Friday, October 28, 2011

Not Quite Quilting...

But at least my sewing machine is practicing for the next quilting project! The skirt is for a Grease-themed party this Saturday. I think I was a 50s girl for Halloween once upon a time, too!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Distracted Again

Once again, it's been far too long since I've blogged. Even worse, I haven't announced the winner of my 5 year blogging anniversary give-away winner! It's lucky Chook from Australia! I will have the mini-quilt in the mail by the end of next week! Here is the label I attached to the quilt:

I did do some sewing in September - 20 bags for the upcoming FinnQuilt event to be held in Vaasa in March 2012. Here they are photographed in the late afternoon autumn sun:

Finally, an admission. Over the past couple years, I've been distracted by knitting, then crocheting. (More info about the on-going challenge here.) In September, I enrolled in a weaving course here in Vaasa. I'm totally smitten and am already considering purchasing a loom!

Don't worry, though, I'm still a quilter, too! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Celebrating 5 Years of Blogging!

I have been quite inconsistent over these five years - lots of posts, then radio silence - but it's always been fun. Learning to knit and crochet has taken time away from quilting a bit, but I'm glad to have completed two large projects this summer, mostly made of fabric I had in my stash. I'm hoping to finish a few more large projects before the end of the year.

To celebrate having reached the fifth birthday of Life's a Quilt, I am hosting a give-away. This mini quilt was made with scraps from Summer Berries, with some white added. Maybe you could hang it on your wall, use it on top of a dresser, or tuck in a doll for the night... It measures 15"x21" and is machine pieced and hand-quilted with pearl cotton. My stitching is pretty uneven, but I hope it adds to the homemade appeal! The only way to improve is to practice! The back is the same Marimekko fabric I used on the Summer Berries quilt and has a small label. Anyone who reads this blog can be eligible to win if they leave a comment on this post. I'll draw a winner at random next Sunday evening (September 4th). If you would use them, I'll add a few Marimekko scraps in the winner's package. Good luck and thanks for visiting my blog!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Berries Quilt

Summer Berries 36-Patch
Summer Berries Close-up

Thanks to Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts for the inspiration! You can see other people's beautiful quilts-in-progress on Flickr. The quilt is 84"x84" and was quilted on my trusty Bernina.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Five Years of Blogging - Upcoming Give Away!

It rained here today, so no chance to go to the market square for more flea market hunting (probably better for the bank account), and the Summer Berries quilt is labeled and washed and drying (unfortunately) inside. I'm hoping to have a good outdoor photo tomorrow! In the meantime, there's been more progress on my granny square afghan and a little new sewing. I'm making a little mini quilt with some scraps from Summer Berries. Here's the finished top:

It's 15"x21" and will have the same backing and binding as the original quilt. I'm going to host a give away to celebrate reaching five years of blogging this week, so stay tuned for a post where you can leave a comment and enter to win! I'll mail anywhere and think that I'll throw in some Marimekko scraps as an added bonus.

The group afghan I've been working with two friends is finished now, and it was my job to wash and block it. I took it out of the washer last night and could have cried. There was a big hole in it! I'm pretty sure was the first block I made - my first granny square ever. I hope I've improved since then. The center three rounds had come undone. I'm happy to say that I figured out how to fix it. I hope to never have to use this skill again.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Finlands Största Loppis!

Since I've spent most of the summer here in and around Vaasa, I've enjoyed visiting several charity shops/flea markets/yard sales. Yesterday I traveled 75km north with two friends to Finland's largest flea market, Juthbackamarknaden, held in August every year in Nykarleby. I was tempted to add to my collection of plates (mostly Arabia)... I found two more of the small plates in the photo - I already had four at home. The white plates with red rim looked so cute with the small ones, so now I have six of those, too, plus an oval platter to match. The cream and sugar set is also Arabia, more modern, with red and light blue stripes. The covered container on the left is from Czechoslovakia, too cute to pass up, and priced to move since it wasn't Arabia!

För ni som förstår svenska, här finns en liten radiopjäs om Juthbackamarknaden det här året.

On the sewing front, I'm working on bindings. They don't make for very exciting photos. Here's one of the back to give a sense of the quilting on the Summer Berries quilt. I'm hoping to put a label on it today!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Art Night in Vaasa

I'm busy pin-basting my Summer Berries quilt, and it doesn't make for very exciting photos, so I thought I'd post a picture of the poster for this year's Art Night in Vaasa. I love the design of the poster this year. Two high points for me were a street theater/city tour production that started at Wasa Teater and the blues singing of a friend's granddaughter. My only complaint with Konstens Natt is that there is too much to do on one evening - I'd rather it were spread out a bit more throughout the year!

I calculated that I'm going to use almost 900 pins to baste this. That seems excessive.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Only a Minor Setback

I wanted to start my day today by sewing together the final Summer Berries blocks, but almost as soon as I started, my iron sputtered and let off a burning smell. I suppose it had a good run - almost 8 years, purchased in Romania in 2003. I headed downtown, and a few hours later I returned home with a shiny new iron. The cord is shorter than my old one, but otherwise I'm please so far with my new Tefal iron.

This was only a minor setback, though, and I now have a finished top! It's 84"x84", made up of 49 36-patch squares. (The photo is from before I sewed the blocks together, but it is the final layout.) I hope to start pin-basting it tomorrow!

Berry Backing

Inspired by a visit to Österbottens Museum yesterday to see a scaled-down version of the Marimekko exhibit I saw in Helsinki in March, and with the help of my two knitting-picnic friends, I've decided to use this Kivet (Stones) fabric as the backing for my Summer Berries quilt. Even if it's a little orangy, the colors are rich like the ones on the front and the stones look like berries! (The stones are about 3 3/4 inches in diameter.)

Here's one of my favorite blocks so far: (I just need a couple more to reach 49!)

Monday, August 08, 2011

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Four More Berry Blocks

I have four more of my Summer Berries blocks now, thanks to fabric my mom tracked down at Maine Quilts. Still aiming for 49 blocks in all.

Here's an updated photo of the project I've been working on with two friends as a retirement gift for one of our colleagues. The photo was taken while on our weekly summer knitting/crocheting picnic (knitnic/cricnic). We're still going to do a few rounds of the aqua yarn that joins the squares around the outer edge. These are the same two friends involved with the annual knitting/crocheting challenge (9 pairs of socks in 2009, 10 pairs of mittens in 2010, 11 scarves/shawls in 2011). We're considering 12 projects made (mostly) of modular crocheted units in 2012. Catchy name, eh?

It's hard not to post photos of the Christmas presents I've been working on. Here's a little peak at something:

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Sewing, But Not Posting

I've been doing a lot of sewing this week, but can't post too many photos, because I'm working on several projects that I hope will be Christmas presents. Hopefully, the new fabrics for my 36-patch Summer Berries quilt will arrive soon from the US so I can post more photos soon! In the meantime, here's a photo of my sometimes assistant, Findus, with fabrics for a top-secret project.

I've also been doing some crocheting:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Running Out of Fabric

Well, I'm not really running out of fabric, but I am running out of fabric for this project. I have 25 6x6 squares now, but hope to enlarge it to 7x7 (making a total of 84"x84"). I'm thinking of starting another project with 2"x2" squares in the meantime...

Monday, July 25, 2011

6 x 6 x 6

After a few days away, I've managed to make six more 6x6 blocks. I haven't decided how large to make the quilt yet, but so far they're pretty quick and addictive (much like the crochet squares I'm also working on)!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

2" Squares

I posted a photo of this top back in April and finally added a few more rows of 2" squares around it today. I think it's finished now at 54"x70". I just need to piece together some batting scraps in order to move onto the next step!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


LinkI've decided to join the 36-patch quilt-a-long!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Before and After

Last week I went to a few flea markets with two friends. I came home with a few treasures and rescued a quilt top. It was a pretty homely looking quilt top (although it photographed quite well here!). Mixed types of fabrics, uneven seams, a few bumps so that it didn't quite lie flat, neon green thread, but the colors were fun, and it looked so sad there that I couldn't leave it behind.

I had just realized a few days before that I was lacking a good picnic blanket. Voila! I added the two rows of 9.5" finished string blocks (foundation pieced on muslin, as the original was foundation pieced on a variety of similarly colored fabrics) and used a large piece of fabric I'd bought at the Finlayson outlet in Tampere a few years ago for the back. The finished picnic quilt is approximately 52"x77". The binding is a repurposed pillowcase. I didn't use any batting here; I assumed the extra layer(s) of fabric from the foundation piecing was enough weight. I also tied this quilt with pearl cotton as there was no way to make the original blocks lie flat without taking the whole thing apart. This is only the second quilt I've tied - it's more work than I thought!

I did another quick makeover project this week, as well. My ironing board cover was disgusting. (I'm almost too embarrassed to post a photo here.) I didn't care too much how it looked from the underside, so this took no more than 20 minutes to whip up! This new cover made ironing the string blocks much more fun!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Yes, Clare, there is actual sewing going on here!

This is not one of the many projects I had planned on working on this summer, but was a spontaneous decision. I'll explain the whole story when I post the finished photo very soon! These squares are 10" unfinished and are made mostly with scraps and some thrifted fabrics.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What I've Been Up To Since I Last Posted (Part 4)

I've been... (4) knitting and crocheting:

I'm working on a collaborative project with two friends and have learned how to crochet granny squares. They are seriously addictive.

I'm also very close to meeting the goal for our 11 scarves/shawls in 2o11 challenge! More information here and here.

Now, as soon as I clean up my sewing space, it will be back to regularly scheduled (quilting) programming here. I'll try not to stay away so long again!

What I've Been Up To Since I Last Posted (Part 3)

I've been... (3) watching hedgehogs in my neighborhood:

Friday, July 15, 2011

What I've Been Up To Since I Last Posted (Part 2)

I've been... (2) traveling:

I've done a bit of traveling in Estonia, Latvia, Germany, and a little closer to home in Finland, too!

on the way to EstoniaArt Nouveau Museum in RigaRiga Opera Festival
Halleluja Berlin!concert at the Waldbühne27-hour ferry from Travemünde to HelsinkiOravais Summer Theater (the seating rotated 360°!)Kimo Mill museum area