Saturday, June 16, 2012

A very pretty bag!

Remember my 100 Followers Giveaway?

The winner was

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Periodic Table Quilt

I couldn't be happier to introduce you all to my latest secret project (the "rainbow" I was quilting in the post below) that I have been working on in different ways all spring! My gift to my fantastic sister when she took her Masters Degree at Uppsala Universitet after having finished up by doing 6 months research at Harvard University in Boston this spring - Anna's Periodic Table Quilt! I couldn't be prouder of my amazing sister who's been working so incredibly hard these last 5 years and I knew I had to give her something that reflected just how proud I was, and the idea for her own, 100% custom quilt from fabric to finish, was born.

She was heading the pharmaceutical students student union for one year and was incredibly invested in them her entire time at the university so I wanted the backing to reflect that. Her wonderful boyfriend helped me in secret to get a hold of an illustrator file of the logotype for the backing so she always would remember her time at university.

This quilt brought on many new first for me, my first custom designed fabric from Spoonflower was ordered for both the front and the backing and let me tell you, to get the front right in dimensions and color and everything was by far the hardest part in the making of this! I'm very much an illustrator beginner (darn what a tricky program to learn!) so it took a lot of time to get it the way I wanted.  I referenced a pre-made black and white periodic table file I'd bought for this specifically and used it for element names and atomic weights and so on. Just to realize when I got the fabric in my hands after weeks of anticipation, that the guy I had referenced had got like 1/3 of it wrong!! Saw it when I stitched up the first row of elements (luckily, I'd not finished the quilt) which was the Lanthanides, I saw that Lutetium had Hydrogen's atomic weight and then suddenly a ton of errors appeared before my eyes! I felt like an idiot for not checking it's accuracy before I ordered but when you buy a periodic table, you kind of assume it will be correct... So a second order was made to correct the 25 or so faulty elements I had. Which resulted in them arriving 3 weeks before the set delivery date, so you can imagine my panic at the end. I'll stop babbling now and show you some more pics =)

Did my first micro stippling (at least I think it s micro ^^) in the small squares.

Closeup of some Transition metals and the quilting. Did normal meander for the elements with a small frame around each separate element to make them stand out individually a bit more. And I did a boxy loop-de-loop on the white for contrast. This was also my very first time using a different colored bottom thread (off-white all over) and with the thin cotton batting I used, it was a true hassle to get the tension right all over the quilt!

I did the binding with a decorative stitch to make the transition from white to black a bit smoother and I have to say I'm very happy with that decision, it looks very nice I think even if it did for some seriously long time dedicated to binding.

And the tag, since I was ordering custom fabric anyway I snuck in a tag at the bottom of the second top order, which sadly shows a little as the letters where cut off at the bottom a bit...

It says: "Made with love by Maria Wallin 2012. I'm so proud of you my beloved sister"


And some "the making of" photos, all laid out a first time for sorting.

This was how far I'd gotten when I realized I had errors... Here I've piled them up and checking them towards a number of periodic tables online for accuracy.

Finally! Top finished and I'm preparing or borders.

Quilting with the speed of light to have it finished in time! Not a single fold, plucker or bubble! I'm so proud of the quilting for this quilt! I know it's all simple patterns but to get the meander decently even all over, get the tension right with the white bottom thread and no pluckers and therefore no need for any stitch unpicking. All over an amazing feat for me =)


Anna: I hope you know how much I love you and that no one could be prouder of you then I am, every day. You, my little sister who "didn't like to read" and thought I was so boring with my nose stuck in a book all the time growing up. Now you have had your nose in a book for so many years and it has made you even more clever than you where (I'll never win an argument again ^^), and given you so much experience in so many areas, not just studies and lab work and I'm sure that whatever you decide to do in life after this, you'll keep making me and those who love you just as proud.

You're nothing short of amazing little sister and I love you. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Quilting and quilting my rainbow

So I've been working so hard on my latest secret project, and I have to say it's coming out great, the FMQ challenge has really paid off I think! I'm extremely proud to announce there's not a single bubble or plucker at the front OR the back and I'm pretty much done apart from a few small sections! *beams with pride* I can't wait to show you all this quilt!

Here's one of each  color of thread I've been using apart from the green and white which for some reason was didn't want to be in the photo ^^ It's also my first time quilting with one color thread at the front and another at the back, it's been a bit tricky to get the thread tension right but I think it's coming out great.

Diana is very bored with me because I haven't had any time for her at all and she's not been allowed to help me quilt this quilt as I didn't want to risk quilting in any cat hairs as they're such a hassle to get out. So she's been helping me "measure" from a distance and when she's done "measuring" she's snuggled up as close to the quilt as I've allowed her to get and looked at me when I'm working =)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tovas dress is finished!

My sewing student Tova has finished her dress! She was so patient with the final stages and hemmed the whole thing by hand ever so neatly! She's such a great student and I couldn't be prouder, she learns so quickly! You couldn't believe that she's only had two terms of sewing classes and that she a year ago had never used a sewing machine!


We had to take it in quite a lot, she's a very small person ^^

Hemming and hemming...

Closeup of her neat hem and beautiful ruffles.

Our classes are always so much fun and I too learned a LOT making this dress as I normally don't sew clothes (in fact, I generally very much dislike it) and it's been such a fun project! =)

Friday, May 4, 2012

You too have a dust bunny problem?

I used to have it too but I can't really think of them as a problem anymore after seeing this adorable Spoonflower fabric design by meduzy:

Isn't it the cutest fabric ever? Next time I make a Spoonflower order I have to order some of this!

In other notes, I'm very happy with my Spoonflower fabrics so far, the only things is that each of my two orders (about 4 yards each time) the fabric has been "pulled". I don't know how to describe it otherwise so that the designs are kind of wonky in some areas. For example 5 inches in there's an about 5 inch long section in which all the straight lines get a big belly and are distorted about an inch to the right, and that's all over the 4 continuous yards in two parts. A nothing major but a bit disappointing I have to say, luckily I could work around it sort of but you can clearly see on text and such that it's distorted in areas :( I can't show you as the project is still secret though.

Monday, April 23, 2012

2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge - April

So I've been practicing my Free Motion Quilting for the challenge a bit lately as time hasn't permitted any real projects (apart from trying to finish my secret big project which isn't at a sewing stage yet) and I'd go crazy without sewing anything but buttons into my finances pants and mending trousers.

I really liked this months tutorial by the very skilled Don Linn aka "Mr Quilt", it had a some valuable tips and the tulle transfer technique looks very clever I have to say! The only thing though is that I honestly wished the video would have been a touch shorter (like having the design partly per-drawn) as I tended to skip ahead the first time I watched it to get to the "good parts" and then ended up having to re-watch it to make sure I hadn't missed anything important.

I've been meaning to do this months FMQ challenge in full but after trying I can't get my hands on any tulle at this point in time nor an embroidery hoop (would have to order from abroad) so I figured I'd try some of the techniques, practice sewing in the same lines back and also practice FMQing quilting a per-drawn design and count it as this months challenge even if I didn't do the tulle-transfer part. I now know how to do it and once I get the equipment, I'll absolutely try it because it seems like an great technique as I could never mark a quilt before basting it!

I used a tutorial from Judi over at Green Fairy Quilts to draw the star and then I gave it my own little twist to get some of the rounded edges from this months tutorial in there too. =) It wouldn't show up very nicely on the front in the photo, hence the main image being of the batting/back. To get it to match my other pillow I'll also make some swirls around the edges before it's done.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I'm apparently 27 years old now...

Luckily I have some pretty amazing friends and family who did their very best to help me forget the fact =)

My mother sent me the most adorable birthday present, an absolutely gorgeous pincushion! It's sewn with such amazing care and attention to detail. In the link to ehr blog above she links to the tutorial and pattern she used. I think she partly made it for me since she knows how much I envy respect her endless patience and amazingly small stitches when sewing by hand. It's just so perfect! Thank you mom! <3

It has the place of honor next to my sewing machine with only my favorite, really thin needles in it.

I also got another present from her and it was very exciting, a brand new seam ripper with some super cool features. My seam ripper is my best friend and I think that I and this seam ripper will be even closer. If you take a look at it you will see a little "eraser" looking thing at the top and if you look at the photo of the backside of the packaging here it explains how to use it, if it works as well as I think it will, it will revolutionize my ripping =D I'll let you know how good it works once I've tried it =)


Some of our closest friends flew in from Sweden to celebrate with me and they really made sure I felt pampered like a princess with everything from lunch at my favorite restaurant, 1½ massage and spa, lot's of good wine and bubbles (both pool and wine) =)

We also got a PonyIsland cake from our friends at our party! Isn't it adorable!?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

And the winner is...

So sorry for the delay in this! Things have been crazy (again) and I haven't had time to sew or blog anything at all! Thanks to everyone who entered and most welcome to all my new followers!

It's time to announce our lucky winner and it's no one less then:

Who said:
 Hiya! Thanks for the chance to win, and well done on 100 followers!

I've sent you an email requesting your shipping address.

And since blog posts without pictures are very boring, here's some of the beautiful Calla Lilies that are blossoming all over our little island atm. These I got from my local flower shop for the whopping price of €1.50 =)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Celebrating over 100 followers giveaway!

It's so much fun to cross that magic 3-digit line and I've been saying to myself that when that day comes, I have to celebrate it with a giveaway! =)

But since I'm one of those people who don't have a huge fabric stash and  most of the stuff I buy is earmarked for a special project, I had such a hard time deciding what to give away! The solution came to me in the shape of Tova, she suggested I gave away the extra fabric I had left from making my favorite bag!

The Kitty Yoshida City Girl fabrics are some of my favorites, such lovely, wearable colors! They go with jeans, they go with mocha, they go with anything! I had around ½ yard left of both of them so that's in there and I also added about a fat quarter of two other light green fabrics in the spirit of spring to the bundle since I didn't have anything but scraps left of the light blue I used. I might sneak in something else in there too, but I haven't decided what just yet ^^

I try to keep Diana away from my stash but everything from our home comes with the risk of cat hair, so if you're super allergic, this giveaway might not be for you.


So enough of this rambling, how do you win?

It's very simple, you don't have to be a follower, you don't have to do anything special, just please make sure you're not a no- reply blogger since then I can't contact you if you win. =)

1. Just leave  a comment on this post and you're entered!

2. And since this is a follower celebration giveaway, my followers of course get one extra chance to win so just post a separate comment saying you're a follower. New followers too of course!

Winner will be announced in about a week and I ship to any place in the world. I also want to reach out and *hug* all my followers, it's so much fun to know that someone is actually reading what I'm writing and every time you comment, you make my day!
Thanks everyone, I love you! <3

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sewing Class - We're making a dress

Me and Tova (a friends daughter who's home schooled and I'm sewing teacher for) have been making a dress in class lately. A definite first for both of us. I'm not a fan of making clothes and she has never made clothes, not a match made in heaven maybe but it has sure made for a lot of laughs, lots of interesting discussions trying to decipher a dress pattern and lots and lots of mistakes, small and large. But luckily everything has been salvageable and we're now approaching the last stages, we need to take a it in a little and hem it in it will be finished. I couldn't be more proud of Tova, she's such a patient student and she learns so quickly!

Diana has been very helpful, making sure the pattern pieces stayed in place while Tova was cutting by laying down on the firmly. Here's Tova removing her for the 10th or so time, when you lift Diana she's like a ragdoll or blob of jelly, hence the funny, part blurred pic ^^

It wasn't at all an easy pattern she chose, lot's of ruffles and little design features.

 And the bane of min and now Tovas existence, hand sewing, it's just not fun. However, with a cute and loudly purring Diana next to you, the task is less tedious.

And we have a nearly complete dress! As you can see it's a little big so we're going to take it in a little and then hem it and voila! Finished!

This has also been great practice for me in "letting go of control" as she has to make everything on her own and I can't but tell her how to do it, something that's quite difficult for me. It has also reminded me very, very clearly about why I don't sew clothes!

While Tova has been working away I've taken the chance to straighten out my sewing area, and folding my fabric. I just have to get a design wall up (have a very clear idea of how to do that, will get back to it once I have the supplies) and get me a new ironing board and I'm back in business for real =) Here are my fusion fabrics getting a go over with the ruler.