Sunday 31 July 2016

When Love Wanes

Ages ago I put together a bundle of oranges and turquoises and set it aside to make a Squares and Strips quilt. Every year it seems to make it to my "To do" list but I never get to it and I was starting to wonder why. Why was I not excited? 

I pulled out the bundle, to which I've added a couple of prints over the years, and contemplated. Once you pull fabric for a project, if that love wanes and you no longer are inspired, should you keep it in the to do pile? I decided to look at it carefully, draw it out in my sketch book, and if it still wasn't speaking to me then I would abandon it. I've learned the hard way that if I am not loving the fabrics, then the quilt itself will feel like labour instead of pleasure.
Here is the bundle.
I drew it up in my sketch book and started to fill it in. And something clicked for me. There was too much of just two colours. When I started adding more teal to the mix, like that one on the far left of that top picture, there was more depth to the quilt and more interest. And, most importantly, I was more excited.
Sometimes sketching it out helps!
So then I went into my stash and update the bundle a bit and I was much happier.
Doesn't teal make it so much better?
And then that yellow-y orange was bothering me so I pulled it, added a Lizzy House print (of course) and now I'm happy and wanting to work with it again!
Here is the new pull. This is something I could see being worth working with!
Have you had that happen? Put together a fabric pull and then had your love wane? Did you stick with it or is your less-than-loved bundle still sitting on a shelf somewhere?

Friday 29 July 2016

Glisten: A Finished Quilt

A co-worker is expecting her first child this coming December and she is very excited. They are having a baby girl and when I inquired about the colours of the nursery Mom still hadn't decided, but all options involved grey. This lovely woman has endured many health challenges to get to this point and I'm so thrilled for her. Obviously Baby Girl needs a quilt!

I pulled the turquoise colourway of the last of my Violet Craft Brambleberry Ridge out of my stash and then hunted around for some additional prints. The gold in this fabric is subtle and classy (like the mom!) so I knew it was a good fit but I wasn't sure if anything would go with it. Ultimately I added in a sweet Lizzy House Diamond print, a Denise Schmidt print from ages ago and then two unusual greys that also have gold from Carolyn Friedlander's Carkai line that was recently released. I also pulled out a half yard of Katarina Rochelle's Imprint fabric for Art Gallery Fabrics. After a consult (Thanks C and A!) I decided that it provided that visual break that I would normally use Kona White for, so I went for it.

Here is Glisten, named because the mix of soft blues and gold remind me of a pond glistening in the early morning light with a bit of early morning fog softening everything:

Simple patchwork seemed to make sense for this project, and I'm glad I didn't overthink it.
 There is one Brambleberry Ridge print that has just a hint of pink from some roses. I think it adds a little bit of interest. I echoed that by having a mostly grey and turquoise binding with a hint of pink in the corner! (Can you see it?)
I echo straightline quilted it on the sides of each seam.
 The back was a long-ago acquired Art Gallery print that never had just the right purpose until this quilt. It was just a tiny bit too short so I added a strip of that sweet grey low volume swirl (I think it is very old Rashida Coleman Hale? Pre-Cotton+Steel?)
Feminine but not too baby-ish.
Though baby isn't due until December I knew this quilt had to be made this summer because my September-June promises to be really busy!

I hope she really loves this quilt and that the long desired and already cherished baby girl spends some tummy time enjoying Glisten!

Wednesday 27 July 2016

WIP Wednesday: Soaking Up Summer

I am starting an exciting new job in September and I anticipate having exactly zero time to sew and quilt. I will try to make a point to make a bit of time but I'm not hopeful. With that in mind, I have been knocking out some quilts that need to get done this year and that I don't think I can do come September.

First up is a very sweet, soft baby girl quilt for a co-worker who is expecting in December. I hope she loves these prints. This simple little patchwork quilt is so sweet!
Scrappy binding from my binding leftovers. They worked perfectly with this quilt!
I also cut up all the prints for a Banners Quilt using Star Wars fabric. This is for one of two quilts I need to make to finish off making a quilt for all the children in my one group of friends.
Star Wars!
I couldn't get any further with Star Wars because I need 3 yards of Kona Titanium as the background fabric. What to do? Start cutting the other quilt for that group! This one is another little boy (Star Wars is for an 11-year-old and this blue/green quilt is for a five-year-old).

I have been hemming and hawing as to which pattern to use and decided to break out my 60 degree equilateral triangle ruler that I bought ages ago.
This ruler makes things a breeze! I opted for 6" triangles.
I am SO SO pleased with the results. I want to keep looking at it. I love all the Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets (regular and mini) mixed with lots of Lizzy House Natural History plus some other prints from my stash that work perfectly with this navy and lime colour scheme.
I think it is totally awesome. I'm thinking of keeping it.
So that makes four quilts on the go right now, but I am making excellent progress with all of them!

On a side note, I am participating on Instagram (@lynnfilliter) with the #ilovemystash challenge from @sewinlove. One of the prompts was a floral print and I pulled out this Art Gallery fabric that I don't even remember ever acquiring. One of my closest friends commented how much she loved it and that I couldn't get out of my head how right it would be for her. And so I went through my stash and curated a bundle to go with it!
Unusual colours? Yes. Perfect for my friend? Also yes!
So the bundle has been put aside to eventually make her a quilt with it (she already has First Snow so I think she can wait a bit!). I'm not going to tell her though...then there is no deadline!
Looking pretty.
And that is my WIP Wednesday!

Monday 25 July 2016

Cursing While Basting

My absolute most hated step of quilting is basting. I have refined my technique over the years so I'm pretty efficient but I still avoid doing it until I really need to.

I finally decided to baste the Flying Geese quilt I made for my husband's aunt. The quilt top, backing and batting have been hanging over my railing for a couple of weeks now. When one kid was at a movie and the other was napping I decide to bite the bullet and get it done.

It did not go well.

My technique is to tape the quilt back using wide painter's tape to my dining room floor. Then I layer on and smooth out the batting and attach it one half at a time with 505 spray. Then I add the quilt top and half at a time secure that with spray. Roll the whole thing up and you're good to go.

I couldn't do without my 505. A gazillion pins? No thank you.
The darn backing would NOT cooperate. It kept shifting around. The tape would not hold to the fabric no matter how much I used or how firmly I pressed it. This has never happened to me before! And it was a nightmare of shifting and swearing and smoothing and retaping and shifting again. I'm sure I redid it and resmoothed it about six times.

Now I've started quilting, starting in the middle and working out. I am about a foot from the edge and I can tell things are shifting again. Insert more swearing. I've hung it back up on my railing and I will tackle it when I have the patience to try to work through the backing issues. 

What gives? I've used Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets as backing multiple times without issues. Any insights into my basting woes?

Friday 22 July 2016

Sweet Pepper Jelly: A Finished Quilt

Way back in 2013 I subscribed to the Sugar Block Club with Amy Gibson of Stitchery Dickory Dock. I was still relatively new to quilting and thought it would be a good skill builder. And it was! I used a blogger bundle of fabric from Rita of Red Pepper Quilts (at the time she was one of my favourite bloggers; as of late my taste has diverged significantly though I still admire her skill!) as well as a few prints from my own stash (that I might not even buy today!).

It was my first attempt at paper piecing (I believe four of twelve blocks require paper piecing) and I was not so great at it. And all my blocks ended up slightly different sizes ranging from 10.5" to 12". I saw no way out, at the time, to putting it together into a quilt top. And so it languished.

I would say it was my first ever true WIP, and I am not someone to let things go unfinished. It has been nagging at me for years to finish it. This was the summer!

I put away my reservations, embraced "Finished is better than perfect" and got to work.

And here is Sweet Pepper Jelly, a quilt with many imperfections (and that includes the quilting) but which is DONE and will now be our "out and about" quilt that stays in the car for picnics, chilly mornings or general quilt needs.

A sampler quilt, in an odd mix of fabrics, but DONE!

I did loopy swirls in all the borders and tried something different with each block, to varying degrees of success.

The back is this infamous IKEA print, picked up and stored for the last three years with this exact quilt in mind. It is much lighter weight than quilt shop quilting cotton but it sure packs some visual punch! This was my first scrappy binding, made in 2013 and not attached until mid-2016. I love how it works for this quilt.

You get a bit of a sense of the different quilting looking at the back like this.
It feels so good to have this quilt DONE. Only one more WIP sits languishing in my closet Aviatrix Medallion which I am not prepared to tackle again right now!

Monday 18 July 2016

Flying Geese: Trying a New Technique

I started a new quilt, this one for my husband's aunt who turns 65 early in 2017 (she gave me two years notice about how much she might *wink wink* like a quilt for her big birthday). The pattern comes from Issue 13 of Love Quilting & Patchwork Magazine, a British publication that my husband got me a subscription to so I could stop stalking my local bookstore for the day the one or two copies came in with the "imported" magazines.

The quilt is mostly flying geese, which is fine, but the technique for making those flying geese is the 4-in-1 method which I have seen but never tried. I was a bit trepidatious but I went for it anyway.

If you have not seen this method before, I took pictures of each step so you could see what I mean by the alternative method. 
Draw a line with pencil across the two small white squares.

Sew 1/4" on either side of the line.


Press. (They look really weird at this step. Like this will never work and what-have-I-done).

Place another square and draw a line through the middle of that one, then sew on both sides again.

Another slice. Here you can see that maybe this will work after all.

Ta da! Here is a flying geese (goose?) unit after pressing. You end up with four.
The method results in no waste, and that is fantastic considering how many stray HSTs I have floating around from various projects. The sizes also end up really accurate, which I wasn't so confident about. There do end up being a lot of bias edges and that is not ideal. I definitely found the method very efficient as the quilt top came together in no time flat. 
Stacks of flying geese turn into...

Initial layout of the quilt.
I would say that IF the pattern I was following was designed for this method of making flying geese, I would do it again. But if not, the traditional method seems more reliable to me. Maybe I'm just too uncomfortable with innovation in this case?

Have you ever tried this method? What were your results?

Saturday 16 July 2016

Pink Castle Fabrics

My husband is absolutely amazing. So amazing that when we discussed going away for a weekend, just the two of us, he was the one that suggested Ann Arbour, MI because he knows that my absolute favourite online source of fabrics is Pink Castle Fabrics.

What, was I going to say no?

So, along with trips to multiple breweries, the downtown core and one of the best restaurants I have EVER eaten in (Frita Batidos), I got to make a trip to Pink Castle in person!

It looks deceptively unassuming on the outside.

So much goodness on the inside!

Fabric everywhere you look! And all modern and to my taste!

Molly worked with me at first getting together orders for quilty friends A and C.
And then I started roaming the store and making stacks. These are both my stacks. I gave myself a very healthy $300 budget and still managed to stay significantly under that, despite finishing 5 bolts (and receiving a 20% discount for doing so!).

I just grabbed everything my heart desired and got her to start cutting!
And after close to two hours in the shop, here is my final haul (noting that the Finding Nemo fabric, lion flannel and the 505 Spray are actually from Jo Ann's. I also got an Ott light! It was on super discount and at least $30 cheaper than the equivalent in Canada!)
Not too shabby. Of course I have NOWHERE to put them, I've found. Oops! Better start sewing! Those Halloween prints are for treat bags for Halloween for my daughters. The mini pearl bracelets in the dark blue are the backing for an upcoming quilt. The rest? I just wanted them!
Here is quilt friend C's haul:
Everyone needs a Kona colour card! Plus a bundle of Abacus by Allison Glass.
And A wanted some of this sweet Christmas fabric for her nieces to make pillowcases...and some for herself too!
A was delighted with this bundle. I love when she geeks out on fabric like C and I do ALL. THE. TIME.

It was such a positive experience. There was so much goodness in one place and I shopped without reservation knowing it is unlikely I will be there in person again for many years.

Which of my goodies are your favourites?

Monday 11 July 2016

Quilt Canada

So, for the first time ever, I attended the international quilt show for Canada, Quilt Canada. Quilty friend A invited me. She and C attended when it was in London, Ontario last year (about two hours away) and this year it was my luck that it was in the neighbouring town (where A lives!) so it was super close.

I wasn't sure what to expect, honestly, but I figured it would be fun even if I just saw some cool quilts and hung out with A.

I really don't generally like quilts of this kind, with the multiple pictures and all the applique, but this Canadian one appealed to me, especially the totem on the far left. I didn't think ahead to get the information, though. Oops. Not like I see applique anytime in my future!
This was pretty nice.

Here is A. She loves #QuiltCanada. :)

This quilt is called Sew Many Scraps and was made by Nina Stahlschmidt without any chain piecing. Those are also all vintage feedsacks, not modern fabric anywhere. Those squares finish at 3/4" which is small!! It was for sale for $1800.

I liked this use of small squares but I didn't take a photo of who made it. Obviously I need to pay closer attention next time.

This is Ile aux Coudres by Brigette Villeneuve. Holy. Crap. This is TINY little bits sewn on to make this picture. See below for a close up!

Amazing to have that kind of vision!

I loved this one, Lazy M Sweat Lodge by Patti Morris.

This one is pretty darn cool. It is made of all clothing labels!

It is called From the World to Canada by Anita Payne. She collected clothing labels for 10 years!

Sisters by Ilene Atkins was another landscape one that was just amazing in the detail.

Thread painting at the finest level. Incredible.

Swoop by Terry Aske was really striking from a distance. I was drawn to it for sure.

Not Now, Maybe Never was definitely my favourite of the "traditional" quilts. Joan Dorsay made this for her daughter who requested a red background and no batiks (the no batiks thing had me laughing...I, too, HATE batiks). After finishing it she decided her daughter's cat might ruin the applique and decided to keep it. Good for you, Joan!

How are people this talented?

This close up shows how the effect is created. It is called Eyes of Innocence by Carol Cote.

Though this quilt, Friends of Baltimore by Kerry Burke, was not to my taste, I was in AWE of the skills needed to create it. Just wow.
Walking around all these amazing, award winning quilts can be very humbling for a somewhat new quilter like myself. I took a picture of one part of one of the quilts because her points don't match. Hah! That made me feel better. It was a stunning quilt, and did it matter that it wasn't perfect? No! I feel vindicated as a "good enough" quilter.

Breathe by Leanne Chahley was one of my favourites.

I loved the quilting on Leanne Chahley's Spin quilt as well. It was inspirting to see all the variation without having any of the more traditional feathers or swirls.

I totally want to make a quilt like this one, Cotton and Steel Trees by Jennifer Johnston. I love the scrappy low volume texty background with the bright pops of colour.

Stunning from a distance? Yes but...

Even more stunning close up! It is called Blue Heron for Mom by Patti Morris.

There was a separate area for the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild that had some cool quilts. Like George Michael here:

Every Little Hungry Schoolgirl's Pride and Joy by Rebecca Burnett

Kaleido by Jeannie Jenkins.

Hundreds and Thousands by Berene Campbell and the Fab Bee

Overall I enjoyed the show, and I did buy a bit of fabric including a metre of my FAVOURITE Tula Pink from Salt Water (original blue octopi) for only $13. I would say, though, that it was not as elaborate as I quite expected for a national show, and I would not travel all the far to get to one again. It was worth the experience!