Friday 19 February 2016

Birthday Bonus Club

Thanks to the initiative of one of my favourite bloggers, Jenn from A Quarter Inch from the Edge, I was invited to participate in a Facebook group called the Birthday Bonus Club which has people from across Canada shipping each other 50 2.5" squares based on a request during their birthday month.

My birthday isn't until August, so I will have a long time to wait for my many packages of fabric loveliness from across the country, but I've been having so much fun selecting fabrics to send to the birthday queens each month.

In January we had one birthday queen and she requested solids of any colour. Now that is an easy request! I dove into my scraps (one of the best parts of the Birthday Bonus Club!) and put together this playful, bright combination of solids:

This was for the January Birthday Queen, who requested solids of any colour. I dug into my scraps and put together this lovely warm stack. (All Kona, of course).

There were two February birthday queens, one of whom is the organizer herself, Jenn. She requested low volume, a risky ask because there are different interpretations of this and there is lots of room for disappointment. I wanted to pull out true low volume prints so some of these came from stash instead of scraps to make sure they were what I would consider low volume.
February Birthday Queen Jenn requested low volume. I had fun digging around for these. I tried to go with ones that had crisp white backgrounds and read very white.
The other birthday queen wanted 3/4 bright and 1/4 white. I dug into my scraps to pull out a rainbow of beautiful prints that I thought met her request.
The other February birthday Queen asked for 1/4 white and 3/4 brights in prints or solids. Wow, with those loose guidelines you can go wild! I tried to put together a really pretty rainbow for her, plus so Kona white of course!
The club has been so much fun, and being within Canada means that postage is not going to kill me every month. Plus I'm already drooling in anticipation of my birthday month when I get, I think, 28 packages or some such number? Ridiculous. And awesome!

Eagerly anticipating March 1st to find out what the next birthday queen wants!


Friday 12 February 2016

Canadian Wilderness: A Finished Quilt

My husband's cousin and her husband are expecting their first child in March. They have opted not to find out the baby's sex, and thinking of the interests of this outdoorsy (and patriotic) couple, this line I've had floating around seemed like the perfect fit to whip up a baby quilt.

I went with a tumbler pattern because it is visually interesting yet simple (especially with my tumbler template for 5" squares from the Missouri Quilt Company) and I thought it would look nice with this line.

This is a Birch Fabrics Jay-Cyn line (maybe early Elk Grove?) that I think I ordered from Fabricworm about three years ago.

Here is Canadian Wilderness!

This quilt holder is a little shorter than my usual 6'1" hubby, but she complained a lot less about standing in the woods holding up a quilt for ages than he would have. The binding is a tone on tone Pearl Bracelet in gold that has this slight shimmer. I totally love how it frames the quilt.

I straight line quilted on either side of each seam which is practical and I think suits this pattern. It does involve a lot of starting and stopping, though, to turn the quilt in line with the tumbler blocks. I also added a Kona solid (I think this might be Teal Blue? My Kona card is still missing) that I think breaks it up visually.

I've had this backing in my stash since I first began sewing. I've looked at it many times and was starting to give up hopes I would ever use it. It was perfect for this quilt!

You can see the echo of the quilting on the reverse, and this more clearly shows the pretty trees that appear in these fabrics.

Since it is called Canadian Wilderness, I thought a shot of it "in the wild" was called for. Note that this "wilderness" is actually a tiny patch of forest right next to my house. I won't tell if you won't!
This quilt should be shipped this week, and though the recipients have been seeing it on Instagram they have no idea it is for them. I hope it is a welcome surprise!

Off to my next quilt adventure!

Friday 5 February 2016

Welcome to Canada: A Finished Quilt

Check out the hashtag #quiltsforrefugees on Instagram and you will see the efforts of some local quilters who pooled their resources and had a sew in, as well as collecting quilts from around the Toronto area, to give to newcomers. With the Syrian refugee crisis looming in the media I wanted to do something to contribute and when @happysewlucky posted a call for quilts I got to work putting together something beautiful and scrappy.

Here is Welcome to Canada, a twin-sized quilt heading off to a new Canadian in the near future!
I've had this "design" in my head for ages now. I've often looked at my pile of scraps and wanted to make something just like this. #quiltsforrefugees made it a reality!

There are a lot of gems in there: Lotta Jansdotter, Honeymoon from C+S, Heather Bailey True Colours, Carolyn Friedlander Architextures, Alison Glass Bike Paths, Tim and Beck and on and on. I also used up some of my "not sure what I would ever do with these" scraps because it a scrappy quilt like this they look like they belong. This was especially true for the white-on-white scraps I had remaining from my Candy Cane quilt.

The backing is a Kona red, not sure which one, generously donated by quilty friend A. You can see the grid quilting I did in white Aurafil. Red and white- very Canadian, eh? (Plus you can really see how badly it needs a lint roller before I gift it-thanks, cats). My friend A also donated the batting, a twin-sized pack that was a really good quality.
 Berne, the woman who organized this drive, also printed Spoonflower labels for each quilt, and they're beautiful.

I was hoping for more snow in my picture but it is warm here today and all the snow from yesterday melted!

The binding is a very scrappy rainbow collection of leftover bindings from other quilts. It worked perfectly for this colourful quilt, and makes the back a bit more interesting because the binding pops against the red.

I feel good that I could take something I love to do and use it to help someone who is new to Canada adjust to their new home. I hope there is lots of snuggling underneath it, knowing they are welcome here!

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts.

Monday 1 February 2016


There is an amazing Canadian quilting project that truly captures the Canadian spirit called The Quilt of Belonging.

The project began with the idea of having a quilt block representing each culture or country that make up the Canadian mosaic, a project that ended up taking years, having 263 blocks and being 36 metres (120 feet) long and 10 metres high. The first row of the quilt is made up of blocks created by the First Nations, Inuit and Metis people of Canada, the country's first people. 

Here are some pictures of the stunning quilt:

I can't begin to express the detail in each individual block, made up of the most diverse materials. It is true "textile art." Here are a few favourite blocks:

The Central African Republic- made up of butterfly wings

Dakota (First Peoples of Canada)

There are so many, and they are attached using black fabric and then have this woven cord between each block with the colours slowly changing and interweaving as you go. The top of the quilt is a rainbow slowly melding into each colour, just as everyone becomes part of the Canadian fabric when they arrive. How cool is that??

Some local First Nations communities put together a kit for students about the Quilt of Belonging to spread the word that we all belong and we are all part of one big community, unique as individuals but beautiful together. I worked on this kit with an amazing Grade 2 teacher, her teaching assistant, and the First Nations Metis Inuit Resource Teacher for my school board.

The kids learning about diversity and belonging, touched sample blocks and taught others about their blocks and then got to make their own blocks, which I will now sew into a big #QuiltofBelonging which will go on display in the school's front lobby.

Here are the blocks that these little sewists constructed:

Aren't they AWESOME!?!? Some kids brought fabric or materials or beads from home. Others used what we donated. They each are currently 7.5" x 7.5"
This is one of my favourite blocks, meticulously traced, cut out and "sewn" on (note the black embroidery thread on the one side) to represent the khanda, a Sikh symbol of faith. He was SO proud!
So sweet!
There was lots of "quilt block surgery" that I had to do to get them even close to being able to add sashing, and I certainly didn't need another project right now, but I am so inspired by this project!

What do you think? Isn't this so super cool?