Sunday, 31 August 2014

10 Quilty Little Secrets

13 Spools

I am jumping on that bandwagon too.  Inspired by Amy at 13 Spools and some of my bloggy friends, it is my turn to reveal my 10 Quilty little secrets:
1 - I get excited about a trend well after everyone else is over it.
2 - I change my sewing needles often, but rotary cutter blades?  I make them last way past their useful life.
3 - I sometimes cut paper with my sewing scissors.  Don't tell my husband... he got in trouble for doing the same thing.
4 - I do not know - nor care about - the name of Kona Colours.
5 - I am a binding snob.  I think all bindings should be hand sewn and I dislike the look of machine binding.
6 - I sometimes rush to finish quilting something just so I have a binding to hand stich.
7 - I have rarely met a shortcut I did not like.  Except for machine binding, of course.
8 - Though I have made a couple, I find quilts made entirely of one collection quite boring.
9 - My sewing room is constantly messy.  My post on my sewing room is a bit of a fraud... there was a lot of piles being moved around in order to take pictures.  I have been known to cut projects on the floor because my super-duper cutting table was too messy.
10 - I do not like cats.  I cringe when I see pictures of cats messing around near sharp objects and shedding their hair on their owners precious works.

What are your quilty secrets?


Friday, 29 August 2014

Friday Finish... a Very Special Pillow

It's finished :(
The vacation, that is.
I am just back from three wonderful weeks away.  Having been on a ferry for five hours this morning on rather rough seas, I am still feeling like the rolling of the waves.
Yes, there was a bit of hand quilting, some button sewing, and a quick seam on a sewing machine in the first few days, but then, no sewing at all.  Who has time to sew when there are rocks to skip, sandcastles to build, kites to fly (OK, we did not get to fly our kite, but we wanted to, does that count?) and hills to climb.  And let's not forget long roads to run accompanied by a little monkey on a bike...

I was with very intermittent internet service - not a bad thing - so this is the first chance I get to post about my early vacation finish.  Remember this?  I was debating making a pillow or a wall hanging, and whether to add buttons or something else for the leaves.

Well, I heard y'all, and I went for a pillow with buttons.  Lots of buttons!

But before the reveal, the story.

Giving is the best

C. is my second cousin: Her dad and my mom are first cousins.  I am sure we have been at family gatherings together as children, but I only have a vague recollection of her at the time.  I met her again four years ago at a big family reunion for our extended family - descendants of our great-grandparents - which includes over a hundred people.

Since then, C. and I have become acquainted through Facebook - a way to get glimpses of each other's lives but without really knowing each other well.  One thing I know, though, is her dedication to our extended family.  Since the big reunion, she has been maintaining a Facebook page for our  family.  Every month, she reminds us of upcoming birthdays.  Announces births (and deaths), and posts pictures of family gatherings.  It is a thankless "job" and I am sure there are many who appreciate her efforts, but perhaps we don't say it often enough.  When I decided to make another quilty gift for an unsuspecting recipient again this year, I knew it would be for her.  It does not hurt that she hits the "Like" button when I post pictures of my quilts on Facebook...

For the construction, I made a slab of low volume scraps which included both traditional and modern fabrics and appliquéd a tree to represent the family (I am that subtle, I know).

The buttons came from my stash - I emptied the green jar and had to dig in the blue and the yellow ones, which worked out great.

On a side note, the buttons were all sewn using Clark & Co's #10 cabled thread I found amongst other treasures in my grandmother's old sewing machine... very fitting!

It's the one with on the left with the green label with anchor.  By the way, if anyone knows of a great resource for antique/vintage thread, do share...

So here's a picture of the almost finished project.  I thought it was finished but there was something bugging me...  Can you notice?

The pillow cover is slightly too big for the pillow form and it is sagging.  I might have let it slide on a birthday pillow for a 7 year old, but not for this one.  And it was a quick fix, too...

Here, much better...

I am happy to report that the pillow was gifted - in person - to C.  I know she was both surprised and touched by the gesture and, well, you just can't fake that reaction... I know she loves it!  That is the best part of quilting.  Designing, making, finishing, yes.  But giving is the best.

Linking up to TGIFF at Ms. Midge and Finish Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

More Shop Talk and a Simple Vintage Sheet Project

In Tuesday's post I talked about my visit to Patch Halifax.  I had forgotten my camera but owner Chris promised to send me a few pictures.  However, because of a typo in my email address, someone random person in cyberspace received the pics and is wondering what to make of them! 

Anyway, I have the pictures now... here I am, holding the very first purchase made on opening day.

First Customer!

I think Chris was happy to have a customer within minutes of opening!  I know she's had many more that day, including a few fellow members of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild.

Me and Chris

Oh and speaking of the guild, we are delighted that our monthly meetings are moving to this delightful space at the back of Patch.  Thanks Chris!

Patch Halifax

But enough of the shop talk.  Let's talk vintage sheets.  I have a fondness for vintage sheets, as evidenced by these quilts (blogged here):

Orange Julep

I should have called this one Mint Julep, to keep up with the theme...

The good thing about collecting vintage sheets is that people just give you vintage sheets.  I have not bought any for a while, but somehow people just like to get them out of their closets and send them my way.  I am not complaining.

Although I am not too fond of kids sheets with cartoon characters, I can always make an exception for this guy:
Who doesn't like Snoopy?

That sheet is great and in good condition (quite unusual for a fitted sheet).  Except that it does not really go with any other sheets I have (the flowery 1970s ones)...  What's a girl to do?  But, wait a minute, look at this fabric collecting dust since the beginning of times.  What is that?

Really?  What was I thinking?

I'll tell you what that is.  That is a perfect backing for the Snoopy sheet.  These two were made for each other...

They're even better together in real life!

I cut a piece of the sheet the size of the backing (I only had one meter), layered them with a piece of batting and quilted loops with a nice variegated thread (another perfect match) on the backing and white on top.  On second thought, I could have used the variegated thread on the top too.

Perfect match!

I have since added a darker blue binding which I still need to hand stitch - I love hand stitching binding.  I am not kidding myself, this is not a heirloom quilt.  I even hesitate to call it a quilt - I think blanket might be more appropriate... yet, it was quite satisfying to make, and it will make some kid happy.  As an added bonus, I have a portable project to take with me next time I am going on a business trip.

Who is your favourite Peanuts character?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

New Fabric Store in Halifax

This is exciting, folks! 
I had the pleasure of visiting Patch Halifax on their opening day.  And guess who was the first customer to make a purchase?  Yes indeed!

Patch Halifax is owned by Chris Pasquet who believes everybody can learn how to sew and should have access to a sewing machine.  That is why her shop is equipped with several machines (Berninas - she has good taste) and a serger that people can rent by the hour.  She caters not only to quilters, but all sewists alike.  She has some books, notions and a nice variety of basic patterns for garment making.  Hmmm… I could be tempted…

As far as quilting fabric goes, the selection was quite modest on opening day, though more fabric is coming soon.   Right now, she has gorgeous solids from Westminster (to all the Kona lovers out there... take note: Westminster solids are niiiiice!), and beautiful collections with a modern vibe: Joel Dewberry, Charley Harper, some Essex Linens and... drum roll please... Liberty Stile.

I am told there is more fabrics on a truck just waiting to be delivered.  I may be making a special trip when Denyse Schmidt’s Hadley comes in!  Good thing it is on my way home from work... or is it?

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Random Sunday

Bee blocks

I have been neglecting my long term projects, but keeping busy with the smaller ones in the last few weeks.  Instant gratification.  Here is my bee block for August, finished on the first of the month!

Patti of Retired to Quilt wanted a Woven block based on this tutorial.  It was a quick block to make and I am looking forward to seeing all those blocks woven together.

She wanted the strips to be in these colours: gray, green, medium to dark blue, pink or purple.  Well that was easy!  Much easier than Pam's request for July.  The task was easy enough: sew a bunch of rectangles together to form a 18" x 4.5" strip which she will use to form a X block (the end of the strip will be trimmed in an angle which is why it is OK if it is narrower).  The problem was the colours.  A wonderful palette of minty green and taupe was completely absent from my stash.  Thank goodness Pam sent a few strips to get us started!  That one was finished on the very last day of July... I don't think the next picture is blog-worthy, but what the heck...

What, a rug?

What else has been happening in the sewing room?  Not just quilty things.  Ever since I saw a tutorial for a rug made of recycled t-shirts, I knew I wanted to make one.  What better way to use the growing pile of kids' sweat pants from the "to repair" pile?  It is much more fun to cut them up and transform them into a rug. 

But where was the tutorial?  I did not pin it, nor did I make note of where I saw it, so I just "winged it".  After a couple evenings, I had this:

The original goal was to make a 18" x 24" rug, but I ran out of fabric and to be perfectly honest, it was a bit boring.  In the end, it finished half that size at about 12" x 18".  I still have not found the original tutorial that inspired me but in writing this post, I went looking for something that would give you the method and I found this one.  Funny that our colours are very similar!

One of the kids thought this would be a perfect rug for a cat (but... we don't have a cat!), but another one was happy to try it on.  Feels good on the toes!

Not sure where this one will end up.  Right now, it is in our entrance where it does not match anything, and is not large enough to host more than one pair of adult-size shoes...  Oh well!

Work in progress dilemmas

My latest small project is currently in progress.  Back in January, one of my goals for the year was to send one quilty gift to an unsuspected recipient.  Well I knew just which recipient I wanted to surprise with a gift, and though I wasn't sure what to make, I knew it had to have a tree on it.  I started with a low volume slab for the background:

Then, I appliquéd a tree (raw-edge appliqué and quilted at the same time) and continued some of the quilting lines to make additional roots and branches:

Then I did some echo quilting:

And this is where I am now:

The next step is to add leaves.  Dilemma number one: Should I go with fabric, thread, or buttons?  I think I am leaning towards this:

The second dilemma is, do I make this into a pillow (again?), or into a wall hanging ?  It will finish at 16 x 16.  The recipient is not a quilter.  It is someone I want to thank, but not someone I know well.  I don't know what their house looks like, their decorating style, their colour preferences.  Are they the type of people to hang a mini quilt on their wall?  Would it go well in their décor?  Could they use this to top a table?  Do they like toss pillows?  Would the buttons interfere if used as a pillow? 

Decisions, decisions...  What do you think?