Friday, 13 March 2015

You deserve this... A Mug Rug

Thursday was my guild's monthly meeting and we had a mug rug swap.  How fun.

I decided on a wonky star on linen-type background - not entirely sure exactly what is that fabric.


It was my first time making mug rug and, well, I didn't get the memo about the size... it's kinda large... a smallish placemat, really...


I hand quilted around the star, machine quilted straight lines in various directions.  You can see the machine quilting better on the back side.  I love that retro coffee fabric by the way, but what the heck do you do with it, other than putting it on the back of a mug rug?

 
Once I was done with the straight diagonal quilting, on a whim decided to free motion "you deserve this".  It's very subtle, you have to look very closely to see it, not by design, but because I used very thin thread. In other words, you deserve this, but no need to shout it out loud!

We all deserve a little coffee break, don't we?  Or tea.  Or wine.  And given the size of this rug, there is room for a little snack on the side.  Chocolate cake? Crusty bread and stinky cheese?  Carrots and hummus?


Anja of Anja Quilts picked my  mug rug.  As for me?  I got this colourful beauty made by Sandra.


It's already being put to good use:


Sadly, there is no room for a big snack but I think I have room for a piece of chocolate...

Linking up to TGIFF hosted by MR at Quilt Matters. Yes, M-R, I am probably stretching the definition of a "finish" but I like to live on the edge.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Motivation

Do you sometime struggle to get the motivation going?  Love sewing but can't seem to make time for it?

I "forced" myself down to my sewing room after a two week hiatus.  One week away and one week just thinking "I should be sewing right now" and somehow not making it happen. But as I entered my (messy) room and saw all the bits and pieces of pretty fabric, and it really wasn't hard.

On the program today, finishing my scrappy mountain blocks:


I am still undecided about the layout, but after looking at my pictures of this post, I wasn't quite feeling the "allover scrappy".  I needed some "order" to tone down all that scrapiness and that movement.

So I started sewing pairs together.  It still leaves me with several layout options:

Option 1

Option 2
 
Option 3

Option 4

I am glad I took these pictures because I just could not make up my mind from looking at the design wall.  Now, I can probably eliminate 1 and 4 because I am not fond of the vertical lines they create.    It's between 2 and 3 with a slight preference for number 2.  A little scrappy, a little order... it has the right balance for me.

Going back to my initial theme... One of my favourite running quotes is "the hardest step for a runner is the first one out of the front door".  This is not unlike quilting for me.  If I make it to the room, chances are I will get into the zone and have a wonderful time, whether it is actually sewing or just playing with fabric.  The hardest 20 steps are the ones that separate me from my kitchen to the sewing room door.


Do you run into motivation dry spells?  How do you get over it?

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Could it be...? Yes, It's Another Finished Quilt!

It's March 1st and I have a third finished quilt for 2015!  Truth be told, the last stitches of this baby were put in at my guild's monthly sew-in yesterday, February 28, but I took the pictures today, so I will call this a March finish!


The inspiration for this quilt came from Amy at Diary of a Quilter.  I saw her quilt a couple years ago and without following a pattern, I started making blocks on paper foundation to use some scraps.  For the longest time, I had 10 blocks stashed away in a drawer.


Then in January I finished the remaining blocks, pieced the top, sandwiched and quilted it, and attached the binding.

I am especially happy with the quilting, though I need to figure out a better way to turn the corners with the feathers!

Second time doing feathers!

For the back, I used a bright orange print that I got in the flat folded, discount section of my LQS for a ridiculous price.   No one else saw that gem...  It's been in my stash for a while, waiting for the perfect project.   Isn't it great?

No shortage of snow to use as background here...

I love looking at the quilting on the back.  even though the fabric is busy, the light yellow thread I used really highlights the quilting!


For the binding, I chose an orange gingham-type print.  I have used it once before to bind a quilt and sadly, that is pretty much the end of it :(

I saved the hand stitching for my recent trip to Ontario, knowing I was going to be spending some time in an airplane...  I only had one side to do when I dropped by my guild's sew in to hang out with my quilty friends.

Quilt roll before the wash...


  
Quilt roll after the wash

Only today, when I looked up the link for Amy's original quilt, did I realize she had also used a bright orange backing and some lighter orange for the binding...  I guess great minds think alike.

Snow half way up the fence... This is late Winter in Eastern Canada

Today was a perfect day for pictures.  Still tons of snow, lots of sunlight, and a temperature just below zero (Celsius).

So the only two thing that are left to do on that baby is to find it a home and a name.  What should I call this, and where should it live?  It is the right size for a baby quilt (approx 40"x40"), but I find it a little too stiff.  One of my guild mate remarked that it could be a table topper.  What?  I guess she is right, but It would never occur to me...



Hope your month of March is off to a good start!

Linking up to Let's Bee Social hosted weekly by Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

When in Hamilton...

... Buy fabric!

I am in Hamilton, Ontario this week.  All work and no play, except for a little running in between meetings and other work obligations.

So I was out for a run late afternoon yesterday when I ran past this delighful little store called "Needlework".  Well, you know I just had to go in.  It's a small but inviting store and workshop with a nicely curated fabric selection.  I was tempted to skip the rest of my run, especially since it was -15C (that's 5F, folks), but the store was opened until 8:00, so I had plenty of time to finish my run and come back before closing.  No excuse! 

Come back I did, and did what any quilter would have done in the same situation...  Buy fabric!

I exercised some restraint, but came out with delightful fabrics:





Nice, eh?

In the WIP department, I brought this quilt along to hand stitch the binding during my flights.  Hope to get it done by the time I get back home.


I realize the pictures are not the greatest - I am without a regular camera and just used my ipad.  It is my first time writing a post with just my ipad (and minimum time on a borrowed computer to transfer pictures).  It is a little challenging, but I had to share!

Do you look for fabric stores when travelling?  Have you ever discovered a nice little quilt shop completely by chance?


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A Blue Green Finish

I started this Blue Green quilt last fall, just because.   I needed instant gratification.  Well, sort of, since I happily left the binding unfinished for a couple months.
 
Blue Green love
 
I was really in love with the green-blue combo.  Within the colour scheme, except for florals, anything was fair game: solids, geometrics, tone on tone, batiks, some modern and some not so much.  I like when I can use up a few of my "uglies" and make them look good! 

The quilt top came together very quickly - it's a crib size - and after a little pondering, I chose the funky sunglasses-wearing dolphins for the back.

Still not sure about the wisdom of backing a baby quilt with these slightly scary creatures...


For the quilting, I wanted something simple and geometric.  I really like what I came up with.  It looks like individual squares with one vertical line, but if you look closer, you will see that each column is quilted in a continuous line.  So easy, and great texture too!

You can see that I was not shooting for perfection here...

The method...

Quilting went like a charm.  I could have finished it right away, but whatever little hand stitching time I had was taken up by hand quilting this quilt, so I saved it for a rainy snowy day.

This week end, we've been hit by a couple snow storms so with three days stuck in the house, I not only found time to finish the quilt, but I got the perfect backdrop for pictures!

The wind... this quilt has a life of its own!
 
Ah! Better!

I am not kidding when I say we had a lot of snow.  Here's what I did just after the photo shoot...

Gotta love Canadian winters...
 
Not sure where this quilt will end up, but for now, it's in my "reserve".  The finished baby quilt stack was looking a little too girly, but now, I am prepared for the next occasion where a gender neutral or baby boy quilt is required.

The perfect backdrop


And I can't resist inserting a picture of the quilt roll...

In parting, here it is after a spin in the washer and dryer:

All nice and crinkled!

That's my finish for February.  I did not join any finish-a-long, or make any list, but with two finishes in two months, I'd say 2015 is off to a good start!

Linking up to TGIFF at the Carpenter's daughter who quilts and Finish Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

WIP - Late / Early Christmas Quilt

I am either two months late, or ten months early...

I am working on a Christmas quilt!

I was inspired by Amanda Jean's Quiet Christmas Quilt.  Even though her quilt was "quiet", it was screaming to me "Make me!  Make me!".  As soon as I saw it, I had the urge to go through my red, green and low volume fabrics and start cutting up 5" squares.  So I cut, and cut, and cut some more.  A little from scraps, a little from stash.  I also used up some dots and stripes I got in a charm swap, so there are a few new-to-me fabrics that only show up once.  Oh and I may have ordered a few half yards cuts to round up the selection... 


There's a little bit of everything in there.  Some moderns prints, some pretty generics fabrics, and some of my older stash I no longer like.  Together, it works.  It's a little brighter than Amanda Jean's version, not by design but because my low volume stash was a little depleted.  I did not use one Christmas fabric in it so technically, it could be used all year round.



I finished piecing the top (and also made a backing) last Saturday at MMQG's Sew-In.  I don't have any large piece of batting on hand, so it will be set aside until I get around to buying a new bolt of batting (if you have any batting recommendation, please tell me!).  I am pretty pleased with this top...  Now, off to working on my other Works-In-Progress.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social at Lorna's Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

What Santa Brought

Warning: This is not a quilting or sewing related post but it could lead to an addiction for all creative types out there!


I have been meaning to post about this wonderful "toy" that Santa left in my stocking.  December and January were busy times in my household, so here I am.

Kaleidograph Contrast, Flora and OpArt

I first heard of the Kaleidograph from this blog I was visiting...  I gave a little hint to Santa, then completely forgot about it, so I was both delighted and surprised when I found these in my stocking.  Thank you Santa!

So... what exactly are these?  Hours and hours of fun for creative people, that's what they are!

This is Kaleidograph Flora:  12 cards with a different colour on each side.  Three cards are plain, and the other nine have a cut out.

Same cards, reverse sides

What do you do with it?  You just stack them whichever way you like and watch the magic happen.  The cut out have 6 sides, so that even by turning just one card by 90 degrees, you get a completely different design, like this:

From left to right, all I did was turn one card by 90 degrees

There are millions of combinations.  Once you start playing, it is pretty addictive, but as far as addictions go, you could do a lot worse...

Same cards and layout, I simply turned the two black cards on the white side

Santa got me not one, but three kits.  This one below is called OpArt.  It is all black and white except for a couple gray backgrounds and is all curves and circles:



And the last one is called Contrast, and is all angles.  



I have not played too much with the black and white ones.   I can see how they would appeal to many people, but I much prefer to play with colours.

Just playing with colours

I was a little protective of my toy so my kids did not get to play too much with it but I will try to be a bit more liberal with it.  I am thinking of adding it to the rotation of "take out" toys that kids bring when they are dragged to a sibling's sport practice.  (My kids have limited screen/electronic time so rather than taking an electronic game like pretty much every other kid, we bring books, dinky cars, writing and colouring materials, etc.)

This toy can easily occupy kids and grown ups for quite a while!


So right after I finish this post, I am going to do one last design and put it in this nifty plexiglass display rack (it does not come with a single Kaleidograph set but Santa got it when he bought three sets).



There are several online sites where you can buy the Kaleidograph but I can't recommend any one in particular.  If you want to learn a bit more, check out the Kaleidograph website.  No one is paying me to advertise this, but the website is pretty cool too.  If you decide to get one, be warned: You could end up spending hours shuffling around twelve pieces of cardboard!