Saturday 30 December 2017

Something Non-Quilty

I made a poncho!

So, my daughter, a first year Girl Guide, saw my camping poncho which is quite heavily laden in patches and badges. She declared she wanted one.

Enter the ever-patient help of my skilled friend A. She not only bought the fabric for me when at a store that carried the fleece I needed but she talked me through every single stage.

This is A's kitchen floor, with A in the background.
She talked me through each step, making up most of it in her head thanks to her experience.  

I decided to vary the poncho from my own by adding contrasting binding. Isn't it cute?
On Christmas Day I gifted her the poncho (except that I still need a toggle for the string in the hood). She LOVED it. She wore it all day despite the fact that it is intentionally on the large side so she can grow into it. 
Now I just need a toggle and to add some of the badges that don't go on her sash (ones from camps, etc).

I absolutely could NOT have done this (with any measure of success, anyway) without patient friend A talking me through it! So thank you again, A!

Thursday 28 December 2017

2017 Year in Review: 16 Quilts

As 2017 winds down and I revisit what I finished this last year, I always find myself quite surprised because how DO I find the time on top of a full time job and two small kids (not to mention all that TV I watch- ha!).

I finished 14 quilts in 2017  (I just noticed I forgot Molasses! So,15 quilts! Oh my gosh, edit 3- Open Window got missed too! I suck!), but I will have probably 3 January finishes because I am so close with a few. Before I focus on my 2018 goals (in another post) here are my 2017 quilt finishes:

I also made a chubby charmer bag for my mom, a bunch of lined drawstring bags and worked on numerous other quilts. And I joined a quilt guild for the first time! Check out @wemqg on Instagram!

I don't know if I can pick a favourite for this year, but I know I love and use the (only) one I kept (upper left corner) which was a result of a mini charm swap done last year. I also love the triangles (bottom right) that I made for my goddaughter (and it is HUGE). Finally, the one done not only by me but by a collection of caring quilty people to send to Quebec after the horrific mosque shooting to remind the survivors they are home has such a lovely sentiment. 

I think I remembered them all! Can't wait to dive into dozens more next year!

Which of my 2017 quilts do you most feel drawn to?

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Molasses: A Finished Quilt

A long time ago, on an Instagram feed far far away, I saw Pen and Paper Patterns post about her garden snail quilt and I was instantly in love. Then I found out that Gnome Angel was going to do a slow sew-along and I conned my friend C over at The Edgy Perfectionist to join in (and I talked Jen at A Quarter Inch from the Edge to do it too...but she ran out of steam. I think having twins might have contributed to that!).

Each week I made one snail using a different Lizzy House fabric and posted my snail to my Instagram. At the end of 42 weeks I had 42 adorable snails and with a little sashing (and a big score of long OOP Lizzy House for the backing) I now have a finished quilt!

Here is Molasses:

Each snail shell is different, but all prints are by Lizzy House.

I like how the wind shows you the back and front in this shot.

The backing is this Castle Peeps fabric from 2004. Thank goodness for strange outlet fabric stores that carry such treasures (I think it cost me maybe $10/yard?)

I did organic (my term for I didn't want to measure) straight line quilting in a light grey down the quilt. It is more functional than decorative and I really like how it looks.
This quilt will be staying with me. I couldn't give it up! But I do have to note that despite using all Lizzy House I have not made even the slightest dent into my stash. What a shame.

Sunday 26 November 2017

Moving Mountains: A Finished Quilt

My dear friend, whom I've known literally my entire life as our moms are best friends, had her second child in mid-November. He is a tiny little peanut and he is sheer perfection. Obviously I was going to make him a quilt.

My friend is very particular about...everything, really, so I let her tell me what she wanted for his quilt. She picked the pattern by scrolling through Pinterest, then came over to my house and went through my solids and my Kona card to pick the colours. She also ordered one fat quarter of a special origami fox print from Spoonflower for me to add in as a couple of HSTs. I was surprised when she let me pick the backing- ha!

She is delighted with the end result and promised me pictures of my wee "nephew" on his quilt as soon as she can manage. 

Here is Moving Mountains:
The quilt is intentionally very modern (as per mom's taste) and is also simple HSTs.
For any "mountains" that had white space above them I did some loose echo quilting.

The backing is all one fabric because that is also what the mom prefers.

I used this grey fabric that looks like a lot of tally marks. I am not even sure who makes it but it was the perfect modern, neutral fabric for this quilt while still having something slightly interesting going on.
 Baby is still very tiny and it certainly won't be in his crib until he is older, but I anticipate some tummy time will be on his quilt from me!

Monday 6 November 2017

The Short Short Version

Work is taking over my life but I promise there is sewing and sewing-related action happening around here in small bits.

So as per The Princess Bride's epic wedding scene, here is the short, short version of what I have been up to:

This simple baby quilt for a baby literally due any day now is now done except for a label.

These lined drawstring bags were gifted to someone to brighten his day after something sort of crummy happened to him (the little one was for him and the big one for his nine-year-old Rey-loving daughter).

My pre-order of Tula Pink Spirit Animal came and SHUT UP I LOVE IT.

My birthday gift from my husband finally arrived and it is so awesome. This is Magic Forest.

Molasses, my snail quilt, got quilted and binding got made. I just need some quality time on the couch to get this binding hand sewn on the back.

And my new Diving Board fabric arrived. It is my favourite Alison Glass ever with the exception of the Ex Libris panels. This fabric is 1000% in person. I'm tempted to take it to work with me so I can just look at it all day there too.
So there is what I am up to- the short, short version!

Monday 30 October 2017

Big Bag for Mom

My mom is incredibly generous with her time and often gets called in for "grandma duty." She requested that I make her a new Chubby Charmer bag for her swimming gear as she swims every day with her friends. I had her pick out the fabrics that she loved and got to work making her a new bag.

Note: I hate this pattern. I do not recommend it. It is poorly written and there are ways I would change the pattern. I forgot since the last time I made her one of these bags. But once I was in, I had to persevere.

I quilted the outside panels to give some additional structure. (Isn't that sand piper cute?)
 The handles going on seemed like a really big step because you can start to see it is going to be a bag.
The handles are very sturdy because of the fusible fleece inside and the extra quilting.
 The assembly stage involves putting the outside of the bag inside out and then adding in the lining.

This was a great use for my Wonder Clips. This was a lot of layers and I had a few issues with the needle skipping stitches. I switched out to a fresh new needles and slowed down a lot and that helped immensely.
 After some struggles, the bag was finally complete! I snapped some quick pictures before gifting it to my mother the very next day!

She loved the bag and can't wait to show it off to her friends. For all the free babysitting she does, this bag was the least I could do!

Wednesday 13 September 2017

WIP Wednesday: Back to School is Cramping My Style

I am back to work (as a teacher I have July and August off so I have more sewing time) and it has meant a real slow down in progress.

Here is what I am working on:
1. I have my Christmas Tree quilt top finished. I need to piece the backing and then baste and quilt it.

2. My #QBTravellingquilt exchange is set for September 16 which is also the first meeting of the West End Modern Quilt Guild- my first ever guild! It is brand new. I will let you know how it goes! I have a round this time with my friend C's quilt. I will only show you a sneak peek until she sees it in person.
Cutting through an Ex Libris panel is PAINFUL.

Marlowe does a good job keeping an eye on things.
3. I also basted my Snail Along Quilt (named Molasses) and have it ready to quilt when the opportunity next turns up.

4.  In addition I have been working away on both a quilt and a pillow for a new baby arriving in November to a very close friend. (The new baby's big sister is my goddaughter). This pattern from 3rd Story Workshop will be turned into a pillow for baby's nursery. Isn't it precious?

Now if only I didn't have to do things like feed my children or do all my school work!

Monday 11 September 2017

Open Window: A Finished Quilt

A long, long time ago I bought a bundle of turquoise and orange fabric. I put it aside and years later revisited it and added some teal. I still wasn't sure but I picked a pattern ( I used the Squares and Strips tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew) and got to work.

When I was finished the quilt top it still was not what I had been planning it my head. The lack of white? Too much orange? I'm not sure. So I put it aside. Again.

The thing is, I don't like WIPs. I'm a finisher. And so this summer I pulled this out and finished it up. I decided that the recipient is my friend's mother, a wonderful woman who has had a rough go lately. That is why I named it Open Window.

The backing is some Joel Dewberry True Colours that I got at a good price last summer.

It is quilted with teal thread echoing each seam line for the larger blocks.

 I quite like the little 16-patch blocks. That raindrop fabric delights me.
The recipient ended up loving it, which is the best and most important thing. The weird outcome that I was not expecting, however, was that when I posted the finished quilt on my Instagram there are many people who love it! People who have never commented on my other finished quilt photos. I guess the lesson is that even though a quilt may not be to my taste, someone (or many someones!) will probably love it. 

Thursday 31 August 2017

Babies, Pineapples and Swimming Bags


Roar was gifted to a sweet little owner and I think she approves. (Babies on quilts- it never gets old. This is my favourite thank you).

Baby T on her new quilt. 


I am making the Pineapple Farm quilt by Elizabeth Hartman for my mother-in-law. She just built a new house and I am hoping to have this done by her birthday, December 17. I think the chances are only okay because MAN, Elizabeth Hartman patterns are complicated (but gorgeous!!)

Knowing my mother-in-law wants a mostly terracotta/dusty red colour scheme (so far outside of my personal taste) and that each body of the pineapple needs three fabrics with some variety of tone (not even accounting for the two fabrics per pineapple leaves), I made a page in my little quilting book to collect trios of fabric. This helped immensely on my latest shop hop (though my friends teased me about it- they just don't appreciate genius, I guess). 

All of the fabric has been cut to the initial size (3 10" squares per pineapple) but the sub-cutting is pretty intense so I've avoided it so far. And, like I said, this doesn't even account for the pineapple tops).
There will be more pineapple blog posts in my future, of that I am sure. Wish me luck.

Swimming Bags

My mom is amazing about watching my kids for me. She is generous with her time. I was pushing her generosity one week in August, however, when I asked her to watch my kids all day Wednesday and Thursday (getting here at 7:30 in the morning!) so I could do a writing contract for work, and then all day Friday so I could go on a shop hop. 

She told me that in payment she wanted me to make her a new swimming bag using the Chubby Charmer pattern. I made her one with fabrics she had bought on a whim about...three years ago? Four? And since she swims every single day the bag is a little worn through.

I had her jump into my stash and though she was reserved at first, as we pulled more and more fabrics and she could narrow down what was speaking to her and what wasn't, she honed in on this gorgeous combination. Like, I even love this combination and usually my mother's tastes are NOT my own.
I had very, very little yellow in my stash (my mom loves yellow) but this combination was just right. That solid is Kona Bluegrass, a personal favourite. That is a Heather Bailey print on top, and a very OOP Violet Craft on the right. Also two Elizabeth Hartman prints, some C+S sprinkle and I'm not sure about the others. That back yellow print that looks like little leaves or something will be the lining.
This will be something I putter away at over the next month or two. I am back to work in a week and it will be wild for some time, I imagine! Who knows how much sewing I will be able to sneak in!

Tuesday 29 August 2017

#QBtravellingquilt and One More Shop Hop

The #QBtravellingquilt continues. I finished my addition to A's quilt by using From Blank Pages' pattern My First Alphabet (this is the 3" size). I also, as per our challenge, used a new skill which was layered applique with free motion black outlines (say what??! I did applique??).

I love the result and she seemed to like it. Her quilt is colourful while still being quite soft-looking. The other two quilts are sooooo saturated by comparison but they all look amazing. I wish I had taken a picture of what my quilt looks like after C added some EPP stars (EPP!!!).
So pretty, isn't it?
 With my QB peeps we decided to go on a Toronto shop hop since our July shop hop took us West. We went to four stores: Sew Sisters, EweKnit, The Workroom and Len's Mill Toronto. I had never been to that Len's Mill and I loved it. Great selection, better organized than the Guelph location I usually go to and I found several yummy purchases. Plus the woman cutting our fabric was chatting with us and totally our kind of person. We invited her to come to lunch with us but she thought perhaps her boss would disapprove.

I only took pictures at The Workroom because it is in the new location and I had not yet been there. But I also had to take a picture of this graffiti mural right next The Workroom because it was just so good.
There's lots you can interpret from Make Good.

One angle of the new space.

More of the new space.
The Workroom is not my favourite, mostly because of their very high prices (most fabric is $19.99/m) but the space sure is beautiful! I found some fabrics that I liked and splurged. 

The end result of the trip was a lot of fabric- mostly reds because I needed a ton more reds to make a pineapple quilt for my mother-in-law for her new house (look for a future post on how that is going). There is a healthy amount of Alison Glass (from Len Mills) and that bottom fabric is an old Valorie Wells fabric I got at Sew Sisters that was in the extreme discount bin ($4.99/m). It is not my colour BUT it is perfect for the colours my MIL wants in her quilt, the fabric works well in terms of scale and the pattern sort of looks like fronds which works for pineapples and it was CHEAP. Sold. They only had 3 3/4m and I technically need 4 3/8m but I will piece something together to fill it out!

It was a great trip with wonderful friends and the high will have to last some time because C and I are going on a fabric fast from September 1- December 31. Note that the rules are:
1) No new fabric purchases from September 1-December 31.
2) Using gift cards doesn't count.
3) You can make one preorder of a must-have fabric.
4) You can purchase one pattern during that time if desired.

I'm sure we can do it. Especially because we both preordered a TON of new fabric from Dinkydoo fabrics that should be coming every day. Like, I need a new fabric shelf ton of fabric. :)

Sunday 27 August 2017

WIP: Improv Christmas Trees

Ages ago- on Pinterest? Instagram? a blog?- I came across Diary of a Quilter's Improv Christmas Tree tutorial and I was charmed. I love the wonky trees and the clever construction. I pinned it and didn't think much of it for awhile. 

Then I bought a bundle of Violet Craft Brambleberry Ridge in Christmas colours even though a) I don't usually buy Christmas fabrics and b)I don't have traditional Christmas colours in my house at Christmas overall (Our tree has silver, white and turquoise/teal ornaments/decorations).  But I had to have it. And I knew that the combination of improv trees and Violet Craft would look awesome.

I finally got started! Christmas in August!

I made the first blocks as a test before I mass cut all my precious fabric. Good thing I did! The original tutorial makes very tiny blocks, way smaller than I was planning. I snooped on her site some more and found a tutorial for a much large block using the same technique. Now THAT is what I was looking for.

Tiny trees (4.5' x 3.5") in the middle, flanked by the big version that I ultimately went for which I ended up trimming to 8.5" x 7.5".

 This became my "pop into the sewing room and whip up a few blocks" project. My cat was very helpful, as always.
Thanks, Cyrus.
 The technique itself is so simple because there is no measuring in the traditional sense once you have the initial rectangles cut. You pair the fabrics and then slice first from the right and then from the left, as you can see below. This is a stack of four which I found the best for efficiency while also not having too many similar-shaped trees.

No measuring makes me happy!
The blocks started adding up, though I did have one "oops" when I cut on square upside down (print face down) which messed up everything for that block and resulted in that horrible tree in the bottom left of this picture. I have since removed that tree...and added many many more!

All the blocks are now made, including a few more small ones since I like how that looked up on the design board. I can't wait to finish this top up and show you the end result. And it should be done in time for Christmas!

Thursday 24 August 2017

Triangle Terrace: A Finished Quilt

While on a girls getaway weekend with a lifelong friend, my friend C picked up a bunch of fabrics from the quilt stores we visited(even though she doesn't sew or quilt). There was one fabric in particular that got her excited and then she built a bundle from there. She chose a pattern and I promised to make it for my goddaughter, my friend's daughter.

The pattern is called Corn Rows by Atkinson Designs. I used Kona White (obviously) for the solid. Corn Rows is cleverly designed. It looks complicated but the construction is actually straight forward. I was making a double quilt for a big girl bed but this pattern's idea of double is wildly out of wack and indeed the quilt fits on a queen bed with ample hang-over on each side. My friend's reaction was "then I guess I should buy her a queen bed instead." That, people, is why I agreed to make a quilt for this person. She truly appreciates the time, expense and skill that goes into a quilt and she will ensure her daughter treasures it as well.

Here is Triangle Terrace, all finished:
The quilt is so large that my husband had to hang it over our second floor deck and have me take a picture from below!

The fabrics are soft colours; the purples in particular are really soft and muted and very difficult to match.

The backing is all one fabric, the one that my friend first fell in love with. Honestly, the fabric is not something I would gravitate to, but the end result is soft and beautiful and my friend (and my goddaughter!) love the result.

I straight line quilted on either side of each diagonal seam AND I straight line quilted on either side of the vertical seams. This seemed to be just enough quilting for this quilt to keep it soft but stable with how many bits are in the piecing.

The quilt label is a black cat. My goddaughter's dad requested a black cat be incorporated into the quilt somehow to honour their late black cat, Fonz. He was a sweet, dumb kitty with lots of health issues and he was loved fiercely. It was lovely to add him to the quilt.
My friend LOVES the end result and my goddaughter, who received in on the day of her fourth birthday party, loves it so much she insisted on sleeping under it that night...despite still being in a small toddler bed! (New bed is coming).