Showing posts with label Quilting Cotton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quilting Cotton. Show all posts

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Back from Ghana Giveaway

Wow, it is December and the countdown to Christmas has started. When did that happen? My last blog entry was on the 1st of November. Having been AFK for a month feels somewhat strange. I enjoyed an intense 20 day holiday in Ghana and just slowly am getting back into the swing of things.

Ghana was all at once overwhelming, exhausting, fascinating, enjoyable, buzzing, challenging and just very very different. It was my first trip to West Africa and I could fill pages with the descriptions of sights and sounds and smells and the details of life in Ghana.

The food was great; water is still scarce but the previous government installed a well in each village, which helps; lack of waste management – rubbish being burned everywhere and clouds of plastic swirling in the ocean; all pervading red dust (still scraping it out of my ears a week later); roaming bands of knee high goats running into the house compounds trying to make off with food from the cooking places; hopelessly congested road systems; cocoa and cashew farms; armed robbery – yes, one of our party fell victim to that but came out if it physically unharmed - thank god; sighting of scorpion and a black cobra – the latter was not so funny; tropical climate; bustling market activity; drinking coconuts and eating chicken feet; watching swarms of bats against the sky at dusk; hand hewn fisher boats at the coast and so on and so forth.

I do not even know how to start describing all my impressions but as this is a sewing blog rather than a travel log, I will concentrate on one of our mutual all time favourite topics – FABRIC.

One of the first things you notice about Ghanaians are the colourful cotton cloths that make up their clothes and some everyday items. The fabric – or material as it is locally referred to – is usually bright and shows big ornaments. The cotton has been wax block printed and can be bought in yards. (There is a traditional form of weaved fabric 'Kente' too but I only got to see it in passing) As store bought clothes are forbiddingly expensive to the local population, clothes consist either of red cross type clothes donations shipped to Africa and (still comparably expensively) sold on the local markets OR of sewn and fitted items made to order from those amazing colourful fabrics.

Sewing shops are virtually everywhere and most woman would know how to construct clothing items. I have refrained from going overboard taking pictures as I do not think it right to treat any local culture as a sort of Disneyland, forever invading peoples privacy with my camera, no matter how alien or fascinating a subject matter might be to me – but made a few snapshots having asked the booth owner for permission.

Here is what a sewing ‘shop’ or booth typically looks like. Some fabrics, some posters showing types of dresses to be had and typically hand or foot operated sewing machines that do not depend on electricity to work. As rolling electricity blackouts are part of life in Ghana it is just as well that the population makes provisions to do without it.

Have you seen the iron that is still operated with charcoal? It is humbling to see how these women go about their business of sewing beautiful clothes with what little equipment they have access to.

I was also endlessly fascinated by these hand-operated Chinese made ‘Butterfly’ sewing machines that are also being carried around town to provide mobile repair services for people.

The colourful fabric is part of many aspects of Ghanaian life. The same big piece of cloth might serve as a blanket, to tie a child to the back of its mother, as skirt, hung across a string as shower curtain and later as towel and so forth. They are as omnipresent as the sun and the red dust and of course I wanted some for myself.

Thus, I bought a few yards of each print, some to keep as beach blankets and some to give away as a present. Yes I know, how lucky are my friends right? Of course these fabrics will not be cut into in any way. I will keep them just as they are.

Furthermore, I envied the women their fabulously fitted dresses and asked Maggie, the woman that was cooking and washing for us, who also happened to be a seamstress to sew me a dress. I chose a style from one of her sample posters and then set out to market to find the perfect fabric. I bought four yards of fabric with an ombre effect and am in love with the result. Unfortunately, it is winter in Germany, meaning I do not get to wear it at the moment (meh).

We subsequently spoke about sewing a bit and I showed her some pictures of my patchwork pieces. She looked at those somewhat puzzled because to cut apart perfectly good fabric to put it together again piece by tiny piece, cannot seem anything else but frivolous to her. The women there lead such a hard working life that they would not have the time for such pastimes. While bigger leftover pieces of material might be combined into yet another garment, the idea of patchwork for relaxation would not occur.

As a result Maggie allowed me to root through her ‘discard’ bag of leftover cottons and gave permission for me to take some away. Therefore, I am happy to share a tiny bit of my Ghana holiday with all of you. I will give away a scrap bag of delicious Ghanaian wax block printed cottons.

This is my first attempt at Rafflecopter and I hope it works as intended. To enter, simply leave a comment beneath this post and tell me, how you feel about using big bold prints in your sewing? Me, I am still cautious as how to best employ them. While I feel that I am increasingly getting better at combining colours and prints, big prints are still a bit daunting  =)

I will draw a winner on Tuesday the 6th of December, in time for St Nicholas Day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Leave a comment to enter the givaway. (If Rafflecopter does not work, we will go by random number genarator =)

And the winner is: Rhonda the Rambler. Congratulations! I will be in touch regarding your address. 

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Fall Fabric Market in Potsdam - An Attempted Treasure Hunt

A bustling market always holds some appeal, especially so when it is a fabric market, oh my! The firm Stoffmarkt Hollandstoffe specializes in organising fabric markets around the country and held a fall market in Potsdam on the 1st of November.
Fall Fabric market in Potsdam 2015

So friends of mine that are interested in sewing and with whom I swap photographs of projects in progress - and I got up early to peruse the market for treasures. I had hoped to find some regional producers and desingners to check out the local talent but unfortunately it was not that kind of market.

The market was not specialising in quilting cottons and supplies but displayed anything and everything from bright oilcloths, via textured ribbons, lining fabric, wool fabrics, jerseys and jeans to cottons and flannels. And as the market merely consisted of a town quare full of open market stalls there was not not much variety, where each commodity was concerned.

How I do long for the quilting fairs and cons in the U.S., where you find huge beautifully decorated exhibition spaces with workshops and talks and goodies galore. *sigh*
I suppose we will have to make do. 

Stash building quilting cottons and fabrics

Here some pictures of my spoils. From left to right. I picked up two packets of solids because they are essential to have and I definitely lack solids in my stash. Also the choice of solids in the local quilting shops is usually limited to two dozen or so which can hardly be called variety.

Next we have some cotton prints and a few woven ribbons. The ribbons will used in yet another pillow case. The print in the upper right hand corner will either find its way into the Up The Ante Sampler Quilt top or - if it does not want to play there - be part of its backing. I also fell for the blue-ish grey graphic low volume print in the back.

I missed this particular Tula Pink print in the local shops when it came out and was glad to be able to pick it up at the market. It will go onto my orange, pink, yellow fabric stack. I should snap a picture of it at some point, it starts to look really lovely.

And finally some Japanese woven ink blue and mustard coloured fabrics. How nice. As the cover of my e-reader starts to come apart, I will make the new one from the ink blue fabric. The rest might make a nice bag.

After two hours of being shoved and elbowed we fled the market to enjoy a nice cup of coffee in the autumn sunshine.

Albeit not having lived up to my high hopes it was a lovely outing and a fun trip to the market.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

'Brown is' Mosaic Contest - Winners

My little mosaics - as in both of them! - made it into the finals for voting. I am slightly embarassed but mostly chuffed that both were considered cohesive and inspiring enough to make the final 10. I did not win but no matter as participating is everything.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks to Rachel Hauser for hosting the contest.

And the winners are:

Sarah of Fat Fanny Fern with 'Morning Fog'
Sarah Jasinski with her 'Firefly'

The contest sponsor Fabric Bub currently offers limited edition fat quarter bundles of those winning fabrics.
This was fun. I am looking forward to the next little mosaic contest.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Brown Is {a mosaic contest} by Stiched in Color

Rachel Hauser from Stitched in Color invites us all along to join in a mosaic contest around the color brown sponsored by Fabric Bubb. How fun. The time just kept melting away, while I played with options available at the fabric shop. 

The request was to craft a mosaic of 9 fabrics from among the offerings at Fabric Bubb in order to express our favorite version of brown. The collection of fabrics could be mainly neutral, brown + another main color or involve quite a few colors. We were only to make sure to use brown as a meaningful element in our color scheme. 

So here are my two entries. 

Entry 1 

Puppilalla Fabric Mosaic Contest Brown

This one reminds me of a night sky above the desert.

The 2 Top Mosaics will earn a complete fat quarter set of their mosaic fabrics!!! The competition is still open until October 18th and winners will be announced October 21st. Can't wait!

Entry 2

Puppilalla Fabric Mosaic Contest Brown

I think this one is very soft somehow, a bit vague like a foreshadow, all in all unassuming yet cheerful. 

I am looking forward to find out what other entrants will come up with. No stealing of ideas if you please!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Simple Patchwork Baby Quilt in Orange, Blue and Yellow

Simple Squares Patchwork Baby Quilt in Yellow, Orange and Blue by Puppilalla

The starting point for this quilt was some vintage yardage of GDR made terry cloth I found on a flea market. I was already thinking about a patchwork baby blanket for the second baby boy due to friends of mine, when I spotted the cloth and fell for the vibrant orange, yellow and blue.

Simple Squares Patchwork Baby Quilt in Yellow, Orange and Blue backing by Puppilalla

The cloth is very soft and thus perfect for a baby. I picked the rest of the quilting cottons to match the background fabric.

Fabric Choice Simple Squares Patchwork Baby Quilt in Yellow, Orange and Blue by Puppilalla

I did not have all that much time on hand so I decided on a very simple design of easy fabric squares.

Simple Squares Patchwork Baby Quilt in Yellow, Orange and Blue by Puppilalla
An orange binding completed the quilt. My friends, who had mentioned about three times on seperate occasions in a by the way manner that they really like baby quilts, were still flabbergasted when they actually got this one from me. They liked it and it is being used as you can see from the very first picture above. 

Completed Simple Squares Patchwork Baby Quilt in Yellow, Orange and Blue by Puppilalla
It always shows in the quality of the light when pictures were taken either in autumn or winter. 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Surprise, Surprise - A Scrap Bag Treat

My birthday is coming up and so I thought I treat myself to a little extravagance.  I ordered some Anna Maria Horner studio quilting cotton scrap bags. Have I mentioned that I love surprises? Not yet? Well then - I LOVE SURPRISES! Good surprises anyway. Thus a fabric swap or scrap bag always holds some allure for me. Yes, of course it can go horribly wrong (and has gone so) but I figure it is still worth the risk occasionally.      =)

Anna Maria Horner Studio Quilting Cotton Scrap Bag Puppilalla Mail

What I like about scrap bags and swaps is that you are being pushed out of your comfort zone by being confronted with fabrics that you might not have chosen yourself necessarily. Unless the fabrics received in this manner are downright horrid (no danger with Anna Maria Horner fabrics there), the relatively small amounts of fabric add to the variety and liveliness of any project, by getting in the mix of the fabrics I might have already pulled from my stash. So lets unwrap some goodie bags, shall we?

Anna Maria Horner Studio Quilting Cotton Scrap Bag Puppilalla
Here we go. Three solids and sixteen prints, of which I only had one in my stash already. Albeit having been a pricey foray considering the relatively small amount of fabric received, I like the result. Again I found a few prints, I might not have chosen myself whilst fabric shopping but that I can see scope for now that they found their way to me. The green striped print with flowers, the yellow flower print and the purple suggest another pillow case to me. 

Anna Maria Horner Studio Quilting Cotton Scrap Bag unwrapped Puppilalla

Keep your eyes peeled for those pretties popping up in future sewing projects.

Surprises. Yeah!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Fabric aging and fading - a startling afternoon discovery

While pulling out fabrics for my friend Karin last week, whom I wanted to gift matching fabrics for her next quilting project, I came across the last bit of the 'Ice Cream' print by October Afternoon. It stopped me mid-rummage. About three years ago I had gotten an e-reader as a present and was over the moon. (Still am) So before even properly unwrapping it, let alone setting the settings, I sat down to sew a cover to protect my future portable library. 

I used the 'Ice Cream' print together with some strong black fabric as lining and an orange ribbon , more for fun, than for keeping the cover shut. Since it was made the e-book cover has been in use on an almost daily basis. It and the e-reader it protects go wherever I go and have accompanied me everywhere from the Cornish Sea to Cuba's highest mountain. Some wear is starting to show.

The cover itself has not been particularly mistreated. It lives around the apartement and in every bag I happen to carry, has been washed and ironed several times, certainly seen its share of full sunlight exposure and been mistaken for a dish cloth for cleaning spillage by assorted toddlers on occasion.      =) 

What surprised me when I came across the original fabric was, that I had been unaware, how faded and aged the cover had become with time. In only three years it had lost a lot of its original vibrancy and lustre and mellowed into a kind of faded and pale version of it's former self. 

Far from being problematic, all that merely got me thinking about fabric aging and fading in general. I suppose, all kinds of factors need to be accounted for. It must play a role how and where you store your fabrics, where and by which firm and process they were printed or dyed in the first place and how much any object fashinoned from the fabrics is being used and in what surroundings.

Did you have similar moments with any of your sewing projects? As I give most of them away as presents, I usually do not get to see them again for a long time and when I do, I would be hard pressed to spot the differences without having the original fabrics at hand.

All of the above and my collecting the photographic evidence of the case, thoroughly diverted my attention from my original goal of locating specific fabrics, which I had completely forgotten about and had to resume the next day.