Saturday, 2 August 2014

Caturday Wisdom #79

...

It was ME! If you work hard, you can achieve great things. Ralph

Obviously Ralph is referring to the hard work he and Ivy have put into improving their hide and seek skills since Ivy's last attempt.
Actually, they're both extremely good at becoming invisible, particularly when you're in a hurry to leave the house and are trying to make sure you're not going to accidentally shut them in a bedroom. Eventually you'll find them watching you calmly from a gloomy spot underneath something. It's this sort of thing that earns them the affectionate nickname 'little devils'.



Thursday, 31 July 2014

Thursday Inspiration: Cille from Live, love, quilt...

This week Cille from Live, love, quilt... is joining me for Thursday Inspiration.  Cille is a lovely modern quilter who lives in Denmark.  I really enjoy the time Cille takes to explain her process and show photos of her quilts in progress.

Here is Cille with her husband and one of her boys.

I also enjoy the way Cille's love for her family manages to sneak its way into many of her blog posts. Her sons are clearly big fans of quilts and are often roped in for quilt holding duties (fair enough, I think!).

Does your family have a quilting or sewing history, or are you a first generation quilter?
I'm the first one to quilt in my family but I guess we have a strong craft gene running in our DNA. My mother and grandmother were weavers, my grandmother and great grandmother made amazing embroidery too, and my mum and sister also knit amazingly. I thought I skipped the gene until I was twenty-something and suddenly started embroidering. I was the one who got my mother to quilt too by proposing to make an EPP quilt together (we live quite far apart - she's in Sweden). Now she loves quilting too.

How did you start quilting, and how long have you been quilting for?
I'm not sure why I started honestly. I remember I saw a quilt in a magazine about 15 years ago and thought that I should be able to make that myself (never having made a stitch in my life before, mind you. Craziness is also a strong gene in my family). I did make the quilt but then I had my children and stopped quilting while they were little. It picked up again about 4 years ago. Now I can't live without it. I'd rather miss sleep than quilting.

This Peekaboo Street quilt is so cute!

How would you describe your quilting style?
Tough question... I'm not sure I have a specific style. I like classical elements but sometimes best in a modern setting. I'm not a true modern quilter by any means though. Being an online addict also means my style is very different from the common Danish style, which tends to be very inspired by Kaffe Fasset fabrics and quite traditional. Getting fabric sent to Denmark is a very costly affair (on top of the shipping cost, we have to add 25% and a handling fee at close to $40). I tend to take home large bulks a few times a year because the selection locally is very limited. Hence my style and fabric selections automatically become more international.

Where do you find inspiration for your quilts?
Online reading blogs and in books mostly. I buy a lot of books and patterns. I rarely follow the patterns, but if I feel inspired by them and decide to do something similar, I know there's someone at the other end who has worked hard to make the pattern, so I acknowledge it by buying it.

Do you like to follow patterns or create your own designs (or a bit of both)?
I'm horrible at following patterns. I see something that I like, and then I do something different. I have promised myself that one day I will buy a pattern, buy fabric in measurement and make a quilt following the instructions. But chances that that will ever happen are limited though... I think what I love most about quilting is when your quilt suddenly takes you in another direction than what you had planned. Those kind of quilts always turn out best.

Lovely Longjohn quilt.

Are you a member of a local guild?
Not really a quilt, but I do follow a course (that you have to be invited into basically). The same group of people have been following the course since 1986 and they are still in the class. There's rarely an open seat because the places are reserved. Most in the group are (needless to say) fantastic quilters and I learn a lot from them. My style is very different though so they tend to look at me as 'the young and crazy one'. Luckily they have a lot of patience with me.

Have you ever met any of your online sewing friends in real life?
No, but I'd love to. If I'm anytime in Ohio, I know just where I would invite myself for a cup of tea. I can't imagine I'd be bored in Australia either...

How did you decide to start your blog?
It was basically a log of my quilts - just to remember them. Still is mostly. I think I have the smallest blog in the blogging universe, but I still enjoy it.

This is such an effective quilt - can you believe its all made of scraps?!

Do people in your personal and professional life know about your quilting and blogging or do you keep it under wraps?
Professionally I keep it under wraps but in my personal life everybody knows... Heck, most of them have one of my quilts. Not very many people know about my blog though.

Is quilting popular in Denmark?
It is becoming more and more popular, but not to the same extent as in the US for example. We don't have a strong quilting tradition in Denmark, but crafting is becoming more popular in general.

What is your favourite thing about the online quilting community? And what is one thing that you would change, if you could?
Oh where to begin... Basically I wouldn't have been quilting if it wasn't for the online community. I used so many tutorials in the beginning. If someone hadn't taken the time to show how to make a Dresden or a bind a quilt, quilting for example, quilting would have been an up-hill experience for me. So basically I owe all to the online community. I like how people are generally positive - it's like there is a common consensus that if we don't have anything nice to say, we just don't say anything.

Change it? I'm not sure I would even if I could. We move along the new media, but essentially the atmosphere is the same. I like that. I'm an very honest person and I sometimes show very bad projects online because it doesn't have to be perfect every time. My quilts certainly are not all pretty and perfect. It takes quite a safe environment to do so.

Cille's gorgeous take on the Roundhouse quilt

Confession time - how many quilts do you have in your house right now?
9 and counting. Basically my sons refuse to use duvets anymore - it takes quite a few quilts to keep that show going. A lot of quilts are also great for when we make a bonfires etc - our guests love to pick a quilt from the big basket I keep in the living room. But that being said, I've given most of my quilts away.

Do you do any crafts other than quilting?
Nope, but I used to do embroidery and also had a brief fling with wicker work making baskets. I'd love to take that on again sometime in the future but it takes time and planning. Not something I have a lot of these days.

Where do you see your quilting going - is it a career or a hobby for you and would you like to change that?
Definitely a hobby :) My full time job is quite demanding and I make way more money doing that that I ever would quilting. However, even all the money in the world can't beat a homemade gift. I make quilts for the people I love and treasure. The rest I buy a present for ;)

Love this quilt, especially because Cille designed it herself.

Do you have any tips or tricks or things that have changed your quilting life that you'd like to share?
I'm not an expert by any mean, but I do sort my fabrics very neatly in IKEA CD shelves - not only by main color groups but also in shades of a specific color. It makes it easy to pull a project directly from the shelf and to match up different fabric lines.

What is your favourite part of the quilting process (and what's your least favourite part)?
The actual quilting is the worst. I stink at it I think and fear it every single time. I love doing bindings though - always have. Are there any quilting techniques you haven't tried yet but that you'd like to? I'd love to be able to make FMQ – I’ve practiced a few times but haven't dared to take on a quilt yet. Also I need to make a Lone Star some day...

Thank you so much to Cille for answering all my questions.  Hop over to Live, love, quilt... to check out Cille's other quilt and her most recent make which is just stunning.

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Monday, 28 July 2014

Block a Day July - Week 4

Oh no - I nearly forgot to post my fourth week of blocks! Oops! Anyway, here are all 27 of my blocks so far - I almost can't believe there are only 4 more to make! 

Untitled

This week's blocks, all in the bottom row: 21 July - Forecast of overnight snow, 22 July - Time for an early night, 23 July - Anyone for a cuppa?, 24 July - Star flower, 25 July - Croque-madame, 26 July - Lazy Saturday, 27 July - Scrappy log cabin.

My quilt is continuing to be pretty eclectic and scrappy, which I'm loving.  Here is the link-up for everyone who who still playing along!



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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Caturday Wisdom #78

You may encounter large obstacles in your life, but occasionally you'll find something...
 
 ...that Ralph's large obstacle of a butt can't fit on. Ivy

To be fair, Ralph is also too scared to even try to get onto this little shelf as it's over the fireplace we have been using A LOT this past freezing week. The heated-floor effect of the fireplace is what makes it so desirable but really I think Ralph's inability to kick her off makes that smug little cat smile you see above.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Thursday Inspiration: Megan from Jaffa Quilts

Today I'm thrilled to welcome a fellow Kiwi quilter as my Thursday Inspiration interviewee.  Megan from Jaffa Quilts makes awesome modern quilts and I've loved watching her journey as a quilter.


Megan and I yet to meet in person, but we are planning a catch up some time when we're both in the same city.  In the meantime I'll keep enjoying her blog and her lovely quilts from a distance.  Here's Megan - as always, my questions are in bold and her answers are in normal text.

Kahurangi

Does your family have a quilting or sewing history, or are you a first generation quilter? 
I'm a first generation quilter. Both my grandmothers were knitters and one was a spinner and weaver as well but I think sewing generally fell into the 'mending' category for my nanas. I talked mum into letting me go to a community college night class when I was still at school because I wanted to learn how to sew. Yep, I was the 15 year old in the class of mature women...

How did you start quilting, and how long have you been quilting for? 
I started quilting after I went into a patchwork shop to buy some fabric to finish a cross-stitch project. There was a quilt on display that I fell in love with and I signed up to a beginner's class on the spot. That was in 2011, so that makes this my fourth year of quilting.

How would you describe your quilting style? 
I don't think I have one. I like trying out different styles and techniques as the spirit moves me. I like the modern aesthetic but quite often I'm drawn to more traditional quilts. I like quilts that have a sense of depth or movement but I'm still trying to figure out how to achieve that.

Peaks - I think Megan playing around with equilateral triangles inspired my own equilateral obsession

Where do you find inspiration for your quilts? 
I have a number of favourite bloggers so often I'll see something of theirs that inspires me to try something, whether it be a pattern or a technique.

Do you like to follow patterns or create your own designs (or a bit of both)?
I quite like patterns because I'm really lazy when it comes to quilt maths. But invariably I mess around with a pattern and adapt it a little, sometimes unintentionally if I'm honest. I'd create my own designs more if I worked fewer hours and had a lovely designated sewing room with a huge design wall and a door that I could close *sigh.

Are you a member of a local guild? 
I belong to a fun little Auckland group we call Monday Modern. We meet once a month to oooh and aaah over each others' projects, make confessions about our fabric issues, laugh, and complete challenges or bees.

Aerial

Have you ever met any of your online sewing friends in real life?
Yes! One day when I was bogged down in the final stages of writing my thesis, Liz (Shush, I'm Quilting) emailed me out of the blue to ask me how I was going with my thesis because I was on a blogging break. I was touched that a stranger (albeit a stranger that read my blog) had considered my real life, it was a lovely bright moment at a bit of a grey time. We started emailing and eventually we met and became friends in real life. I've not had online 'friends' before, so it makes me giggle to myself when I'm trying to explain how I met Liz to my non-quilty friends. I'm hoping to meet Rachel@woodenspoon, Deb and Julie at their next sew day, and disappointed not to meet you when you came along to Monday Modern. Hopefully another time?

How did you decide to start your blog?
Honestly, on a complete whim, and mostly to have a journal of my quilting adventures. I was very shy at first and wouldn't comment on blogs and thought no one would ever comment on mine so it was a bit of a solo endeavour for a while. I think Nicole (Mama Love Quilts) was one of my first few followers and kindly gave me some helpful tips.

Do people in your personal and professional life know about your quilting and blogging or do you keep it under wraps? 
I don't actively keep it a secret, but let's just say I may not talk about it all that much ;-)

AMH (I don't think regular readers will be surprised by my love for this quilt)

What is your favourite thing about the online quilting community? And what is one thing that you would change, if you could?
I like that it IS a community, so that if you have this quirky hobby and don't know anyone else who does it in your real life social group, you can connect with other quirky types :-) As far as changes go, that's probably best answered by talking about what I like. I love blog posts that narrate. I'm a reader, so I like some story and a discussion of process. I particularly like reading about how people make their design decisions. I would like to see us celebrating 'slow' a bit more and focusing more on process than end product. As Karyn (Milly Made It) likes to say "quilting is not a speed sport". I've also stopped following bloggers who are now predominantly advertisers. Probably enough said there!

Confession time - how many quilts do you have in your house right now?
A very modest five tee hee. I'm glad you didn't ask how many of my quilts live at my mother's house.

Do you do any crafts other than quilting?
I've done cross-stitch and tapestry on and off over the years. I used to do quite a bit of dress making but I haven't done that for ages.

Where do you see your quilting going - is it a career or a hobby for you and would you like to change that?
Haha, definitely a hobby only, it's the way I relax as a healthier alternative to wine drinking. Having said that, some of my academic research interests (I'm an education lecturer) are around alternative education spaces like online teaching and learning communities, and also around the complexity of relationships between capitalism and education spaces. So, while a big part of my involvement in the online quilting community is purely hobby based, quite often I find it helps me think in different ways about my work - maybe my quilting contributes to my career?!

Starburst

Do you have any tips or tricks or things that have changed your quilting life that you'd like to share? 
Mmmm. Don't use your ruler upside down when cutting. Measure several times before cutting, especially when trying to simultaneously watch tv. Have a large dark drawer or cupboard for naughty projects that need time out. Oh, and try a Sewline pen at least once for basting hexes.

What is your favourite part of the quilting process (and what's your least favourite part)? 
I love trimming (I'm reliably informed this puts me in the 'weird' category). I also love hand stitching bindings. I struggle to enjoy alligator wrestling which is how I think of machine quilting.

If you could do a quilting class with anyone at all, who would you choose?
I think I'd really like to do a class with Gwen Marston. Or Robyn Croft, who is a New Zealand quilter whose work I admire. Or probably just about anyone who had a quilty skill they wanted to share and was enthusiastic about sharing it.

Baby plus quilt

Are there any quilting techniques you haven't tried yet but that you'd like to? 
I've been a bit coy (read terrified) about appliqué to date. It's right up there with FMQ, which is my ultimate Moriarty.

What's something about you that people might be surprised to know? 
I'm really really squeamish and inclined to faint at the sight of blood or needles. When I taught in schools I used to warn my students not to count on me if they injured themselves. It goes without saying I'm super careful with my rotary cutter.

Thanks so much to Megan for participating.  She's name-dropped a heap of awesome New Zealand quilt bloggers, so as well as checking out Megan's blog, Jaffa Quilts, you should really pop along and visit them too.

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