Tuesday 22 January 2013

Playing around

The biggest advantage of doing a course is possibly the excuse it gives me to play around more than I usually would:

Not only are we trying out things for our project ("sampling" in course-speak), but also more literally playing around with the blocks that we're making to find settings that can be made with the block repeats. And it is surprising how many different settings can be found!!! Of course, first you come across the most obvious ones, and the ones that are commonly used or the ones that are stuck in your head. But then you find settings that are not often used and some of those are actually very pleasing.

An example is the different settings you can come up with for a set of 16 half square triangle blocks:

One of the most obvious settings...

And some others... 

I think I ended up with 30-odd different ones, but I'm sure there are even more to be found.
Try it yourself: Sew some (or a lot) half square triangle blocks and lay them out in as many settings as you can come up with. You may be surprised how many options are out there, and you may find yourself making your next quilt according to your own original setting!!

Have some fun and play around!!

Thursday 10 January 2013

Growing older

Children, too!

Today my oldest turned 18.

Of course, I still remember the day he was born:

The chat my husband and me tried to keep up to try and distract ourselves.
Trying to read the paper; and keeping it as a reminder of that important day.
The sudden rush in the wheel chair from the ward to the delivery room.

The little face: a bit squashed, but so utterly fascinating that I couldn't stop looking at it.

And then he grew bigger, in little steps at first, then larger steps too: The first tooth, a first word, the first step, first friend, first school day, first sleepover, first rebellion with many more to follow...

And now, considered mostly an adult.
Many days I'm thinking: You sound so grown up!
Asking if I am okay.
Wanting to cook dinner for us all (maybe not the healthiest, but definitely tasty).
Buying school books for himself when he needs them.
Arranging to see his friends at times when it suits me best to do the driving.
Working out how to spend his money wisely (most of the time).

Later this year he'll be doing his final school exams. Then the plans for university; an independent future is beckoning...

I must be getting older at the same rate he is. After all, his years are just as long as mine. But while I have just got a little older, stiffer and with a few more wrinkles and grey hairs, in those 18 years he's is grown and developed from being our small, dependent baby son to being a friendly, independent adult person. He's not just mine any more, he is his own man.

Well, most of the time!

Wednesday 9 January 2013

A simple design - squares

It doesn't always have to be complicated.

Using simple blocks can be very effective. Today I'm looking at squares.

Plain squares can be joined together to achieve chequerboard effects of many different types. The effect depends mainly on the choice of colours, and type of fabric print, as well as size of blocks.

Probably the simplest effect is achieved by using high contrast between the blocks, though I would not go for black and white as that will be very stark. A dark and a light grey will achieve the same result, but is gentler on the eye:

plain checkerboard

Two colours can be a bit plain, even boring. Try adding a few "surprise" blocks and the effect is already much more special:

checkerboard with "surprises"

Different colours can be used to completely different effects:



Instead of just two colours, the use of two ranges of colours gives already a more playful effect:

a range of blues and pinks

 Lastly, a scrap quilt can be absolutely stunning!

note the alternate use of dark and light

*all quilt designs shown here were produced by me using EQ7

Friday 4 January 2013


For most people January starts with the making of one or more New Year's resolution(s). For years I have tried it, saying to myself: "This year I will finally give up this bad habit", or: "This year I will achieve X, Y and Z".  Somehow, however, after a couple of weeks (or sometimes even days...) I seem to have forgotten all about my resolutions, or just plainly given up.

So this year I thought not to make any resolutions at all. But then of course, nothing changes and nothing new will be tried. It seems an easy opt-out.

So this year I have decided instead to go with a few resolutions that I really CAN keep. I will go easy on myself, and not impose impossible deadlines, or try to achieve impossible dreams in a short time. So here goes:

1. I will be kind to myself. So no beating myself up over not-kept resolutions...

2. I will make more time to enjoy myself. So I will be fitting in more sewing (and crafting) time. With the course I am doing I can hardly avoid doing that one!

3. I will make time and effort to enjoy the children, while they still haven't moved out. So yes, boys, I will TRY not to complain too much...

4. I will start that "blogging thing".... YES, that is one resolution already achieved!!

Told you, I was going to be kind to myself...

Good luck if you made any resolutions this year, but make sure you also add the resolution to be kind to yourself and yours, because we are all worth that!!

Tuesday 1 January 2013

There is always a first


Ok, I know! It's too obvious to start a blog on January 1st. But then again, why not?!
I'm starting this on a whim, just to see where it will take me. I'm hoping to be able to share my sewing/crafting journey(s) as they develop. Who knows, it may be interesting... To myself if not anybody else!!

Today, I'm planning to do some sewing, putting the blocks together that we were asked to make for our course work. They are cut out with rotary cutter and rulers and need sewing together now. Being me, they need to go together accurately! The question is: How "non-accurate" can I or should I be happy with?? I find this depends a lot on my mood...