Thursday, 23 October 2014

I've Been Sewing, I Promise

It has been a wild and crazy October here so far, what with Canadian Thanksgiving (hello, hosting 12 people for dinner!) and my daughter's Science-themed sixth birthday party. Things are finally starting to feel a but like they're getting back to normal- as long as normal includes four birthday parties (other than my daughter's), oldest's daughter's dance class, swimming lessons for both girls, oldest daughter's sculpture class and additional classes for my six-year-old like her Halloween craft class coming up this weekend. Phew!

I HAVE been sewing. Most of it was the same thing over and over...marker roll ups for my daughter's birthday party.
They were all ready and they were a hit!
I also included with each one a Playmobil figure. Apparently at school the Monday after her party, two of my daughter's friends told her "It is good to have a sewing Mommy." They all loved the marker roll ups!

And then I got down to business on Sunday afternoon working on straight-line quilting the red and white quilt I'm making my husband's stepmother's mother (Nana) for Christmas. I initially meant to go wider based on my inspiration quilt found on Pinterest, but I started out too close to the seams and decided to just go with it. I'm already on to the binding with this one!
I used a Gutterman variegated thread in red that works beautifully.
And just when I thought I was done making crayon/marker roll ups, a man at work went out of his way to help me out (and made me look good with some co-workers!) so as a thank you I put together a crayon roll up for his youngest and a marker roll up for his eldest (both little girls). He was grateful and I was happy to be able to use my sewing skills to do something nice for him!
The birdhouse print is so adorable.
Also, I put together a mini quilt for another co-worker. It was her birthday, and my small team of six people who work in the same office "birthday bomb" each other by decorating the person's desk, bringing small gifts and celebrating the person on his/her birthday. She has a "J" name and likes teal, so I whipped up this mini quilt for her (in addition to getting her a cool mug and some cookies!). Here it is on display on her bulletin board behind her desk!
I used some leftover Lotta binding and it was perfect! Plus I get to see it when I'm in the office, too, so win-win!
Now I've moved on to a grey and yellow quilt for a neighbour expecting a baby girl later this year. But I have about 1000 more things I want to be working on at any minute so I need to FOCUS.

Here's hoping for more sewing time as October's craziness winds down!


Thursday, 2 October 2014


Ages ago I ordered a bundle called Glow with the Flow from Pink Castle Fabrics. I loved the quirky, modern look to the black and white dots with the bright, neon pinks, greens and oranges. It has sat in my stash for quite some time. When I found out some of our neighbours are expecting a little girl I thought of this bundle right away. They are young and a bit wild and I thought it would be perfect.

I put the neons with some black dots on white and made a pile of HSTs.
Post-pressing, pre-trimming.
And I started to put together a layout that fit my vision. This is what it was starting to look like:
I left that black and white print whole so that you wouldn't lose the graphic nature of it.
But. Then I ran out of black dots on white (but still had lots of colour). And since I am determined to shop my stash as much as possible, I pulled out a white dot on black print and made up another stack of HSTs to go with the first stack. And then I started to play with layout. Below are just a couple of the six or seven layouts I tried.
I tried putting the coloured dots together into a diamond.

I tried alternating the white and black dots and removing the black and white face print.
I went with adding in some neon squares that were whole squares, I tried adding white sashing and then black sashing, I tried putting like-colours together into pinwheels (all orange, all pink), and pinwheels with different colours. In the end...
...I stacked them all up and abandoned the project. It just. Wasn't. Working. I never do this. I stick through projects to the end! But if it wasn't working for me then I wasn't proud of the work and I didn't feel right giving it as a gift if I didn't love it. So I bit the bullet, texted the mom and asked what her nursery colours are.
Here is Plan B. Can you guess the nursery colours?
There is a whole lot of Lotta (Jansdotter) in this pull, and the fabrics are feminine but not babyish. I just need to select a pattern and then I can roll with Plan B (baby is due in November). I'm feeling this bundle a lot more and maybe one day inspiration will strike with the other pile. In the meantime, I'm okay with moving on!


Monday, 29 September 2014

Mint Julep: A Finished Quilt

A co-worker is expecting twins in November (to join her one-year-old daughter) and I made a baby quilt for each of the new babies (one boy and one girl). Monkey Business is for the little boy. This is Mint Julep for the little girl!

I have had navy and mint stuck in my head as a colour combo I needed to explore for ages. Pulling out charm squares from my scraps (I try to cut charm sized squares- 5"x5"- while cutting for other projects so I have a quick go-to for fast quilts) I was drawn to the navy ones. The mint jumped in to join the party and I was sold!

These are 5x5" squares in a simple patchwork.

I love how the navy plays with the mint.
 The back is again all one print, a zig zag in navy that I absolutely love. The binding is a mix of two leftover bits of binding from past quilts. Like Monkey Business, I was thrilled to use from my stash including my stash of leftover binding!
It seems that whenever I have the time to photograph a quilt lately it is in bad sunlight that back lits by quilts.

I used a stitch on my machine at maximum width to quilt this in these lovely waves.

Here is is basking in the sun.

The two quilts together.
The expectant mom is a lovely, kind woman who will definitely have her hands full with three kids under two. I hope these quilts are loved and well used when her two babies arrive this fall!


Saturday, 27 September 2014

What Would Jenn Do?

Every month I get a lovely bundle of four fat quarters from Sew Sisters; four Kona solids are chosen and sent out based on an inspiration photograph.

Often I'm quite opinionated about which colours - and which bundles-  I like and dislike. Jenn over at A Quarter Inch from the Edge is sort of a Kona genius and she always manages to make the colours work, even if on first glance they are not my thing. This month's stumped even Jenn, though, who stated that this month's bundle is very...brown.

Now, Jenn is also very pregnant, expecting twins late this fall. And she was not feeling the browns nor does she have the energy to find a way to make the browns work. So I channeled her, jumped into my solids stash, and put together some bundles that I thought might meet with her approval. They certainly make me like the browns better!

In each picture below I've put the brown that came in the Sew Sisters bundle in bold so you can see how it played into the bundle.
What about this pretty combo? Left to right: Bison, Cappuccino, Jade Green, Willow, Kale

Or this fun, light bunch? Left to right: Melon, Punch, Bluegrass, Seafoam, Mushroom, Sand

What about a soft, neutral bundle for a low volume quilt? This one feels sort of antique-y. Left to right: Straw, Raffia, Tan, Putty, Snow
What do you think? Did I make the browns seem intentional rather than after thoughts? I certainly feel a wee bit warmer towards them. Though I sure would love some new colours in the next bundle...


Friday, 26 September 2014

Monkey Business: A Finished Quilt

A work friend is expecting twins and so I put together some simple patchwork quilts for her. The first is for the little boy twin (she is having one of each sex, due in November) and I was working off a text from the mommy-to-be who said she was thinking brown and blue.

Here is Monkey Business:
The fabrics are all from my stash. I used the idea of brown and blue to choose that Ann Kelle monkey print and went from there.
I love how these fabrics play together. Brown, blue, green and teal is not what I would call a typical palette for a baby boy quilt but I think that makes these modern fabrics even more fun.
I used my favourite Denyse Schmidt print, eyelet in green, as well as some Riley Blake chevrons, quatrefoil, pearl bracelets, a solid I had some scraps of (not sure which one...don't tell Jenn at A Quarter Inch from the Edge!) and some fun stripes and such from in my scrap bin. This was also my first addition of Cotton + Steel prints (that brown with the white diagonal dots).
The back is all one print which I don't mind as much on a smaller baby quilt like this where there is no need to piece anything.
The backing is Tim and Beck's elephant print. I got this on clearance in...Chicago? No, maybe Cleveland?
I did a free motion stipple all over the quilt because it is very easy and fast. I am taking an Angela Walters FMQ class on Craftsy to expand my skill set, though, so I'll let you know how that goes.
Here it is in the sunshine, looking all ready to be gifted to the expectant mom. Look for the post on the baby girl's quilt, Mint Julep, coming early next week. (I just need to convince my hubby that another quilt photo shoot isn't all that bad).

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Tackling Those WIPs!

Despite being back to work after my maternity leave, I have been tackling WIPs at a fast rate. I credit my husband being home all the time now (he is taking four months of paternity leave) to being as productive as I have been. I wish he could be home all the time!

Some binding finished on Monkey Business. Love this print but I don't remember what it is called.
I got the binding on Monkey Business and I felt fantastic about it because I used up some binding from another quilt and had the perfect amount. Total win not having to make binding and shopping in my "scraps."

I finally got the layout finalized on my red and white quilt. This has been a WIP for a very long time but I was unsure about the mix of reds, and I had a crisis of whites and off-whites not looking right. Some TLC and replacing all the whites with more true whites and I'm loving the result!
For the red and white quilt I decided to go outside of my norm. When I first started quilting I used white-on-white in quilts because I was shopping at more traditional stores and only knew traditional quilters. Some time on the internet and becoming addicted to blogs and I learned the way of the modern quilter. I now use a boat load of Kona White (I buy it by the bolt, people). 

This quilt, however, is out of my comfort zone already because it has all these reds that I got in a Blogger Bundle from Fat Quarter Shop with my monthly Blogger Bundle subscription. I decided I would use the reds together to make a quilt for my husband's stepmother's mother (Nana). Using a crisp, modern, plain white with the reds didn't look right. So I fished out any white-on-whites I had in my stash and bought some more to have enough true whites to get the look I wanted. And I love it! Here are some close ups to see the white-on-white prints that I chose:
Flowers. Poppies maybe? I love this look, actually.

I think this is meant to be tree bark? Wood grain?

I found this white-on-white at Greenwood Quiltery. It was the last of the true whites that I needed to finish the quilt.

There is a lot of movement in this white-on-white. I think it is quite pretty!
I did all the pressing of the rows with the white to one side onto the red (obviously the red can't be pressed to the white or it will show through). I then pressed open the seams between the rows to maintain a crisp white front on those blocks and to reduce the bulk of the seams.
The pressed seams look pretty from the back, don't you think?
And one very productive Sunday afternoon later, I got a quilt top done! Next to tackle the backing!
The reds all play together nicely now!
I also got on making lots and lots of crayon roll ups. Well, marker roll ups because they are going to be party favours (in lieu of goody bags) for my daughter's sixth birthday party. Each kid will get a marker roll up and a Playmobil figure. Way better than random dollar store junk, right? I'm hoping they think so!
This was a stack waiting to be turned right-side-out. I got ten finished and have five to go!
So my WIPs are coming along and I feel great! I have a long list of projects to get done soon, however, so I better not slow down!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday!

Monday, 22 September 2014

September Kona Solids

September's Kona solids arrived from Sew Sisters and it is a collection of four muted browns.
Hooray for books!
Though I am not really into browns I don't mind this combination. The Mushroom in particular has a nice tone about it that might make it a nice neutral in place of a white or grey. Don't get me wrong, I'll choose grey 100 times out of 100, but I need to expand my tastes sometimes too!
Left to right: Raffia, Straw, Mushroom and Cappuccino.
I have been working to see the good in all my Kona bundles, but I have the same complaint about this month's bundle that I did about last month. Two of the colours are very similar. As in, without a colour card you might not be able to tell them apart. You certainly wouldn't see much difference between Raffia and Straw on a computer (which makes me love this club because I get to see so many colours in real life). I am hoping that next month's bundle will have a bit more contrast between colours.

It does seem, however, that I can't be satisfied since I seem to complain every month. And yet I love getting my solids! I do encourage anyone who needs to start building a solids stash to check out this club. Though perhaps, unlike me, you will actually have time to sew with some of those solids...