Friday 30 January 2015

Hoot: A Finished Quilt

One of the first baby quilts on my very long January-March baby quilt list was for a co-worker who was expecting his second son in early January. Baby H arrived on January 6th, but I delivered the quilt on January 23rd which was the first time I saw him in the new year.

The pattern comes from an issue of Quilty magazine and I chose it because it looks beautiful and complicated but is actually a very straight-forward pattern that turns out a fairly small (and therefore more practical for the mass production I have to do) quilt.

Here is Hoot (named such because of the Ann Kelle owls on which the colour scheme is based):
These fabrics are all from my stash. There is Quatrefoil in Navy and Yellow, some V&Co. chevrons in lime, Bonnie and Camille and a bunch of Cotton+Steel from their basics line (which is to die for).
I did a simple meandering stipple because I wanted it to be fast- and it was! I had no issues, other than running out of bobbin part way through (which I try to avoid doing in the middle of the quilt!)
I used Aurafil white and got this done in two short sessions of FMQ.
The backing is more Ann Kelle owls, but in a different colourway. I meant to purchase the same fabric (with only the green, blue and yellow) but the store I went to only had this version, so I didn't mind too much because it is the backing.
Sweet owls.
I used all one print because it just makes sense to avoid piecing on a smaller quilt like this one.
Those owls are adorable and will hide many sins, I think. :)
I used a Bonnie and Camille print that I love to use as binding because those little scallops look so good on the edge. I think it really finishes off this quilt perfectly.
Bonnie and Camille Happy Go Lucky scallops in navy.
The dad absolutely loved the quilt (and was totally surprised) and apparently his wife also loved it and Baby H totally approves.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish It Up Friday!


Wednesday 28 January 2015


I have a long list of baby quilts that I'm working through, and I thought I had hit all my deadlines thus far until I discovered that a baby I thought was due in March was actually due at the end of January- and then she came even earlier than that!

I already knew what fabrics I was going to use, and which pattern. Because this was a fat eighth bundle of Brambleberry Ridge, I wanted a fat eighth friendly pattern. I found this free tutorial by Samelia's Mum and decided I liked the simplicity.

Here is what the first layout looked like. I decided that it was just too small, so I added a 5.5" (unfinished) white Kona border to bulk it up.
The colours are unusual. My husband and mom don't like the colour combination but I think it is delicate and pretty, and I've been getting lots of Instagram love, so I just hope the mom likes it!
I have been working hard to shop my stash, and I knew I had some chocolate Pearl Bracelets purchased on mega sale from Pink Castle fabrics awhile ago. The brown is much deeper and richer than the brown from Brambleberry Ridge but it still worked out beautifully (I think!).
Pearl Bracelets are so awesome. Did you hear that mini Pearl Bracelets are coming? I can't wait to see that scale.
And thanks to my amazing husband, I have been able to sneak in some sewing time and I actually have it all quilted. I liked the straight-line quilting that I did on my orange jungle quilt so much that I decided to do straight-line quilting (with white Aurafil) on this one too. I like it, but I'm a little worried it comes across as too grid-like. Wait for the reveal to tell me if you agree!
The quilting went very smoothly and added some nice texture to this pretty little baby quilt.
I managed to find a peachy-pink 1/2 yard of fabric in my stash for the binding, which I have made and now I'm do the hand binding. I might even be able to deliver it to the new baby girl early next week!

Though I'm excited that this one is almost done, I can't stop to enjoy it because more babies are coming soon! I've already pressed the green and grey intended for my next quilt!

Do you like the peachy-pink/brown combo?


Monday 26 January 2015

January Kona Solids: Procrastination Pays Off

It was my intention to cancel my Sew Sisters Kona Solids of the Month club subscription because my solids were building up without me touching them and because I hadn't been too impressed with the bundles lately. With everything else going on in life, however, I forgot to cancel in time and my January bundle arrived. This time not getting something done really paid off!

Here is the inspiration photograph:
Snowy is a pretty accurate reflection of the weather around here.
And I was delighted with the colours. They are not ones I necessarily would have chosen (with the exception of Stratosphere) and yet the combo and the shades have me really happy.
From top to bottom: Celestial, Stratosphere, Laurel and Seafoam.
I don't think this picture does the combination justice because they really do look good together. I still think I'm going to cancel, but I'm so pleased that these babies were added to my stash first!


Friday 23 January 2015

Celebration: A Finished Quilt

I was the Maid of Honour in a wedding in September of 2013. The summer before the wedding we had two bridal showers for the bride, a life-long friend (truly life-long- she visited me in the hospital when I was born. She would have been five months old). I came up with the idea (thank you Pinterest) to have the guests sign squares of fabric and turn those squares into a sort of wedding shower guest book.

I had no intention of making the quilt myself. Her mother is a skilled quilter (well, she hand pieces phenomenal quilts, but someone else quilts them for her) and her aunt is a very accomplished quilter. After the blocks were signed (the aunt picked the fabric, prepped them and had decided on a snowball design) they made their way back to the aunt. They stayed there for close to two years until I had them "liberated" and tackled turning them into a quilt myself. By this point my skill level had increased which meant that I was more confident to make it into something beautiful.

The aunt had not purchased any of the fabric, other than some not-to-my-taste white-on-white for the blocks themselves, so I decided to use the colours from the wedding itself (black and white with some red accents) instead of shower colours. The bride (now wife) loved the idea and approved a shot of the black and white fabric I sent her, so I got to work!

Here is Celebration:

The quilt is quite large, larger than I expected. I used Kona Black and the damask fabric with all the signed squares. There is a narrow band of Kona Poppy framing the entire quilt.

The signed blocks are scattered randomly. I thought this offered a nice modern feel. I did make sure I balanced out the damask fabric so no one area would be too heavy.

For the back I pulled black and white and red and white fabric from my stash. I also used up the rest of the Kona Poppy, Kona Black and the leftover white-on-white squares that hadn't been signed at the showers. These are 6" squares.
A wild, bold, LOUD patchwork for the back.
I did straight-line quilting for this quilt, echo quilting the black seams on the front while loosely quilting the edges of each signed block. It makes for an organic sort of grid pattern.
I kind of love how the quilting looks on the back.
I used some leftover binding combined with scraps of red leftover from the quilt, and I did some FMQ on the Poppy borders from the front using a variegated red and white thread.
The binding was a fun addition.
The bride (now wife and mom to a one-year-old) loves her quilt, even if it was two years later than was the plan. Her husband also loved the idea and they think it is a great keepsake. They took some time to re-read each signed block and think about the pre-wedding festivities. It was nice!

I'm so pleased to have put this in the hands of my dear friend. On to the next finish!


Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Fridays!

Wednesday 21 January 2015

WIP Wednesday: Binding and Hurrying

The weather has been chilly. Work has been busy. And home has been extra busy. Sewing and quilting time in all the craziness is necessary for my sanity. 

I have the binding on the orange jungle quilt and now I just need to get all the hand stitching done. This is the sort of project that is perfect for finishing while curled up on the coach watching Downton Abbey.
The quilting turned out better than I had expected on this quilt. I can't wait to post a finish post for this one!
I thought that this Wednesday I would still be working on the binding for my owl quilt, but I got it done! This is a good thing because this baby has arrived and I want to deliver this quilt on Friday!
I love this Bonnie and Camille print on bindings.
What is of greater concern, however, is that one of the babies I thought was due in March was actually due in January. January 30th, actually. But then there were some complications and baby  has already arrived! Ack! I better get a fire lit under my butt and get this baby quilt done quickly! I am using Brambleberry Ridge and it is just so classy and beautiful. I can't wait to put it in the hands of the new mom!
Fortunately it is a simple pattern and it is all cut.
I do hope some of the craziness of life calms down a bit so that sewing isn't something I have to cram into the spare seconds of my day!


Tuesday 13 January 2015

And Now For Something a Little Different

When I started sewing about four years ago I did not know I was going to end up being addicted to making quilts. For about the last three years I pretty much have not made anything other than quilt (hey, do what you love, right?). I recently have been stepping out of my comfort zone, particularly because at work my one group of colleagues exchange "birthday bombs" (which essentially means spoiling that person on his or her birthday) and I have tried to make something for each of them.

Quilting I generally can figure out on my own. Sewing leads to texts and phone calls to my more skilled sewing friends (especially A, who seems to know all the little tricks). I wanted to share a couple of things I made that were so out of my zone!

I have a friend who is turning 40 this month. His wife is buying him an iPad mini so I decided I would make him an iPad mini case (with his wife's blessing) and use this tutorial and some Star Wars fabric (he is a Star Wars nut).

I got all the supplies (thanks to some advice from A while out on a shopping trip) and was stumped pretty early on when it told me to trim the 12" zipper down to 10.5". Wait. Which side do I trim??
Trim this side?

Or trim this side?
Thankfully A responded quickly to my text and told me to cut on the closed end, not the zipper end (picture one not picture two). I tried googling this answer before checking with A and I could not find the answer! Imagine that!

I also pulled out my zipper foot for the first time ever. I have sewed maybe three zippers in my life (this being the third) and I do think there was a difference using the correct foot.
I top-stitched with my walking foot which was a good call, I think.
Once it was all together (ish) I used my wonder clips- and a few pins- to hold it all together for the final top-stitching. This was by far the most challenging part, especially because the instructions were not all that great and I ended up having to pull out two sections of the top seams to "save" the project. My hubby helped with fixing the issue, actually, because he is good at visualizing in 3-D. He told me where to pull the stitch to save my pocket (I had attached the inner lining slightly wrong) and it fixed the project!
Slow and steady- and lots of clips.
The final result is not perfect, but it is cute and it does fit an iPad mini (I checked the dimensions, cut one out of cardboard and slipped it inside to be sure!). I am just waiting for the zipper pull I ordered from Etsy- a Darth Vader light saber. I think he will like it!
I used a Cotton+Steel print in black for the lining, and the outer fabric was picked up at a Jo-Ann's in the U.S. ages back and used for my The Dark Side quilt.
The design is good in terms of the accessory pocket- I love that you can put the charger right with your iPad. I did not love the quality and detail in the instructions. Lots of assumptions are made about your skill level. I also think something is wrong with the pattern piece for the tab that holds the case shut. The pattern has it much too small, in my opinion, and as a result the way I had to attach it leaves a gap that I don't like. In the tutorial the shape of the tab is quite different, so I think there might be an issue with the template itself. Trust me, draw your own to the size you'd prefer.

Next up was a birthday bomb item for one of the men I work with. He is young and fabulous and he is very stylish. I knew that whatever I made him had to use the Dapper Fox print from The Fox and the Houndstooth. I ended up deciding on the journal cover pattern from Stitched in Colour. He loves carrying around notebooks and journals (comes with the job, I think) and he can reuse it by buying a new journal. Masculine? Check. Useful? Check. Stylish? Check. I knew I had a winner.
I picked up a composition book from Staples and got to work with the grey colourway of this line.
The pattern gives you two options: lined or unlined. She recommends testing the fabric on the journal cover to see if it is opaque enough that you don't see the pattern on the composition book coming through. This was a GREAT tip. I needed a lining. I chose this tone-on-tone Pearl Bracelet in the recipient's favourite colour. I did not know at the time that you would basically NEVER see this pattern except when switching out the books, but that is okay!
This was before I trimmed the corners. It is inside-out here.
I had a lot of frustration with my machine with this one. On the edges with the folded sides my needle would not pierce through. Thread kept breaking. The machine would come to a halt for "safety reasons." Fortunately no needles broke, but I was going nuts. I switched needles, tension, thread, everything. Eventually I just powered through. Anyone else ever have this issue? Usually my Janome is a BEAST and can power through any fabric!
It hated these edges.

Trimmed, pressed, ready to turn.
The finished product fit PERFECTLY. This was a well-written tutorial with detailed, helpful pictures and instruction. I really like the results.
And my co-worker loved it too!

This is what it looks like on the inside cover. A very polished final result I think.
I was proud of myself for trying something different, but I was not 100% happy with the results. I did come to the realization that the quality of pattern makes an incredible difference. I knew that already from quilting, but it is almost more important when it is outside your area of experience and you really need clear instructions.


Friday 9 January 2015

Off the Wagon

I made a promise to myself that I would cut down on buying fabric. I just have so much of everything and it was seeming excessive. The plan is to shop my stash from September to June. I have been on my best behaviour, until Christmas. Ack! I ordered one thing on Boxing Day (I'll post when it comes in) and I went on a little shopping trip with quilty friend A on the 31st. I did have a list of very reasonable things and I didn't go too crazy, but I did fall off the wagon a bit!

Ottawa Street in Hamilton
We went shopping on Ottawa Street, the fabric district in the city of Hamilton which is nearby where I live. They have lots of upholstery fabric, foam, speciality sewing things and just a little bit of quilting fabric (which is what I was there for, of course!) We went into European Textiles for the quilting fabric and I got a couple of backings.
I like that they have lots of modern, designer fabrics. They are also displayed in this rather charming fashion. As you can see, this was the Tula Pink shelf, next to the Cotton+Steel shelf.
We also bought fabric for A for a cushion for a bench by her front door that she wanted to cover (it looks amazing), and we stopped by a shop where you can take classes and buy all the notions and fabric to make your own bras. Pretty cool, right? That is a skill I bet very few people have! We had a few other stops, including one at a book store, and we had lunch, too. Overall it was a lovely, bright, sunny, COLD day and a fun trip out with a friend!

It was a cold but sunny day. I snapped this picture as we were getting in the car to head home. The bright sunshine and lovely clouds were just the right atmosphere for a day of shopping!
I did buy two things on my list: a black 12" zipper and backing fabric for two of the baby quilts I'm making. I also had to snag those two solids because I NEEDED Ultra Marine (I've been coveting it since the new Kona release last year). That ruler has been on my "to get" list for awhile at it was 30% off, so why not? :)

So this was the damage done. A 12.5" square ruler, a black zipper (that was on the list), backing fabric for two quilts and two solid fat quarters- Glacier and Ultra Marine (aren't they divine???)

So I fell off the wagon, but I had fun doing it and it is not like a bought loads of fabric without purpose so I think I'm still on track!

I think my group of quilty people may go on a February shop hop, though, so I better start saving up willpower starting now!


Wednesday 7 January 2015

Baby Quilt in Progress

There is one baby due in January on my loooooong list of upcoming babies for whom I would like to make a quilt. I used the Ann Kelle owls as inspiration for this little boy quilt and I'm using a pattern from Quilty magazine because it makes an attractive- but fairly simple and quite small- baby quilt. If I have to crank out six quilts in the next while then I better choose my patterns wisely!

This was the result of a day of cutting on New Year's Day:
I love how the navy, lime and yellow play together. Recognize any fabric? Several Cotton+Steel fabrics, some Quatrefoil and those fun chevrons from V&Co. Oh, and my favourite Bonnie & Camille print (those blue scallops) which I am also going to use for the binding. All of this fabric came from my stash.
I managed also to get the sashing cut last week and I got it all laid out so I could see how I was going to actually assemble it. (Note the Christmas tree in the has since been put away, thank goodness. Now the dining room can be used for what it is meant to be- sewing, of course!).
Getting the rows picked up to assemble was a bit tricky because of the stacked blocks within each row, but I sewed those together and then stacked the rows which helped. Now each row is assembled and it is time for sashing!
While out on a little shopping trip with my quilty friend A, I bought enough of those owls to make up the entire back in one print. This should be fairly simple to quilt...if I can decide how I want to quilt it! And hopefully the baby will have it either when or shortly after he arrives!

My next task once this quilt is all done is to get on the FMQ of that orange and beige (weirdest combo ever) baby quilt I was working on in December. 

I wish that instead of going to work- in crazy -30C weather- I could stay home all day and quilt. I wonder if my employer would agree to continue to pay me while I do that? :) 


Thursday 1 January 2015

2015: Big Plans, Long Lists

This is perhaps the most fun post of the year to write because I get to dream of all the quilts I'll be making in the coming year. Last year at this time I was less than two weeks away from having a baby and I had a very reasonable list, which I managed to (mostly) accomplish. This year I am throwing reasonable out the window and aiming big!

There are the quilts I already have on my "to do" list for the plethora of babies arriving (mostly in March)
1. Baby quilt for J's son (January)

2. Baby quilt for P&M (March)

3. Baby quilt for R's baby girl (March)

4. Baby quilt for A's baby boy (March)

5. Baby quilt for S's second baby girl (March)

6. Baby quilt for G's little boy (March)

7. I just need the binding for my friend's bridal shower quilt so that will probably be my first finish for 2015.

Other quilts I want to make this year:
1. I have an orange and turquoise bundle from almost three years ago that is destined to be a Strips and Stripes quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew. I'm hoping to gift it to my sister-in-law come May. One way or the other, the quilt will be for her!
2. An I-Spy quilt for the baby. I wanted to make one for my eldest and it never happened. My favourite so far that I've found is this one from In the Blue Chair
Picture taken from From In The Blue Chair. It is all Heather Ross prints which is very cool, but I would just choose my favourite prints from my stash. Plus, look at all the delicious solids!

3. An all-solids quilt. Perhaps an HST one. I'm thinking to make a picnic blanket with this quilt, one to enjoy this summer out on the lawn with the baby eating grass and the big kid hunting bugs while I lounge on a pretty made-to-be-dirty quilt.
4. A quilt for my husband. Oh, how he likes to whine about me making quilts for everyone and their sister and not one for my very own husband. The problem is he is soooooo picky. I think I know what I'll do, but we will see how it goes!

I also really want to take quilts off my WIP list. I want to get at least these two finished:
1. 2013 Sugar Block Club quilt
2. Swoon quilt- the top is finished except for some borders, then backing and quilting

3. Maybe a couple more borders on my crazy Aviatrix Medallion quilt? That one is going to be a WIP for a looooooong time.

Other items:
1. Fox and the Houndstooth covered book for a co-worker's birthday (January) 
2. This will be the year I make clothes! Well, simple dresses for my baby for the summer. Surely I can manage, especially with some help from quilty friend A!
3. I really want to finish my Craftsy tutorial by Angela Walters on free motion quilting patterns.
4. Pillows for my downstairs pull-out couch.
5. The rest of the Christmas stockings I started three years ago.

I'm sure many more will end up on my list. And I need my friends to stop having babies! There is also the hope that we may move this year which may mean long stretches without sewing. I hope the move happens, but not the pause in sewing!

What is on the top of your list for 2015?