Monday, 24 November 2014

"PLUS", a finished quilt for L + T

It's a finish, ladies and gentlemen!  Finished AND delivered!

This quilt has been in the making for a while.  It started as a bee block for my Bee mate Chelsea back in February.  I loved making this block so much that I could not stop at just one.  I made two for Chelsea and 30 for me.

Love these!

Soon, there was a quilt top...

Really love this shot.  A great use for a hammock in the winter!

The quilt top sat all spring and summer as an unfinished object.  For no good reason I might add - I already had the backing picked out and the right piece of batting ready to go. But the September sew-in of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild and an upcoming trip was the push I needed to get this done.  

Many hands make light work.  Thank you, MMQG ladies...

This quilt was destined to a newly married couple living in North Carolina, but first, it was coming with me on a trip to Victoria, British Columbia where I would be meeting up with relatives who would be able to deliver it safely to the newlyweds back east.  Having procrastinated all summer, I had some serious work to do!

I debated for a while on how to quilt it.  In the end, I simply outlined the outside of the "plus" signs, leaving the signs themselves unquilted, and used a meandering for the low volume background.  I was pleased with the texture, and I know it will be even better once it is all washed and nicely crinkled.

It was my intention to finish the binding on the plane, but I had underestimated the time it would take to hand stitch a double size binding.  I was only half way done by the time I stepped off the plane, and I had to hand out the quilt about less than 48 hours later.  And this was not the only thing on my agenda.  There was a get together with some MQG Victoria members, a fancy dinner at the Empress hotel and, small detail, that marathon running business, that was going to take up some of that time...

So when my host took me sight seeing, what did I take with me?  Why, an unfinished quilt and a sewing kit, of course!  And a camera.  I had one window of opportunity for the photo shoot, and it was going to happen, finished or not.

So even though this looks like the picture of a finished quilt...

A close up reveals that there is still work to be done:

Binding held on by WonderClips!

The photo shoot was an adventure to say the least.  While my friend was trying to find the perfect place to take pictures of the quilt, he took me to a lake with a small dock that was just a short walk away from the road.  As we got closer to the lake, we saw a few sunbathers on the dock, but pretty soon, it became clear that these people were all in their birthday suits!  Unbeknownst to him, my friend had taken me to a "clothing optional" place - apparently well known in the community!  Needless to say, we had to go elsewhere to take pictures.  Although, come to think of it, these would have been quite unique...

In the end, just before the sun started to set, we found a beautiful spot at the Goldstream Provincial Park.  For an East Coast gal like me, those trees were such a stunning backdrop for a quilt... and much better than a bunch of naked guys, I might add.

And I can't resist adding just one of the pictures I took of those impressive trees...

I did finish the quilt that night, and managed to take one picture before I went to bed I must admit, I really felt like keeping it on the bed to sleep...

I got news yesterday that L + T received their quilt and they are very pleased with it.  This is a fun an adventurous couple, and I know they will get a kick out of the adventures I have had with this quilt!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Quilt top finished, auditioning binding

Happy Friday night everyone!
I have had fun playing with the colours blue and green lately..
It started with the pouch I made for our swap with MQG Victoria...

But I wasn't done with that combo.  One evening, I just started cutting 4 1/2" squares to make a Blue and green baby size quilt.  Blue, green, aqua and teal squares, solids, batiks, large prints and small prints...  my only rules for fabrics were: no other colours (other than white) and no flowers or girly patterns. 

As for placement, I did not overthink this, I only avoided similar fabrics next to one another.  Overall, my random method worked out, although I do see my four squares of solid royal blue are all in the top right side.  I am now trying to decide on binding, and here is where you come in.  Please voice your opinion!

1 - Should I go dark wavy stripes:

2 - Or a geometrical print in a lighter tone:

3 - Or perhaps a solid teal:

4 - or even a light aqua? (not really feeling this one):

What do you think?  Perhaps it would help to see what I have in mind for the backing: Sunglasses wearing dolphins!  Yup!  You read that well!

I know, I know!  One minute I think these dolphins are really cool.  Then look at it again and think they are kind of freaky!  The fabrics used for the top are mostly graphic and geometrical, quite different from this novelty print.  It isn't very baby-ish.  Heck, it might even scare babies!  But... it is in the right colour scheme (despite those coloured sunglasses),  it's been in my stash for about 10 years, and I have about 3 yards of the darn thing!    Feel free to try to talk me out of it, but at the end of the day, the bizarre sunglasses wearing dolphins are probably here to stay!

So... back to the binding.  What's your pick?

Linking up to TGIFF at What a Hoot.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Welcome Blogathon Visitors!

Sew Sisters Blog

If it's your first time here, welcome! I am Dominique and I love to quilt.  I bet we have that in common!  To those of you who are regular readers, I don't have anything new to blog about, so I will be revisiting quilts I have shown before.  I hope you enjoy your visit.
I have been sewing most of my life, and quilting for about 10 years.  Over the years, I went from traditional to modern, but I still enjoy many different styles.
This fall colour quilt is very traditional but still one of my favourites:

Ma Saison Préférée (My Favourite Season) - 2009

These days, with a busy family schedule, I naturally gravitate towards simpler quilts with less pieces...

Girly Girl Quilt - 2013

...which are decidedly more modern.

Up, Up and Away - 2013 based on a quilt by Amanda Jean Nyberg in Sunday Morning Quilts
I have learned that minis are a satisfying ay to try new techniques without spending too much time...

Circles mini - 2013

and I dabble in improvised piecing.

Colourful Scraps Improv Quilt - 2014
I like to make small, pretty, useful items like luggage tags...

... lanyards...


... and pouches.
Oh, and I am a proud member of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild, an awesome bunch of quilters.
I hope you enjoyed your visit!  If you have not done so, please go check out my fellow Atlantic Canadian bloggers.  You can find their blogs via Linda's (Scrapmaster) and Linda (Stitch Lines).
Thanks to Sew Sisters for sponsoring this Canadian Blog Tour!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Small Finishes

Nothing like a tight deadline to get the job done.  One of my kids is going to a birthday party tomorrow and I did not have time to make the gift before tonight.  But I got it done...
I present to you, another personalized cushion!

I did not reinvent the wheel - squares seemed like the easiest option - but I am pleased with the result.  This boys favourite colours are red, yellow, and blue.  I was surprised to find that I had enough scraps in those colours that were not flowery.  I think the boy will like it!

As the November Queen Bee in the Canadians Quilt Bee, I asked my bee mates to make me sewing machine blocks.  ANY sewing machine blocks.  I finished a second sample, this time an appliquéd antique machine.  Don't know if anyone will go for appliqué, but I think it will look great even if it's surrounded by pieced machines. 

Probably would not have hurt to iron that block...
I received my first block and I have to say, this queen bee business is really nice!
And speaking about bee blocks, here is the arrows I made for the October Queen Bee.  I don't think I would ever make a whole quilt with arrows - a bit time consuming for my liking - but actually very easy to make using this this tutorial.
Just noticed they are pointing in different direction in the picture

They may be small finishes but hey, I'll take them!

Linking up to TGIFF at Quilt matters.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Zippered Pouch to Swap

This month, the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild is doing a zippered pouch exchange with the Modern Quilt Guild Victoria.  I am excited for two reasons.  First, I have just made my first pouch just a couple months ago and it's just the kind of quick project that I can fit in my busy schedule, but is still satisfying.  Second, I met some of MQG Victoria's wonderful members just a few weeks ago, and I am so glad our two guilds are working together.

Here is my finished pouch:

The aqua and green chevron print was my colour inspiration

We are to fill our pouches with some goodies.  Without revealing its entire contents, here are a couple things I made.  First, a first needle book...

I really have to make one for myself...

... then, a pretty lanyard.  If you are looking to pretty up those ugly promotional lanyards you have collected at various conferences, here's how to do it.

So glad I could find those green scissors.

I am happy with my decision to go "matchy" with the accessory.  I hope whoever gets my pouch likes it.  I had lots of fun making it.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Sewing Machines Blocks For my Bee Mates

I am Queen Bee this November.  This is my first year participating in an online bee.  Throughout the year, I have made easy blocks and more difficult ones, some I loved, some I don't want to make again, but there isn't a single one I regret doing.  I really enjoy the idea of getting together as a group to work on a common project.

Now, it's my turn to be Queen Bee and after much pondering, I kept coming back to this fabulous quilt by Cheryl Arkison.  I don't want to make an exact copy of her quilt, though.  I am asking my bee mates to make a simple sewing machine blocks using any technique they want.  Here is one idea:

My version of a sewing machine block

The rest of this post is written with my bee mates in mind, but if you are interested in the instructions for the block above, read on...

The General Idea

This quilt will hang in my sewing room, which is mostly aqua with touches of red and white.  I would like to see a variety of sewing machines in different sizes and different techniques: paper piecing, traditional piecing (improv or with precise measurements), appliqué... anything goes... subject to Rule Number One:

Rule Number One

This is supposed to be a low-fuss, simple block.  Do not complicate things my making an intricate pieced background, or choosing a paper pieced block with a hundred pieces.  Because that would make the rest of us look bad...


The finished block will be 9" (vertical) x 12" (horizontal). 
No need to trim if it runs a little large, in fact, aim for a 10 x 13 unfinished.
Make sure there is at least 1" of background on all sides around the machine.


The main colour scheme is - no surprise here - aqua, red, pink and white.  Don't worry about your fabrics being "modern".  1930s, solids, flowers, geometrics, I love them all.

A favourite combination

 ...but feel free to include another bright colour such as yellow, green, or orange if you want.

Other happy colours

Just make sure to include at least one colour of the first group.  In other words, a yellow machine on a red background = OK; green machine on orange background: NOT OK.

Don't feel that you have to have a dark machine on a light background.  You can also have light on dark, or dark on dark, as long as there is enough contrast.  Oh, and it's OK to use more than one fabric for the background or the machine, subject to Rule Number One.

How to Make a Sewing Machine Block

Here is the pattern /method for the block I made.  You can replicate this block, or use the same method to change up the sizes and draw your own pattern:

1 - Draw a 9 x 12 rectangle on graph paper.  Here, each square represents 1/2".  Draw your sewing machine and break down in logical pieces.

2 - Number each piece.  I used letters for the background and numbers for the machine, to keep them separate.  Then figure out the measurements.  I find it easier to write down the finished sizes, then to add 1/2" to my cutting sizes.  If your fabric is directional, make sure you identify which is the vertical and which is the horizontal measurement.

I crossed of the pieces as I cut them...

3 - Get cutting.  Here are all my pieces, ready to sew.

4 - Piecing time.  You are all experienced, so that part should go well, but in any event, here's how I proceeded:

- Sew the little triangle of background on piece 1
- Sew 1 and F
- Sew 2 and G
- Sew C & D to each side of 4

- Sew 1F to 2G
- Sew C4D to E

- Take 1F2G and add 5, then 3
- Add B and H
- Add A and 4CDE

Make this machine, make it bigger, make it smaller, leave it as is or add a needle, or a spool holder...

Paper pieced blocks

Are you a paper piecing fan?  Got a good sewing machine block pattern?  Feel free to use it.  I looked around, hoping to post some suggestions, but the only free pattern I could find was too small and would need to be enlarged.  This is why I can't recommend it, but if you want to give it a try, please do.  Try not to get too complicated, though.  This block by Charise Creates is beautiful, but it would make everyone else's block look too simple.  Again, stick to rule number one.


Do you enjoy appliqué?  If so, then perhaps you want to appliqué your sewing machine, using your favourite method.  Machine appliqué?  Yes.  Raw edge? Go for it!  I am a bit of a traditionalist, so for my other sample block, I am using the needle turn method, using freezer paper as a template:

1 - Draw your shape on the dull side of freezer paper

I went antique machine this time
2 - Cut your shape and iron on your chosen fabric.
One of my favourite Kaffe Fassett fabrics
3 - Cut the fabric leaving a 3/8" seam allowance.
4 - Pin on your background.

Those tiny white pins are great for appliqué, but I could only find four...

5 - Using your freezer paper as a guide, gently roll the seam allowance under the paper and handstitch in place.  You may need to clip the curves.

My favourite appliqué method

I am not quite finished, but come back in a couple days and the finished product should be there.


You can embellish your block - again subject to rule number one:  perhaps you can add a needle or a spool holder, or you can embroider your name, your blog name or your initials where the sewing machine name would normally be?  If you feel your machine would look so much better with one or two buttons to represent some sort of dial - then you can include the buttons and pin a note where you want me to put them and I will make sure they make it on the finished product.

I hope you enjoy making a sewing machine block and I am looking forward to seeing what everyone is making!