Sunday, February 1, 2015

Greek Facebook Quilt Along - house quilt

On Facebook there is a closed group, called "The Neighbourhood" who organized a Quilt Along (QAL). Every participant is supposed to sew 3 house quilt blocks every month and send the blocks to other members. January 2016 we will each have 36 houses!!! And the whole group will have 36 house quilts!!
This is going to be fun.....and a hell of a lot of work!

These are the first 3 blocks I made and sent away.

The group has all different kind of quilters, from beginners to very experienced ones. The fun is just to enjoy the creativity of every member.  I am sure that I will have  a beautiful, one of a kind, very expressive quilt in the end.
It is also good a exercise for me. I can try out a lot of different techniques on a small piece. So, at the end of the year I will have made a big progress in my patchwork, applique abilities.... at least I hope so!!!

The blocks below are the first three of my quilt, made by:

Nada Xenou-Kokoletsi

Mary Anargyrou

Olga Spitalioraki-Kiritsi

It's the first of February today, so it is time to start the next 3 blocks.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Journal, agenda, book covers

I use an agenda, write a journal and, as  a I am a patchwork freak, I have to cover them with lovely fabric. 
These book covers are great presents, especially around the new year. They are very good for using scraps, and getting experience in sewing tiny pieces. 
One of my friends is using this one.

My own agenda is covered in fuchsia/turquoise

Love the colours of this one too !

Time to make some more, but first I have to finish my sample placemat for the English paper piecing workshop I am going to do. Sew some whales for the daughter of a friend for the nursery, that go together with the baby quilt I made for her. And work on the houses I need to make for a Greek QAL. Work enough! Time to start!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pin cushion

When I visited my friend Kristine in Thessaloniki I loved one of her books. It is called "Quilting on the go!" from Jessica Alexandrakis. Paper piecing patchwork you can take anywhere: techniques, patterns and projects.
So, at home, I immediately ordered it, because I was eager to try and learn how to do English paper piecing. 
This is my second project "the pin cushion". I just love it. You are supposed to fill it up with crushed walnut shells, but of course, I don't have anything like that. So I filled it up with some steel wool you use to scrub pots and pans, to sharpen the pins and some wadding. I am very pleased with the result. It looks great and is rather thick, so the pins don't reach the bottom.

I used different fabrics for the top and bottom

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Quilt Exhibition - Quilting Bee Sparta (2)

As we are busy bees, we had to take some projects with us to work on! 
Maria Kalamara (left) is working on her quilt and Pitsa Lambrinou (center) and Potoula Andreakou are the helping hands! They take their work very seriously.

They didn't even realize a made a picture !

The hanging orange quilt is made by Anneli Lehto-Koutsoviti, while the small one on the table in front of it is a Quilting Bee quilt. Anneli also made the appliqued quilt below.

Some bags and a table runner

We had some Christmas atmosphere too! I made a few cushions and a runner. 

 The quilters Giota Kiriakoulia and Enrietta Kargakou

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Quilt Exhibition - Quilting Bee Sparta

Well, it's been a long time! Lots of activities during the last few months! Of course I had the time if I really wanted to write, but..... I got out of the habit and then it is difficult (for me, at least!) to start again. But here I am!
A very important activity was the exhibition of our own Spartan quilting group.

We exhibited the quilts we made as a group, as well as personal work. The above quilts are made by Potoula Andreakou (left), Anneli Koutsoviti (center) and me. The exhibition took place in our beautiful library.

Despite the extremely bad weather; pouring rain and floodings (!) we had quite some visitors, who were very impressed with the work we did. 
The quilts made by the group will be donated to a good cause. Below one of the group quilts.

Enough words now, I will just post some pictures. 

Maria Kalamara (left and right), Quilting Bee (center)

Quilting Bee (left) Enrietta Kargakou (center) Potoula Andreakou (right)

Maria Kalamara (front) Potoula Andreakou (back) 

The hanging quilt is made as a QAL (Quilt Along) by Greek quilters, participating in a FB page. 

The two baby quilts are made by me.

Tomorrow I will post more pictures!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Quilting Bee Sparta - September meeting

After a long hot summer the Quilting Bee met again. Full of energy and enthousiasm to continue the work on the fuchsia/beige/white log cabin quilt and to think and talk about new projects. This quilt is looking great !! We're at the quilting stage, hand quilting of course! Goal is not only the work, but the team spirit, joy and fun. 

Before we started the quilting we admired the projects some of us made during the summer, like Jota's cushion, Maria's top for a baby quilt and a handbag she made at an Athens workshop. I should have taken pictures of these, but it didn't cross my mind at that moment. Sometimes my brain works a bit slow!!! Maybe the age??? Next time I won't forget. 

To be able to work I have to change some furniture around. The coffee tables go to the bedroom. The garden table, which you see above hasn't seen the garden for two years! It is stored in the spare bedroom and comes to the living room when needed.  My house has a basement, so I can't be bothered to carry the table every time up and down Besides, I have small bistro tables in the garden.
In the morning two ladies did the quilting and three in the afternoon. They were pushing and pulling a bit, but they did great team work! 

Before the summer we finished two more quilts. This one was a pain in the.....
We are all very inexperienced and decided to make triangles, not realizing the difficulty of corners matching! The patterned fabric was from an extreme good quality, used but still beautiful. The other fabric, new,  wasn't exactly good quality and gave us a lot of trouble. But we managed and are very happy with the end result.

We made a few more  blocks than needed and decided to use these to make a cushion. So, one of the girls started to quilt this piece. 
We use thick batting and do the quilting with coloured thread, in the ditch and with big stiches. 

The back is a piece of a duvet cover, lovely flowers which go well with the busy front pattern.
The design wall I made last week was very useful to pin the block for the next project and play with strips of fabric to decide how to make more and different blocks for the log cabin quilt we want to make next. But, this is a story for a next blog.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Garden Stories

September, the month of changing the vegetable garden from summer to winter. Last week we had a few thunderstorms with a lot of heavy rain. Great for my thursty garden!  And for me too! I got a bit tired and sometimes, when temperatures went over 40 degrees, exhausted of the hot weather. 
All this rain was a great opportunity to pull the weeds out. They reached up to 1 meter height in the empty part of the veggie garden!! I should have made a picture to show you the before and after, but as I hate the before, I can't get myself to picture all those weeds.
So, I started last Friday morning, first in the shade, but as the morning went on I worked more and more in the sun. Now I am a natural redhead, that is to say, I was a natural redhead !!! But my skin is still very white and sensitive. I am/work every day in the garden without any problem. With the weed-pulling I was wearing trousers and a T-shirt, bending over and pulling. Can you feel it coming?? Maybe I should have worn a longer T-shirt!! In the evening, in front of the computer, I couldn't understand why my lower back was uncomfortable whenever I leaned back against the chair. I blamed it on the chair!!
After my morning shower I decided to look in the mirror to see why my back was still so sensitive. Well.....I have a really sunburned strip about 5 cm wide just there were the trousers end. 

So today I wore a dress to continue the change-over of the garden. The whole morning I was digging. As you can see I have very nice garden tools. I am especially pleased with the soft leather gloves my brother-in-law brought me 
from the States. I can't get them here. They have soft leather gloves but only for men, one size. you can't work in the garden when your gloves are too big.

Before I started the digging I was checking the squash, ocra, peppers and eggplant. And....see what a I found. An enormous grasshopper! Unfortunately I have them in all sizes. They usually just don't sit quiet to have their picture taken. I don't like them in the garden. Flopsy, my cat really wants to help me to get rid of them. That's why he catches them and brings them to me in the basement, while I am there. Alive!!! They jump, and then I jump! 
Yesterday he brought me a little mouse. Thank God, not alive! He is such a nice cat, he just wants to please me !!!

Surprise! Another present left in my garden. One of my neighbours has chickens. Somehow they managed to escape their garden and payed a visit to mine. It seemed that they loved the strawberries, because they were all there, 5 of them. I had to chase them, first to the next garden and then to their own. Four of them went back. The fith one I chased for some time through two gardens and as it was getting dark, I gave up. Next morning she was gone, back to her home, I guess. A week later, again when pulling weeds, I found this. Two chicken eggs. Present for the garden visit!

Having a vegetable garden means that you have to work, but it gives also pleasure and of course nice organic veggies to eat (if all is well!)
A few days ago I harvested leeks. It isn't the time for leeks here in Sparta. I had some seeds and just put them in the soil to see what would happen. And they came up. They didn't like the extreme heat, but I managed to get some edible pieces. I had to throw a lot away, and still have a supply in the freezer for our winter soups. 
Garden stories will continue as I plan to get my whole garden in a "proper" state.