Wednesday, 13 September 2017

WIP Wednesday: Back to School is Cramping My Style

I am back to work (as a teacher I have July and August off so I have more sewing time) and it has meant a real slow down in progress.

Here is what I am working on:
1. I have my Christmas Tree quilt top finished. I need to piece the backing and then baste and quilt it.

2. My #QBTravellingquilt exchange is set for September 16 which is also the first meeting of the West End Modern Quilt Guild- my first ever guild! It is brand new. I will let you know how it goes! I have a round this time with my friend C's quilt. I will only show you a sneak peek until she sees it in person.
Cutting through an Ex Libris panel is PAINFUL.

Marlowe does a good job keeping an eye on things.
3. I also basted my Snail Along Quilt (named Molasses) and have it ready to quilt when the opportunity next turns up.

4.  In addition I have been working away on both a quilt and a pillow for a new baby arriving in November to a very close friend. (The new baby's big sister is my goddaughter). This pattern from 3rd Story Workshop will be turned into a pillow for baby's nursery. Isn't it precious?

Now if only I didn't have to do things like feed my children or do all my school work!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Open Window: A Finished Quilt

A long, long time ago I bought a bundle of turquoise and orange fabric. I put it aside and years later revisited it and added some teal. I still wasn't sure but I picked a pattern ( I used the Squares and Strips tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew) and got to work.

When I was finished the quilt top it still was not what I had been planning it my head. The lack of white? Too much orange? I'm not sure. So I put it aside. Again.

The thing is, I don't like WIPs. I'm a finisher. And so this summer I pulled this out and finished it up. I decided that the recipient is my friend's mother, a wonderful woman who has had a rough go lately. That is why I named it Open Window.

The backing is some Joel Dewberry True Colours that I got at a good price last summer.

It is quilted with teal thread echoing each seam line for the larger blocks.

 I quite like the little 16-patch blocks. That raindrop fabric delights me.
The recipient ended up loving it, which is the best and most important thing. The weird outcome that I was not expecting, however, was that when I posted the finished quilt on my Instagram there are many people who love it! People who have never commented on my other finished quilt photos. I guess the lesson is that even though a quilt may not be to my taste, someone (or many someones!) will probably love it. 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Babies, Pineapples and Swimming Bags


Roar was gifted to a sweet little owner and I think she approves. (Babies on quilts- it never gets old. This is my favourite thank you).

Baby T on her new quilt. 


I am making the Pineapple Farm quilt by Elizabeth Hartman for my mother-in-law. She just built a new house and I am hoping to have this done by her birthday, December 17. I think the chances are only okay because MAN, Elizabeth Hartman patterns are complicated (but gorgeous!!)

Knowing my mother-in-law wants a mostly terracotta/dusty red colour scheme (so far outside of my personal taste) and that each body of the pineapple needs three fabrics with some variety of tone (not even accounting for the two fabrics per pineapple leaves), I made a page in my little quilting book to collect trios of fabric. This helped immensely on my latest shop hop (though my friends teased me about it- they just don't appreciate genius, I guess). 

All of the fabric has been cut to the initial size (3 10" squares per pineapple) but the sub-cutting is pretty intense so I've avoided it so far. And, like I said, this doesn't even account for the pineapple tops).
There will be more pineapple blog posts in my future, of that I am sure. Wish me luck.

Swimming Bags

My mom is amazing about watching my kids for me. She is generous with her time. I was pushing her generosity one week in August, however, when I asked her to watch my kids all day Wednesday and Thursday (getting here at 7:30 in the morning!) so I could do a writing contract for work, and then all day Friday so I could go on a shop hop. 

She told me that in payment she wanted me to make her a new swimming bag using the Chubby Charmer pattern. I made her one with fabrics she had bought on a whim about...three years ago? Four? And since she swims every single day the bag is a little worn through.

I had her jump into my stash and though she was reserved at first, as we pulled more and more fabrics and she could narrow down what was speaking to her and what wasn't, she honed in on this gorgeous combination. Like, I even love this combination and usually my mother's tastes are NOT my own.
I had very, very little yellow in my stash (my mom loves yellow) but this combination was just right. That solid is Kona Bluegrass, a personal favourite. That is a Heather Bailey print on top, and a very OOP Violet Craft on the right. Also two Elizabeth Hartman prints, some C+S sprinkle and I'm not sure about the others. That back yellow print that looks like little leaves or something will be the lining.
This will be something I putter away at over the next month or two. I am back to work in a week and it will be wild for some time, I imagine! Who knows how much sewing I will be able to sneak in!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

#QBtravellingquilt and One More Shop Hop

The #QBtravellingquilt continues. I finished my addition to A's quilt by using From Blank Pages' pattern My First Alphabet (this is the 3" size). I also, as per our challenge, used a new skill which was layered applique with free motion black outlines (say what??! I did applique??).

I love the result and she seemed to like it. Her quilt is colourful while still being quite soft-looking. The other two quilts are sooooo saturated by comparison but they all look amazing. I wish I had taken a picture of what my quilt looks like after C added some EPP stars (EPP!!!).
So pretty, isn't it?
 With my QB peeps we decided to go on a Toronto shop hop since our July shop hop took us West. We went to four stores: Sew Sisters, EweKnit, The Workroom and Len's Mill Toronto. I had never been to that Len's Mill and I loved it. Great selection, better organized than the Guelph location I usually go to and I found several yummy purchases. Plus the woman cutting our fabric was chatting with us and totally our kind of person. We invited her to come to lunch with us but she thought perhaps her boss would disapprove.

I only took pictures at The Workroom because it is in the new location and I had not yet been there. But I also had to take a picture of this graffiti mural right next The Workroom because it was just so good.
There's lots you can interpret from Make Good.

One angle of the new space.

More of the new space.
The Workroom is not my favourite, mostly because of their very high prices (most fabric is $19.99/m) but the space sure is beautiful! I found some fabrics that I liked and splurged. 

The end result of the trip was a lot of fabric- mostly reds because I needed a ton more reds to make a pineapple quilt for my mother-in-law for her new house (look for a future post on how that is going). There is a healthy amount of Alison Glass (from Len Mills) and that bottom fabric is an old Valorie Wells fabric I got at Sew Sisters that was in the extreme discount bin ($4.99/m). It is not my colour BUT it is perfect for the colours my MIL wants in her quilt, the fabric works well in terms of scale and the pattern sort of looks like fronds which works for pineapples and it was CHEAP. Sold. They only had 3 3/4m and I technically need 4 3/8m but I will piece something together to fill it out!

It was a great trip with wonderful friends and the high will have to last some time because C and I are going on a fabric fast from September 1- December 31. Note that the rules are:
1) No new fabric purchases from September 1-December 31.
2) Using gift cards doesn't count.
3) You can make one preorder of a must-have fabric.
4) You can purchase one pattern during that time if desired.

I'm sure we can do it. Especially because we both preordered a TON of new fabric from Dinkydoo fabrics that should be coming every day. Like, I need a new fabric shelf ton of fabric. :)

Sunday, 27 August 2017

WIP: Improv Christmas Trees

Ages ago- on Pinterest? Instagram? a blog?- I came across Diary of a Quilter's Improv Christmas Tree tutorial and I was charmed. I love the wonky trees and the clever construction. I pinned it and didn't think much of it for awhile. 

Then I bought a bundle of Violet Craft Brambleberry Ridge in Christmas colours even though a) I don't usually buy Christmas fabrics and b)I don't have traditional Christmas colours in my house at Christmas overall (Our tree has silver, white and turquoise/teal ornaments/decorations).  But I had to have it. And I knew that the combination of improv trees and Violet Craft would look awesome.

I finally got started! Christmas in August!

I made the first blocks as a test before I mass cut all my precious fabric. Good thing I did! The original tutorial makes very tiny blocks, way smaller than I was planning. I snooped on her site some more and found a tutorial for a much large block using the same technique. Now THAT is what I was looking for.

Tiny trees (4.5' x 3.5") in the middle, flanked by the big version that I ultimately went for which I ended up trimming to 8.5" x 7.5".

 This became my "pop into the sewing room and whip up a few blocks" project. My cat was very helpful, as always.
Thanks, Cyrus.
 The technique itself is so simple because there is no measuring in the traditional sense once you have the initial rectangles cut. You pair the fabrics and then slice first from the right and then from the left, as you can see below. This is a stack of four which I found the best for efficiency while also not having too many similar-shaped trees.

No measuring makes me happy!
The blocks started adding up, though I did have one "oops" when I cut on square upside down (print face down) which messed up everything for that block and resulted in that horrible tree in the bottom left of this picture. I have since removed that tree...and added many many more!

All the blocks are now made, including a few more small ones since I like how that looked up on the design board. I can't wait to finish this top up and show you the end result. And it should be done in time for Christmas!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Triangle Terrace: A Finished Quilt

While on a girls getaway weekend with a lifelong friend, my friend C picked up a bunch of fabrics from the quilt stores we visited(even though she doesn't sew or quilt). There was one fabric in particular that got her excited and then she built a bundle from there. She chose a pattern and I promised to make it for my goddaughter, my friend's daughter.

The pattern is called Corn Rows by Atkinson Designs. I used Kona White (obviously) for the solid. Corn Rows is cleverly designed. It looks complicated but the construction is actually straight forward. I was making a double quilt for a big girl bed but this pattern's idea of double is wildly out of wack and indeed the quilt fits on a queen bed with ample hang-over on each side. My friend's reaction was "then I guess I should buy her a queen bed instead." That, people, is why I agreed to make a quilt for this person. She truly appreciates the time, expense and skill that goes into a quilt and she will ensure her daughter treasures it as well.

Here is Triangle Terrace, all finished:
The quilt is so large that my husband had to hang it over our second floor deck and have me take a picture from below!

The fabrics are soft colours; the purples in particular are really soft and muted and very difficult to match.

The backing is all one fabric, the one that my friend first fell in love with. Honestly, the fabric is not something I would gravitate to, but the end result is soft and beautiful and my friend (and my goddaughter!) love the result.

I straight line quilted on either side of each diagonal seam AND I straight line quilted on either side of the vertical seams. This seemed to be just enough quilting for this quilt to keep it soft but stable with how many bits are in the piecing.

The quilt label is a black cat. My goddaughter's dad requested a black cat be incorporated into the quilt somehow to honour their late black cat, Fonz. He was a sweet, dumb kitty with lots of health issues and he was loved fiercely. It was lovely to add him to the quilt.
My friend LOVES the end result and my goddaughter, who received in on the day of her fourth birthday party, loves it so much she insisted on sleeping under it that night...despite still being in a small toddler bed! (New bed is coming).

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Mixed Bag (Pun Intended)

Just a few things to note.

One is that I gifted this quilt to a lovely family and this was the picture I got with the thank you. Honestly, this is my favourite part of gifting any baby quilt- getting a picture of the sweet babe on it!
Baby S likes his quilt.
 Also, I am working on making a Sleepy Fox pillow for my "nephew" coming this November. Despite my huge stash of solids I still needed to order two colours from Mad About Patchwork to continue. Darn it!

Where are Flame and Creamsicle when you need them?
 I have had plans for a couple of years to make some Lined Drawstring Bags using the pattern from In Color Order to use as reusable Christmas wrapping. What finally got my butt in gear this year? Buying a small bundle of Ann Kelle Jingle fabric on my recent shop hop with friends. 

Four Everything Size, one Project size and one Snack size.
I pulled out some Laurie Wisbrun Brrr fabric I have had for ages too which you see in several of the linings, plus some other random fabrics from my stash.
I am so pleased that they are done!

On to the next item on the list!

Friday, 4 August 2017

Sewing Together a Sew Together Bag...For Myself!

I have made a couple of Sew Together bags before, one for a co-worker and one for A Quarter Inch from the Edge. I chose fabrics to make myself a Sew Together and then it was never the priority. I decided summer vacation was the perfect time to change this!

Here is a very photo heavy post about my new bag. I've already filled it up with toiletries for travelling and I love, love it. 
I quilted the main panel this time with a bit of batting. This was a new thing for me to try and I think I would do it again.

I chose to do ombre teal zippers and I totally love the impact.

I prepped a bunch of pieces and then stalled again. I still need to check the Quilt Barn tutorial for this bag for some of the steps!

This is one of my favourite stages of making this bag. It starts actually looking like a bag and those side panels are intimidating the first time through.

Wonderclips make all the difference on a bulky project like this when doing the binding!
 When it was finished I felt such relief and excitement!

I used an Alison Glass sunprints text print on the inside. I had to maximize the cut I had so some of the text goes one way and some the other. I know this would drive some people crazy but not me!

I used some really bold colours on the inside pockets. They are drawn from the colours in the Ex Libris that is on the outside.

This weird side shot was because I was drooling over the details. I was reluctant to use up Ex Libris on things like long strips for binding because it seemed wasteful to cut through the panels. Seeing the results?? LOVE. Look at that zipper!
As always happens when I make one of these and post it on Instagram, people are asking to place orders. There is only one order I may actually older daughter wants one for her birthday. Now that I think I can do. :)

Friday, 28 July 2017

Accidental Giraffe: A Finished Quilt

When your husband is in charge of finding out if the baby you want to make a quilt for is a boy or girl (or nursery colours, which is even better!) then you better be prepared for mistakes. Like my husband telling me our mutual (though not close) friend was expecting a girl. Except. Yeah, no. They had a boy. Sigh.

But I had already pulled this stack and started cutting it and so I decided to go ahead with it anyway because I thought it was just too cute to resist.

This is Accidental Giraffe:

The starting fabric was that giraffe print I have had for ages. Then I added in a ton of prints from the recent collection Pond by Elizabeth Hartman and that adorable kitty print that is bright pink but reading in these pictures as red.

 For the first time ever I decided to be brave and try minky on the back. I was cautioned by many but I basted it well and took the (straight line) quilting slowly and I had no issues! It is so soft and so nubbly and so worth it!

I went with a bold solid dark turquoise colour for the binding. It pops against the pink and doesn't make this colour too dainty, IMO.

This is the first time I can remember making a quilt that didn't have a pre-destined owner. I'm sure someone will turn up pregnant with a little girl in my new future!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Roar: A Finished Quilt

Close friends of ours introduced us to their real estate agent/friend when we were moving a couple of years ago and we ended up becoming friends with the agent and his wife. They are lovely people and I made their first daughter a quilt. They are expecting their second at the end of the month, another little girl, and so I put together a little tumbler quilt for baby #2.

Here is Roar:

I loved these pink tigers mixed with an otherwise very sophisticated combination of fabrics. The soft pink also adds some nice movement.

I straight-line quilted along the seam lines, pausing to turn at each turn of the tumbler block. It creates a cool effect on the back of the quilt.

Hopefully the parents enjoy this gift for their new little one!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Slogging Away on My Aviatrix Medallion

One of the things I most wanted to work on this summer was my Aviatrix Medallion, started ages and ages ago and stalled after the fourth border.

These blocks involved some careful organization of the different colours. They were time consuming.

The end results were so delicious, though, and I could easily enjoy a quilt made just of these blocks.

It was then a time consuming step to follow the diagram (seen in the top right corner) to lay out each of the sides.

I just loved how they looked out once they were pinned to my design board.
 After I had Border 5 on I felt like I had some momentum going into Border 6. The blocks for Border 6,  however, were more challenging in the type of block (though the colour organization was much easier). 
I did a lot of chain piecing which was boring but efficient.
 I am now encountering an issue with Border 6. You see, a year ago I used a blue marking pen, which is removed by water, to mark all of the blocks as per the instructions in the pattern. The pen does come out when I wet the spots but when I use my iron they come right back. I am now feeling super paranoid that I am going to finish the huge, complicated, beautiful quilt and have all of these terrible pen markings! Any suggestions?? 
Border 6 sure does look nice, too, don't you think?
Border 6 has since been added to the quilt and now I have just the final, outer, 2.5" solid border strips to attach. Thing is, I could have sworn I bought backing for it When I went through my stash I found pre-determined backing for my Snails Quilt and my #QBTravellingQuilt but, alas, not my Aviatrix Medallion. Do I piece together some favourites? Invest in a single fabric for the backing (keeping in mind my very large purchases from my recent shop hop!)? Also, how am I going to quilt this beast? My friend C sent hers out to get quilted in an all-over design and it was beautiful- but do I want to do that?

Decisions, decisions, but it does indeed look like at least this top will be finished this summer!