Monthly Archives: August, 2013

The quilt show approacheth…

After a hectic summer of visits, travelling, and far-too-hot-to-do-anything weather, life is now cooling down, slowing down and finally returning to normal. And all I want to do right now is quilt! Over the summer, all I seemed to do was dressmaking, and this past week I’ve started to redress the balance somewhat.

And just in time it seems! For the Patchwork du Léman quilt exhibition is fast approaching, and Little Miss Procrastinator (yours truly!) has finally woken up to the fact that she had better get her backside in gear for it…

My wake-up call was thanks to my quilting friend and fellow club member Patpatch. The other week, she posted a photo on her blog of 2 really cute cup holders she’d sewn as prizes for the quilt show tombola. Wow, I thought, that’s really generous, donating 2 such lovely prizes to the tombola. Then I read her blog post. And realised that each member of the club had to supply 2 prizes. And that it had all been in the huge long letter that I’d received at the start of the summer. And that I’d either missed it or blocked it out mentally. Oops!!!

So I hurriedly dug out the Letter of Doom, along with all the forms to fill in, lists of deadlines and all those scary things that came with it and which I’d tactically ignored for 2 months. And I worked out that I did indeed need to donate 2 prizes for the tombola. As well as have my Challenge quilt and the quilts I want to show ready by the start of October. Which is only 5 weeks away. Oh heck…..

Well, I know what quilts I want to show, even if they’re not quite finished yet, so first up, tombola prizes. The quilt show is at the end of October, and, hey, that’s almost Christmas, isn’t it?! Well – near enough, in my humble opinion! Now, I have no idea whether Swiss Christmas traditions involve hanging stockings by the fireplace on Christmas Eve  – but, then again, I’m not Swiss ! So I decided that 2 Christmas stockings would make a lovely, potentially cross-cultural offering for the tombola.

With this in mind, I pulled out my Christmas-themed fabric, made a stocking template, cut out batting, along with fabric for the outside and the lining, and stipple-quilted them as well as I could. Then I sewed them together and bound the inside raw edges with satin ribbon to make it look pretty.

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To finish them off, I added cuffs made of contrasting fabric, and used a ‘Merry Christmas’ ribbon to createhanging loops (in case of any potential confusion as to their purpose…) Et voilà! Tombola prizes! Although quite what the ladies in my quilting club will make of them is anyone’s guess…

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Well, after that I was on a roll! So I decided to get to work on my Challenge quilt. Sarah at thriftstorecrafter.com had pointed out that the design in the embroidery swatch looked like the Snail Trail block, and that idea had been brewing in the back of my mind for the last month or so. I started playing around with the idea this weekend, dug out some fabric from my scraps bin, and so far I’ve come up with this…

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I think I’m going to use some skinny black bias tape somehow to echo the black in the swatch, and create some kind of focal blocks to put either side of the Hazara embroidery. Maybe I’ll embellish it a little, maybe not, but at the very least I now know where I’m headed. Thank you, Sarah!

And finally, it appears there is a ‘pocket money boutique’ at the exhibition, where club members can sell items. Now, I’ve no idea what kind of things people are likely to make for this, or what people might be interested in buying, or even what kind of a price to ask, but I pulled together this little quilt with remnants from my scrap bin. I thought it would make a lovely wallhanging, or maybe a little table topper. And if nobody is interested in buying it, well, never mind – I’m more than happy to give it a good home in my kitchen!

Apple quilt

Incidentally, my French is possibly not as good as I’d previously thought. According to the Letter of Doom, we have to supply a baguette to hang any quilts larger than 1m wide. And I’m guessing they’re not talking about bread 🙂 I suspect they’re asking for some kind of a wooden baton, but maybe I’d better dig out the old dictionary just to make sure…

Linking on up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Waste not, want not

Although I’ve now made several dresses and skirts for myself, I’ve never had the confidence to sew clothes for anyone else. I mean, I can put up with the little quirks and mishaps of my own sewing, but meeting someone else’s expectations, that’s a whole different kettle of fish! But I’ve always fancied giving it a go, and I figured that if I was going to try, I had the perfect guinea pig in the form of my niece, the tall, beautiful and slender Miss B. She’s 13, and has very firm views about what she likes to wear. And she especially likes to wear skirts and dresses. So before she visited us back at the start of August, I asked her if she’d like me to make her a skirt while she was visiting. Immediate response – yes please! And could I show her how it’s done? And could it be a pink, full and flary knee length skirt please?

So I dug out a pattern for a circular skirt, along with what I considered to be the ideal fabric from my stash – a really pretty pink with little white pindots. Here it is, really close-up.

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Very 1950s, I thought, very cute. How beautiful it would look with a little white top and sandals. Simply gorgeous!

Miss B, however, begged to differ.

Did I mention she has very specific views about what she likes to wear?!

So on her first day here, we set off to search for some fabric that met her exacting, teenage standards. And as soon as we entered the store, she made a bee-line for the most gorgeous pink fabric with red apples on, with navy blue stalks and leaves.

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It wasn’t until we got home, and RR had admired the beautiful fabric, that Miss B changed her mind about the skirt. A circular skirt was too full, she’d prefer a flared A-line instead. After I’d bought all that fabric. There was going to be quite a bit left over… oh dear, what a shame 😉

So on our return from Barcelona, I set to work on the skirt, made alterations galore, worked out how to line it…

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Added a satin bias ribbon to finish the hem…

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And ended up with this…

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And doesn’t she look a picture of loveliness in it??? I certainly think so, but then again, I am somewhat biased 🙂

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Well, all good things must come to an end, and so it was with Miss B’s visit. She’s back home with her mum and dad now, and although I’m missing her, I didn’t take too long to make good use of the leftover fabric. I don’t care that I’m probably a good 25 years too old to pull off such a look, I wanted a skirt too! And here it is – what do you think?

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And there’s still fabric left over. Enough maybe for a cute little top, certainly plenty for a matching bag. We shall see. Well, waste not want not and all that!

Oh, and while I was at it, that fabric I initially pulled out of my stash was far too pretty to go back into the cupboard, so I made it into a cute sundress for little ole me 🙂

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Barcelona – A dream finally fulfilled

I really am extremely fortunate to have the most fantastic niece, the lovely Miss B, and a wonderful sister and brother-in-law who are happy to let us ‘borrow’ her during the summer holidays. This is our third summer in Switzerland, and the third summer Miss B has come to visit. And this year we’ve been lucky enough to have her stay for 2 weeks 🙂

Now, one of the (many!) great things about living in Switzerland is how close we are to so many really cool places, places that just NEED to be visited! And who better as a travelling companion than the lovely Miss B?! When she visited last August, I took her on a surprise trip to Paris, which was great fun; this year we decided to ask her where she would like to go, and having impeccable taste (a trait she has surely inherited from her aunt!), she chose Barcelona.

Barcelona! For pretty much as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to visit Barcelona! I don’t quite know why I never made it there before, but it was definitely worth the wait to visit this beautiful city in the company of my two very favourite people.  And what a fantastic time we all had! I could wax lyrical for days on end about the sights, the history, the food, the architecture – but suffice to say we arrived back in Lausanne yesterday evening exhausted, happy, several kilos heavier and vowing to return very soon 🙂

Now if there’s one truth that poor RR has come to realise, it’s that wherever we travel in the world, there’s always a quilt shop that needs to be visited. In Barcelona there are several. But at the start of the holiday I’d agreed to restrict myself to only one shop, to make sure we had enough time to do all the other things we planned to do. After some careful research, the shop I chose was Nunoya, not only because of my love of all things Japanese, but also because they stock Kokka fabric, which I adore. And with the help of Google Maps, we soon found this little gem of a store tucked away in the Gothic Quarter.

Nunoya exterior Nunoya window

From the moment I’d seen their website, I knew I was going to enjoy my visit, and the shop itself didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t enormous, but there was more than enough fabric to ogle, plus cute Japanese gifts, sandals, bags. They even take commissions to make dresses and kimonos! Tempting, or what?!

Nunoya interior   Nunoya fabric assortment   Nunoya assorted fabric cuts

I was served by a friendly, English-speaking lady – which was handy as unfortunately Spanish is one of the languages I don’t (yet) speak 🙂 She wasn’t intrusive when I was browsing (don’t you just hate that?!), but once I’d decided on my purchases she was quick to help and get cutting.

   Kokka fabric   Nunoya meow fabric

Given the abundance of glorious fabric, I feel I was extremely restrained – I contented myself with a couple of metres of fabric for a baby quilt I’m planning to make, and 6 fat quarters for presents. Happily, they also do mail order, so I have already scouted for my possible future needs (a skirt in the cutest bird fabric beckons, I feel, and I now know exactly where to go for any future cat-themed projects!)

And so it was that we left the shop with purchases gorgeously wrapped à la japonaise to continue our evening of rambling down Las Ramblas, munching on tapas, and falling even more in love with the beautiful city of Barcelona.

Nunoya bag after purchase Rambling down Las Ramblas