Monday, November 25, 2013

My first real QAL!

More new things! Normally, I manage to stumble onto Quilt Alongs (QAL) once they're over and done. It doesn't make the tutorials or projects any less valuable from a blog perspective, but the Along portion always seemed like fun to me. It's kind of cool to think of other quilters out there in the world working along on the same thing you are.

I'm very excited to be quilting along with....
Canoe Ridge CreationsShe's helping us all to make a giant version of her Starburst mini quilt. Last Monday, the yardage requirements were given and yesterday I dashed off to Atlantic Fabrics to pick up some dreamy Konas. I've been wanting to make a project with some of the new colours released this fall - this one seems perfect. Each Monday, another step will be revealed and by December 16th, we'll be binding!

For you Kona addicts out there marking your scorecards (or colour cards!), that's Coal, Punch, Wasabi, Capri, and Persimmon (from left to right). I also chose Capri for this week's strip exchange at Mariner's Quilt Guild ... I can hardly wait to come home with 21 strips of surprise Kona love!

Today's post is going to be the cutting directions... there's nothing up yet. I'm on the early edge of North America time-wise. Guess I'll just have to be patient!

Are you thinking of Quilt Along too? It's not too late... it's barely started!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Finish - Into every life...

...a little rain must fall. Without it, no rainbows!
With all my productiveness in recent months, I didn't have a lot of projects hanging around. However, these little improv pieces were stumping me. It all started with these random colour blocks I made...
They're the product of one of those studio afternoons when I felt like sewing, but they didn't seem to want to become anything. They hung around the orphan shelf. One day, they jumped on the design wall. Once they were on there, they cried out for some white to make them pop. White makes everything more crisp!
Eight blocks just wouldn't cut it, so I made the little grey block in the lower right hand corner. You can't have a rainbow without some grey skies, right? More white... I used a variety of white tone on tones that I had kicking around, as well as some Kona White. No surprise there.
Then it sat. I was stumped on how to quilt it. Q-D suggested pebble quilting it, but I just wasn't feeling it. The coloured sections are large and I didn't want them to go un-quilted. I have a board on Pinterest for just this sort of conundrum. In the end, I decided to take a little inspiration from my backing - another color pathway of Raindrops by Timeless Treasures. The tape is there to keep my raindrops rolling down the window/quilt more or less vertically.
Sometimes you just have to choose a pattern that allows for irregularities. My free motion quilting isn't perfect, but who says a raindrop has to have a particular shape?
I opted to bind it in white so as not to distract from the rainbow pops of colour or the quilting. Sometimes the binding isn't a design statement... it's just a way to finish those edges!
That raindrop backing....seemed fitting for this one!
Don't you just love a rainbow?


Monday, November 18, 2013

Memories of week-end past...

Sometimes I wake up on Monday morning and can't believe the week-end is really over? What? Two days? That's it? I managed to cram a fair bit into this past week-end, while still getting some of the quiet, down time I need to re-charge for the onslaught of another week of teaching the kiddos.

I got a running start on Saturday with a trip to the farmer's market, a solid hour and a half of Miss K's (of Miss K's Dare fame!) b-ball, then I was off to the main event - a Stitch n' Bitch session with Adrienne from Chezzetcook Modern Quilts.

You know the best part about days like this? Learning stuff! In relatively short time we were together, I learned all about Stash Bee (which I've decided to put off for another year), Bloglovin' (which I've recently signed up for and claimed my blog on), how to machine sew a binding (haven't done that in forever!) and likely a few other things. I forget what things I taught Ade other than Frixion pens! We talked a lot about the upcoming first meeting of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild... just think how much we'll learn once we get a whole bunch of MQs in a room!
Oh yeah, and we sewed stuff!

One tricky bit about sewing off site is figuring out what to bring...
The pile just kept growing and growing. In the end, I brought a three small projects as well as my blocks received to date for ModQImprov Canada. Surprisingly, I managed to fit it all in one easy to carry bag. Life Tetris! Who says video games don't give you real life skills? The main project of the day was quilting Ms. C's girlie baby quilt. Dominique over at The Running Thimble asked a fine question on my last post about this quilt when I was seeking some direction on the quilting. She asked what I most wanted to highlight (I've paraphrased a bit here!). I opted to emphasize the asymetrical squares created by the placement of the HSTs.
I quilted it in a pale pink to match the Kona Pearl Pink. I really should make a New Year's Resolution about being more bold with my thread choices!
Then on to the binding... I really wanted to finish this piece, but wasn't in the mood for hand sewing. Enter machine binding! I used to do this back when I first started quilting, but stopped because I just didn't like the results. My binding has come a long way since those days, so I thought I'd give it another shot. The Wonderclips (again, I should be a spokesmodel!) helped a lot, but catching the binding on the back whilst sewing on the front didn't work out so well for me. I had to re-visit quite a few sections... more reason to be matchy matchy with one's thread! In the end, I'm pleased with the result, but I don't know that I'll be abandoning my hand stitched bindings any time soon.
I like sewing at Ade's... her studio space is so sunny and bright. And there's all that fabric to admire. When she wasn't looking, I sneaked a few yards worth of lovely FQs into my bag. Just kidding! Breathe, Adrienne!
My next project for the day is another from the Quilting Project Protection Program. Sadly, I can't tell you too much about it, but I can show off this fun fabric I got to slice into! I can't decide which one of the Keep Calms I like best!
Of course, I had to work some solids into this project! That's Blue Jay, Cardinal, Orange, Jade Green, and Amethyst (from front to back).
Cute little taggy bits.... what will they become, you ask? Stayed tuned! If you have good eyesight, my notebook might give you the answer! ☺
I also brought along this other project from the QPPP. Sorry, once again, I can't share much about this one for a while... I can say that it's now quilted and bound. All that remains is to sign it and send it to its forever home.
There's nothing like a productive sew day to make you feel like you've made the most of your week-end! I can hardly wait for Ade and I's next Stitch n' Bitch session. We're going to take on Elizabeth's Hartman's Sewing Circle Tote... should be interesting given that Ade firmly states that she is a quilter. Not a sewist. But the pay off of this quilted bag should be enough to keep her going... I get to try Quilt As You Go (and offer moral support on the dreaded zipper)... could be an interesting day!

Make sure to check out Blogathon Canada put on by Sew Sisters - there's a lot happening this week! And I'm proud to say that my quilt-y pal is repping for the East Coast! Woo hoo, Adrienne!!!

Have a large week, everyone! ☺


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nobody puts Baby in a Corner - Part Deux!

After prepping all those HSTs for the girlie baby quilt for Ms. C, I just had to get sewing! I love a good session of chain piecing. Though I've pinned a few tutorials, I've yet to explore those wild techniques that produce 4 or 8 HSTs at time. I'm good with 2... for the moment.
Though it reads as white in these photos (and even in real life!), the Kona is the palest of pinks, Pearl Pink. There is a shocking amount of pink in my Kona stash at the moment - Pearl, Peony, and Pomegranate (thanks, Q-A!). Maybe I like pink more than I realize.
 I love snipping those little corners, don't you?
And all at once, those HSTs were done and it was time to sash... not a simple task, given the varying orientations of the blocks. I thought it was best to lay it out on the design floor. Okay, it's just the carpet in my studio, but until I make some firm decisions about the walls in my studio, it will have to do.
Here they are posing in the sunshine on the ironing board... please excuse the clutter. Sometimes, you just can't stage these things! Before you ask, yes, those are the Olympic mascots from Vancouver and yes, that's a hula girl. These things make me smile.
I'm going with the large focal print for the backing. I have lots and it looks so good in a big piece. I really hope Ms C likes this print. And of course, I had to save the stripe-y print for the binding. I only used a small amount on the actual top.... it's not one of my favs.
Ahh... time change. The bane of mothers with young children and the nemesis of amateur photographers/bloggers. Now that it's so dark so early, it's tough to get a half decent pic of my creations. Even with every light in my overly lighting designed kitchen on, this is as good as it gets this evening.
Next up, quilting! I have a few ideas, but I'd love to hear yours.

I'm planning to get to work on it this week-end at a sew day with Adrienne - the  chezzetcook modern quilts. The whirling dervish has been at it again - she's started up the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild - first of it's kind east of Montreal! I'm sure we'll be jabbering on about the upcoming inaugural meeting. We're also going to take a little break from jabbering and the sewing at some point and pop over to the Lawrencetown Sew-ciety's Quilt Show and Sale. All in all, a large day!

Hope you've got some sewing planned in your week-end - why not call up a sewin' pal and get together? Everyone loves a good stitch n' bitch! (Sorry, Mom!)


Saturday, November 02, 2013

Nobody puts Baby in a corner!

Okay, so maybe I'm starting to stretch it a bit when it comes to post names, but it seems like I'm always sewing something for babies! ☺ Even though it was a hectic week, I managed to carve out a few hours in the studio. I always feel better after some quality time with the machine/cutting mat/Kona.

I resolved the great Kona Quandary from a few days ago. I know you were worried about it, dear Reader! I went with my gut and chose...
... Pearl Pink! I like how it reads as almost white and since this isn't a quilt I'm going to be washing all the time, I'm going with the aesthetic over the practical. ☺Hopefully, Ms C won't mind.

Once I decided on the right Kona, I got down to brass tacks and figured out the pattern. My scratchings are based on a Pinterest photo and I'm no quilt-engineer like Q-D, so here's hoping it turns out something like the inspiration pic I showed you earlier this week. The guess work is all part of the fun, right?
My squares are all cut! I love cutting... sometimes I think would be fun to work in a quilt shop and make up kits! Though I suspect the novelty would wear off as quickly as it does for a first year teacher marking quizzes!

I've even got those HST squares layered and marked... can hardly wait to start sewing!

There's another baby girl on the way - this time for a co-worker, Ms. Fab. I did up a couple little gifties to tuck in with the group shower present this week. First up, my third taggie blanket! I just love those owls, but haven't had the right project to use them. These are so quick to make that I might go into production. Though I think I'd be happy just to have a few in reserve so I'm not sewing like a madwoman the night before the present has to be given!
Next up, more burp cloths from recycled t-shirts. Himself wears a lot of brown, so I had no shortage of it to back these prints. Since I had already cut into them for the HST quilt for Ms. C's little darling to be, I just kept on cutting! I've heard from a past recipient that they work really well. The recycled t-shirt material has already been washed lots, so it's likely pretty absorbent.
That's it for now... hoping for a quilt-y photoshoot while I'm on the road this week-end, but I don't think Mother Nature's going to cooperate. Didn't she get my weather request?

Thanks for reading and feel free to give your two cents (or should it be a nickel now that we've eliminated the dear little penny in these parts?)


Friday, November 01, 2013

ModQImprov Canada - November Edition

This month Queen B, SG-R, charged us with creating wonky houses. She based her request on a block tutorial found here.  The tutorial was for a Halloween house, but SG-R just wanted regular houses.

I put off working on this one for a long time. I think I was hung up on having to create something that actually looked like something. I'm not good with silly houses - think purple roofs and implausible roof lines - so this one was a stretch.

I used a Kona Lake as the background and a little Nature's Palette Fern for the door. That's for you, Q-D! I wanted the door and window to have some crisp white trim - so fiddly! The roof is my latest small scale print obsession - Rain by Timeless Treasures . To date, I have 3 of 39 colours. I expect that number to climb.

Okay. True confessions time here. I did not improv piece that tree. I wanted a tree and wanted it to not look like the dog's breakfast. So I paperpieced it from a Christmas wall hanging I made a while back. Isn't it considered improv to come up with creative solutions to challenging design questions?

In the end, it reminds me a little of the house I grew up in. Yellow house, grey roof, on a bit of a hill. If I were making it true to life, there'd be lilacs on the side of the house instead of that little pine tree!

This one doesn't have as far to go as some others, just over the bridge to Halifax!