Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Slogging Away on My Aviatrix Medallion

One of the things I most wanted to work on this summer was my Aviatrix Medallion, started ages and ages ago and stalled after the fourth border.

These blocks involved some careful organization of the different colours. They were time consuming.

The end results were so delicious, though, and I could easily enjoy a quilt made just of these blocks.

It was then a time consuming step to follow the diagram (seen in the top right corner) to lay out each of the sides.

I just loved how they looked out once they were pinned to my design board.
 After I had Border 5 on I felt like I had some momentum going into Border 6. The blocks for Border 6,  however, were more challenging in the type of block (though the colour organization was much easier). 
I did a lot of chain piecing which was boring but efficient.
 I am now encountering an issue with Border 6. You see, a year ago I used a blue marking pen, which is removed by water, to mark all of the blocks as per the instructions in the pattern. The pen does come out when I wet the spots but when I use my iron they come right back. I am now feeling super paranoid that I am going to finish the huge, complicated, beautiful quilt and have all of these terrible pen markings! Any suggestions?? 
Border 6 sure does look nice, too, don't you think?
Border 6 has since been added to the quilt and now I have just the final, outer, 2.5" solid border strips to attach. Thing is, I could have sworn I bought backing for it but...no? When I went through my stash I found pre-determined backing for my Snails Quilt and my #QBTravellingQuilt but, alas, not my Aviatrix Medallion. Do I piece together some favourites? Invest in a single fabric for the backing (keeping in mind my very large purchases from my recent shop hop!)? Also, how am I going to quilt this beast? My friend C sent hers out to get quilted in an all-over design and it was beautiful- but do I want to do that?

Decisions, decisions, but it does indeed look like at least this top will be finished this summer!


Monday, 17 July 2017

Shop Hop with Friends

My awesome quilty friends C and A and I had the idea that we should do a self-designed shop hop this summer. They were very accommodating because I am the only one with children and since my husband would need to take the day off to watch the kids it worked best for us to do a Friday to Saturday, and for one of them to drive. "No problem!" they said, and so plans were hatched. A arranged the entire schedule and C and I just went with the flow.

We went to a lot of stores, all in Ontario (since the dollar in the United States is so terrible right now). Some of the stores I had been to before and some I had not. I didn't end up taking a picture at every store, but a lot of them!

We started the day at Len's Mill in Guelph. It is a bizarre low-scale K-mart at the front and then there are rows and rows and rows of fabric in the back.
It is in a shifty looking sort of plaza, too.
 Len's Mill is a great place to find very strange fabric. Like this charming Hawaiian cat print. It made me laugh.
 What I actually bought was this:
This Lecien fabric from Japan, with a slightly rougher feel than normal quilting cotton, is perfect for fussy cutting.

We then went to Triangle Sewing, also in Guelph, for some notions. C bought a new 6" square ruler since she always manages to cut the edges of hers. Does anyone else have this issue? I've done it to one of mine, too!
 We also made our way to Quilter's Nine Patch which is a lovely store that sometimes has lots of gems and sometimes has very little.

They had some 40% off fabric and I scooped up these two prints:

When we hit up Creative Sisters it had been awhile since I had last been there, but C and A told me the selection had improved and they were right.

I did find some fabrics here as well, including a fat quarter of this Elizabeth Hartman fabric that I had used up for another quilt and was missing already:
Those pink fat quarters are from Pond which is a line I ordered a fat eighth bundle of and have since used up all the pale pink. Nice pale pinks are hard to find.

A found Spool & Spindle online and we weren't sure what we were going to get. It was tiny, and up a flight of stairs, but some awesome modern stuff and lots of different substrates for garment sewing. Their prices were very high, though, and so none of us bought anything here. I ended up regretting that since there was one print I wanted that I thought I could get at a later store but they didn't actually have it.


Our next stop was Quilting By Design. I had encountered them at Quilt Canada last year and since then C has had quilts quilted by them for a really excellent price. I was delighted by the set up and the selection in this store and bought a few things. I would definitely go out of my way to come back here.


Here is what I bought at Quilting by Design:
That navy C+S print may be is use sooner rather than later for a friend who is expecting this November.
Interestingly, A really racked up a huge bill at this store because she had called ahead and had them make her some quarter kits of Ocean, the new pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. 

We also went to this store, E&E's Fabrics, which was in a charming (and tiny!!) town. The quilt store is also the post office! Hah! The fabrics, however, were more representative of the conservative Mennonite locals than anything we would be interested in.
You had to walk past the post office counter and some rows of shelves with basic groceries to get to the fabric at the back.
C and I did have some success here, though, because they had the new Olfa blades that are supposed to last a long time and they were a good price!
We each bought one to try.
We made our way to Waterford for this quilt store, which is right next to the river. The wind was blowing gently and the sun was shining and if we had stopped and just sat on the porch for an hour I would have been perfectly happy!
I did actually buy some fabrics from here though the selection generally leans towards the more traditional:
I walked past that bundle of five Jingle fabrics at least three times before I gave into temptation. I think I will use them for reusable bags for Christmas gifts. I think the chicks in skates sold me in the end!

We spent the night in Stratford, Ontario, in a nice hotel that was on the edge of town. We had a great walk around town, visiting book stores, toy stores and the Indigenous Art store down there, as well as picking up some chocolate. We went out to dinner at a Thai place which was exciting because A had NEVER had Thai food before. What? She had her first ever pad thai and said she liked it and would have it again!

The next day we started with the quilt store in Stratford, Ye Olde Fabric Shoppe, which is terribly ugly from the outside and next to a 7-11 gas station. Inside it is PACKED with fabrics of all sorts, and it was here that I did the most damage of the shop hop:
Those whimsical children's prints were just too sweet.
It was here I picked up 8 yards of backing for my goddaughter's quilt (paid for by her mother). That is the print on the bottom, which is by Lewis and Irene. 

We planned to head down to Bee Modern Quilts in Niagara on the Lake next but the traffic on the highway was absolutely ridiculous. We decided to back out of that and headed to Needlework in Hamilton instead. This ended up working out beautifully because we had more time, got to eat at a favourite restaurant of ours (The Burnt Tongue) and spent less time overall driving.
Crappy picture because I was rushing. Oops.
Here was what I snagged at Needlework:
Those owls! I couldn't resist.
The embroidery kit and cross stitch kit were not actually for me but for my husband. He has decided he would like to try both of them to see which one appeals to him more so as to pick up a new "in front of the TV" hobby. So far he has started the cross stitch and is enjoying it but made a major mistake and has to start from scratch. He isn't deterred, though!

We also went to a place called European Textiles. Obviously my memory was starting to go with all the stores because I didn't take pictures there either. C bought quite a lot here (including some of their incredibly well priced and high quality pillow forms) and I did find some gems:
The Rifle Paper Co. Alice in Wonderland stuff is for fussy cutting. That Ann Kelle print will be a starting print for some baby quilt one day!
As we were about to head home, C suggested we round out our trip with a visit to Len's Mill Hamilton. Start and finish at a Len's Mill! A was pretty tired at this point but she is always easy going and a good sport, and I am always up for another fabric store, so we were in!

And, of course, as a result of peer pressure mostly, I ended up with fabric from here as well!
They still had FIVE BOLTS of Caste Peeps by Lizzy House. That is INSANE. I was tempted to buy all five bolts in their entirety and resell it as fat quarters on Etsy! I also loved this Riley Blake arrow print.
In total I picked up a LOT of fabric. Here was my collection laid out on the floor when I got home:
(You may notice some C+S and Tula in the middle- that was purchased from Quilt Canada by A for me and she gave it to me the day we left on the trip so I threw it in to the picture)
And the stack photo is pretty impressive:
It was a great trip. Travelling with A and C is a breeze because everyone is easy going. We are always willing to accommodate the others (such as A being amazing and letting me sit in the front seat the entire time in the car since I get very car sick). We laughed a lot and encouraged each other to buy lots of fabric and had a great trip overall. And, for maybe the first time ever in the history of shop hops with these two ladies, A was actually the winner of the most money spent! She is usually the most cautious and the least likely to buy something "just because." Hooray for A!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Oceans: A Finished Quilt

I used to work with a lovely man in my last position at my job, and this same man then started playing ultimate frisbee in a league with my husband. We both adore this guy and so when he and his wife had a new baby I knew I wanted to make him a quilt. Now, counting on my husband, I was informed they had a new baby girl. Perfect! I pulled some fabrics and got to work. While the quilt was in progress, I happened to come across a post on Facebook by the dad with the first pictures of their...baby boy.

Ooops.

So I dug back into my stash and started with a whale print I have had floating around for some time. Then I added in a whole bunch of navy and ocean-themed prints and put together this simple patchwork baby quilt.

Here is Oceans:

Simple patchwork with this mix of navys looks so nice, IMO.

This gives you a better sense of how dark the blues are (the top picture is in bright sunshine so the blues are more washed out). I echo-quilted on either side of each seam.

And I used up the last of the Lizzy House Mini Pearl Bracelets in blue that I have had since my shopping trip in Ann Arbour last year. I had to fill in the edges with some bits of other prints since I didn't have quite enough.
This will be delivered to our friend and his SON sometime soon. I hope everyone loves it!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Baby Bugs: A Finished Quilt (You're Not Seeing Double)

I know, you may be thinking: "Didn't you post about this quilt already?"

For the discerning eye, this is indeed the same pattern and fabric but a different combination of said fabrics. When I started cutting for one I discovered I had enough to actually cut two, so here is Baby Bugs, intended for my dentist and his wife who just welcomed their first child, a little boy, a month ago.

This combination also has slightly different quilting and binding.

And this backing is one solid piece of fabric, a Joel Dewberry woodgrain in turquoise.
I hope his new little boy enjoys his quilt!

Friday, 30 June 2017

Crawlers: A Finished Quilt

A co-worker is expecting her first child this August and she knows she's having a little boy. While combing through my stash I came across some hoarded Backyard Baby fabric and decided to use it, in combination with a few other prints, to make a quilt for this new baby boy.

Here is Crawlers:

It is hard to see with this picture but those are bugs in jars, and ants in ant mazes, and snails, and birch trees, and a collection of creepy crawlers. 
 
Perhaps easier to see the prints in this shot.

The back is mostly this woodgrain fabric from Joel Dewberry plus what was left of the birch trees and the bugs in jars. The binding is a mix of solid grey and a grey-on-grey I've had for ages and I have no ideas from where.
I gifted it to the mom today and she said she thought it was beautiful. I hope her baby boy loves it too!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Thank You Brenda: A Finished Quilt

My eldest is finishing grade three at the end of June. Her teacher is also retiring after twenty-five years of teaching. There were some times early in the school year when I wasn't sure about this teacher, but by the end I knew my daughter lucked out. The teacher's experience and patience helped my daughter grow and focus on her strengths at the same time.

Every June I make a quilt for her teacher (and this will become much harder the school year after next when I have two daughters in school!). This one is using the pattern Diamond Tread by Freshly Pieced and a bunch of fabrics I picked up quite some time ago by Elizabeth Olwen (and a bit of Denyse Schmidt I had no idea what to do with).

Here is Thank You Brenda:
The strip of pattern to the left with so much empty space reads as very modern to me.

In reality there are just a lot of HSTs arranged in a clever way.

It creates this great secondary pattern of the twirling ninja star in the middle. I straight line quilted this having (*gasp*) marked lines with a marking pen. Honestly I hated trying to press out the ink afterwards so I will avoid it if I can!

The back is a single fabric (unlike me but I think more to the teacher's taste). I didn't try to match up any seams because there was just enough of it and because, well, it is the back.

The pattern on the backing fabric is kind of cool.

I used that Dot Leaf mustard fabric for the binding and I think it really pops against the navy.

My daughter also wrote a thank you note on the label, another tradition since kindergarten and always the teachers' favourite part!

In a couple of weeks time this will be taken and gifted with love. I hope that the teacher loves it but also that she has it for a long time as a memory of her last year of teaching!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Jack's Universe: A Finished Quilt

I work with a wonderful woman who recently became a grandmother for the first time. She is quick to pull out photos of her beautiful little grandson and frequently tells everyone that Jack is the centre of her universe now that he has arrived.

If that doesn't sound like a motivation to create a quilt, I don't know what does!

I have had two charm packs of Riley Blake Rocket Age for quite some time and this sounded to me like they were destined for this little boy!

My original plan did not work out as I hated the burnt orange and cream colours in the layout. I paired it down to blues and reds and alternated white squares and it came together beautifully!

Here is Jack's Universe:

I did a simple patchwork pattern with 5" squares but alternated with Kona White squares to create this checkerboard effect.

Most of the prints are from Riley Blake but there are few others thrown in. The stars/universe theme is throughout.

I did straight line quilting on the diagonal using my walking foot to create this "X" effect which I think works well for this quilt.

The back is actually a flannelette that I have had in my stash for ages and just looked so sweet. Plus a win for shopping my stash!

This is a close up of the backing. It is so soft.
The grandmother was over the moon (pardon the pun) about the quilt. She declared that she loves me forever and insisted on photographing it like crazy right there on the spot and sending it to her daughter to show Jack. I love when people appreciate the depth of love in a gift like a quilt!