Sunday, 30 September 2012

A wintery toddler quilt!

I find it pretty  hard to buy the things I need in Germany! Especially clothes and textiles; they are either suitable but massively over-priced or dull and boring in style and colour  It's starting to get chillier here now and in lieu of finding a suitable winter quilt for T.'s cot in the shops, I decided to make one.

I used up some of the fabric I had left over from the farm animal quilt together with some Robert Kaufmann scraps. The blue patches are Robert Kaufmann and at metre price, cost about 18 Euros. I bought them very cheaply from my local fabric store though. Although I like the patterns and colours, I have to admit that the cotton doesn't feel any softer or hard-wearing than the farm yard scraps, which were very cheap to buy. 

What do you think of my square layout? My brother-in-law (who is very logically-minded) nearly blows a fuse at my hap-hazard approach to square piecing. I reject everything symmetrical and just piece as I please - choosing the layout that looks pleasing to me. Do you like this approach, or do you prefer a symmetrical, repetitive pattern?

I chose to machine sew this quilt for speed and then the lack of a personal touch got the better of me, so I decided to add T.'s name onto the squares.

For backing, I chose a dark blue polka dot fabric to create a nice contrast. I wasn't sure about this fabric, but T. has been busy snuggling the quilt all week, so he must be pleased. My wadding is 200g polyester, which was very difficult to work through the sewing machine. In the end, I had to hand-quilt it together. Can you recommend a good sewing machine foot for this wadding thickness?

The whole quilt measures 160cm x 120cm, so I'm hoping that it will last T. for a few winters, or at least get used as a picnic mat in the summer.

So, do you like my messy approach to the square layout? Guess what I made from the left over polka dot fabric? (That post is to follow soon........)

Sunday, 16 September 2012

An über-girly moses baket quilt (and a little plea for some advice!!)

After finding out that we were expecting a girl (yay!!!), I wanted to produce something really girly for her after spending 12 months looking at blue, brown, grey and green boys' clothes. I ordered a cupcake and strawberries, pink charm pack that I found on British Ebay (there are very few charm packs to choose from on German Ebay) and was delighted with the colours.

I never start out with a pattern when I'm sewing. I know this sounds ridiculous as I'm a beginner, but I love the creativity of just improvising and letting the work evolve. As a stay-at-homer, it's all too easy to become bogged down with the repetition of cooking, cleaning and doing laundry so sewing, to my own tune and as the fancy takes me, is very much my creative outlet. 

I'd recently seen a lovely hexagonal pattern on Laura's blog, so I felt inspired to create this: 

I paper-pieced it and hand-stitched as I wanted it to have a special, personal feel to it and I used a long stitch for the first time to embroider the name we've chosen for DD. Do you like the name? I was quite pleased with the neatness:

After creating the hexagons, I thought of stitching lots more and sewing them all together but I love the look of simple, square patchwork, so I decided to applique the hexies onto a group of 10cm squares. 

Once I'd created a roughly 45 x 50 cm shape, I stitched the layers together using my sewing machine. I thought about creating the whole piece by hand, but my impatience to see the finished result got in the way :-D Do you think I managed to pick out the most girly material ever for the backing? That was my brief! 

My novice nerves got the better of me when it came to quilting! I wanted to use the machine to sew diagonal lines through each of the squares to stop the top layer from looking baggy or moving, but I daren't put the machine over it! Instead I handquilted 2 squares only, which lead to a less-than-perfect look at the back of the quilt. The underside of my stitches looks quite messy. HELP: What tips can you give me to keep hand-quilting stitches looking neat on the underside?? Could I perhaps just quilt the top layer and wadding together BEFORE adding the backing?

All-in-all, I'm quite pleased with my first attempt but I'd love to hear some tips from you pros out there please!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Moses basket baby quilt - sneek preview!

My quilting obsession knows no limits now and I've denied myself much needed sleep in order to create my first ever moses basket quilt! I'll be back to share more details with you soon...

It's nearly Oktoberfest time!!

As a child, one of my main motivators for learning German was Oktoberfest. I was fascinated by the traditional outfits, the huge glasses of beer and the delicious salty-looking snacks. I first visited the festival in 2009 with friends and had a great time, mixing with other German and Italian guests. Last year, J. and I decided to make the trip again - but this time with our 3 month old baby!! Yes, some people did think we were mad taking a baby to a beer festival but you can read about how we got on in the article below!

I decided to write this travel report as I came across a great website for travelling parents when I was researching our first holiday as a little family. We were planning to go to Cuba, but alas we chose the much more modest destination of Portugal.  I'm still dreaming of a Cuban adventure one day though.......