Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My 2013 Review

As the year comes to an end, it's a good time to look at what I have accomplished this year:

I started lots of quilts and finished a few.  These ones...

...plus a few of those :

I bought lots of fabrics... (not all pictured... I mean, seriously...)

and I experimented:

I made my first charity blocks:

 And my first mini:

I made many of these (not all pictured):

And a few other quilty things which I have not shown yet.

I joined a new guild ...
... and perhaps my most surprising accomplishment, I started this blog.

2013 has been a good year quilt-wise, and I am looking forward to a new year of quilty things.  Stay tuned for the 2014 goals post!

Happy New Year, all!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas Pillowcases

Last October, I ended up on Dana's blog, MADE, and her lovely Halloween Pillowcases caught my eye.  I have made pillowcases before, and even thought of making theme ones, but fleece?  I had never thought of that!

Brilliant idea!

I am not so much into Halloween, so Halloween pillowcases were out, but Christmas... yes, I can do Christmas.  To give you an idea of how I take Christmas decorating seriously, here is a look of our tree forest:

I just realized this was taken before we put the star on the big tree.  Anyway, you get the idea.  Since I love decorating for Christmas, I thought I'd make the kiddies some cosy pillowcases they could enjoy for the whole month of December (they were made a while ago, I just forgot to post about them).

They were so easy to make...   No French seam, no zigzag... fold the fabric and sew a seam on each side, then hem (check out Dana's tutorial at the link above for an even better explanation).

They practically made themselves... Especially if you count the fact that my mom actually sewed them while I was working on a quilt!

Well, I have to run... more Christmassy stuff to be made.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A Surprise Parcel, and a Pre-Blogging Days Quilt

I came home today to find a parcel at my door.  What could it be?  I have not bought fabric online lately and I wasn't expecting anything else...

Turned out to be my present for my (modest) contribution to American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine.

Even though I am no longer a subscriber, (there is so much inspiration online...) I have always liked APQ and I think they have done a great job of introducing more modern designs in fresh colours along with their more traditional offerings.

I like the quilts they have chosen for this 13th volume of Quilt-Lovers' Favorites (I really am going against my nature here, by omitting the "u" in favourite).  Some of these quilts have a modern, fresh vibe, and others could be considered modern with different prints and colours.

And of course, some of the traditional quilts are just perfect the way they are!  I love a good civil war reproduction every once in a while, and oh, those gorgeous fall colours on the cover quilt...

One of the quilts featured in this book, Center Strips, has actually inspired one of my pre-blogging days quilts.

I had seen this picture a while back in AQQ's newsletter.  It is offered as a free pattern on their website.  Now I know it is a colour alternative for a quilt named Bar Code by designer Lori Mason.

Back then, I was looking for inspiration for a quilt destined to my then 16 year old nephew.  Although I did not follow the pattern, (or actually read it), there is no disputing that this is where this quilt came from.

I have not blogged about this quilt before... I need better pictures! Unfortunately, this quilt lives in a different province, and it may be a while before I get to see it again.  This was taken on a very sunny day and the colours are slightly off.  There are actually 4 different shades of gray (Kona coal, ash, medium gray and something else).  As for the other colours, especially the reds and the purple, they are a bit more subdued in real life. 

I love the quilting (and I wish I had a close up so you could see it).  Organic lines - fancy word for "not straight" - in the centre bars, and overlapping boxes on both sides.  Thread, thread, lots of thread... I had to make a special order of Aurifil in the middle of quilting... 

This was my first time using solids only, and I am very happy with the way it turned out.

Well that is it for now, I'll be back with something Christmas-y next time,

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Happy December and one more birthday cushion

Happy December!

The Christmas music is in full swing in our house.  The outdoor lights got installed yesterday, the table napkins got switched from fall to winter and all the Christmas decoration boxes are in the living room, ready to be opened later on today, after we do what many families do on the week-end: kids sports activities and birthday parties!

A sweet little girl is turning four today, so I went to my go-to gift and made her a personalized cushion of course.  I was getting a little tired of the pink and purple colour scheme so I called the parents for help: What is her bedroom colour?  Purple.  Any accent colours?  I don't even need to tell you, you guessed it.  After debating for two weeks (way too much, I mean it's just a pillow!), I went for simple squares in lots of bright colours in simple graphic designs.  And just a tiny bit of pink and purple.

The name is actually free motion quilted, though I marked the spaces between the letters to make sure I would make full use of the room I have without running out of space.  The name is a little too low, but by the time I realized it, it was too late.  For quilting, I went with loops and double loops.

It was a breeze to make...not!  I made it for a 14" pillow form which is what I thought I had, only to realize the day before it was due that I only have 16" pillows left.  That called for some last minute design changes.  Even so, it is still a bit too small.  Here's what the back looked like when I first put it in:

Oops!  There was no time to rush to the store to get a smaller pillow form, and I did not want to mess with the form by trying to make it smaller.  So I took a big breath, and stuffed it as best as I could.  Happy to report it is holding up well now.  Man, that Velcro is some strong.

So off to the birthday party we go.

Happy December everyone.  I can see a Christmas tree forest in my living room later today.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Wedding Quilt... The Finished Edition

I am thrilled to show my finished Wedding Quilt, which has now been delivered to the happy couple.

Last July, I set out to make a quilt for my husband's cousin and her husband-to-be.  I did not know their tastes but thankfully, there was a great description of their preferences on their registry:
We love sea tones and earthy, organic styles. Blues and greens are our favorite. K's ultimate color is turquoise/aqua, and P's first choice is forest green. Our house is "country" as opposed to modern...
Note to future brides: this helped a lot!!!

Here was my first fabric pull.  I added some dark greens and a brown to the mix.

The piecing went together quickly, and before long, I had this: 

(Clearly, my front lawn is a popular spot for pictures...)

Then I hit a few stumbling blocks.  I did not want to buy yardage for the backing, but when I looked at the fabric I was thinking of using, it just did not fit.  So I had to piece.  I love a pieced backing, but  I find them quite tedious.  I am still not 100% pleased with the back, but at some point, you have to let it go.

On the bright side, I did get to use two fabulous fat quarters, courtesy of my travelling husband, with scenes of Seattle and Washington State. 

I remember thinking, when my husband brought these home "what am I ever going to do with those?"  turns out they are perfect additions to a quilt back for a couple who lives near Seattle!

My second stumbling block was the basting, which I first did on a late night, only to discover tons of puckers the next morning.

Arghhh!  The quilt sat there for a few weeks before I mustered the courage and the energy to remove all those pins and start over.

Finally, I hesitated for a few nights before settling on the quilting design.  Once I got going, I was done in a few evenings.  I used various threads in beige, green, aqua and brown and quilted random wavy lines.

Here is a view of the back where you can see the quilting better: 

This was taken after the quilt was washed.  I love the texture!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I added some trees here and there, quilted the word "love" and "forever" and the bride and groom's names.  I added my initials and the year.  It was my first time quilting words and names, and I really liked this.  These were taken before washing the quilt.

Binding was a breeze, hand stitched during kids sports activities.  I still can't believe my luck for finding this binding fabric after completing the quilt.  It could not have been more perfect!

I ran out of time to make a hand-embroidered label, so I used my machine and free motioned a few words.  Because the names and the date was already quilted, I did not add them to the label. 

Taking pictures of the completed quilt was a difficult task since I had no adult on hand.  I did not thing the lawn shot was adequate, so I enlisted a couple pint size quilt holders:

Good effort, but they are missing a few inches. 
So I took my quilt to work, offered to accompany an unsuspecting colleague on her lunchtime errands, waiting for the perfect combination of location and light.  There were nicer spots along the way, but the sun kept hiding at the most inopportune moments.  There's my best shot:
I enjoyed making this quilt, and I think the recipients like it.
I am linking up to TGIFF and Finish Up Friday - hop over to see what other people have finished!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Work in progress - 1930s nine-patch

It's not Wednesday but I have a new Work-In-Progress.  I just can't help myself!  So many unfinished projects and yet I had to start another one.

This one is fun, fun, fun.  Squares and rectangles with very little thinking (I am not overthinking any of the blocks, I just grab 2 random sets of 4 and one lone square and just go).  For a long time now, I had been wanting to combine 1930s reproduction fabrics with that green.  You know, that kind of vintage-y mint green that immediately brings you straight back to the past?  I am really liking this so far, and I anticipate the top will be finished in no time.

With two sides of sashing (which I am sewing directly on each block), each block is 12" x 12".   I have made a few more blocks since this picture was taken so I only need a few more to have 6 rows of 5 for a 63" x 75" quilt.  Or maybe I'll go with 7 rows for a nice twin size 63" x 87"

Older 1930s reproduction projects

Since we are talking about the 1930s, let me introduce my earlier projects, all of which are in my daughter's bedroom.  First, her baby quilt :

Which is now on her big bed because Mama's still working on her real big girl bed quilt...

Second, a quilt for her babies.  

I once read this tip: when you make a baby blanket, save some scraps and make a matching doll quilt.  I have only done this once, but what a great idea!

Third, a wall hanging for her bedroom and my first attempt at appliqué:

And I am slowly but surely plugging away at this one, a full-size quilt that I am hand quilting:

Despite being quite ready for the hand quilted one to be done, I am not tired of the 1930s type prints. 
With all the stuff that is marketed to/for little girls, I like the innocent simplicity of these 1930s prints and patterns like the Sunbonnet Sue for a little girl's room.

I know I should now quit starting new projects and finish her overdue big girl bed quilt.  I only have so many years before she outgrows these cutesy prints and wants something more grown up.

Have you made anything with 1930s prints?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A Published... Tip!

I have always liked American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, and have been a subscriber in the past, though not for the last couple years.  So I was a little bit surprised when I received a copy of their latest issue in the mail yesterday.  An early Christmas gift from my in-laws, perhaps ?

Once I found a few minutes, I started reading.  Well, I almost fell down from my chair when I saw this tip published:

There is a typo in my name, but yes, that is me.  I completely forgot about sending this tip - that was at least 2-3 years ago.  I came up with that idea while working on this quilt for my mom:

Now, here is the full disclosure:
  • I forgot about the tip since submitting it, and I have never included a quiz with any of my other gifted quilts.
  • In fact, although I did write down the quiz for my mom’s quilt, I don’t think I ended up actually including it when I gave her the quilt.
  • Oh and that quilt wasn't technically a scrap quilt - most of the fabrics were newly purchased!
So, there you have it.  You now know that people who submit these tips don’t always practice what they preach.

And a Sewing Space Tip...

Since we are on the topic of tips, I remember also submitting this one: My iron and radio are plugged in to the same outlet, which is operated by a switch.  If the music is on, so is the iron.  It is easy for me to remember to turn off the iron as I leave the room, since it is the same as turning the music off.

My tip was not published - someone beat me to it with something fairly similar - can't remember what exactly.  So, am I following that tip?  The truth is that soon after I wrote that, I reorganized my sewing room, which resulted in the radio being located at the end of the room.  This said, my iron and sewing machine are plugged in to a power bar operated by the same switch as the main light in the room.  Either way, it works.

Well, that's it for my moment of quilty fame.  Now, I am waiting for the hand-picked gift...


Monday, 18 November 2013

A New Post about an Old Quilt

Fellow bloggers, what do you think, is it bad blogging etiquette to re-blog about a quilt that one has blogged about before?  Well, before I give you time to respond, I am just going to go ahead and do it.

This quilt was the subject of my second post ever, back when I had about 3 people reading my blog, (including 2 that were related to me).  I had no idea what I was doing and my pictures were terrible.  According to blogger, that post has received a grand total of 35 views.  I am pretty sure 30 of them are from me when I was signed on to someone else's computer.

But this quilt is one of my favourites and I think it deserves a brand new post with nicer pictures !

This is my first real modern quilt.  I fell in love with High Five by Amanda Jean in her and Cheryl's book Sunday Morning Quilts.  This link will take you to a miniature version of High Five made by Amanda Jean.  To make the quilt my own, I made my blocks bigger, tweaked the larger blocks and the layout a bit.  But really, I loved everything about the original, so I wanted the same feeling.  Colour, colour, colour!  This is my happiest and brightest quilt.

Most of the fabrics were scraps.  As you can see, there are very few modern prints, but the result is still far from traditional.  I am especially pleased with the binding! 

The quilting is definitely not my best work.  I outlined the white "frames" but rushed through the meandering on the rest of the quilt.  I'm talking about very large, extra jumbo meandering.  On the bright side, less dense quilting = softer quilt with a better drape.

These outdoor pictures were taken during my summer vacation, in a beautiful piece paradise somewhere in Atlantic Canada. It was sunny but windy.  The quilt kept flying off the fence.  I just could not get a good picture of the back (or, for that matter, of the entire top).  Oh well, there is always the old post.

This quilt makes me smile every single time I look at it.  I am still in love with it, and I am glad this one lives at our home, ready for snuggling anytime.
So, forget about my earlier question.  Have you been tempted to re-do a post from your early blogging days?