Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Auditioning Binding

Hello!  Hope you are all having a fabulous week!

I just put together a little quilt on the week-end, for no particular reason.  A bright, pretty, girly baby/toddler quilt.  I have absolutely no need for a girly baby quilt right now, but I just felt like playing with girly fabric, and I wanted "instant" gratification.  I started cutting Saturday, and by Monday night, I was done quilting the top.  In my world, starting on Saturday and finishing quilting on Monday is really, really fast.

Here's a sneak peek:

Ah, the things you see in a picture... The quilt probably has more than 20 prints, but this picture shows a lot of repeats.  Doesn't matter... this quilt makes me smile.

So anyway... now that I am done quilting, I have to put a binding on this thing, and soon!  I am travelling next week and I need a binding to stitch to keep my hands busy on the plane.

I certainly don't want to go low volume on the binding.  I need something medium to dark to frame all those pastels.  I also want it to play nice with the backing which you see on top of each picture below.  Oh, and most importantly, it has to come from my stash which, I come to realize, has a shortage of pretty binding fabrics...

So it's down to these five:

1. This first one was my first choice.  I have actually cut the 5 strips I need from this fabric, but I am not quite committed yet.
2. Because it is quilted in a green thread (Aurifil 50wt in Pistachio), I would like to have a green binding, but this is the only thing I could find.  Are the red flowers too distracting?

3. Purple Solid? I like it with the front, but I don't think it goes well with the back. 
4. A darker shade of pink which goes really well with those flowers in the back, but maybe a bit too muted to go with the bright top...

5. Solid bubble gum pink - the photo does not do justice to this one - it is the same pink found in the paisley on the top right and top/middle left.

Well, that's it for my little dilemma.  What's your dilemma today?

Linking up to WiP at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Giveaway Winner

It's time to announce the giveaway winner!

Congratulations to Shannon, who posted :
"I am a big fan of Sew Sisters and always make a point of stopping at their booth first at the Creative Festival. I'm loving the Kona roll-ups they have now...especially the Brights. Soooo much I could do with one of those..:)"

Shannon, I will put you in touch with Sew Sisters so you can receive your Honeysweet charm pack and candy squares.

For those who care about these things, I have to admit that, despite being directed to tutorials on how to number comments, and how to post an image of a random number generator, I am still unable to figure this out.  After over one hour of trying, I have decided to finishing off the evening by relaxing at the sewing machine rather than becoming more and more frustrated at the computer.  There were no chartered accountant firm supervising this draw, you will simply have to trust me!

Thank you to all who entered and thanks to Sew Sisters for sponsoring my fist giveaway.  Don't forget to shop tomorrow...

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

How many is too many?

Is it Friday yet?  No? Great because I don't have a finish to share.  What I have is a ridiculous number of works in progress.  This time with pictures.

Let's see... in no particular order

1. The solid improv blocks I was so excited about the other day?  Still excited, but must put on the back burner while I await true scraps in other colours.

2. Before I started working on the solid blocks, I had been doing improvisational piecing with other scraps.  I'm not going to lie to you, some of these scraps were pretty ugly!  Not quite sure where I am going with this, and I can't see myself making too many more of those.  I bet there will be a lot of negative space...  I took a picture on a gray play mat.  Gives me an idea about the background...  I need to bring some order to these blocks.

3. Star Quilt.  6 blocks done, 6 more to go, plus border/background.  The more I play with this, the more I like it.

4. In my part of the world, quilts are for summer.  In the winter, we sleep under big duvets or woolen blankets.  I was hoping to baste, quilt and bind this baby before the end of the summer... I never specified which summer.  I am definitely loving the colours.  I had bee hoarding some of those fabrics for far too long, and it felt good to cut into them, finally!  

5. The following was inspired by this quilt. I paper pieced my blocks (they are still missing the corner triangles).  I am not sure I like it.  This is one of those "seemed like a good idea at the time"...  Looking at the picture, I see that the 3-4 darker blocks stand out in comparison to the lighter ones.  This said, it is a good way to see what colours I am missing.  Dark green for sure, maybe another yellow and some aqua...  I'm going to make another 6 blocks, hopefully for a nice baby-sized quilt and be done with it!

6. That wedding quilt... Well the other night I started working on it and pieced the backing.  I should have stopped there and gone to bed, but I was on a mission and proceeded to sandwich/pin despite being tired.  You've been there, haven't you?  

 Bad, bad idea.  The next morning, when I looked at the back, I found lots of those:

So now, I have to remove the pins, and pin the whole thing again. At least the backing is pieced!

7. And here's another sneak peak at my daughter's quilt, which I have been hand-quilting forever. 

I am hoping that the return of the hockey season will help my progress.  I rarely watch TV, but I love a good NHL game, and I like to keep my hands busy while watching it.  Plus I've become a master at sewing/quilting with frozen fingers while watching my kids play...

So... these are my "active" work-in-progress.  I can't tell you how many more are tucked away somewhere, and I know I have a gazillion new ideas.  In fact, I'll probably head down to the sewing room in a minute and find myself something completely new to work on...

If you have not yet entered the giveaway sponsored by Sew Sisters to celebrate their birthday sale (29% off everything!), go check out my previous post.  Good luck to all!

Linking up at WIP Wednesday at Needle and Thread Network and at Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

My first givaway and a quilted gift

My first giveaway!

The giveaway is now closed, I will announce the winner in the next 24 hours

I was contacted by Carol from Sew Sisters Quilt Shop in Toronto to see if I wanted to host a giveaway to promote Sew Sister's biggest sale of the year. 

Full disclosure: I have never bought from Sew Sisters and therefore, I cannot talk about my experience with her store.  I am going to make a point at visiting her shop next time I am in Toronto, but in the meantime, I headed over to her website to see for myself: lots of Konas, great selection of Batiks, lots of 1930s reproductions, Moda precuts...   I personally like the 1930s fabric and I find a lot of them blend in well with modern fabrics.   Prices and shipping rates are very reasonable for both Canada and the US.   So of course, I said YES to the giveaway!


Sew Sisters is offering a charm pack and candy squares from the Honeysweet collection by Fig Tree & Co for Moda.  I do have a sweet spot for Fig Tree... too bad I can't enter my own giveaway!

For a chance to win, all you have to do is check out the Sew Sisters website and tell me what is your favourite fabric or collection.  This giveaway is open to everyone, anywhere.  If you are a no-reply blogger, make sure you leave an address where I can contact you.

I will pick the winner on (or around) September 17th.

Quilted Gift

A post without some quilty thing just doesn't feel right to me.  Since I don't have a recent finish to share, I decided to show you the ipad cover I gave to my sister last year.  Kinda goes with the "sisters" theme...

I did not follow any tutorial and just "winged it", but anyone looking for great tutorials could check out this one and that one.  Different styles, great results.
Don't forget to leave your comment for the giveaway, and have yourself a wonderful week!
The giveaway is now closed, I will announce the winner in the next 24 hours

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Back to School and a Quilt

It's Back to School tomorrow in my little part of the world.

Coloured Pencils...

Yes, there will be a quilt in this post, but bear with me for just a minute...

I've always loved going to school, and the whole "back to school" process.  Even years after I had been out of school, I used to feel so nostalgic every September.  The smell of freshly sharpened pencils.  The new clothes - remember the agonizing over the first day outfit while in high school?  New beginnings.  And longing for that elusive new box of 60 coloured pencils, which I never got - always using last year's pencils plus the occasional new set of 8.

I don't feel as nostalgic now that I have kids to send back to school every year.  It's like am living the whole thing all over again!  I love shopping for supplies, and they still let me pick the first day outfits.  But as a mom, before I buy new coloured pencils, I have to be reasonable and check if last year's are still good to use.  This year, one got a new box of 24 - not bad - and the other ended up with this: 

Selection of last year's pencils.  Such is life...
 And guess who got this fresh box of 60 coloured pencils ?

If you guessed me, you'd be correct!  And not only did I buy myself a box of coloured pencils, I even bought myself a colouring book to go with them:

On a side note, I have also learned it is very difficult to use your left hand to take a self-picture of yourself colouring with your right hand...

Do you ever colour, just for the fun of it?  Or ever wanted to, but never actually sat down to do it?  I have coloured with my kids many times, but this is just for the pure fun of it. 

Shhh... don't tell my kids!  Happy back to school to me!

Chocolate Quilt

Back to quilting talk... 

Let me introduce to you a quilt I made last fall, but only had a chance to take decent pictures during my recent vacation.  I present to you the Chocolate Quilt.

I did not chose these fabrics.  My husband bought me this layer cake (42 pieces of 10" for the uninitiated) and since he loved the fabrics, I decided to make a quilt for him.  Perhaps it was his plan all along...  I made simple hourglass blocks, and used it as a canvas to practice some new free motion quilting.  See my flowers:

All quilted in Aurifil, in one beige or another (I never remember exact colour names).  I am glad I thought of quilting one row in black, just because.

I love the way the almost-solid back shows off the quilting:

Especially when you look at the whole thing:

Even if I was not crazy about the colours, I was super pleased with the result.  I especially love the way the quilting turned out.   The recipient loves it and I was happy to make a quilt for the man in my life who encourages my quilting habit (and acts as the occasional quilt holder).

On that note, happy back to school to all of you teachers, educators, and those of you with boys and girls who are off to school !

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Solid frenzy!

Yes, it's a new work-in-progress!

What I was supposed to work on...

So I went down to the sewing room last night to get some progress on this quilt:

Don't get me wrong, I really like what I am doing here.  But again, there are muted colours, that are not all that exciting.  Like is not love...  I have a great idea for a not so traditional setting, and I think it will be a fun quilt.  This may become my first charity quilt.  But I digress...

What I meant to say was, I did not end up working on the above quilt at all.   Somewhere on the way between the kitchen and the sewing room, likely in the stairs leading to the basement, I had a flash of what I wanted to work on.  I had to set everything aside and start yet another project.  Had to.  Does that ever happen to you?

What I did work on...

What was it? Improv piecing with solids only.   Hardly original, I know, but this will be my fist and, man, the creative juices were flowing!  So I took out my solid scraps bin, and started piecing, and cutting and piecing and cutting and piecing.  Madly.  After an hour and a bit, this is what I had done:

The dark patches you see on there are forest green and a very dark blue.  Wondering if I should add black and/or white into the mix...  Yeah, probably... I think the more the merrier.  Oh and I already know the binding will be partially made with leftover solid binding bits of other projects...

Side note: Design wall

As you can see, my design wall is a door - specifically a closet door.  It has been covered with old ceiling tiles (works like a corkboard so I can use pins if need be), than white flannel.  It is not big enough for a full-size quilt, but for anything smaller, it works out wonderfully.  And that's my bolt of batting showing on the right.

More solid love to come...

Now, as exciting as the solid improve project is, I am going to have to set it aside for a little while (but probably not before another session).  Yes, I still have a bucket full of scraps, but I want to add more vibrant colours, and coincidentally, at the top of my want-to-make project list is a quilt made with these beautiful Konas:

These will be beautiful additions to the quilt.  I also have a few more pieces I have either not ironed (violet, teal, light pink) or washed ( lilac and royal blue) - don't check your Kona colour card, by the way, these are not actual names, nor all they all Konas...

I really don't want to cut too much into yardage for this - I want it to be a truly scrappy quilt.  I only allow myself to cut one or two narrow bands from any solid yardage if a colour is underrepresented.  And absolutely no purchase for that one. None!  well, as far as the top goes.  I am not promising anything for the backing.

The September 1st list

On another note, I always feel that September, not January, marks the beginning of the year.  Since today is September 1st, I thought I'd post a list of  my WIP to have as a reminder and hold myself accountable.
  1. Wedding quilt - top completed.  Need to finish by mid-October (That's when the person who will deliver it for me all the way across the continent will be travelling out west).
  2. Daughter's quilt - This is the one I was hand quilting at the cottage.  I have about 40 more hours of hand quilting to do, then binding.  Really want to finish by Christmas.
  3. Stars quilt mentioned about - also would like to finish this Fall.
  4. Bed quilt for our house - the top is done and I'll blog about it later.
  5. Improv solids - in progress.
Not yet started:
  1. Yellow-orange-pink quilt: Want to cut ASAP. 
  2. Kaffe quilt: I am not much one for quilts made with one collection, but I think Kaffe Fassett is an exception.  I finally bought the Kona Putty that is going to bind all his luscious fabrics together.  It will be in the line of this quilt or that quilt.
Of course I have a gazillion more in my mind.  A low-volume quilt, a scrappy trip, a bag, a 1930s quilt... not to mention the 5-6 more UFOs that are a constant reminder of how much I get side tracked...

And it goes without saying that this list will change (and probably expand).  I am not setting high standards for finishes, but I want to see some serious progress.

So that's what's I've been up to lately.  What about you?