Saturday, 6 February 2016

Scrappy Mountains - A Finished Quilt

Here's my first finish of 2016!

It's technically a January finish.  I've put the last stitch on this baby last Sunday on my flight back from Montreal, as evidenced below...

... but a dark and rainy week made it impossible to take decent pictures.  Snow + Sun today made for a good photo shoot, though the wind was a challenge.

This quilt has been one year in the making.  Inspired by the bee blocks  requested by my Canadians Quilt Bee 2015 bee mate Shena of Apple Pie Patchwork, I set out to make 100 blocks (they are made in sets of 2). There are different tutorials for that block.  I used Shena's tutorial found here.

My MMQG pals helped me decide how to quilt it and provided encouragement as I started quilting during a Sew-in...  Man, that thing was a beast to quilt!

I went with outline quilting of the bright mountains and meandering in the low volume reversed mountains, all with a light beige Aurifil thread.

For the binding, I requested opinions in an earlier post.  Lorna, of Sew Fresh Quilt, was the only  commenter who broke from rank and did not pick one of the choices I gave.  Instead, she suggested a low volume binding, which I thought was brilliant.  Of course, I had to put my own little twist on it, so I included a small red section.  Can you spot it?

The backing is a giant scrappy mountain to which I added a few extra strips.  I used the same method as for the blocks - which was a mistake.  Because of the large size, it was awkward to work as a single block.  It would have been less time consuming to just use strips and sew them at an angle.  Regardless, the result is the same, and kind of fun.

I have yet to decide where this quilt is going to live.  I love it so part of me wants to keep it, but I am wondering if I should save it for a gift.  I have a couple quilt-worthy people I can think of.  So while I ponder this question, here are a few more pictures:

Quilt roll before wash...

...and quilt roll after wash.

Oh, the post-wash texture...

And one last shot, the usual hammock picture:

I seem to have found my quilty groove again... so on that note, I am off to quilt some more!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Throwback Thursday - Quilt for my Niece

It's Throwback Thursday again!  Not sure what that is all about? Then go check out my friend Jenn's blog - A Quarter Inch from the Edge.

I don't know how that happened, I mean, I am so young and so is my sister, but somehow, I have a nice who graduated from high school... 6 years ago!

She had been visiting a few months before and when I took her to the fabric store, I had taken mental note of her favourite fabric:

I cannot tell you the designer, the manufacturer or the name of the pattern - I didn't care too much about these things in my pre-blogging days (and to a certain extent I still don't).  But not only is this one of my favourite fabrics ever, I have also seen it over an over again in decoration magazines and other similar places.

Anyhoo, In anticipation of making a quilt for my niece, I went back to the store and bought whatever was left on the bolt.  That was the easy part.  The tough part was to find matching fabric.  Not as in "perfectly matching" but something that "played well" with it.  It proved extremely challenging.   Don't believe me?  I dare you to go in your stash and find fabric that plays well with this large brown floral.  Go ahead.  I'm waiting!

After a long search about 4 different stores (back in the day, before I ever considered online purchases) I found sufficient matching fabrics.  Can you believe none of these are not from the same line or even the same manufacturer?  All that trouble... and when I presented the quilt to my niece, she had absolutely no recollection whatsoever of having laid eyes on the fabric.  Oh well.

Making the quilt was actually easy.  The pattern is from a Kaffe Fassett book although I am not sure if I followed the pattern or simply used the idea of making squares of three different sizes (3", 6" and 9").

Oddly enough, I had a large chunk of my focus fabric remaining (one would think I should have used it in the front since it's the only fabric I truly love in this quilt), so the back went together quickly...

A little machine embroidered label...

Quilting is a bit rudimentary...  this was probably my second or third time free motion quilting.  I like to think I've come a long way.

On a trip to Montreal last month, I had a chance to take the quilt for a photo shoot.    My nephew graciously agreed to be a quilt holder...  Or perhaps he is just hoping he'll get a quilt when he graduates too...

Again, I think I am way to young to have a nephew that tall, but I have to say he came in pretty handy! 

Thanks, Jenn, for providing the encouragement to revisit our quilts from the past!


On a completely unrelated note, a photo shoot is not the only thing I've been up to on my recent trip to Montreal.  On my last day,  I was able to catch this exhibition...

I was thrilled to meet the two Montreal MQG founders Cinzia Allocca (Deux Petites Souris) and Josée Carrier (Charming Needle).  Always nice to meet quilty celebrities in person!  The only bad thing is that I was literally on my way to the airport (and accompanied by a nine year old who does not dig modern quilt exhibitions) so there was not a lot of time for chit chat.

My pictures of the exhibition are not that great, so I invite you to go check out the Montreal MQG blog, or member Shannon Fraser`s blog for an excellent recap.  Always inspiring to see other people's work!

On that note, time to stop blogging and go sewing!  Cheers!

Friday, 15 January 2016

1. 2. 3. Pouch!

It's a triple zippered pouch finish!

Last time my oldest went on an overnight trip, I packed his toothbrush and toothpaste in a ziploc bag.  Sad!  Then it occurred to me.  This kid needs a zippered pouch, and mama's going to make him one.

I knew I wanted to line the interior of the pouch with some black and white laminated fabric, and since I had enough to line two pouches, I decided to make a pouch for my middle guy as well.

Kid #1 likes orange and other bright colours.  I used these funky circles that have been languishing on a shelf for a few years, and don't play well with the rest of my stash.  I realize this fabric may not "age" very well, but I am not thinking long term.  It's just a pouch, after all, and this kid looses stuff all the time anyway.

Kid #2 loves purple.  He is a bit more careful with his things, so the pouch will probably last him a long time, so I was looking for purple fabric that would still appeal to him when he is a bit older.  I had just the thing!  These purple and red stripes came in a bundle which I had set aside for vague future plans, but I decided to follow my Use the Good Stuff motto.

It wasn't long before I had two pouches done.

For the observant ones, yes, a different zipper... to match the reclaimed ribbon I used as a "handle"

I actually appliqué'd their initial on one side, which I am purposely not showing, though you can see a tiny bit on the one below.

Well, kid #3 quickly realized she was the only one without a zippered pouch and started complaining campaigning for one.  I was happy to oblige.

Like many little girls, she lo-o-o-o-o-ves pink.  I have nothing against pink, in fact, I quite like it myself, but I really try to introduce some variety in her world.  I was thinking bright red and yellow, but...

I took her with me when I went to buy laminated fabric and zippers.  She did not know what these supplies were for, but when I grabbed a red zipper, she insisted that she wanted me to buy a pink one...  Now, I don't usually let my six year old dictate my purchases, but given that the pouch was for her, the pink zipper came home and a different fabric was chosen. 

Don't you just love the interior?

She is tickled pink with her brand new zippered pouch.

So there!  All three kids are now set to carry their own toothbrushes with lots of room for future grooming products (sigh!).

Use the Good Stuff Report #2

There was no right or wrong fabrics to use for these pouches. I could have gone with any number of different options that would have been equally nice.  None of the ones I chose are among the favourites in my stash, but it's not like I made any big compromise either.   The good think about the "Use the Good Stuff" motto is that it simply forced me to think about my choices.

Linking up to TGIFF which is hosted this week by Jen at Faith and Fabric.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

A Not So Quiet Christmas Update

A quick post today.

Back in November when everything was brown and gray, I finished my Not So Quiet Christmas quilt.  I wasn't too pleased with my outdoor pictures and I thought this quilt deserved snowy pictures.

Maybe on Christmas day?  No luck there.  Christmas was not only green, it was balmy!  I even went for a run bare legged and sleeveless!  I am not kidding! And yes, this is Canada!

Finally, last night we had our first real snowfall.  My kids and my husband had a snow day, but I somehow had to get myself to work.  Just before I left, as the rest of my family was out clearing the back deck and having fun in the snow, I managed to snap a couple pictures.


It's not really a Chistmas quilt until you have a photo shoot in the snow, right?

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Use The Good Stuff

As I said in my goal setting post, when choosing fabric from my stash, I have a tendency to save the good fabric for later, at the expense of the current project.  I know it makes no sense at all, and this year, I want to work on this.

So one of my 2016 goals - my most important goal - is a four-word sentence:  "Use the Good Stuff".  It's that simple.

This does not mean that I can't ever use less liked fabric.  There are times when it's perfectly OK: a scrap quilt, a project for someone whose tastes are different than mine, and so on.  But if a fabric is the perfect choice for a project and I find it is "too good" I have to use it.  If I don't use it because I am saving it for some vague future project that I feel is worthier, I am robbing myself of an opportunity to play with gorgeous fabric while I still like it.  Who knows if I will still like it when I find the perfect project?

So, to hold myself accountable, I commit to blog about my fabric choices, and in particular, for each project, to clearly state whether I chose the "best" fabric or not.  I may still do a bit of "saving for later" but at least, I am going to fess up.  Recognizing you have a problem is the first step, isn't it?

So here's a first report, a positive one.  I must admit that, technically, this project was done a couple days before I made the commitment, but I am still counting it as a success.

Use the Good Stuff Report #1:

While my mom was visiting (and after she ironed and folded hundreds of meters of fabric), she hinted that she would like another infinity scarf, softer than the last one I made her (with Art Gallery fabric which I find quite soft myself).  I did not have any voile on hand, so I took a big breath and offered her to choose a piece from my very precious Liberty stash.

So much goodness in here.  And it's even nicer to touch than to look at...

She picked a fabric, and I made the scarf.  Her part of the bargain (because, you know, ironing and folding hundreds of meters of fabric and raising me into a productive adult wasn't enough...) was that she would pose for a picture and agree to let me post it.

So here is my beautiful mom, and her beautiful Liberty Infinity Scarf.

I can't think of a better use for this piece of fabric, and my mom is definitely worthy of using the good stuff.

I am linking up with Jenn's (A Quarter Inch from the Edge) "Year of the Stash", even though this is not a full manifesto.  I don't think I need a full manifesto.  I only really need one rule.  Use the Good Stuff.  If I keep passing on using the good stuff, I fail.  If I think about my fabric choices and chose to Use the Good Stuff, I will have a successful year of stash sewing.

Are you enthusiastically cutting into your gorgeous fabric, or do you have a hard time using the good stuff?

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Throwback Thursday - Hot Mama

Hello and welcome to this edition of "Throwback Thursday".

This is my second time linking up with Jenn who is A Quarter Inch from the Edge (aren't we all?).

This time, I am pleased to introduce my "Hot Mama" quilt in all its bright batik glory!

It started in a 2009 workshop by Ottawa based quilt artist Elaine Quehl.  To be honest, I wasn't too interested in the workshop, but two friends wanted to go, and they needed a few more participants so I let them twist my arm.  She is a really good instructor, and it turned out to be very fun day.  According to her website, she still offers that workshop - it's called "Reflections".

My initial fabric pull for this quilt was very feminine, with lots of pale and medium pinks.  Eventually, after adding and removing fabrics, the pale pinks became hot pinks, and yellows, oranges and purples joined the group and heated up the colour palette.  I also found out, right after the workshop, that I was expecting baby number 3, so that provided the inspiration for the name of the quilt.

The quilting was one of my first attempts at free motion quilting.  I think I did pretty good on the centre part of the quilt.  Running with the "hot mama" theme, I attempted some flames on the border.  Let's just say that it was a "good effort".

I am not terribly fond of batiks, but every once in a while, I find one that really, really like.  That is the case for the pink I used in the border (above, right).  I still come across some snippets in my scrap baskets... it brings a smile to my face!  The butterfly fabric below is also pretty cool.

I am including this close up of the back for no other reason that this is the only other picture I have of the quilt!

This quilt was finished in 2010 and now lives in my office.  I hung it there several years ago on a very cloudy day during a very cloudy month.  It really brightens up the gray walls!

Thanks to Jenn for providing a forum for blogging about our quilts from the past.  Go check out other people's quilts from the past here.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

'Tis the time of the year

2016... Feels kinda weird to write it down, doesn't it?

Like many others, I have been reflecting on last year's accomplishments and thinking about the year to come.  2015 was a great year.  It was busy, and finding a balance meant a little less quilting and a little less blogging.  That is quite all right with me.  I still managed to make some quilts, keep up with an online bee, and give a few quilty gifts and sew with friends.

2016 will find me even busier with other parts of my life, but I don't plan on quilting or blogging less.  Surely there is room to cut elsewhere.  I certainly don't need to check Facebook 10 times a day, play Solitaire, or browse Pinterest in search of another great idea I don't have time to make, so that's a good place to start.

So what are my quilting goals ?

The Sewing Room

Keep working on my sewing space.  My mom has been visiting hand helped me organize my stash that was getting out of control.  Her help was invaluable.  The amount of fabric she ironed and folded...  I wouldn't have done it without her.

Looking at that shelf makes me happy!

While the fabric shelf is organized, the work is far from complete.  There are other parts of the room that demand some attention.  Now that my mom's visit is over, I need to FTJ.  Finish. The. Job.

The Stash

Some of my friends are taking stash limitation pledges.  I get it.   My problem is not so much with buying fabric as it is with not using it.  I am a bit of a a huge hoarder of beautiful fabric to the point that I sometimes choose to use a less liked fabric to save the good stuff for later.  Go figure.  I know it makes no sense at all, so hopefully I can cure myself of that ridiculous / unproductive /wasteful  habit.  Use the good stuff.  Now.

The Quilts

Like many, I have "a few" projects on the go.  I am not saying I won't start new quilts, but I plan on getting some of the current projects finished.

1 - Scrappy Mountains: this one is almost complete... All that is left to do is to attach the binding, and finish it by hand, which I am saving for an upcoming trip in February.  Should be an easy finish.  Thanks to those who gave me their opinions on the binding last month.  It was a majority for the rust and white lines, but I went with a surprising suggestion by Lorna... the binding is all prepared and it will be scrappy low volume!

2 - Summer Quilt: Confession:  I am a quilter and I sleep under a duvet cover, not a quilt.  Our bed is the only one in the house that does not have a quilt on it.  The duvet is nice and warm in the winter, but not so great in the summer.  So a few years ago, I made this quilt top.  I then got discouraged because it needed a tiny repair job, and I set it aside for over two years...  I finally decided to take it out to do the repair with my mom's help (total repair time: 5 minutes), but one thing lead to another, we ended up unpicking, adding and subtracting, and generally taking this quilt into another direction.  More to come on that one, and hopefully a finish in time for the nice weather to return.

Friendly advice: do not hang a quilt top on the clothesline in the wind, unless you really like repairing frayed edges.

3 - Mom's Quilt:  Not techincally a WIP because it isn't started, but the fabric is bought - my Christmas gift to my mom.  She and I had fun picking fabrics together and browsing Pinterest and flipping through books for inspiration.  She will get a finish quilt for her birthday.  Now, decide on the pattern.  Just wondering... does anyone else do that, buying the fabric before deciding on a pattern?

My favourite is the flower print on the far right which I also have in two different greens and a lighter pink. 

4 - I have a number of other WIPs in various stages of completion, and I have to decide which ones will get finished.  I am not ready to commit to finishing specific ones right now, but I do want to take a serious look at what I have, and see what needs to be done.

The Friends

Sewing with friends is always more fun!  I will make every effort to attend as many as my guild's sew-ins as possible, and hopefully have a few sessions of sewing with friends.

That's it, folks.  Looks like I have my work cut out for me.

Did you set goals for 2016?