Saturday 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas/God Jul!!!

Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas!
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Monday 28 November 2011

Wolverines playing

I haven't had much chance to sew lately, so I don't have much to show that's quilt related. However I really want to share a little video I made when I went to the Nordic Ark with my family in the beginning of this month:

When we were there they had six wolverines, and we got to see two of the cubs playing for a really long time. This was on a Monday morning, and we were more or less the only people in the park at the time, and a couple of the wolverines came up close to the fence - this is my Dad saying hi the one we nicknamed Finn

(there's a whole long story behind the name - if any Norwegians out there have read the Knut Gribb stories, they might figure it out ;-))

Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Friday 18 November 2011

The baby quilt... finally finished and was dropped off yesterday afternoon. I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and I think the lady who ordered it was very happy:

The top is machine pieced and appliquéd. There's Quilter's Dream cotton batting and a soft and cuddly fleece on the back so the little baby boy it's for will have it nice and comfy. I machine quilted it in the same pattern I used on my Chimneys and Cornerstones quilt. Sorry I didn't get too great a photo of it, but lamplight doesn't work well with my camera, but the pic should be clickable for a closer look.

Hope I can catch up on some other sewing this weekend! Have a great and creative couple of days ;-)
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Wednesday 26 October 2011

What I'm currently working on

I'm on a short break from my Mill Girls quilt to finish a baby quilt for one of the ladies I work with. Think this will be pretty on a little boy's pram or cot ;-)

Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Monday 17 October 2011

Mill Girls - the beginning

Friday was the first day of the Mill Girls Quilt-Along on the SBS-and-other-Elm-Creek-Quilts yahoo group. Assignment for this week is 1) to pick the fabrics you'd like to use (I have chosen a layer cake of Buttercup by FigTree and a white-on-white background), 2) cut the pieces for all the blocks, and 3) if you have the time piece the first 30 hourglass units. I was very tempted to see how the blocks would look, so I pieced together three:

Pretty happy with them :-) And it was so great to find some time to spend with Bernie, too!
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Thursday 13 October 2011

Tilda Angel

Not much sewing going on here. During these first weeks of October I've only finish a Tilda Angel for a birthday pressie,

Since finishing this Bernie has pretty much been asleep, but I do have some sewing/quilting lined up, and hope to have something more to share soon. 

Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

PS! And a quick reminder - if you would like to participate in the Mill Girls quilt-along, it starts tomorrow morning :-)

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Author's Album Blocks

Hard to believe it's been way over a week since my last post - main reason: I haven't sewn a stitch in ages, and those pictures I talked about in my previous post I still haven't sorted through. But I thought I'd share some signature blocks I worked on this summer, and who are now traveling around the world:

These are blocks for a swap with the SBS-and-other-Elm-Creek-Quilts yahoo group from a pattern in Jennifer Chiaverini's pattern book More Elm Creek Quilts.. They were very fiddly to get to the right size, and some of them are a hair off, but I hope the girls won't have any trouble sewing the block they receive into their quilts. The stipulation was 8" blocks made using Kona Cotton Cream and a Civil War reproduction of choice. I used a fabric from Windham's Gettysburg Civil War VIII line.

Debbie, who is the swap hostess, kindly shared a picture of the blocks she received from all who participated before she sent them out. Since the blocks are still en-route between the US and Norway, I have "borrowed" her pic to share. Looks great doesn't it? This will be a very pretty quilt! Can hardly wait for my block package to arrive :-)

Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Friday 16 September 2011

Akershus castle by night

Culture night in Oslo tonight and we have had a lovely time starting at farmer's market, seeing the palace chapel, the annual autumn art exhibition, a short fjord cruise, hot chocolate at the peace center and fireworks at the warf. I'll sort through my pictures and share some of my impressions one of these days. This is the last picture I was able to take before power ran out on my camera, and since this camera really doesn't perform well in dim light, I'm positively surprised. And the white "blob" is actually the moon :-)

Wishing everyone in blogland a wonderful weekend!
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Sunday 11 September 2011

Bogstad gård

As mentioned in my previous post I thought I'd share some of the pictures I took at Bogstad gård. It is a beautiful and historic site and well worth a visit if you are in Oslo. They offer tours of the manor house during the summer, but we didn't go inside this time.

In the years from mid 1600s to the mid 1900s Bogstad was the center of a large corporation, consisting of thousands of acres of wood, three blast furnaces, many sawmills and other businesses. The manor house was the family home, while it was the administration center and entertainment facilities for the company.

The owners were central in Norwegian politics, among them Peder Anker, the first Norwegian prime minister after the end of the union with Denmark in 1814, and his son in-law count Herman Wedel-Jarlsberg.

Leisha beside the courtyard fountain

Bogstad surrounded by one of our oldest English landscape parks, this is today a popular recreation area

Some of the younger maple trees has started to turn yellow

The last of the summer flowers

These were quite small, and such a lovely shade of purple

We walked back to the tube station rather than wait for the buss, and turning back when we had walked a bit around the lake this was our view

A lovely place to visit :-)
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Saturday inspiration

Yesterday was a beautiful warm and sunny day here in Oslo, and my friend Leisha and I spent the day at the beautiful and historic Bogstad Manor. Our main reason for going was to see this:

Kirsti Hovland is such a talented fabric artist! The exhibition covers the development of writing from stone age to modern computer age. She has dyed and printed most of the fabrics herself to get the look of stone, wood and metal, and the execution of the quilts are so wonderful! She has also If you live within traveling distance of Bogstad, you should definitely go have a look! There is so much to look at, but here's a peek at my favorite pieces. 

This is a series of six small quilts showing the timeline she has covered - and it was so beautiful,and detailed 

This quilt was inspired by the petroglyphs in the area around Alta in Northern Norway (see the northern light in the borders?) - and one of my two top favorites 

Bronze age - love the combination of those strict lines in the piecing and the soft contours of the appliqué

This is the quilt I kept going back to - I have always had a soft spot for the Thousands of Pyramids pattern (never sewed it, though!), and I just loved the combination of an easily recognizable quilt pattern with the older Futhark (rune alphabet) appliqued as a border. And I love those little bursts of colured pieces of fabric in the binding 

Here's a quilt that probably don't need an explanation - isn't it amazing how easily recognizable the stem of a viking ship is? And I love the combination of the "wood carving" cable and the younger Futhark in the borders

Medieval writing on vellum - you can just feel the texture of it :-)

A jump to more modern time - isn't this one fun? - newspapers on news print

And this contemporary series in black/grey/green - so much fun

I say it again - if you can go see this, DO! It's open for another week. I also took lots of pictures at the manor and farm - will share those in my next post :-) Wishing everyone a wonderful Sunday!
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Saturday 10 September 2011

"Elm Creek stuff"

The SBS-And-Other-Elm-Creek-Quilts yahoo group is starting up another quilt-along from Jennifer Chiaverini's pattern book More Elm Creek Quilts. This time around we are doing Mill Girls

This is another great quilt to clear up in your scrap box, so if you want to join in the fun, get your hands on the book and pop over to the yahoo-group and sign up :-) The starting date is October 14th and we will officially keep going for 9 weeks, but of course you can sew at your own speed.

Mary is having a wonderful giveaway on her blog - so if you want a chance to win a copy of the two upcoming Elm Creek books (one novel one pattern book), pop over to Mary's blog Quiltin' Grandma

Wishing everyone a great weekend!
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Monday 5 September 2011

Christmas Greetings From Elm Creek Manor - September

This weekend I finally found some time to sit down at the sewing machine and finished up some swap blocks (I'll share those later), and I managed to get this month's block of our BOM Christmas Greetings from Elm Creek Manor done - this is Star of Bethlehem:

Anyone remembering the block for April (or scroll down to the next picture *lol*) will see this has the same construction as the Star of the Magi block - but I had some trouble getting this one together - for some reason the points didn't want to line up properly, it turned out a tad on the large side, and there are some strange pressing lines. But at one point I had to say enough is enough, and this was the best it would be, and hopefully I can adjust the setting for the blocks to compensate for the bit it is off size. 

And once I was at it I just had to pull the other blocks out of the drawer and lay them out together just to see what they looked like

Can't believe we're half way though this BOM already - seems like we started just last week!

Happy week, everyone!
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Thursday 1 September 2011

Still here...

Just been busy doing other things than spending time with Bernie. So till I have something quilty to show, please enjoy this pic of evening at the parking lot at the Nordic Ark ;-)
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Saturday 20 August 2011

Lucinda's Gift is DONE!!! + a few free motion quilting tips

A few hours of listening to Arnaldur Indriðasson's (fabulous Icelandic crime writer!) novels about Erlendur and the police in Reykjavik on my MP3 player, and a few sore fingertips later I finally have finished my Lucinda's Gift. I'm so happy with how it turned out! I was a bit worried when I pieced it that the contrast wouldn't be good enough since I have used fabrics that could be "medium" both in the dark sections and the lights. But the reds really separates the two sections, and I love the textured appearance from all the scraps.

Even the binding turned out better than I had thought - when I was stitching it down it looked a bit lighter than I would have liked, but once it was all done, that narrow strip really look good - if I do say so myself ;-) And I managed to use up some scraps on the back too - a bit weird, but I can live with it *lol*

Elin made a request at my previous post for a tutorial on free motion quilting. I don't really have an idea for how to build up a great tutorial at the moment, but I know there are some really good ones out there to watch.- have a look at the links at the bottom of this post :-) But anyways, I thought I'd make a list of things that work for me when doing free motion quilting on a domestic sewing machine.

Sewing machine
Get familiar with your machine! Play with it - it is your friend, and you are supposed to have fun together! Make some samples and try out different settings. Some machines will let you quilt very well with your feed dogs in a raised position, on others you have to lower them or cover them. Also get to know your darning foot - what will it let you do, and what won't it. Also use a fresh needle for quilting!

Don't use a heavy batting or batting with high loft. Remember you have to squeeze some of the bulk through the short arm of the machine, so don't chose something that will cause you stress. If you want a heavy or thick winter quilt I suggest you either split the quilt in sections and quilt it according to the "quilt-as-you-go" method, hand quilt it or take it to a long arm quilter.

This is another one of those "try and see what works for you" ;-) Usually I pin baste my quilts - even if it does take some time and can be tough on the fingers, it is the easiest for me, and the safety pins are quick and easy to remove as I get to them while quilting.

If I'm in a hurry or if I' certain I'm going to wash the quilt once it is done I glue baste. I used glue for Lucinda's Gift and it held up beautifully. But it is a messy process so I try to avoid it, though.

But for quilts I know will take me time to complete I baste with a smooth and highly visible thread to put as little strain as possible on the fabric.

Chose a thread that is soft at pliable. A heavy weight cotton that has not been waxed is usually nice to quilt with. And I actually love to quilt with machine embroidery thread, it does give a different feel and look to a quilt, especially after it has been washed, but it is worth a try.

Test the thread tension on your sewing machine with different threads - you will have to adjust it depending on type and thickness, and not all threads will work well with your machine.

Use the same quality thread in the top and the bobbin. I know some recommend you use the same colour/shade at top/bottom as well, but if your thread tension is right you can quilt with different colours without it being a problem.

You will need something on your hands to give you a better grip on the quilt sandwich. Personally I loooove LicketyGrip - a gel you rub onto your hands. The little box is fairly expensive, but it lasts a really long time and is good value for your money.

If you don't want to use chemicals you can try quilting gloves bought at the quilt shop, they work very well and last a long time - it took me a couple of years to wear out a pair ;-)

Gardening gloves - they work a treat and are heaps cheaper, but they tend to be very warm, and make sure to get some with colourless rubber tips or you will find spots on your quilt!

Moving gloves - you know the cotton knit ones with rubber dots? - work like a charm! I have talked to women who quilt with washing up gloves and apparently they work well.

And you know those rubber finger tips you get at the stationary section at the book shop? Also great, especially if you don't like wearing gloves/mittens.

The quilting
Relax and have fun! You put a lot of strain on your arms and shoulders, so use any means to relax you - an audio book or some relaxing music, a cup of tea or perhaps a glass of wine, etc. Don't quilt for too long at a time! No more than half an hour at the machine without a break.

If you look at old quilting books they recommend you roll up your quilt into a tight package with a small square open for quilting. I don't like that! I like to have the quilt in soft folds around the sewing machine so I can see where I've been and where I'm going. It also makes it easier for me to turn the quilt at an angle and to "mush" the it under the arm of the machine.

Plan out your quilting. Divide the quilt into quarters so that you never have more than half the sandwich under the arm of the machine, and start at the center and work your way out. Here's an example of what usually works for me:

Don't try to cover a large space in one go - just concentrate on what is on the board of your sewing machine and you can see between your hands when you hold the quilt. One section at a time and you will eventually have quilted the whole quilt.

Make up loads of samples, turn them into cushions and fill your sofa ;-) Remember practice makes perfect - and don't expect perfection. The most important is to have fun and produce something you are happy with!

My favorite tutorials for free motion quilting
The videos I have learned the most from are Patsy Thompson's - have a look at the videos on her website: I absolutely love these, she really explain things so well!

If you don't want to sit down and watch a video, there's a nice picture tutorial on Vicki's blog on the basics:

Free motion quilting is very much about imagination and sometimes you get stuck thinking up a pattern - Leah Day have some great patterns to try, there are loads of videos on her blog:

Hope everyone are enjoying the weekend
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Friday 12 August 2011

Quilting Lucinda's Gift

I did have high hopes of having several quilting sessions over the evenings of this week, but today is Friday, and my first session with Bernie and Lucinda's Gift

It's a slow process - I'm quilting it quite densely, but I think it will be pretty when I'm done ;-) 

Have a wonderful weekend!
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Saturday 6 August 2011

Lucinda's Gift update

I have managed to get my Lucinda's Gift quilt top together and I'm very happy with how it turned out!

Now I need to piece the backing and layer it - hopefully I can do that over this weekend, and then I can start on quilting it - woohoo :-)

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Oh, and another picture from the Nordic Ark - meet one of their red pandas 

isn't he just the cutest thing?

Tuesday 2 August 2011

August BOM block and a very pretty girl

This weekend was our annual girl's trip to Nordens Ark (The Nordic Ark) in Sweden. As usual we had a fabulous time, and apart from a much needed short thunderstorm around mid-day on Sunday the weather played nice. I took over 700 pictures over the two days, and it's gonna take me some time to sort through them all, but I want to share one of my favorites from one of the major highlights of the trip - we got to watch this pretty girl named Sparta being fed:

Coming home I guess I was a bit more tired than I thought because my brain couldn't function properly. I was going to do the August block of the Christmas Greetings from Elm Creek Manor block of the month - "Glad Tidings". This looks like a simple block, doesn't it?

And it was, once I got my head wrapped around it! It only took two major errors, a block that's 1" too small (that's one for my orphan blocks box), and a night's sleep to get it right *lol*. Well, at least I learned something! Now I get to breathe before the September block :-)

Wishing everyone a fabulous week!
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Look how cute

On my way home from the library this afternoon I decided to cut through the park. The weather was lovely, and my goal was to bring my books home so that Anton and I could go enjoy the afternoon out on the grass. Coming down the steps in the park I ran into this little guy

Must have been just a cub as he was really small. His brother/sister was in the bushes, but wouldn't come out and play nice for the camera. The sun was blazing and it was really hot, so a group of kids brought their water bottles - see that water on the step? It was greatly appreciated :-)

And to think just the other day I was pondering how long it's been since I've seen a hedgehog!!
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Monday 25 July 2011

Border blocks

I still kept on stitching after yesterday's post, so now all my border blocks for my Lucinda's Gift Chimneys and Cornerstones quilt are done.

Looking at all the blocks together I can see that I probably should have mixed up my scraps a little bit more, especially the lights, but all in all I very pleased with how it turned out! It will be a pretty and fun quilt with lots of different prints and textures since I have mixed and matched all sorts of bits and pieces from my scrap box. Now to get the top stitched together :-)

Ups! I just notice looking at the picture that I have twisted a block the wrong way - need to make sure that doesn't happen when I sew the quilt together!

Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Sunday 24 July 2011

Chimneys and Cornerstones

Quilting is therapy - our small safe place where we can loose ourselves in beauty, instead of chaos. But time spent at the sewing machine stitching together soft and colorful pieces of cloth is also for reflection and thought. While listening to the disturbing reports of the tragedy that has taken place, I have worked on the border blocks for my Chimneys and Cornerstones quilt. 

As you know I started this quilt way before the occurrences on Friday, but over the last couple of days I have become more aware the symbolism of the block. The red squares stand for the warmth of the fireplace and the love of home, as well as the cornerstones of our lives and society. The light side of the block represent the joys and happiness of our lives while the dark side is for sorrow and tragedy. But as long as the fires keep burning and the cornerstones stand there will always be more joy than sadness. 

I do not have a fireplace in my flat, but will keep a candle burning for the lives cut short, those hurt and still missing, and all who experience loss and sorrow in the tragedy of this weekend. 

Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida

Friday 22 July 2011

I have had a couple of e-mails from people who has heard news from Norway about a bomb attack in the center of Oslo, and want to let you who read my blog that my loved ones and I are all right. Thank you so much for your concern! I wasn't in the city when it happened, but is a tad shaky watching the news seeing what has been going on a short distance from my flat.

My warmest thoughts to the families of the casualties both in the bombing in Oslo and the tragedy at Utøya!
Hugs and stitches from Anne Ida