A Start

I’ve started on the Grenoble Quilt. I have to admit that I was naughty and started on it before having finished three WIPs. I simply couldn’t wait. However, I did go back to my pile of unfinished projects once I’d scratched that itch and finished three small projects.

I’ve cut up my template into small chunks of 6 x 7 squares which means I end up with blocks that are 7.75″ x 9″, a nice manageable size to work on while I’m out and about.

Once I finished the first block I sewed the little template onto it so I remember where the block goes.

So far I’ve only finished two blocks but I’ve decided that once I’ve sewed the first seven (which means one whole row). I will then sew them together before continuing with the next seven blocks. This method should make it easy for me to see my progress. I can get bored by projects if I don’t see enough progress.

When I started the block I thought I would go scrappy with the background too, but I haven’t really got enough different low volume scraps so in the end I decided to only use solid whites. As they are scraps they’re not all the same white but I don’t mind that at all; I think it gives it a bit of movement. So far I’m only using greens but I’m thinking of doing the zigzag in dark blue and the crosses in teal or even pink. I’ve got a bit of time before I have to decide what to do (twelve more blocks to be exact) and I rather like not planning ahead. Especially as this quilt will be completely made from my stash.

One thing I have to admit though is that basting and sewing squares is booooooring. Thank goodness for Netflix or this would not end up as a quilt but as a cushion or table runner.

Happy sewing!

A New Addition

We have a new addition to the family. Please meet Flynn Curlytail

He’s not going to stay an only cat. There’s a little girl coming at the beginning of April. By then he’ll be eleven months and she’ll be six months old. Olive is a white cat too and they are both hearing impaired.

Flynn is the sweetest little boy you can imagine, he loves to snuggle and is very clever. I’m grateful to have a sewing buddy again and I’m sure there’ll be lots of ‘cats on quilts’ pictures with him. Here are the first ones:

And just in case you’re wondering why he’s called Curlytail; his tail is very often curled up like that:

 

Grenoble, a Norwegian Quilt

It’s amazing what can inspire you. I was once inspired by some quilted toilet paper. This time inspiration was a knitted jumper. There’s a fabulous magazine in Norway called Hjemmet, which my mother has subscribed to for as long as I can remember. As I was reading one of their knitting supplements on classic Norwegian jumpers  designed by Dale Garn for the Olympic Games throughout the years I fell in love with the jumper designed for Grenoble in 1968.

Design by Dale Garn, Norway

I’m not a knitter, in fact all my Norwegian jumpers and cardigans have either been knitted by my grandmother or my mother, but I am a quilter. So I turned the Grenoble jumper into a Grenoble quilt. I changed very little in the snowflake as I think its beautiful the way it is but replaced the stripes with a zigzag as I loved the zigzag at the bottom but knew I didn’t have space for it in this quilt.

It’s going to be a long term project. I’ve decided to go for 1.25″ squares as this means this quilt will end up being 61.25″ x 73.75″. I think that’s a good size for a single bed. I might make it bigger but I think it’s good to start with a manageable size.

I’ve calculated that I need 2891 squares for this quilt, 1753 for the background and 1138 squares for the pattern. I haven’t calculated how much fabric I need exactly but I think it’ll be about 1.50m for the background and about 1m for the coloured fabric. I’m still pondering a few things before jumping in and starting this new project:

  • should I have one fabric for the background or go scrappy?
  • what colours to use. In the picture I used light blue but I’m wondering if I should go for greens as I’ve just made two blue and white quilts. Or maybe use reds, pinks and oranges for a modern look? I’m definitely going scrappy for the coloured squares.
  • I have a rule for this year: to finish three projects before I start a new one as I have a million WIP’s cluttering up my sewing room. I’m trying to find the ones that take the least effort and are finished the quickest…

If you would like to make this quilt, you can download the graph and use as a guide.

Norwegian Quilt

Happy sewing,

Elisabeth

 

 

Monster Hide and Seek

It’s always fun to make baby quilts and right now I’m making the most fun baby quilt ever.

It all started when I took a class at Quilt Con Together. Jo Avery was teaching her Journey to the Centre of the Earth block. I’ve always been bad at improv and this seemed to be a compromise as you design the block and then FPP (foundation paper piece) parts of the block. It was fun but also very hard and I had to watch the class twice to get a hang of the technique. Once mastered, though, it was incredibly liberating. I made one 12.5″ block and turned it into a cushion.

As I was doing the triangles/spikes I thought they look a bit like monster teeth. That was it, my imagination ran wild and this is what it came up with:

Isn’t that a fun quilt? I tried very hard to not make the monsters scary and I really hope I succeeded. The first monster I did was the green one, then the orange, yellow and purple one. I have to admit that my favourite changes all the time but I think it must be the yellow one. He looks a little worried and quite shy, I think.

As I was deciding what colour to do the last monster (I had planned on making a blue one but realised it would blend too much with the background), I laid the blocks on the floor and Holly became the fourth monster, even showing teeth. She was actually meowing at me, telling me she was hungry and to get a move on and feed her.

In the end it was my daughter who said that the last monster should be purple and I think it was a great choice.

I’m waiting on some basting spray as I want to try spray basting for the first time. I always like trying things out on small pieces and a baby quilt is perfect in that respect. For once I actually know how to quilt this, I usually struggle with it and often quilt in the ditch or echo quilt, but this time I’m going to have a sort of grid in the centre and leaves in the border. The monsters will get a bit of quilting in the ditch to emphasise hair, horns, teeth, nose and eyes but might also get some texture.

Shields

My poor little blog has once again been terribly neglected but today I have a new EPP pattern for you. Shields is a really easy pattern made up of only two blocks but there are many possibilities.

I had a little bit of fun colouring it in TouchDraw, the app I use to design all my Epp patterns, and ended up with two very different looking possibilities.

I posted it on Instagram and as there was a bit of interest I thought I’d provide the templates for this pattern here on the blog.

Here they are:

The templates for squaring up can be cut either horizontally, vertically or into quarters on the dotted lines. The colouring sheet is so that you can do a little bit of planning. I often start colouring in and end up with something completely different but I think with this pattern I would probably go with solids and plan the blocks carefully.

Now these blocks are 6″ x 8″ and if you think that’s a bit big you can always print them out smaller. If you’re not sure how to do that you can check out one of my previous posts on ‘Tips and Tricks’.

If you should sew up this pattern and are on Instagram I’d be really happy if you tagged me, lemonshark, and/or used the hashtag sharksdinnerpattern. Thank you and have fun sewing!

Lockdown patterns

It’s now been seven weeks since lockdown started here in Switzerland. You would think that it’s the perfect time to sew but I’ve not really felt it. I have been sewing a little but with all the time spent on homeschooling my daughter I’ve done less than expected.

The fabric shop I’m working at, Alja nouveau, is expected to open again in two weeks time and my colleagues and I are going to sew a few masks. I’m sure lots of people are going to come to buy fabric and elastic but some might also want to buy finished masks. I’ve already sewn a few but I thought that among all that catastrophe sewing it would be nice to do something else so I’ve designed a couple of free English Paper Piecing (EPP) patterns for you.

The first one is called Comfort and I’ve designed it to become a cushion. I’m not sure why the bottom line isn’t in the picture, it’s there when I look at the picture in my photos. Anyway, the size is 16″ x 18″ as I like a slightly rectangular cushion and if you stuff a 20″ x 20″ cushion filler in it the cushion becomes nice and plump, just the way I like it. If you’d like it a different size you can, of course, resize it before printing it out. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out one of my previous blog posts Tips and Tricks.

Find the templates for Comfort here:

I’ve written on the templates how many times you have to print them out to make the cushion.

Next there’s a pattern for a table runner (although I could also imagine three or more appliquéd onto a background to make a stunning quilt). Gratitude finishes at 13.5″ x 46″.

Download the templates for Gratitude here.

You will need to print out each file twice to have all the templates. When sewing it’s easiest to start with a (the outside) and work your way through the alphabet or if you prefer to work from the inside out, start with g and work your way out to a.

I’m happy to help if you have any problems or questions with either of these patterns. Email me at sharksdinner (at) sunrise (dot) ch and I’ll do my best to help.

I really hope you like these two new patterns. If you do sew one of them and you are on Instagram, I would love it if you added me (@lemonshark) and/or used the hashtag #sharksdinnerpattern. Thank you!

Happy sewing!

Gone

Hello, I didn’t mean to disappear the way I did but some time in December I lost my sewjo and still haven’t quite found it again. This happens to me every couple of years and I’ve found the best way to deal with it is to just let it happen and not to try and force my creativity.

I have been sewing a little bit for the shop window we’re planning on doing once the Covid-19 pandemic lets us go back to work. For some reason the Swiss government didn’t think that a fabric shop is essential. It’s a good thing I have enough fabric for the next three years then….

Holly helping

Our theme is picnic and the colours are white, yellow and blue. I’ve started to make a giant gingham picnic quilt. The gingham is giant, not the quilt. The quilt is 53″ x 53″ and will be bound in a royal blue solid.

I also made some colourful birds as we’re going to have a branch and some logs in the window and I thought it would be cute to have some birds waiting for crumbs.

Fat little bird

My colleagues are also busy. They’re making picnic baskets, serviettes and cushions to sit on. I might make a few strawberries and cupcakes to put on the plates, too.

First, though, I have to finish the quilt and that is a bit of a problem. For the first time ever I’ve used a polyester batting (it was delivered wrongly last time I ordered batting and I kept it) and I’m really struggling with it. It’s like the fabric is sticking to it and it’s very difficult to smooth out for basting. In the end I managed to baste it but as I’m quilting, the fabric is moving and I’m getting all these tucks. I’ve re-basted three times already! I’m now thinking of ripping all the quilting out again and quilting it by hand as I feel that I have much better control over it then. That’s my job for this afternoon sorted then.

Miss Holly Fuzzybutt

By the way, I don’t think I’ve introduced you to Miss Holly Fuzzybutt yet. My gorgeous boy Charlie died last September at the age of 18. It was very tough as we had a very special connection. In December we decided that we were ready for another cat so I contacted my vet. She told me about this old cat who was looking for a home and when I met her I fell in love with her. According to the previous owners she’s 20 years old but she’s still in good shape. Her hearing’s not very good but she still likes to play. She hates being alone and meows very loudly to try and find us. She fitted in perfectly from the start and we’re really happy to have her, even if it won’t be for a very long time.

Then it’ll be back to a very special quilt I’m making.

Blue Steps

One of my best friends from uni turned 50 last month and I decided to make her a quilt. I realise I’m a bit late but with the situation the way it is I won’t be able to see her for a while anyway and I’m hoping to have it finished by then. Some time ago I made her some cushions in the teacup fabric. As I only have scraps left, I had to go scrappy with the whole quilt. I’m halfway done with the blocks which are really fun and easy to do. I’m thinking of putting just one bright pink block in there for fun but I’ll have to see if it works or not before I commit.

Right, here’s to the fun of sewing! I still have to get back to my Block of the Month 2019 and finish it. I had another BOM prepared for this year but I simply can’t get myself to start a new one before I finish the last one. It’ll have to wait for the autumn.

BOM 2019: NOVEMBER

Last one! That’s right, it’s the last tile for this block of the month. Then it’s time to appliqué the tiles onto a background, quilt and bind. And all this before the end of the year.

I’ve started with the appliqué but have only managed one tile so far. This month has whizzed past at an extraordinary pace and I have to admit that I haven’t finished my October tile. Shame on me, I know. I’ve just had lots of other things to think about and the BOM has sort of faded into the background. The main reason for my inability to sit down and concentrate on my sewing have been the raging hormones in my pre-teen daughter. I’ve simply been too exhausted to sew after all the ups and downs every day has brought.

As a blog post without at least one picture is rather boring I thought I’d post one of my little ‘helper’ Blue looking adorable.

Right, here’s the last tile:

I’m really curious about this one. I’ve had to think quite a bit about where to put my coloured accents but I think I’ve got the perfect placement now. The placement of the coloured fabric is actually the only thing I plan in advance, all the other fabrics are chosen as I sew and I never really know what the tile is going to look like until it’s finished.

Here are the templates:

And here’s the whole tile so you can plan your fabric placement:

I’m going to have to knuckle down, finish my October tile and get on with this one as soon as possible. I have to take things a little easy at the moment as I’ve been diagnosed with shingles. I see quite a bit of hand sewing and tv watching in my future.

Happy sewing!

BOM 2019: October

How can it be October already? I feel like this year has flown past. It’s alright, though, as I love autumn and October is my favourite month. The light is amazing and I love seeing all the autumn colours on the trees. It’s my birthday month and this year it’s one of the big ones: 50.

I love the age that I am, I love that I know who I am and what I want. I love the person I’ve become and I wouldn’t want to change anything in my life as everything that’s happened, good and bad, has shaped me. So I’m happy to say bring on the fifties!

Anyway, enough with the rambling. Here’s my September block which I finished at the last minute and where I added some fun orange accents.

I’m getting more and more excited about this quilt. I’ve started appliquéing the tiles onto the background but haven’t gotten very far yet. I really need to get a move on, though, as there are only two more tiles to sew.

Curious about the penultimate tile? Here it is:

I’m a little bit at a loss on how I’m going to do this one and where I’m going to put the coloured accents. Once I start all of this usually falls into place quite quickly so I’m hopeful that I’ll come up with a plan soon enough.

Right, here are the templates:

And here’s the entire tile so you can plan your fabrics if you are so inclined:

I’m really looking forward to seeing all the various versions on Instagram.

Happy stitching!

Passing it on

I caught the English Paper Piecing (EPP) bug about seven years ago when I started my first hexie cushion. I still have it and when I look at it I see all the imperfections. However, I love it so much that It sits on my favourite yellow chair in the living room, reminding me of my humble beginnings…

Well, I’ve gone and infected my mum. She was curious to try out EPP, so I gave her some big hexagons and some fabric and showed her how to baste and sew them together. She made a gorgeous runner to brighten up her dark blue chair.

After she finished it, she wanted to make a cushion cover and picked diamond shapes and some turquoise, white and pink fabrics.

As soon as she’d finished she asked me for something red. I had just designed a cushion cover for my sister to try out EPP as she’d seen my mother’s beautiful creations. As there were two versions I gave one of them to my mum with various red fabrics.

Those pieces are quite big so she finished it in no time, turned round to me and said the magic words: “I think I’m ready to start a quilt now.” You could’ve blown me over with a feather. I grabbed my iPad to open TouchDraw and started designing before she could change her mind. I gave her the papers and some Gütermann fabrics I had bought to make a quilt for my daughter two or three years ago and she set off.

Isn’t it beautiful? I’m sorry the picture is rather bad quality but I think you can still appreciate the beauty of it. My mum first said she was going to make four rosettes, then decided that maybe six were in order. I still think she’ll continue and make nine, although she is sure she won’t. We’ll see who’s right, won’t we?

As for my sister (who’s a prolific knitter), we’re going on holiday together soon and we’re both taking our EPP kit with us. I’ll show her how to EPP and maybe just maybe she will catch the bug, too.