Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Fun!

It seems like it's been forever since I spent much time in the studio. I swear, there's likely a layer of dust on my machine!

Most years I crank out a number of quilt-y Christmas presents and this year is no exception. Though I only managed two projects, they were sizable!

Both sets of parents got new tree skirts! For the Z's, I used the block tutorial over at House of A la Mode as suggested by Stitched in Color. The fabrics are a wide selection of reds, greens, and golds. You'd think it would have made a dent in the Christmas stash, but there's still way too much in that pile!


It's already headed home to Cape Breton and found it's place under the tree!

For the T''s, I needed a replacement for the horrendous dusty rose and ivory poinsettia creation that's been under the tree for some time. I take full responsibility for it's creation, but it had to go! Before you ask, I will NOT be posting a pic of that treasure!
Their tree features a lot of gold and red, so this seemed a good colour combo. And a reason to use more Holiday Flourish by Robert Kaufman. Q-D and I are particularly big fans of this fabric line. It'll be all I can do not to add more to the stash in the Boxing Day sale temptation!

Once again, I didn't manage to make one for our household. I'm calling these my prototypes... maybe next year! It took me forever to find the right stocking pattern for Mr. Z and I!
And with most of the holiday madness over, there may actually be time for some quilting/sewing before heading back to work!

Merry Christmas all!


Friday, December 07, 2012

More the fun with the Squares!

Ah, bee shenanigans! Over a year ago, at our first Bee retreat, the Squares and I took on our second  Q-Squared Challenge. Each of us contributed a fat quarter of our (secret) chosen fabric.

Here's where we begin! We could use one neutral and 3 additional fabrics... there was a size limit, but I can't remember what it was any more! This past week-end was the reveal (finally)!

Q-A made this little gem. The plaid fabric inspired her to make a basket weave. It's even got appliqué flowers!

Q-B went really outside the box and made this bag. It's not exactly a quilt, but she felt like making it and she used the fabric!

Q-D went wild and broke some dishes!

And as for me...  I did some paper piecing. Flying geese in a circle! And surprise, surprise, I found the tutorial on-line at the The Sometimes Crafter. I really went crazy with the quilting and echo quilted the living daylights out of it. I know this isn't my most stunning quilt, but to me, there's something freeing about just making something for the sake of making it. It doesn't have a purpose or a destination... it's a wander of a little quilt.

Another challenge done! 2013 will mean the start of a new one - a block exchange inspired by Block Party - The Modern Quilting Bee I'm up first so I better get to choosing some fabric and a block for my sewing elves, I mean, the Squares to get working on in January! No doubt you'll hear more about it soon! 


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Enter to learn...

And they're done! And in place for some special visitors to our school last week. As dorky as it sounds, it makes me smile to see my quilts hanging up there when I walk by! The general consensus was for two quilts... here's the view as you enter the school.

 And as you depart....

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lazy Sunday...

All this week, I kept hoping that my little dream for this Sunday would come true - a day to myself to do as I pleased! I turned down a few things and made sure that little block on my iPhone calendar stayed blissfully empty! Time to sew! 

It all began with some green and gold strips... and a great reference book, Word Play Quilts by Tonya Ricucci. I bought this one a while back and have made a few projects. The improvisational method for making letters really makes me feel creative... I'm not just following a pattern, I'm creating something.

 Here's today's masterpiece... so far!

I know the colours are a little jarring, but it's a quilt with a purpose. It expresses my school's motto... and, of course, is made in our school colours.
 I just have to figure out if it's going to become one double-sided quilt or two separate pieces. Must consult the powers that be!


Since this project is stalled for the moment, I decided to work on something that was pure fun!

For the first time, I've combined my quilting with a little Yudu action. I made some cool t-shirts with Mr. Nephew & Miss Niece a couple weeks ago. I was so pleased with the print that I made a couple extras on white Kona... just in case.

Custom t-shirts - colour combos picked by the kiddies

 One of those screen print orphans turned into this pillow. I dove into my stash and pulled some funky lime, yellow, grey & black printed fabric (and a dash of Kona solids, of course!) I did a kind of wonky log cabin block to make a 14 1/2 inch square. I thought I might just leave it unquilted, but I was overtaken by an urge to push my limits in the free motion department. So I quilted each fabric with a different (and new to me) pattern... some worked better than others, but it was fun! And I only broke 2 needles. I ended up finishing it with a top stitch needle as that was all I had left in the tool box. Guess I'll be stopping in a my local fabric shop tomorrow!

There`s still a few hours before bed and, if I don`t waste too much time preparing and eating supper, I might just get in some more sewing. Christmas projects await!

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Baby steps...

It's been a while since my last post, but I have been sewing! It's just that a few of these little gems weren't for public consumption yet! I don't for a minute suppose that babies are reading my blog, but their parents might be!

 This one's for the brand new grand-baby of my husband's best fishing pal. It's based on a a photo from Flickr that I pinned a while back. I was pretty pleased with the fact that I just made it from a pic... very Q-D of me! It's made from scraps (all blues and whites) for a sweet little boy just three weeks old. It's quilted simply with the one-direction wiggly lines I've been partial to lately.

This one's for my newest little cousin (technically my second cousin). It's not your traditional baby quilt - not that I make a lot of those anyway! But these are the colours of his nursery and just what his mama wanted!I found the perfect pattern over at Sew4Home and decided to make it just like the tutorial - right down to the fabrics. So much fun sourcing them on-line and getting that fat envelope in the mailbox!

The quilting on this one is a total departure! I worked from the back, following the dark grey line. It looks really cool, and it's something I've never done before. Little Sammy will probably get a little something extra with his new quilty- some custom onesies made on my Yudu. Still haven't made a project that really combines quilting and screen printing, but I'm pretty sure I'll come up with one soon.
Though I haven't met him yet (his welcome party is tomorrow), I'm pretty sure he is a catch!

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Utilitarian happiness...

Alas, back to school means not so much time and energy for quilting... so I've pulled these little gems out of the vault.

I know, I know... it's not a masterpiece and it's more than a little fifties' housewife to show off your ironing board, but every time I use it - even when it's not quilting related! - it makes me smile a little. Some days I just need that.

I made it from an on-line tutorial that I've since deleted from my Pinterest boards (foolish tidying up), but this one from Sweet Verbena is very similar. And it just happens to use Amy Butler fabric as well!

On the topic of everyday sewn objects that make me smile whenever I use them....

 These little creations are from last summer, Sadly, I have no tutorial to link to share. The purse is an adaptation of a pattern from a magazine and the matching zipper pouch is my own creation. If one can call something as simple as that a creation!

I'm looking forward to another Q-Squared session tomorrow... I love a day of sewing with the Squares!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Meet the Squares!

Confession time - I belong to a quilt bee. Two, actually. In my mind, the phrase quilting bee conjures up images of little old ladies gathered around a quilt frame stitching and sipping tea.

That is not what my bee looks like.

My bee, Q-Squared, is made up of four Girl Guide friends (and yes, adults are Girl Guides too!) who love to quilt. Guiding brought us together and the quilting is an off shoot - one of those things that started as "Hey, we should get together sometime and..."

So... meet the Squares.

There's Q-A. She loathes paper piecing and loves a simple pattern that comes together quickly. She's the queen when it comes to knowing when our local shops have a sale on and you can bet she didn't pay full price for that thread she's using! She's also very diligent about working through her UFO list - something I've tried to emulate! During this quilt therapy session, she was working on a jelly roll pattern to use her Girl Scout fabric purchased while back. Check out the GSUSA fabrics - these Canadian Girl Guides are very jealous!

Then there's Q-B. She's the beginner of the group - calls herself a "learner." She's hasn't picked a particular style and isn't afraid to throw herself into a complicated pattern if she falls in love with it. She's been plugging away every since her first "lesson" with me and I swear, there isn't a person in her family that hasn't gotten a quilt! She also sews clothes... which leaves me in awe. And we're not just talking p.j. pants here; she sews skirts and blazers and bathing suits and - you get the idea! This week-end's project is an autograph quilt from Heritage Explosion 2011 - our province's 100th anniversary Girl Guide camp.

And then there's Q-D. She's our engineer. If there's no instructions to be found for something you found on Pinterest, Q-D can probably come up with a plan. She's more of a piecer than a quilter, but we're keeping her anyway. I've never actually seen her fabric stash, but I suspect it may actually fill her home, or at least a room. This week-end's project saw her at the laptop more often than the sewing machine. I can't fully explain it, but her freeform blocks had an accompanying Excel spreadsheet! 

Our Quilt Therapy sessions happen once a month if we can get our schedules to agree. Sometimes we can't all make it, but it's always fun. We catch up on work dramas, Girl Guide stuff, and consult on whatever projects we have on the go.  And there's usually a fair bit of show and share of completed masterpieces - sometimes it happens more than once when we just can't wait for everyone to be here! Even though two of the Squares drive an hour to get to the big city, I think they'd say it's worth it.

So if my living room/dining room/kitchen contains four laughing women, two tables, four sewing machines, an ironing board, a cutting mat, at least two rotary cutters, a variety of rulers, and a wack of fabric, Q-Squared
is to blame!

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, September 01, 2012

Summer's End...

It's almost time... those pesky leaves are starting to turn orange-y red and the back to school sales are on. As much as I love a new package of coloured pencils, it's tough to switch into work mode after the summer off. On the glass half full side of things, it also means back to my quilt guild and more consistent gatherings of the two bee's that I belong to. Though there may be less time for quilting, there's no shortage of inspiration!

I've been working away on finishing up some project while the summer's still here!

I've posted this one before, but now it's all quilted. Happily, I found one of the fabrics at my local fabric store, so the back matches the top. I'm really pleased with the quilting... my flowers often turn           out more like amoebas than daisies! It doesn't have a home or a purpose, but that's fine by me!

The inspiration for this version of the wonky log cabin came from Block Party--The Modern Quilting Bee: The Journey of 12 Women, 1 Blog, & 12 Improvisational Projects a book by Alissa Carlton & Kristen Lejnieks. In keeping with my resolution, I rode the waiting list at the library for months... such a cool book! I just love the colours of this one! If they seem familiar, it's because it's made from the scraps of a recent baby quilt. Often when I'm making a gift for someone, I fall so in love with fabrics and colours that I don't want to part with it... terribly selfish! Making something else from the scraps or leftover blocks eases that a bit!

Speaking of gifts, I finally sent two special quilts on to their new homes... for two special sisters who camp with my family each summer. I covertly pumped them for info on their favourite colours last summer and worked on these over the fall. They were actually finished last winter (as you can tell from the pics), they just didn't make it there.

Miss E's quilt is in teal and Miss O's is in purple and pink, just as they described their favs. I intentionally chose fabrics that were not kiddy or girl-y. I like the idea that the fabric will age gracefully with them... in ways that ballerinas or cartoon-y flowers just can't. If you look closely, you might see a little secret that I worked in. Each quilt has one block from the other... so each sister always has a piece of the other with them. I wonder when they'll notice?

You might see these colours and blocks again... I misjudged the number of blocks needed and have a pile of orphans left... possibly enough for another (large like these) twin!

Thanks for reading... more to come soon!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Back in action!

No resolutions about fabric purchasing!
Got away on some vacations - a family trip to Boston and upstate New York and a Girl Guide adventure to Oregon (of all places!) Naturally, since I don't do much in the way of hand-stitching, not a lot of quilting happened. I dropped in to a few quilt shops in New England. Not to mention four different Marden's while in Maine. If you've never been to a Marden's, nothing I say can really prepare you. They're pretty sketchy looking, but there are fabric deals to be had for those unafraid to navigate through the other departments. On my first trip in March 2012, I found Amy Butler fabrics for 5$ a metre! Unheard of!

There's been a lot of sewing this week though... I finished up a little something I've been working on for a new member of our family. He's been here for a couple months, but I wanted his first quilt-y to be just right! This one makes me particularly happy - I don't know if it's the colour combination (I love teal & orange!) or the fact that I made it without any instructions from something I pinned - but it's gonna be a tough one to send to it's new home. I quilted it a little differently for me and did some wiggly vertical lines - inspired by  a quilt on Jeni Baker's Flickr stream. 

I've also been pinning a lot of items with rainbow colour pathways since the spring. I fell in love with this one over at Hooked on Needles and just had to make it... no particular reason. Often the quilts I most enjoy creating are just because. Every one of those fabrics is unique and all came from my scrap stash. It's been in progress for a while, but I quilted like a maniac this week and finished it up.

There's just one week left in my official summer... wonder what I'll create this week?

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

From the stash

This week saw me working from my fabric stash and studiously avoiding a trip to my local fabric store! Before you ask... no, I haven't added another resolution for 2012. I'm just anticipating a fair bit of fabric being purchased next week on a road trip!

I made some placemats from a collection of fat quarters... Pumpkin & Spice by Moda. I loved them when I bought them, but they're not the usual colours I work with. They hung out in my stash, as impulse purchases often do!

I whipped these up from a tutorial over at Pink Penguin... I can see me making more for gifts or when my quilt guild sends out it's annual call for holiday placemats for Meals on Wheels. I kept the quilting simple... straight(ish) lines alternating between 1/4 and a 1/2 apart.

The next project was also made from a fat quarter collection... one bought by my mom... hence, the colours that also aren't typical for me. It's Haru Kaze from In the Beginning - a pink and pastel-y asian print collection.

The pattern's from Karla Alexander's book Colour Shuffle... it's a cut and shuffle technqiue that makes for one of a kind blocks. Just had to throw in some Kona solids to stretch out those fat quarters. I'm not sure yet how to quilt... gotta branch out from straight quilting on the diagonal.

With any luck, I'll have some fabric purchases to report on next time!

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, July 08, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

The date and title of this post don't seem to go together, do they? At the dawn of 2012, some six months ago, I made two New Year's resolutions. Firstly, to buy no quilting magazines or books for a year. No, I am not single-handedly trying to bring down the publishing industry. Let me give you a visual on this...

Can you see why?
Can you see why now?

The personal library is pretty big... not to mention that I have access to the  libraries of the quilters in my Bee(s). I'd also been finding a lot of great inspiration on-line as well. Oh,Pinterest! but that's a resolution for 2013! 

I'm at the halfway point of this resolution and it hasn't been so bad. I waver slightly whenever I see an issue of Quilts and More, but making things from my Pinterest boards and completing projects from my UFO list (more about that another time!) has been really satisfying.

One of the projects I've made in 2012  - Selvage Spools -Inspiration from Tallgrass Prairie Studios
And, though I sometimes have to wait a while, my local library provides me with new, free, quilt-y books. Even if I do have to give them back three weeks later!

Secondly, I've wanted to start a blog... I've been reading a lot of them. There are so many quilters and crafters making cool stuff. I make cool stuff... why shouldn't I blog about it? I can be all artsy about it and say I want to explain my process. I guess that's a part of it.

Resolution #1 - Well underway!
Resolution #2 - You're reading it!