Sunday, 31 May 2015

A Happy Quilt Top

The end of June is coming up and I am busy working on a quilt for a seriously quilt-worthy recipient. It will be a thank you and, sadly, a good-bye quilt for someone who has been a bright light in one of my kids' school life for the past three years.

I wanted a large quilt that was not too time consuming (these days, I rarely work in more than 30 minutes increments, and that's when I am lucky...).  I settled on large 16-patch blocks.  Each square is 4" (finished) so the blocks finish at 16".  With a few (short) evenings of work, and a few longer stretches this week-end, I have a quilt top!

Boy is is ever difficult to get a good picture of a large quilt top on a rainy day!

Because I don't know the recipient that well, I wasn't sure what her favourite colours were, so I went with bright, happy colours and fabrics that make me smile.

Now to piece a quilt backing and quilt this baby in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned...

Friday, 29 May 2015

Flying Geese for my Bee Mates

June is coming up, and that means that I am Queen Bee for the Canadians Quilt Bee 2015.

June is a busy time in my household and, I suspect, many of my bee mates' as well.  So it is with "quick and easy" in mind that I chose Flying Geese as my block.

But first...

The Colour Inspiration

Inspiration can come from all sorts of places.  For me, it is my favourite running dress.   (I pause to put in a free publicity plug here: if you run, bike, play tennis, do yoga, or just like to walk around town in stylish sportsy clothes, nuu-muu are the cutest and most awesome athletic dresses you will find).

Instead of using a fancy schmancy palette generator, I just went to the Kona website and copied swatches here.  It does not mean that you need to use these exact colours.  These are just here as a guide, and because it was fun to do!

Top: Basil, Wasabi, Emerald, Grass Green, Sage
Bottom: Chartreuse, Black, Pickle, Leprechaun, Glacier

You can also use whites and light grays, but I did not include swatches because they are too hard to see.

Types of Fabrics

Solids, tone on tone, small prints, flowers, stripes, geometrics...   I would prefer if it did not include other colours in any meaningful way.  Large prints probably would not be the best choice, but if you find one that you think works, go for it.  Here is my first fabric pull, I am sure I will uncover more once I start digging.


I am asking my bee mates for two sets of four geese.  For each set of four, you need four matching 3 7/8" squares and one contrasting 7 1/4" square.

The second set can be identical as the first, or it can be reversed, or it can use one common fabric and one different, or if can be all different.

The Method

I used the quick method that makes four identical geese at the same time.  There are many, many tutorials available using this method, including this one or that one, so no need to re-do another one. Just watch out because some tutorials use slightly different formula for sizes which will result in small inaccuracies.

In a matter of minutes, you will have four geese.  Cut the little "ears" and press.  They should all be 3 1/2" x 6 1/2".  Two of my geese came a little big, so I had to trim them a bit.

The Layout

Once you have one set, sew two geese together in the same direction like this:

Then, sew these two sets together any way you like!  Here are some options:


Repeat with the second set, but please do not sew the two sets together so I can have some flexibility in the layout.

Parting words

I've been wanting to make these flying geese for a long time, but I have to admit they scared me a little.  I can't believe I waited that long! These are very, very easy to make.  I am glad that being the June queen bee provided me the incentive to give it a try.

Monday, 18 May 2015

To Bahamas With Love

A while ago, I posted a story about some scraps that my husband brought back from a work trip to the Bahamas.

Essentially, he happened to mention to a bartender that he was hoping to do some fabric shopping for me and the bartender informed him that there were no fabric store nearby but got someone to tend the bar for him, went home and returned a few minutes later with these:

According to my husband, the gentleman seemed quite happy to get a bag full of scraps out of his house... which always had me wonder: did the lady of the house know that her mister was giving away her precious scraps to random bar customers?

Fast forward two years, my husband returned to the same location, so I grabbed one of the luggage tags (my tutorial here) I had made with the new-to-me scraps, and whipped up another one with my own scraps.  Notice anything different?  The fabric edge of the plastic thingy was a nice suggestion by my bloggy friend Debbie from Shadows of the Blue Ridge who used my tutorial and made it better.

My husband went back to the same bar, and sure enough the scrap-giving bartender is still there.  And now, he has two luggage tags to give to the lady.  Or not.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

And The Winner Is...

Thanks to all of you who visited my blog for the Meet Maritime Modern!


I enjoyed visiting my guild mates' blogs, and reading all of your comments.  I have even started to look up those of you whom I don't know to see if you have a blog, and I sure will be visiting in the next little while if I haven't already.

So about the giveaway... Here is what was overflowing from the scrap basket.

As promised: some low volumes...

And some brights:

Some modern, some not so much, and but two bigger than a charm square.

And the winner is... comment number 8, Anne Simonot.  Hope some of these scraps find their way in one (or more) of your projects!

I will be in touch with you shortly to get your address.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Meet Maritime Blog Hop is Here!

Welcome to the Running Thimble!  I am a proud member of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild and it's my privilege to take my turn on the blog hop and welcome you to this little piece of cyberspace. 

If you landed here from somewhere other than the blog hop, than make sure to check out the blogs listed at the end of this post.  I promise you won't be disappointed.

Now a bit about me and my quilts.

I made my first quilt in anticipation of my first baby (who is now double digits).  It was inspired from the only quilts I had ever seen: crazywork squares made of scraps with all the edges embroidered with a herringbone stitch.

First Quilt
My style has changed, but my favourite quilts are still made of scraps.  I love mixing a wide variety of fabrics: modern, traditional, batiks, 1930s repros... like in this plus quilt:

Having had to part with the quilt above, I just had to make another one using the same colour scheme which can be loosely defined as "anything goes bright with anything goes low volume".  I finished this top at MMQG's last Sew-In - always a highlight of my month.

Unless I am at the Sew-In, this is where the magic happens.  Full disclosure: It never is this clean, unless it's picture day, or my mom has just been here...

And speaking of my mom, I learned to sew from her, thanks to my desire to follow the "preppy" fashion that was all the rage in the era of the Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink.  Here I am, sporting my first hand made plaid pants.  I thought I looked so sharp!  You can't see it on the blurry picture, but rest assured that the pattern lines up at the seams.  To this day, it is the first thing I look at when buying clothes with stripes.

Welcome to the 80s...

I still dabble in garment making from time to time, but this is what I prefer to make:

Aside from quilting, my idea of fun times includes long distance running.  As I get close to a big race and training distances get longer, quilting takes the backstage and blog posts get more sparse.  Having just ran a full marathon two days ago Sunday (that's 42.2 km or 26.2 miles) I am nursing sore quads and tight hips and am not quite back in the swing of quilting things.  I have a long list of quilty things to do waiting for me when I find my way down the stairs to by sewing space.

EDITED TO ADD:  Oh my, oh my!  Did I forget to include a giveaway?  Truth be told, I have nothing prepared, so I will go home tonight and prepare a nice scrap bag with approximately 15-20 pieces all bigger than a charm square in my current favourite combo: half of them low-volume, and half of them random brights.  The giveaway is open until Wednesday, May 15th.

Apologies for the earlier note that said open until Wednesday the 15th.
I really meant Wednesday the 13th.

It's been really nice getting to know my guild mates a bit better through this blog hop.  There is a lot of talent and inspiration in Maritime Modern Quilt Guild and I am glad to be a part of it.  Be sure to check Aimee's blog tomorrow, and visit the other ones you may have missed. 

Monday, May 4 - Maritime Modern Quilt Guild 
Tuesday, May 5 - Jenn @ A Quarter Inch from the Edge
Wednesday, May 6 - Adrienne @ Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
Thursday, May 7 - Tracy @ Quilting on the Dark Side
Friday, May 8 - Anja @ Anja Quilts
Saturday, May 9 - Val @ Purple Boots and Pigtails
Sunday, May 10 -  Linda @ Scrapmaster
Monday, May 11 - Jeanette @ Stamp Stitch Create
Tuesday, May 12 - Dominique @ The Running Thimble
Wednesday, May 13 - Aimee @ Candy Coated Quilts

Monday, 4 May 2015

Bee Blocks and an Upcoming Blog Hop

Well, hello!  It's been a while...

There has not been much sewing going on in the last couple months and I barely managed to get a quilt top assembled and a few bee blocks.  Here are my March blocks, Japanese x and + blocks from this tutorial.

Japanese X and + Blocks

The requirement was to make two blocks but since I was almost a month late, I thought I should throw in a couple extras.  Truth be told, I used mostly unloved fabrics for the upper left block - it was meant to be a test block.  But since I mistakenly used a much loved AMH print, so I could not just let it go to waste, now, could I?

And here is the April block.  It's a simple herringbone block, made from this tutorial. When I saw the palette of greens, teals and deep pinks, I did not think choosing fabric was going to be an issue, but it turned out to be quite the challenge.  Looks like I need to shop for fabric!  Anyhoo, I managed to figure something out, but a right after I finished it, I realized the Queen Bee really does not like batiks... Hmmmm  I guess a little more work is needed!

Herringbone Block

As for the finished quilt top... I will save it for a future post, maybe when the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild's blog hop stops right here on May 12!  In the meantime, I encourage you to visit some of my wonderful guild mates' blogs and see what the Maritime Modern Quilters are all about!

Monday, May 4 - Maritime Modern Quilt Guild 
Tuesday, May 5 - Jenn @ A Quarter Inch from the Edge
Wednesday, May 6 - Adrienne @ Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
Thursday, May 7 - Tracy @ Quilting on the Dark Side
Friday, May 8 - Anja @ Anja Quilts
Saturday, May 9 - Val @ Purple Boots and Pigtails
Sunday, May 10 -  Linda @ Scrapmaster
Monday, May 11 - Jeanette @ Stamp Stitch Create
Tuesday, May 12 - Dominique @ The Running Thimble
Wednesday, May 13 - Aimee @ Candy Coated Quilts

Have fun checking them out and perhaps discovering new blogs that will inspire you.