Saturday 29 September 2012

Must...Resist...Starting New Quilt Top...

I am absolutely crazy busy at work, and my home life is equally crazy busy. On top of my daughter's recent start in JK, a new round of swimming lessons and little kid gymnastics, we've also had weddings, anniversary trips and family events. 

With a "To Do" list as long as my arm driveway, I have so little time to sew. It was lovely to spend a bit of time tonight (after my daughter was in bed and my husband was happily occupied playing an X-box 360 game) sewing.

I didn't make a huge amount of progress because I couldn't bring myself to get out the iron, but I did manage to piece all the rows for my friend's son's Christmas quilt, Ode to Seuss.

This is my attempt at an artistic shot of the rows. I can't wait until I get my new iPhone so I can start taking Instagram pictures!
There are 12 rows in total, and them came together very quickly (fortunately). I am hoping to carve out some time tomorrow evening to press these rows and then sew them together. I am wrestling with the idea of a border. I feel like it needs something but I'm not sure if a border is the way to go. A solid might be nice, or one of the two texts prints from the Seuss line that I have (the multicoloured text print will be the backing). I am sort of leaning towards using the black and white text print for a border about 5" wide. It goes against the pattern, but I think it might finish off the quilt nicely. I think I need to sleep on it!

Rainbow Seuss Text fabric- my backing
Black and White Seuss Text fabric- border or just binding?

On top of this very pressing dilemma, I am itching to start a new quilt top. It would give me a chance to cut into some of my new yummy fabrics, and I need to take my ruler grip handle for a spin. Christmas is yelling at me right now, though, so I feel like I need to finish those first:

Christmas Quilts List

  • Garden Trellis Quilt for my mom- top finished, backing pieced, batting purchased- must baste and quilt
  • Brown and Aqua Christmas Exchange Quilt- top finished, backing pieced, batting purchased- must baste and quilt
  • Ode to Seuss Quilt- rows pieced but not assembled

That seems like a lot of basting (my least favourite step) and quilting (my worst skill right now), so I better hold off on another quilt top. 

Well for now, anyway...

Lynn (aka Buttons)

Wednesday 26 September 2012

No time to sew? Buy fabric online!

My impending self-imposed fabric fast is approaching quickly. I have vowed not to buy any fabric in October, with the exception of my ongoing Kona Solids of the Month club from Sew Sisters.

But today is not in October. It is still glorious, buy fabric September. And I just did that (in moderation) when Pink Chalk had a sale on Labour Day weekend. I ordered two delicious prints that were going for a ridiculously cheap price. The package arrived today!

I love how Pink Chalk packages their fabric.
Inside were these two beauties:
One yard of Jamie Wood City Streets Scene in Blue

3 delicious yards of Rashida Coleman-Hale's Washi Squiggle in Grey
The City Streets will be in my friends' son's quilt (he is due in February) and the Washi print will be the backing to a quilt some day. They were both so inexpensive that I just had to indulge. Fellow quilters will understand.

Now if I could only find time to actually sew something...

Lynn (aka Buttons)

Monday 24 September 2012

Chicago smells like melted chocolate

  This past weekend I was in Chicago for an anniversary trip courtesy of my wonderful husband. Chicago was selected for a very specific reason- the Chicago Bears (Da Bears!) because I'm a huge fan- but we also got to spend Friday evening and all day Saturday enjoying The Windy City.

Solider Field
We did touristy things including visiting the silver bean, and we indulged in some celebrity chef food groupie activity (Graham Elliot's Grahamwich and Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill), but as with any trip to any city other than my own it was essential that we stop in a quilt store!

To be honest, I also insisted that we stop at a Jo-Ann's because I read about the store all the time on the various blogs I follow and I needed to see for myself. I had been warned that this was not the place to stock up on fabrics (especially for fabric snobs, as I have recently become) but I did want to check out batting and try to find a Gypsy Gripper (suction cup handle for my ruler).

We stopped at a Jo-Ann's in Detroit on our way through to Chicago, and here is what I picked up:

Batting! 40% off. I picked up two baby size and one queen size.
An Omnigrid Ruler Grip, soccer ribbon for a taggie blanket I will be making a friend who is expecting, and 3 yards of Kona White (it was 20% off!).
DS quilts Quilters Quarters
I thought I was really very reserved at Jo-Ann's, and I did find that though the store is huge, the actual desirable fabric is really at quilting speciality stores, like the one I visited in Chicago, Quiltology.

There is actually only one quilting store in the city of Chicago (as in, not in the suburbs) and the website looked awesome, so hubby and I hopped on the "L" and headed out to find this store Saturday morning. I was greeted with shelves of modern, delicious fabric. She also has these genius quilt kits that include binding, but I didn't buy any because I have so many non-kit projects already on my mental "to do" lists. 

 I was slightly less reserved at this store, and the woman who owns the store was kind and patient and helpful (despite reviews I had read to the contrary, the store is welcoming and the owner is very helpful).

Here is what I picked up:

This is the yardage I bought- 20% off if I bought 1/2 yard or more, so I had to buy 1/2 yard of each!

This bundle of Art Gallery fabrics was on clearance. I love AG fabrics, but to be honest I am never drawn to the yardage. It is not my style really, and yet Jeni from In Color Order has made all sorts of projects using this line and it looks amazing, so I chose this bundle to break out of my zone!

Kona Plum. It is to die for. I don't even really like purply pinks but I needed a FQ of this colour. I think it goes with my AQ bundle, actually.

I am holding back the bundle so you can see my favourite prints. Love those dots!
What I really need to do is find out what these prints are called, who designed them and who made them, but I am currently in work survival mode so that will have to wait. When I actually use the fabric I will be sure to post the full names.

It was a fabulous, relaxing trip and I absolutely fell in love with Chicago. I love it even more than New York. I look forward to returning there with my husband over the upcoming years. And yes, Chicago smells like melted chocolate. At least where we were (the theatre district) it sure did. All the time. I knew Chicago was the city for me!

Lynn (aka Buttons)

Wednesday 19 September 2012

What I Would Have Bought

Despite having no time to sew, I seem to have plenty of time to shop for fabric. On September 18th only, Sew Sisters was having an anniversary sale with 20% off everything. I am leaving on Friday for a weekend in Chicago (complete with two fabric store stops) and I have recently ordered other fabric as well (posts to come as fabric arrives). I DO NOT need any fabric. But the sale was calling me.


My idea was to fill my cart with what I would have bought, post it here on my blog, and hope it feels cathartic and like I did actually buy fabric without actually buying it.

Here is what I would have bought:

1m Kona Solid in Artichoke (possibly my favourite Kona solid right now) $6.38/m

1m Eerie Alley II- Witches and Vampires Pumpkin $4.96/m (To make Halloween bags for my friends' boys)

1m Eerie Alley II- Witches and Vampires Lime $4.96/m (To make Halloween bags for my friends' boys)

1m Kona Solid Coal $6.38/m

1m Kona Solid Steel $6.38/m

Reality? I don't have time to make Halloween bags (nor do I have a pattern right at my fingertips). I need to focus on finishing for Christmas. I don't need those delicious Kona solids. I would be buying them because I want them, not because I have a specific project for them.

There. That was my cart. Not too crazy, right? Somehow I don't feel better. $6.38/m? $4.96/m? Those prices are awesome! Sigh. Hope I don't regret this when it is too late to purchase. Especially that Artichoke.

Dear Santa...

Lynn (aka Buttons)

Tuesday 18 September 2012

My Favourite Kind of Mail

I have always loved receiving mail. As a child, mail always held a promise of birthday cards, postcards and magazines. As an adult, mail also means bills, so not as much fun. Now I have found an even more exciting thing to get in the mail: fabric.

Today I was delighted to find my Kona Solids of the Month delivery from Sew Sisters. The four colours received are always based on an inspiration photo. Here is September's:
Now, were I to guess the colours based only on the colour blocks on the right of the picture, I would be expecting a very dark, raisin purple and a dark reddish colour. Not so. The colours as they look on the actual fat quarters:
From top to bottom: Mulberry, Kumquat, Citrus and Turquoise
The purple is a very bright purple, reminding me of Michael Miller's Once Upon a Time Princess fabric. The kumquat is orange. I mean super orange (reminds me of a pumpkin). What on earth will I use these for? I guess some bright quilt is in my future!

Lynn (aka Buttons)

Monday 17 September 2012

Laurie Wisbrun Fan Freakout

Do you know who Laurie Wisbrun is? I have to admit that until about a month ago, I didn't either. When I came across her etsy store, The Scarlet Fig, I realized that I am a huge Laurie Wisbrun fan and that I want all of her fabric lines. All of them. Just pack them up and send them to me!

Those kooky birds sitting on chairs on the purple fabric that I bought on my birthday? Laurie. Those recently pinned donkeys wearing rubber boots? Laurie. I'm smitten. She usually designs for Robert Kaufman, but has her own line through her etsy store (using Spoonflower) as well.

Here is a taste of some of her fabrics:

Whimsical, fresh, cheeky, unique. I love them!

I ordered a couple of fat quarters (I just couldn't resist) and have been obsessively checking my mailbox for them. The package finally arrived today!
The return address- from Laurie herself!

Precious Urban Circus packing tape. Adorable!

La La Llamas FQ

Urban Circus II Lions FQ
A handwritten thank you note! It is like getting a celebrity's autograph!
I am totally thrilled, and now I'm talking myself out of buying some Jack and Jenny fabric (the adorable donkeys in boots).

Wish me luck resisting buying more fabric!

Lynn (aka Buttons)

Sunday 16 September 2012

Working on Seuss

I took a few moments carved out of the weekend to cut into my Dr.Seuss fabric for a quilt I am making for my best friend's three-year-old son for Christmas.

I am using a tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew called the Road Trip Quilt, and all my fabric is from the first line of Dr. Seuss fabric from Robert Kaufman (I think version three is about to be released!).

I then actually did a layout of the pieces and stacked and pinned them so I could start assembling. My one cat was very unhelpful; he decided to take a nap on top of the fabric as I was laying it out, and then sent it all flying when I shooed him away.
I used my iPad to take a picture of the quilt top as it looks pre-assembled. The quality is horrible, and I vow to avoid using it again for quilting pictures (though I think the dark room didn't help). Here is what is looks like (in blurry, iPad picture form):
I don't think the picture does justice to how bright and fresh the quilt colour are, but you sort of get the idea. I hope he loves it!

Lynn (aka Buttons)

Thursday 13 September 2012

Waffling on the Border

I am working away on Christmas projects to try to get them done in time. As I have lost almost all sewing time due to my hectic work schedule, this may prove difficult.

One of the quilts I am working on is for a Christmas gift swap at my mother-in-law's house. I finished piecing the main portion of the quilt but now I am really unsure about the borders. Hence the waffling.

Here is what the quilt top looks like (I don't have one of it pieced yet, just laid out so you get the idea):

Here is the quilt with three possible border options:
Metro Living by Robert Kaufman (my original first choice)

Sonora by Mitzi Powers (my new favourite)

Solid white border. Blech. This one is out already.
The thing is, my husband actually had an opinion on this (obviously my quilt mania is starting to get to him). He likes the Metro Living because, in his opinion, the quilt already had a lot of the teal/turquoise colour and so the brown and white brings some balance. My problem is that the contrast is too weak with the brown and white, and the teal matches perfectly and looks dark and wintery and gorgeous.

If it helps, I am using a flannelette on the backing that looks like this:
It has the brown and teal but also some delicious burnt orange that I think is fabulous. I definitely did not achieve my original plan of a gender-neutral quilt. Thing is, this yardage was in my stash and so I can finish the quilt with less cost (since it is supposed to cost $50 for the exchange and I will be way over). 

So what should it be?
Option A (Hubby's favourite):

Option B (My favourite):

I hope I can make a decision sooner rather than later so I can get this baby done and ready to baste!

Lynn (aka Buttons)

Wednesday 12 September 2012

HST QAL: September Block

During the summer I encountered a HST quilt-along over at In Color Order with Jeni. I jumped on board and made all the blocks in a matter of a few weeks. I was greatly anticipating the September block (see my post here) but then have had absolutely no time to sew.

Today I carved out some sewing time and it was heavenly, let me tell you. So relaxing. I had already prepared my HSTs and just had to piece them in rows and make the block, press and trim.

Here is me working on my block in a very modern way- with my iPad on the Block of the Month page at In Color Order!

Here is my very helpful feline, Cyrus:

Here is what Jeni's finished block looks like:

Photo courtesy of In Color Order
And here is what my finished block looks like:

I had promised myself I would use the very light pink fabric in one more block because I have used it in just one other block and it was so light it just faded away. I think this is it for the amount of the colour I will use in the whole quilt. Lesson learned. The darker orangey colour is actually a delicious raspberry colour which didn't translate well in this photo.

Loving the quilt so far, and loving that I had a (tiny) bit of time to sew today!

Lynn (aka Buttons)