Sunday, August 28, 2016

That Chocolate Bag

When I saw a bag similar to the one below on the 'net, I knew I wanted to make one myself. I've read the tutorial a few times, but when the time came to do my own bag, I couldn't find it any more, so I made sort of my own thing.
For a while now I asked friends not to throw away the wrapping of the Ritter Sport chocolate bars, but instead give them to me. Over time I got quite a good number together.
After cleaning them (there's always a bit of chocolate sticking to the inside - yucky) I pressed them flat in an old atlas I don't use anymore. After a couple of days they are nice and flat and I could fold them to the size I wanted (though, I think, if I know the size in advanced, I also could fold them before pressing)
I then sewn the bag together and lined it with black fabric.
I'm pretty happy with the result and it's surprisingly sturdy and useful for shopping.
I learned a few things on this the frist try, so I think the second one will be a bit easier. I plan on a small one as a project bag for small knitting projects (not that I don't have about a million of those already)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Honour Diversity

I'm using the time I'm spending in front of the TV watching the olympics to finally finish a long term x-stiching project. I'll have to search if I can find out when I started this, but it's been a few years now.
This is it with all the cross stitching done.
I still have to do the back stitching (not my favortie part) *sigh*
On the baby front, my friend's son has been born ten days ago and all is well with mother and child. He already got his new blanket and also a new jacket, knitted following the ever popular (it's been my third one) Baby Surprise Jacket pattern.
As I used a normal sock yarn it turned out rather on the smallish side. 
I hope it fits him for more than a week.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Making Waves

I'm back to work on the Gold Fish Pond Quilt.
I actually finished making all the fish (a 72 in total, though 8 of those are going to be sorted out)
I'm now on the water and finished 34 blocks so far (out of a minimum of 124 - though I'm thinking about a few more)
Think I have to do a few more with less contrast and mix them in.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Summer in the Kitchen

Summer time is berry and fruit time. I love that time and I love making stuff with berry and fruit.
One of my absolute favorite thing is making (and drinking) syrups.
I usually start in early May with rhubarb, then in June elderberry flowers. Next, in July, is strawberries and red currant, and the last one I've made just today is blackberry.
I still have a carefully horded bottle of each (from left to right it's elderberry flower, strawberry/red currant, rhubarb and, the last one, is blackberry)
I usually just put a bit of the stuff in a glass and then add a lot of water. And sometimes ice. The perfect summer drink.
Love the stuff. Totally love it.
Yesterday I picked up some raspberry and started a batch of liqueur (on the right, basically raspberries, candis sugar and vodka), and and batch of raspberry vinegar (raspberries and white wine vinegar). The vinegar is great with a salat, and the liqueur. Hmmm.
Both of those have to sit a while before I can actually use it, but in the meantime ...
Peach chutney. Don't know yet how it came out (I used a recipe from 'Essen & Trinken' a German cooking magazine), though I have the feeling there was a bit too much vinegar. I'll know tomorrow.
As I had some of the canning sugar left and also some of the peaches, I decided to do a very small batch of mango/peach jam. 
Yummy!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Goldfish

It's been a while since I updated anything I've made quilt wise. Reason for this is that I haven't done anything in the last five weeks.
But at least I can show the current status of my last project.
The first 29 (out of a potential 240) blocks for a goldfish pond quilt.
The pattern is by Bernadette Mayr and can be found in her book 'Wasser-Patchwork)
The blocks are done in a free cutting technique, which is a lot of fun to do, but also creates a lot of waste (which I'm not fond of)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Greenland 2016

Greenland was, if you pardon the pun, pretty cool.
Finally, we had icebergs. Lots and lots of icebergs.
We had them looking out of the window of our hotel room in Ilulissat
Or on tours we took on a small boat toward the Epi glacier. 
 We had them during the day in bright sunshine
 And under the midnight sun.
 Very, very cool.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Iceland 2016

This was my second time to visit Iceland. First time was in 2009, when we drove the Road No. 1 once around. We did, like most tourists to Iceland, skip the West Fjords, so this time we knew we'd be going there.
The West Fjords are mostly about nature. There's loads of bird, some waterfalls and ... well, fjords.
Some pictures below.
At he cliffs of Ladrabjarg about a million birds breed every year.
Black Guillemots
Northern fulmars
And Puffins!
We also saw Terns
 And not to forget, waterfalls (this one is the Dynjandi)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

500 - 10 - 50

This post is my 500th post.
I've been doing this for almost exactly 10 years (my first post was on July 14th, 2006).
And, since about a week I'm 50 years old.

Surprisingly little has changed in the last ten years. 
I'm ten years older, but I'm still single, and still work as an engineer in the semi-conductor industry (in fact, for the same employer). 
I still live at the same address in the same town. 
I still travel a lot (I just came back from my vacation in Iceland and Greenland).

I've started the blog as a mean to keep my family and friends updated on my activities and also to keep a record for myself of what I've been working on at any given time. Sort of like a semi-public diary. I'm happy I managed to keep up for all that time, and sometimes it's a great reference.

Being 50 is no different than being 49. At least I haven't noticed anything different. I'm not getting younger, that's for sure, but I don't exactly feel like being 'old'.
As a friend told me: “Age is just a number. It's totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine.” (a Joan Collins quote)

I'm still sifting through the 3.300 pictures I've took on my vacation. If you want a teaser, just go back 7 years in my blog. There are some Iceland pictures when I was there the first time in July 2009.

And a short teaser for Greenland:

Sunday, June 12, 2016

All Adds Up

The trellis scrappy quilt is done!
Hurray!
As mentioned before, the quilt is big: 180 x 210cm is the final size. It took two of us standing on a small ledge and raising our arms high to show it in all its glory.
The quilt is for most parts made from scraps (they are still scraps if you buy them in a scrap bag, right?). The grey fabric is from a layer cake I bought half off some time ago; only the white fabric is yardage I bought specifically for the quilt. Both are Kona Cotton, the white is 'Snow' and the grey is 'Ash'.
The back is also very scrappy, and completely from my stash. It's not very noticable, but I did an off-center 'Trip Around The World' layout with log cabin blocks, cross blocks, four patch blocks, 25 patch blocks, pure, wild scrappy blocks and nine-patch-in-a-four-patch blocks.
For batting I got some cotton batting, which quilted up great. Nice and lofty.
The main quilting is in-the-ditch left and right of the white stripes (which involved quite a bit of fabric wrestling), with added flowers in each grey square (I made a stencil and marked each one with a Frixion pen before FMQing). There were quite a few ends to hide, but totally worth it.
Finally the binding is a black print (Science Fair by Robert Kaufmann) with a white piping.
The quilt is desitined for my bed. It's the perfect size.
I really, really like how this came out. I love that it's scrappy, I love that I used stash scraps for the back, I love the batting. The quilting turned out just perfect. The binding works great.
Yes, for this quilt, 'All Adds Up'

Friday, May 27, 2016

More Coasters

I did another set of coasters. I used felt, a heart-shaped cookie cutter (you want a simple shape for this...), a scalpel, and, finally, a sewing machine.
 Cutting out the hearts is what takes the longest and is the most tricky, but the outcome is nice. The coasters were well received by the new owners.
 On another note, I basted the Trellis quilt today (or, as I start to call it, the MONSTER). This thing is big. In the end it will be 215 x 180 cm.
I didn't exactly fancy a crawl on the floor, so I used a method I saw in a youtube video by 'Man Sewing' (link is here)
 I bought those clamps to hold the whole sandwich to the table and it worked like a charm.
There seem to be now obvious wrinkles, though in the end it comes down how it will behave once it's in the machine. 
This will be "fun". It doesn't help that I used a fairy substatial and fluffy cotton batting, which adds a lot of volumn and also weight.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Orca-stra

At my vacation 2013 into Yukon and British Columbia, we took at little excursion to Skagway, Alaska. There I came across this great quilt shop (Rushin' Tailor). I bought a couple of things, among them a kit for Orcas diving at a cliff all done in batiks.
The name of the kit is 'Orca-stra' by Pine Needle Designs.
Last weekend I found myself between projects. My great Trellis quilt top is done (I'm waiting for some more curved safety pins before I baste is). I finished the Blue Sands Cardigan (need an opportunity for some photographs. Preferably when it's not too warm). I have started a new cardigan, but there's no urgency to it.
So I thought, something quick, with some instant gratification would be great.
There was plenty of fabric in the kit, so I had some choice in picking just the right bit for just the effect I wanted. Working with batiks offers so much color and variation. Also, as it's usually more tightly woven than normal quilting fabric, it's less prone for fraying and thus ideal for raw edge applique.

The quilting was all done free motion, with a wavey braid at the border (I did stitch in the ditch using my walking foot at the inner border)
Only thing left to do is adding a sleeve in the back for hanging and a label.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Double Upcycling

A few years back (in 2010) I did some experiments with knitting and fulling stuff in the washing machine. One of those experiments was a bag I'd knitted using Cascade 220. I finished the bag (sort of), but never was really happy with it, or actually used it.
A few weeks back, that old bag fell into my hands, and I thought about giving it - or at least the fabric - a second life. As coasters.
I cut out circles and thought about doing some stitching on the borders, but then the remnants of another project fell into my hands. It was my first attempt on a rug for my bathroom from last year, using old t-shirts I've had braided into a long cord. I still had a couple of meters left, and as I used rather narrow stripes back then, the width of the cord was almost exactly equal to the thickness of the fulled material from the bag.
I hand-sewed the cord to the circles I've cut out from the bag and got lovely coasters for my summery drinks (which, by the way, is my home made rhubarb syrup - super yummy. I definitely need to make more)
So these coasters are using material from two old projects, one of them already an upcycling project. Hence double upcycling. Or upcycling the upcycling ...?

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Close Up

I've got a macro lens, and I'm not afraid to use it ...
 
I've always been quite fond of dandelions (quite tricky to take photos of, though)
 Last one is the centre of one of my orchids. Almost like an abstract painting ...

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Printing on Fabric

Last Sunday I tried out a couple of different methods to apply colour to fabric. I've got some fabric paint left overs (from way, way, waaaaaaay back) so I didn't even need to buy new materials.
I used some cotton bags I bought at the Swedish place (you know which one ...). I washed them before hand to get rid of any treatment still sticking to the fibers.
Bag 1: a stencil I bought years ago. I used a coppery color with a bit of sparkle.
Bag 2: easiest of the lot, really. I used toiletpaper rolls, folded them a bit to get a heard shape and dipped the ends into the paint. The yellow paint was a bit on the thin side, but I don't think it's a problem.
Bag 3: I uses some rubbery material which I cut into shapes and glued to a piece of pipe I've got lying around. After one round, the color was almost all used up, so I filled out the last bits with a brush. I think it would be better with a longer piece of fabric.
Bag 4: For this one, I wrapped some course twine around a bit of rubber and used this as a stamp. Fun, easy and I love the effect it creates. 
 
Bag 5:  Here I used masking tape to create a simple stencil. After each round of paint, I let it dry, then moved the masking tape to open up another bit. This one took the longest, but I really like the result.

 Finally, I iron them all for a couple of minute with the iron set to hot. Hopefully this fixes the paint. I use a couple those bag for potatos, onions, ....
Great fun, need to get more bags to try some more.
I still get plenty of ideas.