Tuesday, 24 February 2015

When in Hamilton...

... Buy fabric!

I am in Hamilton, Ontario this week.  All work and no play, except for a little running in between meetings and other work obligations.

So I was out for a run late afternoon yesterday when I ran past this delighful little store called "Needlework".  Well, you know I just had to go in.  It's a small but inviting store and workshop with a nicely curated fabric selection.  I was tempted to skip the rest of my run, especially since it was -15C (that's 5F, folks), but the store was opened until 8:00, so I had plenty of time to finish my run and come back before closing.  No excuse! 

Come back I did, and did what any quilter would have done in the same situation...  Buy fabric!

I exercised some restraint, but came out with delightful fabrics:

Nice, eh?

In the WIP department, I brought this quilt along to hand stitch the binding during my flights.  Hope to get it done by the time I get back home.

I realize the pictures are not the greatest - I am without a regular camera and just used my ipad.  It is my first time writing a post with just my ipad (and minimum time on a borrowed computer to transfer pictures).  It is a little challenging, but I had to share!

Do you look for fabric stores when travelling?  Have you ever discovered a nice little quilt shop completely by chance?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A Blue Green Finish

I started this Blue Green quilt last fall, just because.   I needed instant gratification.  Well, sort of, since I happily left the binding unfinished for a couple months.
Blue Green love
I was really in love with the green-blue combo.  Within the colour scheme, except for florals, anything was fair game: solids, geometrics, tone on tone, batiks, some modern and some not so much.  I like when I can use up a few of my "uglies" and make them look good! 

The quilt top came together very quickly - it's a crib size - and after a little pondering, I chose the funky sunglasses-wearing dolphins for the back.

Still not sure about the wisdom of backing a baby quilt with these slightly scary creatures...

For the quilting, I wanted something simple and geometric.  I really like what I came up with.  It looks like individual squares with one vertical line, but if you look closer, you will see that each column is quilted in a continuous line.  So easy, and great texture too!

You can see that I was not shooting for perfection here...

The method...

Quilting went like a charm.  I could have finished it right away, but whatever little hand stitching time I had was taken up by hand quilting this quilt, so I saved it for a rainy snowy day.

This week end, we've been hit by a couple snow storms so with three days stuck in the house, I not only found time to finish the quilt, but I got the perfect backdrop for pictures!

The wind... this quilt has a life of its own!
Ah! Better!

I am not kidding when I say we had a lot of snow.  Here's what I did just after the photo shoot...

Gotta love Canadian winters...
Not sure where this quilt will end up, but for now, it's in my "reserve".  The finished baby quilt stack was looking a little too girly, but now, I am prepared for the next occasion where a gender neutral or baby boy quilt is required.

The perfect backdrop

And I can't resist inserting a picture of the quilt roll...

In parting, here it is after a spin in the washer and dryer:

All nice and crinkled!

That's my finish for February.  I did not join any finish-a-long, or make any list, but with two finishes in two months, I'd say 2015 is off to a good start!

Linking up to TGIFF at the Carpenter's daughter who quilts and Finish Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

WIP - Late / Early Christmas Quilt

I am either two months late, or ten months early...

I am working on a Christmas quilt!

I was inspired by Amanda Jean's Quiet Christmas Quilt.  Even though her quilt was "quiet", it was screaming to me "Make me!  Make me!".  As soon as I saw it, I had the urge to go through my red, green and low volume fabrics and start cutting up 5" squares.  So I cut, and cut, and cut some more.  A little from scraps, a little from stash.  I also used up some dots and stripes I got in a charm swap, so there are a few new-to-me fabrics that only show up once.  Oh and I may have ordered a few half yards cuts to round up the selection... 

There's a little bit of everything in there.  Some moderns prints, some pretty generics fabrics, and some of my older stash I no longer like.  Together, it works.  It's a little brighter than Amanda Jean's version, not by design but because my low volume stash was a little depleted.  I did not use one Christmas fabric in it so technically, it could be used all year round.

I finished piecing the top (and also made a backing) last Saturday at MMQG's Sew-In.  I don't have any large piece of batting on hand, so it will be set aside until I get around to buying a new bolt of batting (if you have any batting recommendation, please tell me!).  I am pretty pleased with this top...  Now, off to working on my other Works-In-Progress.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social at Lorna's Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

What Santa Brought

Warning: This is not a quilting or sewing related post but it could lead to an addiction for all creative types out there!

I have been meaning to post about this wonderful "toy" that Santa left in my stocking.  December and January were busy times in my household, so here I am.

Kaleidograph Contrast, Flora and OpArt

I first heard of the Kaleidograph from this blog I was visiting...  I gave a little hint to Santa, then completely forgot about it, so I was both delighted and surprised when I found these in my stocking.  Thank you Santa!

So... what exactly are these?  Hours and hours of fun for creative people, that's what they are!

This is Kaleidograph Flora:  12 cards with a different colour on each side.  Three cards are plain, and the other nine have a cut out.

Same cards, reverse sides

What do you do with it?  You just stack them whichever way you like and watch the magic happen.  The cut out have 6 sides, so that even by turning just one card by 90 degrees, you get a completely different design, like this:

From left to right, all I did was turn one card by 90 degrees

There are millions of combinations.  Once you start playing, it is pretty addictive, but as far as addictions go, you could do a lot worse...

Same cards and layout, I simply turned the two black cards on the white side

Santa got me not one, but three kits.  This one below is called OpArt.  It is all black and white except for a couple gray backgrounds and is all curves and circles:

And the last one is called Contrast, and is all angles.  

I have not played too much with the black and white ones.   I can see how they would appeal to many people, but I much prefer to play with colours.

Just playing with colours

I was a little protective of my toy so my kids did not get to play too much with it but I will try to be a bit more liberal with it.  I am thinking of adding it to the rotation of "take out" toys that kids bring when they are dragged to a sibling's sport practice.  (My kids have limited screen/electronic time so rather than taking an electronic game like pretty much every other kid, we bring books, dinky cars, writing and colouring materials, etc.)

This toy can easily occupy kids and grown ups for quite a while!

So right after I finish this post, I am going to do one last design and put it in this nifty plexiglass display rack (it does not come with a single Kaleidograph set but Santa got it when he bought three sets).

There are several online sites where you can buy the Kaleidograph but I can't recommend any one in particular.  If you want to learn a bit more, check out the Kaleidograph website.  No one is paying me to advertise this, but the website is pretty cool too.  If you decide to get one, be warned: You could end up spending hours shuffling around twelve pieces of cardboard!