Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Participation at the ASH PTA Information Fair

In the last couple of weeks we were very busy attending various open days, fairs, patchwork exhibition, which meant less time for writing our blog. I'll try to make up for it and give an overview about these events. Let's start with the ASH PTA Information Fair at The American School of the Hague, which was hold on the 6th September. This is a great event for the parents to meet the representatives of local organizations, clubs, churches, small business. This was the second time that we took part in it and we met many familiar faces. Thanks to "Little Amsterdam" everybody knew where North Sea Quilters was. It was nice talking to all the quilt loving/admiring people and to give information to the newcomer quilters about quilting in The Netherlands. I hope this will help them to carry on with their hobby even in their new home.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Darling Husbands

This blog is about our other halves. We generally hear the story that partners have no idea why we spend our leisure time cutting up perfectly good fabric into little pieces and then sewing the pieces back together again. Well come on, seriously, isn't that obvious??!!??!!

The next point of contention is about the stash of fabric we quilters all have. Why we don't use it up. Well, the answer to that one is obvious too, I mean, you don't ask a stamp collector whether he's used up his first edition stamps to write to his Aunt Grace in South Africa, do you?

These are very general remarks we hear around us. However, we also hear a lot of stories about very supportive husbands who happily follow their wives around to all kinds of quilting venues. Now, whilst these are not our stories to tell, we are allowed to disclose facts about our own darling husbands.

Sandor has happily put up with Maria's quilts being on the living room floor (the obvious design board), between him and the television for days on end (I think he could just about use the remote control). His job means he has to travel. To faraway countries. But the silk and other fabrics he has brought back for Maria are to die for. Her North Sea Quilters reversible jacket is an example of the silk he brought back from Cambodia.

Wahid has put up with Marybeth's Gammill long-arm quilting machine being in their BEDROOM for many years. And recently has really been absolutely fantastic; he accompanied Marybeth on their last visit to Egypt to the Tentmakers of Cairo's quarters in the city*. Even though the taxi driver was not happy about going there. With Wahid as an interpreter Marybeth got to talk to some of the tentmakers, and, of course, buy some of their work.

Now Bob, has happily watched Leslie convert their garage into the North Sea Quilters Studio and in addition has agreed to accompany us to the Quilt Show in Val d'Argent in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines again this year. Now, we know he is a francophile, and likes to take pictures of quilts, but to still agree to go after this picture he took last year ....

DHs at Val d'Argent, September 2007

So this blog is dedicated to all partners, who show an interest in what their other halves do, whatever that may be!!!!

* also covered in a recent article in QuiltersLog, the European Quilter's magazine

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Maria's Quilt: the Dance of a Quilter - Midnight Minuet

It is my turn to introduce my quilt I made for the long-arm quilting gallery at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. How many times I learned that I should trust my first instinct, but I always think, rationalize. This was a fine example of it.

Maria Laza-Bihari: Midnight Minuet

When I started to work with the challenge fabrics, thinking through colour combinations my first reaction was to dig out an old project, as it had all the colours I had in mind: red, purple and green. It was a variation of the Storm at Sea Pattern which I fell in love with a long time ago. But this project had been prepared for hand-piecing and all the pieces were cut in centimetres! I had a look at it and discarded the idea, as it would have been a very time consuming project and this time I wanted to concentrate on the quilting and not the piecing. I took another direction and I played with several ideas, based on sashiko patterns. Days of drawing, designing and finally one morning I woke up with the IDEA. Let's not go into details otherwise I will never finish this blog. One thing is sure Equilter and My Blue Bamboo benefitted from my search for the perfect fabrics. Unfortunately none of them worked well in this design with the challenge fabrics. The outcome was a few interesting projects for the future and of course plenty of beautiful fabrics in my drawers, but concerning the challenge I was back to square one or should I say back to my first instinct, the old Storm at Sea variation. I always wanted to finish it and now everything pointed in this direction. Once I was sure, it went "fairly quickly". All I needed was to sew day and night (as the deadline and my holiday were coming closer) and to take over the living-room floor as a design board. Of course I wouldn't have been able to do this without my family's patience and understanding. I have to acknowledge they were very supportive or maybe just worried that we'd miss our holiday ?! The quilting still was ahead of me. I wanted to stitch in the ditch to emphasize the circles and turn these secondary patterns into the main focus and then fill up with free-hand quilting. I was very excited as this was my first SID on the long-arm quilting machine. It was nice to see how the circles came alive under my fingers. I couldn't finish the quilting completely before it went to Birmingham, I still need to do the free-hand quilting. It was a compromise, as I don't think my family would have accepted if I had cancelled our holiday. I promise I will post a photo of my quilt in our blog, once it is finished. Until then you can look at the photo, taken in Birmingham.

One more thing; I have to thank Marybeth for the name of my quilt, "Midnight Minuet" . It represents the whole story of my quilt.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Leslie's Quilt

So to continue from yesterday, I will talk about the quilt I made for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham this year. Well for some time I had wanted to make a pickle dish quilt. For those of you who don’t know, a pickle dish is like a double-wedding ring but with triangles instead of squares in the rings. That’s made it a lot clearer hasn’t it?

Pickle Dish Quilt

Now I had fallen in love with the double wide quilters’ sateen we buy from Christian Lane Quilters. We have used it on the back of some of our quilts and it is truely gorgeous. Combined with a mixture of purples and greens, this quilt was going to look stunning. And using the sateen for the background would leave me plenty of space to machine quilt to my heart’s desire.
The point about the pickle dish is that it involves curved piecing, and cutting curved pieces. Now that is not easy at the best of times. Trying to cut curved pieces from 108” wide slippery sateen is hard. Piecing bias pieces of stretchy slippery sateen is practically impossible, but then I do like a challenge.
Anyway, the top got pieced and I was really happy, and then I started on the quilting. As I am the proud owner of a Statler Stitcher, I knew I could draw my own design, digitize it using Autosketch and that with the Statler’s Creative Studio programme, fit the quilting exactly where I wanted on the quilt. In the end I decided on a peony with some swirls around it and the name of the quilt became “Peony Pickle”.

Digitised Peony

At the moment we are at the Quiltersgilde ATT, the Dutch Quilt Guild’s Annual General Show in Arnhem, The Netherlands. So we will be able to tell you all about that on one of our next blogs.

Leslie Carol Taylor's quilt in the long-arm gallery at the Festival of Quilts 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Summer in The Netherlands

We have been very busy over the summer, not updating the blog obviously, but then it is no secret that we really prefer sewing and quilting to doing anything else.
Now what have we been busy doing??? Well for some reason we thought we would have a quiet time over the summer regarding our machinequilting for customers. Well we are pleased to inform you that there are enough really addicted quilters in NL who keep up their patchwork and quilting all summer and don’t want to go and sit in the garden or go to the beach. Maybe it was because we had rather a lot of rain.... Now we really enjoy quilting other people’s quilts, and we will show you some of the pictures over the coming weeks, but we also like quilting our own projects!!!

So our plan was to work on our own quilts. Our friend Beryl Cadman (Gammill long-arm representative for Europe) organises the long-arm gallery each year at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. She usually selects a theme beforehand such as Blue and White Stars (2006) or Black and White and One other Colour (2007). This year the challenge was to completely incorporate two half yards of fabric which we received beforehand: a mauve Japanese floral with chrysanthemums and a small green floral to make a 90” by 90” quilt (about 230cm square - yes that is quite big).

Detail of Robyn Fahy's black and white and yellow quilt

Now we each had our own ideas of what we wanted to do. Marybeth was inspired by the hydrangeas in her garden. Her idea was brilliant: to use a snowball block in different sizes, and vary the colour from top left to bottom right; the centre of the blocks the flowers ranging from hydrangea blue to mauve to pink and the corners the leaves in a variety of greens. Now we don’t know exactly how many different fabrics she used in her quilt, but we think equilter did quite well out of it...

Marybeth Tawfik's "Hortensia Hideaway"

Next time more about Maria’s and Leslie’s quilts!!