Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Work in Progress

I have been working on stuff... quilty stuff.

Wedding Quilt

A number of people helped me out with my wedding quilt dilemma.  In the end, since I could not decide between barn raising dark center, and barn raising light center, I went for alternating dark - light squares, so this stack:

Became this:

Which became that:

Next, prepare the backing!

At the sewing machine

Lately, though, I did not really feel like working on a quilt back.  I needed something a bit more satisfying.  Thankfully, I had just the right project, already sandwiched and waiting to be quilted.

So this is what I've been doing the last couple nights:

It is a large baby quilt so it should not take me that long to quilt.  But don't expect a finished quilt soon... I am saving the binding for when I need a portable project to take with me to children's various practices.  I hate to sit in a rink/gym/field with nothing to do with my hands.

On my design wall:

"... So I bought some fabric the other day...".  Familiar phrase?  So, anyway, I picked up a lovely stack of 6 half metres cuts, and decided to piece my first ever star blocks with the one fabric and some Kona white.

Here's the rest of the stack.  Since 12 stars are not going to be enough, I am going to audition a couple more fabrics.  The brown and the yellow fat quarters are from my stash.  The colours are not quite right on the picture - the yellow fits in quite well, but I am not so sure about the rust. 

I have several shades of gray in my stash, but nothing seems to fit.  I am again faced with the difficulty of using mostly fabrics from one collection, and having a hard time pairing them with others.  It's like they have their own little club, and don't want to play with the other kids!  Another trip to the fabric store, perhaps?

Those are my Work in Progress for the week.  What have you been working on?

I am linking to W.I.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

First Charity Blocks... CHECK!

I like the idea of making charity quilts.  In my head, I have lots of charity quilts waiting to be made, starting with a Quilt of Valour.  So far, I have only made a baby quilt for a neonatal unit, and a few Christmas placemats for my local Meals on Wheels organization.

So many worthy causes, so little time... 

I cannot devote the time to make a whole quilt for charity right now, but making a block?  I can do that.  When I heard about Cheryl's project to make blocks for families affected by the floods in Calgary, I knew I wanted to join.  Worthy cause, for sure, and a really fun block to make!  Every since I bought Sunday Morning Quilts I have wanted to make pretty much every project in this book.  So I jumped on the occasion to make "Just One Slab".  Or two... or... five!  Here they are.  I could have kept going, but the danger was that I would have wanted to keep them for myself and make this quilt. Right. Now.

These blocks are in the mail.  There, I've done it!  I have sent something to someone I have never met before, to be given to a family who lives several provinces away from me.  And you know what? It made me feel real good!

Cheryl is still collecting blocks until July 30, so there is still time if you want to contribute.

On that note, I am off to start assembling the wedding quilt. 

Happy sewing to me!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Wedding quilt in progress... I need opinions!

A little less than a week ago, I set out to make a quilt for a couple who was getting married... yesterday.  Talk about a deadline!  But I did not want to rush it, and I gave myself a month to complete it.  Better late than never.
The bride is my husband's cousin and I do not know her very well.  I have never met the groom.  This said, I knew I wanted to make something for them, I just had no idea where to start.  Weeks passed.... months... I almost gave up the quilt idea and checked out their wedding registry instead.  Good thing I did, there was the information I was looking for:
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. We love the vintage look of art nouveau and art deco.

OK, I have to admit I had no idea what Art Deco and Art Nouveau were and had to Google it.  I quickly determined that no quilt of mine was going to fall under one of these two categories.  But sea tones, blues, aquas and greens... I can do that, and all from stash! (Well, maybe there was a wee purchase of creams and beiges, but, does that even count?)
Here's the first stack of fabrics I pulled out:

I added some greens, sorted by value (lights and darks), and cut 84 squares (6 1/2") from each pile.

I matched them up and started sewing HSTs (half square triangles).  I am about 2/3 done, so another evening or two of work (my evenings are short). 

Here's a sample:

I have no idea how I ended up with all of those fabrics in my stash, because these are not colours that I normally go for...  Well, obviously, at some point, I did.

Now, I really love that combination.  So soothing!  I can see oceans, forests, beaches...

Now comes the tough part.  Like log cabins, half squares triangles can be turned so many ways with completely different results.  Tonight, I played with 16 blocks and experimented different layouts.  Keep in mind that the finished quilt will have 168 blocks (14 rows of 12).

Which one of the layouts below do you prefer?  Which one do you think would best match the newlyweds' description of their style? 
1. Barn raising - light centre

2. Barn raising - dark centre
3. Chevrons
4. Pinwheels
 5. Star with light centre

6. Star with dark centre
7. Diamonds

I thought I had picked my favourite, but I have looked at it too much and I don't know anymore!  And there are so many more possibilities... Now I need to put it out there and see what other people think. 

Over to you!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Best way to say "Thank You" for a quilt

A few days ago, I posted this picture as an example of a baby quilt I made, and mentioned how I love receiving pictures of the quilt being used by its owner.

Look what I found in my inbox a few days later:
Looks like little Miss D. is pretty happy with her quilt! See how she makes it look much better ! 
Sometimes, giving a quilt is hard.  Perhaps you've worked on it for so many hours, or maybe it  has fabric you just don't want to part with.  (I really wish I had bought more of that gorgeous print...  I bought exactly what I needed - silly me - and have no scraps whatsoever).  But seeing this warms my heart and makes me glad I made - and gave - this quilt.
Do you have pictures of your quilts "in use"?  If not, do you wish you did?
That's it for today... there's some sewing to be done!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Vintage Goodness

Vintage Sheets Quilts

I started collecting vintage sheets about a year ago, after seeing all sorts of lovely quilts made of vintage sheets popping up everywhere on the blogosphere.  I phoned up my sister to see if she still had the old sheets that came from our parent's house, only to find out I was a couple weeks too late: she had just given them to charity.  Sad!  But after a couple months of thrift store shopping, I had enough to make my first vintage sheet quilt.  Here's what I came up with:

This quilt is so light and bright and fresh, and sunny.  I do not name all my quilts, but when I shared this quilt with my friend M.-R. (Quilt Matters), she suggested "Orange Julep".  Perfect name, don't you think?

Why stop when you're having fun?

After making Orange Julep, I had to keep going, and make another one just like it.  Half of the prints are the same, but by then I had acquired a few more sheets, mostly in green - love those green stripes.  No name for this one, though.  This quilt now lives in a dorm room on some university campus with A., our wonderful babysitter.

Vintage Sleeping Bag?

I really think everybody needs a vintage sheet quilt, or perhaps a vintage sheet sleeping bag...

Here's the sleeping bag I made for "Baby".

Yes, I know the binding isn't terribly well done.  You see, I had this idea at about 9:00 pm the night before our family was going camping last year.  Baby was coming with us, and she needed a proper place to sleep.  Once I had the idea in my mind, I just had to make it.  Now!

Pillowcase Dresses

Some pillowcases want to be cut in small pieces and made into a quilt, but others scream "I want to be a dress".  I whipped up these two dresses last week.  One for my daughter and one for her friend.  I realized afterwards that the white and yellow one was way too long and I did not want to hem it and lose the lovely border, so I made a belt out of bias tape and put two loops at the waist to hold the belt in place. Aren't these the cutest dresses?

I am not done with vintage sheets... so many more projects to make!  Next on my vintage-y projects list: pyjamas like these ones.  What about you?  Are you into vintage sheets? 

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Quick Baby Gifts

Who doesn't love homemade baby gifts?

I wasn't always a quilter, but I have always enjoyed making gifts to welcome babies.  I wish I had pictures of all the stuff I made over the years!  For a while, my "staple" baby gift was a piece of fleece with a blanket stitch.  I just found this sample in my closet, made about 5-6 years ago.  I must find a home for it!

1 metre of fleece would make two baby-size blankets. I must have made at least 20 or 30 of those over the years. I also made a few for older children, using 1 meter for one blanket, and many adult size blankets as well, using 2 metres.  Easy math! 

I gave one to my husband when we were first dating.  It is now being used to make forts...

Now, my staple "simple" baby gift is made of a piece of cotton, a piece of flannel, sewn together envelope-style, then quilted (no batting).  These make great stroller blankets.  My kids are all past the stroller stage, but I still use theirs in the car when we travel.

I try to always have one or two done and ready to be gifted to a co-worker, or acquaintance.  If my relationship with the person would normally call for a fancier gift but I just don't have the time to make a more elaborate quilt, I use one of these as wrapping for a store-bought gift.

One step up from the envelope-style/no batting blanket is the one-cloth quilt with proper batting and binding, like this one:

These quilts are fairly quick to make and provide me with a portable project to keep my hands busy.  This binding was done entirely at the rink over a couple hockey practices.  I also use these smaller quilt to try new quilting designs.  With this particular fabric, I just followed the motif which resulted in nice wavy lines.  Love this!

Here's another one I made.  I don't remember who the fabric is from, but I think it is just gorgeous!  I am sure little D. agrees.

It's much easier to find beautiful, modern girl appropriate fabric than it is to find boyish or gender neutral fabric.  I was happy to find the old fashioned letters (French General, La Petite Ecole), and the thick flannel that almost looks like wool.  I am not crazy about the binding, but that's the best I could find in my stash.  I am sure little E. does not mind.
Nothing would make me happier than to come across one of those quilts or blankets, years later, and find out that they are completely worn out.  Except perhaps than receiving a picture of the quilt being used by its owner... Moms, dads, are you reading?
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

How do you like your log cabins?

I love Log Cabins...  traditional or modern, scrappy or carefully planned, in all kinds of layouts.  They are so versatile!

One of my first projects was a full size log cabin quilt in fall colours.  I named it "ma saison préférée" or my favourite season.  Fall is indeed my favourite season, and I am drawn to gorgeous reds, oranges, yellows... 

I don't remember which book the pattern came from - maybe one of the American Patchwork & Quilting books, but I do remember the designer's name was Diane Doro.  The thought of doing my own thing and not following a pattern had not even occurred to me at that time.  When the top was completed, I did not have a clue how to machine quilt and I was not going to tackle hand quilting a quilt that size, so I had it professionally quilted on a long arm.

Here it is hanging at the Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild Festival of quilts 2009.

This quilt is quite fragile: I was a beginner and had not quite grasped the importance of the 1/4 inch seam, or the smaller stitch length.  It is the perfect quilt for our guest bedroom where it does not have to withstand daily use, while still being loved!  I am glad my mother can sleep under something I made when she visits. 

Fast forward to 2012.  Seems like all the log cabins have gone wonky !  When I purchased Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkinson, I was immediately drawn to "High Five".  I just had to make something similar.  Of course, this time I tweaked the pattern, starting with the block size.  The original had 4 1/2" finished blocks... I did not want to count, let alone make that many blocks!  My blocks are 6" finished.  I also modified the larger blocks, made more of them, and improvised the layout.

Here's the back: a giant cabin, and leftover blocks that were too small. 

While making this quilt, I came to appreciate the wisdom of sorting scraps by colour - something else I picked up from Sunday Morning Quilts. It makes so much sense!

This was really fun to make, and I like the fact that it came entirely out of my scraps binding and backing included, except for a few gray purchases.

I had no clear plan for how this quilt would be used, but my husband has unofficially adopted it as the TV quilt.

So... which one do you prefer? Fall colours or brights? Precise or wonky? complicated or simple layout? Traditional or modern? 

Most of what I have been doing recently is modern and bright, but I still love the traditional stuff.  I am not a "traditional" quilter, or a "modern" quilter.  I am a quilter.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

My First Post

Welcome to my blog!

I have been lurking around quilt blog land for a while, and now it's my turn to take the plunge!  This is where I will be sharing my quilting adventures.

Where to start?  Well, how about my most recent finish.  I bought a Ruby charm pack on a trip to Saint John (NB) back in 2011.  Every time I come home after buying some sort of pre-cut bundle, I always ask myself... what does one do with these?  I don't normally make quilts out of a single collection, or a single designer - I am more of a scrappy type quilter.  But once I have a critical mass from one collection, I find it hard to match with other prints.  And there is the pre-wash vs. non pre-wash issue (all my stash is pre-washed, but my pre-cuts are not).  I was really stuck with my set of 42 5" squares.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on some Ruby yardage from a store in Moncton a few months after the original purchase.  I cut up a few more squares, sewed them together in 12 groups of 4, and... put the whole project back on the UFO pile where it sat for a year.  Finally, three weeks ago, I decided it was time to finish this baby!

I quilted loops and double loops in a soft gray.  Quick and easy!

 It is backed in flannel... yummy!  I may have to re-think all my backing purchases from now on...

This quilt now goes to daycare with my daughter and all the wonderful ladies that work there want one!  I don't blame them... I want one for me too!  Seriously, I am quite pleased with the result.  It is simple, soft and sweet.  And finished!

So what am I working on these days? Here are two slabs I made last night for Cheryl at Dining Room Empire (I have not yet learned how to insert a link here).  Hopefully these will find their way onto a quilt to warm the heart of someone affected by the floods in Alberta.

The slabs were easy and fun to make, and I can see making some of those for myself at some point.  Of course, I had to do something different and make a white block with a colourful centre! I was planning on making a few more tonight, but that was before I decided that tonight was the night to finally become a blogger.  3 hours later, I have not made it to the sewing room, and it's more than 1 hour past my bedtime.  Sigh!  I can already see how blogging could be cutting into my quilting time if I am not careful.

Finally, here's a sneak peak of something I am working on:

Well, that first post wasn't that hard...  I wonder what took me so long! I am so excited to have a space to share my projects!

I know I have a lot to learn,  - first on the list is improving my photography skills - but I intend to take it easy and keep this fun.

Thanks for reading!