Friday 28 November 2014

Chandelier: A Finished Quilt

A neighbour is expecting a little girl on December 31st and I knew I wanted to make her a small baby quilt. This is her second daughter but her first is already almost 11 so I think she is pretty much starting from scratch! I originally planned to make them a sort of wild black, white and neon coloured quilt but I couldn't make it work so I asked for the nursery colours. Can you tell, from this quilt, what the colours are? :)

I used my Tumbler template again as this is very easy to assemble, quick to cut out and still more visually interesting than simple patchwork squares might be (which I also love, don't get me wrong). All of the fabrics came from my stash, including the backing which I picked up at some big sale at Pink Castle Fabrics at least two years ago.

Here is Chandelier:

I bound it using some left over white-on-white binding from my Candy Cane quilt.

The name comes from that Riley Blake fabric with the chandelier. Notice lots of Lotta Jansdotter, plus various pulls from my stash that I don't even know what they are anymore.

I did echo quilting along all the seams and rotated the quilt at the junctions to match up with the tumbled effect of the quilt.

The back is all one fabric, a Moda fabric I picked up ages ago. The soft grey is nice but I'm not thrilled because the white is creamier and the binding is crisper white. But it will do.

The echo line quilting looks cool on the back.
Mom is hoping baby will arrive early, and if she does I'll be ready!


Thursday 27 November 2014

November Kona Solids

My November Sew Sisters solids arrived! Normally Jenn at A Quarter Inch from the Edge, who lives several provinces away and gets her bundles later than I do, hates when I post my fabrics because I get my package so much sooner than she does and it ruins the surprise. I think this month I'm safe since I'm sure the arrival of her twins must have her much too busy to check the blog world!!

This was the (somewhat predictable) inspiration photograph. Really, Ontario looks like this in October. By November we are much bleaker and winter has really attacked!
Pretty fall colours.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the colours are all very different from each other which is nice since the last few months have had colours so similar it was hard to distinguish between them.
From the top: Terra Cotta, Mocha, Palm and Natural.
They are all colours I wouldn't choose but they all round out my Kona collection, so I'm pleased. Let's hope we don't get red and green for the December bundle!


Tuesday 25 November 2014

Baby Quilt Marathon

I will have a very busy first quarter of 2015 thanks to what my friends, neighbours and co-workers have been up to. Namely, getting pregnant. I have a LOT of baby quilts to make as several new additions are on their way. I thought I would share some of them here...and this isn't even all of them!

The first is a quilt for friends who are expecting their second in March. Just as with their first, they have decided not to find out the sex of the baby. As such, their nursery themes are orange and beige jungle. That was a strange combo to do a pull from my stash, that is for sure! I got the pattern from one of my Love Quilting and Patchwork magazines. This one is by Bari J. This is the one I'm working on right now.
I made should have though this one through. There are about a million tiny 1.5" white sashing pieces in each block. Ack!
The next quilt is for a friend/former co-worker expecting her third in three years. Heavens. This time she's having a little girl (her first two are boys). I thought I knew what I was going to do until she shared her vision of the nursery and I ended up pulling a much bolder palette- this is mostly Up Parasol by Heather Bailey. I am going to do a modified Puddle Jumping pattern from Camille Roskelley.
That Lark fabric (far right) appeals to the mom, so I am going to surprise her by using it in this baby quilt!
Then I have another friend/co-worker due in March (I know, right?). I am using a very simple pattern from Quilty magazine and using grey and green as she is expecting a little boy and these are her nursery colours.
I love that these don't read "baby" but that this sweet little boy will have a quilt perfect for tummy time!
And then I have yet another ex-co-worker/friend who is expecting her second, a second girl, also in March. I am loving these colours from a bundle of Brambleberry Ridge by Violet Craft. Now I just need to find a fat eighth-friendly pattern. Any suggestions?
The subtle shine of the gold in these prints is divine.
And then there is the co-worker/friend who is having a little boy (or rather his wife is) by the end of March. (Can you tell what my co-workers were up to at the beginning of the summer?) I am using a free rocket ship quilt pattern from Cloud9 and this awesome bundle from Fabricworm to make a Science/Space themed quilt (the dad is a Science teacher). I hope to surprise them with this!
I love those test tubes and beakers!
There is at least one more April baby for whom I'd like to make a gift, but I am certainly of the mindset that my friends better stop getting pregnant! On the upside, every bit of fabric was from my stash. What better way to use your fabric than on baby quilts for precious wee ones?

Any thoughts for that fat eighth bundle?


Monday 24 November 2014

Mini Sewing Retreat

Thanks to my ever-generous quilty friend A I got to spend several lovely, kid-free hours sewing a couple of Saturdays ago. She offered her home and a few of us came. Unfortunately C had to abandon us for her Nan (when your grandma calls to help at the church bazaar you don't say no!) but CW and K were both able to attend. K made a delicious chili, I brought goodies (including mini Haagen Dazs ice cream...yum) and we sewed and sewed!

K recently bought herself a base-level Janome and it is adorable and wonderful. I could see myself buying one to use as a travel machine because I hauled my big ol' girl and she is HEAVY.

I wanted to work on a few things (and I did) but my main focus was to get the experience and advice of A with a pattern for a yoga mat bag that I wanted to make for a friend at work. She had all these little bits and bobs that I needed (the woven webbing material that I had never heard of, for example, and she was incredibly generous in letting me steal everything I needed). The pattern came from One Yard Wonders which is a great book if you are newer to sewing.

What I wanted to share specifically was that we got to use this cool new circle-cutting tool that she had picked up after attending a quilt show talk that involved a quilt with lots of circles (I think it was Zen Chic she went to see?). She bought this and I was the perfect excuse to break it out and try it together. A and I worked the tool and K took the pictures. Teamwork!
This is the tool. It is very much like the compass you would use in high school math to draw circle, except instead of a place to hold your pencil it has a tiny circular blade.

A held the fabric and I worked the cutter. We did it on a scrap piece first to make sure it would work. The circles were for the bottom of the yoga mat bag. Getting used to how much pressure was necessary was the trickiest part.

Ta da! Two pretty darn perfect- and pretty darn easy circles! The fabric is from my stash, purchased from the discount room at Sew Sisters some time last year.
The bag came together really well (thanks to A's help!!) and I got CW to model it for you here:
Cute, right? (The bag and CW).
I didn't end up using the D-ring that they suggested because I thought this worked really well. A was an amazing help, and CW and K were in awe that I finished something in one short sewing session. They are the newer sewers/quilters and I can only imagine what they will be able to accomplish as their skills grow!

I was so pleased to have a day with wonderful people while sewing. I'm lucky!


Tuesday 11 November 2014

Candy Cane: A Finished Quilt

As a result of a Blogger's Bundle of the Month Club that I was in, hosted through Fat Quarter Shop, I sometimes received bundles of fabric that were not at all to my liking or taste. One such bundle came full of different reds and with what I would consider "old fashioned" fabrics like those from the French General line (which is wildly popular in some circles).

I was inspired by a pin on Pinterest to make a red and white quilt and, because the fabric is a little "old lady" for my taste, to gift the quilt to an old lady: my husband's stepmother's mother, Nana. She is the kindest woman you'll ever meet and even if this was the ugliest quilt ever made I assure you she would adore it because it was handmade for her. Her health has been a bit challenging this year and her husband, Papa, has also been quite ill which has been stressful for her. I think a beautiful red and white quilt as a Christmas present will help cheer her up!

So here is Candy Cane, being held up by quilty friend CW who was  not impressed that at our retreat I wanted her to hold it up for me in the rain. Apparently complaining about quilt photo shoots isn't restricted only to my husband. :) She was a trooper.
It is also important to note that CW is not nearly as tall as my 6'1" husband.  The binding is leftover white-on-white fabric and I think it frames the quilt nicely without being overly bold. I have never bound a quilt with white before but I think it works!

Here I think all the reds play nicely together. The whites are all white-on-whites because I thought a crisp Kona White would be too stark against the more traditional fabric.

The back is all one fabric. I got this one on clearance from Sew Sisters quite a long time ago because I knew I wanted something red but not too RED, you know? I love it.

I echo quilted all the seams with a variegated red and white cotton thread using my walking foot. 
This is a generous lap-sized quilt, especially considering Nana is a pretty tiny lady. I hope she loves it and gets lots of cuddling under it!


This Friday I'm going to try to remember to link up to Finish It Up Fridays with Crazy Mom Quilts. Here's hoping my brain doesn't let me down!

Saturday 8 November 2014

Fabric Consultation Services

I love my day job. I support high school teachers as they continually learn and grow in terms of their instructional strategies, assessment practices and integration of 21st Century teaching tools. And I love my hobby, quilting (with some occasional sewing thrown in).

But I got a glimpse the other day of another career that would be awesome: Fabric Consultation Services.

I have this friend, R. She is known to be very, VERY particular about her tastes. She has been known to return gifts without remorse- including from her poor husband and even her own mother. She likes what she likes, which I admire, but goodness she can be hard to please!

This friend R, if you follow my blog, is the same woman who commissioned me to make the quilts for her boys' "big boy" beds. And she trusted my vision totally. She also loved the end result and told me she was so glad she had trusted me. This same friend also brought me with her for input in selecting fabrics to have pillows custom-made for her living room.

Well now this friend is expecting her third child in three years (I think she's nuts) and she is having a little girl. She has a vision in her head of how she wants her nursery to look and she texted me about wanting a particular kind of crib (a Jenny Lind crib? I didn't know they had a name?) and wanting to inject colour by having a really "wow" crib skirt made and maybe some pillows or crib sheets and bumpers. (I teased her about the forbidden bumpers, but I digress).

We texted back and forth for close to an hour with me honing in on her vision, sending her link after link to bundles and individual fabrics that I thought might fit her vision. She loved everything I was sending her but insisted they were not "it." The more I sent her the clearer my own understanding was and the first hint of "Oooo, that's close" was when I sent her a link to Katy Jones' Priory Square:

Limited Edition AGF Priory Square fabric by Katy Jones
So we were getting somewhere. I then I sent her something more "out of the box" by sending this:
Dreamlandia Illuminated from Utopia by Frances Newcombe (also AGF)
She loved the colours and the scale but the deer head was throwing her off. And then it came to me:

Peacock Waltz Gala from Bari J's Petal and Plume line coming out in December (more Art Gallery Fabrics!)
She used words like "gorgeous" and "perfect" and said she had been searching for a peacock wall decal but couldn't find one so she had abandoned her vision. Until this fabric!
And after a few more suggestions I found her bumper fabric, this Ripple in Sea fabric, another Art Gallery/Bari J print that should compliment the peacocks beautifully!
Ripple in Sea
It was such a thrill to do all that searching and suggesting and then finding the perfect combo for my very picky friend. :) I could see it being so much fun to work with people and narrow down fabric choices for them and help them find what they are most desiring!

So if anyone can find out a way for me to switch to that job and still make a decent salary, please let me know. I knew my obsessive trolling of fabric sites would come in handy one day!


Wednesday 5 November 2014

WIP Wednesday: Get 'Er Done

I have several quilts in progress right now. Last night I finished binding the red and white quilt destined for my husband's stepmother's mother for Christmas. With the time change it gets dark around here so early that I don't know how I'm going to get in a photo shoot with some good natural light!

I also just have to do the hand stitching of the binding of the yellow, white and grey baby quilt for my neighbour who is expecting a baby girl on December 31st. I did straight line "echo" quilting along the tumbler shapes, pausing at each "bend" to lift my walking foot and rotate the quilt. It has a pleasant end result that I'm quite pleased with and I hope the mom loves it. Hopefully I'll be finishing that up this week.
All these greys and yellows are nice together! I used a white thread for the quilting.
I also pulled out my last "2014" project that I really want to get finished. Two years ago my oldest friend got married and I was her maid of honour. I came up with the idea (thanks to Pinterest) of a guest book quilt for her baby showers (she had two). I had no intention of being the one who made this quilt, mind you, as both the bride's mother and aunt are very experienced and talented (though more traditional) quilters. So the bride's aunt prepared 6.5" squares with freezer paper on the back to stabilize them, and after both her showers the blocks were sent to her. Where they sat. And sat. And sat.

I understand that sometimes you want to prioritize other projects, but when we hit the 1 1/2 year mark and my friend now also had a baby I knew I wanted to act. So I asked the bride if she wouldn't mind rescuing the blocks so I could put it together. And then I immediately abandoned the aunt's vision (a snowball quilt) because some people had signed too close to the corners for it to work. And then I went even further off-script because, since there were no other fabrics picked out, I suggested to the bride (now long since married and with a daughter of her own) that it might be fun to make the quilt in her wedding colours: black and white with a touch of red. The bride is also crazy about damask fabric, so I picked some up. I did a consult with a quilty friend, A, and then finally put together the quilt layout:
The sizes here look wonky because they are just loosely laid out on the floor, but now that it is stitched together in rows and I have the first two rows attached it looks pretty killer.
I used Kona Black for the solid and interjected that damask fabric here and there for variation. I since have ordered some Kona Poppy because none of the reds I had in my stash were a) a good fit pattern wise or b) enough to do a border around the entire quilt. The Poppy is on the way in the mail and I plan to do a thin 2 or 3" border of that, followed by a 3-4" inch black border. I think I'm going to use up the rest of the fabric and interject some patterned reds on the back in a simple checkerboard layout that uses that black, white and red since I have 6.5" squares left over of the white used for the signing and of the damask.

If I get this quilt done before midnight on New Year's Eve I will consider myself in great shape. I just can't forget that I also have other, non-quilt projects that I have vowed to get done by Christmas. Does anyone else feel on track?


Tuesday 4 November 2014

October Kona Solids: What I Would Have Chosen Instead

This month I was hoping for a really "wow" bundle of Kona solids from my monthly Sew Sisters delivery. Last October had this gorgeous combo of greys that was dark and spooky and delicious because they were varied enough to really get a feel for the range you could work with. I even commented on the pleasant lack of orange and black, the "obvious" colours.

Then this year's October bundle arrived and...
Well that was expected.
I don't mind orange, not really. And green is a favourite colour, though perhaps not these sweet greens.
Top to bottom: Orange, Asparagus, Pear, Mango
Mmmmm. Food-themed colours. I will add them to my stash and know that one day I will be grateful for the addition of these solids! If I had picked some colours for the bundle, though, I might have used a picture like this:

And then chosen colours like this (from the Sew Sisters site, even):




What do you think? Did I do a better job than the orange and green from this month's picture?

And as a bonus, here is a picture of my baby trying to eat a pumpkin.