31 December, 2010

bye, 2010

2010 is coming to an end. A lot learned.  New friendships made, old ones deepened.  I joined quilting Bees, made some amazing friends, my creativity expanded, I began to explore more. Mistakes were made, but I've learned from them.  It was a year that felt like a new chapter in many ways.
For 2011 there are new plans, new things I want to try and things I want to learn to do better.
I'd like to get back into handwork, doing applique and quilting by hand. Of course, I'll be working hard to continue to finish UFO's and "making do" with the stash I already have.
Most importantly I've really begun to see the pleasures of "the process" and not worrying about the finish line.  That is something I really want to work on, enjoying and getting better at my crafts every step of the way.

To all who visit my blog, thank you so much for your encouraging words!  This blogging community is so wonderful and kind.  I wish you all a wonderful 2011 filled with goodness, laughter, good health and lots of creativity!

in friendship,

24 December, 2010

season's greetings

Wishing you and your loved ones very Happy Holidays 
with good health and laughter for the New Year!

...from my family to yours,

20 December, 2010

winter wonderful...

The biggest snow storm in about 25 years hit Holland....

I see it as a little gift from nature, reminding me of the white winters back when I lived in New York. It's wonderful to walk with Darwin, hiding little treats in the snow for him to find.  I hope we get lots more! 

18 December, 2010

3 done, 1 to go!

I must be the worst blogger around!  It's been very hectic around here, and time to photograph and think of something sensible to say just wasn't working.  But that doesn't mean I haven't been busy on the quilting end!
I'm happy to say that I did manage to complete yet another project for the New Year's Even UFO challenge!  Here it is:


A little quilt done in the liberated style from my bits and scraps.  It was really good fun to make and looking at it now, I think putting the block on point would've been a good idea as well, but at the time I just wanted to put the little shoo-fly blocks together quickly.  I do just love that paisley border fabric don't you?  Those were the last bits left from my "Chicken Soup" quilt. 
As for the machine quilting, I'm still working on getting my head around free-form machine quilting.  I would've preferred to do it for the whole quilt, but my machine acted up again, creating little loops in the back and shredding thread!  I gave up and quilted the center using straight lines....
All in all I like this little quilt, and it gave me plenty of ideas to do for the next time when I make something liberated, which if the stars are aligned properly, will be soon!

till then,

15 November, 2010

2 done, 2 to go!

I'm motivated.  A comment led me to be invited to participate with the New Years' Eve UFO Challenge happening on Finn's blog, Pieces from my Scrap Bag.  The idea is to pledge to complete an amount (you decide) of UFO's before Year's End. 
Since we're already well into November, I didn't have a spectacular number of UFO's that I could realistically finish in time, but I did have a stack of quilts ready for quilting that I would love to have done so I could get a bit of a fresh start in the New Year.  Besides, having stacks of unfinished tops and projects just cuts into the fun of it all, doesn't it?  I can't stare at them anymore, and trying to hide them doesn't help either ( because we all know they're there, lurking somewhere...), so getting a few done feels good.

My challenge is to finish 4 quilts before year's end.  If I keep up the momentum, and the holidays don't get to me, I may add another!  Here are the first two:

"Cherry & Chocolate": a quilts made, oh months  if not a year ago!  Simple straight line stitching put it all together to make a nice little lap quilt.

Here's a quick snap of the back.  I've also been trying to use up my stash lurking in the closet, and this is part of my ongoing "make-do" project.  After all, what's the point of keeping those fabrics in the dark?  I'm pulling them out and working them into my quilts so I can enjoy them!

"Chicken Soup": now this quilt makes me happy.  Lots of fun fabrics put together in a pretty much random way  and left the border on three sides only to create this vintage look quilt.  I also like the gold binding.  It brought a touch more light into the quilt, and I felt like trying something other than the perhaps more safe choice of using a darker binding.  This was also quilted by machine in simple lines.  The idea was to create an overall diamond quilt pattern, but I ended up with squares on point.  Oh well....
The evening I finished the last stitch of this quilt my daughter snatched it up and took it to put on her bed; it hasn't been seen since...kids!

Here's the back of the quilt - another bit of stash that can now be put to good use.
 This is also the first time I used a bamboo batting.   My fellow house dwellers were not too thrilled with it.  They found it a bit flimsy and light, not enough "beef" to it.  When tested for warmth....eh...perhaps good as a summer cover.  Ok, fair enough.  They may be used to the 100% cotton batting I normally use.  Those quilts are a bit heavier, and so far have kept us nice and warm in the winter ( either on the couch or in bed) and they do have a bit more "beef" to them.  I haven't formed a final opinion yet, but did notice a difference in the feel, and the quilts are indeed lighter in weight and to the touch, although to be fair, they do have a nice drape to them.   I'd need to experiment a bit more...

In the meantime, I returned to the sewing machine guy this weekend and he checked out my Pfaff.  Turned out the "shredding" of my thread was due to the plate not being centered to the needle.  As the threaded needle moved up and down, the thread chafed against the plate, causing the thread to shred and break.  Mystery and problem solved!  Now I can go back and try my hand again at free motion quilting.
Quilt number three is on the table and ready to go, so let me get to finishing!

Have a great week,


05 November, 2010

pulling, shoving, bunching....

I love my craft, but this can make me grumble...
...but I'm in that "must. finish. now." mode, and this is quilt number two....(out of four)

So, while the water slides down the window, the wind thumps against the house, like the big bad wolf, I  sing, hum, and bop to my favorite tunes while trying to get through quilting this mass of fabric!

Since the quilt is made up of very busy fabrics and my machine has decided to shred my Yli cotton thread when I attempt to free motion quilt ( yes, I will bring it back to the Sewing Machine Guy ), I'm doing a simple all-over 60-degree diamond pattern.

You can see the paper tape I used here to get me started.  Once that first line is done I'll use the guide to help me to the rest of the lines.

The stitch-in-the-ditch foot is very handy here.  I use the "skate" to follow the line exactly.

You know, it's not all that bad really, I just need to get into a groove, have my tea and music nearby and remind myself that just because I'm sitting behind a sewing machine, doesn't mean things will or automatically have to go faster! Repeating that to myself today while puling, pushing, adjusting, propping and bunching the quilt through my machine, made it go a little easier...a little.......

Have a great weekend my friends!
( I'm heading back to my machine......)

Fall drab?

Who thinks Fall is drab and depressing?
I'm enjoying my walks with Darwin even more and am loving the inspirational colors around me....

...and when you come back inside and shake the rain and wind off, that hot cup of tea tastes soo much better....
happy stitching,

04 November, 2010


That's my daughter helping me to sandwich the Fall Stars quilt.  A task made very pleasant by working together, chatting away and giggling over some silliness...

...with tea and her freshly baked cookies nearby...

thank you Monki!

21 October, 2010


The moment I finished my "leftovers" top I started playing around with some liberated shoo-fly blocks.

 Three inches square, it was fun to work with small pieces again, after the large pieces I quickly put together.  grabbing a handful of stash and just getting started without thinking too much about it was fun and very, well, liberating!
They're still up on my design wall, a bit unruly and needing to be pressed and trimmed, but I think they're kind of cute, no? 
Now I'm wondering how to put them together in a top ..... sashing or alternate blocks?  Hmm...

19 October, 2010

It's here!

I'm going to write this post real quick so I can dive back into the goodies I received today....

From Glorious Color , the Roseville Album Quilt by Kim McLean! Since I've been more of a "piecer" than an "applique-er", I not only got the pattern and the starter pack of fabrics, but some Rowan cotton thread in "Circus" to get me started.  My postman came just a few moments ago to deliver it and I'm really excited to get stuck into this project. 
I've been sewing on the machine for some time now trying to get projects done, and I was ready to get back to handwork.  As it happens I was fortunate to take an intensive three-day applique course with Ted Storm a few weeks ago and being the wonderful teacher that she is, inspired me even more to add applique into my work in the future.
Together with finding and now being part of the wonderful blog, Glorious Applique,  I hope my skills will continue to grow!

So what better way to dive into it than with this quilt? 
I'm off to get back to that box of goodies!

happy stitching,


10 October, 2010


What a fun quilt this was to make!
...and on my Featherweight too...
A simple nine patch and alternate block pattern, I cut lots of different fabrics, some of which that have been laying in my closet for years, and randomly threw them together.
It's not easy to work randomly, but once you get started, it's lots of fun and the quilt just makes itself.

leftovers, originally uploaded by Monkicat.

I'm not too sure about the results yet, so after taking this picture, I folded it away and will not look at it for a while. Maybe after a few days something new will come to me.

Thoughts that have crossed my mind:
- an appilque edge on the bottom? ( simple and folky)
- perhaps a thin border between the main part and the large red border?

Any ideas you may have?

Now off to do some quiet cross stitch...

09 October, 2010

a happy mess...

This is the reason why yet again I haven't been taking pictures and blogging.
I've been just so inspired by wonderful quilters making wonderful things that I've only wanted to sit behind my machine and get to sewing!

This past Thursday we've had our first Featherweight Friends Bee, where a group of us get together and sew with our Singer Featherweights.  Good fun seeing all those shiny little black machines humming and sewing away!  My quilting friend Diana and I decided to make a similar project based on a "privy bag "
with the "rules" that the fabrics really shouldn't match, giving the quilt a "make do" look.

Having started with a packet of fabrics, I ended up digging through my closet and pulling almost all of my collection out: it's spread out in my sewing room, the living room, and the dining room!  Ok, so things are a right mess at them moment, but my fellow home dwellers don't seem to mind all the colors scattered about.  It just doesn't make sense to tidy things up if I have to only go looking for stuff later!
( How's that for an excuse...?)

Normally I'm not this bad when working on a project, I like to keep things relatively tidy to keep my scattered self organized.  But I'm having so much fun finding 5, 6, 7, year-old fabrics that have been hiding in my dark closet.  I can still remember where each scrap came from!

Well, now you know what I've been up to, and why it's been quiet around here on the blog.  There's just so much going on at the moment, I'd rather just keep going sometimes that stop and go through ( what seems to be, but really isn't) the trouble of blogging.  Silly really, since I love to share things with all of you!

Anyhow, I'm off to play with fabrics and my Featherweight, and I hope you all are enjoying your weekend!  

03 October, 2010

some sun and sea air...

No stitching or quilting today, just a day filled with sun and sea air....

Hope you enjoyed your weekend...

10 September, 2010

mail day!

I love getting boxes, don't you?

Just before I was getting ready to take Darwin out for a bike ride, I spotted the postman, hands full of boxes.  One was for my neighbor, and yet another book for me to add to my growing collection, and just in time for the weekend to get stuck into!  My neighbor had also ordered a stack of quilting books to begin her quilting library.  She wasn't home, but on our street it's quite common that we take each other's packages so that we don't have to wait yet another day to receive them or to have to pick them up.
What did I get?
Well, something that departs from the usual books I buy...

I've been thinking about working with wool and felt in different ways, have some beautiful Harris and Irish tweed to make two quilts with, and thought this would be a fun place to start.  There's all sorts of homey, folky projects in the book, big and small, so lots of inspiration to work with for this winter!

When I came back from my bike ride, I spotted the second post-lady, and just as she was about the round the corner, I greeted her and asked her if there was anything for me, and sure enough!  My eagerly awaited fabric arrived!  Ten yards of "sprout spots" background fabric for The Roseville Album quilt.
I became aware of this quilt while reading several bloggers who were writing about it.  After finding and following the Glorious Applique blog and seeing all the wonderful work done there, I was sold!  And, I must tell you, I'm not even an applique "fan", so to speak.

still in it's wrapping fresh out of the envelope

Things happen for a reason, I guess.  I'm getting ready to take a master class in applique in two weeks, and the Bee I just joined is also working on an applique project.  Hmm, you think it was written in the stars?

So while there's some time before my classes, I'm spending this stormy Friday catching up on some podcasts, and sewing a "droom deken" or " dream quilt" for  Stichting de Regenboogboom.  A good thing to do on a day like this...

Well, I've got my work cut out for me, so let me get stuck in!
Have a pieceful weekend!


03 September, 2010

fall celebration

The summer's over and it's time to prepare for what is probably my favorite part of the year, Fall.
I've always seen it as the start of the new year, with things picking up their normal rhythm after the lazy days of summer.  With that in mind, I decided to make a simple quilt to cuddle under during the cooler nights when one can find me in my favorite corner of the couch stitching on a sampler.

It's also the first large-sized quilt I've made with my Featherweight, and it held up quite nicely too!
There's a wonderful 1/4 inch foot on it, but I can't sew over the pins as I usually do with my Pfaff, but with a little practice I managed to get most of the points just right. 
Yes, there's a boo-boo in it - I saw it too late and left it in, as I always do with my quilts! 
And now it's time to dig into my closet and find fabric for the backing.  In keeping with the folksy feel, I decided to "make-do" and not buy any special fabric for it....so it may look a bit scary back there!

That should give me some extra time to consider the quilting bit...babtist fans?  meander? If you have any suggestions, I welcome them!

In the meantime, enjoy the weekend!

29 August, 2010

Sunday morning...

Woke up before light, and took a quiet walk with my Darwin in the pouring rain.
The house is still sleeping,

Think I'll sew now....

26 August, 2010

Summer's over...

But that doesn't mean I've been idle.
I managed to make 3 quilts, all gifts for children, two of which I can show you, the third, I can't yet because it's not been given yet.

The first one was for my dear "sister" friends' first daughter, Analicia.  I was so pleased to be able to give this to her personally while on a visit in New York this summer!  I wish her many warm cuddles with this quilt....

Analicia's quilt

A detail:

When my next door neighbor asked me to help her make a quilt for her daughter's 9th birthday, I of course said "yes" and well, not only was a little girl chuffed to bits with her new quilt, a new quilter with lots of talent is now in our midst....

not bad for a first quilt, no?

her butterflies...

The third quilt?  I can't show you that yet.  It's done, but the new owner hasn't received it yet.  I can tell you it's a very special baby quilt that I made for a dear friends' first baby...

Uhm...what else have I been up to?
With all those finishes, I thought to treat myself to a new project.  Yes, a new quilt is in the making, but this time it's a sampler:

Oh, and wanting to make the moment I saw it, the Hannah Gilpin 1800 sampler from Needleprint

I'm keeping this one short and sweet, tomorrow is going to be a long day, but I'll tell you about that later.
At least now you don't have to stare at pretzels anymore...lol!!

see you soon,

21 June, 2010

30 May, 2010

on a rainy sunday

I'm very quickly typing in this post, awaiting my friend whom I'm giving a cooking lesson.
I hope you all had a good weekend, Mine here started out beautifully with lots of sun and gentle winds, but now it's grumpy outside, dark rainy and windy.

At least Friday was a good day!  I met up with my quilting friends at 't Quiltgebeuren to help owners Wil and Janine celebrate the shops' 5th anniversary.  They beautifully decorated the store and Wil's home ( who lives upstairs ) with quilts of their own and customers.

The moment I walked into the door, I was sent up the stairs by Diana, with no chance to greet anyone.
Upstairs, I was greeted by quilting friends, and congratulated.  Congratulated?  For what?

My quilt was there too, it was hung upstairs in the living room. And it won second prize!  Wow!

I had no idea that prizes were being given, and never won anything, so this was really very special!
Normally it's friends and family that see my work and tell you it's nice, but it's another bag of beans to have it judged by people in the business, and other quilters you don't know compliment your work.

The first and third place quilts were truly wonderful and deserving of their prize.

..and the third prize...

Super, aren't they?

There were so many wonderful quilts hanging, it was hard to capture them all, but here's a sample:

What a great day to catch up with friends and talk quilt!  Seeing and meeting up with quilters is always good fun and inspiring.  It certainly gets my fingers itchy and eager to get back to sewing, my head full of new ideas and things to try out in the future.

I'm really proud of Wil and Janine, they worked so hard to get to this point, and they are going farther still!  They've made this shop not only a great quilt store, but a place where you are warmly welcomed.  I wish you many, many more years!

So now, it's time for me to get back to my projects - I've finally got some more foundation to finish my log cabins for the baby quilt, and the pieces for a simple modern wall quilt ( an experiment really) are cut and ready to go under the needle.  So stay tuned!

have a great week,

27 May, 2010

finally a picture...

of the log cabin quilt I made!  Completed in early January of this year, it was hanging in the living room all this time where the lighting just wasn't right to photograph it.  I managed to remember to take a quick shot of it ( still not pleased with how it came out) before it went off to Brielle to be be part of a show they are having to celebrate their 5 year anniversary.
I haven't seen yet how it will displayed, so I'll be just as curious as the rest of the quilters who've brought in quilts when I go to celebrate with the "meiden" (girls)  tomorrow.

This quilt was inspired by the woods we walked in with friends during an Easter weekend getaway last year.  It's made up of mostly Japanese fabrics I've collected over the years, batiks, reproductions fabrics, and who-knows-what bits and pieces.

Here it is:

the color is better on the detail I think....

I must admit, I'm pretty pleased and proud of how this one came out!
Log cabins always continue to fascinate me, and perhaps one day, when I've collected enough bits and pieces, I'd like to make a traditional scrap log cabin.  
For now, there's enough to work on....

03 May, 2010

Veldhoven 2010

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to head out to the European Quilt Championships in Veldhoven.  There were beautiful quilts to see...

...details that caught my eye...

In the paper bag: a pallet of Japanese fabrics and shot cottons from Kaffe Fasset, for a modern wall quilt.  Oh, and I couldn't wait - they're already cut up and on my brand new design wall - thank you Ro!
A cute little "Basket & Stars quilt pattern.
...and a stack of some solids from India out of my stash that I'm auditioning with the solids I bought.

a beautiful pallet of hand dyed and printed linen fabric from a German Artist.

But the weekend didn't end there...
Sunday I got together with some friends with our Featherweights to begin work on Droomdekentjes.
These are quilts made for children who are seriously ill, suffer from a life-threatening disease, and or have suffered from a trauma be it physically or mentally.  The quilts are there to offer comfort and everyone is welcome to donate supplies for quilt making, blocks, or an entire quilt.
Armed with scraps, a production line was sent up and our little machines were humming away!  I'll post soon with the our simple but heartfelt results.

All in all, a wonderful weekend, filled with quilty goodness!
I'm off now to unpack, and get ready to do some stitching on this cold and rainy day.  It really is a day for some chicken soup made from scratch!

I hope you all had a great weekend...do anything cool?


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