Monday 30 December 2013

2013 Year in Review...19 Quilts!

The year 2013 has been a great one for me, and that included lots of sewing (though not these past few months). Considering my first ever quilt I started in January of 2012 it is hard to believe I actually finished 19 (!) quilts this year! When I saw them all written down I was even a little shocked. How did I find the time?

Hopefully in the new year, with the addition of a new baby girl, I will get lots of quilting time. I'm hoping she is soothed by the sound of a sewing machine. Am I a crazy dreamer?

Left to right, top to bottom: Things That Go, Ice Cream Truck, Foxy Blocks, Bouncing Bunnies, Giraffe Love, Bluebird's Song, Superhero Mashup, Spring Garden, Purple Patchwork, Thank You Kate, Comma Sutra, Plus One, Lily Garden, Jungle Jewel, GeoBaby, Little Red, One is Fun, Jungle Jam and A Zipper in Time.
Above is a collage of all my quilts this year. I also did some smaller projects, but I usually forget to take pictures of those. I need to be more diligent about that this year.

I would say that the quilt I am most proud of is A Zipper in Time, a complicated, large quilt that ended up looking amazing for my father-in-law's 60th birthday. For sentimental reasons, I love Lily Garden because my grandmother, who has been very ill, loves it so much. She was hospitalized for many weeks this past winter and she insists on her quilt being with her all the time. I love that (even if the quilt itself is not to my personal taste). Really, I have love for all these quilts, made for other people (only one in this collage lives at my house, in my daughter's room) and gifted with love.

Now I have to put together a 2014 quilting To Do list. Last year's list was a wee bit adventurous (my friend C says I am totally nuts with my quilting goals) so I think I might try to be more realistic this year. I would say 12 quilts plus a few on-the-go projects like finishing Sugar Block Club blocks from 2013 (I am so behind!). I'll do a 2014 goals post soon.

Hope your 2013 was filled with lots of crafty time!


Monday 23 December 2013

Jungle Jewel and Jungle Jam: TWO Finished Quilts

When friends of ours found out they were expecting twins, I knew I wanted to make a pair of quilts that went together but weren't identical (much like the twins themselves!). I ordered Bungle Jungle fat eighth packs and picked the Tagged pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew's book (Alison Harris) Growing Up Modern.

The babies were due in October. They ended up arriving at the end of September. Alas, I am only just now finished (and delivering the quilts to the babies this afternoon so they don't get lost in Christmas chaos when we see that whole group of friends (including 14 kids) on New Year's Eve).

Here is a very picture-heavy post about Jungle Jewel (the grey and turquoise and white version, destined for the little girl twin) and Jungle Jam (the red, blue and green version for the little boy twin).
Jungle Jewel

Jungle Jewel- The binding is the grey crossword fabric from this line.

Jungle Jewel is FMQed using a very light blue Aurafil and doing a loose meandering stipple.

Back of Jungle Jewel- turquoise crossword print with some grey prints down the edge for interest.

How cute are those elephants?

This gives you an idea of the weather conditions during this shoot- right after a major ice storm. This little Alberta Spruce was solid ice and right next to where I am shooting (in my backyard).

Jungle Jam

Jungle Jam was FMQed with loops through the white and red strips and a spiral at the centre of every block. It took FOREVER.

Jungle Jam- back is grey crossword, the binding is turquoise crossword and the edge of this one has some happy yellow prints.

I loved pieced backings, and you can really see the FMQ pattern here.

Another ice shot to remind you how COLD it was while I was taking these pictures!

A pair.

Jungle Jam at the back, Jungle Jewel at the front. I love how they look like they belong together and yet are not exact (which would be boring).
I hope the mom and dad love the quilts, and that the babies get lots of use out of them. These will be the last quilts I finish for 2013 (and hopefully I'll get one done for my baby before she comes, with an expected due date of January 16, before the end of January).

Look for a post of all my 2013 quilts coming over the next week.


Sunday 8 December 2013

Last Shop Hop Before Baby

Yesterday I got to go on a fabric shop hop with some quilty friends. The weather was cold and cloudy but the company was awesome and we all had a good time. We even had a total newbie quilter with us for the first time. We (C and I) were worried that newbie quilter would be like our friend A who only buys fabric when she has a specific project in mind. Crazy, if you ask me. But the newbie was awesome and when she loved things she picked them up. She was stroking fabric and matching thread like a pro. I think she's going to be hooked!

On a good note, I have my old machine back and she is running very smoothly:
I missed you!
I managed to fix a dress for my daughter, FMQ the last of the one twin's quilt and make all the binding for both twin quilts. Hooray! Progress!

Rolls of binding are satisfying.
But back to the shop hop...

Our first stop was Bee Modern Fabrics at the new location outside of Niagara-on-the-Lake. They have tons more room and we loved their tiny store when we went in the summer so we knew this was a must stop.

So adorable, right?

Tons of fabrics that appealed to all of us.
I am a lousy clothing maker. But A is awesome at it. I fell in love with this little dress, so I bought the pattern (It is an Oliver + S pattern) and A will make it for me once I buy the fabric. LOVE!
There are also these super soft Bamboo baby wools at Bee Modern, and A is making a sweater for me for the new baby. Those two aqua/teal/turquoise colours are gorgeous.

We then had lunch at a bakery and cafe across the street from Bee Modern. I don't remember the name, but the food was delicious! Check out the baked goods!
Our next stop was The Quilting Bee in Thorold. C and A had been there before so they knew what to expect.
Quilting Bee

Two floors of fabric? Yes please.
Much of the fabric selection was more old fashioned than I would choose, but I found this shelf of Ann Kelle flannelettes and I knew some would come home with me.
How could I resist?
They had about a thousand things on display. I liked this modern Christmas wall hanging:

Applique is beyond me yet!
And there was one section that seemed destined for C. She is a Kaffe Fassett, Tula Pink, Amy Butler nut. This whole set of shelves was on sale! She picked up some beautiful fabrics for 20% off!
So much colour!
Some of the piecing on display was so crisp and perfect that I was jealous!
Such tiny little pieces!
Next up was Waterford where the Quilt Junction, housed in an old train station, was waiting for us as the sun began to set.
It was really quaint, but mostly fabric not to my taste (civil war, batik, etc). The atmosphere was dark (which is nice for being cozy but not great for trying to see the colour of fabrics).
Add caption

Christmas lights were sparkling!
Tired and happy with our purchases we then made our way home. Want to see what I bought?

1m each of these two Ann Kelle flannelettes in Urban Zoologie (for the soon-to-be-here baby!)
A few adorable fat quarters:
Turquoise seems to turn up everywhere!

A 60 degree ruler, which I have been looking for. This one was from The Quilting Bee. I'm thrilled!
Wait, you say. That is so reasonable. Why so little?


Earlier in the week A was at two stores in Guelph, Triangle Sewing and Greenwood Quiltery. And thanks to the wonders of texting, she sent me photos of things (including the machines on sale- thanks A!) and I got her to buy me some things. Ooops.
Three spools of Aurafil and 10 fat quarters from the new Charlie Harper line of fabric which is sooooooo cute. I just wish they had the cardinals in stock.
And my second-to-last Blogger bundle of the month from Fat Quarter Shop just arrived. While I'm on maternity leave we are stopping my monthly bundle. I will miss them!
I love, love, love this bundle!!
So, with that last shop hop under my belt (ha! Like I could wear a belt right now!) I can perhaps get down to some sewing (I want at least one quilt for baby done before she arrives!). And there is a potential road trip in June to see a quilt show with these same fantastic ladies. I'll be looking forward to it!


Friday 29 November 2013

Mmmmmmm...I Love Grey and What to Do About a Sewing Machine

My Sew Sisters Kona Solids of the Month club arrived for November with a Movember-themed moustache picture and four delicious fat quarters of grey.

Here is the inspiration photo:
This moustache is charming. The one my husband grew is horrible. Maybe he needs one that looks like this next November?

And here are the different greys:
From top to bottom: Kona Silver, Kona Shale, Kona Shadow and Kona Pewter.
I have to tell you, I love them all. The Shale in particular has this greenish quality that adds a lot of depth. I love, love, love grey and I am so thrilled to add these to my stash.

On the note of sewing: none to report. Despite a dear sewing friend lending me her back up machine, I have not been able to sew. Her machine and I are not friends. The bobbin is side loading and is in a metal bobbin case and it took me ages to figure out how to use it. (My machine had a mega-easy drop-in bobbin with a clear cover). Then the very first practice stitches I did resulted in a broken needle. Argh!

And I heard from the sewing machine repair guy who told me very directly that my machine (a Brother CS-5000H) is NOT meant for someone who does as much sewing as I do. He said "You should sell it to someone you don't know." Whatever THAT means. I am getting the machine back Monday but he said with the amount of sewing I do he thinks he will only last another six months to maybe a year, and that I should invest in a much better (read: expensive!) machine. Sigh. As anyone who has been on maternity leave can attest, spending thousands of dollars with a salary down to almost nothing is not ideal. My husband is being very understanding and we are trying to figure out if I should look out for post-Christmas sales and just do it (as in, buy a really nice, really expensive machine) or wait until mine fully breaks, or replace this one with another less expensive model and wait for that one to crap out before upgrading. What to do, what to do? 

What machine do YOU use? Would you recommend it to someone else? Can it handle all my sewing? I don't want to spend tons and get the wrong machine, that is for sure!


Saturday 23 November 2013

Good Intentions, Zero Progress

After my machine ground to a halt the other day, I have been trying to get back into a sewing groove. I tried cleaning out the machine, oiling it, changing the needle, etc. Nothing has worked. My machine is, hopefully, visiting a doctor this week. 

In the meantime I pressed and cut the material for the binding for the twins' quilts:
These are the left over crossword prints from both quilts, reversed for the binding on each twin's quilt.
And I pulled out the stack of fabric that was supposed to be turned into a quilt for my husband's stepmother's mother (we call her Nana) with the plans to make her a quilt for Christmas. I have since come to the realization that there is NO WAY I am finishing any quilts before Christmas with the exception, I hope, of one for my own baby. So I think she will get this next Christmas.

Most of these fabrics were pulled from Fat Quarter Shop Blogger Bundles. Red isn't my favourite, but I think Nana will love a red and white quilt.
And I cut the fabric (the pattern half at least) for a quilt for my own baby from Indian Summer. I need to cut the Kona White next.

How adorable are these fabrics?
I consulted my sewing friends C and A about where to take my machine for servicing, and in the meantime wonderful, generous C has offered to lend me her old, starter machine so I can still be sewing while I wait for mine to be fixed. How awesome is she???

And we have a shop hop (my last for a while, I'm guessing) planned for next Saturday. I can't wait!

Wish my sewing machine a speedy recovery!


Sunday 10 November 2013

Machine Woes

I finally, finally got some serious quilting time in this weekend. Those quilts for the twins having been calling to me and I managed to get the boy quilt totally quilted, trimmed and threads buried. Hooray! Then I got to work doing a much simpler FMQ all-over meandering stipple on the girl quilt. I was flying. I got 90% done when...


My machine ground to a slow stop. The wheel is super tight. It feels like it needs to be lubed. I have never opened my machine before and though I have machine oil (I do like to be prepared- must be my Girl Guide background) I am nervous to try to lube the wheel myself!!

The top quilt is ready to add binding. The bottom quilt is 90% done. Darn machine!

What really bothers me is that I have never had trouble like this before in the three years I have owned my sturdy Brother. I recently had it cleaned and serviced and two months later it grinds to a halt? Surely he greased the wheel thoroughly? I am wondering if my marathon of fmq-ing over the last two days did it in. But should it have?

So...on advice from a quilty friend I am going to watch a You Tube video and give oiling the machine a shot. I am nervous. But first I am going to jump into some cutting and fabric play to work up my nerve!

Have any of you ever "serviced" your own machine? Any tips?


Tuesday 5 November 2013

Twin Quilt Progress

There has been some progress around here. Finally!

Two quilt tops, pressed and ready to go!

Two quilt backs, ready to go.

Sometimes you have to Frankenstein some quilt batting. Especially when the quilt top is 6" wider than the standard crib batting size. Sigh.

And, basting time. I got both quilts basted with few problems.
And so there is some actually sewing happening, and I even got in some initial FMQing starting with the little boy quilt tonight. Maybe they'll get their quilts before they're three months old! (Fingers crossed).


Saturday 2 November 2013

Don't Let the Pigeon Do Any Quilting

My ridiculous work schedule does not have any signs of easing up before I go on maternity leave in December, which means little-to-no sewing time around here. And yet I have so many quilts I want to get done ASAP! (At least before Christmas!)

Top of the list is getting those twin quilts done. I finished the two tops today and hope to get the backing made and them both basted tonight. With hubby out of town overnight I often get more done (once the kiddlet is in bed, mind you).

But I did get one sewing project that has been on my To Do list DONE last weekend. My daughter saw the Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus fabric online and flipped out. She begged me to buy some and sew her something. I decided pillowcases made a lot of sense, and I bought the fabric. Months ago.

Here is the finished product!
The bottom case is made with a cheater print. The top one is mostly Pigeon-with-attitude with a different fabric for the piping and the cuff of the pillowcase.
 Here is a close up to show you how nice the piping and cuff look. All french seams (so no raw edges) using the tutorial from Film in the Fridge. I've now used this tutorial about five times, and it never fails to produce great results.
The kiddo loves the pillowcases and I am so pleased I got around to actually making her something she's been asking for. Now I hope to get those twin quilts done soon!


Friday 18 October 2013

Favourite Kona Solids Yet

When my Sew Sisters Kona Solids of the Month club arrived, I squealed. The colours are chosen based on an inspiration photo so they could easily have chosen an orange and black scheme, but instead the inspiration photo was this spooky, green and grey ghostly town image. And I LOVE the colours!

From left to right: Kona Jade, Kona Ash, Kona Medium Grey, Kona Emerald
I love greys and I love greens...and these greens are really scrumptious jewel greens which are so lovely. I think this is my favourite combo from the solids club yet!


Monday 7 October 2013

Slow and Steady

I have been sneaking in a wee bit of sewing. I am working on the two Tagged quilts I am making using Allison Harris' pattern (of Cluck Cluck Sew).

I turned this:
Kona white and Kona Tomato
Into these:
A clever trick!
The initial layout calls for placing the vertical sashing first. All those verticals will be filled in with more white and tomato.

Boy Twin colourway

Girl Twin colourway
Now I need to get those rows finished so I can put the darn thing together.

Also, Pink Castle fabrics (my go-to online quilt store) had a big sale. I tried to show restraint. Honestly, I did. This is the least I could purchase:
I am loving the feather print by Alison Glass. Plus one of the text print in indigo. And more of my favourite print from Bonnie and Camille's last line. And some Wonderclips to try for binding.
I definitely need to incorporate some of that Alison Glass fabric into baby's rainbow nursery wall hanging quilt.

But no time to elaborate and dream! I need to actually sew!

Wish me luck finishing those twin quilts soon...they are almost ten days old already!