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?

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Snail Along

Over on Instagram there is lots of quilting activity which is primarily how I use my account. When @gnomeangel posted about the Garden Snail Quilt pattern from Pen and Paper Patterns and a Snail Along I knew I wanted to join. 
(Picture courtesy of Pen and Paper Patterns)

You need to make one snail a week for 42 weeks (to make a twin sized quilt) and post it on #snailday (Sunday) with certain tags. You are then eligible for prizes. I just like the idea of a very manageable project that is also soooooo cute.

I've decided to use Kona Silver as my background colour and Kona Charcoal as the snail body. All the shells will be Lizzy House fabrics in colour order. I'm super excited!

Here was me laying out my very first block to figure out the tricks of the pattern:
Snail in progress.
And here he is all put together:
Goldie the snail! His shell is from Lizzy's Catnap line.
Once I got into the pattern I discovered that there is more to consider than just the fabric choices. You make half the snails pointed one way and half the other way. That meant more planning than I had originally considered. My sewing table has been a mess while I plan ever since!
If you want to take 100 fabrics and narrow it to 42 in rainbow order you need to have a plan!
Now I'm just waiting for some scraps from quilty friend C who has some of Lizzy's Constellations prints that I don't have. Look for a quilt top finish of snails in November!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Aviatrix Progress

True to my plans for 2017, I have pulled out all the bags and bits and instructions for my Aviatrix Medallion- which has been in a bag all together for at least a year- and got myself back in the game with it.
This code sheet is no joke. You could not make this quilt without it.
I had the HSTs all pressed and trimmed and never got around to making this first border, so that went on first, followed by the solid grey border. This step got me very motivated because the borders went on pretty smoothly (I am not the most accurate of quilters and so the piecing accuracy of a medallion is intimidating).
Centre and Border 1
When I got to work on Border 2 I decided to set up a grid on my design wall so I could keep track of all the parts. This made it much easier (plus it looks pretty!)
Border 2 in progress

Border 2 on the quilt.
Border 2 went on smoother than I thought it would too. My piecing has obviously improved. It certainly isn't perfect (and my quilty friend C's Aviatrix Medallion is) but it fit really well.

Then I got to Border 3. Yikes. This one took a long time.
The trimmings sure are pretty.

So many steps to make the X blocks.
The resulting blocks are pretty beautiful. However when I put on the first strip, it was about 1/2" too short. Then I put on the bottom strip and it was 1/2" too long. Um. That's probably not good. I made it work with some stretching but I am rather concerned for the next few borders.
X-blocks take a long time.
I read on someone's Instagram that Border 4 is haaaaaaard because it is small and fiddly. That has me a bit concerned. I'm slowing down a bit because my husband is back to work this week so I can't steal away for an hour here and there and because I actually have to get some of my work done before I go back to work Monday.

Wish me motivation to get this quilt top done!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Goals for 2017

Looking back at my goals for 2016, I finished EVERY goal but Aviatrix Medallion. So guess what #1 on the list of goals for 2017 is? 

1. Aviatrix Medallion
This is the year. My skills have significantly improved and I want to get it done. It is my longest WIP now, and I want to be able to enjoy the magnificence.

2. Orange and Turquoise quilt.
 I put it away because it did not speak to me. It still doesn't. But I want it done. I need a low volume backing with a touch of orange or teal or turquoise so I can finish it up and ship it out.

3. Thank You Brenda Teacher quilt
Deadline: June. As always, I will make my daughter's teacher a gift. I'm not sure if I will be able to keep this up once the little one is in school too! I'm thinking of using the Diamond Tread pattern by Freshly Pieced.

4. Snail Along on Instagram.
The @gnomeangel is doing a sew along using the Snail pattern from Pen and Paper patterns. My friend C is going to join the challenge as well. All my snails will be made using Lizzy House fabric and all hers will be made using Tula Pink fabric. I'm PUMPED.

5. Ochre Quilt
There is a bundle of fabric that I set aside as needing to be made for my close friend of 20+ years and this year I want to get it done for her.

6. Improv Christmas Trees using Violet Craft. Have you seen the improv trees floating around on Instagram? I'm in love. I'll need to cut into my Christmas fabric for those for sure.
This is a pattern by Diary of a Quilter.
7. Pineapples for my Mother in Law. 
My in laws are buying/building a brand new house this year and I told my MIL I would make her a new quilt. My MIL is very calm and rarely excitable (outwardly) and so she agreed that would be lovely and that she would think about colours later. Then I saw the Pineapple Farm pattern by Elizabeth Hartman and knew it would appeal to her. I texted her a picture and she responded "YES YES YES." That may be the most excited text I have ever received from her! So that is definitely on the list this year!

8. Improv Scrap Rainbow Big Blocks
This is something I bought a big ruler for and really want to try to use some of my favourite small bits from my scrap bins this year. This could be fun.

9. Gamer Quilt for my Husband
Even though he's always hot and doesn't use quilts. He likes to moan about me never having made him one. He picked the pattern and I picked the fabric I just need to make it!

As always there will be quilts that come up and get added to my list- babies that are expected or people who deserve something special. Those nine seem totally doable and I am excited already at the prospect of getting to them. My first finish in 2017 will most likely be my text and solid 9-patch quilt, Chatter, which is almost a finished quilt top. Look for that in early January!

Which of the quilts on my list do you most look forward to seeing?

(Of interest to me only: this is my 400th post!)