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.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Garden quilt blocks

On Pinterest I saw a beautiful garden quilt and that gave me the idea to make one for my couch. More a throw that a full size quilt. I started by browsing my 501 Quilt Blocks pattern book and found some patchwork and applique blocks that I liked for this purpose. 

I am not very good in following rules, that's why I often change patterns. Above I just added a stem to get a more grounded flower!

The embroidery in this block comes from an old tablecloth. I love it that I can use this kind of pieces again, because we all know how much work it is to make something like this. And ... women put a lot of love in their creations, so it shouldn't go to waste.

To stay with the applique, I made two Dresden plates with different fabrics and colours.

The bird I made is still waiting for his picture to be taken, as is the owl panel.
It is fun to make your own quilt pattern, but now I need a design wall !!!
A suitable place is above the bed in the guest room. I have already two pieces of insulation board, which I used to put over the bed to put the quilt layers together. Now, they have to go on the wall. A real DIY project which need some thought !!

Besides the applique, I made two patchwork blocks. Difficult, because the pieces are tiny and I am not yet that experienced. I really love the butterfly. The cottage house didn't come out the way I wanted, but I think it looks ok. 
Anyway, I have to make some more houses because the Greek on-line quilters group "Και στην Ελλάδα αγαπάμε το πατσουωρκ" will start a QAL with house blocks. 

Time to start fixing the design wall!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Patchwork clothes and tablet covers

Now, what connection is there between tablet covers and patchwork clothes??

For most people there is none, only for me there is !! This summer I am wearing the patchwork dress I made last year a lot. The tablet covers, which aren't patchwork, were made while I was wearing my dress. (This patchwork is becoming an obsession!!!!!) 

It was a try-out and I am rather pleased with it. I used a sleeveless blouse I have as a pattern for the top and lined that part. Then I sew slightly ruffled strips underneath and .....voila!!

The long, hot summer over here inspires me to use bright colourful fabrics for whatever I make. 

I am planning on making more of my own clothes again. I used to do that years ago, but got so fed up with it at a certain moment that I stopped. Maybe I have to start again, nice linen dresses and tops. I copied a lot of them on my Pinterest 'summer clothes' board. So much inspiration!!! 
As a didn't have any linen, but wanted to make a long blouse, I just used some scraps again!

I must say that I get a bit impatient sometimes. Couldn't wait to go shopping for  some nice linen and couldn't wait for someone to take a picture !