Thursday, 15 June 2017

Thank You Brenda: A Finished Quilt

My eldest is finishing grade three at the end of June. Her teacher is also retiring after twenty-five years of teaching. There were some times early in the school year when I wasn't sure about this teacher, but by the end I knew my daughter lucked out. The teacher's experience and patience helped my daughter grow and focus on her strengths at the same time.

Every June I make a quilt for her teacher (and this will become much harder the school year after next when I have two daughters in school!). This one is using the pattern Diamond Tread by Freshly Pieced and a bunch of fabrics I picked up quite some time ago by Elizabeth Olwen (and a bit of Denyse Schmidt I had no idea what to do with).

Here is Thank You Brenda:
The strip of pattern to the left with so much empty space reads as very modern to me.

In reality there are just a lot of HSTs arranged in a clever way.

It creates this great secondary pattern of the twirling ninja star in the middle. I straight line quilted this having (*gasp*) marked lines with a marking pen. Honestly I hated trying to press out the ink afterwards so I will avoid it if I can!

The back is a single fabric (unlike me but I think more to the teacher's taste). I didn't try to match up any seams because there was just enough of it and because, well, it is the back.

The pattern on the backing fabric is kind of cool.

I used that Dot Leaf mustard fabric for the binding and I think it really pops against the navy.

My daughter also wrote a thank you note on the label, another tradition since kindergarten and always the teachers' favourite part!

In a couple of weeks time this will be taken and gifted with love. I hope that the teacher loves it but also that she has it for a long time as a memory of her last year of teaching!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Jack's Universe: A Finished Quilt

I work with a wonderful woman who recently became a grandmother for the first time. She is quick to pull out photos of her beautiful little grandson and frequently tells everyone that Jack is the centre of her universe now that he has arrived.

If that doesn't sound like a motivation to create a quilt, I don't know what does!

I have had two charm packs of Riley Blake Rocket Age for quite some time and this sounded to me like they were destined for this little boy!

My original plan did not work out as I hated the burnt orange and cream colours in the layout. I paired it down to blues and reds and alternated white squares and it came together beautifully!

Here is Jack's Universe:

I did a simple patchwork pattern with 5" squares but alternated with Kona White squares to create this checkerboard effect.

Most of the prints are from Riley Blake but there are few others thrown in. The stars/universe theme is throughout.

I did straight line quilting on the diagonal using my walking foot to create this "X" effect which I think works well for this quilt.

The back is actually a flannelette that I have had in my stash for ages and just looked so sweet. Plus a win for shopping my stash!

This is a close up of the backing. It is so soft.
The grandmother was over the moon (pardon the pun) about the quilt. She declared that she loves me forever and insisted on photographing it like crazy right there on the spot and sending it to her daughter to show Jack. I love when people appreciate the depth of love in a gift like a quilt!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Irons in the Fire

As someone who rarely has more than 2 or 3 quilts in progress at once, I have been absolutely all over the place in 2017 with many quilts on the go.

I'm doing a little check in of just some of the quilts I'm working on.

I am working on a quilt using the Diamond Tread pattern for my daughter's teacher's end of year gift. I made the centre panel and then attached one of the sides and discovered that I had accidently mixed up my Kona Shadow and Kona Silver. Yikes. It had to be pulled off (the border) and I went to make new borders (they are huge: 12" wide and 26" wide) and discovered I was short 1 yard of Kona Shadow, the colour I actually need. Sigh. I've placed an order and I'm waiting for it to arrive.
On the left: Kona Silver. On the right (in the HSTs): Kona Shadow.

Here is the Silver and Shadow side by side. You can see why I made the mistake under overhead lights!

I've also been working on a Corn Rows quilt for my goddaughter. Her mom picked the fabric. I had 98 HSTs to trim, so I spent a Friday night watching Netflix and carefully trimming.
The pattern called for quite over-sized HSTs so the trimmings were also quite large.

Also had lots of pressing to do...

And chain piecing.
 I also am making three baby quilts at the same time, two with the same fabrics and one with totally different fabric. This is one of the quilts, laid out and ready for sashing. This one is for a woman at work expecting her first baby, a little boy, this August (but I need to have it done soon because she may be leaving to work in another building soon!).
These snails, snakes and bugs in jars are super cute!
And so I jump around from project to project and I still have more that haven't been mentioned here on the go. To be honest, part of this approach is a result of me having to steal time when I can as a mom with two little kids, plus working full time. And I think as long as I can get the WIP situation under control by summer, I'll be satisfied I'm back on track!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Gruff: A Finished Quilt

I have a whole new set of colleagues this year thanks to a change in my job, and one of these new friends/co-workers has three little boys, the youngest of which is almost one. The dad and I have formed a friendship and since the dad is an artsy sort of guy who expressed once his appreciation for fibre arts, I knew I wanted to make his little guy a quilt.

This Burly Beavers print that is making the rounds on Instagram seemed like the perfect fit for this rather hipster family. I pulled out some Carolyn Friendlander to go with it as it has that architectural quality, as well as some Cotton+ Steel. Simple 5" squares was the way to go for a straight-forward baby quilt that I know the family will enjoy.

The photo session for this quilt was particularly challenging because my usual quilt holder (my husband) is away for a week, so I had to enlist my eight-year-old. And it was a very windy day which is always awful for pictures. So this is an interesting bunch of photos! (Plus a bonus outtake photo of my helper).

Here is Gruff:

This was the best photo I could get, and it was on my phone instead of the camera. The jumping off point is those delightful beavers, but you can see some Friedlander, Jansdotter and C+S in there too.
The backing is more of that C+S print in silver (so it is metallic and slightly shiny) with some grey or the other from my stash to beef it up to the right size. You can really see the quilting in the photo. I straight line quilted on either side of each seam.

My cat was excited when I put the quilt on the floor to try to take photos. This one shows off the prints much more clearly. You know, under the cat.

And here is the full quilt, laying flat. With cat for scale.

And my helpful kid who complained her arms were hurting from holding up the quilt. "Now I know why Daddy always complains" she told me.
I am quite sure the dad to whom I am gifting this will be surprised and will love it. Can't wait to give it to him for his little guy to start enjoying it!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Sweet Peach: A Finished Quilt

The reality seems to be that the only time I can eek out to blog is when I have a finished quilt. I will try to blog a bit more progress. For now, however, here is Sweet Peach, a sweet baby quilt for a brand new baby girl born to our lovely neighbours just last week.

I had a whole bunch of this peach owl fabric from the Les Amis line that I found on a discount table during a shop hop some time ago and this seemed like the perfect use for it. I also pulled out some coordinating fabrics from the brand new Pond line from Elizabeth Hartman. These were probably my least favourite colour-way from Pond and yet they worked so perfectly with these owls. It was made to be! 
The quilt is very simple in that these are 4" squares with alternating Kona White. I love the impact such a simple pattern has and it seems perfect for a baby quilt.
 I did simple straight line quilting echoing each seam line which creates a nice grid and isn't too fussy.
Those polkadots are a chocolate brown colour and those storks are the same colour but on a simple peachy-pink background. I also inserted some coral Art Gallery triangles that I picked up to win a bet with my friend C who said I only ever buy blues and greys. A Kona solid- I would have to check my colour card for the exact colour-rounded out the colour prints.

The backing is more of this owl fabric. Aren't they sweet?

I used more owl fabric for the binding which is very unlike me but finding a colour that worked was difficult so I went with simple.
The parents loved the quilt and hopefully the baby will get lots of use out of it!

Monday, 17 April 2017

MintE: A Finished Quilt

I don't do commission quilts. I don't enjoy it. Quilting is a hobby for me and having someone try to dictate my time or creative process ruins the fun. I made an exception for my dear friend several years ago when she promised to pay for everything and let me make all the decisions. 

Then my sister asked me about making a quilt for a close friend of hers for a baby shower she was hosting. I wasn't thrilled about the idea but my sister agreed to paid. I told her she couldn't afford me. The problem was that once she told me the colours and idea I couldn't get it out of my head. So I agreed, though I charged her much, much less than it was worth. What she paid didn't even cover fabric, but I did make her buy the batting and ship it to me. Thanks Amazon!

So here is MintE, a quilt were the blocks were signed by people who attended the baby shower and then I supplemented those with whole, 50/50 and 4-patch blocks in the baby's nursery colours- mint and charcoal.
The fabrics are pretty and light and not too babyish, which I love in a baby quilt.
The name of the quilt comes from the primary colour, mint, and the fact that my sister requested I incorporate the letter "E" somehow as both of the parents have E names and the new baby will also have an E name. 
The backing is mostly this organic bear print I picked up when one of my LQSs was closing and all fabric was on sale.

This "E" in Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets in a special little personalized touch.
I will be passing this on to my sister, who will deliver this to the expectant mom (due in May). I hope the baby gets lots of use out of it. And remind me not to do more commission quilts.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Chatter: A Finished Quilt

I was lucky enough to participate in a Birthday Bonus Club in 2016 which consisted of us (a group of Canadian women) sending 50 2.5" blocks to each of the members in the club during their birthday month. So last August when it was my turn to request the kind of fabric I wanted for my squares I knew what I wanted- text prints. This proved to be harder for some than others, but the rule was you had to follow the instructions (hard for me on the months people requested batiks!) so they started flooding in.

This quilt has been finished for over a month but getting the time to take pictures proved challenging. Here it is, finally, my finished quilt, Chatter:
Each block is a 9-patch with text prints for most of the block save for a different coloured Kona solid in each centre.
 There is one white square (check the yellow row) to represent silence within all the "noise" of this text quilt. I also used some Ikea Nummer fabric for the borders to bring it up to a size that made me happy. This quilt is in heavy rotation on our couch now.
You can see some of the diversity of the prints I got. Numbers, french, newspapers, symbols. I love the cacophony. 

I straight (ish) line quilted through each of the blocks right down the centre. Functional and mimics the grid nature of this quilt.

The backing is a Heather Ross quilt from her Tiger Lily line that I got for a ridiculous price. I was going to put another print fabric on the back and decided against it. The binding, however, is a newsprint text print.
I still have hundreds and hundreds of text squares that I will need to decide what to do with, but I am content that my original vision has come to fruition!

Monday, 13 March 2017

You Belong: A Finished Quilt

Quilters pop up in unexpected places. My two quilty friends are both former co-workers, both of whom I sort of happened across as having the same hobby. The same is true for my school board where there are quilters tucked in every corner. This group of quilters sent a finished quilt to Quilts for Pulse after the shooting in Orlando, collected, assembled and quilted by a lovely women who works at our board office. 

When the Quebec mosque shooting happened, I was shaken. How could such a terrible thing happen to a group of people as they peacefully prayed? And how could this happen in Canada, where I have always felt it was safer for people to be themselves. Naive? Probably. Definitely.

Then I saw the call for quilt blocks by the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild asking for house blocks to show the members of the mosque, especially the victims' families, that they belong in Canada. And I felt like I could do some tiny action that would help. And so I put a call out to those same ladies who contributed Pulse blocks and in less than two weeks I had 35 blocks (counting the four I had already made) and I just had to whip up 7 more and then put it all together.

Here is the end result:

An eclectic, happy village of blocks. Aren't those apartments amazing? They were all made by C at The Edgy Perfectionist. 
And then I had to finish is using my stash because of the tight timelines and it turned out I had a whole bunch of pink for some reason. I was planning to go gender neutral but then what I had was what I had and I ended up really liking it. Pink is happy and friendly. And most of it is this sweet Bari J print that is just so lovely.
Very pink. The contrast between the two pinks is big here but it doesn't look that stark in real life.
I also used up bits of leftover binding, as it went well with the scrappy front, but made sure to only choose colours that looked good with the pink backing. I like that hot pink solid in the bottom right corner of this picture.

The quilt had a label put on and was mailed to Quebec all within three weeks of the call to action by the guild. I think it made us all feel a tiny bit better but what is most important is that the recipient(s) know(s) that she or he or they BELONG here in Canada. They are part of our community and of our Canadian fabric. 

Monday, 27 February 2017

Winter Blues? Go on a Shop Hop!

Due to the cyclical nature of my job (I'm a secondary school teacher) we have a fresh start at the beginning of Semester Two when we meet all new students and, in my case, teach all new courses as well. In many ways it is a fabulous refresh but it is also exhausting, paired with downright miserable grey weather that isn't going anywhere (winter lasts soooooo long!).

Enter a shop hop/ travelling quilt exchange/ lunch with friends! C and A and I agreed on a little shop hop to check out a new bricks-and-mortar store for an online store we all knew of, Fabric Spark.

Fabric Spark was having a birthday celebration!
 Fabric Spark is a bricks-and-mortar new shop from a combination of two online stores. It was cute but it was a long drive.
Bright, open shelves and pretty modern fabrics.
We then ventured on over to Ewe Knit in their "new" location which I have not yet been to. 
Their storefront is lovely.

The inside is even more lovely!
I really enjoyed the vibe, size and selection here at Ewe Knit. I bought a few fabrics and C bought a TON of embroidery floss. 

Then we decided to pop over to The Workroom.
This is the most "downtown" of the stores and also the most expensive.
I was able to score something lovely while at The Workroom, plus C was able to sign up for an EPP class she is going to take in March.

Here was my haul from the day:
Aren't they all just super yummy? That orange and yellow were a result of C challenging me to get something that wasn't green or blue or teal. That was hard. That background Alison Glass will be the backing of my #QBtravellingquilt.
The day was super awesome, but it took way to long to blog about it. Some of these have already been cut and put into action for WIPs!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

QB Travelling Quilt

I have the privilege of having not one but two quilty friends who are always up for sewing days and shop hops. And when I suggested to them that we try a "travelling quilt" they both jumped on board! It is cost effective because we all live close together (zero postage!) and C and I have extensive stashes so we didn't need to purchase a thing (A is a buy-with-purpose quilter- I know, I don't get it either- but she ordered a beautiful bundle for hers!).

We each make the first "foundation" block and choose two words to represent our vision for the quilt. Mine are "decadent geometry" and I pulled a bunch of super saturated fabrics based on some colours in this Katy Jones limited edition print from Art Gallery Fabrics. The teal, navy and deep pink just delight me for some reason.
The fabric pull with the pattern for the foundation block.
I went with half of one of these pillow fronts from Love Quilting magazine. 
This is my favourite quilting magazine and it is, unfortunately, very expensive because it is a UK import. My hubby paid for two years subscription but I told him not to renew...I can choose if I want to buy it from the local bookstore.
The cutting was actually a bit of a pain in the butt, but I was like where it was going when I finished cutting all the templates and laying it out.
I could see it coming together.
And here is the finished result!
My foundation quilt block.
Decadent Geometry will come back to me two more times before being finished by one of the other two ladies in January 2018. We have a spreadsheet and a list of rules and I am soooooo excited to give this a try. It pushes us all out of our comfort zones in the best way!

I'm sure you'll see peeks into  #QBtravellingquilt as I work on the other two. I wonder what we will all end up with in January!!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

A Matter of Size

I have had this notion in my head that I would put together slabs from my extensive scraps and use my 10'x10" ruler to cut them into blocks. It is one of those "one day" projects.

Then this morning my youngest, a newly minted three-year-old, wanted to "play fabric" which means taking out my scrap bins and laying out the bits of fabric in ways she thinks are pretty. I started pulling orange scraps and soon had this in front of me:
Very improv fabric bits
Well, then I had to sew it together. I had it right there, after all. And so I put together this slab:
This seemed about ready for me to use the ruler.
When I actually put the ruler on the slab? It is actually quite comical. I think I did not have a true sense of scale when I was improv-ing my heart out.
I think I was a little over enthusiastic.
But rather than missing all those little blocks, I decided to cut it at 15" x 15" to preserve those precious bits and this is the end result:
Here is the orange block!
Now that I have made one I know that at any point I can just dig into my scraps and whip up another colour. Eventually I will have enough to put together into a VERY colourful quilt.

Improv piecing is fun, and using precious baby scraps (like that Basket print on the far bottom right or the Lotta scrap at the bottom left) is very rewarding. No measuring, no careful cutting...fabric therapy!

Thursday, 12 January 2017


After a bit of fabric binging last summer, quilty friend C and I both decided to go on a self-imposed fabric fast with the goal of not buying any new fabric until January 1, 2017. We both stayed true to the fast...well, sort of. When Alison Glass Seventy-Six went on sale, C was losing her mind over not being able to buy it. I gave her my blessing. And we both agreed that pre-ordered Alison Glass Sunprint 2017 did not count because even though we ordered in December it won't come until quite some time into 2017.

My husband and I received a trip to Niagara on the Lake, a quaint little town for tourists, as a gift over Christmas. He told me to pick out all the fabric stops we needed to make on the way down. He is awesome.

I definitely engaged in a serious breakfast (break- fast) on this trip!

At the Quilted Cardinal I picked up these Moda Mixologie basics. I love the colour saturation.
Those purples and the top teal are already claimed by my daughter for a quilt she wants me to make her.
I also had a gift certificate for Greenwood Quiltery which announced at the end of December it is going to be permanently closing because the owner is retiring. It will leave a major hole in the local quilt store options as it was by far my favourite local(ish) store.
Two Elizabeth Hartman patterns, that sweet basic grey print, a Cloud 9 organic bear fabric that already is claimed for a baby quilt, some Kona Charcoal for my Snail Along and a bunch of other goodies. All of this was at least 30% off!
I also made a stop at Modern Bee in Virgil, an awesome, quaint little shop with the nicest owners. If only it was closer!
From bottom to top: Kona Silver, Kona Shadow and a 1/2 yard of Priory Square that I wanted and figured I would never get because it was very limited edition and quite old. The Silver is for my Snail quilt and the Shadow is for my daughter's teacher's end of year gift.
I also made a trip to Len's Mills in Guelph. My husband had never been and it is an experience, let me tell you. The front of the store (which is HUGE) is filled with the most random things. He was wandering around while I was fabric shopping texting me with questions like "Do you want a pair of bright yellow high-heeled rain boots?" or "Did you know they have an entire aisle dedicated to hot sauce?" I specifically needed to come to this store because my Lizzy House Snail quilt needs backing and I knew they still had some VERY OLD, VERY OOP Lizzy House 1001 Peeps. It is from 2009!! And it is $10/yard. A steal!
Expect to see these in my snail quilt. That purple print on the far left will be the backing.
Truly, though, I broke my fast three days earlier on January 5th at Needlework when I went shopping with two friends because friend A is making my other friend some pillows and we needed to select fabric. I was dying to get my hands on this pin of their logo! That green print will be for my Christmas quilt but those squid and octopi? They were just too cute to resist!!
Isn't that pin awesome?
So when I break a fast, I really go ALL IN.

Which of my purchases was your favourite?