Wednesday, December 30, 2015

ALYOF December Finish!

It was a cold and blustery day. -19 degrees Celsius with windchill to be exact. But the sun was shining and there was fresh snow on the ground. Time for a quilty photo shoot! And time to show off some progress on my December goal for ALYOF!
That goal was to get as much done on this quilt as possible.  I was #55 on the Goal Setting Party at the beginning of the month.
This Christmas-y flimsy finish makes me smile. I hoped to have the same kind of miracle as with my November ALYOF goal, alas, in this month of holiday chaos, it just didn't happen. I am pleased to say that I already have backing fabric and the MMQG January Sew In beckons! It'll definitely be done for Christmas 2016.
You can read a little more about the construction of this lovely here. The pattern is a Cluck Cluck Sew tutorial called  Squares and Strips.
So much Cotton + Steel goodness here. I love those 16 patch blocks. They're more work than the others, but they're just so danged scrap happy. I'm sure my junior high pal Joel didn't quite have this kind of Scrappy Happiness in mind when he made his album. But he should have.

I was sad to learn that 2015 will be the final year of ALYOF. It just goes to show that if you see a linky/challenge/QAL that speaks to you, you should jump on it with both feet. You just never know when it will end. Thank you so much to Fiber of All Sorts and Bittersweet Designs for organizing it for three years. I am, of course, linking up with the final Finishes Party over at Fiber of All Sorts. And since it's Wednesday, I'm also linking up with the Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts.


P.S. Blooper! Windy days are NOT optimal for photo shoots!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Best of 2015!

Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs (you might know her from the Mystery Quilt series she's done the past two years) is hosting a fun end of year link up - Best of 2015.
The link-up is designed to showcase a blogger's posts with the most views or comments, best tutorials or finishes, or even one's just plain favourites. Here's my Top Five Countdown!

#5. Meet Maritime Modern Blog Hop
Why a blog hop post? Well, this one was my brainchild and it allowed me to get to know some of my Maritime Modern Quilt Guild pals even better! If you're new to my blog, it's also a good post to get to know me a little better.

#4. Good Old Hockey Game
Even though I completed this quilt in 2014, I didn't manage to blog about it until July. To date, this is my blog post with the highest number of views... for all time! It was such fun to have my nephew, J-Boy, helping me with this quilty photo shoot.

#3. For the Love of Sewing
This finish represents an entire year of new skills and pushing my limits - appliqué, tiny pieces, a tonne of new FMQ patterns, and my first QAYG quilt. It's a doozy! My fingers are crossed that this year will see the Skill Builder 2015 BOM revived and that I'll have a Technicolor Galaxy finish to show off!

#2. ALYOF - September
Participating in A Lovely Year of Finishes has been a great motivator for me this year. I've set and achieved goals in all 12 months (this month's post is yet to come). If there's 2016 edition, I'm probably in!

And in the top position...
#1. Throwback Thursday
One of my quilty goals for this year was to start my own link-up. Up until now, it's been a private goal, but there's no harm in sharing it now. ☺ I made that goal a reality back in August, when I started Throwback Thursday - a celebration of quilts from our dark quilty pasts! It's been fun to revisit projects from my days before blogging. Perhaps you'll even join me for {Volume 6} on Thursday, January 7th.

How about you? If you're a regular reader, I'd love to hear about a post you enjoyed that didn't make my Top Five! And if you're a blogger, do you have a Top Five posts of 2015? Why not collect them up and link-up with Best of 2015 @ Meadow Mist Designs?
Best of 2015 Linky Party


Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday Finish - Three of Nine!

Dasher, Dancer, and Rudolph! The rest of the gang will have to wait for another year! 
I love the way these Christmas pillows look on the couch. DT seems to prefer that they decorate the living room floor. But that's sort of why I made them to begin with! You can read more about the making of this pillow here.
I kept the quilting simple. It lets the reindeer be the focus (and was it was quick to do!) Thanks to the expert assistance of Q-B, I managed to insert this zipper. I knew that an envelope back wouldn't work for this unusually shaped pillow.
I wanted to use the green C+S print on the back, but there just wasn't enough. Time for a pieced back!
This lovely little project was an intro to next year's focus.
All the fabrics came from my stash. Many of them, like the brown print on the back, have been hoarded for some time. Time to use those lovelies instead of letting them languish! Stay tuned... I've made my Declaration. The Manifesto is coming soon! Perhaps you want to start drafting your own! ☺


P.S. I'm trying something new today and linking up with Main Crush Mondays @ Cooking Up Quilts!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunday Stash - The Declaration.

This is it.
My last fabric purchase of 2015. I've even scoped out the Christmas prints at my LQS and decided that if they put them on 50% off, there's nothing I want. But don't despair. We'll have a good look at the fabric eye candy before coming to the The Declaration!
I know you're looking at this pic and thinking, "But she already HAS that fabric!" Not untrue. But I've used it up! Seriously though, the C+S Christmas quilt top is now finished (more on that later in the week) and I'm going to need backing. At 8.50$, it was worth the 1 hour drive to Avonport Discount Fabrics!

And then things got a little more spontaneous. There's a hunk of Kona Peridot for the continuing saga of Quilting Protection Program Project #1. And two ultra cute animal novelty prints. I didn't even look at much of the fabric. I came with a misson - C+S Twinkle and Peridot. Mission achieved.
Those critters got even better when I saw the selvage. I opted not to buy more just to get a repeat of these hedgies. I would like to make an all hedgehog quilt. You know, in my spare time. I likely have enough in the stash.
And now, here it is. The Declaration.

I hereby declare 2016...

Do I have the authority to do this? Who cares?! I'm doing it anyway! Very soon, I'll be drafting my Year of The Stash Manifesto. Yup. A Manifesto. The capital letters are warranted here. And you know what, you're welcome to come along for the ride.

I'm linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash. Get ready, Sparkles. There's gonna be a lot more Sunday (Using My) Stash posts in 2016.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday Finish - The Evolution of a Bib

There's a finish this Friday, though perhaps not the one you expected! Behold the holiday mega bib!
As with most of my projects, there's a story here. It all begins with some lovely laminated cotton bibs that DT received from Q-D before they were even born. There's a story to the Kaffe Fassett fabric she used, but she can tell it when she starts her blog. ☺

In time, even the larger of the bibs was too short for BT. It had to be long enough to tuck into the waist strap of the highchair. Otherwise, he'd flip it up and smear the back of the bib and his shirt with food. Ain't nobody got time for that.

But somehow BT (and often GT... she's very dextrous) would still flip those bibs. Usually at the same point in the meal when they decide hair styling with hummus is a fine plan and their parents are reaching the frustration tipping point. Enter the Velcro back strap.

While very effective as a flip deterrent, the strap is also a bit... well, scratchy. And it leaves marks that horrify the grandparents. Not to mention that DT now loves to jam his giant hands down the sides of his highchair to simultaneously smear his shirt and pants with food and stow something to eat later. Time for the next version. Hopefully, the final stage of the bib evolution. The utopia of bibs. The Mega Bib!
As per usual, I broke out the Kona for the backing . It's pretty fitting that's Kona Tomato given that DT could consume their weight in tomato and tomato sauce on any given day.
So how did I do it, you ask? I started by making a paper pattern based off of the Cat in the Hat bib. Then I add side flaps and tested it by wrapping it around a twin or two. The test showed me that the sides needed to be straighter. On to a fabric template...
Paper is tricky to wrap around a wriggly 1 year old, so I went with a fabric template before making any bibs. This stage told me that even though I wanted the flaps to meet in the back with velcro, it wasn't really possible. Straps were still needed to bridge the gap.
On to cutting out the Christmas themed cotton laminate. Oh wait. Nobody makes that. Crap. Guess I'll have to add this print from my stash...
 To this expensive (13$ a metre) product, apply a medium hot iron...

 And presto! Christmas laminated cotton!
So many tricky things about working with laminate, like not being able to pin your pattern in place. So I reached for my trusty painters tape. Honestly, someone should make me the quilting spokesmodel for painters tape. Imagine the swag.
For those of you questioning black Christmas bibs, here's the thing. I'm sewing my stash and needed a fair bit of yardage to make these, cutting down my selection dramatically. And it's apparently been in my stash for 2 years. I have documentation. Time to use it or lose it. And it has the added bonus of being able to hide tomato sauce stains (please refer to my earlier statement re: DT's undying tomato love).
The straps aren't made from laminate. Where they're on the back, it didn't seem necessary. And I really didn't want to sew laminate right sides together and turn it right side out. Tedious. Aggravating. Not at all required.  My Wonderclips came in handy again... not pins in my laminate!
Here's a close up of the straps, made this wide because I knew I had 2 inch black Velcro in the notions bin. How's that for planning ahead? About the only thing I didn't really count on was sewing squared off wide straps to a curved area of the bib. But it works... with only a little bunching!
Who knew a twin thwarting bib would be so essential? Or that a bib could be so danged complicated?! In any case, DT can now chow down on their Christmas dinner without wearing it. I am a sewing mama rockstar... even if I do say so myself. And to share my prowess with the world, I'm linking up with TGIFF @ Quilt Matters and with Finish Up Friday @ Crazy Mom quilts. With any luck, it'll be a good nap day and I'll finish that Christmas quilt top too!


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

WIP Wednesday - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... least on my design wall. This week I went all bonkers and started two new projects - one large, one small. Warning... this post turned into a Christmas-y behemoth! ☺

Once I finally decided on what to make with my Naughty or Nice Bundle from Pile O Fabric and set my ALYOF goal for December, I couldn't stop working on it!
I got a little carried away! Cutting happened on Saturday and sewing was underway on Sunday. The hardest part was the element of pre-cuts. When Allison @ Cluck Cluck Sew says there's very little waste, she means it. It also means that you're down to the last ¼ inch on some of those FQs, especially if you're a pre-washer like yours truly. I'd not normally leave a frayed edge, but this time... well, you gotta do what you gotta do!
These square in a square blocks came together nicely. Simple but effective!
Next up, the strip blocks. To get that planned scrappy look, I turned my trusty Rubbermaid box. It's great for holding current scraps or for mixing up squares or strips. Just pull two out and sew 'em... unless they look horrid together. Can't have that.
I must have been a little tired (imagine?!) while cutting. I noticed more than one oddball piece. ½ an inch too long, you say? Yup.
 And lickity split, a stack of strip blocks. Did I mention this is coming together quickly?
I took a page from Dominique @ The Running Thimble's book for these miscuts. In her recent scrappy Christmas quilt, she pieced some of her squares so as not to waste fabric. Mine was to cover some inattention while cutting. Either way, in a scrappy quilt, no one's going to notice!
Then on to the most labour intensive blocks, the 16 patches. This pile of squares makes me so very happy!

I even had to pull the same trick to get one more 16 patch block... I didn't want to repeat any fabric squares! Who pieces a 2½ inch square anyway? Me, apparently.
 In the end, I had eight 16 patch blocks and I love 'em.
Squee! With the other 41 blocks being 8½ inch squares, I'll ready to lay this baby out. Only my design wall is a little small...#firstworldstudioproblems

As for the small project, it's all thanks to BT's profound love of pillows. He drags them all around the living room and flops on them. I figured he needed another Christmas one. You know, because he knows it's almost Christmas. So off to the stash I went for a fabric pull!
Some Sun Print Bike Path in Brown, Kona Latte, C+S XOXO in Picnic Gold, C+S Sprinkle in Black Cat, and C+S  Dottie in Cotton Candy Gold. Look at me using my stash! And there's that Latte from this week's Sunday Stash. I know the suspense was killing you diehards.

Just like with the Dog Gone Cute blocks, I reached for my trusty masking tape to label all those little bits. Honestly, the extra effort pays off in the end!

I ♥ chain piecing.
Lately, I've been hoarding scraps. Honestly, I think whatever ScrapMaster has is contagious. It seems like every project I work on breed another one in scraps. But I'm drawing the line at these. I will not make them into HSTs. I will not.
And here they are!  Some lovely little reindeer!
The  pattern is courtesy of the lovely and talented Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts. She shared it with us Dog Gone Cute Blog Hoppers as a thank you, but if you'd like your own copy, pop out and pick up the current Quiltmaker 100 Quilt Blocks magazine. Perhaps you'll make all nine of Santa's reindeer. I'm stopping at 3... for now.

What a week! If I keep up this level of productivity, I might even have a finish for Friday! I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts, as well as WIP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced. Hope you took a little time away from the Christmas preparations to sew a little something too!