Time Management for Artists

I really love planning and I love planners even more. And I’m a huge fan of time management. This means that I own almost every time management book. Which made me realize that owning them and reading them and having all those beautiful, colorful planners doesn’t mean that you are managing your time. I am perfect in theoretical but not so in practical time management. But… whenever there is an incentive I’m ready to start anew.

So when I discovered this blogpost by Elizabeth Barton on “Time Management for Artists” I got out my planner and my pens and now I’m on my way to a perfectly organized life (I hope).

Head over to Elizabeth’s blog to read the article – there are a lot of good tips how to save time and get organized.

Time Management for Artists by Elizabeth Barton
Like everyone, I never seem to have enough time to do all the things I want to do. So I’ve come up with a Time Management checklist for myself to see if I can’t just squeeze a little more juice out of those 24 hours!! ………………………………….

 

Christmas in July: Christmas Scraps

Christmas in July – I really love that. It shows that we quilters begin to think about and work for Christmas at this time of the year (with that comforting feeling that there is still enough time for everything).

Today I have this great scrap quilt for you in white, red and green – radiating Christmas spirit in every direction. It’s a lot of cutting, sewing and quilting but that’s the reason why we start in July, isn’t it? So get out your red, green, white and creme-colored scraps and let’s start.

The quilt shown is 60 x 72 inches (150 x 180 cm) but can easily be done in any size you wish simply by adding or omitting blocks. Each block is 6 x 6 inches (15 x 15 cm).

For the quilt in the above mentioned size you need
240 green squares 2½ x 2½ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm)
240 red squares 2½ x 2½ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm)
360 white squares 2½ x 2½ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm)
120 white squares 2 x 2 inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm) cut diagonally
64 red squares 2 x 2 inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm) cut diagonally
56 green squares 2 x 2 inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm) cut diagonally.
All these measurements include a ¼ inch (7,5 mm) seam allowance.

Join each red and each green triangle with a white triangle along the long side (chain-piecing is perfect for this). Press and cut off the dog ears.

Now join a red and a green square (chain-piecing as well) – you get 240 pairs.

Now let’s sew the blocks together.

For block 1 sew these three rows


and join them to block 1.

You need 64 blocks.

For block 2 sew these three rows


and join them to block 2.

You need 56 blocks.

Now it’s time to puzzle the quilt together. Lay out the blocks (referring to the picture of the quilt) – 10 blocks per row, 12 rows.

Sew all the blocks together.

Sandwich the quilt, quilt it and bind it with a narrow red or green binding.

Give the quilt to someone you really love for Christmas or – even better – keep it for yourself and spend the coming holiday season under it.

 

All you need to know about threads

Threads! We need them, we love them, sometimes we hate them – but they are always a bit of a mystery. Cotton or polyester? What is the weight of threads? Do they age? Are there different qualities of threads? Do they effect the tension of my sewing machine?

I found this great video by Karen Brown of justgetitdonequilts.com where she interviews Anita Zobens (@anitazobens on Instagram), Canadian quilter and thread educator who tells us all we need to know about threads. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a very informative hour.

BOM 2021: Star #6

Another month – another star!

Cutting
All the measurements include a ¼ inch (7,5 mm) seam allowance.

From the blue fabric cut
6 squares 2⅜ x 2⅜ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm) cut once diagonally
4 squares 2 x 2 inches (5,25 x 5,25 cm) cut once diagonally

From the pink fabric cut
8 squares 2⅜ x 2⅜ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm) cut once diagonally

From the darkblue background fabric cut
10 squares 2⅜ x 2⅜ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm) cut once diagonally
4 squares 2 x 2 inches (5,25 x 5,25 cm) cut once diagonally
8 squares 2 x 2 inches (5,5 x 5,5 cm)

Sewing
Join the larger blue triangles along the long side with darkblue triangles to make 12 squares. Press and cut off the dog ears.

Join 8 pink triangles along the long side with darkblue triangles to make 8 squares. Press and cut off the dog ears.

Join the small blue and darkblue triangles exactely as shown in the picture below. The result is four pieces and four mirrored pieces. Press.

Join the blue-darkblue triangles along the long side with a pink triangle – you get 8 squares. Press and cut off the dog ears.

Now you have only squares. Lay them out (near your sewing machine) as shown in the picture below. Double check that everything is exactely as it should be.

Sew the squares into rows.

Sew the rows together to get the finished block.

Take 4 of the strips 11 x 1 inches (28 x 2,5 cm) that you cut from the background fabric previously (see introduction to the BOM here) and sew 2 of them to opposite sides of your block. They are a little bit too long – shorten them to the block size. Sew the 2 remaining strips to the other sides of the block and shorten if necessary. Finished!

I would love to see your finished star-blocks. Please post them in the comments at TheQuiltingSpace’s Facebook page, tag me on Instagram @thequiltingspace and/or use the hashtag #thequiltingspace.

See you in July for star #7.

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties.

 

Organization for Quilters

Are you spring cleaning?

Spring is really on its way here and some of us get the urge to clean their houses, their cars or their gardens. Well (fortunately) I don’t belong to this group of people but when the days get really long and the yellow sun is shining in the blue skies above green meadows I get the urge to start a new quilt with all these spring colors in it. And as I’m working my way through my stash in search for the right fabric I usually start to think that there must be a better solution to store my fabric and my thread (all in a tumble in a drawer at the moment), that the sewing table could look neater (cutting mat, fabric and sewing machine in one big heap), that the scissors and rotary cutters might be stored in a more organized way (thrown into a plastic container) and so on.

But I found the perfect book to get me and my sewing space more organized.

ORGANIZING SOLUTIONS FOR EVERY QUILTER
by Carolyn Wood

Carolyn Wood starts from scratch. In the first chapter she challenges the reader to analyze the reason for ones clutter and to decide what to keep and what to let go. Only then you are allowed to go out and purchase containers or shelfs.
This book covers every area of your quilting Wood talks about the storage of fabric, tools, Ufos, extra blocks, strips, scraps, and strings, thread and finished quilts and gives advice on furniture and lighting in the different areas of a quiltstudio. She tells how to organize your quilting books and patterns and even has a section on time management for quilters with a lot of different projects. And the best – Carolyn Wood even tells you how to maintain your new organization.
The book offers solutions for many different sized quilting spaces – from a space under a stairwell or in a closet to a whole room.
What I like most in this book is the feasibility of the projects. Carolyn Woods talks about giving yourself a timeframe (and not tackling everything at once) and reserving a budget for all the things you want (and sticking to it).
And then there are the pictures. Colorful, great pictures of organized sewing spaces – so inviting that you really want to start organizing your own space immediately.
So if you are thinking about spring cleaning why not tackle your sewing room first. This book is not brandnew but it still is a perfect guide.

Organizing solutions for every Quilter by Carolyn Wood
by C&T Publishing (ISBN 978-1-60705-196-1)
available at C&T Publishing as “print on demand” or as e-book (click here)
or at Amazon as paperback or for the Kindle (click here)

 

By coincidence I stumbled about some blogposts on how to organize your sewing space with many helpful tips:
Here a post about organizing a small sewing room
Lots of tips (not only) for small spaces (click here)
Collected from quilters around the world these tips cover everything from room layout and furniture to lighting and tools.

 

So get inspired by all the tips and pictures. Maybe you even find some perfect solutions for yourself. But most of all – don’t forget to quilt!

 

Improv Art Deco Roses

May and June are the months for roses in abundance – gardens and parks are full of fragrant blooms and there are even wild roses in the meadows around the city. In honor of all the roses around town I made those Art Deco Roses.

The flowers are easy and fast to sew. Make three panels like I did or make just one or make only the flower and no stem and join four or nine in a grid, make a pillow, … – there are many possibilities. And you can even diminish your stash as all you need are scraps.

The roses are made in the crazy sewing technique and here is how it goes:

1. Cut an irregular piece of fabric for the middle. Irregular but with straight edges.

2. Sew a scrap on one side of the middle. Right sides together, line up the edges and sew with 1/4 inch seam allowance. Open up the two pieces and iron the seam (as with Log Cabin blocks I pressed all the seam allowances to the outside of the block). Cut away the rest of the scrap aligning your ruler with one edge of the middle piece.

3. Sew another scrap on the edge you just cut. Open up, press the seam, cut away the rest of the scrap.

4. Sew scraps all around the middle.

5. With your ruler cut the piece of fabric you just created into another irregular piece with straight edges. The piece should not resemble the middle piece of step 1. Cut other angles.

6. Sew another round of scraps.

7. Cut into an irregular shape that should by now resemble the flower.

8. Sew another round of scraps. This time using green scraps for half of the round …

… and scraps of your background fabric for the other half. Use larger pieces of scraps for this round.

9. Cut the piece into a rectangle or a square (your choice).

10. Voilá! The finished rose.

The rose looks even better if you embellish the seamlines with decorative stitches by hand or by machine. You can do this now or quilt the rose this way.

11. For the leaves take a green scrap, cut it into the form of the leaf and sew some background fabric around it (like you did on the first round of the rose). Cut the piece into a rectangle and sew background fabric above and below the leaf – so you get half of the background. Make two of them and join them with a green strip for the bottom part of the quilt.

Or – and this is faster and easier – fuse a freehand cut leaf to the background.

12. Make a quilt sandwich, quilt and bind.

Have fun sewing your own rose garden!

 

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties. And when you are there check out the “Things I wish I Knew when I started quilting” at Off the Wall Friday – interesting points there and in the comments as well.

 

The Tentmakers of Cairo

Today I have a really interesting topic for you: the Tentmakers of Cairo.

They do wonderful appliqué work on sturdy canvas which was originally used to decorate the interior of tents in the Middle East. This work is called Khayamiya. It is an original craft and since many generations the skills are passed along from father to son.You can read more about the history of Khayamiya here.

As with quilts this art form was not recognized by collectors and/or museums. The art and the artists were “discovered” by visitors to Egypt. The Australian quilt artist Jenny Bowker brought them into the quilting world where they can be found at major quilt shows for some years now. Jenny Bowker tries to promote their work, not only to show the world what a stunning craft this is but also to support the stitchers as their art is a dieing one in their home country. You can find more about the tentmakers at Jenny’s website.

So if you are lucky you can find the tentmakers’ booth at one of the major quilt shows. If you walk into it there is a firework of colors,

there are some signs that someone is working here (like snippets of fabric on the ground),

and sometimes you even can watch one of the tentmakers working.

The beautiful appliqué pieces are only made by men with fathers teaching their sons. A skilled stitcher works really fast and often without marking the appliqué pieces. And still it takes him one to six months (depending on the size) to finish one of these beautiful pieces.

If you want to know more about this craft and their makers I have some videos for you:

In this video by Bonnie McCaffery the tentmakers not only show their stunning pieces but also describe how they design and how they work.

And in this video Jenny Bowker introduces two tentmakers and their colorful pieces. But the really interesting part is what Jenny has to say about their way of life and work.

Here a tentmaker shows the whole process of making a pattern, transferring it to the canvas and stitching the appliqué. Every traditional quilter (in a certain age I should add) recognizes the whole process. It’s the same way we learned to make patterns and transfer them to the fabric. (This was the time before water soluble pens were on the market.)

And last but not least there is a whole documentary on this ancient craft.

If you get a chance to see one of the tentmakers’ exhibitions don’t miss it. You will see a lot of colors, patterns and beautiful work and you will meet really friendly people.

I’m linking this to Off the Wall Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop and to Brag about your Beauties.