Wednesday, November 29, 2017

No Front Door Entry? Try The Back

Every quilter has that one sewing technique that is avoided like the plague... for some it's paper piecing, for others it's applique, Y-seams and partial piecing always make a list, and I'm sure that curved piecing has to be on someones don't-go-near-it list. For me that one thing is EPP - English Paper Piecing!

Aside from the fact that I can't do much hand sewing because of numbness in my fingers, somehow EPP just feels like mending sewing to me... it would be like asking a Picasso to paint your garage. Not that I'm comparing myself to Picasso, but I am a quilter who simply wants to sew and not mend things, despite how portable the technique is.

Well, with all that being said, I suppose it might be slightly confusing why you are seeing snap shots of EPP blocks in my feed.... hmmm. When @brimfieldawakening first shared their new #brimfieldblock, I instantly feel in love. Even though it was EPP, I kept coming back to study and examine it.... I kept thinking to myself that there had to be another approach to this block, and that my ever beloved starch applique method was just the thing!

I asked a friend, who had traveled to the States recently, if she could pick up a single block set for me, knowing that it would be light enough to fit into a purse without being noticed. I then traced the shapes onto freezer paper, and decided to triple layer them. Because of the sturdiness due to the extra layer, I should be able to finish a whole quilt with my one set of freezer paper shapes! It was critical to cut them with a ruler and my paper rotary cutter to make sure that the shapes fit when finished.

I've since added a couple more blocks and will join in on the sew-along that Brimfield Awakening is hosting. An all green quilt has been on my to-do list for quite a while, and I'm enjoying digging into my favorite color stacks in my stash.

One of the beauties of working on such a block is that there is plenty of room for fussy cutting. I've been saving this Heather Ross fabric for something special, and I love these Daisy Chain fabrics from Annabell Wrigley.

Do you have any "back door" approaches to quilting when you didn't want to go through the front door?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Home Sweet Home Notions

I love sewing notions, don't you? I suppose most avid sewers and quilters do, and they seem to come up in my work over and over again. For my Home Sweet Home applique sampler, that is releasing in May, I wanted to include things that are near and dear in my home... what are the things that surround you that make you feel like home? My sewing room is a big part of my everyday space, so it's quite fitting that a few notions found their way into my sampler...

Already at five and seven, both of my boys always ask ahead of time which are my paper scissors and which are my fabric scissors *smile* It's never too early to train them right.

Ahhh, "basting"... that dirty word in the quilting world, (well, not for me) but safety pins are kind of a necessary evil in the notions drawer. Such a practical and little notion also deserves a space with the rest of the beloved notions.

My mom, who taught me to sew, probably felt like she wanted to pull her hair out when I wanted to leave the ironing step out when she was teaching me to sew. At the time, it just felt like it took to long to get to the end result anyway... "why waste even more time ironing?" was my thought. Nevertheless, I now realize the value of a hot iron and perfectly pressed seams.

Do you have any sewing notions that are near and dear to your heart?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Christmas Snowbird Stocking

If you stopped by today because you know that Wednesdays are my regular posting days, then perhaps I should let you in on a little something you might have missed yesterday...  the release of my Christmas Snowbird applique template  - now available in my Payhip shop!

My original plan was to release a stocking pattern including the applique templates, but since there are already so many great free tutorials out there (like this one), I decided to simply offer the applique templates, and let you come up with your own plan. Yesterday I shared a few inspiration ideas for possible projects, but today I get to share my own finished Christmas Snowbird project...

I think that perhaps free motion swirl quilting is making its way into the "signature style" category with me, but I love the ease of the movement while quilting. I used Auriful 2326 on a dark espresso Essex linen because I love the contrast and that the quilting shows off more than my standard - quilting takes the back burner style.

I've had this Cori Dantini fabric for a while, just waiting for the right project to come along... does that happen to you too? You have a fabric that's been in your stash for a while, and all of a sudden a project that you work on lets you know that there simply IS no other fabric than "this one" for the finish?

I'm really excited to see projects popping up here and there with the Christmas Snowbirds... what does your holiday sewing to-do list look like this season?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Christmas Snowbird Applique Template

Last week I shared the introduction of my Home Sweet Home applique sampler, and it would appear that this sweet little bird is not only my favorite, but yours as well... so, why make you wait until May, right? You can now find the PDF applique template set in my Payhip shop for this sweet Christmas Snowbird, perched on wintery branches and berries (snowflakes not included). 

The PDF includes both the bird and the branches & berries templates, and I wanted to play around with a few design possibilities using those shapes. The following designs, are ideas and inspiration for projects, but assembly instructions are not included in the template set:

Firstly, I started off with a focal pieced star, flanked by log cabin blocks. I added a simple star applique to connect the branches and berries. (a star applique can easily be found with a simple online search)

Of course, I love how a project can take on a totally different look just by a couple color changes... Christmas hasn't been exclusively red and green for quite some time now, and I love that by adding soft aquas to the mix, give these Winter Snowbirds a much softer feel. (again, simple heart applique shapes can be found with an online search)

I also wanted to experiment with more applique shapes, and decided to try out an applique center instead of the pieced center. Here the leaves from the applique set could be used, and only straight branches and a center circle are needed

By bringing the applique birds closer together as the focal point, and adding more applique branches and berries, the shapes take on a wreath like look, framing the sweet, little pair.

I usually work with low volume backgrounds, and find that they often make the other fabrics pop because of the high contrast. These shades of grey give the whole project a very subtle and understated look for Christmas.

... and again in aqua. I really think that some of the non-traditional color schemes could really be used year round.

For a slightly larger project, I decided to play around with combining the applique branches with a simple wedding ring/pickledish block. I love combining traditional piecing and applique. There are so many free online blocks that could be used for this. (this free pattern could be simplified for this layout too)

... need a little more inspiration? stay tuned for a little project reveal of my own tomorrow... what will you make with your Christmas Snowbirds set?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Home Sweet Home Introduction

I generally like to get a little further with a quilt pattern that I have in the works before I start sharing about it. Somehow, I feel like if I introduce things too early, then by the time I get to the final reveal, it's already long forgotten. But there's nothing like a little pressure of a deadline to push you over the finish line faster. Since that deadline just around the corner in spring, I decided to start sharing a couple blocks from my Home Sweet Home applique sampler that I will be releasing in May - if you are in Germany, keep those ears perked for some exciting news coming soon!

One of the biggest delights for me at our old house, was to sit quietly in the morning with a hot cup of tea and just watch the birds through our terrace door. While I am not a bird expert, I adore watching these amazing little creations flit, spring, and fly about their business...

... my mother in law, who is a total nature lover, mused that my acorn block is actually with American oak acorns, but the leaves are from a German oak leaf. Hmm, I suppose that this block is just like my life... a blend of the two.

... I find that even in my fabric choices, I often tend towards leaves, foliage, flowers, and other natural organic shapes, so perhaps it's no surprise that I also tend towards those shapes in my designs. I love the simplicity of the foliage leaf combined with the simple circles.

... where we live in the country, there are always lots of little sparrows flitting around. I love their delicate little bodies, and am amazed how they speedily dart back and forth and weave in and out between the trees and each other.

So, be sure to stick around because I'll be sharing more applique blocks in the next weeks that were inspired from my own Home Sweet Home.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fall Retreat Happenings

Wheh - what a busy, exciting, and whirlwind of a week it's been - yesterday was the last day of our fall quilting retreat! If you've never been to a sewing retreat or quilting group then let me pass on to you two Murphy's Laws that always apply: #1. You always pack more projects than you can possibly accomplish in that amount of time, and #2. You never get as much done as you think you can.

This year I hosted the retreat with me just South of Bremen... and one of the major advantages of living in the country is that there is space. Since we were a smaller group it allowed for a very personal and whole group interaction. It's amazing how quickly one seems to connect with like-minded people, even though it might be a first time meeting. #quiltyfriendsarethebest, right?

Meal times were full of light-hearted chatter and meaningful conversations, and the rest of the day was a buzz of busy sewing machines...

@elbquilts gets the patience award for the weekend for working with my little guy. He stopped by and joined us for a bit... just look at this block that he helped her with! He was "allowed to drive" and for some reason he decided that these were called these "table blocks".

When you are the hostess, it's hard to think of everything, and for me that was taking pictures... so even though I didn't get around with my camera at all, I love that @puppilalla got a shot of my sewing chaos space.

In addition to finishing a few final summer smoothie blocks, I was able to add several more applique shapes to my Lovebirds' Remix project. So far it's coming together just as I've imagined it.

Never ending rows of HST's, sometimes makes it feel like there's not much getting accomplished, but I'd say this is progress nonetheless.

... and last but not least, a few purple applique leaves.

Perhaps Murphy's Law #3 for sewing retreats is that everyone NEEDS chocolate!... just look at these great favors that @mellmeyer made for us. I really love some of the creative outside locations that everyone discovered for great photos...Check out Iva's cookie cutter blocks, Katrin's round robin blocks, Friederike's tall tales blocks, Susan's ocean waves blocks, and Yara's double wedding block with self dyed fabrics. Hmmm... I might have to use a few of those spots for future picture ideas.

Even though we only said goodbye just yesterday, I'm already looking forward to seeing all my newly added quilty friends next year!... so, with that being said... it's well earned couch time for me now.
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