 

    OK, so I though, let's just quickly touch the thing up a bit. Tone down the business, get rid of the pink, shift the rings and it should work.

    DIY, Advent Calendar, Touch Up, Embroidery, Applique

    The quick touch-up turned into an odyssey of hours of applying and embroidering on top of the original design. By the time I was finally done, I had invested so much time that I would have been better off with planning and executing the project from scratch in the first place. The resulting calendar might have been prettier too. 

    I have added green panels onto which I applied ribbons or lace and white or red embroidery before sewing them on top of the panels I wished to cover. I also have added little bells because I like their jingling and I can get away with it at Christmas. And yes, I will so definitely use this advent calendar for all the pain it caused me. 

    Mind you, I am not really complaining as all of this was entirely self-inflicted. But this certainly was anything but the quick and painless time saving advent calendar solution I had initially in mind.

    I hope that your Christmas projects are coming along nicely, on schedule and without similar odysseys.

    Sunday, 13 September 2015

    Faux Chenille Baby Blanket – Bring out the Elephants!

    Faux Chenille Baby Blankets. When you look at the word ‘inspire’ than the first definition listed in the dictionary is to stimulate a person to some activity. And how can one not be inspired when such pretty examples of Faux Chenille Baby Quilts are around. Just have a look at Dana's blog MADE for a beautiful example or at Allie's version as seen on her blog Miss Lovie.

    Anneliese from Aesthetic Nest created a very illustrative walk-through, and with her tutorial in mind I set out to make my own version for friends in Munich who had a baby boy on the way. 

    Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla

    What impresses me, as much as it makes me jealous, is the sheer variety and availability of fabrics on offer in the USA and Canada. From what I have seen online, other quilters who attempted Faux Chenille blankets, have chosen mouth-wateringly pretty and matching tones of cotton flannel fabrics. 

    Those are just not as available here in Berlin. For this blanket I checked out about six different fabric stores around town, that if they stock cotton flannels at all, each only had between 4 -10 different fabrics stocked. And from what was available, I saw mostly prints that did not coordinate and hardly any uni-coloured flannels. There was just simply nothing to choose from. I also checked online but the selection – at least in German online shops - is similarly uninspiring. To import from the USA however is forbiddingly expensive due to postage and import taxes. Thus, it came down to making do with what I could lay my hands on, which was a bit heartbreaking because I had a colour scheme in mind but was hampered by the lack of choice. *sigh* 

    Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla

    In the end, I chose two blue and one red chequered cotton flannel, which worked well together. Differently to the suggestion in the tutorial, I decided that I wanted the frayed chenille of the final project to be held in place by not only one layer, the printed backing fabric, but by a second layer for more stability. Therefore, one of the blue flannels was arranged in a double layer as to make up a fourth layer of flannel stacked on the cotton print fabric. When it came to cutting the quilted channels, I cut the three layers of flannel from the second layer upwards and took care not to cut into the printed fabric or the first layer of flannel that made up the foundation. 

    Instead of merely using one cotton print for the backing, I decided to have some fun with this side too. I matched the 'Safari Soiree - Ele Train Teal Elephant' print by Dan Stiles for Birch Organic Fabric with the cream coloured 'Ice Cream' print by October Afternoon for Riley Blake and machine embroidered another big elephant on top to keep things interesting. 

    Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Applique Puppilalla

    I had also cunningly gotten the name of the future baby boy out of the parents to be. At that stage I took a chance and applied the name in bright colours onto the backing fabric and hoped that ‘Jacob’ would not turn into ‘Frederick’ or any other name at the very last minute. 

    Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla

    Thankfully, I got lucky there and the boy really was named ‘Jacob’ at birth. 

    Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla quilt lines

    As you may be able to make out the quilted lines are neither strictly parallel nor always evenly spaced apart. On the chenille side this fact is hidden by the fraying and on the other side – uhm – I am banking on the brain's tendency to even out irregularities the eye perceives. (One advantage of optical illusions =) 

    Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla

    I cut the channels by hand with scissors and can confirm other quilter’s reports of hurting hands and calluses forming in the process. 

    Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla finished

    Here is the finished blanket: quilted, cut and seam bound. The flannel frayed nicely after having been washed and dried. Considering the (perceived) difficulties at the beginning of the project, I am pretty happy about how my Faux Chenille Elephant Baby Blanket turned out. 

    My friends in Munich were delighted to find this unexpected present in the parcel post and have been using the blanket frequently, I am happy to report. 

    Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla Finished Project

    So, bring out the Elephants!

    Wednesday, 9 September 2015

    A Collection of Patchwork Pillowcases

    modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork pillowcase cushion cover with stripes and velvet ribbons

    Patchwork Pillowcases. Looking back, I have made quite a few of them by now, for they make such lovely presents. And whats more, they are quick to make and therefore fun fast projects. In the past I have hardly managed to snap a picture of the finished product, let alone the creative process, before wrapping them up and giving them away.

    Flower Applique Pillowcase

    A modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork pillowcase with flower applique

    I made this pillowcase with the flower applique for my friend Hannah as you will have already guessed. The stripes on the left hand side are actually one flowery woven  and one green velvety ribbon that I machine applied to the background fabric.

    A modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork pillowcase with flower applique

    I just love the green little woven ribbon to the left with its purple and blue flowers.

    A modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork pillowcase with flower applique

    And a close-up of the machine applied flower petals. With hindsight I would say, something was definitely amiss with the thread tension.

    Modern Log Cabin Pillowcase

    A modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork Log Cabin Pillowcase

    And this beauty even made it all around the world to Sydney, Australia.

    A modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork Log Cabin Pillowcase

    The pretty modern log cabin block was made from scraps. I just love the fussy cut flower at the centre.

    A modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork Log Cabin Pillowcase

    Yes, I know, the eagle eyed among you will have spied that the background fabric - 'Grunge' in Mint by Basicgrey, which I love by the way - has NOT been ironed prior to sewing. 
    I am entirely self-taught and it has not occured to me until recently, when I watched some online classes on Craftsy, that it might in fact be beneficial to do so. 

    Lessons to take away for the future?
    1. Ought to improve on documenting the crafting process around future sewing projects.
    2. Should remember to iron fabrics prior to using them.

    Fair enough, I promise to try.