Sunday, 30 March 2014

March Solids and Some Backings

March is continuing to be part of the never ending winter of 2013-2014. Cold, cold, cold. So much snow. So many snow days. Temperatures below -20 celsius. I think perhaps Sew Sisters picked a very cheery spring photograph to give us hope. We need it.

The picture makes you think of sweeping fields of tulips and a warm spring breeze. 

From left to right: Bonsai, Sunny, Pansy, Tangerine
I already have a place in my heart for Bonsai (I'm using some in the Star Wars quilt I'm making), and the Sunny and Tangerine are bright and lovely. The Pansy is totally awful, in my opinion. I am not a purple person anyway, and this sweet violet-like purple is not to my taste. I'll have to think of something to do with it (my daughter loves it).

 While I was on the Sew Sisters website the other day, I perused their clearance fabrics and found some beauties. Three are destined for backings. The red and white will be, not surprisingly, for the red and white quilt I am making. The other two do not have destinations yet. That lovely grey is Kona Silver and is destined to be the background for an eventual Swoon quilt. You know, in all my free time.
Art Gallery Modernology print on the far left, Kona Silver and two prints I'm not sure about.
Updated: from left to right: Modernology A La Mode Grey, Kona Shadow, Bespoken Beaded Gems Topaz and Good Life Collection Window Scarlet
By now I seem to be an expert at buying fabric. Perhaps now I need more time and energy dedicated to making things with all these fabrics?


Friday, 28 March 2014

Seeing Spots: A Finished Quilt

So I finished a quilt this week. Sort of by accident, really. This quilt was not even on my list to finish, as the original intention was to give it as a gift for a baby born too long ago for this quilt to be appropriate. The quilt was from a kit I bought at Greenwood Quiltery on crazy discount.  I couldn't resist the Ann Kelle fabrics.

This is a cheerful, bright, cutesy baby quilt which is not always my favourite. It is also much smaller than I usually make. It was dead easy to make and I have been using it for months as my "not-done-this-project-but-need-a-little-something-to-work-on" project.  And here it is, Seeing Spots, all finished!

Very bright. And very spotty. 
Ann Kelle Urban Zoologie cows, birds and horses. Free motion loose stipple for the quilting in Aurafil White.

A lime green spotty binding.
The binding goes with this aqua and lime print I've had in my stash since I first started quilting.  I think it was perfect for this quilt.

This quilt is destined for a family expecting their second child, a little boy. I hope it is the perfect size to cover the car seat or stroller in this never ending winter.


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Fabric Binge

Recently some close family friends were in the United States for two months and they made the suggestion that if I wanted to order anything that couldn't ship to Canada I should send it to them. You know what my first thought was...taking advantage of free shipping to anywhere in the U.S. on President's Day!

One of these bundles was a planned-for-in-advance purchase, the new Lotta Jansdotter line Mormor. I can't resist her. This is the most colourful collection of hers yet, I think! This was my Valentine's Day present from my hubby. Smart man, he now just asks which fabric I want for various holidays.
Those teal and navy colours/prints are my favourite. Drool.
Aren't they pretty all together? I'm feeling a bit of reluctance to split them up. Maybe I can just admire them for awhile first!

A fat eighth bundle of Cat Nap by Lizzy House. I love Lizzy House (Pearl Bracelets and Jewels for sure, and Outfoxed may be my favourite line ever) but this line wasn't speaking to me until I saw Oh Fransson's (Elizabeth Hart) Cat-QAL.
I also indulged in some Wee Wander. The more I saw of it on blogs, the more I loved it. In particular I want to use some of the prints in an eventual I-Spy Polaroid quilt.
Come. On. Too cute!!

The colours are so saturated and gorgeous.
And Westwood Acres threw in a little mini-charm pack of April Showers by Bonnie and Camille! What a fun surprise!
Here is the whole huge, indulgent stack. I have it right next to me in the dining room my sewing room because they are too pretty to put away in the basement yet. 
So delicious.
Despite these three wonderful stacks I actually have even more new fabric to blog about. Stay tuned, as I will probably include my other purchases in another post. 

Which of my three bundles do you most covet?


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Another New Baby

Now, don't go crazy. Not a human baby, of course. A new sewing machine is going to be joining my family.


(I may be a little bit excited).

My current machine, a Brother CS-3500H, was a gift from my husband for my thirtieth birthday about three and a half years ago. I knew I wanted to try sewing. I thought eventually I might even try quilting. Knowing it might not stick, I researched a reasonably-priced but not bare-bones machine and settled on the Brother. This machine has been wonderful, truly, with few issues. I was sewing on it the day I got it. 

After having my Brother serviced in September (for the first time in three years) and then having it break two months later, the service tech guy told me that my machine is not made for someone who sews as much as I do. I set about researching and settled on a Janome. After chatting with Linda at Oakville Sewing, I determined that a Janome 6600 would be a great fit for me. I'm hoping it lasts me a decade at least, even with my excessive sewing.

Isn't she pretty?
I will be blogging extensively, I'm sure, about how the transition goes. I hope I love it considering how much of an upgrade it is (particularly in price!). I know my quilting friend A already wants to come over to check it out and drool over it!

What kind of machine do you have? Who loves their Janome? Anyone have a 6600P and can offer me some tips?

Can't wait to bring her home!


Monday, 24 March 2014

Designer Props

Holy cow, you guys. I was quilting the other day and had all my blocks for my Architextures quilt all laid out and, of course, I took a quick Instagram shot. Modern Sewciety tagged it with @carolynfriedlander (whom she knows, if I gather correctly from the Instagram feed of them together!) and Carolyn actually liked and commented on my quilt.

If you don't know why this is a big deal, it is because she designed the fabric I am using for this quilt, Architextures (she also recently released Botanics which is wildly popular as well). How cool is that?
Carolyn Friedlander loves my quilt. Shut the front door.
I'm sort of geeking out over this. So excited! (Plus I think the quilt is looking pretty fan-tabulous!)


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

And the winner of the Dori Fat Quarter Bundle from Sew Sisters is...Bethany!

Bethany was comment #77, as chosen by a random number generator. She is a new blogger over at Sew Ruthie. Go check her out! I can't wait to see what she makes with this bright, happy bundle!
Congratulations Bethany, and thanks to everyone who entered. I hope you continue to follow my blog and that you have checked out Sew Sisters!


Friday, 21 March 2014

A Sew Sisters Giveaway!

As a young quilter and, in particular, as a Canadian quilter, I am at a disadvantage when it comes to purchasing fabric that appeals to me (not that you would be able to tell from my giant, unreasonable stash). Despite living very close to a major metropolis (Toronto), I often struggle to find the fabric that speaks to me. I certainly have access to the online stores, however shipping from the United States is ridiculously expensive.

Enter Sew Sisters. They describe themselves as "...a Canadian quilt shop dedicated to all things quilting. For the past decade we have offered Canadian quilters great quality fabric, notions, books, kits and patterns, both in our store in Toronto and online. At Sew Sisters we believe you should buy fabric, not postage! So we offer terrific shipping rates on orders within Canada." 

I often buy larger cuts of fabric from Sew Sisters because their shipping rate is so much more reasonable than ordering from the U.S. (Free for purchases over $100! I may have an order coming with three backings and a bunch of Kona Silver for a future Swoon quilt). They also have a Kona Solids Fat Quarter of the Month Club which I subscribe to and post about here. It is the best way to dabble in solids!! They have so many Kona solids, including my precious Artichoke, and I know I can always find the colour I want. Check out their other selections as they have tons of print fabrics to drool over.

I also follow Sew Sisters on Facebook because they have free giveaways every week. It helps me dream about acquiring more fabric because I totally need more fabric. ;)

Why the Sew Sisters love today? Because they contacted me about offering a free giveaway here on my blog! How awesome is that? They are offering a bundle of 8 fat quarters of Dori by Mitzi Powers for Bernatex. I personally like the lime colour way and the teal and yellow colour way. My favourite is the Mod Flame (those bottom two prints). I can think of so many things I would do with it!

To enter to win all you need to do is leave me a comment! If you follow my blog, you can leave a second comment telling me so and earn a second entry! This giveaway is open to international participants. Entries begin today and close Sunday evening at 9:00p.m. (Entries are now closed) at which point Sew Sisters will send you your winnings! The winner will be selected using a random number generator.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

WIP Wednesday: That's A Lot of WIPs!

I always thought I was a stick-with-it-until-it-is-done sort of quilter. I couldn't fathom how you could have 10 or more works in progress. One blogger I follow has easily 300 WIPs. Mind. Blown. However, as a busy mom and an obsessed quilter I do seem to now have lots of works in progress. It often has to do with what time I have because while I don't have time to free motion quilt a whole quilt I do have time to cut the fabric for another one. 

So when I put together this post for Freshly Pieced's weekly WIP Wednesday I was surprised and yet not surprised to discover that I sure do have a lot of works in progress!
I worked on my daughter's teacher's book bag this week.

And actually finished it! It just needs a good pressing (which I'll do in June before gifting it to her) so I count it as a WIP.
I have been spending snippets of time here and there turning those piles in the bin into those blocks at the top. There are lots of steps including pressing and trimming, so it is slow and steady work.

Here is what one block looks like. There have been lots of steps to get to here. I then assemble a quilt of 7x9 of these blocks.

This is a crappy phone picture, but I also have a WIP story pillow for my daughter's teacher. Characters in row one, then setting and finally details.

I have this pulled and ready to make a pillow for my youngest daughter's nursery.

I have this small baby quilt all basted and waiting for some FMQ inspiration.

And I have this cut stack of reds and whites (more whites are waiting to be cut) for a red and white quilt for my husband's stepmother's mother, Nana. This project is lower on the list, though, so it may get put away so I can finish projects that are due in the summer first!

I plan to finish my dad's Architextures quilt, named Tranquility, before I start another project. At least, that's the plan. Who knows what time and circumstances will dictate?

What are YOU up to?


P.S. Be sure to visit my blog this Friday. Something SUPER EXCITING is happening! (HINT: Free fabric!)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Impromptu Shopping and a Story Pillow

My dear husband knows I've been going a little stir crazy at home with our two daughters, what with the super cold temperatures. He suggested I take some time to myself on Saturday which made me think "fabric shopping trip!" After all, I'd run out of Kona White to finish my Architextures quilt top. Then, Thursday night I had a quick visit with a friend who has two little boys and she decided to come along on my trip. 

We made the trip out to a (sort of) LQS, Greenwood Quiltery, followed by a sandwich at the little bakery across the street. The whole trip was less than three hours but it felt like a day at the spa!!

I wanted to share what I bought. For someone who is not supposed to be buying any fabric, new fabric seems to keep arriving...,

This is my favourite, most exciting purchase. An entire bolt of Kona White. Swoon. I asked about it while I was there and she just happened to have an extra bolt that had come in on their shipment. She gave me 10% off if I took it right then and there. SOLD!
17 feet of Kona White goodness. I bet it won't even last the year.
I also looked around for some "people" fabric for the story pillow I'm putting together as an end-of-year gift for my daughter's kindergarten teacher. I found this great Out to Sea fabric and picked up a "boy" one and a "girl" one so that the kids had an option when crafting their stories.
So cute. It was a shame to fussy cut them  but they were the perfect story starters. Once there was a pirate...
Here were my other purchases:
4 metres of interfacing for a bag, some white-on-white for the red and white quilt I'm making, two dark greys (Lucky Penny and one from Botaniques by Carolyn Friedlander) and some...Madrona Road?? Not sure, but I have been coveting those birds in navy.
Here is a little Instagram sneak peek at the story pillow fussy cuts. Once there was a pirate who went into outer space to get some cake...
So much fun fabric. By accident I discovered those astronauts are glow-in-the-dark!
Now if I can squeeze out some sewing time with my two little people around, I would be thrilled!


Monday, 10 March 2014

Arrows in Flight: A Finished Quilt

A friend from work is expecting her first baby, a little boy, at the end of April. The baby shower is at the beginning of April and I wanted to make her a quilt. She requested camouflage theme (her husband is in the Canadian Armed Forces) or animals. I definitely went with animals.

Because this friend is a pretty classy lady and "cutesy" isn't really her thing, I tried for a more sophisticated palette and pattern. I used a free tutorial for a simple-but-visually-stunning layout from Quilt Dad. All the fabric is from my stash, including the backing fabric.

Thanks to some suggestions from followers, I was able to settle on the title Arrows in Flight, suggested by Pauline, as  it incorporates both the "arrows" on the front and the planes on the cute backing fabric.

Front of quilt. All fabrics from my stash. The ones I know are Kona Olive, Kona Cayenne, a Lotta Jansdotter print, an Art Gallery Squared Elements print and an orange Bonnie and Camille Happy-Go-Lucky print

This is my favourite print but I'm not sure what fabric it is.

The back is Kona Artichoke and Up, Up and Away by Robert Kaufman

You can see the free motion crinkling quite well on the back. I used Aurafil White on the front and Aurafil Light Blue on the back.

The binding is a Bonnie and Camille print from Happy Go Lucky. It is rainbow but still somewhat subdued (not circus rainbow). This particular print (and I have a few colours) is so perfect for binding. I should stock up before it is gone!
It is quite big for a baby quilt but I think it will get even more use being a bit bigger. I can't wait to give it to her...I hope it meets her expectations and that she loves it!


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Sewing Retreat Sanity

Thanks to my quilty friend A, I got to have a bit of a sewing retreat this past weekend. She hosted at her house and A, K, C and I had hours to sew and gossip and eat. A made delicious homemade red pepper soup and there were baguettes with yummy cheese and the rest of us brought tons of sweets and snacks. It felt soooooo good to be out of the house- on my own!- and doing something I love.

I did discover a few things about this kind of sewing day, to file away for next time. 

1. It is so fun to be quilting with others who totally get why you're doing what you're doing.
2. Make sure you bring everything you mean to bring. I forgot the fabric I had precut to do some paper piecing (under the more experienced and watchful eyes of C and A) and I was disappointed.
3. You take your supplies for granted. I didn't bring my cutting mat because A and K brought/had theirs. Unfortunately, both use a tiny little cutting mat and I missed mine terribly. I even stopped cutting at one point because the small size was frustrating me. Lesson learned! I also missed my Oliso iron, but A's was pretty good so I got over it.

Here are some pictures from the day.
Lily came and visited us occasionally.

A worked mostly on some crib shoes and on being a fab hostess

K worked studiously on a pillowcase using fabric she bought on our last (her first) quilt shop hop. She is still learning and was so concentrated and open to ideas and help. She is going to be a great quilter/sewer!

C, who blogs over at The Edgy Perfectionist, was working on a tiny little bathing suit/costume for her friend who competes in body building competitions. The fabric was very loud, slippery and shiny. C's attention to detail means the end result will be awesome. I sure couldn't sew it.
I did manage to get a bunch of chain piecing on my dad's Architextures quilt done before I ran out of Kona White. I really need to invest in a bolt of that stuff.

I also made binding for the Ann Kelle quilt from the kit that I was going to use to make my work friend's quilt.
Binding all made!
And I played with my friend A's design wall a bit. I need one, seriously.
Quilt top finished. Those are A's Dear Jane blocks at the top. She amazes me. Look how tiny those pieces are!
I also did some cutting for a red and white quilt (and gave up because I hated the cutting mat) and cut out some paper piecing pieces. K commented on how many things I seem to have on the go. I showed her my little book that I use to keep all the projects and ideas straight in my head. I am always thinking about quilting and sometimes I have to get the ideas out and on paper so I won't lose the idea, and so I can concentrate on things in the order I need them. I'll have to add a new one because I found out on Saturday that some of our lovely neighbours are expecting this August. Hooray for another excuse for a baby quilt!

I can't wait to have another day like this with the ladies. A is awesome for having hosted us!


Monday, 3 March 2014

Big Baby

A work friend is expecting her first baby this April and I got to working on her quilt right away. Originally I was going to use a quilt kit I had in progress and then I decided that she needed classier fabric. I used a Luxe in Bloom quilt pattern from quilt dad to create this quilt.

I love how the colours work together.
The quilt is much, much bigger than I had intended. I can't look at the dimensions of a quilt on a pattern and understand what that will actually translate into. I'm terrible at estimating finished size. I'm glad baby will get a quilt that should last him a while, though!

I chose a Robert Kaufman Up Up and Away fabric from my stash for the backing. I didn't have enough so I added stripes of Kona Artichoke (my favourite green Kona).
Cute, right?
All the while I was working on the backing, I was dreaming about cutting into my next quilt because it meant untying a jelly roll of Architextures. Isn't the roll so delicious?
Jelly rolls are practically decorative.
Here is a shot of the basting of this big baby quilt. I really need a name for the quilt. Hmmmm. Any suggestions?
I hate basting!!!
I have already free motion quilted it in a random stipple and now I just need to choose the binding fabric. Wish me luck!


Sunday, 2 March 2014

February Solids

My February Kona Solids bundle from Sew Sisters continues on the 2014 bright theme for sure. 
Sorry for the sideways picture...I took it with my phone and couldn't seem to turn it once it was imported into Blogger. That family sure does look happy in the snow. Weirdos.

From top to bottom: Cerise, Caribbean, Canary, Violet.
The Cerise is, surprisingly, awesome. I don't really like pink or purple and this is a crazy pink-purple but I love it. It is rich and different and would be a great background colour for a really bold quilt. The Caribbean is one of my favourite Kona colours because it is almost turquoise almost teal (two of my favourite colours!). Canary and I are close friends. After all, I bought metres of it (yards) to make Jungle Jewel and Jungle Jam since it was the border of every block. I don't like the Violet at all. It is a key example of why I don't like purple. It is eerily similar to the colour of my sister's bedroom when she was a child. Yuck.

I am running out of room in my pretty in-colour-order bin to store all these solids. At the same time, I seem to be adding to my stash faster than I'm using my stash. Uh oh. More storage? Maybe. What I really wish I had was more time to sew!