Monday, 13 March 2017

You Belong: A Finished Quilt

Quilters pop up in unexpected places. My two quilty friends are both former co-workers, both of whom I sort of happened across as having the same hobby. The same is true for my school board where there are quilters tucked in every corner. This group of quilters sent a finished quilt to Quilts for Pulse after the shooting in Orlando, collected, assembled and quilted by a lovely women who works at our board office. 

When the Quebec mosque shooting happened, I was shaken. How could such a terrible thing happen to a group of people as they peacefully prayed? And how could this happen in Canada, where I have always felt it was safer for people to be themselves. Naive? Probably. Definitely.

Then I saw the call for quilt blocks by the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild asking for house blocks to show the members of the mosque, especially the victims' families, that they belong in Canada. And I felt like I could do some tiny action that would help. And so I put a call out to those same ladies who contributed Pulse blocks and in less than two weeks I had 35 blocks (counting the four I had already made) and I just had to whip up 7 more and then put it all together.

Here is the end result:

An eclectic, happy village of blocks. Aren't those apartments amazing? They were all made by C at The Edgy Perfectionist. 
And then I had to finish is using my stash because of the tight timelines and it turned out I had a whole bunch of pink for some reason. I was planning to go gender neutral but then what I had was what I had and I ended up really liking it. Pink is happy and friendly. And most of it is this sweet Bari J print that is just so lovely.
Very pink. The contrast between the two pinks is big here but it doesn't look that stark in real life.
I also used up bits of leftover binding, as it went well with the scrappy front, but made sure to only choose colours that looked good with the pink backing. I like that hot pink solid in the bottom right corner of this picture.

The quilt had a label put on and was mailed to Quebec all within three weeks of the call to action by the guild. I think it made us all feel a tiny bit better but what is most important is that the recipient(s) know(s) that she or he or they BELONG here in Canada. They are part of our community and of our Canadian fabric. 

Monday, 27 February 2017

Winter Blues? Go on a Shop Hop!

Due to the cyclical nature of my job (I'm a secondary school teacher) we have a fresh start at the beginning of Semester Two when we meet all new students and, in my case, teach all new courses as well. In many ways it is a fabulous refresh but it is also exhausting, paired with downright miserable grey weather that isn't going anywhere (winter lasts soooooo long!).

Enter a shop hop/ travelling quilt exchange/ lunch with friends! C and A and I agreed on a little shop hop to check out a new bricks-and-mortar store for an online store we all knew of, Fabric Spark.

Fabric Spark was having a birthday celebration!
 Fabric Spark is a bricks-and-mortar new shop from a combination of two online stores. It was cute but it was a long drive.
Bright, open shelves and pretty modern fabrics.
We then ventured on over to Ewe Knit in their "new" location which I have not yet been to. 
Their storefront is lovely.

The inside is even more lovely!
I really enjoyed the vibe, size and selection here at Ewe Knit. I bought a few fabrics and C bought a TON of embroidery floss. 

Then we decided to pop over to The Workroom.
This is the most "downtown" of the stores and also the most expensive.
I was able to score something lovely while at The Workroom, plus C was able to sign up for an EPP class she is going to take in March.

Here was my haul from the day:
Aren't they all just super yummy? That orange and yellow were a result of C challenging me to get something that wasn't green or blue or teal. That was hard. That background Alison Glass will be the backing of my #QBtravellingquilt.
The day was super awesome, but it took way to long to blog about it. Some of these have already been cut and put into action for WIPs!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

QB Travelling Quilt

I have the privilege of having not one but two quilty friends who are always up for sewing days and shop hops. And when I suggested to them that we try a "travelling quilt" they both jumped on board! It is cost effective because we all live close together (zero postage!) and C and I have extensive stashes so we didn't need to purchase a thing (A is a buy-with-purpose quilter- I know, I don't get it either- but she ordered a beautiful bundle for hers!).

We each make the first "foundation" block and choose two words to represent our vision for the quilt. Mine are "decadent geometry" and I pulled a bunch of super saturated fabrics based on some colours in this Katy Jones limited edition print from Art Gallery Fabrics. The teal, navy and deep pink just delight me for some reason.
The fabric pull with the pattern for the foundation block.
I went with half of one of these pillow fronts from Love Quilting magazine. 
This is my favourite quilting magazine and it is, unfortunately, very expensive because it is a UK import. My hubby paid for two years subscription but I told him not to renew...I can choose if I want to buy it from the local bookstore.
The cutting was actually a bit of a pain in the butt, but I was like where it was going when I finished cutting all the templates and laying it out.
I could see it coming together.
And here is the finished result!
My foundation quilt block.
Decadent Geometry will come back to me two more times before being finished by one of the other two ladies in January 2018. We have a spreadsheet and a list of rules and I am soooooo excited to give this a try. It pushes us all out of our comfort zones in the best way!

I'm sure you'll see peeks into  #QBtravellingquilt as I work on the other two. I wonder what we will all end up with in January!!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

A Matter of Size

I have had this notion in my head that I would put together slabs from my extensive scraps and use my 10'x10" ruler to cut them into blocks. It is one of those "one day" projects.

Then this morning my youngest, a newly minted three-year-old, wanted to "play fabric" which means taking out my scrap bins and laying out the bits of fabric in ways she thinks are pretty. I started pulling orange scraps and soon had this in front of me:
Very improv fabric bits
Well, then I had to sew it together. I had it right there, after all. And so I put together this slab:
This seemed about ready for me to use the ruler.
When I actually put the ruler on the slab? It is actually quite comical. I think I did not have a true sense of scale when I was improv-ing my heart out.
I think I was a little over enthusiastic.
But rather than missing all those little blocks, I decided to cut it at 15" x 15" to preserve those precious bits and this is the end result:
Here is the orange block!
Now that I have made one I know that at any point I can just dig into my scraps and whip up another colour. Eventually I will have enough to put together into a VERY colourful quilt.

Improv piecing is fun, and using precious baby scraps (like that Basket print on the far bottom right or the Lotta scrap at the bottom left) is very rewarding. No measuring, no careful cutting...fabric therapy!

Thursday, 12 January 2017


After a bit of fabric binging last summer, quilty friend C and I both decided to go on a self-imposed fabric fast with the goal of not buying any new fabric until January 1, 2017. We both stayed true to the fast...well, sort of. When Alison Glass Seventy-Six went on sale, C was losing her mind over not being able to buy it. I gave her my blessing. And we both agreed that pre-ordered Alison Glass Sunprint 2017 did not count because even though we ordered in December it won't come until quite some time into 2017.

My husband and I received a trip to Niagara on the Lake, a quaint little town for tourists, as a gift over Christmas. He told me to pick out all the fabric stops we needed to make on the way down. He is awesome.

I definitely engaged in a serious breakfast (break- fast) on this trip!

At the Quilted Cardinal I picked up these Moda Mixologie basics. I love the colour saturation.
Those purples and the top teal are already claimed by my daughter for a quilt she wants me to make her.
I also had a gift certificate for Greenwood Quiltery which announced at the end of December it is going to be permanently closing because the owner is retiring. It will leave a major hole in the local quilt store options as it was by far my favourite local(ish) store.
Two Elizabeth Hartman patterns, that sweet basic grey print, a Cloud 9 organic bear fabric that already is claimed for a baby quilt, some Kona Charcoal for my Snail Along and a bunch of other goodies. All of this was at least 30% off!
I also made a stop at Modern Bee in Virgil, an awesome, quaint little shop with the nicest owners. If only it was closer!
From bottom to top: Kona Silver, Kona Shadow and a 1/2 yard of Priory Square that I wanted and figured I would never get because it was very limited edition and quite old. The Silver is for my Snail quilt and the Shadow is for my daughter's teacher's end of year gift.
I also made a trip to Len's Mills in Guelph. My husband had never been and it is an experience, let me tell you. The front of the store (which is HUGE) is filled with the most random things. He was wandering around while I was fabric shopping texting me with questions like "Do you want a pair of bright yellow high-heeled rain boots?" or "Did you know they have an entire aisle dedicated to hot sauce?" I specifically needed to come to this store because my Lizzy House Snail quilt needs backing and I knew they still had some VERY OLD, VERY OOP Lizzy House 1001 Peeps. It is from 2009!! And it is $10/yard. A steal!
Expect to see these in my snail quilt. That purple print on the far left will be the backing.
Truly, though, I broke my fast three days earlier on January 5th at Needlework when I went shopping with two friends because friend A is making my other friend some pillows and we needed to select fabric. I was dying to get my hands on this pin of their logo! That green print will be for my Christmas quilt but those squid and octopi? They were just too cute to resist!!
Isn't that pin awesome?
So when I break a fast, I really go ALL IN.

Which of my purchases was your favourite?

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Snail Along

Over on Instagram there is lots of quilting activity which is primarily how I use my account. When @gnomeangel posted about the Garden Snail Quilt pattern from Pen and Paper Patterns and a Snail Along I knew I wanted to join. 
(Picture courtesy of Pen and Paper Patterns)

You need to make one snail a week for 42 weeks (to make a twin sized quilt) and post it on #snailday (Sunday) with certain tags. You are then eligible for prizes. I just like the idea of a very manageable project that is also soooooo cute.

I've decided to use Kona Silver as my background colour and Kona Charcoal as the snail body. All the shells will be Lizzy House fabrics in colour order. I'm super excited!

Here was me laying out my very first block to figure out the tricks of the pattern:
Snail in progress.
And here he is all put together:
Goldie the snail! His shell is from Lizzy's Catnap line.
Once I got into the pattern I discovered that there is more to consider than just the fabric choices. You make half the snails pointed one way and half the other way. That meant more planning than I had originally considered. My sewing table has been a mess while I plan ever since!
If you want to take 100 fabrics and narrow it to 42 in rainbow order you need to have a plan!
Now I'm just waiting for some scraps from quilty friend C who has some of Lizzy's Constellations prints that I don't have. Look for a quilt top finish of snails in November!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Aviatrix Progress

True to my plans for 2017, I have pulled out all the bags and bits and instructions for my Aviatrix Medallion- which has been in a bag all together for at least a year- and got myself back in the game with it.
This code sheet is no joke. You could not make this quilt without it.
I had the HSTs all pressed and trimmed and never got around to making this first border, so that went on first, followed by the solid grey border. This step got me very motivated because the borders went on pretty smoothly (I am not the most accurate of quilters and so the piecing accuracy of a medallion is intimidating).
Centre and Border 1
When I got to work on Border 2 I decided to set up a grid on my design wall so I could keep track of all the parts. This made it much easier (plus it looks pretty!)
Border 2 in progress

Border 2 on the quilt.
Border 2 went on smoother than I thought it would too. My piecing has obviously improved. It certainly isn't perfect (and my quilty friend C's Aviatrix Medallion is) but it fit really well.

Then I got to Border 3. Yikes. This one took a long time.
The trimmings sure are pretty.

So many steps to make the X blocks.
The resulting blocks are pretty beautiful. However when I put on the first strip, it was about 1/2" too short. Then I put on the bottom strip and it was 1/2" too long. Um. That's probably not good. I made it work with some stretching but I am rather concerned for the next few borders.
X-blocks take a long time.
I read on someone's Instagram that Border 4 is haaaaaaard because it is small and fiddly. That has me a bit concerned. I'm slowing down a bit because my husband is back to work this week so I can't steal away for an hour here and there and because I actually have to get some of my work done before I go back to work Monday.

Wish me motivation to get this quilt top done!