Friday, May 15, 2015

Homage to V.Vasarely – an OpArt Quilt

This quilt has been on my list for a very long time.
Ever since we visited an exhibition of art of the sixties (back in High School) I am fascinated by Optical Art.

To give you a general idea, here are some examples that I found online (doubleclick for source):

Movement in squares, Bridget Riley, 1961


Biadan, Victor Vasarely, 1959


Occhio al Movimento, Alberto Biasi (Gruppo N), 1964

The artist that inspires me most is Victor Vasarely (1906 – 1997). The french-hungarian artist is considered as one of the founders of OpArt. He combined easy geometric shapes like squares, rectangles, triangles and circles to create stunning and eye dazzling optical illusions.

One of my favourites is this one.


Riu-Kiu-C, Victor Vasarely, 1960

I always thought that I would love to create a similar piece of art following his style. But somehow other projects (like lots of baby quilts for our friends) always took higher priority.

Then, last spring, our Modern Quilt Guild Bielefeld decided to take part in a quilt show and our general topic was “Solids Only”. So I had to create a quilt that is made entirely of solid fabrics. Ha! Enter Riu-Kiu-C.

I drew up a pattern using only rectangles and some triangles. Here you can see that pattern when the quilt was almost finished – with lots of handwritten additions:

OptArt Quilt Plan

As I wanted a slightly more soft contrast, I decided on a white and grey colour scheme instead of white and black. I am glad I did and I have to say, that the finished quilt is probably one of my favourites ever.

OptArt Quilt Kopie

It just turned out the way that I hoped it would.

Piecing was not easy because it had to be very exact and precise. Especially those diagonal seams were a pain. The seam ripper came out more than once…! I have a love-hate relationship with him. Can you relate?!

OptArt Detail

I debated with myself for quite a long time because I could’t make up my mind about the quilting design. I usually prefer free motion designs over straight line quilting but this time a simple outline won. I took some white aurifil and outlined every seam – but only on the white strips. The grey fabric remains unquilted. I am glad I did not venture our for a more “artistic” design. It adds a clean and simple look to this modern design.

OptArt Quilt Detail 

I initially envisioned it to be a modern wall hanging…


…but when I was looking for backing fabrics I found a perfect match in a dotted flannel.

Opt Art Backing

Flannel is quite a heavy choice as backing for a wall hanging but it is oh so soft for snuggling. The quilt ended up rather big (1,65m x 2,25m) so I guess the whole family can snuggle up under it. Now to find a new (and smaller) wall hanging for our living room (o:

Opt Art Quilt Backing

I finished the quilt with a single fold binding and zig zag stitch. Lately I prefered the single fold binding over double fold binding as it adds less bulk to the quilt. But I have no experience regarding durability. Do you know whether double fold binding will last considerably longer than single fold?!

This is my second entry for Blogger’s Quilt Festival Spring 2015. Please visit Amy and her online festival of fine quilts. There is much to be seen and to discover.

If you came over from Blogger’s Quilt Festival, please consider leaving a comment so I can see you were here and repay the visit!

Happy Quilting!


P.S. Oh, and I even finished the quilt in time for “Quilt Art Nürtingen”, the quilt show it was intended for. There’s nothing like a close finish. Even if you knew 12 months ahead what you were going to make, right?!

Foto Quilt Art Nürtingen

“Sew-euro-bee-an” – A bee quilt

May was my month in our Flickr Bee “Sew-euro-bee-an”.
Except that it was May 2013.
Well. You know how things sometimes take longer than planned, don’t you?!

I had chosen an easy “squares and triangles” block,

finished block detail

inspired by a winter coat I had bought for my eldest son.

Patchwork Winterjacke 2

The colours were entirely chosen to match our living room.
Here’s the finished quilt.

Bee Quilt

I will admit, that it was very difficult to sew those blocks together as the block sizes varied more than I had thought they would. I ironed the quilt several times but it is still crinkly.

But as I will keep it for myself, I do not mind and it only shows that the blocks were made by lovely ladies from many european countries.

Strip of ziggy blocks

They all made signature blocks that I pieced together in one long strip for the backing. It will be nice to snuggle up under my quilt and look at all those familiar names and remember how and when I met them in person and how much fun we had together.

Bee Quilt backing

I kept the quilting simple. I quilted diagonal “straight” lines, using different Aurifil threads – yellow, variagating orange, grey and variegated grey.

Thread choice wip

Those diagonal lines made it hard to wrestle the quilt while quiling though…

Under my machine

I like the texture and how it looks on the back

Bee Quilt Detail of backing

Another post-wash photo:

Bee Quilt Detail of quilting

And here is a shot of the quilt on one of our yellow chairs. I think I’ll just keep it there and enjoy the sight (o:

Quilt on the yellow chair

Thank you to all contributors! Dianne (Czech Republic), Pippa (France), Elisabeth and Helen (Switzerland), Floh and Tacha (Germany), Nicole and Linda (Netherlands), Celine and Lush (UK), Annabella (Morocco). I had so much fun with you!!!

spring 2015 BQF Button

This is one of my entries for Blogger’s Quilt Festival 2015. If you came over from Blogger’s Quilt Festival, please consider leaving a comment so I can return the favour and visit you too!

If you have never heard of Blogger’s Quilt Festival, grab a cuppa and hop over – there are many lovely quilts to discover and much talent to be seen.

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

More baby gifts

In addition to the wonky pinwheel quilt we made for my friend, I made her a giant pillow cover (80x80 cm), that can double up as a duvet while the little man lies in his pram.

It all started with this fabric pull from my stash:

Pillow cover fabrics

After piecing a simple patchwork top, it was time to choose threads.

Pillow cover thread

White Aurifil and a simple dogwood design made the race.

Pillow cover quilting

I hid half of the zipper in the binding so that it is hardly visible when closed.

Pillow cover backing and zipper

As long as the baby is still young, the pillow cover can be used as a duvet cover in winter. During summer the pillow cover can be used without filling and makes for a light blanket. Once he’s bigger he can use it with his new quilt. And even as a youth he needn’t be ashamed for still using his “baby pillow” (o:

Pillow cover

I made a little sleep bag that unzips completely so it can be used as a changing pad, too. But I was in such a rush that I forgot to take proper photos )o:

sleep bag

I used two layers of cotton batting, a heavyweight cotton fabric for the outside and a soft and cosy flannel for the lining. It makes a unique and rather quick baby shower gift so I guess I’ll come back to this concept sooner or later…

And last but not least I made two easy receiving blankets (about 1,10 by 1,10 m) by simply serging jersey fabric (a thicker one for cold days and a light one for summer):

receiving blankets

And who could live without dummy clips?! When finishing the ones for Valentin, I made two girl-ish ones for my niece. Because I can.

Dummy clips

Somehow sewing for babies is so rewarding. Isn’t it nice to see them in clothes or quilts or blankets that are handmade with love?

Or am I the only one?!

Have a nice new week and month, that is!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

MQG Bee Quilt

At the end of November our Modern Quilt Guild Bielefeld received a new addition: our second Guild Baby!! We knew beforehand that our Guild member and my close friend was expecting a boy. So we considered several blocks and colour schemes that suited our plans for a bee quilt for the little man.

Not too many matching points (for easier assembly – somehow the quarter inch of seam allowance varies with every person?!) and not too difficult so that even the newbies could join in.

We decided on a wonky pinwheel design, using low volume prints for the background and blues, greens and greys for the pinwheels.

MQGB Valentin

I volunteered to make the quilt top, baste, quilt and bind it, so I was in charge of the layout, too. This was the first attempt: All blocks arranged, I tried to spread the colours evenly. (Sorry for the bad shot, the blocks are hanging on my design wall, down in the basement –> bad lighting)

MQGB Valentin blocks on design wall

I thought the effect was too chaotic and that the wonky pinwheels were not as clearly visible as I had hoped for. So I made some more blocks and added a border.

MQGB Valentin Top

I quilted it with semi-leaves (is there an official name for this quilt design?!) and stitched in the ditch to reach the next pinwheel. That way I could quilt coherrently, without breaking threads for every new pinwheel.

MQGB Valentin quilting

Here’s a closeup. I used a white Aurifil so that the thread blends with the background fabrics where I stitched in the ditch while it stands out within the pinwheels.

MQGB Valentin closeup quilting

I machine embroidered the quilt label and one of our bee memberes stitched it down by hand. Who would have thought that Aurifil’s cotton thread doubles up as embroidery thread, too?!

MQGB Valentin machine embroidery

This is the finished label and you can see the flannel backing I chose. Don’t you love it when the stars line up and you find the perfect backing?!

MQGB Valentin backing and label

As for the binding… never change a winning team, right? It seems like my triple zig zag stitch and I are BFF.

MQGB Valentin binding

For the binding fabric I chose a rather subtle one. I tried different colours from the original colour scheme but all blues and greens that I tried were… just… too much.

I rather like the effect of this lower toned binding (if I dare say so myself).

MQGB Valentin folded

Here’s one last shot of the quilt with part of the backing flipped over.

MQGB Valentin flipped over

If you’d like to see my friend unwrapping the quilt during our last MQG Bielefeld sew-in, hop over to our website.

Is anyone interested in a tutorial for the wonky pinwheel blocks? I wrote a quick and easy tutorial for our bee members. It is in german but I could translate it if someone should be interested. Just leave me a comment (o:

Oh and by special request I took photos of the binding process so there’s a tutorial on that triple zig zag binding coming soon!

Thank you very much for stopping by.
Happy Quilting!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Gemmed – a baby girl quilt

After facing the epic fail of the bearding quilt. I quickly decided that I needed to make a second, a better quilt for my new (and first) niece.

My sister did NOT want all those pink and rosy colours so I opted for low volume fabrics with some colour mixed in.


Trimming blocks in girl-ish fabrics – that does not happen often over here… I might even have enjoyed the tedious work. A bit.


I let the blocks form little wonky multicolour gems. With just a bit of pink or violet or rose. Then I backed it with a multicolour dotted flannel, chose a variegating Aurifil thread, grading from blue over pink into white, and free motion quilted it with “organic” straight lines…

Karla Quilting

… and little petals within the gems.

Karla Details of Quilting

It makes a lovely design on the back of the quilt (if I dare say so myself):

Karla Quilting detail

This time I added the lettering after I finished the quilting. First and last time. Period.

Karla Applique

Do I need to mention that I bound it with a triple-zig-zag-stitch?
No. I always do and always will.

Karla Binding and Backing

BUT I will mention how much I looooooove the binding I chose (shameless self-praise). Following the low volume theme, I chose a fabric stating “security is a thumb and a blanket” (must be the Peanuts / Charlie Brown?!). I really love the effect it has on the quilt and how it matches a baby quilt in particular.

Here’s another shot:

Karla Binding

Well, here it is, the “remedy” for the bearding quilt:


Well, this was a lot of recap in a short time.
Now I desparately need to sew - otherwise I won’t have anything new to show you!

Happy quilting!

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