Wednesday, March 27, 2013


It's Wednesday and I've been sewing! I should be headed off to bed by now, but I just had to share what I've been plugging away on for the past few days.

First, the WiP's!

Child's Play - no progress
Jewel Squares - no progress
Mr & Mrs Cousin's wedding quilt - borders complete, backing to be ordered
Mme S-S's retirement quilt - no progress
Miss K's birthday quilt (henceforth to be referred to as K's Dare) - first 24 blocks of 70(ish) complete!

 I don't always tend to work exactly as the pattern indicates and Miss K's Dare is no exception. I get frustrated when the pattern says to cut a certain number of strips (or pieces or whatever) and there's extra at the end. I also decided that this particular pattern could be put together MUCH more quickly using strip piecing.

It does mean I take a lot of little notes - as evidenced by my notebook. I keep one of these on my studio desk... it prevents those post-its or scraps of paper from taking a hike when I most need to remember something!
The first 24 blocks done! I guess I should probably find out just what size Miss K's bed is!

That's the great thing about simple blocks in solids... you can always make more!

I also whipped up a couple other projects this past weekend. I was trying to get in as much quilt therapy as possible before returning to work. Ugh. A co-worker bought his first home recently, so I thought a little housewarming gift might be in order. I couldn't just go buy him something manly like an extension cord, now could I?

I was inspired by a photo on Flickr, but I there's no real pattern. I pieced the blues and greens willy nilly. It was so relaxing... I should make more things this way. It really feels like you're creating something new and exciting!

And I've added another quilt to the never end pile of baby quilts. It's not that I'm obsessed with babies, I just like making little projects with fun colour pathways. I've almost worked the orange and teal out of my system (and out of my stash)... just in case you're getting tired of it!

The pattern is my own invention... playing with four patches and offset sashing. The quilting is straight line and random. I just kept turning the quilt and stitching across. When I showed it to a quilter at my guild meeting, she commented on how she'd never get her lines that straight. I had to let her in on my secret....
... masking tape! Been using it since I started! Marking quilts is just too fussy (and unpredictable) for me!

Keep on quiltin' on!


P.S. Yes, that's more Kona Ash! I think I should buy it by the bolt!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kona + Love

There are days when you schlep yourself home from your paid job, wondering how on earth you can drag yourself there another day without a massive dose of quilt therapy, knowing that the evening's tasks don't allow for any time at the machine.

It all seems hopeless.

And then you open the mailbox.

All those negative thoughts melt away as you try to decide whether to rip that squishy envelope open right there in the snow at the superbox or dash home as quickly as possible to savour it in the comfort of your living room.

These are the debates I love.

Ahhhh....The day just got so much better.

Do yourself a favour - if you can manage the splurge, join a fat quarter of the month club. You won't be sorry.


P.S. That's candy pink, bright pink, pomegranate, and rich red for those keeping track!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


The first three blocks
Late, but still on a Wednesday!

Progress has been made since my last WIP Wednesday in the category of Gotta do's...
Child's Play backing purchased, need batting

Jewel Squares (Kaffe Fassett) – blocks completed, need to sew together top

Mr & Mrs. Cousin's wedding quilt - blocks finished, ready to start sashing. It feels a little busy to me, but I'm going to tone it down with wide-ish sashing in Kona Olive.
Yes, those are my feet. I was precariously perched on the footboard!

Mme S-S's retirement quilt -having found no suitable fabric on last week's trip, I will be turning to on-line sources (likely Hawthorne Threads) and ordering this week

Miss K's birthday quilt - Fabric purchased and washed, cutting to begin this week. For those who are keeping track, those are, from bottom to top, Ash, Regal, British peri, Lilac, and Peacock. Here's the pattern: Dare-To-Be-Different

Transformer - Second full set of blocks made, but I'm not happy with the size. I like this quilt too much to leave it at an impractical size. Half the fabric is cut for the next round of blocks.

One of my bee pals sent out a great e-mail a couple week's ago. Some of ther technical quilting terms she shared are too good not to include in a W.i.P Wednesday.

HSY - Haven't Started Yet
PHD - Project Half Done
WIM - Work in Mind
WIVSP - Work in Very Slow Progress
TOAD - Trashed Object Abandoned in Disgust

And a couple related to our fabric "issues." Don't pretend like you don't have them...

SABLE - Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy
FART - Fabric Acquisition Road Trip 

Made any progress on your list?  Remember, it's a tool to keep things going smoothly, not to cripple you into things you're no excited about. If you don't love it, don't work on it!

Happy sewing!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Home sweet home!

A week away without WiFi!

At first I was hesitant, but honestly, it was lovely to have a little time away from the digital world. No texting, no blogging, no FaceBook, no Pinterest. Just skiing and hanging out... ahh... relaxation!

But now that I'm back, I've been checking out my fav bloggers, pinning like a mad woman and generally making up for lost time.

All this in preparation for what I hope will be another relaxing week of vacation, with the bulk of it spent in my studio. I did some shopping whilst I was away... I think the total sits somewhere near 26.5 yards of fabric. It wasn't all for me! Q-A, back me up here!

My purchases will mean some potential progress on some W.i.P's.

I found the four fabrics on the right to round out some previous selections for Mr. & Mrs. Cousin's wedding quilt... so overdue! It's priority number one on the list. The colours in this fabric from Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 line are tricky to match, but I think these are gonna work! I still haven't found a fabric that picks up the caramel tone in the leaf, but I'm going to get things underway this week in any case.

I also found a backing for Child's Play, a quilt top that's been hanging around since the early days. The main print in it is the same one I used in Miss K's baby quilt and she's 12 now! The age and style of the fabrics made it tough to choose a backing - they just aren't choices I would make anymore. But this one seems fun!

I also picked up a couple treat fabrics... just because I wanted them. I bought enough of the paisley to make a pair of pj pants should the spirit move me! I'm also kind of in love with the idea of striped bindings right now. Is it wrong to plan a quilt around binding ?

Here's to great week of quilting!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

More Squares

It's been a while since we managed a Saturday of sewing - sometimes life just gets so busy!

Only 3/4 of the Squares could make it on this occasion, but our other 1/4 had a good reason. Injured offspring and new grand-babies are always an acceptable excuse! Congratulations, Q-B!

Q-A came with a pile of finished quilt tops. We often do "quilt consults" at these quilt therapy sessions and this session was no exception. Sometimes you just can't see your way forward in a project and another pair of eyes (or two) helps a great deal. Most of the consults this time were of the "How do I quilt this?" variety!

This might just be one of my favs of Q-A's and not just because it has a healthy helping of Kona.  It's from a pattern in Spring 2010 Quilts and More. I recognized as the cover quilt right away! Interestingly, Ade over at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts has also made this one. I like it so much that I really don't understand why I haven't made it myself.The fabrics came from a Sew Sisters fat quarter of the month club selection and Q-A selected the purple print  and the green Kona.
Q-D is working on yet another organizational marvel, this time as a gift for a family friend. She started the day with this...
And ended it with something more like this!

I have talented friends, don't I?


Sunday, March 03, 2013

She's back!

That would be my beloved machine! I've been stalled for the past couple weeks whilst my Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 was in for repairs. I hereby decree that she shall now go for annual service to avoid unexpected quilting interruptions!

I learned a few things while she was gone. The major one being that this machine was worth the investment. When I set out to buy a machine a couple years ago, I was really looking for a machine that would take my free motion quilting to the next level. I also wanted a machine with a built-in walking foot feature. I found both of these in my current machine and they've improved my quilting/sewing a great deal!

But what I realize now is that the little features that I didn't even know I wanted are some of the things I love and miss most when I don't have them. Here are my top three:

1.  Automated thread cutter - I don't miss picking up scissors all the time or using the built in thread slicer...leaving 6 inches of thread tail! Q-A would be horrified at my reckless wastage of thread!

2. Automatic lowering of the presser foot when you start to sew - no big deal, right? But it's just so danged convenient! And keeps my hands free to position or guide fabric.

3. Mystery bit in the machine that keeps the needle from un-threading - I sew quickly. Okay, I'm a speed demon. And I am from the get-go. So having a machine with tension that's tight from the start is a huge plus. I can't say how many times I had to stop and re-thread during the past two weeks!

All that said, there is no question that you don't NEED a fancy machine to sew. I made a conscious decision to do some sewing this week. Sewing just makes me happy and I needed a little happiness. No serious quilt blocks or construction since I didn't want to worry about consistent stitching and seam allowances between the two machines.

Here's a little something for a friend's birthday. The origami bag from Amy Butler's Style Stiches book. I've made a couple of these now and the pattern is getting familiar enough to be comfortable. I also whipped up a matching lanyard from the tutorial in a previous post. I just love these fabrics! All three were purchased at a modern quilting shop in Philadelphia, Spool. I'm fairly certain that green is the first Kona solid I ever purchased - Cactus (if my colour card matching is correct!)

I'd love to open a Spool Halifax... maybe when I win the lottery!

I decided to fill the void left my my sewing machine with a little tech treat. I've wanted an iPad for so long that it's silly and himself kept telling me to just buy one. I finally did. It needed a little personality and a soft place to call home. I pinned a few cases, but this one from a tutorial over at  Fresh Lemons suited me best. It also gave me a chance to play with some fabric in the stash - Brrr! by Laurie Wishburn for Robert Kaufman. Mmm... red and aqua. Guess that would be one of those on-trend colour combinations!

Think I'll stop writing about quilting and do some!

Thanks for reading!