Wednesday, 30 March 2016

WIP Wednesday: Closer to Finishes

Having some extra free time over March Break meant that all of the current WIPs I'm working on are moving toward finishes.

The Quilt of Belonging blocks made by the second graders all got their colourful borders. There will also be thin strips of black between each block to mimic the real Quilt of Belonging. Currently the bottom row is missing two blocks- one with the name of the school, class and date, embroidered by the teaching assistant from the class, and one made by a member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations, a local person from the First Nations community where the school was built (on their traditional territory). Then a black sashing strip all the way around and between each row, and I get on to piecing a grey and black backing with a stack of rainbow rectangles.
I also made a pillow out of the paper pieced butterfly I made for my goddaughter. Now I'm avoiding the hand sewing that is required. I really suck at hand sewing.
Did I overdo it with the clips?
I also managed to baste and quilt AeroPlus. It needs the binding made so I can get this one finished and off to the new, one-month-old owner who lives in Ottawa!
Straight line quilting to match the Greek crosses.

I did have this frustrating glitch. Booo. I was almost finished when I noticed. Fortunately it was near a corner, and with some stitch ripping, some pressing and more 505 Spray,  I was able to smooth this right out with no ill effects.

I am hoping that my next finish will be AeroPlus, followed by Little Eyes, my daughter's I-Spy quilt which is basted and waiting for quilting.

If only every week was March Break!

Monday, 28 March 2016

Shop Hop & Some New Acquisitions

A couple of weeks ago, over March Break, I was fortunate enough to have a day to go on a mini shop hop with quilty friends A and C. I wanted to go the Quilter's Nine Patch because I have no idea how to even get there on my own (A always leads the way!) and it is a bit far to be considered "local."
It is on this corner in what seems like the middle of nowhere, attached to a gift store and a little restaurant.
The store is really interesting because they have catered to both modern and traditional quilters. The thing is, looking at the traditional area with the sample quilts and muted, flowery fabrics had me reflecting on my own quilting obsession.
I think it is safe to say that most people picture this sort of thing when you mention quilting.

Looking at this dark, muted area of the store I know that I would not be such an enthusiastic quilter if these were my only options.
Part of the appeal of quilting for me are the modern fabrics and colours that I associate with the modern quilting movement. I have always admired quilts and quilting, but my own enthusiasm came from finding beautiful fabric that I felt was modern and clean and crisp, not the browns and maroons and flowers that used to dominate the quilting world.
You would think that this was a different store from the change in aesthetic, right?
So I am so glad that I came to quilting when I did, when the modern quilting world is huge and present on Instagram, Facebook, blogs and, most importantly, visible through the fabric lines being produced by people like Carolyn Friedlander, Lizzy House, Tula Pink, Violet Craft and more.

We also went to another quilt store, Greenwood Quiltery, and to Triangle Sewing for some notions.

Here is my very reasonable haul:
Kona Black (for the Quilt of Belonging) and some new fine, glasshead pins were things I actually needed. Some Tula navy, Elizabeth Olwen and Elizabeth Hartman Rhoda Ruth also followed me home.
Also, A was making a trip into the north end of Toronto a few days before our shop hop and planned to stop at Sew Sisters. She kindly asked if there was anything I needed or wanted her to pick up. I quickly got in touch with Judy, who runs (and owns?) Sew Sisters and arranged for there to be a bolt of Kona White for A to pick up for me! I'm so glad since my last bolt was finished a few weeks ago and it was going to get hard to keep going soon!
Only 16 yards? I'll need more next week!
Not a huge stack of pretty purchased, and I didn't get any batting which I need desperately, but it was an awesome day with friends who are easy to spend time with, and I got things I did need like the Black and the pins. Worthwhile for sure!

Now I wait for my two must-have orders to arrive in the mail/coming home to me from Florida with my mother-in-law. A very low Canadian dollar and obscene shipping rates sure help from splurging on fabric too much lately!

Friday, 18 March 2016

Tumbi: A Finished Quilt

I have a new nephew arriving before the end of March and he has an elephant themed nursery. When I heard this I thought of making a paper pieced elephant. Fresh off my success with the butterfly I made using the Take Wing pattern, I jumped in and bought the Elephant pattern from Tartan Kiwi. The pattern was not as well written as the Take Wing pattern, and thank goodness I was fresh off another paper piecing project so I could troubleshoot. I still had to pull out some seams and come up with some creative solutions, but the end result is one dapper elephant!

He is two feet by two feet (so, HUGE!) and I bordered him on either side using the free tutorial for Rectangles Squared by Film in the Fridge. My sister-in-law was not decided if she wanted navy or teal or turquoise as the accent colour along with the grey in the nursery, so I used all of them and knew it would all look good together! She has not seen this quilt or pattern, and even on Instagram I have been doing "secret sewing" so it will remain a surprise. (She doesn't read my blog). I can't wait to meet my new nephew and gift him his elephant quilt!

I named it Tumbi, a Tamil word for elephant.
This quilt is actually quite large for a baby quilt, probably more of a crib or lap quilt. I hope it gets lots of tummy time use.
All of these fabrics were from my stash. Hooray for that! The inevitable Pearl Bracelets from Lizzy House, some subtle Tula (who knew that existed?) from her Fox Field line, Cotton+Steel and some other ones that have been floating around for awhile just waiting for a project like this! The binding is Art Gallery Squared Elements in a dark grey that I had from another project. It was ideal for this quilt!

I added this organic straight-ish line quilting so it looked like the elephant was walking around on a hilly landscape. I'm not sure if that it the effect, but I like it none the less.

The back is all one print, which my husband loves but is not my favourite. I think my sister-in-law will prefer it, though, and I had lots of this print so I went for it.

I bought this on clearance some time ago and don't remember who made it, but I do know this colour is "blueberry" because I thought that was a fun name for this blue.

I also have a stack of flannel baby blankets ready for him. My sister-in-law is 38 weeks pregnant, so anytime now would be great since baby is cooked!

I hope she really loves this quilt and appreciates all the work that went into that sweet (giant) elephant!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday!
Also linking up with TGIFF over at A Quarter Inch from the Edge with my bloggy friend Jenn!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Um, what?

There are some discount fabric stores in a sort of local distance from me called Len's Mills. It has a mishmash of weird items (mostly home sort of things) that I think are leftovers from other stores that this store then sells off. It is a jumbled mix of low quality things with the very odd addition of a fabric store in the back. The fabric section is equally bizarre- lots of low end and weird items mixed in with awesome finds like the occasional Cotton +Steel or OOP fabrics from Lizzy House. The prices are amazing, but you really have to hunt.

I ended up at one of these stores recently and had to take some picture of fabrics that made me say "Um what?" As in, how did these fabrics get made? Who thought "This is a great fabric! I'm sure there are so many great projects that people will want to make with this!"

This is the exterior of one of the locations. It is not  like it gives any indication as to what is inside!
Exhibit A: Spanish/English panels? Is this supposed to make a little book, or? And why is it in Southern Ontario? An odd, ugly bolt of fabric to be sure.
Not a lot of donkeys around here. And why do the children look deformed?

Exhibit B: This terrifying frog watching you from this bolt while wearing his chef hat. Who is buying this fabric?? For what purpose? Maybe you are looking for fabric with a french chef frog. But a terrifying one like this guy? *shudder*
 I think this frog has been into the wine.
Exhibit C: Religious fabric with what I presume is the Virgin Mary. What is getting made with this fabric? Is there a religious grandma somewhere who really likes the Blessed Mother to be on her quilts? And in these colours? I don't get it.

These are huge, too. So, giant Virgin Marys. For some reason.
Exhibit D: Patriotic AND ugly. Okay, so this store gets overstock from the United States, obviously. Because this patriotic little girl is probably not a big seller in Canada. But even if this was in the United States, what project is this fabric involved with? Why do you need giant American flag makers on your quilt? Help me understand a situation when this would be the obvious choice of fabric.
Couldn't they make this fabric just slightly more American?
The friend I was shopping with found this shiny monstrosity, which I will call Exhibit E. Um, what? Who is wearing this fabric? Or curtains maybe? Is it sheer. And gold. And purple. And scratchy. And explain why this would ever be a good choice?
All of this ugly fabric was matched by some ugly wool I found:
When, WHEN is this a good colour combination? No. Just no.
Now, some of the intentional ugly and cheesy fabric is awesome. Like Exhibit F: Super awesome Star Trek the Next Generation fabric. I kind of wanted one. But I couldn't imagine this in a quilt. Like, ever.
Must be season one if Tasha Yarr is there.
I did manage to find some fabrics worth purchasing:
Those Star Wars fabrics are for an upcoming quilt for a kid, and those typewriters were calling me. That Robert Kaufman fabric is too cute and was pretty darn cheap.

So, explain to me. How do some of these fabrics get made? When would they ever look good?

P.S. Here are some bonus fabrics that I simply cannot imagine in anything attractive, courtesy of the Sale section of a LQS.
Um, for your farmer friend?
For people who really, really like broccoli?

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

WIP Wednesday: Variety Reduces Boredom

With the little snippets of time I can carve out for sewing with little people underfoot, I have been back and forth between working on a Greek Cross baby quilt (tentatively named AirPlus) and assembling the Quilt of Belonging. 

I was feeling unmotivated to work on the Greek crosses because it involves lots of monotonous chain piecing (to be efficient). So I made one block to motivate me...and it worked!
How cute is this block? Greek crosses look awesome.

Stacks of blocks to press and then get back to chain piecing.

Piles growing as I plodded along.
And I actually got all the blocks pieced in a fairly short amount of time! Here it is laid out on the floor. I now have all the rows pieced and the first three rows assembled. But that was getting boring.
I love how this quilt is bright and cheerful but not too baby.
So because the repetitive piecing was getting boring, I laid out and selected the solids for the Quilt of Belonging blocks. Being in the Sew Sisters Kona solid of the month club sure has been useful for having a wide selection to choose from.
Since the photo was taken I have finished the reds and oranges. I'm hoping to get yellows done today. There will also be Kona Black in between each block to mimic the original quilt.
And for a fun bonus, I'm sharing another example of all the help I get when I'm trying to sew.
He didn't understand why lying on top of the blocks wasn't helping.
I can't link up to WIP Wednesday because Freshly Pieced has stopped doing it, but since WIP Wednesday motivates me I'm posting anyway!